Being a microcosm of India’s Hindu identity, the symbiotic relationship between the holy men and the cows, considered holy in Hinduism, is apparent in Varanasi. Varanasi, or Benares, as the locals call it is India’s oldest, and possibly holiest, city. Anyone who has ever visited Varanasi will find both cows and holy men in every lane of the city.
One can see this image, taken in a part of the city, as a proof of the endearing bond an animal shares with a man who has renounced the world.
Look at how the cow appears relaxed with its head on the lap of the sadhu as the holy man gently strokes its neck while reading a newspaper. On another level, the image highlights the beauty of man-animal friendship. If only all humans took care of animals. Just for science trivia, caressing a cow on the neck releases dopamine in the animal making it happy.