Since the dawn of time, Cows have been assisting mankind with life itself. It works hard for mankind to live an easylife. It helps mankind to plow the field so that mankind can plant crops and produce food. It also gives milk for mankind to grow strong and healthy. And cow milk is the only milk mankind used to drink beside mother'smilk.
So there is a sense of appreciation towards the the cow forit helped the civilization to grow and prosper. It is actually this sense of appreciation that prevents Hindus from eating the cow. Even after its death a cow still contributes to the well being of humans through its skin, which will be used in many ways.
But, in the ancient times, the simple farming folks are not sophisticated enough to understand this philosophy.Hence, the rulers and religious leaders linked cows to religion, depicting it as Lord Krishna's playmate in His childhood, and also as Lord Shiva's transportation instrument. And all kinds of rituals and cultural events began to materialize.
Cows are now being used for spiritual prosperity as well. This, elevated the cows to a level ofdivinity in a Hindu's life, regardingthem to be sacred and pure. This is also has become a way to explain to children why Hindus don't eat a cow,since their minds are also not readyto absorb philosophies.The acceptance of cows as divinebeings changed the way Hindus treattheir livestocks. Cows are not seen as merely a livestock or working animals used for plowing fields.
Instead,these animals are treated with respect and love. Often treated as part of the family, the cows are always given names to call them and raised as a pet rather than a livestock (in India,this is the lifestyle even today).Taking into account all the sacrifices the cows had made for mankind, a sense of Its Divinity and also the acceptance as a family, makes the cows not to be seen as a food.
But many Hindus do not realize the Philosophy behind the religious fact of why this custom came to be, believing the spiritual fact as the sole reason forit. Although that is true, it also buries the culture part deep into ignorance.