The cow has been a symbol of wealth since ancient days. However, they were neither inviolable nor revered in the same way they are today. The cow was possibly revered because Hindus relied heavily on it for dairy products and for tilling the fields, and on cow dung as a source of fuel and fertilizer. Thus, the cow’s status as a 'caretaker' led to identifying it as an almost maternal figure (hence the term gau mata). Hinduism is based on the concept of omnipresence of the Divine and the presence of a soul in all creatures, including bovines.