It is timber made from the cow dung and used for cremation of human body in the place of wood. Using cow dung timber helps in protecting the environment and our sastras encourages using the cow dung timber for cremation.
Millions of Hindus worship and revere cows. It is one of the animals which is considered sacred in Hinduism. From the Mother to the Goddess, a cow is very auspicious and holds a special significance in Hinduism. Cows are held in a superior position in Hinduism as it is one of the animals which has been mentioned in Puranas and mythological stories as well. We cannot forget the white cow that stood behind Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was a cow herder so cows are considered very holy in the Hindu religion. However, even the cow dung is considered holy and auspicious in Hinduism.
As the human thinking is changing with time, the ancient traditions are being revisited by the society. During the ancient times in Hindu religion, the last rites of a human body were performed using cow dung cakes, however, with changing times people started using wood for cremation. People are realizing the importance of trees in the environment and have started using artificial wood made of cow dung to cremate their loved ones in an environment-friendly manner.
60 million trees are burned during cremation every year in India causing air pollution and generating large quantities of ash which are later thrown into rivers. Cow dung timber or cow dung timber would protect lakhs of trees from being cut thus protecting the environment.
Since childhood I saw whenever a person died, his body was cremated using wooden logs. To cremate one body, hundreds of logs were needed for which at least three twenty-year-old trees were cut. Apart from destroying the greenery, these logs made of wood added to air pollution and their ashes being discharged at water bodies. By planting one tree, we don't get the right to cut down other trees. Hence, it is good to utilize something that can be used naturally without causing pollution and religious disputes.
Indian people mostly prefer traditional products for cremation which included wooden logs and dried cow dungs. But the requirement of wooden logs always demanded new trees being cut. The cow dung timber could be used as a substitute for wooden logs. Apart from managing cow dung at dairy farms, cow dung timber would provide employment and is economically friendly as well. Densified cow dung timber give better C.V. (Calorific Value).
Seeing threats to deforestation, Indian government promoted the use of electric systems as alternate way of cremation. But all these were not successful due to financial and religious constraints. Cow dung timber is quite a simple and economical approach to make use of cow dungs in an efficient way.
Cow dung timber would be the first timber made of cow dung. Till now thousands of trees have been sacrificed to get wooden logs. A survey by the UN shows that 400-500 kg of wood is required to cremate one body. According to CNN report, 50-60 million trees are burned during cremation every year in India. This Cow dung timber would provide logs in a natural way while reducing air and water pollution. It would also reduce the burning time of the corpse.
Conventionally fire wood, electricity or LPG gas is used for cremation purpose. Indian people mostly prefer traditional product for cremation e.g. wooden logs and dried cow dung logs. Compared to fire wood and other alternatives, cremation using cow dung logs cost less.