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One of the seals found in the Indus Valley shows a seated deity in a yoga posture with the horns a buffalo. It refers to the possibility that in those days, buffalo horns signified a personâs social status, royalty, authority, or divinity. Some of the seals show human figures in a conflict with a buffalo figure, who may be a prototype a buffalo demon or a rival king. The Vedas contain references to the buffalos and their ritual significance. The buffalo is a savage beast. Unlike the cow, it has a dark mane, and a gross body, suggestive of its tamasic nature. However, buffalos in Hinduism represent both positive and negative qualities. On the negative side, buffalos represent darkness (tamas), delusion, ignorance, lust, demonic nature and brute power. On the positive side, they represent strength, divinity, support, and ferocity. The water buffalo is the vehicle of Lord Yama, the lord of the underworld, who is regarded as lord of justice. Mahisha is a buffalo god whereas Mahishasura is a buffalo demon. The he-buffalo (Mahisha) represent a king, or the ruler of the earth, while the she-buffalo (Mahishi) his wife. Hence, the first wife of a king in Hinduism is called Patta Mahishi. In the Vedic ritual of horse sacrifice (Asvamedha yajna) she used to have a prominent role as the sacrificial offering to the divine horse, Brahman. Mahishasura, who represents the brute force of the he-buffalo was a powerful demon who became a tormentor of the worlds. None of the male gods could defeat him due to a boon he obtained. He was eventually killed by Durga, the Mother Goddess. In a broader sense the buffalo symbolizes all mortal beings who live upon earth and who are a mixture both positive and negative qualities. According to Kalika Purana, a buffalo is an auspicious animal with an excellent form which gives life, wealth and fame. There is a story in devotional Hinduism, according to which a saint named Jnaneshwar once taught the Vedas to a buffalo to prove that the same spirit that pervaded all and existed in all. One may not take that story literally, but it does point to an important belief of Hindus and their attitude towards animals. Both commercially or spiritually, the buffalo is not as popular as the cow or the bull, but it has its own place in Hinduism. Compared to the cows and the bulls, the buffalos are sturdier and better suited to the harsh conditions of temperate climate. Hence, they are widely used in rural India as beasts of burden and in the cultivation of lands. Traditionally, buffalos have been used in Vedic rituals, next to the horse, and offered as a sacrifice to appease gods. They are also the main sacrificial animals in the worship of Shakti, especially during the Durga puja. However, although buffalos are sacrificed during rituals, as in case of cows and bulls Hindus are prohibited from eating buffalo meat.