Tag Archives: religion

Milk is thicker than blood – The cow controversy in India


The Indian cow controversy has gained momentum with the BJP Govt. coming into power. Recently state Governments under BJP rule have come up with open statements claiming anyone killing a cow would be hung. Social media has been in a frenzy ever since saying in India rapists can roam freely while someone who kills a cow is likely to be hung or even become a victim of vigilante justice.

There are two sides – One who wants the beef ban and one who doesn’t want it. While both have their own host of reasons, they both miss an important point that would be covered in this article. I was leaning towards the second category on accounts of personal choice and freedom and didn’t understand the logic behind banning it, but then I thought of discussing it with some educated villagers who spend time with these cows. Their viewpoint is going to be the most important and here are the findings that made me utter, ”Holy Cow”.

 

The first important thing is the relationship between a man and his animal. While BJP propagates Hindutva and cites cow worship over the centuries as the most important reason to ban its consumption, it’s important to realize the reasons for which a cow was or is worshipped in India. This can help clarify.

First of all, Hinduism is not a religion. 

There is no religion called Hinduism. There is no pappacy, no religious book saying how a Hindu should behave. Even Gita doesn’t mention the word Hindu anywhere. Hindus came to be known as such geographically.  The land between the Himalayas and Indian Ocean came to be known as Hindu. So even an earthworm in India is Hindu, just like you say ‘African elephants’.

Hinduism is devoid of rules and conventions. It grew and evolved without any councils and religious books for masses. Hinduism became a way of the society’s organization in the best possible way and spread by stories. These stories were conveyed through literature filled with moral values. Several traditional practices are continued even today. Some of the practices makes sense. Some don’t. However, Hindus have always worshipped something that makes their life useful. There are numerous examples in History that say how Hindus worshipped tools just because it made life easier and people were dependent on it. For any agricultural society, river source and cattle is essential. River provides water, cattle provides milk and other dairy products, if it’s a cow then can be used to plough the field sometimes and dung can be used either as manure to make the land more fertile or as fuel for combustion. With so many qualities in one animal it is no wonder that cow became a subject of worship by the Hindus. There were other animals providing one or more of these benefits, but the quality of benefits provided by a cow over its entire lifetime was huge. Although goat milk is easier to digest, the quantity produced is lesser than the cow milk and lactation period is also smaller. Cows made a special bondage with the owner and even today they are treated like pets. So if you protest killing of dogs in China for meat consumption now you would understand how Hindus have a concern over beef consumption.

 

Need for beef ban

For reasons mentioned above the cow owners from the Hindu section definitely have a point, but instead of giving it a religious turn and blowing things heavily into a political drama, let’s understand the actual need for beef ban.

Times have changed and India has lost its huge variety of cattle stock. Just 200 years ago, there used to be over 120 breeds of cattle and today we have only 37. The population of the native breed of cow has substantially reduced and there is a reason behind this. With many cross breeds available today, the native breed produces only one-third of the milk and lacks economic value as per most of the people.

Need for saving the native breed

The native breed of cow although produces a lower quantity of milk, it has the advantage of being native. The milk quality is good and doesn’t get stale at normal room temperatures in India, while milk from the cross breeds gets stale at temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius. The cross breeds succumb to Indian conditions and diseases more easily. So they are queued up for slaughtering so that leather industry can make use of it. Similarly, the native period is sent to the slaughterhouse much earlier to derive economic value out of it, failing to realize it could provide more economic value in the long-term. Indian breed of cow must be preserved and so should be other breeds, to maintain the quality of dairy and for the smooth ecosystem.

Cows also represent a higher evolutionary animal in the ecosystem than chickens or goats. It is a scientific fact that if you consume beef then some part of it remains undigested and present in your body for rest of the life. Indians have had a habit of failing to preserve something that lacks any economic or social value. So attaching a social value is paramount for people to value it, while passing on the understanding of economic value would take some time. Meanwhile India has become the largest exporter of beef and in many border areas like Cooch Behar cows are sent illegally to Bangladesh for consumption (Sending one cow across the border illegally fetches 5k-7k INR in hand). Before the next generation makes a Facebook page ‘Save cows’ and fails to save them, it is the prime responsibility of existing system to put a check on their depleting population. It should however be done in a legal way and attaching political drama and going to the extent of killing people won’t solve anything. It would only make people more reluctant to bow before the law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bhagavad Gita


I have a passion for reading philosophy. In order to gain deep understanding, I normally try to read the work of  different writers. I have been  intrigued by the works of Aldous Huxley, J Krishnamurti, Confucius, etc. It was during the last week that I came across perhaps the greatest philosophy ever written, the Bhagavad Gita.  It is a 700-verse scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. This scripture contains a conversation between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide Lord Krishna on a variety of theological and philosophical issues.

Some of the great philosophers and famous personalities have enjoyed uncovering the intricate details laid out in the words of this book.

Here’s what they had to say:

“When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.” ~ Aldous Huxley

“When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The secret of karma yoga which is to perform actions without any fruitive desires is taught by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.” ~ Vivekananda

There have been numerous comments made by the great personalities. After reading these comments I thought that there must be something unique about this scripture. Gita links religion and philosophy and though I am not a religious person, I thought I should give it a reading considering that so many great philosophers have quoted it as the highest philosophical work. So here I started reading Gita two weeks back. I must say I  came across some of the things that made absolute sense. I have developed a liking for this scripture.

My first encounter with Gita goes back to the year 1997, when I was only 7 years old. At that time my school’s director used to stay near our house. I was supposed to attend moral classes at his place on every weekend. These classes involved nothing but recitation of the Sanskrit Slokas written in the Gita. So I was attending a Gita-chanting class. I could never make out the meaning of what was written there since I didn’t know Sanskrit. Needless to say, I was never bothered in asking the meaning from anyone. By the age of 12, I had developed a very good pronunciation in chanting these Sanskrit words and I had memorized half of the book, without understanding a single word! Yes, not even a single word!  This continued for two more years and then the 14 year old tried to convince his parents that they had tried to torture a 7 year old by sending him to these classes. Actually I wanted to put it in this way, but then I would have received a tight slap. So I told them that I wanted to focus more on my studies and it sounded very convincing to them. Now I did not have to waste my weekend son Gita-chanting and I could play with my friends whole day long. My contact with Gita was broken and I never missed in the coming years. It was only during two weeks back that I started turning its pages again.

There are numerous interpretations of Gita available in  the market. I have chosen a different way to enjoy its philosophy. I have studied Sanskrit in my school for 4 years and I have a  decent knowledge about the meanings of Sanskrit words. I have arranged for a Gita book that simply contains the Slokas and below every Sloka the meaning of the appearing words is mentioned. It’s just like a dictionary explaining the meaning of those words and the reader is free to make his own interpretations. I have found some of the Slokas to be very consuming. Sometimes I make my interpretation withing few minutes while some of the Slokas take my whole day.

I believe Gita is to be read as it is.

When you are reading it on your own, you will find yourself making your own philosophies and comprehending the text in a way that is best suitable for you. I shall be sharing the knowledge that I have gained soon with you people. (See, I am asking you to read my interpretation, such a hypocrite I am 😀 ). I  want to discuss the underlying meaning behind those texts so that we all can make a progress towards our spiritual journey.  Keep checking this space 🙂

Why you should not fear death


Today my roommate asked me about my plans for tomorrow(it’s my birthday).I told him that I have not celebrated my birthday for the last 3 years and that I have no special plans.He was quite surprised and started asking me a series of questions.And then I gave him this epic explanation that my father would give me during my childhood for not celebrating my birthday-”There is no point in celebrating birthdays.If you think logically,you are approaching your death.You just lost another year from your life.”Well,it did shut my roommate’s mouth just like it did mine 10 years ago!

My roommate’s question however evoked a thought in my mind.I was contemplating about the idea of death and could not find out why people fear it.Death is the most feared thing on the earth.No one wants to die.People fear the unknown.They are too much consumed by the world’s superficial beauties,mortal relations,I found the whole idea very perplexing.

Frankly speaking,I  have never feared death(I have only feared my dad,and I still  do 😛 !).

I always had a reason for not fearing death.People have different reasons for fearing death.But all of them would fall in one of the categories below.

1.Atheist

An atheist does not believe in god.So there no point in having that dreaded question-answer session with the god post death.An atheist is a non-believer of god for there is no compelling evidence that proves the existence of god.Going by the same logic,an atheist should not believe in reincarnation as there is no concrete evidence behind it.Thus,an atheist should not fear the events that may follow his death.The only possible dreadful thought regarding fear of death for such a person can be due to his emotions attached with the family,unfinished things,etc. But since he has to ultimately reach the point of ”no existence” after death,this fear is not justified.He will not have any emotions,he will simply have no existence.It’s hard to imagine this state,but I can relate it to the state of being in deep sleep.There will be an everlasting peace.

2.Theist and believer of reincarnation

If a theist believes in reincarnation,then he should not fear death because he is going to take rebirth.He will again start a new life with no past memories.

3.Theist and non-believer of reincarnation

If the theist is a non-believer of reincarnation,then he may fear that he will have to answer his deeds.This fear can only exist when the person feels that he is doing something bad intentionally.He may think of starting an honest life from the next moment.So,he should better start correcting his mistakes and try to lead a life of honesty.Even if he dies after having this thought but before he could do something good,then obviously he shall not face the repercussions of his past mistakes(god,if it exists,can’t be so heartless!He will at least get a chance to explain his actions).

The only people who should then fear god can be people belonging to the 3rd category who are aware of what they are doing.Am sure there are people on the earth who believe in god and yet indulge themselves in doing dishonest acts,cheating others intentionally,propagating hatred and spreading violence.If anyone should fear death,then he :

a)has to be from 3rd category.

b)must be dishonest and aware of that.

c)must take pride in his wrong deeds.

What really perplexes me is the existence of such people,who believe in god,yet commit wrong deeds,and still take pride doing all this.If this is possible,then I don’t care if such people fear death.I don’t give a damn.

For all other people,I just showed why your fear of death is irrational.I would like to end this post by this quote that came to my mind-

”It is not the death that we shall fear,

if we have to fear something,then it has to be ourselves.”

P.S-I will be busy with my exams for the next few days.I will be offline from 4th dec and hope to revisit my blog by the end of next month.Wish you all people a very happy Christmas and an amazing new year!