(DISCLAIMER) : All opinions and ideas conveyed in this article are solely that of the author and he welcomes religious extremists reaching for his throat with a mentality more open than theirs.)
I’ll begin my rant by citing an ancient vedic fable.
“The holy Saivite sect of Shiva worshippers had 63 Nayanmars, or saints, one of whom was Kannapa Nayanar, a reincarnation of Arjuna from the Mahabharat.
Born to a lowly caste of hunters, Kannapa was a staunch devotee of the Vayu Shiva Linga of Sri Kalahasti which he stumbled across in the forests during one of his hunting trips. This particular Linga which was worshiped by a Brahman saint was daily anointed with sandalwood, crimson and fresh flowers.
Added to which, Kannapa visited the Linga after the saint (unwary of the saint’s visit) and worshipped the Linga in his own way. It is said that he poured water over the Linga from his mouth which he carried from the nearby river. He also offered the Lord whatever animal he hunted, including swine flesh and anointed it in blood. And the Lord accepted his offerings too, since he was pure at heart and his devotion was true.
Then one day, The Lord decided to test, whose devotion was greater, the Brahmin’s, or Kannapa’s. When the Brahmin came for his daily rituals, The Linga popped out two eyes, one of which started bleeding. Scared to wits, the Brahmin fled the scene. The same test was repeated when Kannapa came to perform his prayers. On seeing an eye on the Linga bleeding, Kannapa decided to do anything to put his lord at ease. So he took out a spear and carved out his own eye and offered it to the lord, to replace His bleeding eye. To complicate the test further, the second eye on the Linga started bleeding too. Kannapa thought, if he were pluck his other eye too, he would be blind to exactly know the spot where he has to place his own second eye over the bleeding second eye of the Linga. So he placed his toe on the Linga’s bleeding second eye, plucked his own remaining eye out and placed it where his toe was.
Moved by Kannapa’s extreme devotion, Lord Shiva himself appeared before him, restored both his eyes, and made him one of the 63 Nayanmars. Thus proving once again, that ultimate passion for the Supreme Being surpasses all set guidelines of attaining the final goal – Eternal Peace.”
Year 2015. Father lynched. Son critically injured by angry Hindu mob after false rumours of them storing beef gets spread by a home guard seeking feudal revenge.
What’s wrong with today’s society, one is compelled to ask this clichéd question in the light of brutal idiocy like this. Everyone, busy fighting a holy war over a mythical truth, propagating false beliefs without a proper rhyme or reasoning, and then ending up proving once again that humans are nothing but a flock of animals ready to burst like a bubble at the name of religion, which then again was their own creation.
With everyone busy fighting over the Messenger, did anyone halt to think, did they get the Message?
With the recent beef ban and atrocities by moral police regarding it, I search for instances when our Gods instructed us to pick up arms and kill in his name, to disturb social peace, to spill blood over a matter of personal choices. But I only end up with uplifting fables like that of Kannapa Nayanar, a real religious fanatic who bowled the Lord over with his offerings of swine meat and saliva.
The point being, how does consumption of something which a sect ‘believes to be forbidden when it’s not’, disrupts another person’s devotion to the Almighty? How does the freedom (of religion and whatsoever) and personal choices of one individual in any way affect those of an another individuals who differs in opinions? And does it necessary call for violent measures and mass hysteria?
The whole belief of cow being a holy animal to the Hindus is nothing but a half studied propaganda spread over time by Hindutva extremists. Vedas have mentioned of bovine sacrifices during Yagyas, where the sages later partook in the ‘prasad’ (the meat). Beef had been part of Indian dietary tradition since long. In the ancient scripture called Taitreya Brahmin, one finds the hymn – ‘Atho Annam VaiGau’, which translates to ‘cow invariably the part of food’, and also in the Charak Samhita (ancient Ayurveda) which advises beef soup for Kshay Rog (tuberculosis). God Indra and Agni have been stated to have a weakness for Bull’s and Cow’s meat respectively.
Even swami Vivekanand boldly stated about Aryans relishing beef : “There was a time when without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin.” (- The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3)
Also it is nothing but a myth, that beef was introduced in India with the Muslims.
So how did cow get a holy, uneatable stature in our system?
It all started with basic psychologies, why would anyone slaughter an animal who gives them milk, urine, dung, and also is a good field workforce? So naturally, killing of cows (not bulls) declined. Then the next big blow to beef consumption came with the advent of Buddhism, which preached a path of peace and not hurting any animal for food. Since Hinduism believed Buddhism to be a divergent sect of its own, a part of their ideologies were swapped across each other, and thus started the trend of treating cows, the animal whose pretty much everything is valuable, as holy. Again this Hindu reasoning can be argued upon, because Buddhists in China Japan and Korea had no prohibition from consuming beef, in fact beef was a staple diet to these Eastern Buddhists.
Later after this ‘holy-cow’ mentality set in, still when a bovine got old, or injured, or sickly, the owner had the option of slaughtering it, out of whose meat the dalits and the poor used to get their tummies full.
But with the latest reforms in beef consumption, a lot of factors were hit, one of them being, was the move really based on religious grounds alone? Because as far as religion was concerned, Hinduism never proclaimed beef ‘haram’ like pork in Islam and there is solid proof of unchallenged beef consumption throughout the Indian history.
A new theory arises here. Slaughtering decreased milk production and leads to price rise due to less supply. Large amount of water is used in abattoirs, which could instead be used elsewhere for say irrigation. Such theories give an economical facet to the reform.
Earlier the law had provision to put down an ageing bovine, thus ridding the animal of its misery and the owner of the burden of taking care of it. In a country debating euthanasia, it seemed touchingly ironical to demonstrate compassion to an animal. But now, even that glimpse of respite is gone.
Thus I can go out on a limb to proclaim that mass outrage and cultural hostility is nothing but a by product of half knowledge about one’s own religion. How does it even make sense, as per the fanatics, their religion doesn’t allow them to hurt any life (which to them is their holy cow), but it allows them to kill their fellow brother’s over exercising their well deserved freedom of choice?
If a noble Hindu chooses to eat beef and yet be devoted to God, like Kannapa, he bloody well can, no one has the right to make him say ‘Cow is my mother’. The extremists calling cows their holy mother are the same that’ll run after you if you call their mothers holy cows.
I am a Hindu, and to me a cow is nothing but a docile animal that makes juicy steaks. If it is the day to measure one’s piousness with their emotions towards a mute animal, then this is the day humanity becomes nothing but a dumb laughing stock. This is the day we give up our abilities to comprehend common sense.
Our Constitution has a clause for scientific temperament, where was it when a ban on beef was implemented because a fraction of society thinks an animal which can successfully act as source of cheap and feasible proteins to the poor, is like a mother to them?
Sarbhang and Aghori sects of India eat dead human flesh as a part of their rituals, I don’t see anybody having a problem with it or any law safeguarding/allowing this cannibalism either.
Like ex-Justice Markandey Katju says, if we are banning, let’s do it properly. Let’s ban killing of rats and making of rat traps because rats are the chariot of Lord Ganesha. Use of monkeys in circuses and lab testing should be banned because monkeys are a form of Lord Hanuman. Snakes are revered as Gods in our culture, wrapped around Lord Shiva’s neck, but we tend to kill them the moment one is spotted, ban it. Pigs are haram for a section of our society (Muslims), Varaha avatar of Vishnu was essentially a giant boar, so ban bacon too. Frog (manduk) is the name of one our Puranas, owl is the stead of Lakshmi, Buffalo of lord Yamaraj, crow of Shani (Saturn). Ban fish and chicken too, after all is their life less valuable than any other’s? Let’s all eat boiled sevian and salted broccolis and eradicate the livelihood of millions and live in peace rather than live like hypocrites. Let’s follow the rules and act secular for once and ban killing of all and everything, that would be true justice.
But no. We are too scared to anger the imaginary heroes sitting up in the sky. Thus we’ll kill and teach, rather than co-exist and learn. We’ll kill and impress rather than truly understand how spirituality works. We’ll kill and fight over what to eat rather than laying stress at more important issues at hand.
Good going, Hindutva, good going humanity. A good God fearing, dharma abiding, karma balancing boy can’t even eat a hamburger in peace.
About The Author
“Adarsh Raj is The Wolf of All Streets, who takes life as it comes in his face, and runs down his chin. We catch flies with honey, but he catches more hunnies being fly. Matter of fact, he didn’t choose the the thug life, the thug life chose him.
Oh and he stole my girl !!!” – Everyone else