Thursday, November 12, 2009

On sacredness of cow and against animal slaughter


Cow as a Sacred Asset of the Nation

by

Subramanian Swamy,

12 Nov. 2009

India has 150 million cows today, giving an average of less than 200 litres of milk per year. If they could be fed and looked after, then these divine animals can give an average of 11,000 litres of milk as the Israeli cows do. That could provide milk for the whole world. The milk we produce today is the cheapest in the world. With enhanced production by raising the productivity of milch cows we can become the world’s largest exporter of milk and India’s biggest foreign exchange earner.

Yet our West influenced intellectuals and mentally dominated by foreign idiom, sneer at the mention of the cow, leave alone speaking about the cow as an asset to the nation. But we know that these intellectuals first sneered at yoga, now it is a fashion for them doing pranayama at cocktail parties. They also sneered at our sanyasis, calling them disparagingly as “Godmen”. Now they flock to ashrams with their white friends ever since the Beatles did. Who knows, they may soon boast of a cow in their backyards. For those of us who are desi by pedigree and conviction, I place some facts about the cow in the new perspective of modern Hindutva.


The cow was elevated to the status of divinity in the Rg.Veda iself. In Book VI, the Hymn XXVIII attributed to Rishi Bhardwaja, extols the virtue of the cow. In Atharva Veda (Book X, Hymn 10), the cow is formally designated as Vishnu, and “all that the Sun surveys.” This divine quality of the cow has been affirmed by Kautilya in his Arthsastra (Chapter XXIX) as well.


The Indian society has addressed the cow as gow mata. The Churning of the Sea episode brings to light the story of the creation of the cow. Five divine Kamadhenus (wish cows), viz, Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila, Bahula emerged in the churning.


Cow is there in the company of Bhagwan Dattatreya and Gopal Krishna. Cow is the vehicle of Shaillputri and Gowri – two of the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. Ancient coins with image of bull Nandi on them have been found in excavations.


Thousands of names of places, persons and things in our country have name of the cow: e.g. Gauhati, Gorakhpur, Goa, Godhra, Gondiya, Godavari, Goverdhan, Gautam, Gomukh, Gokarna, Goyal, Gochar etc. , that signify the deep reverence and high ground reserved for the cow and her progeny in our culture. Why ? Because of the deep abiding faith that the cow is verily the Annapurna.


In 2003, the National Commission on Cattle presided over by Justice G.M. Lodha, submitted its recommendations to the NDA Government. The Report (in 4 volumes) called for stringent laws to protect the cow and its progeny in the interest of India’s rural economy. This is anyway a Constitutional requirement under Directive Principles of State Policy. Article 48 of the Constitution says: “The State shall endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”. In 1958, a 5-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court { (1959) SCR 629} upheld Article 48 and the consequently held total ban on cow slaughter as a reasonable restriction on Fundamental Rights of all Indians.


When India fought the First War of Independence in 1857, and Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ was installed as Emperor by the Hindus in Delhi for a brief period, his Hindu Prime Minister, on the Emperor’s Proclamation, made the killing of cow a capital offence. Earlier in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom, the only crime that had capital punishment was cow slaughter.


For a Hindu, the very appearance of a cow evokes a sense of piety. See however the most reckless bus driver avoids the cow that squats in the middle of the road. The cow is serene by temperament and herbivorous by diet. It is multi-product animal. Apart from milk, cow dung known for its anti-septic value, is still used as fuel in its dried caked form in most Indian villages. It is also used in compost manure and in the production of electricity through eco-friendly gobar-gas. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi had declared: “Cow protection is more important than even Swaraj”.


The cow, according to Vedas provides the following four products for human society :


    1. Godugdha (Cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk’s composition has fat, carbohydrate, minerals, calcium, Iron and Vitamin B, an even a capacity for resistance of the body against radiation and regenerate brain cells.

    1. Goghruta (Cow Ghee): Best among all kinds of ghee. As per Ayurveda classics it is useful in various kind of systematic, physical and mental disorders as well as it sustain the age for long time. When it is used in Yajna, it improves the oxygen level in the air around.

    1. Gomutra (Cow Urine): A total of 8 types of urine are used for medicinal purpose now a days. Among those, Cow urine is held to be the best. Hence the Americans are busy patenting while we are busy sneering about it. Anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal property is found in it. It is also having anti-oxidant and immuno modulator property, which is very much useful for immune deficiency diseases which are increasing now a day. In classics there are so many references available where cow urine is mentioned as a drug of choice. Even Parsis of Zoroastrian religion follow this practice.

Besides milk and dung, the ancient Hindu wisdom that cow’s urine has medicinal properties and hence accessible at low cost to the rural poor, is borne out by Patents granted in United States.


Two US patents have been granted for cow urine distillate (US Pat. No. 6410059 & 6896907) for anti-micro-bial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer properties, also it is having a lot of anti-exidants. Since it has got immumomodulatory compounds in it, it is a very good bio-enhancer to facilitate drug availability to high extent in our body. Patent from China is also granted to cow urine distillate as a DNA protector.


One global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent, fungicidal and growth promontory properties for all different crops (WHO 2004/087618A1).


Another US patent has been granted for strains obtained from Sahiwal cow milk for plant growth promoter phytopathogenic fungi controlling activity, abiotic stress tolerating capability, phosphatic solubilisation capability, etc. (US patent No. 7097830 dated 29/8/06).


Also CSIR has filed US patent for Amrit Pani (mixture of cow dung + cow urine + jaggery) from NBRI Lucknow for soil health improvement properties.


All the above claims had been made in Charaka Samhita, Sushrut, Vaghbhati and Nighantu, Ratnakar, etc.


The above examples very well prove the utility of cow dung and urine for sustainable agriculture as well as for almost curing or giving relief in many serious diseases like psoriasis, eczema, asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, renal failures and cancer, etc.


This confirms Vedic message: Gomay Vasate Laxmi i.e. cow dung is a source of wealth, whereas in western culture dung and urine are considered to be waste, even if their modern medical research has begun changing its view.


    1. Gomaya (Cow Dung): Gomaya is considered equally valuable as Gau mutra and it is used to purify the environment. Cow dung has radium and it checks the radiation effects.

Furthermore, the common argument in the West for slaughtering cows is no more uncontested. Beef is not of high protein content as believed. Any dietician’s chart shows that beef, with 22 per cent protein, ranks far below vegetable products like soyabeen (43), groundnut (31), pulses (24). Moreover, excess intake of protein is not good as it only contributes to obesity, a bane of modern civilization. Moreover, to procure 1 kg of beef (or for that matter any flesh) it takes 7 kg of crops and 7,000 kg. of water.


Thus protection of the cow thus makes good economic and ecological sense. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the scholar-sanyasi and Convenor of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, a body of all prominent Hindu religious heads, has argued that non-vegetarianism indirectly contributes heavily to green house gases and other pollution.


He quotes a report from the United Nations of the year 2006 that reveals the surprising fact that “raising animals for meat as food generates more green house gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.” Ten of billions of animals farmed for food, release gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon-di-oxide through their massive amounts of manure. Animals such as cows and sheep, being ruminant, emit huge amount of methane due to flatulence and burping. “The released methane”, the report says, “has 23 times the global warming potential of CO2”. It is alarming to note that the livestock industry alone is responsible for 37% of human induced methane emissions. To make room for these animals to graze, the virgin forests are cleared. The livestock industry also needs a vast stretches of land to raise mono-crops to feed the animals. The CO2 that the trees and plants store escapes back into the air when they are destroyed.


Growing fodder for farmed animals implies heavy use of synthetic fertilizers produced with fossil fuels. While this process emits a huge amount of CO2 fertilizer itself releases nitrous oxide (3) – a green house gas that is 296 times more potent than CO2. Alarming though these facts are, Swamiji sees in them a reason for hope. All that the people ever have to do is to avoid red-meat eating. In the absence of demand for meat there is no more need for breeding millions of animals for daily slaughter. And then animals population would cease to be medicated or inseminated for continuous breeding, thereby the population would be regulated.


A single individual by simply not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tons CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one ton of CO2 emissions prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car. One needs to have an honest commitment to save the mother earth who has been relentlessly patient and magnanimous since she began bearing life. There are a number of reasons for one to be a vegetarian. People given to meat eating think that a pure vegetarian diet is optional. But now they have no choice if they are alive to what is happening to this life-bearing planet. There is no justification whatsoever for one to continue to be a non-vegetarian knowing the devastating consequences of meat eating.


As Swami Dayananda Saraswati has noted:

“Promotion of vegetarianism does not require any legislation from the State. It does require a change of heart on the part of meat eating individuals anywhere on this planet. I cannot appeal to the tigers and wolves. They are programmed to be what they are. Being endowed with freewill only a human being can make a difference by exercising responsibly his or her choice.”


If it is too much for one to switch to be a total vegetarian, then one needs to give up at least red-meat eating.

Cattle can be conveniently reared today only in villages because villages have open grazing lands and natural atmosphere and ponds, etc., which urban dwellings do not have.


But as the erstwhile Sar Sanghchalak of RSS Sri Sudarshan has observed at meeting of ‘Gobhakta’ industrialists in New Delhi recently, for rural economic development cow-based industries should be set up. An example of this is of Dr. Shrikrishna Mittal who successfully made tiles out of cow dung that could be used in rural housing for a long period. Of course Gobar gas has already come to stay.


Hence, a new fervour is necessary to create a cow-renaissance in the nation. As Bahadur Shah and Maharaja Ranjit Singh did, we should amend the IPC to make cow slaughter as a capital offence as well as a ground for arrest under the National Security Act, to give meaning and urgency to the total ban on cow slaughter. It is constitutional and is Hindutva.


The cow is thus a part of Hindutva, and we should defend it with all our might.



* * * * * * * * * * * *


Vegetarianism: Recommended in Vedic Scripture

By Stephen Knapp


Many times there seems to be some confusion or lack of clarity on whether the Vedic path condones or condemns the eating of meat. Often times I hear Indians and followers of the Vedic path explain that meat eating is all right, that the Vedic shastras do not condemn it. Of course, in this day and age meat eating includes and supports the whole meat industry, which is the systematic slaughter of thousands of animals on a daily basis. But if we actually research the Vedic texts we will find that there are numerous references in the various portions of the Vedic literature which explain in no uncertain terms the karmic dangers of meat-eating and unnecessary animal slaughter. These indicate that meat eating should be given up for one's spiritual and even material progress. This means that the Vedic conclusions that some people present for meat-eating are not accurate, and that they have never studied their own religious books very thoroughly. This is something that is important to understand, so let us take a look.


VEDIC REFERENCES AGAINST MEAT-EATING AND ANIMAL SLAUGHTER


To start with, the Manu-samhita clearly and logically recommends that, "Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient beings is detrimental to the attainment of heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun the use of meat. Having well considered the disgusting origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh." (Manu-samhita 5.48-49)


However, it is not simply the person who eats the meat that becomes implicated by eating the dead animal, but also those who assist in the process. "He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, must all be considered as the slayers of the animal. There is no greater sinner than that man who though not worshiping the gods or the ancestors, seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of other beings." (Manu-samhita 5.51-52)


As we get further into the Manu-samhita, there are warnings that become increasingly more serious. For example, "If he has a strong desire (for meat) he may make an animal of clarified butter or one of flour (and eat that); but let him never seek to destroy an animal without a (lawful) reason. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it without a (lawful) reason suffer a violent death in future births." (Manu-samhita 5.37-38)


In this way, the only time to carry out the need to kill animals for consumption is when there is an emergency such as when there simply is nothing else to eat. Otherwise, when there are plenty of grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., to eat, it is only mankind's lust and selfish desires that motivate one to kill other beings to satisfy one's tongue by tasting their blood and flesh, or to fatten one's wallet by making money from participating in the distribution or the cooking of meat. Such violent actions create opposite reactions. For this reason the warnings are given, "He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness in this life or the next." (Manu-samhita 5.45)


Nonetheless, there are also benefits that are mentioned that a person can attain simply by not eating the bodies of other creatures: "By subsisting on pure fruits and roots, and by eating food fit for ascetics in the forest, one does not gain so great a reward as by entirely avoiding the use of flesh. Me he [mam sah] will devour in the next world, whose flesh I eat in this life; the wise declare this to be the real meaning of the word 'flesh' [mam sah]." (Manu-samhita 5.54-55)


"He who does not seek to cause the sufferings of bonds and death to living creatures, (but) desires the good of all (beings), obtains endless bliss. He who does not injure any (creature) attains without an effort what he thinks of, what he undertakes, and what he fixes his mind on." (Manu-samhita 5.46-47)


Also, "By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation." (Manu-samhita 6.60)


The earlier texts, such as the Rig-veda (10.87.16), also proclaim the need to give up the eating of slaughtered animals. "One who partakes of human flesh, the flesh of a horse or of another animal, and deprives others of milk by slaughtering cows, O King, if such a fiend does not desist by other means, then you should not hesitate to cut off his head."


"You must not use your God-given body for killing God's creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever."
(Yajur Veda 12.32.90)


There are also references in the Mahabharata that forewarn the activity of eating flesh: "He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures, lives in misery in whatever species he may take his [next] birth." (Mahabharata, Anu.115.47)


"The purchaser of flesh performs violence by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does violence by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it--all these are to be considered meat-eaters." (Mahabharata, Anu.115.40) All of these people will also incur the same karmic reactions for their participation in killing, distributing or eating the flesh of animals, as explained next.


"The sins generated by violence curtail the life of the perpetrator. Therefore, even those who are anxious for their own welfare should abstain from meat-eating." (Mahabharata, Anu.115.33)

"Those who are ignorant of real dharma and, though wicked and haughty, account themselves virtuous, kill animals without any feeling of remorse or fear of punishment. Further, in their next lives, such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world." (Bhagavata Purana 11.5.14)


The following verses are from the Tirukural:


How can he practice true compassion
who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?
 
Riches cannot be found in the hands of the thriftless,
nor can compassion be found in the hearts of those who eat meat.
 
He who feasts on a creature's flesh is like he who wields a weapon.
Goodness is never one with the minds of these two.
 
If you ask, "What is kindness and what is unkindness?"
It is not-killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous.
 
Life is perpetuated by not eating meat.
The jaws of Hell close on those who do.
 
If the world did not purchase and consume meat,
no one would slaughter and offer meat for sale.
 
When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh
of another creature, he will abstain from eating it.
 
Insightful souls who have abandoned the passion to hurt others
will not feed on flesh that life has abandoned.
 
Greater than a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial
fires is to not sacrifice and consume any living creature.
 
All life will press palms together in prayerful adoration
of those who refuse to slaughter or savor meat.
 

From these verses there should be no doubt that the Vedic shastra recommends that such selfish meat-eating must be given up if one has any concern for other living beings, or one's own future existence, or for attaining any spiritual merit.


In Bhagavad-gita, however, we also find similar verses on what is recommended for human consumption. Lord Krishna says, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." (Bg.9.26) This means that not only should one be a vegetarian and eat only fruits, water, grains, vegetables, etc., but such items should be made as an offering to God with love. The reason is that, "The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin." (Bg.3.13) So what is offered are only those things that Krishna accepts. That becomes prasada, or remnants of foods offered to the Lord.


As further elaborated in Bhagavad-gita by Lord Sri Krishna: "O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me. In this way you will be freed from all reactions to good and evil deeds, and by this principle of renunciation you will be liberated and come to Me." (Bg.9.27)


Herein we can see that the process of preparing and eating food is also a part of the Vedic system for making spiritual advancement. As the Vedic literature explains, what we eat is an important factor in the process of purifying ourselves and remaining free from accumulating bad karma. It actually is not so difficult to be vegetarian, and it gives one a much higher taste in eating and in one's spiritual realizations. The level of our consciousness is also determined not only by what we think and do, but also by the vibrational level of what we put into our bodies as food. The more natural and peaceful the food, the more healthy and peaceful will be our consciousness. If it is further blessed and offered to the Lord, then it becomes especially powerful and spiritualized. This vibration goes into our own bodies and is assimilated by our consciousness to assist us in our spiritual upliftment. However, if we eat foods that are the remnants of animals that were petrified with fear before being slaughtered, or were tortured during the slaughter process, that fear, aggression and suffering will also become a part of our own consciousness, which is reflected back on our own life and the people with whom we come in contact. And people wonder why there is not more peace in the world.


7 comments:

Kalaivani said...

Hi Mrs Jaya...

Thanks for the article. It is very enriching.

Sadly,nowadays non-veg food is more prevalent than veg food. I hope more people will make the right choice.

"Greater than a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial fires:
Do not do sacrifice and consume any living creature." - Deiva pulavar thiruvalluvar.


But, I have a doubt to ask u. . .

1."Me he [mam sah] will devour in the next world, whose flesh I eat in this life; the wise declare this to be the real meaning of the word 'flesh' [mam sah]."

The line from the article gives the meaning of the flesh. What is the real meaning of the sanskrit word mam sah?

2. I had read that vivekananda had eaten fish. Being a bengali brahmin, fish is acceptable as veg. What do you think of this practice?

jayasree said...

Maamsa means flesh. I must check with Sanskrit pandits on derivation of that term.
In samudrika lakshana we say about Mamasa saara - meaning well toned flesh.

Abt the query on Vivekananda, I dont know the details, but what I can say is that eating flesh is there among many sects. But a spiritual practitioner must give that up. One bent upon overcoming karmic troubles must give that up.

Killing happens in preparation of vegetarian food also. A householder's house is mentioned as slaughter house, as many life are killed in cleaning, washing cooking etc. Hindu sages recognized 5 such sins which inevitably happen and recommended the 5 yajnas as remedy. Please read my Scribd document on Athithi devo bhava to know the 5 yajnas - simple worships to be done everyday.

The link to scribd documents is given in the side bar.

Kalaivani said...

Hi Mrs Jaya,

Thank you for taking efforts to answer my doubts.

I had read the article,"Athithi devo bhava". I had noticed that Tamil literature( tirukural) had incorporated the vedic ideas practically into lifestyle. And the amazing part is that they are expressed simply that everyone can understand and follow with ease.

Continuing posting more intersting articles about the eternal truth. I hope everyone without a boundary of religion, race,etc will adhere to these universal truth.

jayasree said...

Thanks Ms Kalaivani for your comments. Thirukkural is truly great and simple. It is one of my life time wishes to write the vedic thoughts enshrined in Thirukkural.
After 'Vishnu in Sangam texts',let me hope to start the series on Thirukkural.

Kalaivani said...

Hi Mrs Jaya,

I am continuing to read your blog and vishnu in sangam texts and looking forward for the tirukural series too. tirukural is my faverite text as it is simple to understand and yet it gives so much indepthful meaning each time we recall it.

jayasree said...

Thanks Ms kalaivani.
I will concentrate on Vishnu in sangam texts for now. Later I will start on KuraL.

jayasree said...

Thanks Ms kalaivani.
I will concentrate on Vishnu in sangam texts for now. Later I will start on KuraL.