Realizing the Manifest Self--the Life Force permeating our humanity--and the Unmanifest source from which it arises.
I hope people understand that the drunken idiots carrying out the atrocities in Nepal are no more representative of Hinduism than suicide bombers are of Islam. Hinduism is a noble, compassionate religion rooted in ahimsa (non-violence). About 43% of religious Hindus and 28% of non-religious Hindus in India are vegetarian. When people of all religions are included, 31% of Indians are vegetarian, compared to less than five percent of Americans and Europeans. See http://www.hinduonnet.com/2006/08/14/stories/2006081403771200.htmCow slaughter is illegal in most Indian states, and some Hindu organizations manage "old age homes" (gaushala) for old dairy cows. Naturally, there is also a dark side. Despite animal protection laws, many cows (and other animals) in India are exploited and killed. Dairy cows are often given oxytocin or are subjected to a painful practice called phukan to increase their milk production. Rather than being sent to gaushala, many cows end up being shipped, in horrendous conditions, to states where slaughter is legal to be used in the Indian leather industry. Male calves are often tied up and starved to death. These practices, however, have absolutely nothing to do with Hinduism and much to do with abject poverty, corruption and ignorance. Many Indians are unaware that such things occur. See http://www.mothercow.org/oxen/peta-letters.html and http://www.indiatogether.org/reports/peta.htmIn the U.S. and Europe, despite having more available resources, little is done to protect cows and other animals, and few people care. Even “organic” dairy cows are eventually slaughtered, and their male calves are usually killed at birth or sold to become veal. There is an organization in Britain working to establish an “ahimsa” standard for milk, in which dairy cows and their calves would not ever be killed. See http://www.thelotustrust.org/ahimsa.html. Maybe they’ll be successful some day far in the future.Yes, this world is hell – a good incentive to wake up and become free of it. A good way to start is by giving up eating meat and other practices that bring to suffering to animals.
I am sometimes asked why I am a vegetarian. My answer is always, “Why should anyone eat meat?” There are no benefits to eating meat. Ethical issues aside for the moment, eating meat has contributed to a host of health and environmental problems -- heart disease, diabetes, cancer, antibiotic resistance, deforestation, soil erosion, desertification and waste of water and fossil fuel resources to name just a few.Add to these things the fact that raising animals for slaughter brings tremendous additional suffering to a world already full to the brim with misery, and I don’t know why anyone would want to eat meat. Some people think that by eating organic or “humanely” raised animals that they bypass the problems listed above. All animals, however, organic and otherwise, are packed into the same cramped trucks and driven to the same filthy slaughterhouses. Even if all animals were raised ethically, killed quickly and “humanely,” and eaten in moderation, they would still die. Why do people think that they have the right to take life away from other beings just because those beings have lower intelligence (debatable), act differently (often better) than humans and have a different outer form? Babies and people with mental disabilities don’t score as highly on IQ tests, but we don’t eat them.If the world were 100% vegetarian today, and someone suddenly suggested that we start killing animals and eating them, I wonder how people would respond. Would eating meat still make sense to people? For those who do still eat meat, why do you do so? Do you have a reason besides “I like the way it tastes” and “everyone else does it?” Social convention and personal preference aren’t good enough justifications, particularly if you want to experience rapid spiritual growth. If you aren’t even strong enough to resist peer pressure and acquire new dietary habits, how do you expect to have the strength to overcome the rest of maya and become Self-realized?
As sad, terribly inhumane and disgusting as this practice is. I guess, for the sake of our own spiritual practice, we still can't judge such people. Robert said that trying to judge a situation is like trying to understand an entire scene by peeping through a keyhole. I personally have felt so much more freedom and lightness since I became vegetarian and can only try to feel compassion for these animals and the people who are slaughtering them. Undoubtedly the karma accrued from these acts will be heavy and unpleasant. If it is our karma to help prevent and bring light to such situations, may we do so with a realization of love and peace.- Tman
It’s like Gandhi said, Tman, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Being nonjudgmental doesn’t mean that we can’t discriminate between proper and improper behavior. There is certainly nothing wrong with speaking out against the actions of people who consume large quantities of alcohol, participate in a mass animal killing orgy and justify their conduct based on a religion that teaches temperance and compassion. This IS cruel, ignorant, tamasic behavior. Just because everything is in its right place in the ultimate sense doesn’t mean that we have to be demure and passive in speech and action. What’s important is what’s going on inside of us. We can simultaneously love those who commit evil, condemn what they do, and know that all is well.