"I define terrorism as any intentional act to injure or kill a living, sentient, innocent being for scientific, political or economic purposes."
A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher's stall passes as food', commented Dr. John Harvey Kellogg once. Time and again, over the centuries and across the cultures, the subject of animal slaughter and flesh diet has been discussed. Since time immemorial have existed cultures which have scrupulously avoided flesh diet and animal slaughter.
this book deals with the subject matter of cow but before lunging into the subject, we will examine view on life in general, from Vedic or Indian perspective.
Life is Sacred And All Life Forms Are Worthy of Respect
Traditional Indian or Vedic way of life teaches respect for all life forms. In their viewpoint, all living beings are born of mother nature and have an equal right to life. Indeed, in Vedic conception, animals are treated like innocent children and are meant to be given all protection. Srimad Bhagavatam, the foremost Vedic text, states,
"One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one's own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals." (SB 7.14.9)
The doctrine of reincarnation holds that every creature is a spirit soul that lives in one material body after another. And all life is sacred, not just the life of the cow. Vedic concept is that all life forms emanate from the Supreme Life and hence all beings are part and parcel of that Supreme Life and hence venerable.
Each of us is an eternal spirit soul; we are not the material body that covers us. Every life from—wether bird, insect, fish, mammal, plant, or fetus—houses an individual soul as he transmigrates from body to body in his adventures throughout the material universe. Thus every form of life is sacred and should never be whimsically destroyed.
"Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil."
Albert Schweitzer (Civilization and Ethics, 1949)
In fact, not only Vedic culture, but all traditional cultures teach respect for life and nature in general. It is the techno-industrial life style which is utterly callous towards life and nature.
Modern Life Is Founded On Disregard For Life and Nature
Modern life is characterized by a total lack of reverence towards life, both human and non-human.
In spite of the availability of so much food, billions of animals are mercilessly raised, transported and slaughtered every year. The reactions are equally severe for mankind. Human beings also get killed in riots, bombings and wars like the animals they kill as a matter of fact.
A few birds when get infected with bird-flu, man starts killing millions of birds. Same thing happens when a few cows fall sick, they start killing hundreds of thousands of cows. These things have no precedent in human history. This is cold blooded murder, this is holocaust, this is terrorism. In God's kingdom, all beings have right to live and one has to pay dearly for killing even an ant unnecessarily. Time is coming when people will 'cull' a whole race or country when they get infected with a disease.
Institutionalization Of Barbarism, Industrialization Of Cruelty
Cruelty has existed in human society since time immemorial but in modern times, it has become industrialized. Cruelty has taken the shape of a global industry and the world has never witnessed such institutionalization of barbarism. People always killed animals for food, entertainment or fur etc. but killing in mechanized industrial slaughterhouses is a modern invention. Animals were never transported thousands of miles for killing and neither existed global marketing networks in animal products.
Perhaps this millennium has been bloodiest of all human history. For about forty years after the discovery of the New World (America), it was legal to hunt down the natives like animals. It was only in 1530 that the Pope conceded that American Indians were human!
This is what Aime Cesaire wrote in 1955 in "Discours sur le colonialisme" while trying to put the horrors of Hitler in perspective:
"What the very Christian bourgeois of the twentieth century cannot forgive Hitler for is not the crime in itself, the crime against humanity, not the humiliation of humanity itself, but the crime against white man…; it is the crime of having applied to Europe the colonialist actions as were borne uptil now by Arabs, the coolies of India and the negros of Africa."