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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Slaughter of Animals: Jhatka, Halal and Non-killing

I have watched the slaughter of animals by the jhatka system. In our house, goats used to be sacrificed in Durga Puja or in marriages. There was also an annual Naula Puja, the god was offered pigeons, fish and wine. Besides, I have seen mass slaughter of ducks, cocks, etc. one after another in Kali Puja pandals and also of pigeons at Kamakhya Temple. These are all animal slaughter in the name of religion. These ceremonies are recommended by certain scriptures so that the people get opportunity to witness the brutal spectacle of violence, blood and pain and repent for the sin. As far as the halal or the kosher system is concerned, so long as the executors and the consumers can see the cruelty of their own action, there is a chance of repentance. But the slaughterhouses deprive the consumers to realise the brutality of their lifestyles. Everything arrives well-dressed and ready to cook. In this way, the sin is automated. However, most people do not introspect even after exceeding the limits of barbarism and glorify killing as a commandment of God. There are religious preachers who say that since plants also have life, it is justified to slaughter animals; since we cannot avoid eating plants, we must eat animals. To some, blood and pain are inspiration for violent struggle against other human beings. Thus, there are many categories of animal killers, viz., 

1) The followers of the dark branches of  Tantra who indulge in killing and meat-eating with guilt.

2) The followers of Abraham who kill and eat according to prescribed regulations and strongly defend these as a matter of right.

3) The secular consumers of meat who do not care.

4) The psychopaths who enjoy blood and pain.

The food of a living thing is another living thing. That is the law of nature. So, in the Vedic system, both Brahmanas and Kshatriyas used to engage in some killing. Brahmanas sacrificed animals in worship through fire (yajna) and consumed some meat, while the Kshatriyas, in addition to yajna, engaged in hunting, warfare and administration of punishment. Thus, there were legitimised forms of killing of both animals and human beings. Lord Buddha popularised the revolutionary idea of non-killing, which was actually a death-blow to the Vedic system. Such a cosmopolitan idea came at a time when foreign nations were consolidating on the Vedic frontiers and consequently Persians, Greeks, Bactrians, Parthians, Scythians, Yuezhis and Huns were able to destabilise Vedic India. However, we managed to develop not only adequate defence against the foreign threat but also absorb these people into the reformed Bhagavata system. The Bhagavata system embodied in Manusmriti and Shrimad Bhagavatam prohibits killing, except for the protection of sanctioned principles (dharma), e.g., warfare and administration of punishment. This middle path of the Bhagavata system of non-killing except for dharma should be adopted by the civilised people. But concession can be granted to depraved persons to practice dark Tantra and gradually rise to the civilised platform.



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