Beef eating and Hindus – Discussion continues

–Varta follow-up–

Readers may read what has already been discussed here.

Shri Harish wrote to me today –

Pala,

I basically doubt your analysis for the following reasons –

1. You consider Cow as provider and Cow as mother as uncorrelated. But the fact is it’s interdependent. Cow is mother because its Provider. Kamadhenu is what we call Cow isnt it??

2. You are basically reducing the Cow to just another animal. But if that’s the case, why has there been so much of literature on Cow protection. Even the Purusha Sukta talks about the importance of cows. We all know the story of Vasista Maharshi. For you to say that the Cow is not a matter of Hindu pride is utterly wrong isnt it??

3. You are also making a simplistic assumption that a person is either Sattvic or Rajasic. But in reality a person is a mixture of both. In such a case it’s quite difficult to perceive what a Hindu wants. But at least all over India, I feel it’s the majority that wants Cow protection. If not majority that doesn’t eat beef. It’s a different matter altogether that they aren’t being vocal about it. The Sattvic side of a person is best seen during our festivals. Even hardcore non-veggie Hindus house you wont find nv(Non-Vegetarian food) during festivals.

4. And moreover our scriptures also talk of murderers etc. It’s obvious that murders happened in ancient times. So can one sanctify murder?? When there are so many scriptures to back up beef prohibition. These didn’t come out of the blue. They have been there for eons.

Hope that helps.

Else you need to tell me why something relevant then should not be relevant now??

I reply to Shri Harish –

I think your making two basically wrong assumptions about my argument –

* I am conceding that the Cow is indeed sacred to the Hindu.

* I am also conceding that the Cow deserves to be “protected” – Only here, the protection will not cover a wholesale ban on beef.

Secondly, I made the distinction of Cow as Mother and as Provider as a matter of some seriousness. The Cow as Mother is also seen as Nourisher – Kamadhenu. However, to consider as Mother is not an equal as to consider as Provider. To Hindus with professions that involve working with Cow hide and other by-products of the dead Cow, for such Hindus to be expected to consider the Cow as Mother and therefore Nourisher, will be tragic and unfair in the extreme.

How does anyone skin and utilize the various portions of one’s own Mother?

So there is this obvious disconnect that is not making sense.

Now it is true that a Provider Cow can be readily viewed as Nourisher too and therefore sacred in totality. The sacred-ness of the Cow, to the Hindu (any Hindu) is not disputed at all. After-all, sacred-ness is derived from the Cow’s (or any animal’s) many uses to Human life. So why are some Hindus assuming that beef eating is somehow an unholy practice?

The value of the Cow has always been great for Hindus throughout history – even when they were beef-eaters as a whole. One reason we see so many injunctions against slaughter of the Cow is also because there was too much slaughter and that possibly overtook all production (of Cows) rates. When Cows reduced in numbers, strict injunctions against it’s slaughter was deemed necessary to protect it from becoming literally extinct. For an agrarian civilization such a situation would have become intolerable.

The reason  I view beef as Rajasic is because it has been viewed generally as Tamasic. The only way, post a general injunction against beef-eating, that folks could still have access to it’s (Cow’s) meat was through it’s death (Cow’s meat thus, became Tamasic – It wasn’t fresh). On the death of the Cow it’s body needed to be used in various ways. How could the Sattvic have done this? He viewed the Cow as Mother and therefore Nourisher. He could never bring himself to skin and disintegrate such a mental-physical figure. But there were people who viewed the Cow as Provider and therefore Nourisher. These people would carry the dead Cow outside of the village precincts to skin and use. Now because they used the dead Cow in various ways – it’s meat was also eaten. Given that occupations were largely hereditary, it could also be that traditional beef-eaters but also workers of the Cow never found the need to give up beef-eating. The only difference being that now they were caste (out) aside because society at large had given up beef-eating due to the injunction against Cow slaughter. People did not even partake of the naturally dead Cow’s meat because the injunction was “religious” in nature – for it to carry more weight and to be taken seriously.

Historians generally suspect that such a drastic change occurred during the Ashokan reign and when Buddhism became widespread.

But is there a reason why Rajasic (Kshatriyas) personalities gave up beef? This cannot be explained but as a perversion of sociopolitical interplay. If Buddhism’s stated ill-influence against beef-eating is anything to go by, then the Kshatriyas saw a real threat to their influence over society. They would have been ostracised if they had defied such an important injunction against the slaughter of the Cow. The compromise (a Sanatana Dharmic compromise)was that meat-eating otherwise, was being tolerated.

I cannot see any other explanation for such a great break in logic and reason wrt beef and Sanatana Dharma.

Therefore the only way we can cure or bridge this yawning gap is by falling back on the Sattvic and Rajasic logic. Going back to true Sanatana Dharma.

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