[Advaita-l] 1966

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 15:17:05 CDT 2011

Thank you. The question was aimed at a practical objective. We have launched
ahimsa milk in the UK and we want to do the same in India. My friend who is
leading this in India wanted this information.
As you know, dharma is derived from the root word dhr, which means to uphold
or nourish. If we have to nourish the society and uphold its stature, we
have to uphold go and brahmana. By brahmana, the reference is to the
scriptures and a learned vaidhika who can advise the communities based the
scriptures. It also refers to one who has brahman as the goal. This
nourishing - not just protecting of brahmana - is intricately linked to
nourishing go, which refers to both the earth and the cow. If the cow is
nourished, which means she is worshipped as not only Goddess Lakshmi but
also the representation of all the Gods or forms of Brahman on earth, then
earth is protected because there is no exploitation of land and water to
serve beef indistry. There is protection of Brahmanas and they work amicably
with Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. It protects the Scriptures because it
depends on the protection of the Brahmanas and in a culture based on
knowledge and devotion, there will the right environment for having Brahman
as the goal.

There are political, cultural, religious and social implications. It is okay
for different people to influence go-brahmana-samrakshana from different
points of view. It is not possible to expect every one to do it
unconditionally. If one wants to protect cows because it is a cultural
heritage, I think it is okay and factually correct. In Egypt, the cow was
considered  an incarnation of Great Goddess Hathore and worshipped. One may
support it because their religion - be it Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism or
Hinduism - prescribes it. In Christianity there is saying that "One who
kills an ox is as if he slew a man". If a Christian comes out to support cow
protection based on his interpretation of Christianity, it is the right
thing to do. A Muslim may follow the example of Ali, the son-in-law of
Mohammed and not want to harm the cow or follow Syed Nazir Ahmed Saheb the
author of Islamic Goraksha to consider beef as a disease. An atheist may
consider that it is necessary to not harm a living entity such as the cow
especially because we depend so much on the cow as we do on the earth and
the mother. Whatever propels one from cruelty to compassion is good.

As a Shankarite, I am indeed glad that a Shankaracharya has taken the lead
in go samrakshana.

On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 5:05 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> > According to wikipedia, in 1966 one of the Shankaracharyas fasted to
> bring
> > in ban on cow slaughter. Is that so? I am keen to know if Shankaracharyas
> > have, if at all, voiced concern about cow protection. I know that
> Shankara
> > Mutts have goshalas. But I am no sure if there is an serious official
> > position by the mutts on this topic.
> The Shankaracharya of Puri, Swami Niranjana Devatirtha, agitated in 1966 to
> ban
> cow slaughter in all of India, and was arrested. Swami Karpatri was also
> involved
> in the agitation.
> There is a book by an author called Christophe Jaffrelot, "The Hindu
> Nationalist
> Movement in India" (Columbia University Press, 1998, ISBN 0231103352),
> which
> has details. For historical reasons, banning of cow slaughter is a
> political issue in
> India, so chances are that you won't agree with the conclusions made by the
> above author, but please note that he gets the factual details right.
> The problem with all these questions is one of expectations. When any
> institution
> (not only the Sankara maThas, for gohatyA is an issue that concerns others
> too)
> gives out an official position, what would you take it as and how do you
> estimate
> its seriousness? A religious position in a religious landscape or a
> religious position
> in a political landscape or a political position in a religious landscape
> or a political
> position in a political landscape? What our religious institutions really
> are, what
> their administration's self-image is, what you think they should be, what
> someone
> else thinks they should be, these are all very different things.
> Regards,
> Vidyasankar
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