Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sadhguru on beef ban

Q: You recently said, “For me, food is food, there is nothing religious about it. And my sense is we can eat anything that our system can take in naturally.” Does that stand extend to beef too? If so, what do you think about the blanket ban on cow slaughter, beef, etc in Maharashtra and Haryana?

Sadhguru: You want to mix religion even into food? You can’t turn everything into a majority versus minority argument. This is a game being played by certain people, which is unnecessary.

Beef ban is not against any religion.
The first thing I would say is ban the ban.
Banning is not the answer,
education is the answer.

First of all, as food, beef is not good to eat. Every nation, every doctor in the planet is telling you that. In the West, people are giving up beef and turning to vegetarianism. We have been vegetarians for thousands of years. Now we are turning to beef. Do we want to go through all the health problems they underwent? Do we want to spend billions on our health bill? Do we want to go in that direction? The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) is changing its rules. But we want to go that way! It is definitely not a wise thing to do.

If someone is eating beef, I may want to educate him about the harmful effects of eating it, but it’s not for the government or me to tell him not to.

In our country, we believe if there is an animal that has any emotions in it, you must not consume it. A cow can love you and shed tears for you, just like humans. It is not about the cow, it is about any animal that shows human emotions. Can you cut up your dog and eat it? We have a pastoral culture where before industrialization happened, 90% of the people were involved in agriculture. The cow is not just an animal. It is part of the family. You drink the cow’s milk. Children are taught that the cow is like a second mother. It is part of the culture. So when you cut the cow and eat it, it is aesthetically impossible in the Indian mind.

Still, if someone is eating beef, I may want to educate him about the harmful effects of eating it, but it’s not for the government or me to tell him not to. But now, India is exporting beef, which is becoming a major business. If you ignore about 80% of the country’s sentiment and kill millions of cows and export beef, it is not acceptable.

There is no beef in many villages, not by law but by norm. Even minorities respect and appreciate that sentiment. If someone wants to eat it, he gets it and quietly eats it. Others know that too but they don’t bother because it is their home. But if you are going to cut the cow in the street and hang it in front of someone’s house, it is not going to be acceptable for them because their aesthetics and emotions don’t go with it. They also respect that. But now, the way it is being made out is that you have to eat beef, otherwise you are not universal or secular. You want me to eat beef to be secular? You cannot question the country’s secular credentials or mine. When no country on the planet had thought about democracy, kings here were practicing democracy.

Except tyrants, kings would consult the public on decisions. Democracy and secularism are not new to us. We are a land without religion. Each person can follow whatever faith he wants as long as he doesn’t rub it into me. But now you are rubbing it into me. I am poor and you give me food, and say “give up your God, come to my God.” This is happening in a crude way. This is about the nation, not about this group of people or that group. My concern is 50 million people in this nation have no access to nutrition. In the name of my god and your god, you are destroying everything. Freedom has to become a living possibility. When you are poor, what matters is what goes into a belly. Hunger is not a joke. Which heaven I will go to is not even of consequence.


Do we need to know how to deal with teenagers or we need to know how to be available to them ? Sadhguru enlights

Questioner: Sadhguru, how should one deal with

Sadhguru: Every age is a problem. Stone Age was a
problem, Iron Age was a problem, Bronze Age was
a problem, Computer Age – serious problem. The
Middle Ages were a great problem, Modern Age is
an immense problem, Teen-age – another problem.
I hope you too were born normally as an infant and
slowly grew up, passing the age of 13, 14, 15, which
you refer to as teenage.

Like infancy, childhood,
adulthood, middle age, and old age, adolescence
or teenage is just a certain developmental stage.
We are trying to segment it, but essentially, this is
the journey of a body. Some are suffering infancy
problems, some are suffering toddler problems,
some are suffering childhood problems, some are
suffering teenage problems, some are going through
middle age problems, some are going through old
age problems. Looking at it from that perspective,
every phase of life is a problem.

If you consider every aspect of life as a problem,
death is the only solution. Unconsciously, you start
seeking death for yourself and for those around
you. You may not be aware of it, but you create an
atmosphere in your mind where the only solution
is to become free from life. You came here to
experience life. Instead of calling it different facets
of life, you call it different problems. If you die, you
will have funeral problems, because it is not easy to
have a dignified funeral in Mumbai City. No more
can four people carry you, and your whole family
and friends walk behind you with a drum. Even
dead, you are stuck in the traffic.

There are various types of situations in your life, and
that is all they are – situations. Some of them you
can handle – some of them you cannot. Whatever
you cannot handle, you call a problem, rather than
seeing it is only a situation and trying to equip
yourself to handle it. The moment you call it a
problem, unpleasantness is a natural consequence.
Your children are growing up and becoming
teenagers – that should be a joyful event. But you are
distressed about them growing up. Unfortunately,
we have eulogized infancy and childhood, which
are helpless stages of life. But even so-called spiritual
teachers say, “I am still a child.” This is another way
of saying “I am retarded.” I do not want to meet an
adult who is still a child.

If you eulogize childhood, this helpless phase in life
where without someone else’s support we cannot
exist, you will remain helpless forever. And that
is what happens. “I cannot live without you” – do
not mistake this for love. This is not of any great
value. It is just like saying, “I cannot walk without a
crutch.” “I’m fine the way I am, but still I am willing
to include you and involve myself with you” – this is
of great value. “I can live without anyone’s attention
and I am willing to get absolutely involved with
whoever is here right now” – this is of value.
Since you got used to your children being helpless
creatures, when they reach the so-called teenage
and start standing on their own feet, you do not like
it. You want to keep them small. What you need
is a toy or a doll to play with, or maybe a dog. A
couple was struggling with the decision whether to
have children or not. The husband wanted to have
children. The wife said it is not necessary – one can
get a dog instead. Because they could not settle the
debate, they went to a marriage counselor. They
said, “We are not able to make up our mind whether
to have children or to get a dog. What should we
do?” The marriage counselor said, “This is very
simple. Do you want to ruin your carpets or your
life? You must decide.”

If, like a little child, you say, “This is how I am,”
you have become like a concrete block. Based on a
certain amount of stupid information that has come
your way, you have defined how you are. Once you
have formed a concrete block kind of definition of
who you are and you meet another concrete block,
you know what happens.… When two people come
together with great passion and your boundaries are
loose, a wonderful union may happen. When two
concrete blocks come together with great passion,
friction or the breaking of one or both of the
concrete blocks will happen.

Once you become like a concrete block, you
should not beget more concrete blocks. When
you have defined your boundaries absolutely, you
are incapable of including another life as a part
of yourself. If you ask me, you should not even
get married in that case, because two concrete
blocks living together may make a house, but it
will not make a home.

When children are small, they are helpless and
look to you for everything. You think your
children are magical because they are helpless.
Suppose the baby popped out of you, stood up,
and said, “Hey, who the hell are you?” you would
not like this baby. But they take 14, 15 years to
ask that question. In fact, that is all a teenager is
asking, “Okay, who the hell are you?”

If you want to be someone significant to that
fresh life, you must not have defined boundaries
of who you are. Like when the child was infant
and he crawled, you crawled with him. Now
when the teenager wants to swing, you must
be able to swing with him. If you still want
to crawl with him, he is not interested. In the
eyes of young and energetic adolescents, parents
who think you still need to be crawled around
look ridiculous.

Every day, life is changing within you because you
are growing rapidly, and the fools around you are
not able to grasp that. Usually, grandparents become
a little more endearing than parents, because they
look at things from a little distance. Teenage means
you are slowly getting poisoned by your hormones.
Old age means you are being released from that,
so they kind of understand. Those of you who are
middle-aged have no clue. Even historically, the
Middle Agers represent a confused state of mind.
Do not deal with your teenagers – make yourself
available for them. Make them responsible for
everything. One month, have the courage to hand
over your monthly income to them and give them
the responsibility to manage the house. You will
see, things will change dramatically. From the age of
three and a half months, my girl travelled with me
in the car. We built the Isha Foundation in a Maruti
800, travelling thousands of miles. In 14 months, I
put 135,000 kilometers on that car.

She grew up in the car until she was four years
of age. At first, I thought I will never send her to
school because we had bonded and she had such
wisdom since she has seen the road, she has seen
the people, she has been in all kinds of families. I
thought I should not mess this up by sending her
to a school, but you know children of that age need
company. Unless you have a whole cricket team of
children at home, keeping one child alone does not
work, because they may become too old when they
are young, so I put her into school. From then on,
she was always in a hostel. But we have kept a very
active engagement, thanks to phones.

In earlier years, it was the black phone. The school
had only one hour “phone time,” so even if I was
somewhere on the highway at that time, I had to
find a black phone, and for that one hour, I would
be on the phone with her. On her side, children
were screaming at her – on my side, people were
banging on the booth. Later, she went to college and
whatever else she has been pursuing, I would always
find the time and speak to her on the phone. We
have never really stayed at home. When she comes
for a vacation, the next day, we will be travelling
somewhere. Apart from that, I have kept up a very
active relationship with her, largely on the phone.
I saw there is a certain intelligence in every child.
If she was with me, I would leave all my important
decisions in her hands. She was only five or six when
I started putting people’s problems, Foundation
issues, and administration to her. She would come
up with her own whacky solutions, but five times
out of ten, it would be something brilliant. I am
not trying to project her as a special child – she is
normal, but brought up in a special way.

Most people never give that opportunity to a
child’s intelligence. I never bought toys for her. If
she wanted to play, I took her out for a walk in
the jungle. She learned to climb trees and do all
kinds of things. Here and there, someone gifted a
toy, but she was never interested in them, because
there were more exciting things like the snakes or
garden lizards I caught for her.

If you really want to do something with your
children, you must allow them to expand, because
that is all they are trying to do. Not only their body
is growing – the potential of the human being is also
growing. You must allow them to expand, rather
than seeing how to restrict them. If you try to
restrict them, you will have huge problems. If you
have boys, you will have one kind of problem. If you
have girls, you will have another kind of problem.
Do not think restriction is a good way of controlling
life. Responsibility will put them on track. As I said,
hand over your money to them and tell them to
handle it this month – you are on vacation. If you
are afraid that they will go and blow it up – if they
do, what happens to you will happen to them too.
Let them go through it for a month. Of course you
can keep some reserve, but let them understand if
they blow up the money, there will be no breakfast
tomorrow morning. It is better to learn in a
protected, caring atmosphere than out on the street.
Above all, drop this idea that your child belongs
to you. If you think these children belong to you,
coming into their teens, they will tell you in their
own way, “Goddammit, I don’t belong to you.” That
is all they are trying to tell you – which you are not
able to digest. Another life does not belong to you.
If another life has chosen to be with you, please
cherish that. It is a tremendous thing. Whether
it is your husband, your wife, or your children –
value the fact that another life has chosen to come
through you or be with you. You do not own them
in any sense. If you do not get it now, you will get it
when you die or they die. You do not own them, but
definitely, you should include them.

There are many aspects to teenage – one thing is, your
intelligence is being hijacked by your hormones.
Suddenly, the whole world looks different. What
were just people are suddenly becoming males and
females. Suddenly, you are only interested in one
half of humanity. It is a huge change. You will see
boys do not even look at their mothers directly,
because they still cannot take their eyes off certain
body parts. You must understand it is new to them
and they are trying to come to terms with it.
If you were a good friend and they had problems,
they would talk to you. Because most parents are
lousy friends, they make other friends, and those
friends give their own whacky advice, since they
are also in the same state. It would be best that if
your children have a problem, they come to you.
But they will not come to you if you think you are
the boss. They will not come to you if you think you
have ownership over their life. They will not come
to you if you are “that horrible father or mother.”
They will come to you if you are a good friend,
because when they have problems, it is natural
for them to seek a friend. So make sure from an
early age that you are their best friend until they
reach the age of 18 or 20. You have to earn it.
It will not happen because you delivered them.
Because you delivered them, you get the title of
mother and father – you will not get the title of
a friend. This has to be earned by you behaving
responsibly every day.

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