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.


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