Under Starters Orders – And They’re Off (the Menu)
By Praghosa Dasa
The 5 million or so vegetarians residing in the UK must be feeling relieved at their dietary choice given the grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre and unacceptable horse meat controversy that shows no sign of abating in Europe.
For the other 55 million or so non-vegetarians in the UK they have been thrown into considerable turmoil; one commented:
“If horse meat were okay then our butchers would sell it”
Such faith in UK butchers may or may not be foolhardy but for sure such a comment will alienate as well as insult, all those who partake of horse meat as a matter of course. As we know the consumption of horse meat is a regular indulgence for many nations outside the UK.
The other extremely sad conclusion from our UK citizen’s comment is that they imply the eating of horse meat is wholly unacceptable, while the other products which butchers sell are fine and dandy.
Given no ‘self-respecting’ butcher does not sell the flesh of our mother cow (I stand to be corrected), how unfortunate and misguided our UK citizen’s comment is.
The horse meat scandal is likely to encourage more toward a vegetarian diet but that is secondary.
All those, like our UK vox pop commentator, who are hoping that this scandal can be resigned to history, as long as horse meat is removed from the food chain, live under a massive illusion and face a future full of trauma.
“Cow-killers are condemned to rot in hellish life for as many thousands of years as there are hairs on the body of the cow” Adi 17.167
It really is such a slam dunk as far as the material energy is concerned that there is such a huge chunk of the population on this planet who one; have no idea whatsoever as to how damaging their dietary habits are in general, two; have convinced themselves that of practically all meat available to them, best of all is our mother cow.
This horse-meat issue is a case in point and then there are so many who also campaign to save everything from whales to bats to bees but feel no qualm about slaughtering and eating millions of our mothers every year across the planet.
Sometimes in our presentation of Krsna consciousness we might hear someone say “Oh I could never give up meat”, well the Bhagavatam is so liberal that it allows for that:
“By nature’s arrangement, fruits and flowers are considered the food of insects and birds; grass and other legless living entities are meant to be the food of four-legged animals like cows and buffalo; animals that cannot use their front legs as hands are meant to be the food of animals like tigers, which have claws; and four-legged animals like deer and goats, as well as food grains, are meant to be the food of human beings”
“By nature’s law, or the arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one kind of living entity is eatable by other living entities. As mentioned herein, dvi-padam ca catus-padah: the four-legged animals (catus-padah), as well as food grains, are eatables for human beings (dvi-padam). These four-legged animals are those such as deer and goats, not cows, which are meant to be protected. Generally the men of the higher classes of society — the brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas — do not eat meat. Sometimes ksatriyas go to the forest to kill animals like deer because they have to learn the art of killing, and sometimes they eat the animals also. Sudras, too, eat animals such as goats. Cows, however, are never meant to be killed or eaten by human beings. In every sastra, cow killing is vehemently condemned. Indeed, one who kills a cow must suffer for as many years as there are hairs on the body of a cow” SB 6.4.9
These statements are both extraordinary and extremely powerful. For vaisnavas in all stages of devotional life, few if any, struggle with the issue of abstaining from meat fish and eggs. I guess there are at least three reasons for this, one; they clearly understand the philosophy and reasons behind this principle, two; it is so easy to do and three; it would be nauseating to put such food stuffs to their lips, what to speak of further.
So how unfortunate that so many in the world do not have this simple realization, that devotees have.
I know quite a few people from other faiths, indeed my own aunt who is now in her eighties is a good example, who follow three of the regulative principles, In the case of my aunt she has followed those three regulations all her life, the only exception being her eating of mother cow, how tragic.
In order to protect all these unfortunate human beings from the calamitous karma that awaits them, they need to be informed of the importance of a karma free diet. Ultimately it is a matter of choice but our duty is to make sure they are making an informed choice.
As the saying goes; you are what you eat.
So how important that everyone is given the opportunity to eat well.
All glories to Krishna prasadam