[Translated from Śrī Bhāgavata Patrikā, originally published 19 Dec 1966]
Stop the disgraceful taint of
Cow slaughter in our nation
The cow species has an unbreakable relation with the āryan culture, refined civilization, lineage and dharma of India. Cows are the life of our culture, the essence of honor in our society, and an indivisible limb of our dharma. Without cows, our culture and very selves will become corpses devoid of life.
Aside from the āryan culture of India, all ancient cultures, civilizations and races of the world have been completely erased. Only their names remain in the annals of history. Even today, how many modern societies and cultures are counting their last hours on the brink of devastation.
By investigating the root cause of this condition, it is seen that no solid and eternal regard for those cultures remain. On the contrary, the āryan culture of India has many solid supports and is built on the imperishable foundation of eternal truth, sanātana-tattva. The result of this is that the blows of those opposing forces that come from time to time and try to subdue or break Indian culture will only crush their own selves into powder. However, these days, nationals and foreigners in all directions are attacking the primal roots of the foundation of the āryan culture. The Śrīmad-bhāgavatam (7.4.27) describes the root pillars of the Indian āryan culture in this way:
yadā deveṣu vedeṣu
goṣu vipreṣu sādhuṣu
dharme mayi ca vidveṣaḥ
sa vā āśu vinaśyati
“When one is envious of the demigods, who represent the Supreme Personality of Godhead, of the Vedas, which give all knowledge, of the cows, brāhmaṇas, Vaiṣṇavas and religious principles, and ultimately of Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he and his civilization will be vanquished without delay.”
Our primary duty is faith and service to the cows, brāhmaṇas, sādhus, Vedas, demigods, dharma, and the Supreme Lord. This is the main pillar of our culture. That person, society, race or nation that acts with hostility against these pillars will quickly be destroyed. Nowadays, in our own country, hateful actions have begun against them. This is the greatest misfortune for our nation and us.
Today, our āryan culture is at risk. A powerful endeavor is going on to dig up all the above- mentioned pillars of our culture from the root. Especially this extremely sinful cow slaughter is now beating on the head of our nation, and it is a form of wicked terrorism. Approximately 30, 000 cows are being cruelly killed every day.
‘Stop cow killing!’
Those sadhus—the pious and honest people who raise this cry, who remain distant to politics, who are selfless and always keep the fervent desire for the welfare of the world—these people who are fasting to death for this cause are being choked down in jail and disregarded in all ways. To kill cows is to kill the nation. To stop this is the first and foremost duty of all intelligent men.
On the other side, the government is swayed by the bravado of those who are fasting in an effort to divide Punjab and thus pacifies them in all kinds of manners. While those who are protesting and fasting to stop cow killing are advised by the government to close their protest and fast to save Bihar and other states from famine.
However, we cannot understand why the government leaders do not give this advice to the Śantaji pushing for separation.
India is the land of sages and ascetics. This is the field of dharma. The root pillar of India’s economic prosperity is the opulence of cows. Giving cow’s in charity is accepted as the highest form of charity.
Since time without beginning, cows have been accepted by the āryan race as the mother of our race, while bulls are considered the father and very form of dharma. The residence of all the demigods is accepted to be in the cows.
Today, the killing of cows, after neglecting and beating the feeling of 500 million people so opposed, is still going on. This great sin has taken a dreadful form and is standing ready to swallow the present government, along with the entire nation.
Therefore, by nonviolent protesting and fasting, the great souls who are thinking of the welfare of the country are striving to attract the attention of government leaders, and warn them regarding their persistence to follow this path of total annihilation. But, without success, the fasters are giving up their lives. It is a cause of great sorrow that not even the wriggling of a louse is reaching the ears of the stubborn mule-headed politicians. By this, we see an adverse intelligence foretelling that the times of destruction are approaching.
Some days before, the cow-killers and their supporters gave forth the argument that only a few sampradāyas or protestors are resisting the cow-killing. But on November 7, seeing the flood of countless people protesting, they have changed their scheme.
Now they are giving another argument. Their biggest argument is that there is not enough grain to fill the stomachs of hungry Indians and, in such a situation, if cow killing is stopped, then cows will consume all the food, and a terrible calamity will occur for the masses.
However, this is totally baseless and bogus reasoning. Such an argument is only presented by barbarians and uneducated men. If they are asked, “Do cows eat wheat and rice that would have to be taken from the portions of humans?” (They cannot answer.) In reality, those demonic men do not even know that the food for an animal is not the same food for a human. God created animals and made a nice arrangement for their nourishment.
Only approximately five percent of the wheat, paddy, barley and millet plants are eaten by humans, while 65% (the stalk, etc.) is food for the animals. Besides this, animals fill their bellies on grass, leaves and leftover grains from humans. Therefore, a food problem is absurd.
The other argument they put forth is that if cow-killing is stopped, then the animal population will increase limitlessly, with the effect being that our economy will become immovable. Tens of millions of rupees will be lost taking away the food from milk-giving cows to feed the useless cows. And by reducing their intake, the milk-giving cows will also begin to produce less milk. However, this logic is as hollow and valueless as the previous argument.
In reality, no intelligent man will listen to such arguments; rather, this is only the mentality of those who suck on the vomit of cow-flesh eating Westerners. What, is it humane to slaughter and eat those cows who like mothers have been giving milk to drink year after year, once they can no longer produce?
Aside from this, even if cows do not give milk, they are still beneficial. They do not know that. Cow dung is the best form of manure. Nowadays, cow dung is being turned into valuable gas, which is being used in many ways. Cow urine is the perfect cure for many ailments. That is now accepted by their gurus, the Western experts of medicine. The poor cowherd populaces that cannot buy coal or wood maintain their lives by burning cow dung, to cook and perform other tasks. Also, cows are not immortal – it is not that they never die. Brother, they will die at some time or other and give themselves wholly to you. Then why kill them before their time and place the burden of great sin on your head?
Their third argument is that the cows of India are so weak, skinny, and haggard, what is the use of keeping them alive? But what is the cause of this? The poverty of our country! The reason for this poverty is the government’s carelessness. For the last twenty years the economy has not improved. It has only gotten worse. If cows can be slaughtered on the strength of this logic, then should the government begin killing those people who are penniless, hungry, unable to collect food, weak or bedridden. Would this not be opposed to human values?
Some people give the argument, ‘Why aren’t the old cows finished off? These cows eat the fodder of milk-giving cows, and there is a scarcity of fodder. Consequently, milk-giving cows give less milk. But whose fault is it for a shortage of fodder?
Besides this, there is a scarcity of grains these days. We don’t say, ‘Kill the useless old men, and the old mothers and fathers.’ Would such acts not be opposed to humanity? In all four directions there are multitudes of people, and among them, the majority perform no work. They simply live off the earnings of others. There are so many lepers and those with tuberculosis, as well as those who are blind from birth, otherwise handicapped, or rotting from contagious diseases. For them, tens of millions are spent.
The government spends millions and millions on pensions for the elderly and those retired from government service. Finally, why is all this done? Do those putting forth the arguments not know that this is humanity?
This is the difference between animals and humankind. Humans have feelings, among which are gratefulness, compassion, intelligence and, above all, dharma in the form of worshipping God. This dharma is not possible for the animals. Dharma is the dividing line between humans and animals.
Animals pass their lives in eating, sleeping, defending and mating. If after attaining the human form of life, one passes his days in the function of animals, then his life is considered to be one of an animal in a human body. This conclusive truth is the backbone of our Indian culture.
sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām
dharmo hi teṣām adhiko viśeṣo
dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ
Animals are similar to human beings in the matters of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Yet the ability to practice spiritual life is unique to human beings. Thus, without dharma they are nothing but animals.
An animal is what kills another to fill its belly. Humanities’ activities towards cows are worse than that of animals, while the nature of cows towards humans is greater than the most magnanimous of humans.
Therefore, those who present the above-mentioned arguments (due to their lack of sympathy for other living beings) are counted among the animal species. Indeed, the dying cows are better and more useful than such people. They do not throw their disease upon others, nor do they steal from anyone, beat anyone, mismanage the government, kill anyone, kidnap girls, or drink the blood of men. Then, why aren’t cows protected? Why is there not proper arrangement for their maintenance?
If a law can be made in Pakistan to stop the killing of cows, and if cow slaughter is outlawed in Nepal, then why can there be no law in India to stop cow killing? If horses in America, kangaroos in Australia, and peacocks in India, just because of their beauty, can be called national animals and be protected by the government and stopped from being killed, then in India, cows, who are full of all good qualities, and with whom the cultural lineage of India has an unbreakable relation, who are not only our mothers, but the mothers of the whole world. Why are they not being protected? Why is the government not declaring a law outlawing the slaughter of cows?
Today, Śrī Śankarācaraya in Purī and Śrī Prabhudattaji Brahmacārī in Vṛndāvana sit fasting to death. They have reached the last moments of their lives. Śrī Rāmacandravīra and hundreds of those devoted to cows are at the end of their lives; thousands of people are locked in prisons, and thousands are being imprisoned; the noble society for cow protection is protesting everywhere with great force. Reaction to this can be seen all over India. The active committee for the central congress has counseled the government to stop cow killing. Still, this great sin is going on.
This is a topic of great misfortune. In such a state, before the death of the great souls of our dharmika populace, who are faithfully sacrificing their lives, the government, respecting the faith of the Indian people, should announce a complete ban on cow killing. In a faultless manner, the people of the nation, as well as all respectable leaders, must increase the pressure on the government to stop cow slaughter. Otherwise, not only the government, but the entire nation will have to suffer the horrible result.
The Editor of Śrī Bhāgavata Patrikā,
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja