Sunday, September 13, 2015

An Open Letter To LIFT Ban On Sale Of Meat

Dear friends,

I know many of you are very angry these days as we Jains are supposed to have taken your rights to eat meat. We intolerant bunch of goons have reportedly taken away your personal liberty. We are the Taliban, if some liberal activists are to be believed.
All these become easy for you to believe because these activists are in media and they control what you read in the newspapers or hear on TV. It also becomes easy for you to think they are telling the truth because the current ruling party, the BJP, has a national president who is Jain by religion.

Today, the media claimed that Haryana, another BJP ruled state, too had banned meat. Whereas the truth was that it had just appealed some slaughter houses to remain closed for Paryushan Parva, our festival of self purification. An appeal was presented as a ban to you!

And this has led people to believe that Jains are asking for such bans. I say this because I have been subjected to such taunts and abuse on Twitter. People have mocked my faith, my customs, and some even threatened to throw meats loaves in my house in protest.
And I wonder why so much hate! Because I didn’t even ask for this ban!

The media never cared to tell you but I hope you know the truth that this ban has existed for decades. And no, it is not a ban on you eating any meat – you are still free to do that – but a ban on slaughter houses for a few days and a ban on sale of meat in some selected regions of India. In fact, in states like Rajasthan, the duration of this annual ban has actually been reduced this year when compared with the duration during the Congress rule.

Yes, you are going to tell me that it doesn’t justify the ban just because it existed for all these years. I am not even telling you that. But just take a chill pill for a moment, and think – if this ban existed for so many decades, why did you not hear any outrage or protest over this all these years?

Have you not become pawn in the politics of some selected parties? Congress was the party that introduced such bans in many areas and now they are protesting against the same. Shiv Sena too was a party to the decision by virtue of controlling local bodies, and even they are now protesting.

Do you seriously not see the politics here? And this politics is being helped by those in the media who wear the mask of neutrality and intellectualism.

All these decades nobody had a problem as they thought it was not a big deal if the slaughter houses remain closed for a few days in a year, that too in some areas where Jain population reside. It was about giving up limited personal liberty on select days to show respect to fellow Indians. Even courts upheld this view.

Don’t we give up our personal liberties on 3 national holidays? They are dry days and we can’t buy liquor. Technically that is also ban, and that is nationwide. This meat ban is not nationwide.

Don’t we give up our personal liberties when we hear loud azaan five times a day from a local mosque or loud music from a local pandal during various pujas? Remember, personal liberty is also about choosing what you are exposed to.

Nearly all leading restaurants and meat shops offer only halaal meat in order to respect Muslim sentiments. Will it not be unreasonable if Hindus start demanding jhatka meat just to insist on personal choice and liberty? Hindus don’t insist on that because they have “adjusted” to accommodate fellow Indians.

Yes, apart from “jugaad”, other thing we Indian do is “adjusting”. We care for each other and adjust to make space for each other.
But now it looks like my country is all set to demand individual liberties.
And it’s not a bad thing. We as a society have to evolve.

Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, many people have evolved and started growing up (by their own admission). Our stand up comedians have evolved – they don’t make the same jokes. Our journalists have evolved – they have now started seeing things (like this meat ban) that they were blind to all these years.

So my dear friend angry with Jains over meat ban, you too have the right to evolve. We all have the right to evolve. I just hope that this evolution and growing up is not selective.
Keeping this in mind, I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift this meat ban as it is hurting the sentiments of Indians who are evolving very fast. Sentiments of Jains will be taken care of by those who care and those who can adjust a little.

We Jains might appeal to people in our localities to close meat shops for a few days and if they do that voluntarily, we will be happy that they care for us. But please don’t enforce anything.
I can’t take any more hate due to my surname.
  • written by Ankit Jain (on Twitter @indiantweeter)

My views are as under:----------------

People of India should understand true colours of such leaders. Person like Thakres, Lalu,Mulayam, Mayawati, are least concerned for mankind, they are concerned for vote bank.

Jains are not significant in number and hence politicians of all colours came together to stop BJP or anyone who suggested ban on sale of meat ,that too only for four days. Politicians do not think what is good for humanity and what is good for animals life or what is good for keeping environment pollution free. They ignite fire on emotional issues , divide voters in different segments and then try to win the election . They can go to any ugly extent for the sake of vote, for the sake of power and money.

Jains have true faith in true non-violence and they do not Believe in killing even thought of others. Jains follow syadwad (
Anekantwad, or the principle of plurality of viewpoints) theory and believes in adjustment and recnciliation. They respect views of others and want that people should follow the principles of non-violence in thoughts and action, not only for preaching sermons to others. Politicians who are greedy of money, power and post go to Gandhi samadhi to act as if they are followers of Gandhi's non-violence.

Politicians pay tribute to Gandhiji every now and then. They take oath by keeping hands on Bhagwat Gita or Kuran that they will follow the path of Non-violence , teachings of Gandhiji and follow in true spirit what is written in Constitution. But unfortunately politicians in general  do not act what they preach and they do not think what they speak. Their acts and deeds, and thoughts are altogether different. As a matter of fact they are ready to kill anyone and crush thoughts of anyone if it helps them in getting power ,post and money.

People who eat meat will never like ban on beef. Meat eaters do not know the origin of meat when they eat it in some hotel or public bhoj. It should not be astonishing to anyone that meat eaters or beef eaters can also be man eaters. There may be people who find test in Human flash too. Flash eaters do not hesitate in killing not only an animal but also in killing a human being for serving self interest. This is universally truth, and not only for India. Violence is growing worldwide only because of these people who find test in flash of animals, including that of human being.

We Jains believe in giving respect to thought of everyone and by our action others will be motivated. Let others cry and remain non-vegetarians or meat lovers. respect them too, this is philosophy of our great religion. Killing and attacking thought of others is also a type of violence. Jainism believes in giving respect to all faiths and all thoughts , knows the value of reconciliation and hence propagate the theory of Syadvad (
Anekantwad, or the principle of plurality of viewpoints). But they must propagate and spread the principles of non-violence and love for all beings to awaken those who are in darkness of knowledge. 

Meat eater are far far bigger in number than non-eaters. You are right that use of pressure  in the larger interest of community is advisable from the principles of Non-violence and the same was preached by Gandhi ji too. But it does not hold good in case of meat ban.

But the question here is whether violence or political pressure  can stop violence. Even Lord Mahavira moved from one corner to other to spread his message of non violence. But still more than 90% of population are meat eaters. And  it is not at all justified to stop meat eater  eating meat or selling meat because after all it is their choice in the same way as Jains have choice not to eat meat. All are free to have their choice and choose their eatables .

However Jains should try to convince  meat eaters by scientific logics and proofs that eating meat is injurious to health as well as it affects balance of nature created by GOD. Meat eater stop eating meat and become purely vegetarian when they fall ill and Doctors suggest them to stop eating meat.

Can microscopically small population of Jain can stop violent thoughts and actions of larger community by using sword or by resorting to violence? 
And is such act not contradictory and in conflict with  Jain principles of reconciliation and respect to all?

Jain should rather move from one corner to other to spread the principles of Non-violence. But unfortunately majority of Jains are busy in Ahar Bihar of Jain Munis and Jain Munis are busy in conducting Bidhans, Organising Panch Kalyanak and construction of new temples in Madhuwan only.

Who will then complete the unfinished task of Lord Mahavira?

Can you imagine that mere construction of hundreds of costly Jain Temples in one place or in some places can help in motivating followers of non-violence or eaters of meat or beef to stop such practices? Are these temples helpful in spreading the principles of Jainism?

Keeping in view the present position of Jains and that of greedy politicians, it is advisable that Jains come out with silent protest march all over the country , specially in Maharashtra and more empathetically in Mumbai to express annoyance against Thakres . There are a good number of rich business men in Jains, they can spend crores of rupees to distribute pamphlets and placing big size hoardings all over the country displaying the message of benefits of non-violence for mankind and protesting the acts of Thakres.

Please note it , that Prime Miister of India Mr.  Narendra Modi, Chief Minister  Of Maharashtra Mr. Fernavis, CMs of many other states and a large section of Indian population are also supporter of  ban on sale of beef . It is a positive point. However sale on meat cannot be banned fully until there are eaters in good numbers. But if government want to respect the sentiments of  Lovers of Non-Violence, they should at least ensure that act of cutting or butchering animals in not performed in public place and these materials are not sold by displaying them in public domain. Sale of meat can be confined to some covered shops only and it can be ensured in entire country without giving rise to any controversy. Jains have to come forward in spreading the message of Non-violence by conducing various meetings with non-Jains, through newspapers, through free literatures and so on. Jain should stop focusing on construction of new temples at Madhuwan and try to teach people who are on wrong path due to lack of knowledge and lack of understanding the value of non-violence.

Merely abusing on facebook or sending message on Whatsapp will not serve the desired purpose.

Following is the message of Lord Mahavira

The spiritual power and moral grandeur of Mahavir's teachings impressed the masses. He made religion simple and natural, free from elaborate ritual complexities. His teachings reflected the popular impulse towards internal beauty and harmony of the soul.

His message of nonviolence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non-stealing (Achaurya), celibacy (Brahma-charya), and non-possession (Aparigraha) is full of universal compassion. He said that,

"A living body is not merely an integration of limbs and flesh but it is the abode of the soul which potentially has perfect perception(Anant-darshana), perfect knowledge (Anant-jnana), perfect power (Anant-virya), and perfect bliss (Anant-sukha)."

Mahavir's message reflects freedom and spiritual joy of the living being.

Mahavir was quite successful in eradicating from human intellect the conception of God as creator, protector, and destroyer. He also denounced the worship of gods and goddesses as a means of salvation. He taught the idea of supremacy of human life and stressed the importance of the positive attitude of life.

Lord Mahavir also preached the gospel of universal love, emphasizing that all living beings, irrespective of their size, shape, and form how spiritually developed or under-developed, are equal and we should love and respect them.

Jainism existed before Mahavir, and his teachings were based on those of his predecessors. Thus, unlike Buddha, Mahavir was more of a reformer and propagator of an existing religious order than the founder of a new faith. He followed the well established creed of his redecessor Tirthankara Parshvanath. 

However, Mahavir did reorganize the philosophical tenets of Jainism to correspond to his times. Lord Mahavir preached five great vows while Lord Parshva preached four great vows.
In the matters of spiritual advancement, as envisioned by Mahavir, both men and women are on an equal footing. 

The lure of renunciation and liberation attracted women as well. Many women followed Mahavir's path and renounced the world in search of ultimate happiness.

In a few centuries after Mahavir's nirvana, Jain religious order (Sangha) grew more and more complex. There were schisms on some minor points although they did not affect the original doctrines as preached by the Tirthankars. Later generations saw the introduction of ritualistic complexities which almost placed Mahavir and other Tirthankars on the throne of Hindu deities.

The fundamental principles of Jainism can be briefly stated as follows.
  1. The first fundamental principle of Jainism is that, man's personality is dual, that is, material and spiritual. Jaina philosophy regards that every mundane soul is bound by subtle particles of matter known as Karma from the very beginning. It considers that just as gold is found in an alloy form in the mines, in the same way mundane souls are found along with the Karma bondage from time eternal. The impurity of the mundane soul is thus treated as an existing condition.
  2. The second principle that man is not perfect is based on the first principle. The imperfectness in man is attributed to the existence of Karma in his soul. The human soul is in a position to attain perfection and in that true and eternal state it is endowed with four characteristics, viz., Ananta-darsana, Ananta-Jnana, Ananta-virya and Ananta-sukha, i. e., infinite perception or faith, infinite knowledge, infinite power and infinite bliss.
  3. Even though man is not perfect, the third principle states that by his spiritual nature man can and must control his material nature. It is only after the entire subjugation of matter that the soul attains perfection, freedom and happiness. It is emphatically maintained that man will be able to sail across the ocean of births and achieve perfection through the control of senses and thought.
  4. The last basic principle stresses that it is only each individual that can separate his own soul and the matter combined with it. The separation cannot be effected by any other person. This means that man himself, and he alone, is responsible for all that is good or bad in his life. He cannot absolve himself from the responsibility of experiencing the fruits of his actions. This principle distinguishes Jainism from other religions, e. g., Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.
No God, nor His prophet or deputy or beloved can interfere with human life. The soul, and that alone, is directly and necessarily responsible for all that it does. God is regarded as completely unconcerned with creation of the universe or with any happening in the universe. The universe goes on of its own accord. Because of this definite attitude towards God, Jainism is accused of being atheistic. It is true in the sense that Jainism does not attribute the creation of universe to God. But at the same time Jainism cannot be labeled as atheistic because it believes in Godhood, in innumerable gods, in Punya and Papa, i. e., merit and demerit, in religious practices, etc. According to Jainism the emancipated soul is considered as God and it is absolutely not concerned with the task of creation of this world.

Anekantwad-A blessing from Jinas;

A tool for Compassionate Communication

Hema Pokharna, Ph.D. ,
Researcher - University of Chicago. , Director - Journeys of Life

One of the important aspects of Jainism is the concept of Anekantwad, or the principle of plurality of viewpoints. It is central to the idea of tolerance and mutual respect. Each person has a perception of the world which is a mix of both truth and ignorance. These perceptions are valid but are incomplete views of reality. This concept is usually explained with the aid of the parable of seven blind men and an elephant. The story demonstrates that truth can be visualized from seven angles and these views of truth are mere additions to the human knowledge. When viewed together, they present the picture of universal reality. I recently read that Mahatma Gandhi agreed with this, saying, "It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know we are both right from our respective points of view."
Our present challenge is that we live in a world of difference. Yet, as we are interdependent we have to live together. Anekantwad has a lot to offer us and help us learn to live with our differences in peace and harmony. I would like us Jains to use Anekantwad as an instrument to facilitate our conversations and dialogues respectfully in a nonviolent manner when we run into the blind men (represented in the story), who seem to appear in our lives and promote division and injustice, betraying the very ideals and teachings that lie at the heart of Ahimsa. Can Jains take this challenge of shaping the lives of billions in wise and wonderful ways Anekantwad offers? There is hope that the world can be transformed through dialogues and relationships can be nurtured among people of differences by working towards a just, peaceful and sustainable future. The well-being of the Earth and all life depends on this collaboration.
As we begin to chart our course of existence on the basis of Anekantwad, we must master the art of choosing. We make choices and decisions from the most day to day mundane to those forks-in-the-road choices which have great consequences. If we can be guided by the principle "Mitti me savva bhuveshu” (Universal friendliness) the process of making a choice can be made easier. Practice of this principle requires learning to recognize that SPIRIT (atman/soul) is an invisible force also made visible in the blind men we encounter in our daily lives who make choices and live in ways that are very different than what Jains would do and is in conflict with our values of Ahimsa. At such junctures Jains can stop and ask themselves if their reactions and responses to these blind men are guided by friendship and nonviolence?Can we apply the principle of Anekantwad and explore what choices do we have in our responses? For example how do we relate to people who eat meat or to people who express their views (however unreasonable or opportunistic they may be) by damaging Jain Murtis? Or how do we stand by our Buddhist brothers who break down in the face of violence and cruelty? How can we use Anekantwad to motivate people to renounce violence and take responsibility for their actions without furthering violence by blaming them, or punishing them in anyway? To include understanding of Anekantwad in our thinking requires us to consciously learn how to express our selves in a larger context of expansion and with an intention to empower all concerned. It is the conscious decision to live our lives with joy and friendliness. It is a chosen approach to life, a chosen attitude and a constant awareness. Practice of friendship is a necessary beginning to recognize and practice nonviolence and develop the quality of wholesome life prescribed to us by the Jinas.
Jainism is a way of life, experimented and perfected by humans and shared by those who have attained perfect knowledge, omniscience and self-control by their own personal efforts and have been liberated from the bonds of worldly existence, the cycle of births and deaths; although the supreme ideal of Jain religion is nonviolence (Ahimsa), equal kindness, and reverence for all forms of life in speech, thought, and action. The practice comes from the supreme tool of Anekantwad. Anekantwad is the tool for transformation of human passions like desire, hatred, anger and greed to love and compassion for all living beings. Literally, Jina does mean one who has transformed oneself and acquired a special quality of response from within which one is devoid of reaction based on hormones or external circumstances but a response from one’s innate ability and generative, infinite and abundant source of compassion.
Like research, Anekantwad is a perspective. It is the original mind asking a question and setting an experiment to answer in a bigger and bolder way that benefits all involved. It is not about pebble picking but about building magnificent castles.
The path of universal friendliness and love is the process of increasing access to the unlimited potential we have and moving with anticipation of its enfoldment by being open, alert, guided, transformed, fulfilled and healed to wholeness.Anekantwad is the ability to not only count the seeds in an apple but to develop a skill and ability to make visible the apples in a seed and develop the art of possibility. This becomes an art and can be engaged only through alert experiences and moving forward with trust and patience to wait for wholesome possibilities to unfold. This is the human search. This search although partially predetermined in the karmic sense definitely does not run through predetermined paths. If the paths were predetermined or in control of an external force the realm of possibility would not exist and the whole beauty of aliveness would be lost. And as Victor Hugo says "Its nothing to die; its frightful not to live”, Jains have to sharpen their Anekantwad "saw” to face and embody the moral code of "Live and Let Live” using the principle of Ahimsa We have to learn to choose to be strong when we have a default option of being miserable and knowing that the effort and work is the same. as the directing idea and evolving force of the living.
Ahimsa is the conscious decision to live our lives. In the midst of turmoil, pain and adversity, in bad times, Jains have been encouraged to maintain samatabhav (equanimity) or connection with the divine self and manifest peace and bliss.It also means to keep one’s mind unagitated and calm in situations of misery and happiness, gain and loss, victory and defeat etc. without losing one’s balance or evenness. To practice and maintain samtabhav, it requires a decision on our part - it is a chosen approach to life, a chosen attitude and a chosen awareness. Living with such awareness means finding ways to overcome inappropriate demands, injustice, and even abuse, and not engaging in fights in which everyone loses. It is to examine things we do regardless of our current life situation and realize that we have a power within us to do things with more love and respect. Anekantwad is not only about us improving ourselves but learning to let go of what blocks our heart. In the infinity of life all is perfect, whole and complete. Anekantwad is about keeping our selves centered and connected with the purpose and potential of our lives as we unfold the sources of unhappiness and disconnection from our vitality. The awareness and moment to moment practice of Ahimsa generates the compassion within us, thus perfecting the art of Anekantwad. This awareness becomes the vehicle to spread this bliss to the world around us. In modern world when countless opinions can be twittered, a need arises for a virtuoso to channel the different vectors of opinions in a unified direction of peace and harmony, instead of letting them fly to destruct each other.It is for us to use our Jain heritage to change ourselves and the world around us for the best.