Lost history and meaning of Vegetarianism in Hinduism and in West!

Definition of Vegetarian

In ordinary parlance any body who confines himself to a diet which excludes animal flesh or body parts is vegetarian. An extreme form of vegetarianism may involve complete abstinence from animal products i.e. Milk and eggs etc. as well. Not to use dead animal’s skin for footwear or other body wear may also be part of oral vegetarian practice. Vegetarianism is essentially a way of life which involves least violence.

Non-violence and least violence

Non-violence may be nearest translation of the Sanskrit/Hindi word “Ahinsa” (also spelled as Ahimsa) but that is not correct definition any more. In reality it is difficult to find true vegetarian. To understand this dichotomy, we should dwell on “Non-violence”, a little more.

Gandhian non-violence

The Non-Violence is of course an English word but it became a translation when Gandhi started Civil Disobedience and Quit India Movement against the English Rule on the principle what he called was Ahimsa. That was a political movement and not religious or spiritual movement. It was the determination of Gandhi, who as a leader would dare the English Police to arrest him, for that he and his followers would not accept foreign rule and thus disobey every order. Even the order to vacate the street. People would sit down or even lie down on the street in support. Now this movement for freedom was non-violent in the sense that Gandhi and people following would suffer injury from the arms of English Police but would not retaliate or attack physically. But as history tells us it had a far worse retaliation on the psyche of the attacker. Now with all due respect, it was not a Non-violence. It was Non-Retaliation. Even if we assume that it was Non-violence, then it had nothing to do with vegetarianism. Wikipedia and everybody got it completely wrong. To understand the ahimsa and true non-violence or vegetarianism, we have to dwell deeper into the matter. Continue reading

Pumpkins, cucumbers replace animal sacrifice in Puja

Sacrifice in Durga Puja

Priest of a Barowari Puja Committee said, “Sacrifice is an essential aspect of the Puja, for `bali’ is the symbol of power. Bali invokes power. And since we are worshipping Durga, who is the embodiment of shakti (power), it is essential to incorporate bali in puja, but it does not have to be an animal.”

“Earlier, people here preferred animal sacrifice because of certain socio-economic reason, but now most of the Puja committees prefer to use vegetables or fruits,” added the purohit.

Incidentally, even Bengali pandals do not offer animal sacrifice to the goddess. Porf A K Mukherjee, an old-timer of the city said, “It is indeed exemplary that Puja is organized in Bengali pandals without any animal sacrifice. We offer symbolic sacrifices like that of gourd, white pumpkin, sugarcane, cucumber etc.”

Source: The Times of India.

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