Saturday, July 11, 2015

Over 200,000 people support Canadian conservation officer who was suspended to save orphaned twin cubs

British Columbia cubs (picture courtesy:
Bryce Casavant is a conservation officer in British Columbia, Canada. He has been suspended without pay to show kindness towards two orphaned bear cubs, he won't kill.

The officials to order conservation officer Bryce Casavant to kill a black bear and her two eight-week-old cubs when the bear was caught stealing food from a freezer inside a mobile home on Hardy Bay Road in British Columbia twice.

Casavant followed the order to kill the adult black bear, but took the orphaned cubs to a veterinarian in lieu of killing them. Casavant act of kindness was considered as defiance by his superiors and according to a July 8, 2015 report from CBC, he was suspended without pay for not following orders. More than 297,707 people have already signed a petition for the reinstatement of the officer who wouldn't kill the bears.

You may click here to sign the petition to reinstate this kind officer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Miinimization of Violence is Nonviolence in Itself

Original hindi article at niramish hindi blog : LINK 
Posted by : Shri Hansraj Sugya  
Translation by : shilpa mehta

Many people say that vegetarian food also causes violence and talking about non-violence with respect to food is wrong. But, the effort to minimize violence is non-violence in itself. Simultaneously, it is a way to firmly walk the path of non-violence. The constant struggle to minimize even necessary violence is a ladder to reach the height of non-violence. When micro-violence is inevitable, then keeping discretion and avoiding unnecessary malice and cruelty, is nonviolent mentality.It is suitable to nature and environment.

When the micro-violence inevitable, avoiding malice and cruel expression, avoiding lay discretion, is the practice the non-violent attitude.
Philosophers and seers have presented and proposed three dimensions of non-violence. The first one is on the basis of numbers, for example harming of ten beings is more (double as much as) violent than harming five. The second is on the basis of the evolution stage of the being, for instance, there are beings with one, two, three, four and five sense organs, and killing the one is more violent than the previous in that order. This prudence and discretion is scientifically and ethically justified. The third dimension is - the thought process behind the violence. There are many categories of mentality behind a seeming act of violence, starting from unknowingly to knowingly, selflessly to selfishly, necessarily to cruelly, as per the disposition of the person performing the act. To classify any act of apparent violence, we need to first look at whether the mentality behind the act was cruelty or kindness, selfishness or charity, senseless behavior or sensible endeavor
For an illustration, consider a thief wanting to steal killing a man sitting there to be able to steal, a driver accidentally killing a pedestrian, or a doctor operating to save a life but the patient dying on the table. All three cases result in death, but the driving reasons are different and thus the amount of violence attributed cannot be the same. Even in courts of law, when a person is convicted of a violent crime, the punishment varies as per the status of mind behind the crime. 

चित्र: द जैन युनिवर्स
The concept of "LESHYA" has a beautiful anecdote in jainism. Six pedestrian tourists were passing somewhere. On the way they saw a berry tree full of fruit. One of them said, we are hungry, let us eat some fruit here. One said, I will cut the tree and help all of you have your fill. The second said, no need to cut the whole tree, let us just cut one branch, it will be enough for us. The third wanted to cut just a twig while the fourth wanted to cut off just a bunch of fruit.  The fifth said, no, instead of breaking a whole bunch, let us pick individual berries. But the sixth one said it is enough to pick the fruits which have already fallen down to fill our stomachs. This man is the best example of non violent mentality. Therefore violence and non violence are decided on not just the act but an overall purview of the whole picture. 
We need to think in terms of the whole picture, the reference and the context of the acts we are classifying.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Vegetarianism : The foundation of peace and contentment

Original hindi article at niramish hindi blog : LINK 
Posted by : Niramay Niramish 
Translation by : shilpa mehta

The food in our diet effects our thought processes. If we wish to be pure of mind, word, and action, we should have a pure diet, i.e. vegetarian diet. It is said that every human has hidden animal behavior hiding in a remote corner of the mind. If we want to overcome that trait within ourselves, we must give up meat products.

We need to stop harming other living beings for satisfying our taste buds. Additionally we should constantly try to protect our fellow beings from coming to any kind of harm. For that we should stick to a diet which is not only nutritious and balanced, but also harmless to other beings. Vegetarian food decides the way of life for any person. It purifies the mind and strengthens the body. It has been observed that pure vegetarian food leads to the development of good thoughts, and growth of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. We should always remember the fact that we eat to live and not live to eat. Food is a means to live, not the purpose of life.

Biology says that human beings are part of the animal kingdom. It is our wisdom and feelings which separate us from other animals. Mercy is the driving force behind the wish not to hurt or harm other beings. If we try to think a little deeply, we can easily realize that just like us, other beings also have a natural right to live their life. If life is nature, then killing of life is an unnatural distortion. Our food effects our physical as well as spiritual health. If we are non-vegetarian, we are automatically responsible for the killing of our "prey" and this violent killing causes unrest, disturbance and agitation. On the other hand, vegetarian food does not require any such violent act. This is the reason vegetarian diet brings peace to the soul and peace to the world.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Non vegetarian food is the major culprit behind world food shortage and starvation

Original Hindi article at niramish hindi blog
posted by Shri Amit Sharma ji on behalf of shri Ramesh Kumar Dubey Ji.
Translation By Shilpa Mehta

This article is a translation only. "I" refers to the original author.

I recently received this highly informative article by Shri Ramesh Kumar Dubey through mail. The mail included a request to publicize the enclosed information to the best possible extent. that's the reason I am sharing it on this blog. I Hope it will serve as an eye opener to many a persons who justify meat and blame Yagnyas and other hindu traditions as being wasteful of water and other resources.  

Many reasons have been quoted for the prevalent evils of malnutrition and starvation in our troubled world. But meat consumption is hardly ever discussed as a possible cause. In actual fact, meat consumption is a major cause behind the rapidly increasing challenges faced by us today.

All this is en-rooted in the modern industrial revolution and artificially modernized lifestyles. As Europe established itself as the world leader after the industrial revolution, non-vegetarian food habits were increasingly encouraged. Economic development and industrialization have played a major role in developing a new non-vegetarian culture in the past 2 centuries.

Developing nations blindly emulated the lifestyles of developed ones and even embraced their food habits. With the economic development came a proportional increase in the growth of large scale live stock rearing industry. As an illustration - in 1961, the total meat production in the world was 7.1 tons which increased many fold to 28.4 tons in 2007. The consumption per capita increased twofold in the same period. But the rate of increase was higher in developing nations. In just the past 20 years, the per capita meat consumption has doubled in these countries. For instance, once pork (Pig's meat) was consumed by only the prosperous section of China's population but now almost every Chinese consumes it.

Industrialization and blind copying of western habits has led meat to become a major food item in even those countries where previously meat was a rarely consumed food product. One example of this change in food habits is India. In this process, the traditional foods were neglected. Earlier, Indian villages used to consume pulses and oil-seeds, jaggery etc. to a larger extent and it was a safeguard against malnutrition.

As these healthy food-habits changed, we started taking artificial vitamin and mineral supplements to fulfill our nutritional needs. Earlier, the society had a major right over natural resources but with industrialization, large areas of land came under the control of a small section of rich landlords and industrialists, resulting in a large section of the population being deprived of their share. "Pyaaus" for cool drinking water (शीतल जल के प्याऊ) were replaced by bottled drinking water from multinational companies.

According to the Farm animal reform movement, American consumers attachment to meat is not just harming the environment but also these food habits are fast spreading to the rest of the world. Be it the area of science or technology or fashion, there is a myth spreading in the whole world that whatever America does is the correct thing to be followed.

The mechanization of animal rearing is also a major factor. Historically, animals were reared along with agriculture in a natural way. But now, a large number of animals are forcibly crowded into limited land and fed directly on grain and oil-seeds and even given synthetic hormones to promote unnatural growth and also egg and milk yields. This makes the meat work out cheaper and available to all. This process completely ignores the needs of the concerned animals to a comfortable existence, effectively torturing them from birth to death (or should I say murder?)

This modern meat farming has resulted in large scale use of chemical fertilizers (for growing animal fodder), pesticides, and water. It has led to a steep increase in the production of corn maize and soya beans for feeding the meat supplying animals.

Many people will be surprised to know that a third of the total grain produced in the world is being fed to animals for meat while a large number of humans die of starvation. In America, two thirds of the grain produced is fed to meat animals ... :( ...... Specialists say that if the consumption of meat in the world reduces by just 10%, it could save the lives of 18000 children and 6000 adults who die of starvation. Just imagine !!!
1. Meat production is extremely wasteful of food resources. Producing a kilogram of meat requires 7 kilograms of grain and soy bean. The ratio of conversion from grain to meat wastes 90% of protein, 99% of carbohydrates and 100% fiber.

2. Producing a kilogram of potatoes requires 500 liters of water while the same amount of meat requires 10,000 liters of water.

3. Two third of the cultivable land is presently being used for grazing and fodder and grain production for ANIMAL CONSUMPTION - in turn for meat. as the demand for meat multiplies this will also go up.

4. This will lead to a rise in green house gases - one illustration of the effect of green house effect and global warming was recently seen in the Kedarnath floods in Uttarakhand (India) last year.

Do you eat non-vegetarian food? If so - have you ever thought that you are contributing to global warming? Whatever effect our food has on our personal health, it is a major contributor to environmental pollution.

As per the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) animal rearing areas contribute to 18% of the green house gases which is higher that the transport sector.

Ever Green forests are being cleared to make space for grazing and animal food. In Latin America, 70% forest land has been converted to animal farms. We know that forests are the lungs of our earth and remove the carbon dioxide to give oxygen. Cutting down trees leads to an increase in the main green house gas - Carbon Di Oxide. The Meat industry waste gives out Nitrous Oxide which is 296 times as effective as carbon dioxide in producing green house effect. Another byproduct of the meat industry is Methane gas which is 23 times as effective as our good old carbon dioxide.

Our (ex) environment minister Jayram Ramesh had said that if the world stops eating beef alone (cow meat) it will bring down global warming to a large extent. We can also add the emissions due to fuel burn in the process of transporting and cooking of meat - remember the cooking of meat takes much more time and fuel than vegetarian food.

The Copenhegan Conference clearly established that reduction of global warming can NOT BE done by laws alone - people have to do their bit to contribute.

The easiest way to contribute is to go vegetarian. ARE WE READY TO DO OUR BIT?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Common arguments against vegetarianism, and the facts

Common arguments against vegetarianism and the facts

Author: Anurag Sharma
Translation: Shilpa Mehta
Discussions and debates about vegetarianism often involve some common and repeatedly heard arguments. We have attempted to cover some of these here. In future, we may cover many more.
Life in Plants as an argument
Some people use the fact that plants are living beings as an argument against vegetarian food. But they conveniently overlook the fact that vegetarian food does not necessarily involve killing the source plant while procuring non-vegetarian food does require killing as the basic minimum requirement. I have taken twenty tomatoes from my tomato plant in the past few days but I haven't killed it. If one has to compare taking food from plant with that from animals, the closest comparison would be that of taking milk from cows. Even hard core supporters of beef will have to admit that there is a quantum difference between taking milk everyday from a live cow and killing it once to obtain the beef.

Most grain plants are already dead before the grain is reaped. Moreover, if one has sufficient sensitivity to feel for the forced death of those plants whose roots are used for food, one can avoid eating roots like onions, garlic etc., and abstain from that kind of killing too. They can choose to stick to a saatvik (सात्विक) diet like our great ancestors. But no, they won't do so, because the purpose of argument is NOT to avoid killing plants, but to try and justify the killing of animals by displaying killing in fruit eating too. It is just an argument for the sake of an argument. I (the original author) remember, a friend of mine became very upset over seeing a bonsai plant at my home and questioned the cruelty of clipping away the roots. What could I have said? and after a short while he started telling me about his gastric upset, and blamed the scores of prawns he had gobbled for his breakfast. Where had the aversion to "cruelty" disappeared?

Isn't it impossibility to be a pure vegetarian?
Another gentleman was worried about the lives of the many bacteria in milk. May be he thought that a meat based diet is free of bacteria - let me tell you - there are many more micro organisms like bacteria in meat, than in fruits, vegetables, and milk. In actual fact, Vinoba Bhave's diet of milk and milk alone, is much better than even vegetables as it involves no pain as in plucking fruits and vegetables from plants. So the next time someone argues about the pain of plucking fruits and veggies, you can suggest them to switch to a milk diet. They may argue about balanced nutrition in that and you may remind him that Vinoba Bhave could walk 300 miles a day on just two glasses of milk. Muslim preacher Zakir Naik argues about there being no plants for vegetarian food in Antarctica, conveniently forgetting that, if God did not plan plants there, there are neither humans nor buffaloes born there either. So the argument is self contradictory as it itself shows what God's intentions were. Despite this, if the taste of the tongue is so dear to you as to justify killing innocent beings, at least do not relate it to religion. A Poet has said -

अजब रस्म देखी दिन ईदे-कुर्बां, ज़बह करे जो लूटे सवाब उल्टा
(We see a strange act on the festival of Eid al adha, when killing poor creatures is believed to be HOLY ...)

Spirituality, Religion, Scriptures and Violence
The people who justify killing in the name of religion must take a look at the website of Islamic Concern. Another such website is Jesus-Veg. Many of our relations ask us, which Hindu Scriptures forbid Meat eating? In reply we can ask them - where has it been permitted? But no. We shall put some of our observations before you.

There are Eight genres of the Yoga. The first one (Yama) has five basic elements, the first one being Ahimsa (अहिंसा = non-violence). This implies that the first step in the staircase leading to one's goal is ahimsa (non-violence). Can the people who accept killing as "normal" for satisfying their sense of taste, understand this basic requirement of ahimsa? One who can not imagine Sweet without egg as in cakes need to understand that the hindi term for sweets is "MISHTHAANN" = Mishtha (मिष्ठ = sweet) + anna (अन्न = grain). Even in the Bhagwad Geeta (which was first sung during great war of Mahabharatha) Lord Krishna, while preaching Ahimsa, refers to food by the term anna (अन्न) only intending grain as human food. Edible items in Indian culture such as, Panchamrit (पंचामृत = A liquid sweet potion offered for worship made up of five sweetened milk products), Phalahar (फलाहार= fruit based food) etc. are all terms indicating food obtained by non-violent means. The food and the prasada (प्रसाद) served at Gurudwaras (गुरुद्वार = Sikh temples)  langars (लंगर = food service) is pure vegetarian. The Sanskrit texts talk of the life present in every organism. According to Indian tradition, even when a plant need to be picked for medicinal purpose, the physician renders a mantra of apology to the plant being uprooted, and then plucks them with a single jerk to minimize the pain to the plant. Can such ideas support killing animals for food?

Abundance of violence in Nature as an argument
Some people use the abundance of violence observed in nature as an argument against vegetarianism. I have seen parrots as well as dogs at my home. Both were vegetarian. Many animals and birds are vegetarian by nature. The ones which are not are also just animals. They do eat flesh, but do not kill with unnatural things like the knife, nor cook it over fire because their bodies can not digest their meal in the natural form. They do not make a business of killing, nor factory farm their prey. Neither they kill their food in slaughter houses, nor force their would be food to live a hellish life on factory farms, nor keep the left over meat in refrigerators for use next time, nor cook it on fire, If we humans can do so many unnatural things for food, why can't we turn to vegetarianism? Even if someone calls vegetarianism as unnatural, it is still being human!!

If one is dissatisfied with the level of "non-cruelty" even in vegetarianism, there are many ways to improve that level too. One method could be restraining oneself to just accepting grains which come from already dead plants, Further one can choose milk from farms, where cows are properly served and taken care of without the accompanying cruelty of milk farms. One could consume only those fruits which fall off the trees naturally and not plucked before they are ready. Even then the seed can be planted back to complete the natural cycle.

Vegetarianism is the way to minimize violence
Even if all this is not possible, it is better to remain vegetarian and avoid killing hundreds of innocent animals rather than killing them and justifying it with the excuse of even plants having life. Mercy and sympathy has its own point of view, and justifying open killing by showing killing in vegetarian food is just that - a feeble justification to justify one's greed for taste.
Original Hindi Version of this article is available at Niramish Hindi blog Written by Anurag Sharma for Burgh Vaarta and translated into English by Shilpa Mehta for Niramish.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Preserving Vegetarian Cultural Heritage Ensures Our Security

Original Article in Hindi on Hindi Niramish Blog by Shri Hansraj Sugya ji
Translation By Shilpa Mehta

Well refined, Ancient  Indian culture has been under attack from Western and middle western schools of thought for a long time now, and these attacks are now turning into ideological battles. These well planned attacks are trying to portray our advanced historical heritage as a primitive one and destroy our belief in the richness and our reverence of our own culture. Some cultures developed in uncivilized and primitive nomadic lands are trying to revert us back to the same primitive stage from the lofty dais we had traditionally occupied, by tempting our youth with razzle dazzle.

These schools of thought confuse our youth by giving falsified messages of equality, socialism, love and brotherhood in their own cultures, which actually are completely absent in their cultures. But all these qualities arise from the root of non violence. Non violence and compassion to all living beings is the criterion to assess the depth of love in any person.

The Indian soil has always been rich in our sacred "saatvik" principles of mercy and non-violence. Indian philosophy has always condemned meat consumption / gambling / drinking and other such evils as undesirable, and punishable. Acceptance of meat eating is clear acceptance of violence in day to day life without even a second thought. Such schools of thought can never stand eye to eye before the high principles of non violent cultures. Vegetarianism is synonymous to civility and culture of any society. All attacks on the supreme heritage of non-violence are bound to come before a fall. We have the unbeatable armor of nonviolence protecting our heritage, which no ill intention-ed and veiled attacks can cut through.

These principles of mercy and compassion can NOT be met at an equal level by cultures based on violence and hatred, with instructions to maim, damage and kill any and everyone who comes in the way. Leave aside killing enemies, there are instructions to kill one's own family members and loved one's who disagree with the accepted school of thought, and even destroy non-living things like idols etc revered and worshiped by other societies apart from their own. 

But, as soon as we reach the question of compassion to fellow living beings, the actors trying to portray their culture as a non-violent one automatically get silenced and defeated. The nectar of our culture lies in compassion and it directly equates to non-violence. It keeps us rooted in all positive grounds of mercy, and keeps us away from evils like hatred, anger, revenge, fights, anarchy and chaos. Creation and maintenance of a non-violent society necessitates the preservation of the high principles of compassion. Definitely India is capable of preserving the distinguished heritage we have inherited from our ancestors.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Niramish State of Mind

Original Hindi article on Niramish Hindi Blog by Shri Hansraj 'Sugya'

Translation By Shilpa Mehta

NON-VIOLENCE: The Appropriate and Proper Measure for Peace 

In the whole universe, the basis of happiness and joy for any living being is peace. Peace is achievable only through non-violence. Most of the violence in this world occurs for satisfying the dietary requirements. Saatvik food is the route to compassion towards our fellow beings. Minor violence does occur in vegetarian food too, yet vegetarianism is the minimization of inevitable and unavoidable violence. This in itself is an endeavour towards non-violence. Those who do not feel hurt while hurting and killing beings for taste and unhesitatingly eat meat etc., slowly get accustomed to accepting killing as a normal routine. When the source of food is violent, it necessarily effects the thought process of the person and diminishes one's sensitivities. 

The acceptance of killing as "normal" for eating one's food makes one accustomed to "killing" and leads to a violent state of awareness. This is leading to more and more violence, hatred, and crimes in today's world. Mercy to fellow living beings naturally nurtures one's finer instincts and makes one more compassionate to fellow humans too. Vegetarianism enhances values and is a guardian to humanity.

Religious and Philosophical Notions and Intents :

Almost all reliogions and social systems have always reverred "life". Still, the Indian culture is the one which has propogated the concepts of "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः" (non-violence is the supreme religious principle) or “दया धर्म का मूल है” (mercy is the root of all religion).

Whatever be the religion one belongs to, none of the revered sacred texts and none of the messengers advocate violence or cruelty. The magnificent palaces of super human messages and religions stand proudly on the strong foundations of non-violence, compassion, love and moral values. All lessons are targeted at non-violence and the first step to non-violence is vegetarianism.

Civilization and Culture :

Advocating and praising vegetarianism is not an indication of pride or ego of purity. vegetarian diet is in itself clean and non-violent. The Indian culture and consciousness has always revolved around purity of not just food, but the whole lifestyle. Vegetarianism is the foundation to all good things in life. Man is basically a herbivore. Though body can manage on non-vegetarian food (man is biologically classified into omnivorous beings) yet civilization demands migrating from a wild lifestyle to a civilized one. Vegetarianism is the carrier of peace, and the height of culture.. 

Environment :

We as a society need to preserve our natural resources and optimize their utilization. All organisms are a part of a very delicate balance in nature. Human interference upsets this delicate balance. We have the intelligence to enable us to optimally utilize the natural resource while not depleting them blindly. When we rear millions of animals for food every year, the ratio of the food we get to the food we could have produced on the same are of land is alarmingly frightening. Millions of square meters of evergreen forests are cut down to provide grasslands for grazing of animals for meat. We are cutting down the evergreens which are like the lungs of mother earth, to satisfy our taste buds.

While the same area of land could have produced much much more amount of vegetarian food in a year, the same ends up producing only very little meat in comparison in the same period of time. If everyone switches over to vegetarianism, many starving millions could be helped. Long back when humanity was living in separate unconnected islands, there was not sufficient availability of vegetarian food in some areas, but grassland area was sufficient to feed many herbivorous animals. But today the situation is not the same. There is no compulsion to eat meat to survive. So it would be much more logical to switch over to vegetarianism.

Balanced Diet :

The myth of "modernism" is misleading many into believing that vegetarian food does not have sufficient proteins in it to make for a balanced diet. But if one stops to consult a doctor or a dietitian this myth evaporates like a snow flake in sunshine. It has been proved that vegetarian food has all the necessary ingredients for a healthy life. In fact it is non-vegetarian food which leads to many diseases through various toxins and infections. Moreover, fiber and many a vitamins are completely missing in non-vegetarian sources. Vegetarian food is the primary source of energy and a first class source of all balanced diet. It also enhances our immune system.

Health Concerns :

Vegetarian diet contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber helps the digestive tract to stay clean and healthy, and capable of smooth working and absorbing what the body requires. It has neither excess dangerous cholesterol, not advanced protein produced in advanced beings bodies. This advanced protein from non-vegetarian food makes the human consumer more prone to many diseases like Alzheimer's, Gallstones, diabetes type 2, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, liver problems, kidney problems, obesity...... and many more. WHY DO YOU THINK DOCTORS FORBID PATIENTS FROM NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD in many many illnesses??