Vedas, Cow And Party On The Left
The stance taken by the left-liberals in the wake of the murder at Dadri would only lead to more violence and distrust between Hindus and Muslims.
The unfortunate murder of Mohammed Akhlaq by a mob in Dadri was deeply disturbing. But equally perturbing has been the narrative being pushed, intentionally or unintentionally, by India’s left liberal intelligentsia, that threatens to push India into another round of sectarian violence. It almost appears as if the revenge of mob’s madness at Dadri is being taken on the faith of a common Hindu in Indian hinterland. The murderous mob at Dadri has been deliberately conflated with the whole of Hindu society which is supposedly all set to break into violence against minorities in Modi’s India. It is another thing that in the same Dadri village, Hindu community facilitated marriage ceremonies of the Muslim community.
“Proudly say I eat beef” is the provocative slogan to counter “Proudly say I am a Hindu”. What perplexes me is what is there to be so proud about eating beef? Is it an great achievement ? If it is then Pakistan must be the most successful nation. Does eating beef represent some particular cultural stream? It is well known that Western liberals often push for vegetarianism as means of reducing carbon footprint. The Indian constitution, by which you can see the liberal intelligentsia swearing in every second breath, enlists compassion towards all living creatures as a fundamental duty [Article 51-A (g)]. No I am not making a case for vegetarianism here. But I am confused about the ideological origins of new “Proudly say l eat beef” movement.
” I ate beef, come and kill me ” is the new version of Satyagraha adopted by those who invoke Gandhi at each step. They forget that Gandhi wanted to stop cow slaughter by convincing Muslims and his famous disciple Vinobha Bhave sat on hunger strike in free India to get it banned. But now the liberals want to convince Muslims of exactly the opposite doctrine: that they must kill cows to assert themselves in Modi’s India. If eating beef is not a great achievement even by the liberal standards, what else are these proclamations aimed at? Is this how the intelligentsia of a country having history of sectarian violence should behave?
If that was not enough, leftist historians, who draw from Western indologists and lack the training of Vedic Tattva Vichar, have jumped into the debate to proclaim that cow slaughter was prevalent in Vedic times and is highly recommended by Vedic traditions. Before we proceed to examine this claim, I can’t stop myself from recalling the similar reaction of leftist intelligensia to the Ram Temple movement. At that time they shut the door on the possibility of any negotiated settlement between Hindus and Muslims by refusing to entertain any evidence supporting the temple claim. How that seems to be playing out again will be dealt a little later in this article. First let’s examine what Vedas have to say about Cows.
माता रुद्राणां दुहिता वसूनां स्वसादित्यानाममृतस्य नाभिः।
प्र नु वोचं चिकितुषे जनाय मा गामनागामदितिं वधिष्ट॥
(RigVeda – 8:101:15)
Cow is mother of Rudras, daughter of Vasus, sister of sons of Aditi (Devas) and treasure house of nectar that is clarified butter. I say to every thoughtful person to not to slaughter the innocent Cow which is immune from killing.
न ता नशन्ति न दभाति तस्करो नासामामित्रो व्यथिरा दधर्षति।
देवांश्च याभिर्यजते ददाति च ज्योगित्ताभिः सचते गोपतिः सह॥
May the Cows never face destruction, may the Cows never get stolen (by thieves) and never be harassed by enemies. With the help of Cows their owner is able to worship Devas and to give donations, may he be with them till eternity.
प्रजावतीः सूयवसे रुशन्तीः शुद्धा अपः सुप्रपाणे पिबन्तीः।
मा व स्तेन ईशत माघशंसः परि वो रुद्रस्य हेतिर्वृणक्तु॥
Cows! May you have lot of progeny, may you get best quality fodder and drink pure water from beautiful ponds. May you never fall in the net of thieves and violent animals. May Rudra’s weapon protect you from all directions.
Similarly at least at two places the Shukla Yajurveda prays that may the owner never lose his cows. (1:1, 7:10)
Atharv Ved’s 3rd Khand’s 14th Sukta is known as Goshtha Sukta and it describes in detail how goshalas are to be maintained and furnished with best facilities and directs that cows are to be treated with compassion. One may still find Hindu philanthropists establishing cow protection houses.
So how come leftist historians concluded that cow slaughter was prevalent in Vedic times? Remember that they were also sure about the Aryan Invasion theory which is now crumbling in the wake of the emergence of new scientific evidence. The simple answer is that they draw from scholars rooted in Western Indology, a discipline that continues to be ignorant about the rules of interpretation and construction of allegorical Vedic hymns which were composed when Sanskrit vocabulary and grammar had not crystallized.
Famous scholar of Vedas, Maharishi Yaska summarised these rules of interpretation of Vedic hymns in his immortal classic Nirukta. Let me cite few instances so that readers may understand the technicalities involved in Vedic sentence construction and how the same word has altogether different connotations at different places. Yaska gives a pertinent example in his Nirukta‘s fifth chapter. Under colloquial Sanskrit as existing now the term “Varah” refers to a pig particularly the one living in forest. But in Vedas the word Varah has been used in different senses at different places, namely:-
a) वराहो मेघो भवति वराहारः meaning the Megha(cloud) through rains provides good food(crop) hence it is known as Varah.
b) अयमपीतरो वराह एतस्मादेव। वृहति मूलानि। वरं वरं मूलं वृहतीति वा। वराहमिन्द्र एमुषम्।
meaning a mountain (through trees on it) providing best quality fruits etc. is also known as Varah.
c) अंगि्रसोऽपि वराहा उच्यन्ते। meaning people full of splendour due to infusing themselves with best qualities are also known as Varah.
In his article “Vedartha Nirnaya me Yaska ki Bhoomika” (Yaska’s role in deciding Vedic meanings), Dr. Shri Ranjansuridev demonstrates how ignorance of these rules leads to a disaster. He cites Western Indologists absurdly translating एकया प्रतिधापिबत् साकं सरांसि त्रिशतम्। इन्द्रः सोमस्य काणुका।। (Rig Veda 8:77:4) as “Indra finished 30 cups of Somras in one go.” However applying Nirukta principles Indra here meant “Sun” and Soma meant “Moon” meaning that the Sun drinks 30 kalas of Moon in the bright and darf halves.
So Western Indologists converted an allegorical description of the waxing and waning of Moon into a proof of Indra’s Somras addiction!!
Amazingly, Sage Ved Vyas the great expounder of Vedas and composer of Mahabharata anticipated this kind of disaster ages ago when he noted: “बिभेत्यल्पश्रुताद् वेदो मामयं प्रहरिष्यति॥” meaning Vedas are always terrified of ill trained people.
Also important to note here is that Sikhs, freed of certain Hindu taboos, still observe abstinence from cow slaughter. So is the case with Vaammargi Tantra school. It indulges in various kinds of animal sacrifice and is seeded in the violation of taboos but still maintains a taboo on cow slaughter.
When the evidence on the existence of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya was being furnished, Leftist historians told three things to the Indian Muslims: “Ram never existed”; ” There was never a temple at the disputed site”; and “a mosque could not have been built by demolishing a temple”. In the last proposition they were expounding Islam instead of expounding history.
In her seminal work, “Ram and Ayodhya”, historian Meenakshi Jain notes how these claims foiled all attempts at a compromise between the two sides which ultimately resulted in large scale sectarian violence and how when remains of a temple underneath the disputed structure began to emerge, leftist historians staged a volte face in the court saying that it must have been a mazaar. This tendency to not to listen to contrary viewpoints and to not to acknowledge the writing on the wall keeps on surfacing from time to time.
Recently when Aurangzeb Road in Delhi was renamed after former President Abdul Kalam, leftist historians and leaders like Owaisi were suddenly happy to refer to the destruction of a mosque by Aurangzeb in Golconda. It was probably the second occassion in recent times, first being the said mosque over mazaar theory, when leftist historians acknowledged that Islamists ever destroyed any religious structure prior to the destruction of Bamiyan Buddha by Taliban and recent destruction of Palmyra by ISIS. But like always, they failed to mention that it was a Shia mosque where the Khutba used to be read in name of the Shia Qutubshahi ruler. So as a Sunni radical, Aurangzeb’s attack on Golconda mosque was as much an act of Jihadist aggression as were his attacks on Hindu temples. Islamic State leader Baghdadi does not become a lesser bigot because apart from killings of polytheist Yezidis he also ordered kiilings of Shias.
In simple words, Indian liberals should avoid imagining their own approach towards beef as that of a common Hindu of hinterland India. All that Coining catchy beef slogans may do is ultimately motivate the Islamist elements in the Muslim society to mock Hindus by slaughtering cows and thus end up vitiating the otherwise peaceful atmosphere of the country. Glimpses of that may already be seen. In Kashmir valley, Asiya Andrabi slaughtered a cow in front of cameras to defy the J&K High Court order directing the state government to enforce a cow protection statute. Indian liberals should ask themselves whether they would like to be clubbed with Asiya Andarabi? And last but not least, in this era of ISIS phenomenon, any kind of sectarian violence triggerred by irresponsible intellectual narrative would make the jihadist recruitment efforts easier.