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The logics behind

The entire country seems to be up for debate on “Meat Ban”. There are people asking me about why “Mean Ban”. Different people are giving different explanations. India is a country where hundreds of festivals and programmes are organized every year and this diversity makes it difficult for common people to know about most of the religions also.

The biggest festival in Jainism is Paryushan. It is an eight day function followed by the Samvatsari or Kshamapana Diwas. A person who follows Jain religion tries to apologise from every creature (including human beings) on this occasion for any trouble given directly or indirectly. Why? Nothing else but our own thoughts and actions bind us and we can purify our thoughts and actions to liberate ourselves and become what we are “enlightened and perfect soul”. This requires us to free ourselves from all the feelings of hatred, enmity, jealousy, or anger. To free ourselves from these feelings – we have to treat every soul with compassion and care. Non-violence is only the means for our liberation.
In order to celebrate the festival, Jain undertake fasting and offer prayers and undertake meditations on this occasion, which is called “Samayik” which literally means to have feelings of compassion towards every creature and to concentrate on that feeling using an age old system of meditation.

Violence towards animals would not allow a Jain to nurture the feelings of compassion. There are umpteen number of stories on the practice of Non-violence in Jain literature. A few stories will clarify the point. When Neminath (cousin of Lord Krishna) saw lot of animals being killed on the occasion of his marriage – he decided to renunciate. Similarly Parshwanath saw that two snakes were being burnt by a person, because the person was trying to burn wood. Parshwanath immediately took to save those snakes.  These stories are still part of the common anecdotes that guide the behavior and attitude of a Jain person.

It is very unfortunate that the request for “Meat Ban” or “non-killing” of animals should be taken as “Imposition of Vegetarian code”. People will do what they would love to do. But being a part of pluralistic society, where different religions and rituals are accommodated and respected, it is important to at least understand the perspectives of different traditions and religions.

Those who can understand this perspective, would continue to practice non-violence in their everyday life, thoughts and actions and the festival of Paryushan and Samvatsari will give them a chance to purify themselves and refresh their commitments to the ideals of non-violence.
Let us apologise everyone on this occasion and again request everyone to feel the joy in compassion, love and care and let us try to spread our patronage of care, compassion towards every creature – as far as possible. This will return back soon in terms of greater love, compassion and care from the eco-system and we shall enjoy our existence in this universe. Compassion, care, and concern for the environment returns back in due course and will enable us to feel lighter, healthier and more content. Physical fitness is not the outcome of food alone, it is also the outcome of our contentment, compassion and feelings of love and care. Being happy and content and being full of compassion, we shall be healthier even with less of food and less of other nutrients. Let us take the plunge as we cannot get this moment again and therefore every moment should be a journey towards greater and great compassion and greater and greater initiatives towards self discovery, getting closer to what we are and attaining our true self.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 20th September 2015.
Dr. Trilok Kumar Jain
Dr. Trilok Kumar Jain is a contributing writer at Inspiration Unlimited eMagazin

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