Tuesday December 12, 2017
Home India Paryushana an...

Paryushana and meat ban: Protesting for the sake of it?

0
329
source: www.worldreligionnews.com

By Nithin Sridhar

Amidst raging debates and protests regarding the meat ban, especially in Mumbai, the Jains have started the celebration of Paryushana festival worldwide. It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Jain community. Before analyzing the merits or demerits of the meat ban and arguments that are being made against such a ban, let us first look into the philosophy and essence of the celebration of Paryushana.

Paryushana- the festival of “Self-Purification”

Paryushana” means “Self-Purification.” It is usually defined as “Parismantadushayante dhante karmani yasimannasau paryushnm” which means “The celebration through which the Karmic matter attached to the soul is totally burnt or vanquished (both internally and externally) is known as Paryushana.”

The festival is rooted in the practice of Chaturmasya of  monks that is common to both Jain and Hindu monks. The monks who always wander otherwise, stay at a place for 2-4 months during the rainy season.

During the rainy season many organisms become more active and the monks do not want to injure them. The monks spend their time in meditation, self-control, and self-introspection. Hence, the festival of Paryushana that is rooted in the Chaturmasya also involves intense meditation, self-control, and self-introspection.

The festival is celebrated for 8-days by the Swetambara Jains and for 10-days by the Digambara Jains. The Swetambaras call the festival as Paryushana Parva and it ends with Samvatsari on September 18 this year. The Digambaras call the festival Dasha-Lakshana Parva and will celebrate it from September 18 to September 27.

Paryushana_Parva_Jain_FestivalThe aim of the festival is to remind the practitioners that the inner self is to be purified by burning all the karmic attachments that create bondage to the self. The Karmic attachment is of two types– attachment to the body and bondage to the mental passions like anger, lust, hate, and others.

A person commits various Adharma (non-righteous actions) like violence, cheating, and others because of the influence of these mental impurities, therefore, the goal of the festival is to help a person to do Prayashchitta (repentance) for the wrongdoings committed in the past by asking for Kshama (forgiveness) and to purify oneself from emotions like anger, hate, and frustration.

Forgiveness is one of the central features of this festival. But, forgiveness alone cannot bring about complete purification. Jain scriptures speak about 10 tenets of Dharma (duty/righteousness) that they call as Dasha Lakshana.

These 10 tenets should  ideally be practised every day. But, during the festival, these 10 tenets are given special importance and they should be practised to the best of one’s ability.

These 10 tenets are Kshama (forgiveness), Mardava (humility), Arjava (straightforwardness), Shaucha (cleanliness), Satyam (truth), Samyama (restraint of all senses), Tapa (austerity), Tyaga (renunciation), Aparigraha (non-possessiveness), and Brahmacharya (celibacy).

The utmost importance of the practice of these virtues during the festival can be understood from the fact that Digambaras practice a 10-day Dasha-Lakshana Parva dedicated completely to the practice of these tenets of Dharma after the end of the 8-day Paryushana celebration taken by Swetambara Jains.

The 8-day festival ends with a ritual of forgiveness, where the practitioners ask forgiveness from everyone and in turn forgive others. One of the common sutras that is used for asking forgiveness says: “I forgive all the living beings of the universe and may all the living beings forgive me for my faults. I do not have animosity towards anybody and I hold friendliness towards everyone.”

Meat ban: Much ado about nothing

Earlier this week, the Brihan, Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), imposed a ban on the sale of meat for four days. A similar ban, but for the whole 8 days, was imposed by Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation in Thane. Rajasthan has also imposed a meat ban.

Following the ban, many people took to Twitter to express their outrage. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena  (MNS) protested against the ban by selling chicken and fish on Thursday. The criticism that is being heaped against the ban ranges from calling it a violation of the fundamental rights to branding it as an attempt by the BJP to appease a particular community.

source: thequint.com
source: thequint.com

Before proceeding further, let us first look at the history of the ban. The ban on meat during the Jain festival was first implemented in 1964 when the BMC passed a resolution to that effect.

The ban was stipulated for two days at that time. Then, in 2004, the Congress-NCP government passed another resolution endorsing the two-day ban. It is only after that, the Mumbai observed a four-day ban on meat.

Hence, any attempts at calling it a BJP ban or BJP’s attempts to appease a community falls flat on the face. The fact is that there has been neither protest nor outrage since the enforcement of the ban in 1964. It is only this year that the issue is being blown out of proportion. This clearly points towards political opportunism and a deliberate attempt at maligning BJP.

Now, coming to the merits of the ban itself, let it be categorically stated that the ban itself was quite unnecessary. Jains, who are vegetarians, have no practical benefit from the meat ban.

Besides, many Hindus who are vegetarians also practice fasting without calling for a ban. Also, there is merit in the argument that people have a right to decide what they want to eat. But, is the meat ban such a big violation of rights that it required such a big outrage?

People don’t feel outraged when hundreds of children die due to malnutrition or farmers die due to the burden of debt. Yet, a simple ban on the sale of meat for a few days is making it to the headlines.

Have Indians become so addicted to meat that they cannot even live a day or two without eating it? Or, is the addiction actually symbolic of managing a hue and cry on every non-issue?

Hence, a simple prohibition on the sale of meat cannot be a justifiable reason for such an enormous outrage. Every person protesting against the ban must ask himself/herself whether his/her outrage is even necessary? The arguments against the ban have merit, but the question remains, was there a necessity to make a mountain out of a mole?

Indians are known for their generosity and tolerance. The government, for example, provides Haj subsidy for those devout Muslims who want to go to Haj. It spends a significant portion of taxpayers’ money to fund religious pilgrimages to Manasarovar and other spots. These are all acts of generosity towards those sections of society. Similarly, can the Indian society not show some generosity to the Jains as well by taking this ban in a positive way and not as a violation of fundamental rights?

source: ibnlive
source: ibnlive

The very central tenet of the Jain festival of Paryusham is forgiveness. But, the whole essence of the practice has been sidelined due to the noise generated by this outrage against the meat ban. It is true that in a democracy, no action should be forcefully imposed. But, have Indians become so rigid that they cannot go beyond their own self-serving desires and viewpoint?

Forgiveness is not a tenet unique to Jains. It is shared by Hindus and Buddhists as well. In fact, it is among the universal virtues that are applicable to every human.

Hence, won’t it be more useful, if the non-Jains also get involved in this practice of forgiveness during Paryushana? After all the practice is aimed at self-purification and hence it will help everybody.

As a first act of forgiveness, people can then forgive the government itself for imposing the ban. The gist of the argument is that, even though the ban was unnecessary, it has been practised for a few years now, after a certain section of Jains requested for such a ban.

Instead of taking the ban negatively and wasting time and energy in protesting and venting out one’s frustration, it would be more useful if people consider the ban as a show of generosity towards a peaceful community.

Going one step further, non-Jain Indians can join the Jains in their celebration of forgiveness and truth. This will not only strengthen the Dharmic unity that upholds this nation, but also will help each such individual to purify oneself and become a better human.

Next Story

At this age and time of my life, I seek peace and freedom from prominence: Amitabh Bachchan

This is what Amitabh Bachchan has to say on the notice of BMC.

0
21
Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Wikimedia Commons
  • Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan says at 75 he only seeks freedom from prominence, which has seen him face allegations in the Bofors scandal, Panama Papers case and most recently for “illegal construction” on his property.

“At this age and time of my life, I seek peace and freedom from prominence… To be left to lead the last few years of my life with and within myself… I do not seek epithets, I abhor them… I do not seek headlines, I do not deserve them/. I do not seek acknowledgment, I am not qualified for it,” Amitabh posted on his blog on Sunday.

Amitabh’s post comes just days after his lawyer denied any illegal construction on the actor’s property in Mumbai’s Goregaon East area in relation to a notice sent by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

“The mentioned ‘notices’ have yet to be seen or served to me. But I guess in time it shall come.”

In the lengthy post, Amitabh said when there are accusations, “at times, I would prefer to correct the manner… At times it is prudent to remain quiet”.

But on an issue such as the BMC allegation, he said it’s the “system that shall resolve it, not the media”.

The actor, who has been in the industry for over four decades, also cited past examples, such as what he went through when his family’s name cropped up in the Bofors scandal.

“For years we were grilled, declared traitors, abused and humiliated by the hour for several years…,” he wrote, and further recalled how they moved against a UK paper and won.

He said how after almost 25 years later, their name was cleared in the scandal.

“When the media carried the news here in India, the press during one of its interactions with me asked me what I was going to do about it… Whether I would seek information on who did it or seek retribution.

“What retribution and information will I seek’ Will it take away the years of suffering and mental torture that we went through’ Will it cure… Will it rest’ No, it will not… So I told them, the media, I do not wish to make any comment on it… the matter is over for me.”

Amitabh Bachchan also brought up his mention in the Panama Papers leaks.

“We were asked for reactions, for responses, for justification or not, for replies to their investigative queries… Two instant replies were given out by us… Of denial and misuse of the name. They were printed… but the questions continued.”

“The fullest cooperation has been extended at all hours as dutiful citizens. And even after, if there is any more query that needs to be addressed, we shall comply,” he added.

In the end, he quoted a Jewish joke.

“A Jew passes away and goes to Heaven, knocks on the door of the Lord, and having suffered the ostracized life that the community has, asks the Lord: ‘Lord! Is it true that we are the chosen people” The Lord looked benevolently at the Jew and in a most gentle voice replied: ‘Yes my son .. you are the chosen people’. And the Jew replied: ‘Dear Lord… Would you mind choosing someone else for a change… Coz we’ve had enough!’”

Amitabh Bachchan concluded: “I often wish that for myself.”(IANS)

Next Story

Longest Head Massage Chain by 600 women in Mumbai bags Guinness World Record

0
36
Longest Head massage chain
Women assembled to form the world's longest head massage chain. Twitter.

A group of 600 women in Mumbai got together to make the world’s longest head massage chain, creating a Guinness World Record.

As an initiative to promote the significance of hair oiling regularly, Bajaj Almond Drops Hair Oil had organised an event wherein these women assembled to form the longest head massage chain in Mumbai’s Growel’s Mall in Kandivali.

The event went socially viral and was capable to spread the desired message to the public. People have praised the efforts of the women participating in the longest head massage chain for bringing into light the long-lost tradition of head massage in India.

A huge crowd had lined up at the location to watch the mesmerising Guinness World Record of the massage chain. Hair oiling is essential to maintain the nourishment and shine of the hair follicles which also helps in preventing hairfall, dandruff and premature greying of hair.

 

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana

Next Story

Shiv Sena Worker To Force Shut Over 500 Meat Seller Shops On Navratri

0
25
Shiv Sena Meat Ban
Source: Wikimedia Common

Gurgaon, September 22, 2017: Shiv Sena workers allegedly close down over 500 chicken and meat shops on September 21 on account of Navratri festival.

Reportedly, Ritu Raj, general secretary and spokesperson of Shiv Sena Gurgaon said a notice has been served to meat seller in the area and a strict action will be taken if one denies following the instruction. He also stated that no restrictions have been imposed on the big franchise like KFC, McDonald’s which are not operating in open areas.

There has been a raid of force shutdown of meat sellers shop in the areas like Surat Nagar, Palam Vihar, Ashok Vihar, Pataudi Chowk, Jacobpura, Sadar Bazar, Sector 5 and 9,  Khandsa Anaj Mandi, bus stand, DLF area, Sohna and Sector 14 market.

ALSO READ: Meat ban: Muslims say aye, Hindus say nay.

Raj also stated that a memorandum has been served to the Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon Vinay Pratap Singh commanding to shut down the raw meat shops for the next 9 days but the district administration did not put a proper response to that.

The matter is been looked upon and any hindrance to the law will not be entertained. In case if Shiv Sena workers forcefully Shut down the meat shops, a severe action will be drawn against them if any grievance is registered in this regards.

– prepared by Abhishek Biswas Twitter: @Writing_desire