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Holy cow: Australia’s Liverpool Council abstains from serving beef at interfaith lunch

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism
Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed recently urged Liverpool (a Sydney suburb) City Council to keep beef off the menu of interfaith lunches and dinners.

In an email to the President of Universal Society of Hinduism Rajan Zed; Kiersten Fishburn, Council’s Director Community and Culture, wrote back on August 9: “I can assure you that at the recent interfaith lunch beef was not served. We appreciate that many cultures and faiths have particular dietary prohibitions…”

The interfaith lunch, Per Fishburn, held on August 2, was attended by about 500 people.

Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on Friday, thanked Liverpool City Council for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, as cow was held sacred by Hindus and was considered the seat of many deities. Consuming beef was considered sacrilegious among Hindus.

Zed had earlier said that with its population increasingly diverse, Liverpool Council should be respectful to all the faith traditions while deciding menu for interfaith lunches and dinners; as purpose of interfaith gatherings was to bring diverse traditions to sit and eat together in fellowship displaying harmonious coexistence.

Rajan Zed had also pointed out that Liverpool Council should walk the talk and seriously follow its own tagline which stated “creating our future together” and its own guiding principle of “We will be fair and just.”

According to the Council’s website, Liverpool’s 40 percent population is born overseas in over 150 countries, with Fiji and India being among the top ten. Liverpool residents speak over 140 different languages and about half of its residents speak language other than English at home (Hindi being among the top ten). Hinduism has increased in Liverpool since 2006.

Ned Mannoun, Gus Ballout and Carl Wulff are Mayor, Deputy Mayor and CEO of City Council of Liverpool, which was “founded” in 1810. Prominent people associated with Liverpool include: cricketer Michael Clarke, Olympic swimmer Michael Wenden, footballer Mark Bosnich and entertainer Nathan Foley.

 

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Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

Hindusim
Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.