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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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Fireworks Might Extinguish the Flame of Laxmi Puja

We can have various kind of festival enjoyments on Festivals but without ever causing problem to others and the environment

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Fireworks
There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. Pixabay

BY SALIL GEWALI

If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.

Fireworks
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment without Using Fireworks.

I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.

Fireworks
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers, Fireworks and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong.

Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”.  Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Fireworks
TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land.

It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna LilaRam Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas” (musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentrationThe objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.

Fireworks
There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation and not Fireworks. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”.

However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.

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Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.

Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali