How do we know Beloved Bhagawan loves us…?
When He fills our hearts and blesses us,
With wondrous values that enhance and bring to the fore,
Supreme Love and so much more…
…Compassion…and that feeling of Amity,
Latent within each one of us already…
And, how does God ‘know’ that we really do love Him…?
When we let this love, compassion, harmony,
Care, sympathy and empathy,
Develop and crystallize in to a feeling of Oneness,
A feeling of Equality for all, nothing less,
That does none forsake…
Enveloping all life forms in its wake…
Compassion towards all creatures is the greatest virtue. Willful injury to any creature is the worst vice. Have full faith in this: Spread love and joy through compassion, and be full of joy and peace yourself! – Baba
Dear Sisters and Brothers, Care for life, Concern for Nature and Respect/Reverence for all of Creation…is what forms the fulcrum of what you are about to peruse at this moment.
Certain procedures were required in a certain period of time, certain examples were set pertaining to prevailing circumstances…seeming appropriate to the sequence of events as well as the consequences thereof…however, now that we have voyaged along different ages through the womb of time, we must keep abreast of things…giving due respect to tradition, we must adapt the practice of customs, so as not to damage, hurt, destroy, cause pain or suffering to any sentient being. Reverence for all life forms should be the dharma of all those belonging to the human race. For individual growth as well as collective expansion of consciousness, Ahimsa, which stems from and is an offshoot of pure and selfless love, must become a way of life…lest humanity suffers an irrevocable setback.
The Paramartha of those ancient days is turned into Pamarartha of these days! (Paramartha means the highest goal; Pamarartha means the fool’s goal). Thus, each one of the ancient practices, once full of meaning, has grown wild beyond recognition. Branches have shot out in various directions. It is not now possible to pluck the tree by the roots and plant a new one. So, the existing tree has to be trimmed and trained to grow straight. The highest goal has to be constantly remembered, and not diluted into the lowest. – Baba
Festivals are a time of gaiety, merriment and joy; sharing, caring and giving. Then, how can we celebrate when another being is suffering right before our eyes…when our ears can hear their cries…? Any occasion is a cause for true celebration only when goodwill is expressed for all beings in the Universe…when the positive energies released, touches the soul of all creatures, both great and small. After causing harm, injury, fatal blow to any section of creation…how can we sit back, relax…express joy…frolic and enjoy any event…? Isn’t it akin to merrymaking…having a spree of revelry…a jamboree…a carnival…in a cemetery…or a cremation ground? Are we so taken up with our taste buds…so enamoured of the flavor of flesh, that we must resort to the slaughter of another living being…? Why take a life when we can fill our stomachs without doing so…? What authority do we have to sacrifice that which does not belong to us and we have no claim over…?
“It is My duty to convey to you the truth as it exists. Today the reason why the human population is increasing is because of the attitude of the people. For man to eke out his living to fill the small tummy of his, God has created plenty in the world. He has created a large amount of rice, a large amount of fruit, a large amount of wheat. While such good food has been created by God, yet we go and eat meat and fish. And all the fish which we kill and eat are reborn as human beings.” – Baba
How can we expect to enhance our life by taking/retracting/obliterating the gift of life…bestowed upon any sampling of creation…? Life is the foremost benediction from the Supreme Source…and life, in turn, bestows each being with love…when you love…is it possible to take a life…? What is required by each one of us is to respect this gift of life…this precious boon of life…in ourselves…as well as in all that’s around us…every moment of each day.
Violence in any form is evil and to kill innocent animals is tantamount to blatant savagery. – Baba
Without exception, every atom in the Cosmos is here with Divine consent…
…each ray of the Sun is alive and vibrant…
…every bit upon the planet is living and breathing with Celestial Assent…
…then what of animals and birds, my dear friends…?
All are living out a life as they were meant to,
Except we humans…me and you,
…who are hell-bent,
On creating a scenario of disharmony and torment…
If we do not posthaste rein in our intent,
In response to the Divine Advent,
An expansion of love and amity augment,
It might just be a little too late to lament…
Life is a bounty granted by the Creator…the gift of life determines what you are…karmas decide who you are…grace and blessings decide where you travel…your determination decides what you make of your life…your discrimination decides where you reach…your accomplishment of duties decide whether you are worthy and true…your devotion decides whether you have the ability to bring out the divine in you and all that is around you…
“Love is present not only in human beings but also in all creatures, birds and beasts. Nor is that all. It is in fact all-pervasive. Love pervades everything in creation. Man’s humanness is vitiated when he fails to recognize this love.” – Sathya Sai Baba
How can there be any gain…
…when we are the cause of another being,
Writhing in pain…?
Are we humans as a race, so starved of entertainment that we resort to being amused and entertained by animals all the while, vis a vis – circuses, cock fights, bullock cart races, grey hound races, snake and mongoose fights…to name but a few such ‘sports’. What is so sporting about a bull fight…goading the bull to fight…when in reality it has no such desire nor harbours any intention to seek a human out for combat…?
Has the human intellect been relegated to the deep freeze…?
What about slaughter of animals and animal sacrifice…?
Is it so easy to exonerate ourselves of all our sins by forfeiting the life of another being…?
Doesn’t that tantamount to yet another sin…?
How can we absolve ourselves of one sin by committing another…?
Is the human heart made out of some kind of metal..that man can stand and watch…withstand…the obvious agony of another being…the tremendous fear that precedes its slaughter…?
“The sages used to perform Yagnas and Yagas for gaining mastery over their senses. The real nature and meaning of a Yagna is the overcoming of all our evil tendencies, throwing them into the fire of sacrifice. This is described as ‘Bhootabali’. The word Bhootabali has been misinterpreted and some people think it means ‘animal sacrifice’ and this has given rise to evil practices. This, is not the right way.” – BabaMoreover, do we truly believe that God will be pleased with this act…? How can we ever think of pleasing God…by slaying His child…His innocent children…faultless parts of His Creation?
The word ‘creation’ is just so vast…as immense and monumental…as our Creator is Eternal and Infinite…All ‘creatures’, along with human beings form a part of creation…if at all we are placed on the top rung of the Cosmic ladder, it is because the onus is on the human race to crown humanity by looking to the welfare of all created beings, inclusive of flora, fauna and the elements five…making optimum use of the sixth element – love. “Creation contains five elements. However, man has a sixth element in him, which is Supreme Love.” – BabaApart from the four aspects that animals and human beings have in common – hunger, sleep, fear, reproduction…humankind has been blessed with an intellect…the power of reasoning, to be so utilised to enforce an enlightened way of living that has harmony as its base.
“The Upanishadic declaration, “Kaarunyam Paramam Tapah” means – Compassion towards all beings is real spiritual discipline. Man is the crown of creation; he is the highest amongst living beings. Therefore he bears great responsibility. He has to love other living beings, serve them and save them, for they are his kith and kin and they too have the Divine Principle as their core. – Baba
Because in the Vedas, animal sacrifice is recommended for certain purpose, to test the proper chanting of Vedic mantras, an experiment was made, how the Vedic mantra is being properly chanted. The test was that the animal should be put into the fire, and if the Vedic mantras were properly being chanted, then that animal would come with a new body. So an old cow or bull was put and he would come with fresh body. That was the purpose. Now later on, they began to eat meat by so-called animal sacrifice. In that period Lord Buddha appeared. – Prabhupada
“Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah.” – Lord Buddha. Defying ancient practices, proclaiming that – Non violence is the greatest dharma, Buddha’s mission was to stop animal killings.
When you kill an animal you give him suffering, pain, harm. God is in every creature, so how can you give such pain? Sometimes when someone beats a dog…he cries, he feels so much pain. How much more pain then is there in killing? Animals did not come for the purpose of supplying food to human beings. They came to work out their own life in the world. When a human being is dead, the foxes and other animals may eat the flesh, but we have not come to provide food for those that eat the human body; we have not come for that purpose. Similarly, man eats the animal, but the animal has not come to provide man with food.- Baba
About sacrifice and the offering of sacrifices, sacrificial animals think quite differently from those who look on; but they have never been allowed to have their say.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
What is required of each one of us is to sacrifice all negative traits…characteristics and mannerisms, that emit and spew poisonous fumes and red hot lava that can hurt, harm, damage, mutilate, sweep away and bury not only those they are aimed at…but other innocent beings that come in their way…going on to cause destruction and havoc in the environment too. Children imbibe insensitivity and turn into unconcerned callous adults, perhaps giving in to violence, when they watch family members rear the animals that are ultimately going to be sacrificed. They are allowed to witness the gruesome act of slaughter…resulting in their tender psyche being exposed to a harsh, unmerciful act, while absorbing an impactful experience, which perhaps strengthens the false belief – that it is alright to take a life…to hurt, wound, maim, betray and kill another being after looking to its needs over a period of time.
How sinful is it to feed on animals, which are sustained by the same 5 elements as human beings! This leads to demonic tendencies, besides committing the sin of inflicting cruelty on animals. – Baba
It is a fact that plants also have life like animals. But animals are endowed with mind and nervous systems too, while plants do not possess the same.
Besides, off late a sacrifice has become a status symbol and more often than not, the animal is slaughtered flouting the laws of the land…in individual residences using inhumane methods. Dignity that eluded them when they were alive certainly lets them down once again when death strikes. Though they are being used as an element, a commodity to be forfeited, supposedly for removing negativity and augmenting good times…the mute creatures often face a great amount of physical and mental abuse and ridicule. If the Almighty God…or Goddess…to Whom these animals are being offered is also referred to as Omnipresent…are we not causing the God in these animals torture and pain…? Many times animals are whipped as they are led for slaughter…their bodies shiver and shake…and fear is writ large in their innocent eyes. Their sense of smell being heightened, their instincts sharpened, they anticipate their death. The fear, stress and anxiety they feel circulates through their bloodstream and affects those that consume the meat.
Instead of sacrificing an animal it is imperative that we sacrifice, forego, relinquish, renounce and surrender negative attributes and habits that are inherent in each of us – anger, ego, pride, arrogance, insatiable greed, envy, lust, attachment, jealousy, etc…that definitely has a harmful effect, destructs and destroys individuals, families, relationships and acts as a deterrent for any kind of progress or growth at a micro or a macro level.
Once, even Prahlada said, “Since it is difficult to destroy egoism, man finds it easy to destroy this dumb animal as a substitute. Animal sacrifice is the manifestation of Tamoguna; it is the path of bondage. The sacrifice of the animal of egoism is Sathvic Yajna, in the Godward Path of Liberation.” – Baba
“I came to end the animal sacrifices, and if you do not stop making sacrifices, the wrath of God (the law of cause and effect) will not leave you alone.” – Jesus, (cited from Epiphanius, Panarion 3:16) “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”(Mt. 9:13)
Sacrifice, so that you may be saved. You have to sacrifice – not a bleating sheep or a horse or a cow, but your animality, the bestial lust and greed, hate and malice. Sacrifice these and you earn the heaven of unflinching peace. – Baba, 23 November 1965
When a mundane mindless ritual is transcended,
Existence is enhanced to become spiritual…
As such, life is a voyage of the soul,
If this journey is limited to the body,
Will we ever reach our goal…?
None of the scriptures belonging to any religion teaches or supports violence and bloodshed on any other living being…for they all propagate harmony…a brotherhood…the Oneness of all life forms.
Let us soak in the words of Beloved Bhagawan, “In the divine family of Lord Siva, there are four members, namely, Lord Easvara, His consort Parvati, and the two sons, Subramanya and Vinayaka. This is an ideal family. There is no difference of opinion whatsoever either between husband and wife or the two brothers. There is perfect accord and harmony in their family. Mother Parvati and Lord Paramesvara wanted to set an example to the whole world in the matter of a most harmonious, perfect and loving relationship between a wife and husband and between brothers. If the unity among the family members suffers even to a small extent, the world will face the repercussions. Unity gives strength to the lives of the family members. Therefore, every family should strive for achieving unity and harmonious relationship among its members. Every family should strive to emulate the example of Lord Siva’s family. For example, Lord Siva’s vehicle is Nandi, the bull. Mother Parvati’s vehicle is Lion. The younger son, Subramanya’s vehicle is Peacock, whereas the elder son Vinayaka’s is the tiny Mouse. They move about the whole world on such strange vehicles which are antagonistic in nature but still lead a perfect and harmonious family life. The message of this holy Sivarathri is to live in unity and harmony with everyone.”
“Sometimes I am a dog, sometimes a pig, a cow, a cat and an ant, a fly and an aquatic creature. In such various forms do I move about in the world. Know that I like only him who sees Me in all the living beings. So give up the sense of differentiation. This is the way to worship me.” – Shirdi Sai Baba
If at all we do feel the need to give up or sacrifice something…in fulfillment of a vow… or to gain certain benefits, then we could forgo, do without an article or food item we really like or else try our best to abstain from giving in to a bad habit that has a harmful effect or is a health hazard.
Once again Beloved Bhagawan explains this so simply – “The true secret of enjoyment lies in sacrifice. Sacrifice has also been declared to be the only means of achieving immortality. Giving up what is taken in is a law of life. It applies to breathing, food and other things. Likewise, the wealth which one acquires should also be given back to society. Wealth includes not only riches, but every other form of acquisition including knowledge, scholarship, and skills of various kinds. The knowledge you have acquired through education should be imparted to others. It is by such sharing that your education gets enriched and purposeful. If you do not impart the knowledge you possess, it becomes useless. This means that the more you give, the more you grow.”
What needs to be annihilated and offered at the sacrificial altar is demonic qualities…to be replaced by maîtri bhav or sadbhav…a kind of a kindred awakening. It is time to question ourselves…to introspect – just why have we come upon earth…been gifted a human life…along with so many other lifetimes should this life also pass us by without an answer…? Without compassion being able to liberate itself from caged thought processes and narrow minded egocentric clutches…to finally breathe free…we remain stagnant and stationary…in the middle of the cycle of transmigration.
For… unless compassion or karuna,
Does its loving arms raise and rear,
…how will we draw an elevated destiny near,
And our precious Lord endear…?
“Man consumes as food many living beings, plants, eggs, fish, cattle, sheep, etc. These are born as human beings on account of this act of consumption. But, since they have not had the education which can reveal the God within, they vegetate or stay brutish, without appropriate ticket or passport for rising higher than the human status in which they have been hurriedly placed. Like most men, they roll along from womb to tomb, bond slaves to the senses and the ills that the bondage inevitably brings in its train.” – Baba
It is time to herald in a renaissance…to help recover, regenerate, restore and revive the glory of humanity…to tear apart the dreadful veil of shame, dishonor and disgrace that shrouds the human race for displaying appalling disregard and disrespect for the rest of creation…for banishing the very qualities that awarded it the title –‘Human’.
H – Heart and Harmony;
U – Universal Understanding;
M – Magnanimous Monarch of Mercy;
A – Abundant Altruism;
N – Naturally Noble.
Human beings have sprung from the Heart of the Cosmic Being signifying Universal Understanding…the human heart is the home and seat of harmony, compassion and love and is bestowed with Magnanimous Mercy…humans are destined to be the Monarch of Mercy…quite amicably and affably, ceaselessly displaying Abundant Altruism…for humans are meant to be Naturally Noble. From microbes to fish to plants…to insects to reptiles to animals…the journey culminates when the soul acquires a human form…hence, since we have experienced all these stages as our soul evolved, how can we turn a blind eye, pretend to be deaf and allow ourselves to overlook the afflictions of these forms…? When as human beings we disrespect the five human values, by not extending the qualities of Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa to all life forms…humanity continues to show a complete lack of growth and progress, leaning heavily towards regress.
Our sense of community and compassionate intelligence must be extended to all life forms, plants, animals, rocks, rivers, and human beings. This is the story of our past and it will be the story of our future. – Baba
Beloved Bhagawan’s life is His message…an example for us all to emulate…His words are eternally luminescent…full of harmony and accord that touches every atom in the Cosmos. So let us enrich ourselves with these priceless pearls…be guided and enveloped by His pure selfless love…and emit it constantly to all life forms to draw in a peaceful coexistence…as He wants us to!
“When a devotee seeks with humility and purity to give seva and prema to My creatures who are in need of such selfless service and sublime love; when he considers all creatures as My children, as the blessed manifestations of my immanence, then, in fulfilment of my role as Sathya Sai, I descend to help, accompany and carry that Yogi. I am always near such a Yogi to guide him and to shower My love upon his life.”
“What about the animals? They need help too. My love embraces the animal kingdom too and so should yours. It should not be limited to humans alone.” – Baba
Sisters and Brothers, can we…should we…must we…deny our Beloved Lord any more what He wants of us…?