Svetambar Muni encourages veganism

In the past, we posted a Youtube Video of a Digambar muni who recognized the violence in dairy production and consumption. Now the Svetamabar tradition is represented! This maharaj saheb gives a very inspiring talk about how our Tirthankars and disciples did drink milk in small quantities as medicine and even broke fasts with kheer, but how our current consumption of milk by the glassful is cruel and unhealthy. He encourages the audience to go vegan for 3 months, no excuses, no substitues, and to include non dietary aspects too. He has been vegan for 6 years and has noticed a difference in his way of thinking.
Please click the continue reading button to read the full English translation, thanks to Pranav Mehta. Labdhi Sagar Maharaj Saheb has quite a charismatic speaking style, and those of you that understand Gujarati can enjoy it!

 

As all rivers meet the ocean in the end; all religions also converge in Ahimsa or non-violence. Indian culture rejects any religion which isn’t based in Ahimsa. Ahimsa is the best religion (Ahimsa paramo dharm). Those who commit himsa have to suffer the consequences themselves. So many people talk about Ahimsa but we have to understand the real meaning of Ahimsa during Mahavir Swami’s time period through studying, arguments and logic. In today’s world, people are so influenced by spices that they have started liking outside foods We don’t like to tell you that the food that you provide to us (sadhu/sadhvis) is not very good anymore and we are sad to inform you about that. The food contains things that we do not eat or cannot eat. It is very rare nowadays to find food that is without the forbidden ingredients (according to Jain religion). I am extremely sad to say that even the most senior guru (Gachhadhipati) had to eat non-vegetarian food unknowingly. We have lost the purity / sanctity of temples, upashrayas and homes. Nonvegetarian foods have reached even the temples. They have reached to your kitchens and also affected your tapas such as ekasanas and biyasanas.

Are you ready to listen to me? It will be difficult to hear.

At your house, the food that is inappropriate, Is also the food that negatively affects our efforts, our thoughts, and is the same food that also negatively affects you. Because of this food, we are nullifying the vows we took when we became sadhus. Be patient. I am coming to the point. But today sincerely think about this. I want to make you think. Why do you need such food? Maybe, it’s your greed. Change should start at home. You do tapas but you use this food and that’s not right. You need to bring such foods in the house that are healthy, nutritious, help you think clearly and help you reap the benefits of tapas. Until now, you have heard of non-veg foods, root vegetables but today I want to talk about milk, curd/yogurt and ghee that you buy. I want to tell you about how bad or harmful these milk products are.

Look, in the time between Lord Aadinath and present time, some people have violated/modified the traditions. If you look at all progressive movements of our time you will notice that there were only few people who started manipulating the traditions or systems and then system/traditions got the bad name. If a driver commits a mistake and causes an accident then it does not mean the road was bad. Understand? Because if we don’t timely correct our mistakes, we just end up being in a vicious circle and cause more harm over time. It’s like wildfire burning the drywood but also the healthy trees. A new tradition gets adopted even if it is wrong.

Lord Mahavir clearly said that milk, curd, ghee, oil, sugar are “vigai”. These six food items are called “vigai”. In pachakkhan bhashya, 40th gatha explains that vigai is harmful and affects us negatively and causes negative emotions. So Lord Mahavir said that you have to limit the consumption just like medicines.Do not drink (milk) by glasses. First understand one thing. In this world only mammals give milk and only for their own babies. Just like human mothers, a cow gives milk only for her baby. Same is true for camels, buffaloes and all mammals.

I apologize if this is something you don’t agree with but please listen to me patiently. I am telling you what I know is to be true and I just urge you to listen. And if you refute my opinion and if your argument is valid, I will ask for forgiveness from all of you. But the condition is you need to have an open mind just like I am here with an open mind. It will be hard to believe me at first and there is a reason for that. When we were young, our teacher did an experiment. He said “raise your hand. But then don’t bring it down yourself.” It’s a good experiment you should also try it. So once you raise your hand, you cannot bring it down yourself. However if it comes down on its own then it’s fine. But in reality what will happen is that your mind will play trick on you and will start convincing you that if you keep your hands in the air, you could have injuries and you could have this or that problem and that’s why you have to bring it down. Your brain will start creating new rationales. Ultimately you will give up sooner than later. Same way, because you are addicted to milk and its products your mind will resist while I talk to you today. Today, just for half hour, forget that you like milk and just listen to what I have to say. That’s all I am asking. Are you ready?

Ladies, I am asking you. Are you ready? You are the home ministers. [Laughter] In the whole world, mammals give milk only for their own babies. Secondly, babies drink milk only until the weaning age (until they are infants). Thirdly, all other mammals except humans drink only their own mother’s milk and not someone else’s. We drink someone else’s mother’s milk and also in adult age. Cows and buffaloes have so much cholesterol in their milk that their babies grow very fast and reach youth age in just 45 days. In humans, it takes 12 months before the baby can start even start walking. Cow’s milk is for her baby – a calf. And if you drink and grow like a calf then it’s not anyone else’s fault And if you drink it in adult age and then because it’s vigai, it causes you negative emotions then it’s not anyone else’s fault. It’s your own doing. After certain age, you get more negatively affected by cow and buffalo milk.

I will say this – Lord Mahavir has consumed milk. He consumed Kheer for parnas. Even his disciple – Gautam Swami also consumed milk. He allowed 1500 of his followers to use kheer for parna. Kheer is a mixture of milk, rice and jaggery. So God did not disallow the use of milk but he specifically said to limit it and use it in very small quantities, on occasion or medicinal purposes. But when you drink a glass full of milk, not only it affects your own body but also causes the milk’s demand to increase in the market. It was Dr. Kurian who brought in the white revolution (milk revolution) did that because of our high demand of milk. He established the Indian dairy and milk distribution system. Because of this increased demand, there is more cattle in the world than ever before and it has set in motion a huge slaughter system for cattle to control their population.

I want to tell you that for last six years I and sadhus with me have given up dairy products including milk, curd and ghee. I am not just preaching to you. I have actually done it for six years. I want to show and explain to Jain followers that after giving up dairy, just within a month, I felt very positive emotions and I advanced spiritually. I had more clarity and purity of thoughts. It was almost like a revolution within my mind and heart. If you can believe me all, I will ask is for you to give up dairy products just for 3 months and observe the changes in your body and mind. If you consume dairy products at this age it will become cause for many diseases. Excess milk consumption leads to many kinds of problems. I even say that if this world really desires peace, everyone should avoid consuming dairy products.

Lord Mahavir said milk can be consumed by babies or when you absolutely need it such as during parnas after a big tapa. Anand Shravak had four gokuls (dairy farms) and Kamdev had six gokuls. Each gokul had 10,000 cows. But they never sold the milk. They just took care of the cows. It was a sanctuary for cows. Since Lord Mahavir’s time, cows, buffaloes, dogs, cats have lived with humans and these are the kind of animals who are dependent upon humans for co-existence and survival. That’s why there needs to be gaushalas (animal sanctuaries). You should be proud that in the whole world there are 1600 sanctuaries. 1400 of which are owned/operated by us Jains. That’s how it was there in the old time. Milk was never being sold. There was plenty to go around for everyone and there was no need to buy or sell. I am talking about balance here. I will talk about when to consume milk and when not to. In the wild, a cow will provide milk to her youngest baby first and then if left, older babies will also drink her milk. Humans took it one step further. [—-]

Maneka Gandhi made a statement that caused a major stir in jain society. And that statement was that “milk is non-vegetarian”. I am not agreeing with her that milk is non-veg but I want to say that milk is ‘almost’ non-veg. Do you want to hear, why? It’s non-veg because in the past, only leftover milk was used for human consumption. But now because of our greed and addiction and selfishness, we take all the milk away from the calf and calf (if male) is sent to slaughter at a young age. The milk that you are drinking from a glass is direct result of a slaughter of a baby cow. Won’t you call it murder? Won’t you call the milk as non-veg for this reason? Every year, 5 to 7 lakh (500,000 to 700,000) baby calves go to slaughterhouses from the dairy industry. Dr. Kurian himself said that approx. 80,000 calves are sent to slaughter every year just from the city of Mumbai. Cows and buffaloes normally live up to 20-30 years but because of the dairy industry’s excessive production, these cows and buffaloes are slaughtered at the age of 7. Let me ask you. What is worse – dying suddenly in an instant OR dying after a long painful life? Of course the latter. I am not saying to kill them in an instant. Please mind you. PETA is an organization who gave 125 crore rupees (INR 1,250,000,000) to a slaughterhouse in Deonar just 5-7 years ago. You know why they gave that money? They gave it to “modernize” the slaughterhouse to kill the animal in an instant.

I am just telling you the truth that Lord Mahavir said. Sometimes I feel like I am alone. Nobody wants to be on my side. Many people think this is bluff. But I tell you, you are walking towards self-destruction. Slow painful death of an animal is a bigger sin.Why does the animal have to die at 7 years of age instead of full life of 20 years? What is the real reason behind it? The real reason is – Us. It’s because of us. And please do not think that milk from a local family operated dairy is better. I am actually very opposed to those dairy farms. I have visited a small dairy myself so I know. I have been trying for last 5-6 years to explain to the jain Samaj. 5 years ago nobody was ready to listen to me. But now I will not stay silent. At the dairy farm, I saw that a truck came and newborn calves were being thrown in the truck. Just spend 5 – 7 minutes to see a video to understand how dairy farms work. [ video show artificial insemination process and how cruel and painful it is to the cows. It is performed by people who are inexperienced and with unsanitary equipment] Today they use machines to extract the milk Machines do not know when to stop. By the time machines realize that the milk has stopped, cows get bleeding because of the last few extraction attempts. The cows  bleed almost every time. This creates pus around their nipples. I tell you that government standard allows for some part blood (2 drops) and some part pus (8 drops) in milk during laboratory tests. How can we drink milk with blood and pus? And how can we use it to do the “Abhishek” on the God’s idol? Do you see the blood? Don’t see it with your eyes. See it with your heart.

The cow in video is alive but she lies dead on the ground because she is “spent” and of no use to the industry. The industry considers these animals as products, not family. …. Baby calves are being sent to slaughter at young age. Mothers cries for days or weeks looking for their missing babies. Animals have feelings and they want to survive. Some animals will climb tall walls to save their own life. Animals are known to confront even a lion to protect their babies. And when due to our needs, these animals lose their babies. How cruel is that? How can we drink such milk? Don’t close your eyes, stop drinking milk. Oxytocin is a hormone that gets naturally produced when a mother is nursing her baby. This gives the mother immense pleasure and that makes it an enjoyable experience for the mother to nurse her baby. But industry gives this injection illegally to cows which cause them severe pain similar to labor pain. The reason why they give this hormone is that cows stop producing milk in six months after delivery and then they do not deliver another baby for another several months. So the industry gives oxytocin in the period between two pregnancies to continue the milk production. This is exactly why the cows are really “spent” in 6 or 7 years and being slaughtered.

In the past, cows would go and forage for grass and then would return home on their own and then make sounds as if she is telling the owners to keep her in the house overnight. The cow would trust the owners and actually would need help from the owners to extract any leftover milk after her calf has already fed first. But now we do not have any care for the cow. We just consider her a business property. You saw the video. You can see how thin and hungry they look. Because no one takes good care of her. They give very bad food to the cows. And want her to starve because all they care about is raw material and production. In our religion, there are four adatta-daan. Jeev-adatta, ajeev-adatta, tirthankar-adatta, and guru-adatta. Without permission, we cannot take anything away from a living being. If we do, we commit a sin called “adatta-daan”. It is stealing. Just like we do not ignore the command of the God or the Guru, we cannot steal from a living being. Because of our demand, if these animals are being killed at 8 hours instead of their lifespan of 20 years then we commit a “sopakrama-ayushya”. This means that either in this life or a future life we wouldn’t live for our full lifespan and die way too early because of heart attack or accident. It’s bad karma and it affects us the same way. Also, since they are not feeding the animals properly we commit “antaraya-karma”. Once we commit antaray-karma, we also do not get what we want. …… We do abhishekas of the God’s idol. We want to decorate the idol. But then we use milk and that takes true feelings away. The positive effect of abhishekas is diluted because we use milk, yogurt and ghee in the rituals. In spite of all the drums and bands during the rituals, we do not get fully engaged in the process because of these three foods being used.

All I am asking you is to give up milk, yogurt and ghee for 3 months. That’s all I want. Just 3 months. You will experience yourself and that will give you the strength. From my own experience, I can tell you that after giving up milk, I had clarity of thoughts, had better spirituality and negative emotions went away. During diwali and other festivals, we purchase millions of rupees worth sweets made using milk. Where do you think this comes from? If you ask the government, how many animals are in the dairy industry, they won’t tell you because if you know the real number, you can also find out the number of slaughters. So government will not tell you. But according to the FSSAI, 75% of milk consumed in India is adulterated. That happens because of the excessive demand on the dairy industry.

Listen carefully what they add to the milk.

• Fertilizer

• Soda

• Even Paint

In most cases, at railway stations etc, they create milk out of different things such as shampoo, detergent powder, hydrogen peroxide and so on. I am going to show you soon. …. [another person] In Pune, I have seen a dairy where the cows were tied to milking machines and being rotated and it was unbearable for me to watch the cows leaving the machine, trying too hard to separate from the machine. We are under the wrong impression that because of use of machines, milk stays pure and clean but that is absolutely not true. Thank you for sharing. As you saw today, if you can get the milk without adulteration, without violence, without machines and with the right ethical process then you are lucky but still it should be consumed in extremely small quantity like medicine.

After listening to all this, my only ask is just leave milk products for 3 months. After watching this video that I showed you, almost 40% people give up dairy products and even non-veg foods. Even Muslims change after watching this. I think the only reason you find it hard to change is because you still thought that milk is not causing any violence. But this is extreme violence. I strongly believe that if the milk has 2 drops of blood and 8 drops of pus then it cannot be considered pure to be used for abhishek/prakshal. I am not commanding you to stop using milk for pakshal because you will need to consult with higher authority (gachhadhipati). But you can always share this information with them and ask. Join me in spreading the message. I cannot do this alone. See these pictures. The kids in these pictures are not using any milk, ghee or any non-veg but they are very healthy. So why cannot you live without milk? Finally treat cow as good as you treat your mother. Then only you deserve to drink her milk. I don’t support completely abandoning the cows but I am looking for a good solution. If you have one, please talk to me. But until then I want to see for long term. I do not want to be selfish about my health. I think the vegan message which says that we need to abandon use of milk, yogurt, honey, pearls, ivory, and any other animal-based products is the right choice in present time. There is no better solution currently available. Even if you do not call it veganism, you have to act this way in order to keep the purity of your temple, your mind, your heart. If you really want to purify the temple and your soul, you need to abandon milk, yogurt, ghee. You can make milk, ghee, yogurt at home. There are ways to do it. I want everyone who wants to commit for a 3 month period to stand up. And those who want to commit for lifetime, please come on stage. These kids have gave up non-veg which they used to eat. They also gave up wine.

Please do not ask me for alternatives, just simply give up dairy. I have seen the dairy that was considered very good. I used to get milk from them but then after seeing the reality, I stopped the milk from them too. You know what they feed to animals? They feed them dead body parts of other animals after grinding them and boiling them at high temperate and converting into protein and fatty oil. The pav bhaji that you eat outside also may have been using this oil. The whole system is bad. THE END

 

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