Respecting Each Other's Points of View
BY: HAMSAVATAR DAS
Jan 26, 2012 OCALA, FLORIDA, USA (SUN)
My dear Dusyanta, Somehow I think you have missed the essence of the points I was making in my article. Regarding the Manor, I used them as an example of devotees trying to do something that is "right". I believe Srila Prabhupada would be very pleased with their present day efforts. I also believe in giving credit where credit is due, and not ignoring it due to any other shortcomings. I was not making any proclamations or judgments. As far as whatever your experience was in the decade you lived there, it really has nothing to do with their present effort. Whatever axe you have to grind there, swinging it at myself is in the wrong direction.
Most of what you were saying in your letter is "preaching to the choir" as far as offering our foodstuffs to the Lord. From your verbal attack directed at myself at the outset of your letter, it is obvious you do not have a clue what I am about, and (purposely?) missed the essence of what I wrote.
Your insinuations that I am wearing a badge of pride, or am on a "high horse", by being a vegan, saying "who cares?" is totally uncalled for. Not only that, it is a statement born of ignorance. Many people do care in the circles of "animals' rights" that I deal with. (So many of these people are truly ready to hear real yoga philosophy in these groups, as they are already showing love and respect for all sentient beings.) They see us as "walking our talk" and thereby accord us due respect, as well.
The blanket statements about "violence" and "killing" are decidedly shallow. There are different levels of violence. Of course we cannot help killing. When we breath we kill millions of microscopic living entities, same as when we bathe. When we walk we may inadvertently kill insects. How many of them do we kill with our cars unintentionally every time we drive them? The karmic reactions for animal abuse, torture and slaughter cannot be compared with that of "killing" broccoli or tomatoes. Anyone who abstains from meat eating becomes raised to a higher "human" status, even without offering their food to God.
Is this an example of an intelligent and heart-felt preaching methodology? "If Lord Krishna wanted animals offered to him, then that is what we would do!" What kind of statement is that? You could substitute "stool and urine" for "animals" in that sentence. It is not a sensible statement, to say the least.
We understand everything from the viewpoint of the Vedas. First a person must increase the mode of goodness in their lives, lessening those of ignorance especially, before it is possible to understand the transcendental philosophy of the topmost yoga, devotional service to the Supreme
Personality of Godhead.
My point had to do with our being examples, doing the right thing and practicing what we preach. Not being hypocrites. To support dairies that do not love their cows and thus do not treat them nicely, what to speak of mercilessly slaughtering them when they no longer produce enough milk, as well as slaughtering every single male calf born to them, is a travesty! It is hypocritical to the enth degree. There is no question in my mind that Prabhupada had the faith that by now devotees would be producing milk, at least for all the temples' needs. However, this is not the case. On top of that, many devotees also buy the pesticide and hormone laced milk products because they are cheaper. What kind of consciousness is that?
Your words were a bit pedantic, saying Srila Prabhupada describes devotees are vegetarian, not vegan. My point had to do with where the milk is obtained, nothing more and nothing less. Again, another "Prabhupada said", the right phrase to support any assertion. To make matters worse, I can see that you actually agree with me by the points you make about food production, so why insult me?
The funny thing about your rushing headlong into me, head down, horns at the ready, is that I pretty much agree with everything you said about food production. Nor do I take exception to your assertions about ISKCON's shortcomings in this regard. You must admit that you have no idea who I am, the life I lead or anything else about me, so how can you make such judgmental accusations?
Your letter is not a "reply", as you state, to mine. It is wholly on a different subject, that of ahimsa milk, etc. Nowhere in my writing do I make any such sweeping statements. You really should have just written your letter and made your points. There was no reason to belittle me, nor was it necessary in order to present your points on food production. Let your words stand on their own. If they have merit, then they will. To purposely disrespect and castigate someone is unnecessary. I had only good intentions in presenting my thoughts on the subjects I wrote on. Since I received several positive responses from others, I know that I am not alone in my opinions. To be honest, before writing those things you could have found not only a sympathetic ear, but a friend, in me. Ah, but why be so sentimental. Better to wag a finger and put me in my place, eh?
One thing that has always disheartened me about "relationships" in the devotee community is that there is so little desire to have meaningful, what to speak of loving relationships. Sure there's plenty of false humility, but being insincere, it is meaningless. First offer your obeisances, then proceed to speak disrespectfully and often with the utmost sarcasm, to demean, castigate or criticize. Finish it off with an apology for any unintended offenses at their lotus feet and sign off as "your servant". It is very unbecoming behavior for those who talk about looking for "love of God" as their highest ideal. We have plenty of envy, distrust, fault finding and "advice giving" to display, but little of anything resembling real humility, friendship, affection, camaraderie or love. Without those there can never be any "real" relationships. Sad, very sad.