Nepal | April 21, 2019

Animal sacrifice: Compassion needed

Bishal Bhattarai
  • With sinful acts, one cannot expect to be blessed with prosperity, good fortune or happiness. Such sacrifices do not please any god or goddess. If one does find happiness sometimes – then it is temporary. We have seen a lot of scarifies in the name of god

No Animal Sacrifice

Prayer is a form of communication with a deity or other spiritual being. Words addressed to a deity usually offer praise or seek guidance, blessing, forgiveness, fertility, victory, or protection.

Like prayer, sacrifice is a form of communication with a deity for similar purposes. As distinct from prayer, sacrificial offerings include objects of value and symbolic significance that are given to the gods to earn their favor.

Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing or offering of an animal as a part of religion to appease or maintain favor with the divine agency. Such forms of sacrifice are practiced within many religions around the world and have appeared historically in almost all cultures, from the Hebrews to the Greeks and Romans and from Islam to the Hindu.

Hinduism, as it emerged in the medieval period de-emphasizes animal sacrifice, and indeed any meat processing, based on the doctrine of Ahimsa – which bars the killing or injuring of all living beings.

In Nepal animal sacrifice is widely practiced. There are no rules to regulate sacrifice, instead the government supports blood sacrifice by providing subsidizes.

Apart from regular sacrifice at goddess temples, extreme cruelty is conducted at certain festivals including the live skinning and burning of animals, slow killing throat slitting, killing with unsharp knives, and public beheading etc.

Therefore, the fact that, no one can adequately explain why these practices are carried out years after years – except to say they are ‘traditional’.

This however is not a valid argument to continue these practices. Hinduism is peaceful religion; it does not support such a cruel act. It is time to end killing animals in the name of religion.

Hinduism is generally thought of as a vegetarian religion, one that respects animal because in the cycle of death and rebirth, we will be animals at one point or another.

Hinduism, the world’s oldest living religion – is a rich collection of hundreds of spiritual and philosophical traditions followed throughout Asia for more than 5,000 years. Hindus believe that the divine exits in all living beings; both human and non-human.

The whole world is one family. Animals and plants are not regarded as sheer objects for wanton human use and consumption in the Hindu custom. Rather, they are equally embodied with the existence of divine and fully deserving of respect and human compassion.

Despite differences in intelligence and ability amongst varying life forms, the existence of the soul in all forms binds all the existence and demands peaceful co-existence along with humans, animals and other elements of nature.

With such sinful acts, one cannot expect to be blessed with prosperity, good fortune or happiness. Such sacrifices do not please any god or goddess.

If one does find happiness sometimes – then it is temporary. We have seen a lot of scarifies in the name of god. Humans make dozens of ‘excuses’ in order to kill these animals.

Moreover, a sacrifice to please someone cannot be meaningful if we sacrifice what belongs to that someone. Animals are God given gift to humankind and the same when scarified to please God contradicts the meaning of sacrifice.

God is the one who gives life and takes life. We humans should have no right to control over the life spans of any creatures. Killing of animals as part of religious rite is   cruel to the animals. Animals have their rights too.

They are living creatures and they deserve if not our love, at least our respect. God is pleased if we follow a right path, do good and avoid committing evil acts. It does not serve any good purpose at all but to rob poor animals of life.

Is animal sacrifice the hallmark of morality? Is animal sacrifice rational? They are obviously based on an old hierarchical order and on an unequal society, which separates individual into species, just like animals.

Slaughter, butchery and murder in the name of anything is wrong and at times, evil. There is no higher power that smiles down on this ‘ceremony’, and this act of horror needs to cease. Think of what is possible today – that was unthinkable years ago.

Change is hard but not impossible. We believe in the promise of God. We believe that the future is what – we make it.

Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in dedication made over Animal Rights. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all living beings are created equal, that their creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness endows them.

That is the true genius of culture – a faith – in a true religion. Now, it is the time to end this addiction. We believe that as hard as – it will be; the change we need is coming.

Our treatment of animals is important to our own internal state. We know no single step can change overnight what lies in the hearts and minds of millions. No single step is going to erase – years of history and propaganda.

Nevertheless, progress with Animal Rights is a powerful way to begin.

Those days need to be over. Now it is the time to fight for Animal Rights. We do believe that all of us have an interest in resolving this issue peacefully.

And if we let this simple concept be our guide, if we pursue the vision then we have no doubt that in future generations, Hinduism will be regain its status of a peaceful religion.


A version of this article appears in print on October 03, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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