Sufferings of Sacred Animals
Every now and then, we hear about something where animals are being harmed. This World Animal Day, let’s take a step to give animals a better life.
Hindu mythology and the sacredness of animals
Hindu mythology has always reminded us of the sacred values of animals as part of our traditions and cultures. Digging back to the Puranic period, it was signified that each deity represented one or more aspects of divinity and probably was thus accompanied by one or more animals to escalate and strengthen the bonding of Gods, humans, and animals.
Spotlighting the sanctity of animals amongst the diversified religions of our country, we can see that we worship animals in varied ways denoting them as deities, like the Monkeys (God Hanuman), the Elephants (Lord Ganesha); as vahanas or vehicles of a number of deities, like the Tiger (Maa Durga), the Nandi bull (God Shiva) and majorly the Cows - Mother of all giving us milk (Gau Mata).
Are we worshipping or showing cruelty?
The list is never-ending as there are many animals that are denoted as sacred to different religions. But the eye-opener lies in the fact that on one hand, we worship them, while on the other hand, we are cruel to the same beings.
Every now and then we hear about something or the other happening around us where animals are being harmed.
We use Elephants for rides at Jaipur to feel the pride of being royal;
We destroy the Wildlife to develop those jungles into a living or work space for ourselves;
We hit the Monkeys with stones to save our food to be grabbed by them;
We leave the male calves on the street to die of hunger or accident just because we don't see them as useful to us;
We keep the cows in cruel conditions, tethered all day & night, injected and forced to milk many times for our needs.
All these are not just issues of concern but it actually questions the boundaries of our own religions. Just as we hate being around double-faced people in real life, these animals too see humans as double-faced for worshiping them on certain occasions and being heartlessly cruel to them throughout the rest of the year.
Dogs are man's best friends
Moving forward to the Dogs who are said to be man's best friend and the most loyal pet one can have, we see that in Hindu culture, Lord Dattatreya is depicted with four dogs, and these dogs represent the four Vedas (Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda). Also, there is a festival named Kukur Tihar celebrated in Nepal where dogs are worshiped on this day. Whereas in places like Kerala, people concluded to kill so many dogs to deal with their personal issues with stray dogs rather than resorting to getting them rabies vaccinated to solve the issue.
Such instances are hard to believe but they all exist across the globe and not just in India. As recently we all witnessed a time when the lungs of Earth were burning which is home to all our religious animals as well i.e, Amazon Forests which was probably a result of human acts and once again humans destroyed the houses of thousands of animals residing there.
Thus, there is a need for everyone to understand that animals are not just part of our religion but they also play a pivotal role in the earth's biodiversity. So, the problem lies within us and not just in the system and it is the high time we stop disturbing the natural environment and these animals.
Why don't we sensitize ourselves for not harming these animals? Let’s take a step on this #WorldAnimalDay to make sure they too live a life worth living just the way we all desire to live our own lives.