In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Kaushika receiving yet another blow from the meat vendor when he questioned his profession. As Sage Kaushika asked him why he is selling meat on the roadside if his “Dharma” is very strong in him, and why doesn’t he move to another respectable profession other than this, the meat vendor explained how situations in a person’s life determine the nature of job that he / she does and the behaviors that he / she exhibit. This is also a very important learning for all of us and when we had concluded yesterday’s episode, I had left with an important question for all of us to explore within ourselves and answer – The job that we are in today – Are we in this job by interest and passion, or, are we in this job today because the situation that I’m in currently, forces me to take up this job? Moreover, the behavior and attitude that I have at this moment – Is it because I want to behave purposefully like this, or, is it the situation that is forcing me to behave in certain ways? I’m sure all of us would have started exploring our own self with these questions and let us continue to do so in the coming days as well. This is because, it is not easy to get answers for these questions upfront. Sometimes, these questions might be uncomfortable for us, but it is important for us to churn our “Vaasanas” (Inherent tendencies). Hence, let us take this as an opportunity to start questioning ourselves!
Continuing with this discussion forward, the meat vendor explains further thus, “Oh Sage Kaushika! You’re seeing that I’m selling meat, don’t you? But do you think I would have eaten even an inch of the meat that I’m selling? The answer is “Never”! Till today, I’ve never eaten meat in my life, even though I sell it! This is my profession and I have taken it as something that Bhagawan has given me to earn my living. That’s all! I do not look at this beyond this point. However, my “Sharanaagati Dharma” towards Bhagawan is intense as well. Hence, whatever Bhagawan wants me and intends to do with me, I’m perfectly fine with it!” As Sage Kaushika hears this from the meat vendor, he is even more surprised! He asks back thus, “Oh meat vendor! If that is the case, even killing a living being and making a profession out of it is a “Paapa Karma” isn’t it? Of course, not eating meat is obviously good and I appreciate it. But at the same time, killing the animal is also bad, isn’t it?”
For this, the meat vendor gives a beautiful reply thus, “Oh Sage Kaushika! Please tell me one thing – Aren’t we killing living beings constantly every passing day for our comfortable survival? We have our homes built in a nice way. For this, how many living beings have we displaced from this place and how many have died because of it? We prepare food every day to eat and in this process, how many small germs and bacteria are we killing every day with heat and light? We are breathing in air and breathing it out, and in this process, how many small living beings are we killing inside our lungs? We’re walking every day from one place to the other and in the process, how many living beings are we stamping under our feet and killing? So according to me, if we start looking at things in this way, we cannot lead a life. Hence, this process of “killing” is part and parcel of the journey called life!”
Saying thus, the meat vendor continues furthermore here – “Oh Sage Kaushika! I had just said that I do not consume meat, didn’t I? Now I myself will answer why I do not consume meat – It is simply because I know how bad it is according to our “Dharma-Shaastra”. If one knows and understands our “Dharma-Shaastra”, he / she will not consume meat. However, if one doesn’t know the same, he / she will still continue eating meat, and I’m selling meat only for those who do not have any knowledge about our “Dharma-Shaastra” at all. Of course, if someone knows the “Dharma-Shaastra” very well, he / she is never going to come near my shop for buying what I sell, isn’t it? So, I have the “Sharanaagathi” towards Bhagawan and I know that consuming meat is bad, and hence, I refrain myself from doing so!”
Such was the reply from the meat vendor, which made Sage Kaushika extremely thoughtful! Perhaps the meat vendor is at an extremely high level of spirituality here? Such was the thought in Sage Kaushika’s mind! As we witness this answer from the meat vendor, I have an earnest appeal to all our fellow readers – As we’re going through all these important parts of our Sanaatana Dharma, we should try consciously to stop consuming non-vegetarian food. Why is this so? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂