This I Believe

Bina - N. Attleboro, Massachusetts
Entered on April 28, 2006


Holy Cow! Oftentimes I have wondered how this expression ever came into being. I am certain it has a history. But being an Indian I pretty much took this expression for granted, as we, in India, worship the Cow. We call her ‘Gow Mata’ (Mother Cow) to celebrate her ‘all-giving’ noble existence.

Consider this, the female cow sacrifices her milk that is rightly her calf’s, allowing herself to be drained day in and day out for the benefit of humanity. If that isn’t altruistic, I don’t know what is. She stands there in her humble and loving way watching us with doleful eyes, wondering what else we can extrapolate from her. And yes, we take full advantage. We begin to consume her waste product. What we call ‘dung’ gets used for fuel, for building homes and pathways in villages and believe it or not, for sacred ash, widely distributed in the temples. Religious priests and the common man smear it on their foreheads as a sign of saintly hood.

Why then does she have to be slaughtered? What right do we have to end a life that is giving life? What good has beef done to anyone other than provide moments of titillating pleasure to one’s taste buds? How long does that pleasure last in comparison to what she has sacrificed? She too, has been sacrificed for human greed. But wait, it doesn’t end there. After she has been squeezed dry from all sides, she is skinned so that men and women can have their fancy accessories to match their capricious moods and ever changing trends in the fashion world. I’ve often wondered how we appear in her eyes. I’ve often wondered too, how we could continue to live with ourselves after having looked into her eyes.

I have also wondered how many people have looked directly into her eyes. Judging from our persisting lifestyle, I doubt very many have. I refer to the cow here, because she has a special place in my heart, but the same can be said about all other living creatures.

This I believe and I believe very strongly that it is payback time. Retribution. Because of our misdoings the planet is suffering. It is this excessive abuse, misuse, indulgence and insatiable greed that has brought this planet to where it is today. Who decides who has to die, for the other to live? We are not in the wild, where creatures kill for survival, besides, they have no choice. We have a choice. We are in a so called ‘civilized world’ killing our own species. Can we not spare the other species? Do they not have the same rights as we do? Simply because they are mute and are unable to defend themselves we assume that we have the upper hand and therefore they have to die so we can live? Why then, are we not happy, healthy and disease free?

I believe that if every individual for one day, just one single day pretends to be that sizzling steak on someone else’s platter, that individual will surely be looking deep into his soul, searching for answers and hopefully questioning his values, his choices and his purpose for living and understanding his right to be on this planet. This, to me, would be the same as staring into the gentle eyes of ‘Gow Mata’ and seeing one’s own reflection.