An Interesting Incident In The Life Of Swami Vivekananda

A protagonist of the Cow Protection Society had approached Swami Vivekananda seeking financial help. The Swamiji after silently listening to him said, "A terrible famine has broken out in Central India. The Indian Government has published a death roll of nine lakhs of people. Has your Society done anything to help them?" The preacher replied, "No. Our organization is exclusively meant for the protection of mother-cows and so we do not see how we can do anything in the matter. Moreover it must be their karma that had invited the calamity."

Shocked by this atrocious reply Swamiji replied, "I've not the least sympathy for those organizations which do not feel for man, which do not offer a handful of rice to save the lives of their starving brothers while distributing piles of food to birds and beasts in the name of charity and love. I believe they are of no use to society. If one goes strictly by the theory of karma, then all efforts, all struggles for anything on earth including your drive to save the cows, become utterly meaningless . It can be well argued then that the mother-cows fall into the hands of the butchers and die according to their own karma and we need not do anything about this. "

Not knowing what to say the preacher said, "But Swamiji according to our scriptures the cow is our mother!" Swamiji sarcastically replied, "No doubt you are right; who else could give birth to such accomplished children!"

The preacher failing to understand Swamiji's mind once again begged for funds for the Cow Protection Society. When he had finished Swamiji said, "I'm a sannyasin, a penniless fakir. How can I give you monetary help? But if some day I have money I shall first spend it in the service of man. Man is to be served and saved first. He must be given food, education and spirituality. If any money is still left after attending to all these human needs, perhaps something could be given to your Society. "

As a strict vegetarian I can not stand the sight of even a chick being killed. By instinct therefore I naturally tend to support the ban but then one fails to understand 'why this selective sympathy for cow?'

Ban on slaughter of cows that is being demanded is mainly driven by vested interests attempting to get political mileage and little else. As a libertarian I firmly believe there must be complete freedom of choice for everyone in the matter of food.

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