Delhi Government Bans Cow Slaughter
The prestigious Washington Post, one of America's most
influential newspapers, headed their April 1st wire story on the
banning of cow slaughter in New Delhi, "Victory to Mother Cow."
The following are excerpts from this informative report by Molly
This capital city's new Hindu government has approved a bill
banning the slaughter of cows and the sale or possession of
beef-the most stringent law in the country governing the
protection of India's sacred cows. "The cow is very much
attached to the sentiment and the cultural traditions of the
people," said Sahib Singh Verma, New Delhi minister for
development and education, who sponsored the bill. "We call the
cow our mother. So we need to protect our mother."
Passage of the law, which imposes jail terms of up to five years
and fines of up to $300 for possession of beef, has been viewed
as an example of the strict religious and cultural reforms
advocated by the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won
control of the New Delhi government last fall and made the
protection of cows its first legislative act. The new law-a
plank in last fall's BJP party platform -was viewed as an easy
way to bolster the party's political credibility among Hindus,
as opposed to attempting to restrict the eating habits of
non-Hindus. In a nation where the majority of people revere the
cow, the legislation has attracted little public opposition. It
passed without a dissenting vote in the Delhi assembly, where it
was greeted with shouts of "Victory to mother cow."
The new measure will allow law enforcement authorities to raid
shops and homes without notice and places the burden on the
accused to prove that confiscated meat is not beef. In
addition, no bail will be allowed for those charged with cow
slaughter. Only embassies and official diplomatic residences
are immune from the provisions, legislators said. The bill has
a provision for aged or unhealthy bovines. It establishes 10
cow shelters throughout Delhi for old or sick cows whose owners
cannot care for them.
Said Shastri, 46-year-old Hindu priest at Delhi's Birla Mandir,
a Krishna temple: "The cow is such a generous and enduring
animal that from birth to death she serves mankind ... That
which serves you with its milk is your mother. That is our
belief. So would you kill your own mother?"
Best Album Grammy To Hindu Guitarist
In March Indian-style guitar virtuoso Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
along with American rock guitarist Ry Cooder won the Grammy for
the Best Album of the Year in the World Music category for their
CD recording, A Meeting by the River. Bhatt, 42, is one of
India's renowned musicians, playing the mohan veena, a Western
guitar that he customized by adding sympathetic strings. He
grew up in Jaipur, India, in a Hindu family of musicians,
studying classical Hindustani style under Pandit Ravi Shankar,
who now lives in California.
The recording of the Grammy-winning album wasn't done in a
sophisticated sound studio, but in a church in Santa Barbara,
California. The music was totally improvised, with Ry Cooder
and Bhatt meeting shortly before the recording. The CD has sold
over 45,000 copies with sales certain to escalate after the
Hinduism Today asked Bhatt for his thoughts on Hinduism. He
says: "I am proud of being a Hindu, and I think it's the best
religion. I am not an activist, but I love the philosophy and
the tenets of Hinduism. These are essential for life. If these
are observed, one can lead a disciplined and happy life." He is
currently on a 20-city concert and lecture tour of the US and
Canada. He says, "My main aim is to promote Indian classical
music here and to stimulate people's interest."
Bhatt isn't the first Hindu to garner a Grammy. Two years ago
South Indian drummer T. Vikram won for his contribution to a
global drumming anthology that took best album prize in world
music. By Lavina Melwani, New York
Mahatma Gandhi And the Peanut Eater
At our request, Swami Vidyananda [see page 26] related his
favorite story of Mahatma Gandhi.
People asked Gandhi, "Why do you travel third class? Gandhi
replied, "Because there is no fourth class." Once he was so
traveling in the third-class compartment. A man setting beside
him purchased a large bag of peanuts. He was eating and
throwing the shells inside the compartment. Gandhi asked him,
"Brother, why are you throwing the shells inside the
compartment, why don't you throw them out the window?" The man
got very angry and shouted, "Is it your father's train?"
"Brother," replied Gandhi, "It is neither my father's train nor
your father's train. Maybe it is everybody's father's train.
The man said, "Shut up or I will throw you out of the
compartment." Gandhi thought, "This man is not going to learn."
So Gandhi started picking the shells up off the floor and
throwing them out of the window. That man was throwing the
shells inside the compartment, and Gandhi was throwing them out
the window. This whole drama went on for a few hours. Just as
Gandhi was getting exhausted, the man purchased some more
peanuts and continued to throw the shells in the compartment.
Gandhi continued without any grumble.
Then they arrived at the station where Gandhi was to disembark.
A lot of people had come to receive Gandhi with flags and
garlands. They looked from compartment to compartment, "Where
is Gandhi? where is Gandhi?" They came to his compartment and
put a lot of garlands around him, shouting, "Gandhiji,
Gandhiji." Then the man who was sitting by Gandhi on the train
was shocked. He prostrated at Gandhi's feet and said tearfully,
"Please excuse me. I did not know that you were Gandhi." The
Mahatma replied, "You have to excuse yourself. You have to take
a vow that you won't do it in the future." And that man became
one of Gandhi's greatest followers.
4,000 Year-Old, 2-Wheel Chariots In South Russia
During the mid-1980s eager Russian archeologists finally dug
shovels into the settlement and ritual burial sites of the
earliest Indo-European culture in the timber-and-grassy-plain
region southeast of the Ural mountains. They found an
archeological beacon that points to Ireland, Iran and India: six
two-wheeled chariots and horse bones buried in graves for
aristocrats. Details of the digs and samples were just recently
passed to Western researchers who carbon-dated the chariot
graves to 2026bce, making them the oldest known high-speed
chariots. The discovery strengthens the hypothesis that the
homeland for Indo-European cultures (exhibiting language and
custom parallels) that blanketed Great Britain, Europe, Iran,
Afghanistan, Pakistan and India was in the Ural steppelands of
Russia. The oldest evidence of horse taming-dated 4000bce -also
comes from south Russia. The chariot wheels were 8-12-spoked
with closed hubs to keep dirt out and contain the axle pin-an
advanced technology held to be first present in Mesopotamia.
Harness pieces like those at the Ural graves show up in digs in
southeast Europe dated prior to 2000bce. The Indo-European
language families-Romance, Germanic (including English), Celtic,
Greek, Latin, Baltic, Hittite, Iranian, Sanskrit-all contain
similiar technical words for chariots. Meanwhile, a mid-1993
archeological dig in northwest China discovered 113 mummified
bodies of horse-riding Indo-Europeans with blond hair dated to
1200bce. The find is vulcanizing the archeological world, for
it points to ancient contact between Europe and China. Similar
noblemen ritual burial mounds have been discovered in India and
dated at 1200bce.
Trends to Watch: Genocidic Microbes Resist
Antibiotics-Meat-Eating is Primary Source of Supergerms
Microbes are the nano-robots of the organic world, microscopic
organisms that swarm through us and over our planet in the
centillions. They are the bacteria of decay-breaking down a
million tons of biomass every day-and of disease. Until the
discovery of penicillin in 1928, microbes were unconquerable.
Penicillin, and its antibiotic progeny, killed the bacteria of
pneumonia, blood poisoning, meningitis, tuberculosis, staph and
many other diseases. It was the Germ Wars of the 20th century:
microbes versus antibiotics. The microbes are still winning.
Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
routinely handle deadly, plague-type bacteria. But they won't
experiment with staph, an ordinary bacteria that causes blood
poisoning. It lives on the skin and in the nostrils of 50% of
humanity. Because there are strains of staph that have only one
antibiotic to counter it, the CDC scientists won't tinker with
its DNA structure. A next-generation superstaph could be
generated that was resistant to that one antibiotic, and if it
escaped into the public would kill 10,000 every month. Microbes
develop resistance to antibiotics almost as quickly as the drugs
appear. The resistance acquired by one bacteria can be passed
by environmental contact to other bacteria.
Ironically, quicksilver resistance has been accelerated by too
many antibiotics prescribed too often to millions of people,
creating optimum opportunities for supergerms to evolve. But
the largest mass production engine for supergerms is the meat
industry, where tens of millions of cattle, dairy cows, pigs,
and chickens are routinely pumped up with antibiotics.
"Antibiotics in farm animals," states Newsweek, a leading US
magazine, "leave behind drug-resistant microbes in milk and
meat; with every burger and shake, supermicrobes pour into your
gut. There, they can transfer drug resistance to bacteria in
the body, making you vulnerable to previously treatable
The Brit bhakti for Hindu objects d'art gushes again in this
marvelous current showing at the British Museum entitled,
"Deities and Devotion, The Arts of Hinduism." It is one of the
most profuse exhibitions assembled, including not just the usual
large sculpted images, but hundreds of accoutrement items that
make the repertoire of ritual: water vessels, incense burners,
lamps, conch shells, spoons, trays, palanquins and even
chariots. Rare paintings and ancient texts on palm leaves round
out this rich feast of Hindu art.
Satchdev Wins Billboard Award
G.S. Satchdev's astral, atmospheric creations on the North
Indian bansuri flute is what a raga is about: luscious
sound/emotion/devotion. And Western ears love it. Satchdev won
the Billboard Music Award in the World Music category for his
performance of raga madhu kauns on the Global Meditation CD
collection. The virtuoso flautist tours often from his home in
beautiful San Rafael, California. Satchdev has lived in the US
since 1970, and is highly regarded in music circles.
Kyoto Karma CD-ROM Game
Slip in the CD-ROM disk Cosmology of Kyoto and enter an
incredibly realistic computer world of the medieval capital of
Japan, a city functioning in the cosmic laws of karma and
reincarnation. Starting at the city gate (pictured), you enter
a realm that is filled with commoners, scholars, priests, monks,
royalty and shadowy beings of the netherworlds and light beings
of the spiritual worlds. Your interaction dictates your karma
and future incarnations. The game is based on exhaustive
replication of medieval texts describing the unseen worlds, and
includes a history database.