This Dashain, sacrifice your inner demons, not animals

Stop temples turning into slaughterhouses.

Abiral Gautam

October 6, 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This Dashain, sacrifice your inner demons, not animals
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Listening to the Malashree Dhun, a Nepali folk tune that is repeatedly played during Dashain on radios and television with the onset of the Dashain festival is enough to give anyone goosebumps and makes them afresh from all tedious jobs.

Dashain, the great harvest festival of Nepal observed by Hindus after the end of monsoon, is all about family reunions, exchange of gifts, blessings, and feasts. Thus, is enjoyed by everyone regardless of their age.

These are the joyous aspects of the festival while the dark side is the gruesome ritual sacrifice of animals in the name of worshiping and pleasing Goddess Durga.

There is credence in the society that animal sacrifice pleases gods and they will fulfill all the desires of a person. It seems a traditionally mandatory of animal sacrifice during Dashain in most of the Hindu communities in Nepal.

In Nepal, thousands of innocent animals are sacrificed at temples every day to please god and goddess to seek guidance, blessing, forgiveness, fertility, victory, or protection. And this trend escalates during the Dashain festival every year with a public beheading of animals and birds.

It is conceived that animal sacrifice is practiced in Nepali society since eternal ages in the name of age-old tradition. Voices are frequently raised to stop violent, cruel and inhumane acts. But, they have continued unabated in the name of tradition.

There is credence in the society that animal sacrifice pleases gods and they will fulfill all the desires of a person. It seems a traditionally mandatory animal sacrifice during Dashain in most of the Hindu communities in Nepal.

Apart from regular sacrifice at goddess temples and during Dashain, extreme cruelty is performed during the infamous Gadhimai festival that is held every five years. Millions of animals are hijacked in the ground with few peoples carrying blunt blades and chase them to slit and beheaded with several attempts leading slow and hard death.

Changing people’s mindset is a long enduring process and it can’t be changed overnight. Continues awareness not support such a cruel act is the key.

This malpractice and abuse have raised several questions over our culture and religion. On one hand, we Hindus believe that animals and plants are not sheer objects but are the offspring of God. But, on the other, we ruthlessly kill innocent animals by slitting their throats to ‘please’ gods.

Are gods and goddess thirsty of blood — the blood offered by killing their offspring? Can a mother be happy witnessing a ruthless killing of her children? And, by performing such barbaric and sinful cruelty, can we expect to be blessed with a good fortune or happiness? The gruesome killings in the name of fulfilling personal interests can never be justified.

The question remains why such malpractice remains evident in society in the age of science and technology. There are mainly two reasons for the inhumane and barbaric malpractice still deep-rooted in our society. A superstition that ingrained in our minds that killing animals will please gods and they will fulfill our desires is the main reason for the misdeed.

Unfortunately, the government is sponsoring such malpractice and superstition rather than working to abolishing them.

Changing people’s mindset is a long enduring process and it can’t be changed overnight. Continues awareness not support such a cruel act is the key.

Nepali governments themselves have been encouraging the cruelty in the pretext of the age-old traditions. Governments have been doling out money to sacrifice animals during different rituals and jatras.

Consider this for instance: When the state-owned Nepal Airlines sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757 aircraft, the news made in headlines in media throughout the world.

Unfortunately, the government is sponsoring such malpractice and superstition rather than working to abolishing them.

The government should be implementing animal protection laws within the country to outlaw the sacrifice of animals for religious purposes ahead of the festival as they are violent, cruel and inhumane.

We have always missed out the underlying message of sacrifice. Sacrifice means sacrificing inner enemies — kama (lust or desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), mada (pride), moha (fascination or attachment) and matsarya (jealousy).

But, we opted to sacrifice innocent animals in the name of gods. We need to sacrifice our inner demons not animals to stop temples being turned into slaughterhouses. It’s high time that everyone pondered.

Happy Dashain!

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