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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1997
by Swami Krishnananda

31. Slaughtering Cows

(Darshan given on June 2nd, 1997.)

A visitor: My family makes their livelihood out of slaughtering cows. In our country, New Zealand, the main export is meat.

Swamiji: You cannot live without doing that kind of work?

Visitor: I can. Yes.

Swamiji: What is the other alternative?

Visitor: I'm in construction management.

Swamiji: Do that.

Visitor: And my family… What connection is my dharma to my family and that community? My father is getting old, and there is something with the family land and the cattle.

Swamiji: You have to find a job which does not involve killing cattle, and with that you must maintain your family. You can till the land, you can raise a factory, you can do business. Don't involve yourself in cattle. You do any other business, other than this. There are so many ways of living in the world.

Visitor: My brother is living on that land, and he is slaughtering cows. Should I continue to live on that land with my brother?

Swamiji: Does the land belong to your brother or does it belong to you?

Visitor: It belongs to all of us – three brothers and one sister.

Swamiji: Tell your brother that you are not going to do this kind of work, that you will have your own work.

Visitor: But should I live alongside them, in the family where there is…

Swamiji: If you can live elsewhere, if you have got the means of living elsewhere, live elsewhere. If it is impossible to find a place, you have to live there only, but don't do this work. If you can find another place comfortably, conveniently, do that.

Visitor: Swamiji, is it correct dharma for me to run away from that situation? Is it correct for me to run away from my society and my culture?

Swamiji: What is your culture?

Visitor: It's based on this for economic reasons.

Swamiji: No, what you are doing cannot be called culture. It is the opposite of culture. It is not correct.

Visitor: So the whole New Zealand culture is not correct because our economic base is killing animals?

Swamiji: The more you are considerate in regard to the lives of other living beings, the more are you cultured. The more are you inconsiderate in regard to the life of other living beings, the less are you cultured. So you cannot say that killing cows is a culture. It is not culture because you are interfering with the lives of somebody else.

Visitor: So what to do then, because I was educated by my father from his livelihood?

Swamiji: Let the father do anything. I'm not talking of your father. I'm talking about yourself. I cannot talk about your father because your father is not here.

Visitor: Okay. Well, I come from a culture, and now it is not a culture, so how to live there?

Swamiji: You need not live there. If you can find another place comfortably, do that.

Another visitor: But Swamiji, it's difficult if you were raised… I didn't raise cattle but I feel like I benefited by the work that they did, which now I see as uncultured, and still I have a biological relationship to them in one way, and also they have helped me to be here, and…

Swamiji: You can receive help from them by being physically away from them, because you are saying it is not agreeable to you. If the culture that they are following is not acceptable for some reason, you need not live there, though you need not cut off your connection with them. You can live elsewhere but still maintain your relationship because they are your parents or whatever they are. You cannot live in a place where your conscience is revolting. That place is not good. Find another place.

I would not permit the killing of any living being. It is not a proper thing. And you are not in such a bad predicament that you cannot exist without eating cows and all that. You find another work, another job.

Another visitor: How to become strong in the mind?

Swamiji: Are you not strong in the mind now?

Visitor: No.

Swamiji: Are you weak?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: How did you find out you are weak?

Visitor: I am not very strong-willed to do anything.

Swamiji: What do you want to achieve by the will? What do you want to achieve?

Visitor: Wisdom.

Swamiji: Wisdom of what?

Visitor: Of life, to serve.

Swamiji: What is your profession?

Visitor: Psychologist.

Swamiji: You have studied so much. How did you study without willpower? You have got willpower. Why are you always feeling that you are weak? You must not say that. You are a psychologist. You will become whatever you think you are. If you say you are a weak man, you will become a weak man only. This is a kind of induction, and you are wrongly hypnotising yourself: “I am a poor man. Nobody wants me. I have got nothing. I am weak.” You should not say like that. Say, “I am a strong man. I have got great power. I shall get what I want by the power of my will. I am one with the cosmic force. I am united with God Himself. All the power of God is working through my mind. My power of will is strong.” Why don't you say that? Why do you say 'weak, weak', and all that? Whatever you are affirming in your mind, that you will become. As a psychologist you know all the techniques. I think there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfectly all right. Only affirm the strength of your will, which derives strength from the cosmic will. No problem. Be happy.