Maha Sivaraathiri-Appeal from Nandhi & Gho Matha

Nandhi

 

Ram Ram, Dear All,

I have a couple of important requests for Aastheekas to consider. On occasion of this Maha Sivaraathri let’s:

1.    Take a firm vow to ‘abolish’ all leather products. I’m sure we are all aware of the leather industry’s extremely cruel practices of obtaining leather from cows and calves. The demand has to come down steeply so supply stops, resulting in Gho Mathas saved. Use eco-friendly foam substitutes. Please take a moment to take print out of these small notices provided in the link below and distribute it to as many possible. Devotees will come to the temple in large numbers on this auspicious day. These can be printed on A4 sheets; 6 notices can be cut from a single sheet. Let’s leverage this occasion and distribute to as many possible.  Soft copies of these notices are posted down below so you can share it via FB, Twitter, E-mail, Whatsapp, and other social media tools. We are not asking for any funds, promoting any individual, or organization. The only goal here is to follow the teachings of Sri Maha Periyava, spread awareness, and save Gho Mathas as much as we can!

https://www.mediafire.com/folder/dbigvi46i4clu/Handouts

Files to download and print – 6 notices cut from an A4 size sheet. Print back to back.

  1. Small Flyers – Tamizh – Sivan and Ambal.pdf
  2. Small Flyers – English – Gho Matha and Nandhi.pdf

2. Avoid/Minimize Milk, Ghee Abishekam to Bhagawan unless we are sure they are obtained through ethical means. Compassionate options like juices, coconut water, vibuthi, panchamrutham, etc. can be considered for abishekam. This holds true in many foreign countries like US (even Bharatha Desam) where cows are treated cruelly and the milk we get is by putting Gho Matha’s through a lot of agony. Not only on Maha Sivaraathri, we should think about this on other days as well. Let’s also minimize our daily milk usage with zero wastage. I have been to a dairy farm and have seen how it operates. Watch this 60 second video to see on how the dairy industry works. This what Gho Matha’s go through 24x7x365. https://youtu.be/wZcUrWAK-8Q
Please spread this around as much as you can. Let’s do our bit in this noble cause.
Happy Maha Sivaraathri to all!! Siva Siva!!!

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5 replies

  1. Ram Ram, Dear Sir,

    The above request is not extreme at all. One can easily do it. I’m a living example. I’m not saying this with ego or pride but saying what is possible. If I can do it anyone can do it. In the above post, I have also mentioned the use of eco-friendly foam substitutes and not bluntly said to avoid leather. Nowadays eco-friendly substitutes are available very much in the market including shoes, wallet, belts, pouches, etc.

    I’m using decent foam products (shoes, belt, wallet, etc.) and have stopped buying/using leather. My kids are 10 and 6 years old and go to school (in Chennai). They get good foam shoes, not leather at all and sustain pretty well. We just have to look around all the available options and trust me you will find plenty.

    Some of the points you have mentioned is wishful thinking and noble thoughts. Is it possible for officer/college/school goers to completely give up shoes and completely switch over to chappals as you have mentioned. There has to be process established, body to implement and monitor it.

    The options I’m suggesting is @ an individual level. All changes has to come at an individual or grass root level to sustain. It is up-to us to try it or not! Ram Ram

  2. We seem to jump from one extreme to another!

    It is absolutely necessary to stop violence to our cattle. There is no question about that. To this end we should all avoid using leather products- especially needless, fancy ones.

    But can we avoid leather altogether? And should we ?

    All products which are touted as leather substitutes are even more harmful to environment, while seemingly avoiding direct violence to cattle.

    What is required is this:

    1. There are cattle which die naturally. Their hides and skins have to be used, in ways which are environment -friendly ( eg. avoiding harmful chemicals in tanning, colouring, etc.)

    2.We have to minimise use of leather products. We can settle for simple chappals instead of shoes.

    3 We have to think of better alternatives. eg . suitable cloth belt – like from denim or such material- can be devised.for people who have to use belts or pouches.

    4. We need to develop voluntary agencies which will obtain leather/hides from non-violent , non-commercial sources and use them. We also need to develop a system of certification of such non-violently made products- like the Agmark .

    The Khadi outfits once did market such products. I do not know the present position.

    The basic point is, extremes do not work. We have to create meaningful alternatives. Just think of the millions of school children who are asked to wear shoes as part of uniform! Do we have an alternative?

    • Ram Ram, Dear Sir,

      The above request is not extreme at all. One can easily do it. I’m an example. Many of my friends who have families also do not user leather. I’m not saying this with pride but saying what is possible. If my friends and I can do it anyone can do. In the above post, I have also mentioned the use of eco-friendly foam substitutes and not bluntly said to avoid leather. Nowadays eco-friendly substitutes are available very much in the market including shoes, wallet, belts, pouches, etc.

      I’m using decent foam products (shoes, belt, wallet, etc.) and have stopped buying/using leather. My kids are 10 and 6 years old and go to school (in Chennai). They get good foam shoes, not leather at all which sustain pretty well. We just have to look around all the available options and trust me you will find plenty.

      Some of the points you have mentioned is wishful thinking and noble thoughts. Is it possible for officer/college/school goers to completely give up shoes and completely switch over to chappals as you have mentioned. There has to be process established, body to implement and monitor it.

      The options I’m suggesting is @ an individual level. All changes has to come at an individual or grass root level to sustain. It is up-to us to try it or not! Ram Ram

      • I agree with you, fully. In fact, there is no disagreement at all between us- it is just the manner of expression, and the angle of approach.

        The eco friendly foam shoe you have mentioned is an example of meaningful alternative I mentioned! This is exactly what I mean! We have to create alternatives! But such foam should be certified as ecofriendly and recyclable, just as paper and packaging material are certified.

        At individual levels, we can surely think and eliminate leather products, as many of us have done.. But why should we avoid all leather products, irrespective of the source? There are communities which live on handling dead cattle and using their hides and skins. It is only when this work fell into the hands of Muslims that indiscriminate killing of cattle for the sake of the leather started.

        But, this is aligned to the beef industry, which has international ramifications. You may be aware that recently some US Senators have addressed a letter to our PM, voicing their opposition to ban on cow slaughter! if the cows are killed for beef, where will the leather go? So, that is what we have to tackle first.

        The leather industry resorts to tanning, using dangerous chemicals. The US and EU have stopped tanning almost completely on their soils, and this dirty and dangerous work is shifted now to countries like India and China.While leather products are made anywhere, tanning is still confined to river beds due to the enormous need for water. The tanneries in UP directly pollute the Ganga, while our people have polluted the Palar and even the ground water in North Arcot ( Arni-Vaniyambadi belt.) [F
        or that matter, even the innocuous cotton textile industry has polluted Cauvery river in Erode and Pallipalayam areas and one whole dam there is polluted. Do we therefore avoid cotton textiles too?] The need to avoid leather is even more urgent if we have to safeguard our rivers and water sources. But this cannot be done if avoidance of leather products is confined to a small minority, on religious grounds. It may be symbolic, but not significant. That is why I harp on creating alternatives.

        The argument against the indiscriminate use of leather is basically Ecological.The argument against the use of beef and for ban on cow slaughter is ultimately Economic, as many American writers have shown. In India, simple people may be satisfied with a religious argument, a Hindu religious argument at that, but it will not cut ice with people at large in a secular atmosphere. We must use arguments which appeal to all, which appeal to reason, and not mere religious sentiment of a section, and we must use methods which work.

        I surely think much ahead of merely avoiding use of leather products at individual levels. Study of plastic parallel is instructive. Plastic is scientifically shown to be a permanent danger to the environment. There are also many enlightened groups which demand a ban on its manufacture and use.But has any govt come forward to do it? Do people at large- even the so called educated people- support it? Do our media support it? What will happen to our concern with leather then, beyond individual action? That is why I talk about alternatives.

        Where we have goshalas run by Hindu activists,it is possible to establish forward and backward linkages, We can use the hides of animals dying naturally and use that leather for making products which can be marketed. What is fanciful here? We need an entrepreneur like Kurian who started Amul, against international opposition and our own govt’s and bureaucratic indifference and obstruction.

        So long as we domesticate cattle and use them for any purpose, we cannot avoid leather at all! And the leather which is a natural byproduct of keeping cattle will have to be used in ways sanctioned by religion.What is needed is regulating the sources of supply. Supply will always be related to demand. In the modern economy, demand is boosted by active promotion or manipulation.. This can be countered in the long run only by sustained enlightened campaigns, as the organic food movement is showing. Appeals on religious grounds will work only in limited circles.But as individuals, we surely have a duty to avoid leather.

        Incidentally, I mentioned the poor chappal only to illustrate a point: that is , per unit, it involves less quantity than the shoe and its use will thus naturally reduce the demand for leather! But the chappal has kept hallowed company! We read that Kannappa Nayanar was indeed wearing the chappal when he worshipped Kudumi Thevar! And we read in Paripadal that Lord Subrahmanya was indeed wearing the chappal made of leather:

        தொட்டதை தைப்பு அமை சருமத்தின்தாள் இயை தாமரை
        துப்பு அமை துவர் நீர்த் துறை மறை அழுத்திய
        வெரிநத் தோலொடு முழு மயிர் மிடைந்த 5
        வரி மலி அர உரி வள்பு கண்டன்ன
        புரி மென் பீலிப் போழ் புனை அடையல்

        [O Lord, your lotus feet were adorned with the chappal made of leather , soft like that of the skin of a snake,. dyed red, and adorned with peacock feathers! ]

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