On Veganism: Various religions, and their view of animals
The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question: How to understand religions, the treatment of animals, and the role they play in religions?
Acharya Prashant (AP): When you say religions, just for the sake of the conversation, I would want to divide them into two streams:
1. The Abrahamic stream
So, the Judeo-Christian view is that God has dominion over man and man has dominion over animals, something similar also comes up in the third Abrahamic religion, Islam, which talks about Allah having created all the animals, fish, insects for the sake of man.
And, then there is the view of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism which talk of Ahimsa, Ekatva, which is non-violence and oneness.
But I am not really convinced that when we use the word religion, we must really talk of the view that organized religions take of this matter. The moment religion is organized, it becomes something man-made.
So, I will take your question to mean, that we want to talk about religion as such. Man, animals, man’s inner world, and man’s relationship with the so-called outer world including animals.
So, there is man and man lives according to himself in this so-called universe, this universe that appears to him through his senses, there is no other way a man perceives the universe, he perceives it through his senses and he interprets it through his reason, through his intellect and through his knowledge and memory.
Now, how does man relate with the world?
How does a man know what to do, how to approach, how to touch, how to live, how to eat, how to talk, how to connect, that to me is the essence of religion.
Man’s relationship with himself and the world, that is religion and that is also the essence of all the organized religions.
Hence, I find it more beneficial to talk about religion itself than the various organized religions.
I have named just six in the course of this talk. But as you of course know, there are hundreds of them. It would be more useful to directly go…