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They don't want this to be known || Acharya Prashant (2020)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
52 reads

Questioner (Q): When I see how meat is produced, how vaccines are produced, how wool is produced, how silk is produced, it seems so obvious that I am contributing to that cruelty by consuming those things. But it seems that the rest of the world does not see that; it seems like a crazy world out there, where people are pretending to be righteous and peaceful and good.

An elephant was shot by a hunter in Africa, and people who were eating meat were saying how cruel it was. When I pointed it out to them and asked, “What’s on your plate?” they got very angry and ended the discussion by saying, “I need it for my health!” It seems so obvious, but it’s something that stops people from believing it. Sometimes when they see the animals being killed they change their mind, but not very often. It seems so obvious, so why does it still continue? Why do people resist change?

Acharya Prashant (AP): See, propaganda has to be met with publicity. You know the Foundation had a TikTok account? It got banned because we were posting videos opposing meat consumption. Now I am told that when my videos pertaining to carnism and animal cruelty are posted on YouTube and Facebook and we seek to promote them, the respective companies, apps, do not allow them to be promoted.

So, it’s a matter of publicity. We need to shout into people’s ears. We need to bring this to their notice. Our friend here wouldn’t have asked this question had the thing not happened in front of his senses. So, the matter has to be brought right in front of people’s senses. That’s the thing. Otherwise, we are so occupied with our mundane universe that we have neither the intention nor the opportunity to be fair to us, nor the opportunity to look at these things. Somebody really has to shout aloud. We are trying whatever we can.

See, there is no other way. By hook or by crook, even without taking the other’s consent, the video has to be pushed to the other’s eyes, right? If you do not like the video, block me. But till you do not block me, I will keep pushing it to you. That probably is the only way.

Q: Even something like vaccines, which is so ingrained in our society, is produced using a lot of cruelty and horse’s blood.

AP: And a lot of those vaccines are totally unnecessary. And populations who were subjected maximum to those vaccines are the populations who have shown themselves to be the most vulnerable to this virus, the current one. Don’t you see? Look at the mortality rate in all the developed societies, and those are the societies whose immune systems have been heavily compromised because of excessive use of vaccines. Look at the Third World. The mortality rates are almost acceptable. Look at Pakistan, look at Afghanistan or Africa, even India. Compared to the population of India, the mortalities are nowhere near the US or UK or France.

Q: Maybe I am being righteous, but when I see this mortality rate you are talking about, part of me says, well, they deserved it.

AP: You don’t have to feel guilty for feeling this way. There is something called karmaphala (fruit of action), and it does not depend on whether we want it or not. It will come to us, like your credit card bill. It will come to you. You make use of vaccines for no reason at all, and your immunity will become so dependent on vaccination that when the next virus strikes, you will again die in your millions.

But then, that’s what all the pharma companies want, right?—more and more vaccines and this and that. “Oh, a new virus has come! Don’t you want to protect your kid? Come, vaccinate him quickly!” And then parents say, “My God, my little Johnny! He needs to be protected!” So, first of all, Johnny needs to be produced, and then Johnny needs to be protected. But then, that’s what pharma companies want, right?

Q: Another way that I have seen to work at reducing flesh consumption is showing them the medical reports that show how dangerous meat and dairy is, and this makes them stop, but this does not stop the use of other aspects of cruelty to animals, like clothes, vaccines, inputs for industrial goods, etc.

AP: But if you can disrupt even one part of the consumption chain, then all the other articles would feel the pinch. For example, if you can convince a sizable number of people to not use leather, that would have an impact on the prices of meat. Or if you can convince people not to use milk and milk products, that would adversely impact the prices of leather, fur and meat. So, once the prices rise, the consumption has to go down.

You know, you could even have a purely economic approach to the entire thing. You could say, let us figure out the actual cost of meat consumption or leather consumption or vaccination. The actual cost—which includes all the environmental damage, including all the future environmental damage that slaughtering an animal causes—you calculate the entire cost, and you price the animal product accordingly. The price then would be so overwhelmingly unaffordable… So, even pure economics would do the trick.

Q: Yes, that’s the same thing that environmentalists say, add in the externalities, the external cost. Still, even though it might be easier to get people to stop because of health reasons, a part of me is still feeling that I am giving up on something bigger and settling for something far inferior, even though there might be some impact.

AP: You can’t wait for somebody to be spiritually realized before he gives up flesh. That would be too long a wait, and too harsh on the animal. And there are several people who do not even intend to be realized. So, that is probably the only way to go for them: convince them that their body is suffering because of milk or meat, convince them that probably even leather is carcinogenic when it comes in contact with human skin. Because if you take the high route, the route of compassion, the route of understanding, maybe they will never walk that route. Never prefer it.

Q: I see that with my father, so I convinced him to stop eating flesh for health reasons, and he says, “I have not done it for the animals, I have done it for myself.” And I can sense the attachment within myself wanting him to have done it for the spiritual reason.

AP: Maybe that can come next. Maybe, once you have given up meat for purely personal and selfish reasons, the higher reason, the more sublime, can follow next. Usually when you come up with the right reasons, for most people it is simply high-sounding rhetoric. They don’t want to be preached. They don’t want lessons in compassion. So, tell them where it matters to them. Hit them where it hurts them.

Q: Yes, for me it goes back to hypocrisy, as you said, they don’t want lessons in compassion, but they profess to be so compassionate.

AP: That can be called out. That can easily be called out.

Q: They don’t like being called out.

AP: You don’t have to worry about that. Why are you worried?

Q: I guess I am worried because I won’t be able to influence them to change.

AP: Once they have disliked you, they have created a permanent position of your influence in their consciousness. Don’t you see that? You can probably forget someone you like, but it’s very difficult to forget someone you dislike. They may counter you or contradict you very energetically, but what you would say, that would stay in their minds for long. It’s just that you would have to pay the price for being personally disliked, which is a price which I think we all must be prepared to pay.

Q: I don’t care about being disliked, I care about the fact that they might be turned off the whole thing completely.

AP: They will be turned off towards you as a person, but they will remain sensitive, conscious towards the issue. Even if they engage with the issue in negative ways, even if they engage with the issue to belittle the issue or to oppose the issue, but at least the issue would stay in their consciousness. It is no more something that they can be oblivious of. And we have to run that risk. We cannot keep on wanting to be popular among friends or acceptable among relatives. We will have to run the risk of being unpopular, disliked or uninvited. It’s fine.

Q: I have noticed some people react when I say I am not going to go for a meal if there are animal products. I think they may say no, but oftentimes they say, sure, let’s try that. So, the way, I think, is not the way it always plays out as well.

AP: Plus, let me assure you—I mean, just to incentivise you and the others a little—they may talk of you as an oddity, they may talk ill of you, they may even go to the extent of ostracizing you, but somewhere deep within they will respect you. So, stand for the right thing. When we receive very harsh, very negative, abusive comments on all our social media, we take it as a success. Somebody has been hit just at the right place. On and off we get death threats as well, and that is taken as a jackpot!

Q: When I watch your videos, the one thing that I am most inspired by is the fierceness to stand by what is right, regardless of what anyone thinks or says or does. And just because everyone is crazy does not mean that you have to be crazy. So, thanks for that.

AP: There’s no other way to live. There just is no other way to live. I don’t have an option. Probably, if there had been an option we could have found it compelling and lucrative, but there is just no other option.

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