Thursday, May 12, 2016

Humans and Animals...or just Beings

While living in India during my childhood, we lived in a small town. The street was very narrow and often while walking down to the school, office or market place, we would be sharing the road with people, chickens, dogs, horses and other pedestrians. After a while we stopped seeing ‘horse,’ dog, ‘chicken,’ ‘human’… we just saw living beings.

We were all just beings; sharing the street, making our ways to our chosen destinations.
It was quite cool.

Now, even a dog or a cat on the street, or a squirrel in the back yard catches our eye. We don’t see ‘Beings’ anymore; we see people and animals. Even among the animals, dogs and cats are looked at with affection, while the other animals get strange curious looks. 
What has changed? 
Perhaps it’s the western influence, because there are some basic differences between Eastern and Western Religious philosophies. 
All major Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism* believe that the same Aatma (soul), which is a part of ‘Parmaatma’, the Super Soul, resides in all living beings while the major western religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe that animals do not have souls… only humans do**. 

Indian Holy Scriptures state:
“Ishaa Vaasyamidam Sarvam” (Rig Veda)
(Ishwar (God) resides in every being whatsoever)

“Sab Govind hai, sab Govind hai, Govind binu nahin koi” 
                                                                 (Aadi Granth sahib)
“All is God, all is God, there is nothing but God”

On the other hand, western religions believe that God created man in his own image, and everything and every other being was created to serve humans and to be consumed by them. 

                                    ‘Rajan Sachdeva’  

*Buddhism does not use the word ‘soul’. They use the word ‘Mind’, a part of the ‘Universal Mind’ that goes on taking many different births until it achieves ‘Nirvaana’. The concept is same as Aatma or soul going into many re-incarnations until achieving “Moksha’.  

** Until recently, even the psychologists believed that the animals do not have ‘consciousness’. They live and react only on instinct.

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