Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mythology, Sacred Cow, Beef Issue

I am a big fan of mythologies. I grew up listening to stories from the Hindu mythology told by my dad, uncle and aunt. Then my dad gave me a book called “Balakathamaalika” (in Malayalam), which had Greek, Egyptian and numerous other mythological stories. I read about Jason and the Argonauts, Hercules, Ra, Thor, Charlemagne, Lancelot and King Arthur for the first time in that book and became fascinated. I still have that book and sometimes read it to my sons.

I must reiterate here that I totally love myths; myths that tell the “stories” of men with supernatural powers, and of course supernatural beings. Most of these stories are from ancient times, hundreds or thousands of years old, passed down from generation to generation.

My beef, however, is with the recent myths – Hindu myths - that are propagated as facts. Hindu mythology, it appears, is still evolving. I am not sure whether this process started with the advent of the Hindu right government or whether this was behind the rise of the right into power. The problem with this new myth creation is that it appears full of bovine excrement, unlike the ancient stories written by people with great imagination for that time.

Every once in a while you get a forwarded message of how something great was done by a Hindu sage zillions of years ago and how everybody got up and bowed, etc. These mythmakers are also obsessed with the NASA, for some reason, as if it gives the story some legitimacy.

Some of the stuff I found interesting:

NASA recorded the sound of the sun and it is the great mantra Aum, says a YouTube video with an American-sounding voiceover. For one, NASA didn’t record the sound of the sun. Some scientists at the University of Sheffield recreated the sound by turning some visible vibrations into sound and speeding up the frequency. And it doesn't sound like Aum. It sounds more like a wet fart passing through a stringed instrument (sound of the sun.)

There is a guy called Dr. Gopalakrishnan, who is apparently some big-time scientist who taught the sahib a thing or two about something. He says things like the Vedas were made a UNESCO World Heritage, whereas the Bible and Quran are not. Deceptive half-truths, but gulped down by his fans as absolute truths. Some 30 Rigveda manuscripts were accepted into the “UNESCO Memory of the World Register” (note the difference in name), which has numerous other such entries including the Convict Records of Australia and the Communist Manifesto, not to mention biblical or Qur’anic items. This venerable Dr. is also obsessed with NASA. In a speech, he talks about a visit he made to the NASA, where he saw, “with his own eyes,” every American space scientist listening to Vedic chanting while working. Can’t argue with that, can you? Personally saw thousands and thousands of American scientists listening to Vedic chants. Probably the rap version, sung by Tupac Shakur; after he died.

Then there is Cap’n Bodas, who was cited in an earlier blog here(ancient Indian air travel), and his interplanetary machines, which were presented to the world at the Indian Science Congress. The book the Cap'n cites is probably written in the 20th century. There are some funny videos out there, with the customary American voiceover, which are quite detailed. So, it must be pretty easy for one of these “vedic engineers” to cobble together a flying machine based on that material. It even says what the pilot should be eating! I am waiting.

Another one I received recently was how Edison went all the way to England to get Max Mueller to blab for his first gramophone recording. Sailing across the Atlantic for a recording! Pretty routine thing for those days, I presume.

“Hey, Max, want to say some bullshit into this contraption I made?”
“Yeah, why not? Why don’t you get  on the next boat and hop over Ed?”

So Edison went across the Atlantic to Max who spoke the first verse of the Rig Veda in praise of Agni, in Sanskrit. At the end of it all, the entire audience stood up as a mark of respect to the ancient Indian sages. And, probably also because their asses were burning as Max screwed up in invoking Agni, who set their seats on fire. It was a rigged veda show, because Edison’s first recording was some shouting and Mary had a frikkin li’l lamb.

Why do they come up with this bullshit stories? As a country, we have enough to be proud of and enough to be ashamed of too. Why do they want to build this false sense of great pride in some mythological stories and plain stupidities by portraying them as science? I have no idea, but anyway thought I will do some myth-busting.

Stay with me for a few more lines. This is important for me. I am worried about the beef issue in this country. I like my beef. I have tasted the best beef in the world. Kobe, Matsuzaka, Kuroge wagyu, and Angus. I have had Brazilian churrasco and also the fibrous chewy beef from cattle that walked all the way from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu to Kerala. So as a beefeater it worries me that I might not be able to do so here in the future.

While thinking about it I checked out how cows evolved. I learned that all cattle are descendants of a few animals domesticated from wild ox (aurochs) 10,500 years ago. What we have here in India is mostly Bos taurus indicus, which at some point of time became holy. Then this thought struck me –“Do the other species qualify as sacred cows?” Y’know, a Holstein or a Jersey? So, I googled and hit pay dirt instantaneously. They are not sacred! Eureka! Only the Bos taurus indicus is sacred! Says da bovine man Shankar Lal, who is the president of the Akhil Bharathiya Gau Sewa.

Here are couple of links.

As per him saatvik (virtuous) Indian cows can reduce crime, reform convicts, prevent evil thoughts, etc. whereas milk from, say, a Jersey cow has devil in it and has poisonous particles that make you think impure thoughts resulting in increased crimes. Whoa!, and all along we thought it was the guys drinking alcohol who were committing crimes. It was the milk drinkers. (Nothing related, but reminds me of the Ghost who Walks ordering milk at bars, and the stoopid Kerala government which has shut down the bars here).

Shankar Lalji is planning to build cowsheds in schools, conduct exams and courses on cows, a university to study cow science and do Gau Kathas in temples.

“Holy Cow!” I thought. Not because he was doing these things, but because I suddenly saw a way out of the beef conundrum we are in now. If Jersey and other species of cows are impure and are not considered as cows (not by me, mind you, but by Mr. Shankar Lal), there ought to be no problem in killing them for meat. It is just like chicken. Another animal that can be eaten. To be frank, these foreign species are more meaty and succulent than the bony Bos taurus indicus. I hope we can import more Jersey cows and other varieties and sell them as Jersey meat. Everybody, including me and the crazy beef fest holding bozos in Kerala, can breathe easily now. Problem solved. Brilliant. Wow, I won't be able to sleep today. Thanks Shankar Lalji.