International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India


KABIR'S CALL TO COMPASSION.
T. L. VASWANI.

There is a longing in many hearts for a, new era of the spirit a new age of the Light. Before we enter the new era, me must, it seems, pass through a dark night. Darkness proceeds the dawn. At the end of the last two world wars, at the emergence of political freedom in our country, at the rise and progress of Marxian Socialism or Bolshevism, we witness today terrible cruelty in East and West. Sometimes, it seems to me that God hath hidden His face : and if He is present in the world, He is, as A. Kickargaard said. present in it, incognito.

Kabir, I regard as a. forerunner of the new Revolution of the spirit. He lived centuries ahead of his age. And I can understand a little of his emphasis on the teaching of ahimsa Kabir warns his disciples against nishidka Karma (action forbidden by seers and saints) It must be conquered before chittasudhi may come. And chittasudhi is necessary, if indeed, we are to enter into illumination.

One nishidka-karma which Kabir warns his disciples against, again and again, is the taking of life. Kabir condemns meat-eating in strong, unequivocal terms. Kabir condemns the killing of animals no matter if it is permitted in the "Koran" or any other Scripture for "sacrificial" purposes.

Kabir himself, like another great Muslim Abul-a-Mere, never took meat. Abul-a-Mere was a Sufi and a strict vegetarian. When, one day, he fell ill and his hakim (physician) brought him chicken soup, he smiled and said to his friends around him:- "Look this chicken-soup is for weak people. Otherwise the hakim should have brought to me the soup of the lion's cub." Abul-a-Mere did not take the chicken-soup. He maintained his strict vegetarianism.

Kabir too was a strict vegetarian. He condemned meat-eating; and enjoined on all his disciples to control rasa (taste) of the tongue. Kabir, too, condemned the popular superstition that a man, by eating sacrificial meat, could have access to the "heaven world" or " paradise."

All violence. -Kabir calls it Zor, is oppression. He says :- "All violence is (tyranny)." And he urges that for every act of violence man is responsible to God. "He who kills an animal or eats animal flesh," Kabir says." is a murderer in God's darbar. False is the prayer in which truth is murdered." A Muslim who takes meat and regards not the suffering of tortured creatures, may be called by men a pir but is. according to Kabir, a Kafir.

This great mystic. poet, singer, and saint sounds, again and again, the note of which we shall, I believe, hear more and more in the coming days that all jivas,- all creatures, - are one in the Eternal One. "All jivas" says Kabir "are pictures of the One. "The meat-eater, Kabir calls a rakshasa for he has driven out compassion from his heart. (Mira Aug.'55)