Sunday, 8 January 2012

Our Mrdanga - tainted with BLOOD OF SLAUGHTER!

I remember, in my first few days in ISKCON, I had asked someone about how
mrdangas were made and where were they made.  Clearly, I was not satisfied
with the answer and always thought, one fine day, I will get into the
details. Surely enough, I now know, our performance of sankirtan all over
the world is tainted with the blood of slaughter!


Navadwip to Mayapur via boat crossing Ganga is a beautiful short trip.  My
recent shift to serve at dham was filled with these beautiful scenes until I
came across something ghastly!  Beautiful Cows and Bulls were transferred in
the same boat in one such trip I took in broad daylight.  A bit amazed, I
asked the neighbour sitting next to me, as to where the cows were being
taken?  The neighbour replied naively, "for slaughter"!  I asked where? he
replied - "near yogapitha"!
By now, my mouth was wide open and heart beating strongly.  I exclaimed -
"Oh Krishna, how can this be allowed in dham!".  The neighbour replied -
"Huh! how do you think your mrdanga is made?"

Next, my enquiry with the Mrdanga manufacturers got it confirmed.  It is a
huge export business!  There is a huge demand for mrdangas all over the
world, be it due to ISKCON or others, the cows are slaughtered mercilessly
so that we get mrdangas to play!  All this in the dham!  And now, it is
happenning right in Vrindavan too for the same reason!  These mrdanga makers
are doing a booming business througout the year and there is a huge, huge
supply demand gap!


SRILA PRABHUPADA: If one is sinful, how can he say he is religious? Do you
think a sinful man can be truly religious? Yet this is going on. In the name
of religion, people are committing sins. I mean to say, this sinful killing
of animals, especially cows, is the main cause of humanity's current
degradation... Veda-niidhya-k€rya k€re veda-mukhya mane. As Lord Caitanya
said, "People are acting against every religious principle, but advertising
themselves, That am religious. I believe in religion.'" These nonsensical
things are going on. A Christian is going against the basic Christian
principle; nonetheless he is proud of being a Christian.

DR. HAUSER: Do you use leather?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: Generally we avoid it, since at the present time people
are obtaining it by sending the animals to the slaughterhouse.

DR. HAUSER: So you don't allow it?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: We don't use it. For instance, none of our shoes are made
of leather. Today there are so many substitutes, various plastics and other
things. And every one of them is nice.
But leather, in itself, it is not prohibited, because you can get it after
the animal has died a natural death. Yes. In India, those who are
flesh-eaters wait until after a cow has died, and then they come and clear
away the carcass. Then they eat the flesh and save the bones and horns and
hooves and take off the skin to make shoes, and so forth. Since they get all
their supplies for nothing, they can easily make their living.
The main idea is, sooner or later the animal will die. So let us wait for
that time. Why should we kill a living animal?

DR. HAUSER: Do you use leather in your drums?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: Yes, after the cow has died a natural death, that leather
can be used.

DR. HAUSER: So you have leather drums?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: Yes, that has been the way of making drums for thousands
of years. But that leather is collected only after the animal has died a
natural death. Not by killing.
So our principle is mercy. Mercy. We never needlessly kill or torment any
living being. The Lord is the all-merciful, and now, in this human form, we
can revive our relationship with Him. After traveling through untold
millions of lower forms, now we can revive our old relationship with the
all-merciful. Yes. But only if we become merciful.

DR. HAUSER: Thank you very much.

        Room Conversation, Stockholm, Sept 1973, "Sin in the name of
religion", Published in BTG

Animal killing in the name of yajna (sacrifice) was going on and I
understand is going on now too.  This time, in the name of sankirtan yajna.
Lord Buddha appeared precisely to stop this sin in the name of religion.

PRABHUPADA: Yes. About Lord Buddha is also mentioned in the €stra that Lord
Buddha will appear in Gay€ Pradesh, in the province of Gay€, and his
business will be to cheat the atheists...He promulgated this philosophy,
ahiˆs€, when there was unnecessary killing of animals. According to Vedas,
animal can be killed in sacrifice. That also to give a new life. But people
misinterpreted and they began to kill animals like anything with the
evidence of..., "In the Vedas animal killing is sanctioned." So Lord Buddha
appeared, just being compassionate to the poor animals.
Sadaya-hdaya-darita-pau-gh€tam. Sadaya. He became very compassionate,
that "All these poor animals are being killed unnecessarily." So he
promulgamated a new type of religion-ahiˆs€ paramo dharmaƒ. "Don't commit
violence. If I pinch your body, you feel pain. You should not pinch others."
That is his religion. So, but, he... Because others, they will argue, "Oh,
in the Vedas..." As I told you, that Vedas is the evidence, so "Here is...
Animal killing is ordered. How you are stopping it?" Therefore he said, "I
don't care for your Vedas."
                Room conversation, April 7, 1972, Melbourne


Sankirtan is the most sacred form of connecting to all-merciful.  But, that
is possible only if we become merciful to our own father and mother.

500 years back Chand Kazi stopped Lord Chaitanya's party doing sankirtana,
broke their mrdangas and threatened them.  When Lord Chaitanya with his
disobedience movement met with Chand Kazi, the Lord first asked Chand Kazi,
why are you killing your own father and mother?

"Now, Caitanya Mahaprabhu first of all inquired that the Muhammadan
magistrate... They established their relation as the uncle and nephew.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu became the nephew, and the Kazi, the magistrate, he
became the uncle. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu addressed the uncle, "My dear
uncle, why you are killing your father and mother?" So the uncle replied,
"What is that? I am killing our father and mother?" "Yes. Because the cow is
your mother. She gives milk. And the bull, he helps you in the agricultural
fields. He produces grain. So just like father and mother—mother supplies
milk and father brings grain—so they are your father and mother. How you are
killing your father and mother?"
                    Lecture, New York, Aug 9, 1966

Now, the scenes have changed.  Chand Kazi's followers shall ask us - "Why
are YOU killing your own father and mother so that you can do your
sankirtan?"  Looks like they have all the good reason to stop us this time!


PUSTA KRSNA: What we've been doing with the dead cows is burying them,
there's no..., everything's wasted. Srila Prabhupada is proposing that why
not the butcher take, we give free, he simply returns us the skin of the
cow, and with the cow hide we properly tan it, we can make mrdanga heads for
the khol, and shoes, straps, whatever may be needed. The idea being that in
the Western countries especially, people are accustomed to eating animals,
animal flesh. So we have no objection.
PRABHUPADA: If you want to eat, let the father and mother die, then eat.
(laughter) Who has objection?
PUSTA KRSNA: It's so reasonable.
PRABHUPADA: Oh, yes. Because a class of men will demand to eat the flesh.
You cannot stop it. So we are giving free: you eat. And from economic point
of view, we require the skin for our mrdanga making. So give us the skin.
That's all.
            June 29, 1976, New Vrindavan, Room conversation

Two students Bhakta Sujal and Bhakta Laxmipati from Mayapur have started a
project called - "Ahimsa Mrdanga" for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada.
Their business is a very successful one today.  Little did we realise, at
that time, that their attendance at the Varnasrama College course at
Sahyadri Krishna Balaram Ksetra could become so potential.

In discussion with Bhakta Sujal, I understood that infact it is not very
difficult to establish Ahimsa Mrdanga units wherever we have goshala.  We
can even manufacture mrdangas in every state, may be every district by tying
up with farmers or goshalas.   One person can be emlployed to flay the skin
of a naturally dead cow and tan them.  Few persons can be employed to make
mrdangas.  This simple model can change the scene and pave way for cow

Such courses must be established.  Srila Prabhupada wanted that we must get
into ahimsa mrdanga making.

"There is no need of sending the artisan to U.S.A. better send our disciples
from here and learn the art there. In this connection manufacturing the
mrdanga shells as well as the skin work on it is very essential. If possible
our men may learn how to make karatalas also. At Navadvipa, there are many
artisans for this purpose.
The summary is that our men must learn these four things: doll making,
mrdanga making, karatala making and if possible making saris."
        Letter to Jayapataka, Bhavananda - Los Angeles, May 9, 1973


It's a market based economy!  Consumer is the king!  In our conditioning to
"use and throw" things, mrdangas are no less.

In a small center that I stayed in South India, I saw, we shifted to new
mrdanga almost every six months.  Some got damaged while being transported
from Mayapur and then were discarded.  Many got damaged due to negligence in
their maintenance or rough handling.  Few got eaten by rats where we stored
them.  The karma of every cow that was slaughtered for those mrdangas which
were underused or misused or abused definitely shall hover us.

Each mrdanga that we handle, a cow has sacrificed her life for it.  We must
stop using himsa mrdanga and on the other side, whatever is being used now,
must be used with great care and attention.

Srila Prabhupada himself exemplified the care and respect he offerred this
expansion of Lord Balaram.

"A few weeks later the first mrdanga (a long clay drum with a playing head
on each end) arrived in San Francisco from India. When I went up to Srila
Prabhupada's apartment and informed him, his eyes opened wide, and in an
excited voice he told me to go down quickly and open the crate. I took the
elevator, got out on the ground floor, and was walking toward the front door
when Srila Prabhupada appeared. So eager was he to see the mrdanga that he
had taken the stairway and had beaten the elevator. He asked us to open the
crate, he tore off a piece of the saffron cloth he was wearing, and, leaving
only the playing heads exposed, he wrapped the drum with the cloth. Then he
said, "This must never come off," and he began giving detailed instructions
on how to play and care for the instrument."
        Foreword by H.H.Mukunda Maharaj, Science of Self Realization

PRABHUPADA: Formerly, when I was in R€dh€-D€modara temple, there was a khol
manufacturer here. Is he here still? He supplied me khol very nice, very
big. This khol was taken to Germany or...
AKSAYANANDA: Yes. I think he's just a repairman though.
PRABHUPADA: Whatever he may be. Yes. We must have very good khol. You have
no good khol.
AKSAYANANDA: I had one under repair. I had two under repair with him. But he
takes a long time. I am waiting now for repair.
PRABHUPADA: So you can call him.
AKSAYANANDA: Okay. You'd like to meet him?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. If the same man, then I can ask him to prepare some khol.
AKSAYANANDA: Ours get damaged.
HARI-SAURI: The shells or...?
AKSAYANANDA: They break them so easily. They cannot control them. The shell,
the skin, anything, always break.
HARI-SAURI: You should make some padded covers for them.
PRABHUPADA: Who is doing that? Everyone is irresponsible.
AKSAYANANDA: Even with that, they break.
HARI-SAURI: But at least it helps the chances they'll survive.
PRABHUPADA: The one thing is that they neglect that rings. That ring and the
strap, if it is... That will never do. As soon as they khol, some rope, bas.
HARI-SAURI: Usually what breaks is that little leather loop, you know, the
small loop on each end. That's what usually breaks. If you want to...
PRABHUPADA: No, if you make it nicely with chain.
AKSAYANANDA: I have made it even nicely with a cord, with a ring, and the
proper straps. But they put it like this and like this and they bang it the
wrong way. This is my problem. I can't stop it, no matter what we do.
HARI-SAURI: You just bring them out for €rati and then have somebody take
them back and they won't get broken. Haˆsad™ta was doing that with his
AKSAYANANDA:I was also doing that.
HARI-SAURI: The mda‰gas are in there all day long. Any karm… that comes in,
they beat the drum and mess around. The little kids go in and they do the
same thing. I've seen them. You should take them out of the temple. Let them
be there for k…rtana and then take them away and store them in your room.
There's no kart€las now either because everybody steals them.
PRABHUPADA: These two rooms can be used for keeping.
AKSAYANANDA:Kart€las are locked away every time and the drums were done...
That was done until they were broken.
HARI-SAURI: Or you can just put them in that tourist room. Or in the p™j€r…
AKSAYANANDA: Yeah, I'll arrange for that.
PRABHUPADA: Everything depends on organized management. Give some...
                Room Conversation, Nov 4, 1976, Vrindavana


Purifying our performance of sankirtana from violence is very much a need
that we need to realise.  Srila Prabhupada calls it success!

SRILA PRABHUPADA: There is... And who is making khol?
BHARADVAJA: Oh, khol. Ÿ€na. Ÿ€na d€sa.
SRILA PRABHUPADA: He's doing nice?
BHARADVAJA: Yes. They are producing many, and they are very, very strong.
BHARADVAJA: They are very strong, and they sound good.
®ATADHANYA: They say that you can throw them on the floor and they will not
BHARADVAJA: Made for Kali-yuga.
SRILA PRABHUPADA: How many khols he has already prepared?
BHARADVAJA: I don't know exactly, but I think it was close to about two
hundred when I left.
SRILA PRABHUPADA: Where he is making?
BHARADVAJA: Well, they are having most of the part done outside by outside
people, professionals, and Ÿ€na is assembling, and he's working very hard.
SRILA PRABHUPADA: It is plastic?
BHARADVAJA: Yes, Completely, everything. And it can be tuned also on the
spot. There is a key, and with this key you can tune it up. The heads never
break, but if they happen to break they can be immediately replaced
within... They can get extra heads and it takes about two minutes to change,
to put a new head on.
BHARADVAJA: So Ÿ€na has worked very hard to fulfill your order, ®r…la
SRILA PRABHUPADA: Now he's successful.

Let us organize "ahimsa mrdanga" project to please Srila Prabhupada and
become successful!

t€tha… t€tha… b€jalo khol, ghana ghana t€he jh€jera rol,
preme hala hala soŠ€ra a‰ga, caraŠe n™pura b€je

The mda‰gas resounded “t€tha…, t€tha…,” the cymbals chimed in time, and
Lord Gaur€‰ga’s footbells jingled as His golden form trembled slightly in
ecstatic love of God.

        ******* Get Involved with Global Varnasrama Mission *******
    ************** **************

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...