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Location: Home arrow Library of Articles arrow Compassion / Vegetarianism arrow Where Is Your Compassion?

Where Is Your Compassion?   E-mail 
"Compassion, righteousness and
Lord's service are eternal."
                          - SGGS pg 1101

Compassion is a spiritual quality that is unique to mankind. The ability to see the suffering of others and take actions to help alleviate that suffering is one of the noblest human traits - a precious gift that our Creator has bestowed upon us. Thus, qualities like sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern and caring are all manifestations of compassion.

But more often than not, our habitual patterns as well as our prejudices, beliefs and judgements leave little room for spontaneous expressions of compassion and we become numb to the problems of those we share this planet with. And even when we do allow ourselves to feel this noble experience, we tend to focus our energies toward the well-being of humans alone, and neglect the plight of all other creatures.

Scenes of ethnic Albanians fleeing their homes in Kosovo has doubtless pulled a string in many a heart, and there are some among us who are moved into giving something in charity. But do we not feel pain as well as we see hundreds of thousands of pigs in Malaysia being culled in response to a deadly viral outbreak? Perhaps there is something in the depths of human consciousness that is telling us that we are all interconnected. The pain of others inexplicably become our pain as well. But we're in a state of denial and complacency.

Throughout our scriptures, our Gurus have enjoined us to show compassionate behaviour to all - regardless of species. When we say in our ardas, Sarbat da Bhalla, we are offering a prayer on behalf of the whole of Creation. And though many people in our community have resorted to philosophical speculation in their desperate attempts to devalue the lives of animals, and thereby justifying their consumption of meat and animal abuse, one cannot help but notice that our Gurus have left us with ample instructions to act otherwise.

The verses that have been included here are a mere sampling of those that are available. It is my sincerest hope that they will bring about a transformation that will help us live our lives more completely as the Khalsa. Failing that, I hope these verses will at least plant a seed of enquiry in the minds of readers and open them to the possibility that the actions of the meat-eating sections of our community may be inconsistent with divine law.

"He who dies while living realises everything,
and develops inner compassion for all.
O' Nanak, he obtains true glory
Who recognises the Lord in all creatures."
- SGGS pg 940

"There is One Soul and it pervades all the bodies."
- SGGS pg 330

"When thou sayest that one God abides in all,
Then why killest thou a fowl?
O' priest, say thou if this is God's justice?
Thy mind's doubt is dispellest not."
- SGGS pg 723

"Thou killest life, and deemest that as a religious act;
Tell me, O' brother, what callest thou an irreligious act?
Thou callest thyself an excellent sage,
Then whom callest thou a butcher?"
- SGGS pg 1102

"With mouth's sweet tune he recites the scriptures,
(but) the mortal shirks not from killing sentient beings."
- SGGS pg 201

"You behead living beings,
And worship lifeless things.
In the end, great shall be your suffering."
- SGGS pg 332

"Cruel violence has not left thy mind,
and thou have not cherished mercy for living creatures."
- SGGS pg 1253

"Do not cause pain to any creature,
Go back to your Home with honour."
- SGGS pg 322

-By Gurdip Singh, Singapore  

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