After talking about the Gurmat perspective on Ecology and the Environment there was time for a few questions and answers before the Jewish Rabbi spoke.
The minds of the people sitting there was SHAKEN with Guru Nanak Sahib jee's message and looking at everyone's face it looked like they were CONTEMPLATING on what they had heard. An elderly Jewish lady in her 80s, who regularly attends the meeting and is very FRIENDLY and HUMOUROUS, said, "Today I feel like I am at AA... you know ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. After your talk I have to ADMIT I eat meat. I am CONFUSED now. I feel AWEFUL. I don't know what to do." She warmly smiled and then everyone agreed with her. One elderly Christian man said, "We never thought of that, and what was said made so much sense. I admit I eat meat and now I am in doubt but SORRY I don't think I can give up SUNDAY ROAST..." Everyone started to laugh. It was so funny! I told them I don't want people to start confessing whether they eat meat or not or tell anyone what to do, I was simply sharing what Gurmat says and giving FOOD FOR THOUGHT.
One Christian lady shared her views and said that she was fascinated by Sikhi's view of the environment, in particular how the world we see around us and the world we create is a PROJECTION or MIRROR of our STATE OF MIND and INNER-STATE. She shared that today people are LOST for SPIRITUALITY and now she realises that this is reflected in modern society's influence on the environment. It led to a discussion of young people in today's world and how many of them struggle with INNER STABILITY and finding EQUALIBRIUM with the MIND, BODY and SOUL. I shared thoughts how NAAM and BAANI helps to achieve this, and how if we take out 5 minutes at the end day to sit in silence and SELF-INTROSPECT one will start the journey of seeking to find stability, peace, happiness and start to ask questions like "Who am I?" "Who created me?" "How do I find eternal happiness?" etc.
Gurmat teaches us to strive to achieve EQUALIBRIUM of the mind, body and soul. For example, if someone were to cut their beard, it would grow back to a CERTAIN length, as intended by Nature. If someone pierces their ear, the ear fills back. This illustrates that just as WATER reverts back to it's natural state (i.e. if boiled it cools back down or if freezed it well melt back), so does the human body, nature, and the world have a balanced natural state. If we RECOGNISE this, only then we can strive towards bringing ONENESS within OURSELVES, leading to oneness with society, nature and the environment.
Then someone asked, "I know Sikhs don't eat meat, however what is Sikhism's views on ANIMAL SACRIFICES?" I shared a passage from Gurbaani:
ਜਉ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ਕਹਤ ਹਉ ਤਉ ਕਿਉ ਮੁਰਗੀ ਮਾਰੈ ॥੧॥jau sabh mehi eik khudaa-e kehat hau tau ki-o murgee maarai. ||1||
(O dear Mullah!) If you say that the One Lord is in all, so why do you kill chickens (as a sacrifice before that Lord)? (What does He not pervade in the chicken? What is the meaning of killing the creation of the Lord and presenting it before Him?) ||1||
In the Name of God one kills something and expects to please God and purify his soul. Would God want you to kill an animal as a sacrifice to him (but the person and his family eats it!) or to make changes to one's life, work on one's demerits, chant and meditate on His Name, do prayers and serve His Creation?
The Rabbi was sitting next to me and he said that he was a VEGETARIAN and chooses not to eat meat out of personal principles, however he cannot justify his personal view with his religion's stand point. The Rabbi has a nice glowing aura from his face and was a happy looking person. He said that according to Genesis ADAM and EVE were vegetarians and intended so by God. However, due to the weak human nature, God made allowance for them to eat meat in CERTAIN circumstances. He said throughout Jewish history full allowance of eating any meat or eating meat whenever one feel's like it was never permitted, however nowadays everyone eats daily. Although Sikhs don't believe in Adam or Eve story, the story illustrates the meaning and message of the behaviour and nature God INTENDED for a human being living the PERFECT LIFESTYLE in harmony with Nature.
Lastly, a lady commented that she appreciated to hear of the TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY structure and LIFESTTLE of the Panjab based on the principles of the Gurus. She said, "The idea of REUSING, RECYCLING and SHARING resources is something that we can learn from. I liked how everyone PULLS TOGETHER and helps one another." It was discussed that the idea of community in today's world in this country is eroding and that communities need to pull together to help one another and the environment.
To end with, I would like to share what an elderly Christian gentleman said to me as I was about to leave for home. In the previous meeting he told me it was the first time he had spoken to a Sikh. The elderly man said, "I would like to thank you for speaking today sharing your views with us. I am a Christian but I learnt something about my own faith and about Christianity from today's talk. The things your religion says are TRUE and RIGHT. However, I am sorry - people like me are not capable or have strength to live such a lifestyle. Hearing these talks I realise there is something COMMON we all SHARE, and there is something which UNITES us all. I want to say "May YOUR God be with you."" I replied, "My God, and your God are ONE. May God bless you Sir as well." He smiled and said, "How WONDERFUL - this is great... one thing more which UNITES us... May God bless you."