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Jain Master Gurudev Chitrabhanu’s message about MILK

In Gurudev Chitrabhanu on May 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

May 9, 2013
A message from Jain Master Gurudev Chitrabhanu to the Lighthouse Center, Inc.

gurudevanddogNature’s bounties, beauty and wonders are limitless.  She has blessed mankind in abundance; but with certain inherent control mechanisms.  She has her own rules and regulations, which man needs to follow, for his own well-being and spiritual growth.  She has also been kind enough to give intelligence and discretionary powers to man.  But, man in his greed, many a time, does not understand nature’s checks and balances.  Nature then is forced to checkmate him, for his own good.  For example, if man succumbs to his palate and becomes its slave, he loses control over his thoughts, speech and actions, and also suffers ill-health.

Many of us are vegetarian.  We eat plant-based food.  We believe in ‘Ahinsa’ which is non-violence or having reverence for all forms of life.  We not only believe in ‘Ahinsa’, but we are practitioners of ‘Ahinsa’.  We have minimised our needs by becoming or remaining vegetarian.

Though being vegetarian is excellent for man’s physical as well as spiritual health, it is not enough.  We have realized, over the years, that being ‘vegan’ is far superior and a much more complete practice of ‘Ahinsa’.  Veganism does not allow the intake of milk or dairy products for human consumption or use.

cowMilk does not grow on plants.  Milk is one of nature’s most beautiful wonders.  We can say MILK stands for Mother’s  Infinite  Love and  Kindness.  Milk is produced in a human or an animal Mother.  Only when a female, either of a human being or an animal, becomes pregnant and is to give life and birth to another being, her blood gets transformed into milk.  This is simply because she takes upon her the work of the Creator.  She nurtures, protects, takes care, loves the new being in her own self, forgetting her own discomfort and pain and gives shape to and creates and gives life to the new creation.  Her love, compassion and kindness flow into the new creation and that naturally transforms the required quantity of red blood into white milk when her creation comes into the world.  Milk is only for the new creation of the mother and that too for a limited period of time, for the nourishment and early growth of the new-born.  Milk is a gift of nature for the helpless baby.  The red blood turning into white milk for the baby is a miracle of nature.  As long as the child does not get teeth, the mother gets milk, and the child grows in strength by consuming mother’s milk.  When the child grows to the stage when he gets teeth, the milk takes its original form and colour, i.e. it gets transformed back into red blood.  At that time, even if the child wants mother’s milk, it cannot get it as it no longer needs it.

It is made so clear by this law of nature that milk belongs only to the baby.  None of the species, other than human beings, consumes milk when it grows beyond a stage, when it is too young.  Human beings, unfortunately in their ignorance, start having milk of other species once they grow beyond this stage, little realizing that it is a calf or an off-spring of some other species who is deprived of its dues.  It is in fact inhuman and against the principles of non-violence and non-stealing when humans have milk of cows or other species, belonging to their offspring.  Where will the helpless calf go for its nourishment?  The animal baby starves and remains under-nourished.  As though this sin is not enough, a bigger crime follows.  If the offspring is a male, it is sent away to the veal industry in Western countries and to the slaughter house (surreptitiously in the early hours of the day) in India.

Now-a-days, everywhere, since the bull is not required by humans, either for farming or carting, they indulge in these inhuman activities to suit their selfish ends.  Thousands of bulls go to butchers for slaughter.  This unfortunate slaughter and the use in veal industry take place on account of the consumption of cow milk by humans.

In addition to these atrocities caused, as the babies are taken away from their mothers, the mother has to undergo the pain of separation which she suffers in silence, without any revolt, as she practices non-violence.  The cow cries silently, as the new-born is taken away, since for nine months she had nourished the child and when it is born, it is separated from her.  The silent agony of the cow creates certain vibrations.

These selfish acts perpetrated by human beings, due to their greed, result in the following three consequences :

  1. When we take the milk which belongs to the off-spring of the cow, the suffering vibrations of the cow and the calf would boomerang on us and might create some separation in our lives.  As we plant the pain in others, the vibrations received would result, as a ‘karmic’ consequence, into separation from our dear ones.
  2.  The cow’s normal life span is twenty-five years.  Humans reduce this longevity by slaughter or use in veal industry.  The ‘karma’ of taking away the longevity of a living being influences our life span and results in reduction of our own life span or of our dear ones.  Also the end of the life may not be natural and it may be by accident or some unknown disease or some permanent disability may take place.
  3. We snatch away or steal the off-spring from the cow, as well as its milk for the calf.  The milk and the child are taken away ruthlessly by us without the permission of the cow.  This is ‘adattā dān’.  This is a charity not done by the donor.  It is acquisition of someone’s belongings without consent.  One should therefore be ready to face consequences of losing one’s own property, wealth or dear ones.

The simple principle of ‘As we sow, so we reap’ also applies here.  Our wrong actions would boomerang on us and we have to go through the consequences thereof.

The cow has milk, but it does not give it.  It stops eating, being separated from her offspring.  Machines are used to milk and for artificial insemination.  A lot of suffering is inflicted on these peace-loving creatures by the humans for their greed.  In about seven years, due to their exploitation, the cows become useless for humans and they are sent for slaughter.  Our glass of milk results in the cow being eventually slaughtered.  The cow undergoes physical torture and the agonizing feeling of separation, for human well-being.

It would be clear to any intelligent, caring and compassionate person that it is not logically, medically, morally and spiritually right to drink milk of other species, once the natural period of having our own mother’s milk is over.  To satisfy ourselves and for our nourishment and well-being, we may have milk from several alternative sources like plants or nuts such as soya, rice, almond, coconut etc.

As Bhagwan Mahavir had said, “Non-violence and kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself.  For thereby one’s own self is saved from various kinds of sins and resultant sufferings and is able to secure his own welfare.”

Submitted by:
Mukta Tana Dean
LHCI Web Systems Manager


Gurudev Chitrabhanu podcasts and video available on the Lighthouse Center website

In Gurudev Chitrabhanu on May 8, 2013 at 1:30 am

LHCFri091611_3The Lighthouse Center website has hours of podcasts available for you to listen to and videos to watch given by Gurudev Chitrabhanu. On the home page you will find Media-Video-Audio where you can listen and watch whenever you would like.

The Lighthouse Center offers this resource for free, however, you have the option of donating $.99 for each one you listen to or watch online, which helps cover the cost of maintaining the website. You can also order CD’s of any of his talks to take with you anywhere.

Gurudev Chitrabhanu is scheduled for his yearly summer visit to the Lighthouse Center on July 13-14, 2013, so save the date to hear him personally talk. All of the details are not available yet, but, check back as the website is updated.

In the meantime, visit the Media-Video-Audio page.

Voice of the Voice, Gurudev Chitrabhanuji website

In Gurudev Chitrabhanu on April 20, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Voice of the Voice, Gurudev Chitrabhnuji’s website!

Gurudev_youngHave you seen the new website for Gurudev Chitrabhanuji? It is beautiful and has a translator for what is not in English, upcoming events, audio, video, a photo gallery (yes, that photo is him as a young man) and much more. You’ll be able to find what is currently happening and exploring his teachings.

They even have a ‘Today’s Quote’:
One who appreciates benevolence somebody had rendered unto him is a noble being. But immensely noble is he who renders benevolence to a person unknown. But against them both, one who showers benevolence over a person who has only done him an evil turn, is not merely noble, immensely noble, but immeasurably great !

To reach the peak of religion, you will have to mount the steep stairs of self-restraint and compassion, of austerity and human service. Then alone can the summit of religion be confidently scaled !

The Lighthouse Center, has been blessed with his presence for many years and now there is a centralized place where you can study, create the practice of Ahinsa and learn about Gurudev Chitrabhanuju and his teachings.

Enjoy your time on the website, share it with others and create blessings wherever you are.

Mukta Tana Dean
Web technician
Lighthouse Center Inc.

Forbes Magazine interviews Gurudev Chitrabhanu

In Gurudev Chitrabhanu on October 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm

On Sept. 18, 2012, Dr. Michael Tobias interviewed Gurudev Chitrabhanu for Forbes magazine. Link to Forbes article.

A Jain Leader Addresses the World

This past July, Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji, who spends part of each year in New York City, turned 90. For the millions of Jains and non-Jains worldwide, this former Muni (monk) is a global leader, pioneer, visionary, activist and profoundly affecting philosopher. His life and message are more relevant than ever.

For decades, Shri Chitrabhanuji has rigorously, gently and persuasively advocated for peace throughout the world, ahimsa in Sanskrit, meaning non-violence. Shri Chitrabhanuji represents a living link to the great Jain sage, Mahavira (599 – 527 BCE) who is believed by some historians to have been an elder mentor to Buddha.

Buddha, © M.C. Tobias

Mahavira proposed, among other things, a brilliant message of non-violence, tolerance, compassion, and the embrace of what was (then) a radical notion: the ecological interdependency of all living beings. After millennia, this potent ethical ideal has become key to the biological sciences, as well as inspiring such people as Tolstoy, Gandhi (who was tutored by a Jain monk early in his life), and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shri Chitrabhanuji, a global ambassador for Mahavira’s call to peace, is the author of over twenty-six books, but it is his very life that offers us a particularly timely opportunity to reflect on his philosophy of world peace and an emphasis on our pressing need to appreciate the sanctity of all life. The photographs of Shri Chitrabhanuji seen here have never been published before and are done so with the most generous permission of the Chitrabhanu family.

Michael Tobias: Gurudev, many people may not be familiar with Jainism. What is it?

Shri Chitrabhanuji: The “ism” added to the end of “Jain” is an English construct. In Jain thinking, there is no “ism” as “ism” implies separation or competition with other systems of thinking. We prefer Jain “dharma” which is a complementary way of life that can co-exist with others, just like a healthy diet. Dharma means to be in one’s original nature – the state an object will return to when not influenced from the outside. For example, the nature of water is to remain cool. You can boil it and it will become hot, however, when you put it down, after a while it will become cool again. The nature of fire is to be hot and burning – you can try to dampen it, but given a chance it will rage again.

Michael Tobias: And humanity, human nature?

© M.C. Tobias

Shri Chitrabhanuji: What is the original nature of the human being? Is it peace, love and goodwill?

Today, due to the demands of our life, we have lost touch with this element. However, if you let people unwind, take a morning walk, spend time with children or work on our craft…we will return to peace, love and goodwill.

Michael Tobias: So, what does “Jain” mean?

Shri Chitrabhanuji: Jain is derived from the word “ji” which means to conquer. Jains are they who seek to conquer anything inside themselves that takes them away from their original nature. Jains were born in a warrior culture. Perhaps that is what explains the importance of the notion of “conquest.” However, the difference is that rather than conquering outside, conquest here is within the inner world. To live a long and fruitful life, be in harmony with your original nature. If you become raging with anger for an hour, you will get a headache. If you rage for the whole day, you may get a heart attack. You can’t sustain long-term anger because it is not your original nature. But in peace, you can live your entire life.

Michael Tobias: What is it about Jain traditions in India, the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, that lend themselves to an understanding of the world that is non-violent?

Shri Chitrabhanuji: Jain dharma adds to the singular personal vision the lens of plurality of perspectives or relativity of thinking (Anekanta). As children we grow to see life through the lens of personal preferences. Our parents and teachers instruct us to see life through the lens of others, as well, to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” Jain dharma takes this notion further by recognizing that the imposition of one’s views on others is a subtle form of violence upon them. This influences how we think about our personal relationships as well as how we think about relating to other groups in society. Your point of view is as valid to you as my point of view is to me.

© J. G. Morrison

Michael Tobias: The ecological dimensions of this should be obvious, no?

Shri Chitrabhanuji: Michael, Jain dharma encourages sensitivity towards not just human beings but all sentient life forms, which includes animals and plants – even single-celled beings. Every living being wants to live. You can see this in their actions and behavior. Even if you try to trap a small ant, it will try to run away. All life moves towards safety and away from danger. So, for a Jain, since it may not be possible to eradicate all forms of violence, the emphasis is on minimizing violence to all beings wherever possible. Thus, anyone who is Jain is also automatically an environmentalist and ecologist.

Michael Tobias: The concept of “minimizing violence” is, of course, a brilliant philosophical stroke, because it not only references inherently the notion of pragmatic idealism, but also invokes the goal of symbiosis, of mutual respect, empathy and tolerance.

© M.C. Tobias

Shri Chitrabhanuji: The symbiotic nature of non-violence and plurality of perspectives in Jain dharma has greatly inspired Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence movement. Through Gandhi, the emphasis on non-violence has influenced both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela in their freedom struggles. So you can see how the core teachings of Jain dharma have trickled into our modern world in a profound way.

Michael Tobias: The world can be brutal; and for many billions of animals and hundreds of millions of people, it is indeed so. For so many who are hurting, unemployed, desperate, and more than a billion people who are hungry, what can Jain dharma contribute?

© J. G. Morrison

Shri Chitrabhanuji:This is a good question and highly relevant today. The answer is subtle. The Jain notion of non-violence begins with one’s self and moves outwards to others. The violence we see in the world is a secondary violence. The primary violence is experienced first by and upon the person committing the violence. A matchstick cannot burn something else without burning its own head, first.

Michael Tobias: Very true.

Shri Chitrabhanuji: For someone who is going through troubled times, often the first reaction is anger and blame. Jain dharma teaches us that the first thing to do is to accept that “this is my situation, my karma” – what I have sown somewhere else, that is what I am witnessing here today. However, the future is wide open. It may be shaped by my past but it’s dominant influence is my present – and my present is something that I fully control. Therefore, in desperate times particularly, we should not spend our precious energy in blame or anger upon others. Our anger will likely not hurt the other but will certainly damage our own creativity and initiative. When we resolve to take full ownership of where we are, we are left with great energy to address the pressing matters at hand.

Michael Tobias: But then what?