Head of Shree Ramchandrapura Math in Karnataka, Shree Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji is a well-known personality in the country who has successfully preserved the existing 33 breeds of Indian cow. Apart from preserving and promoting them he has also scientifically proved how cow can truly bring prosperity in the life of her herder. He is also a guiding force behind the Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra beginning from Kurukshetra on September 30. Organiser correspondent Pramod Kumar spoke to him in New Delhi to discuss the preparations of the Yatra and also his views on cow and the development of villages. Excerpts:
How did the idea of conducting the Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra came to your mind?
It is very difficult to answer this question intellectually. Sometimes several good ideas strike suddenly. It is called internal prerna (inspiration). It is above the human wisdom. If we think at the intellectual level there were many reasons. The huge response that the Bharati Goyatra received in Karnataka a few years back paved the way for this nationwide event. The participants in the Vishwa Gou Sammelan organised last year too opined that this message should reach world over. Meanwhile, when I went to Nagpur to attend the RSS Sangh Shiksha Varga concluding ceremony, I got an opportunity to discuss the idea with the then RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan and other Sangh leaders. They agreed and proposed to extend full support. I feel it was the divine inspiration. The time of India’s resurgence is approaching and this Yatra will become a part of that resurgence process. Like charkha had proved to be an effective tool during the freedom struggle, cow is now going to become a similar tool in this new war of real independence. Unlike charkha, cow is a sachetan (animate) medium.
What are the objectives of this Yatra?
There are many objectives. First, ignorance existed about cow has to be eliminated from the mind of the people. Whatever atrocities are being perpetrated on cow is due to this ignorance. People have forgotten her usefulness. There is no need to educate the people about the importance of gold. Since they do not know the importance of cow, she is being slaughtered. All it is due to ignorance. If we are able to eradicate it, there will be no need to launch any agitation for cow protection. Second objective is to unite people working for cow protection. Presently, there is a complete lack of united effort. The Yatra is a medium to bring all of them on one platform. Those who are inactive have to be inspired and prepared to join the movement. It is an initiative to put Indian villages on the path of sustainable development by focussing on cow-based way-of-life.
What is to be done for the villages?
Village and cow cannot be segregated. There is no village without cow and there is no cow without village. Bharat is the soul of the world, village is the soul of Bharat, farmer is the soul of village and cow is the soul of farmer. Now this chain has broken. With the breakdown of one relation between the farmer and cow all the relations have broken. It also damaged the relation of Bharat with the rest of the world. This relation has to be restored. The relation of cow and villages is like the relation of body and soul. If there is no soul, the body is dead and if there is no cow, villages are like a dead body. The cow too cannot be protected without villages. Therefore, the uplift of villages and cow has to be done together. I normally say shahar (city) is not shahar, it is zahar (poison), as there is no cow rearing in the cities. There are slaughterhouses in cities instead of goshalas. The place, which does not have cow, farmer, forest and pure air, is nothing but zahar. The cow and villages share a very important relationship and we have to strengthen it.
There have been many agitations for cow protection even after Independence but there has been no positive result. How can this new agitation bring in positive results?
If there has been no positive result in the past, it does not mean that there will be no positive outcome in the future too. We believe in making efforts. We are approaching the countrymen with a pure heart and a pure objective. We know that the policymakers do nothing until they are pressurised for doing so. It has become their habit. Now we should not look at the policymakers but to the public. If the public once stands for a change the policymakers will have no option but to do what the public wants. The demand of cow and village protection needs to come from the whole country and not just from some saints alone. Normally there are three sections in the society. One of cow-lovers, second is of those who oppose and the third is of those who remain neutral. The first and second sections are very small. But the third section is very big. Until this third section is activated the disappointing atmosphere will remain. Therefore, we have to activate and inspire this third section. Nothing will happen even if we demonstrate outside the Parliament House. This demand should come from all sections of the society.
But the tragedy is that farmers themselves sell the cows to butchers. Comment.
You have reached at the roots of the problem. This is a fact that cow is slaughtered at the slaughterhouses but the process of her slaughter begins from the house of farmers. If the farmers do not sell them, there will be no problem. There are two ways to persuade the farmers. One is through developing respect in their hearts and second is promoting economic aspect. People think in terms of money. They compare what is beneficial—rearing cow or selling her. The farmers need to be educated—if one sells the cow he will earn a few hundred rupees and if he rears her he will earn lakhs of rupees. This problem will remain the same until we do not establish this scientifically. Enactment of a central legislation will also not solve the problem. It will continue illegally. Only the fact that rearing is more beneficial than selling the cow will put a complete ban on it. Therefore, there is a need to create a nationwide network of industries based on cow urine, dung and other products. It has to be developed as a profitable business. In the beginning goubhakta industrialists have to be engaged in this task.
What is being done to strengthen this economic aspect?
Many efforts are being made in the form of manufacturing medicines and panchgavya products. Some farmers are conducting very good experiments on cow-based farming. I agree that there is still lack of a united effort and I hope the united effort will be strengthened during the Yatra.
People from villages are fast migrating to urban areas. Then who will protect cow in villages?
Only the cow can stop this migration to urban areas. The day they realise the prosperity in cow-rearing they will not even think of migration. There should also be decentralisation of industries. Instead of having one factory at a cost of Rs 90 crore there should be 90 units at a cost of rupees one crore each. This is possible.
You are also engaged in many cow preservation activities. What are these activities?
We are not alone doing it. Many people are doing outstanding work on this front. We have the only goshala in the country, which successfully preserved the existing 33 breeds of Indian cows. There are some breeds, which have only 10 to 20 cows today. It is like Bharat darshan. All cow breeds from Kanyakumari to Kashmir are available there.
What is your thinking of rural development?
I dream of a completely natural village where there is no artificialness, only simple lifestyle.
The government is engaged in rural development work. How do you look at it?
That is not rural development. They are basically destroying the rural culture by converting villages into cities.
The chemical fertilizers have made the soil infertile. How could this land be revived?
Only cow can cure it. This poison of chemical fertilizers dominates over the cow. The day it is reversed, the picture will change. Before it we shall have to develop love and affection for the cow in the heart of the farmers. This is one of the objectives of the Yatra.
Did you also get the support of other saints for the Yatra?
Yes. Many Jain, Buddhist and Sikh saints have joined hands with us. All the sects, communities and sections of the society including some Muslim, Christian and Parsi leaders are in the Yatra Samiti. Many leading saints and their organisations like Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji, Mata Amritanandamayi, Dr Pranav Pandya and others are actively contributing in this task. Some scientists from outside the country have also joined hands. The foreign scientists know the importance of cow more than us. They have conducted unique experiments on cow urine, milk and panchgavya.
The overall atmosphere in the country with regard to cow protection is very disappointing. How will it change?
People are disappointed because they are sitting inactive. The day they become active the picture will change. They expect that the change will surface without doing anything. They will have to come out and fight against the evils. If 50 crore of the 110 crore people come out, which government will dare to ignore them?
Did you contact the political parties also for any kind of support?
Politics will benefit none. The time has come when we shall have to make efforts keeping the politics away. People should be united irrespective of their political considerations. We must keep in mind that if cow is protected nobody will die prematurely and if cow dies nobody will be safe. It is not the agitation for cow protection. It is the agitation for self-protection. If you want your coming generations to be safe, you will have to support it. It is a movement for atmaraksha, rashtra raksha and sanskriti raksha. Come and join us in this historic journey towards universal prosperity and happiness. Let the globe truly become a cow-centred village.
Do you have any action plan to implement after the Yatra?
Yes, this is just the beginning. We have to do a lot of constructive work in the future. Though cow is undoubtedly divine, financial gains seem to be the measurement of success in today’s materialistic world. Accepting this reality, we have to develop cow-based industries and make cow-rearing profitable. We have to educate the common man on the profit of cow-rearing. We need to convince them of social justice and the need to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. We have to take up urgently the cause of safeguarding and nurturing the existing 33 Indian breeds. In 1947 the country had about 60 breeds of cows but today we have only 33. We have to spread the message of the movement and convince the government about its importance in achieving the welfare of the nation. Nurturing the cow can begin primarily from farmer’s home. Therefore, we have to educate farmer about the benefits of cow-centred life and agriculture. The immediate goal would be to make cow-rearing profitable by promoting the cow-based industrial products. We have to undertake serious researches on new possibilities of cow-based products. By and large, we have to work for creating safe heavens for cows in districts and talukas.