Some good news:
Amaravati: Taking serious note of non-implementation of prescribed menu of mid-day meal scheme in several schools, the government has decided to make it a mandatory on providing three eggs per week for each student studying in government-run schools across the state as part of providing nutritious food for the children.
Considering the report of National Institute of Nutrition(NIN) the government has directed the DEOs to strictly implement the prescribed menu in the mid-day meal and has also decided not to exempt any agency or institution like Akshaya Patra foundation, ISKCON etc on providing eggs to the students in the guise of religious traditions.
Sudhakar Thoyyeti, “ISKCON told to include eggs in menu”, 25 Jul. 2017, The Hans, India, 5 Aug. 2017 <http://www.thehansindia.com/. . . /314511>.
Why is this good news? It depends on who you are.
If you are in favor of the National Institute of Nutrition ruling, then you are happy because those wielding the scepter of science have decided to bring it down hard on those sneaky religionists. The religionists can have their puny space in society where they won’t mislead too many lives. But to let them have any significant influence? No way! Smack them down and put them in their place! So, if you’re a demon, you’re happy.
If you are in favor of the ISKCON Food for Life program or its other permutations but still have the heart of a preacher and think society today is basically guided by demons, then here is your chance to take them on in the court of law and in the court of public opinion. “Happy are the kshatriyas, to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought,” says Lord Sri Krishna to His friend and disciple Arjuna. So, you are happy.
If you are NOT in favor of the ISKCON Food for Life program and are reasonably certain it’s a deviation (and it is), then this is Krishna through His external energy forcing the devotees to shut it down and get back on the track of practical sravanam, kirtanam vishnoh smaranam. That is, getting back on track means preaching focused on getting out the message of Krishna rather than trying to appear respectable to the demons. You are also happy.
And if you are against the ISKCON Food for Life program as it is today and also a devotee and parent living in India, it’s also a very good reason not to send your kids to the karmi schools, where they will be forced to commit grossly sinful activity. Yes, they will be strongly encouraged to eat eggs, even if the school authorities say they won’t. Those are actually vikarmi schools, schools to make one impious. Time to keep a distance between yourself and the demons and protect your dependents (guror na sa syat sva jano na sa syat, pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat. . .). Krishna has pushed you off the fence, and you know it was Him. So, you are doubly happy.
The only people who are unhappy are those who want to be devotees of Krishna but who maintain a desire to be liked by the demons. Some believe that success in preaching means we must first become respectable to the non-devotees (for them to “like” us, we have to become “like” them), and that when we do they will embrace our way of life. Others have close relationships with non-devotees, especially in the workplace, and they would like to get along with co-workers and non-devotee family members. They want to shape their Krishna consciousness to their desire to get along with these non-devotees. But they are being forced to choose between being a devotee and being a demon but still want to be both. These are pretty much the only people unhappy with the ruling.
There are many lessons that can be drawn from this, but a few worth mentioning are:
- Science and sastra are not always compatible.
- Science is not as objective as it is assumed to be.
- Attachment to non-devotees for whatever reason is always troublesome for a devotee.
Innumerable essays can be written on these lessons alone.
Nonetheless, if you put yourself forward as a devotee of Krishna and are still unhappy with the ruling, just consider that nothing happens without the sanction of the Lord. As some physicians like to say, “pain is good.” It tells you something is wrong with you and forces you to do something about it. Similarly, if you are unhappy with the ruling, then you have to do something about it. And you really have no choice but to do something. For some, doing nothing means that their dependents, their children (if any) will start eating eggs. Some will resist, but most won’t. Association is a very powerful thing, and our Krishna consciousness future well-being depends on it.
Yet overall, for the reasons mentioned, this edict against ISKCON’s efforts in this area is a positive development. Only those devotees who wish to keep relations with non-devotees will feel disturbed by this. But that’s a good kind of disturbance, in which one is forced to make a necessary choice.