from Back to Godhead, January-February 1997
The people who’ve served cow flesh to billions, beneath golden arches around the world, have now come to the land where the cow is sacred. And they’re being ever so careful to be Indian.
No Big Macs here, no indeed. No cow flesh, no pig fat, lest Hindus or Muslims be offended. In India, it’s the Maharaja Mac. The menu is full of veggies spiced just for the Indian palate, and the slaughter of choice is chickens and sheep.
And trendy Indians, it seems, are lining up to swallow it. When the doors opened in Delhi in early October, day one saw a reported twenty thousand customers, and in Mumbai the crowds on opening day stretched half a mile.
Some voices, of course, spoke out in protest. Some griped that McIndia uses mono-something-or-other, a taste-boosting chemical. Others groaned at being catered to by a videshi company, a company of foreigners.
But an Indian taste for McAmerica and an American appetite for rupees seem to have found one another. And if the cow is your mother and the business of the arch people in the rest of the world is to dish out your mother’s flesh on a bun, what does it matter? The sheep and chickens, we’re assured, are svadeshi, home grown, so everything is all right.
The svadeshi sheep and chickens, of course, might have thought otherwise, had they thought about it. But mere birds and beasts can’t think about it, nor can men who’ve become hardly better.
For birds and beasts are obliged by nature to live entirely for their senses, with no higher thoughts. And a man who sacrifices the higher values of life merely to earn a rupee or spend it for his tongue is descending to the life of a beast.
It is the beasts who have no higher concern than eating, sleeping, fighting, and gratifying the sex drive. Only when we turn towards spiritual realization do we begin to rise above the life of the animals.
The culture of spirituality has long been the pride of India. But now even Indians are becoming proud to follow America in becoming cheaply fed beasts.
Like elsewhere in the world, McBeast in India queues up beneath the golden arches, not thinking beyond the whims of his senses, not thinking of Krishna, Gopala, the eternal master of the cows, and not realizing that by giving up higher consciousness for burgers and shakes he is slaughtering his own spiritual life.
He is a spiritual living being, an eternal spark of consciousness, wise by nature, and eternally connected with Krishna. But when he’s allured by the golden arches of material enjoyment his spiritual wisdom pales, and he lines up to slide down into passion and ignorance.
For the people of the arch are not kind to beasts, though they are beasts themselves. In the world of false enjoyment, “billions served” means billions cheated, and no good will come of it, not any more for the beasts served as customers than for the beasts served on the buns.
Good will come to us only when we turn back to Krishna, back to Godhead.