~ Europe Diaries ~
“THE HEART SAYS LET HIM LIVE”
It is the evening of 27th June 2016 in Zandvoort, a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland where Acharya Ji is holding Satsangs on his ongoing Speaking Tour in Europe. Zandvoort has a long sandy beach which goes on for a few kilometres at a stretch. This is where Acharya Ji spends most of his evenings walking, blessing the sand with his holy feet.
After the walk, Acharya Ji usually goes to eat at Shalom (used as salutation by Jews at meeting or parting, meaning ‘peace’), a restaurant very close to the beach open till late hours. Acharya Ji is a Vegan; he avoids eating any dairy products. Without any conscious effort, just by being in the presence of Acharya Ji the volunteers around him too have turned vegans.
Acharya Ji is often asked, ‘What does it really mean to be a Vegan? When Lord Krishna himself was so fond of dairy products, then how come you are a Vegan?’ That evening too, as Acharya Ji went to Shalom, the owner of the restaurant immediately recognised Him and jumped up to speak to Him. Acharya Ji orders a Falafel—a vegetarian middle-eastern cuisine for dinner—three other volunteers along with Raka (the lady hosting Acharya Ji at her house in Zandvoort) sit beside him.
The owner of the restaurant, a Muslim himself, is very surprised to learn Acharya Ji doesn’t eat meat. In a country like Netherlands, where almost everyone consumes meat, he is wondering: Is not eating meat also an option?
He becomes very eager to know about Acharya Ji and his reasons for not eating meat.
Soon they both enter into a spontaneous conversation as the other three volunteers and the lady host (Raka) listen to them with utmost attention. This is the magic of being around Acharya Ji: He ends up saying the most profound things at the most unexpected places. One just can’t be prepared for such moments!
The owner of the restaurant is fasting today as the month of Ramazan is going on.
(Ramazan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief)
While fasting from dawn until sunset, he refrains from consuming food and drinking any liquids. He eagerly asks, “Acharya Ji, Why don’t you eat meat?”
Acharya Ji very lovingly explains it to him saying, “It’s not a question of eating or not eating. It’s just that when you look at an animal walking around, the heart says let him live. It’s just that.” As he is listening to Acharya Ji’s words, the expression on his face changes and both of them start smiling.
Somewhere a connection was made!
He later tells Acharya Ji that he too is not very fond of eating meat. The three volunteers and the lady host (Raka) sitting beside him are all awestruck hearing this reply from him.
All are left wondering on the simplicity of their conversation. With such love and simplicity, Acharya Ji makes everything look so easy.
Meanwhile, the owner dances back inside singing “Let him live, let him live!”
~ Kunal Dhawan ~