Recently, on a television program, they were showing the royal dish of the Nawabs. They called it ‘Saat Parinda’. The chef took seven birds of different sizes – peacock being the largest and teetar (Grey Francolin) being the smallest (in this case, the birds which come under the Wildlife Protection Act were spared but were substituted with other birds). The recipe involved killing the seven birds, slicing their stomachs, marinating the smaller one with spices and placing it inside the bird next in size. Next it was put to roast. The anchor was delighted with the idea and kept lauding as the cook prepared and fed the dish to him, saying “what a great culinary experience! what a delicacy!”
Compare this to a time three thousand years, on this very land…
According to Markandeya Purana, there lived a hermit named Sukrishna. Once, a vulture flew to his hermitage. It was old and emaciated; landing at the hermitage, it lost consciousness. Sukrishna did not kill it and eat it – he nursed it back to consciousness. On opening its eyes, the vulture expressed its hunger. It hadn’t eaten in a long time and was hungry for flesh. Sukrishna thought for a while. He was not comfortable with the idea of killing another being, yet he could not let someone who was dependent on him, die of hunger. He had four sons. He looked at them and asked them to offer themselves, one by one, as food to the vulture. The sons were aghast. They refused for the love of their body. Sukrishna was disappointed in his sons and cursed them to be in body of birds in their next birth. Having cursed the sons, Sukrishna offered himself to the beast to satiate its hunger. At that time the vulture, transformed into Lord Indra, who had come to test Sukrishna. He blessed the noble sage and returned. The sons in their next birth were born to the bird Takshee and had to bear the pains and challenges in the life of a bird.
Now pause to think. In Dwaparyuga, the sons of Sukrishna were cursed to the pains of a bird’s life for not attending to a sick bird’s needs on their father’s command. The man of Kaliyuga, is sacrificing lives of seven birds…just like that, for the sake of culinary delight. One can imagine the curses he is bringing upon himself.
It is the dharma (not to be confused with religion) of human to protect those weaker than him and to ensure no being in the vicinity is hungry. It is not an extra-ordinary thing, it is the nature of human. Just how far have we come from being ‘human’, a quality which attracted gods to earth and compelled them to shower their blessings on us…absence of which is spelling our doom.