M.L. Kaushik, former Melbourne priest Photo Credit : Supplied
Hamilton, New Zealand, March 14, 2019:
By Gurbir Singh:
The news-story of Jaswinder Paul, a Hindu man from Blenheim, New Zealand who mistakenly ate beef wrongly labeled as lamb, has grabbed headlines across the world, and a mixed reaction as well.
“According to my religion, I have to go back to my country and do sacred things for four to six weeks, and be purified by priests, so I can continue on my religious path. It’s a long process,” he earlier told Stuff.
This label mix up by supermarket, Countdown store at Blenheim was in September 2018 when the store inadvertently labeled a pack of beef as ‘lamb roast’ that Paul bought and claims to have eaten. He has now reportedly demanded from Countdown to pay for his fare to India for ‘purification,’ and compensation for business losses for the days he has to be away.
This has evoked a mixed reaction from a cross-section of public. One intrigued reader,‘MacDoctor’ asked in a comment online: “Are there no Hindu priests in NZ? That would seem improbable," and another termed it as his 'karma' .
This journalist approached two priests - one in New Zealand and another in Melbourne (Australia) to know their views about process of 'atonement'.
“No doubt eating beef (in some sects, any kind of meat) is prohibited in Hindu religion as cow is considered very sacred. But, in my personal view, if unknowingly and without any intention one consumes beef while visiting or residing overseas, the best thing is to visit any Hindu temple close by and seek forgiveness from God and ask priest to offer prayers (kshma yaachna) on his behalf for this sin,” Kaushik said.
“Admitting mistakes and adopting a resolution and seeking forgiveness washes such sins,” Kaushik, who is also a former Navy veteran, added.
Referring to Jaswinder Paul’s case, “there is no need to go to India for purification. He consumed a small amount of beef unknowingly, and he is not personally at fault. This is only required if someone wishes to reconvert to Hinduism,” he commented.
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Gurbir Singh is a freelance Journalist based in Hamilton, New Zealand