For the first time in hundreds of years, the Durga Temple, located in Bhagwanpur block near Begusarai, Bihar state, north-eastern India, will celebrate the homecoming of Goddess Durga without any animal sacrifice. According to a report by News 18, devotees will instead offer vegetables and fruits like sugarcane and pumpkin to Goddess Vaishnavi.
Every year, devotees, not only from Begusarai but from all over the country, including Bihar and West Bengal, travel to this temple with the hope that their wishes will be granted. The idol of Durga, also called Shaktipeeth, is said to have been brought from a place called Nadia in Bengal 700 years ago. It was worshipped as the Kuldevi and it was established in Lakahnpur.
It is believed that devotees sacrificed as many as 10,000 animals on Durga Puja every year, but now, fortunately, no more animals will lose their lives and devotees will still be able to participate in the ritual and give more compassionate offerings to their Goddess. The temple is managed by Maa Durga Temple Pushpalata Ghosh Charitable Trust, the committee of which must be praised for having brought these positive changes. This proves that tradition is not an excuse to cause harm to others, and religion is not incompatible with veganism. On the contrary, the principle of ahimsa (a Sanskrit term that means “do no harm” or “nonviolence”) is well-established in India as one of the tenets of many Dharmic religions (such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism), and it is also a basic principle of the philosophy of veganism (which could be seen as a secular manifestation of ahimsa that has reached international scope).