Misunderstood Animals Series: Pigs – Facts and Religious Significance

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  • “Eww, pigs are so ugly; they eat human poop. “
  • “I will never live in a locality where there are pigs.”
  • “Pigs are so dirty.”

Can you shut Up? Since last month, I’ve been seeing people throw stones at pigs. I see people enjoy seeing dogs bite piglets. You’ve got it all wrong- you are not only trying to harm a seriously misunderstood creature, but you are also wronging the Sanatan religion.

Let me write this rebuttal today and clear the air starting with some facts about pigs and then the Significance of them in Hindu Culture.

What People Think: Pigs sleep in shit. Pigs are filthy animals.

Reality: In the wild, boars don’t root and sleep in poo; they eat plants, dead insects, worms, and tree bark. If you see pigs trying to hog garbage, it is because they have nothing else left to eat. You throw those plastics out in the open and then laugh at animals who put their mouth on them. They do toss around in the mud, but only because it’s an excellent way to keep cool.

What People Think: Pigs Sweat like Pigs

Reality: Pigs have no known sweat glands, so they can’t sweat. Pigs are at grave risk of overheating, and muddy water evaporates much more slowly than clean water, and that’s why they’re covered in mud. They do it to survive.

What People Think: Pigs are the dumbest mammals on Earth.

Reality: Pigs have great memories. They can memorize things for years and can remember and recognize objects. Pigs are smart! Their intelligence is reportedly higher than dog’s, primates, and even human children.

Significance of Pigs in Hinduism

In Hinduism, every matter is god. Everything, from a rock to a river, is worshipped in Sanatan Dharma. Pigs are no different. Varaha is the avatar of the god Vishnu, in the form of a boar. Varaha is the third in the Dashavatara, the ten avatars of Vishnu.

Varaha, the boar avatar of Vishnu, lifted mother Earth (personified as the mata Bhudevi) out of the cosmic ocean. When the beast Hiranyaksha removed the Earth and buried her in the primordial waters, Vishnu emerged as Varaha to rescue her. Varaha destroyed the demon and reclaimed the Earth from the ocean, lifting it on his large tusks, and restored mata Bhudevi (mother earth) to her place in the universe.

Pig also finds mention in other Hindu Histories.

According to Ramayana, god Brahma, the creator, appears in the early universe full of water and takes a boar avatar to lift the Earth from the waters; creation originates with Brahma and his descendants.

In Mahabharata, Narayana is praised as the one who rescues the Earth as a boar.

Shiva Purana mentions Vishnu taking the Varaha form in the tale of the origin of the linga. Once, Vishnu and Brahma contest for superiority. A fiery, infinite pillar signifying the linga appears. Brahma, as a hamsa (swan), flies up to discover its top, while Varaha, as a large boar, went lower to explore its base. However, both fail the edges of the linga. Shiva emerges in the place of linga and teaches them that he is the Supreme Being. The Shiva Purana states that Vishnu took the boar form due to the beast’s innate ability to burrow.

So, next time you are throwing a stone at a pig or calling it ‘ewwwwww’ and laughing at its dirtiness, remember that you are mocking the world’s oldest surviving religion by doing so.

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