Why am I a vegetarian?
The most difficult situation that I encounter during my travels is getting vegetarian food. In some parts of the world chefs don’t even understand the meaning of vegetarianism. They would ask: “Vegetables? We would provide you veg salads with dressing on it…”
How can I explain it to them that my diet is pre-dominantly carbohydrates. Nobody serves you Idly or Dosa in Western restaurants! Nobody knows about your Tali meals.
So you will have to adjust with biscuits, no-egg cakes and coke.
The sad thing about being vegetarian is wherever I go in the West, I become a serious head-ache for the host. Especially, during the US/European press conference and meetings. I become a “problem man” for them.
Some journalist friends ask me – why are you so adamant about being vegetarian? Is it because you are born in a Brahmin family?
No. Normally Brahmins “were” vegetarian. But a majority of Brahmin caste that I was born in, eat fish (except in some parts of Kerala state).
But my ancestors were following strict vegetarian diet (at least, for traceable few centuries). So I cannot deny the influence of tradition in my childhood.
Now-a-days I hardly find any vegetarians in our community. And today’s Brahmin boys and girls proudly acclaim that “we eat meat and fish.” – As if they have achieved the biggest award in the universe.
“Why am I a vegetarian?,” one of my friends asked me.
The usual reasons for choosing vegetarianism may be related to moral, religious, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, environmental, social, economic, political, taste, or health concerns.
Vegetarians quote three main reasons for this, based on religious and ehtical teachings they have: (1) the principle of nonviolence (ahimsa) applied to animals (2) the intention to offer only “pure” (vegetarian) food to a deity and then to receive it back as Prasad and (3) and the conviction that non-vegetarian food is detrimental for the mind and for spiritual development.
These are all generalised reasons. Though these theories support me being a vegetarian, I don;t subscribe to these theories as a whole. Vegetarians also have “holier-thank-thou” attitude which is a fanaticism. Also, I don’t think vegetarian foods will keep you 100 percent healthier than non-vegetarian. health-wise Veg is far better, but that’s not all.
I said: “My first concern about non-veg food is that I can’t bear the smell – decaying animal parts, whether in a freezer case or served in restaurants, can never be as aesthetically pleasing to the senses as the same foods made from wholesome vegetable sources…”
“But non-vegetarian food also have good smell…” he said.
“If you get good smell, thank it to Masala that made of vegetarian plants,” I replied, “I wonder how can a person happily eat a dish that contains body of a once living being.Just think of the the pain that living being must have got while being killed to prepare the dish..”
So the major reason I would like to present is that I would like to uphold non-violence. Those who understand the principles of vegetarianism, will not involve in violence of any forms. (Understanding vegetarianism, not just being vegetarians – Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian)
….. For me, non-vegetarian food is DEAD FLESH. The moment I see I can feel the vibration of violence there. It is a dead body of a poor creature. And human beings are eating the dead-body. It is an act of violence for me.
“Ha ha…plant also has life..” he teased me
“Friend, if you have no empathy to the pain of the animals whenyou cut it, you don’ have the moral authority to talk about the life of a plant….but let me asnwer that question…” I said, “Vegetarians do not consume plant parts that won’t grow again. They are not killing the plant. What’s more, by eating fruits and vegetables, you help plant to spread its seeds. You become part of ecological balance and cosmic creativity..”
I have learned botony till my PUC. Plants do not have any known central nervous system, so perhaps they do not feel pain. But that even I am not sure. Who knows tomorrow botanists may find one?
Though plants are living being, they are in different kingdom. It works on simple physical and bio-chemical principles. Plant cells have chloroplast to produce food and large part of its intracellular space is occupied by a organelle called vacuoles. It is meant to store food.
“Plants are made to create food for themselves and the animals. Animal cells can’t produce food on their own…” I said.
As George Bernard Shaw said: ‘Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak! Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.”
However, if you want to find reasons as to why people turn to vegetarianism, I have lot of answers that have been extracted from various references.
– The Human anatomy is fit to be vegetarian only. Human beings are most similar to other herbivores, and drastically different from carnivores. Human characteristics are in every way like the fruit eaters, very similar to the grass- eater, and very unlike the meat eaters. The human digestive system, tooth and jaw structure, and bodily functions are completely different from carnivorous animals.
– As in the case of the anthropoid ape, the human digestive system is twelve times the length of the body; our skin has millions of tiny pores to evaporate water and cool the body by sweating; we drink water by suction like all other vegetarian animals; our tooth and jaw structure is vegetarian; and our saliva is alkaline and contains ptyalin for predigesting of grains. Human beings clearly are not carnivores by physiology – our anatomy and digestive system show that we must have evolved for millions of years living on fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables.
– The animals do not chew their food. Instead, they slice off huge chunks of meat and swallow them whole. They do not have digestive enzymes in their saliva since flesh-digesting enzymes released in the unprotected mouth would quickly destroy the oral cavity. Their strongly acidic stomachs are huge storage vats that account for 60-70% of the total capacity of their GI tracts. Meat has no fiber and is, therefore, easily digested. Thus, their small intestines are very short (only 3-6 times their body length) and are optimized for protein and fat absorption. Their large intestines are short straight and smooth and designed for evacuation purposes only.
– We have a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme in our saliva called salivary amylase. The human esophagus does not handle poorly chewed food very well. Over 90% of the people who choke to death each year choke on meat. Human body length (head to tail bone) is typically 2.5 to 3 feet. Thus, at >25-30 feet in length, the human small intestine is clearly designed for digesting plant material. Only herbivores have an appendix. No matter how much fat and cholesterol you feed carnivores like dogs and cats, they NEVER develop coronary artery disease. In places where people eat a high fiber, whole food diet, appendicitis and diverticulosis are unknown.
Humans are physiologically better suited to a vegetarian.
– Ask yourself: When you see dead animals on the side of the road, are you tempted to stop for a snack? Does the sight of a dead bird make you salivate? Do you daydream about killing cows with your bare hands and eating them raw? Humans were simply not designed to eat meat. Humans lack both the physical characteristics of carnivores and the instinct that drives them to kill animals and devour their raw carcasses.
How can one practice true compassion that eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh? Would you kill your pet dog or cat to eat it? How about an animal you’re not emotionally attached to? Isn’t it barbaric to kill them for our food while we have reasonable options?
If you learn anthropology and human evolution, you would understand that early humans were largely vegetarian. Scientists and Nutritional experts believe that humans evolved into eating meat as a result of huge climatic changes that took place about three-four million years ago, forests and jungles dried up and became open grasslands, thus opening up hunting and scavenging opportunities.
Scientists and naturalists, including the great Charles Darwin who gave the theory of evolution, agree that early humans were fruit and vegetable eaters and that throughout history our anatomy has not changed. The great Swedish scientist von Linne states: “Man’s structure, external and internal, compared with that of the other animals, shows that fruit and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food.”
There are Pathogenic Microorganisms – a host of bacteria and viruses, some quite dangerous, that are common to animals. When you eat meat, you eat the organisms in the meat. Micro-organisms are present in plant foods too, but their number and danger to human health is by no means comparable to that of those in meat.
Meat eating increases the risk of heart disease. It’s the primary reason we get heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and every other major degenerative disease.(I contest this argument, as I have seen similar kind of diseases in vegetarians too.) But when an animal is killed, its body stiffens due to the pain, suffering and fear. It releases a whole load of hormones which are not suitable for human bodies.
Studies in western countries have shown that on average, vegetarians have smarter children, suffer significantly lower rates of chronic disease, obesity and dementia, and live longer than their meat-eating counterparts. The more meat we eat, the sicker we get. (I am not sure about this argument too). It shows that meat is poison to us. If eating meat were natural, it wouldn’t destroy our health.
Those health freaks say that vegetarians are better in physical performance: People have much better endurance when they don’t eat meat – whether they’re professional athletes or not.
There is no question that humans are capable of digesting meat. But just because we can digest animals does not mean we’re supposed to, or that it will be good for us. We can digest cardboard. That does not mean we should.
– There are religious reasons too – but that is not my argument to be a vegetarian. Various religions, including Christianity propagates Vegetarianism.
– According to the Bible, in the beginning, humans and animals were vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, … and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat, and to every beast of the earth, … I have given every green herb for meat.” Some Christian leaders, such as the Reverend Andrew Linzey, have supported the view that Jesus was a vegetarian. In fact, the Bible compares the killing of cows to murdering a man: “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man.” (Isaiah 66.3)
– Prophet Mohammed “Where there is an abundance of vegetables, a host of angels will descend on that place.” Although he didnt publicly proclaim as being vegetarian, he practised vegetarianism and was against killing of animals for food.He preferred strict vegetarian diet, like dates, nuts, milk, cucumber etc…He didnt insist on vegetarianism – a reason could be in those days it was hard to get such food in the desert….The Holy Quran emphasizes that animals and humans have equal shares of Earth’s resources, also saying that in God’s eyes they are equal to humans, and Hes communicates with them exactly as Hes does with humans:
– There are several Sanskrit Sutras where Buddha instructs his followers to avoid meat. Mahayana Buddhism generally advises monks to be strictly vegetarian. Buddhist scripture, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, “The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.” One of the story says that Buddha died after taking sukara-maddava, which is translated by some as pork, while as mushroom by others. Ashoka Stumbhas (pillers) are all over India. He had also created metallic pillars consisting of iron alloys. Which have still not rusted even after 2000 years. “One animal is not to be fed to another,” says some Stumbhas.
– Most major paths of Hinduism hold vegetarianism as an ideal. Classical India was vegetarian, as was Japan up until a generation or two ago. “The purchaser of flesh performs violence by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does violence by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it all these are to be considered meat-eaters.” (Mahabharat, Anu.115.40) All of these people will also incur the same karmic reactions for their participation in killing, distributing or eating the flesh of animals.
The Gita also clarifies exactly what should be offered: “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” (Bhagavad-gita. 9.26).
The staple of Egyptian workers building the Pyramids was boiled onions. Pythagoras was a vegetarian, although he had a weird distaste for beans. Even the Roman army marched on its vegetarian stomach. It is clear that 90% of humanity have subsisted on a 90% vegetarian diet. Modern carnivorous men and women are the exception not the rule.
The metaphor by Douglas Dunn is that if one gives a young child an apple and a live chicken, the child would instinctively play with the chicken and eat the apple, whereas if a cat were presented with the same choices, its natural impulse would be the opposite. In a similar assertion, Scott Adams once wrote humorously: “I point out that a live cow makes a lion salivate, whereas a human just wants to say “moo” and see if the cow responds”.
Meat production and processing requires more energy, more water and more land as compared to plant food production. It also releases carbon dioxide, methane (green house gases) into the atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming. Going vegetarian would reduce your carbon footprint on earth!
George Bernard Shaw had once remarked, on being asked as to why He was a vegetarian, that he didn’t want to make his stomach a graveyard of dead animals.
The friend asked me: “Now-a-days majority of Brahmins eat non-vegetarian food, what is your opinion?”
“As I said, understanding vegetarianism is different from just being vegetarian – Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian. Similarly, understanding Brahminism is different from born to a Brahmin. One becomes Brahmin not by birth, but by Karma…But taking birth in a Brahmin family has some advantages as you get exposure to vegetarianism…”
“Those who proudly claim to be Brahmins by birth, and then eat non-vegetarian food, are doing worst paapa (sin) on the earth. When a butcher kills an animal, he does his duty or karma. But a Brahmin (who is supposed to profess and follow non-violence ) eats a dead body, he not only goes against his karma and the genetical code but stoops lower than an animal that eats the decayed dead-bodies. This is my opinion. If a Brahmin can’t feel the pain of any living creature when hurt, bleed when cut and love their kids like we love, I feel pity for him. But I am sure every Brahmin, at a later age will understand if he has an open mind to learn”
With more and more Mc Donald’s and KFC’s opening up the store, our country is slowly turning into a land of slaughter house.
‘”You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever.” (Yajur Veda 12.32.90)
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Hi, constantly i used to check website posts here early in the break of day, since i like to learn more and more.
Is being a vegetarian is enough?should we turn to Veganism to save the deprived calves who are separated from the cows and led to the slaughterhouse?your thoughts please.
The article is fantastic and it means to me a lot. you know why? i strictly adhere to it’s contents as i am 100% vegetarian and a brahmin by birth and by karma
I follow all the rituals and follow themin letter and spirit. Since this has come to the notice and knowledge of several face bookers and app’s, i sanguinely believe it will change the attitude of several brahmins and followers as rigthly said they are more true brahmins when they follow karma
May Lord sankaracharya feelhappy about this true change if at all .
this primery post has many erors in it
1. i think now a days we can get indian food in all our india speacialy in usaand uk..
2. you wrote that having vegetairan supports to nonvoilence towards animal but my friend only killingthem is not nonviolence but hitting them , no taking care of them , ignoring them also mean doing violence indirectlly
3. first of all we must rember that aadimanav the first human on earth has couldnot be lived and couldnot be spred his/her seed (human seeds) withouth haveing non veg…..be cause….in that time hey have no ideas to have veg or non veg ,,,and even how to prepare foods
Very well written article. Like you, I am proud to be a vegetarian. As you have correctly mentioned, whenever I see people relish the non-veg.food, my mind automatically feels the pain of that poor animal.
I would like to add a small conversation I had with one of my malayali friends recently.
“So you don’t eat meat or fish”
“No I don’t”
“Somehow, I don’t like its smell and don’t feel like having it”
“Dude, you don’t know what you are missing in your life. Chicken is the tastiest food”
“Friend, It depends on taste buds. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes.”
“I too eat vegetables. Vegetables don’t have flavour or taste, but chicken is not like that, so you can’t say it depends on taste buds”
“I seriously enjoy eating vegetables. I like its taste. I savour each and every bite of my veg curries and I feel good”
My friend mockingly, “I have tasted your cabbage curry, veg stew and all. How can you eat rice just with that cabbage curry? It is bland.So I don’t believe that you enjoy your food, in fact I know deep inside you feel like trying some non veg.”
(When I prepare cabbage curry, I just add some mustard, green chilly and salt, and I cook it only half so as to get the actual flavour of cabbage, and that is one of my favourite curries 😀 )
“Ok, So in China, fried cockroaches and caterpillars are considered very tasty and they claim they have medicinal properties too. Would you like to taste that?”
“OMG! Fried cockroaches?? That’s so gross”
“Yeaa.. And what about having some soft-boiled fetal duck?”
“What is that?”
“They are partially-fertilized duck eggs. Soft boil it and you will get a samll inert body of a fetal duck, with small bones, feathers, beak etc. People slurp it with a pinch of salt”
“OMG! Stop it. How do people eat that!!”
“Dude, you are missing so many interesting foods. You should give it a try.” and I walked away. 😀
I personally had a similar experience and have shared an opinion which I wish to share the same with you all
During recent times when I was in Nigeria, one of my colleague observed me following strict vegetarian dietary practice, he got curious as this was not a usual thing for him to see there and asked why don’t you take meat, egg or else that gives you more energy and protein.
To this, I said that my opinion towards diet is only to gain energy in the “best possible refined form”.
But in order to gain energy we also intake and process the matter in the form of Food to extract the energy from it. There are three known ways of gaining energy that I’m aware of:
Primary Source – Receive Energy/Prepare our own food in ourselves (Like photosynthesis)
Secondary Source – Depend on or intake the Source matter that creates Food in itself (Vegetarian Diet)
Tertiary Source – Depend on or intake the Secondary matter that in turns depend on primary source (Non Vegetarian Diet)
What I mean by intake of energy in the best possible refined form is that, Since we humans are incapable to produce energy in ourselves like plants, we depend on secondary source of energy that is Plants/trees and when we consume Vegetarian products like fruits or vegetables we intake Energy and Matter also, the secondary Source “Matter” is undoubtedly less vulnerable when compared to the Tertiary Source.
I prefer to undergo a less complex and less Vulnerable process to extract energy and hence I prefer Vegetarian Diet.
My dear sir, I think you are somewhat mistaken here. Human teeth are also designed to eat meat but not as much as our cousins like neanderthal. They ate about 80-90% meat but our diet consisted of 10-20% meat ideally. This gave us just enough strength for our strenous physical work, hunting, games,sports and warfare. They say a little meateating also enabled ,us to evolve our brains better. For those doing strenous work,or physical activity heavily, meat eating in little quantities helps a lot. But for all other peoples, it is better they do not eat meat.
For those doing heavy physical activity, 10% is enough. For those in defence, police, action, etc 20% is enough. More meat does Not do them any good. It only erodes their thinking. But I accept that a great majority of our food was plant matter. Now I do not advocate of all people eating meat though
now I need to mention that egg is nonveg because it is animal matter, not plant matter. I do agree with the fact that human beings could do well without meat wholeheartedly though.
But for those who eat meat, more than 10% has no use and that includes eggs.
Wonderful post but I was wanting to know if you could
write a litte more on this topic?
Thanks for sharing such a good thinking, piece of writing is fastidious,
thats why i have read it completely
I am actually thankful to the holder of this web page who has
shared this great article at here.
This is so interesting. I enjoyed reading every word in your article especially the scientific reason for being a veg.
Kanchi Maha Swamigal’s opinion on this is the best and full og logic. Food you eat relates to the profession you are engaged in. The nutrition and stength a white collar working under a fan for 6 hours a day cannot be adequate for a person working in iron smelting smithy. Needs of the profession, not needs of the tongue should decide the choice between veg and non-veg . Can there bt a better judgement ?!
I don’t have a website. I am just an individual.
sir verey very nice n detail explanation of al the concepts n theroies. but i add one more point .i am a ” JAIN ” guy n sure that all my fellow jains are pure veg. may be some exceptions. we for 4 monhs do not eat onions. potatoo. beetroot etc. still our community is very strict. where ever u go just ask for jain food. i am sure u will get it.
I am a biochemical engineer by education and have been passionate about biology since I have known about science. I have studied all kinds of organisms and being an engineer have also studied statistics. I am a non-vegetarian by choice.
This article is very pleasing to all the vegans/vegetarians I understand. I have nothing against vegetarianism. Your first reason for being a vegetarian is perfectly valid and excellent – that you can’t stand the smell. But all subsequent reasons are hyprocritic.
-Plants have as much life as any other organism (they might be in a different kingdom but life is life). Human beings are evolutionarily omnivorous like the apes. Apes eat whatever they can find in nature.
-No organism (except the hyenas, vultures and decomposers) feeds on dead flesh – you can see the evidence on any nature channel where top carnivores only consume what they hunt and never the hunt of other carnivores.
-The quantum with which we destroy plant life for consumption is approximately about 200 times greater than what animal life we destroy – think of all the forests destroyed to make cultivable land, all the crops plants burned after harvest (wheat/rice/jowar/corn/pulses). The only rejuvenating plants that we eat are the fruits and even those we don’t help to propagate as we either digest them or they find their way into our waste disposal (unless you dispose off your waste into the wild like other animals)where they are dead for all practical purposes.
-Further those who consume milk products are bigger hypocrites – they consume a product which is meant for an innocent calf and that which is a part of an animal (making it technically non-vegetarian).
-Also in the name of agriculture we destroy the lively hood of so many animals (herbivores) which naturally prey on certain plants which we consume as crops.
So in all if you truly want to claim that you truly care for the “feelings” of all organisms you have to live in the wild and lead the life of a hunter/gatherer. In all other cases its pure hypocrisy.
This is the best article I have ever seen in my life. Proud to be
I too have been a vegetarian all my life. Luckily for me I have never had problems getting vegetarian food. I usually stay in self catering places when travelling on holiday so I cam always make some sort a veggie meal. Most places sell fruit and vegetables so I may not have all the ingredients but I enjoy experimenting and making a veggie meal. I also do alot of research about the place before travelling and get information on vegetarian restaurants etc…
Nice explanation paimam, let me write a true incident.
My only son, pure vegetarian was carrying food till 12th std. But when grown up and while studying his integrated law course at NUALS, just like majority of his friends taking lunch in hotels, he also stopped carrying lunch.
As usuall it is my practise to have interaction with him in a friendly manner to know about his thoughts and habits in college, and give some suggestion with no compelltion. asked about his food and friends in college.
One day he told me that his friends are teasing him being veg. and telling that he is not lucky enough to take non-veg which is very much tasty. I told him that most of the 80% people are non-veg eaters and helping us indirectly to get vegitables for this cost. If everybody is taking veg. the cost of 1 kg carraot will be Rs. 500 now which we can not afford. Also givien some natural principle.
For “Every action there is equal and opposite reaction” is a natural reality, which is not created by Issac newton, only defined the happening, which is fit for all action.
Whatever pain we are giving to any creatures,directly or indirectly we are also bound to experience the pain. So U are not lucky to experience the pain. Same thing he explained to his friends and suddenly they reduced teasing him and used to take veg food with him, and reduced taking non veg food.
At least some change came to their mind. By your article I wish at least some will reduce or stop using non veg food
A good information to all. Keep posting such related areas. I agree with human being are HERBIVORUS (anatomically & physiologically adapted to digest plant parts seed, grain, fruit etc.) Being a vegetarian is good way of living practice. Human beings should think then realize and to learn with open mind which one is good HERBIVORUS (VEGETARIAN) or CARNIVORUS (EATING ALL KINDS OF MATERIALS EVEN DEAD OR DECAYING).
Good one! Im vegan too.
An informative article, liked it.
I just wanted clarification on this,few of my friends say that because of non- vegetarian there is a balance in the food system of the world, if everyone were vegetarian then it would have been difficult to meet one’s food requirement.
Excellent. The article focuses on the untouched corners of the age-old argument between veg & non Veg.keep posting such interesting articles.
Awesome post 🙂
Nice article brother. Thank you for pointing out the Biological as well as relegious perspective of being Vegetarian. Special thanks for mentioning the famous personalities who were vegetarian. I have read that Albert Einstein & Abraham Lincoln were said to be vegetarians too.
i am a proud vegetarian since birth and a proud animal rights activist…1 thing which should be added is that we should not use leather,fur,silk or wool,which is nothing but animal skin,please dont visit zoos and circuses and gamble in horse races since animals are tortured to perform.most importantly dont buy any cosmetics or toiletries which have been tested on animals.ANIMALS ARE NOT OURS TO EAT,WEAR,EXPERIMENT OR ENTERTAIN IN ANY WAY
The best article i have read about being vegetarian . Thanks for the quotes from different books and personals. Keep up the good work.
A friend has forwarded this after reading my old article “Why Am I a Vegetarian” Hope this helps = What authentic Sanatan Dharma scriptures say about our food:
1. “The purchaser of flesh performs himsa (violence) by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does himsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts of the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it–all of these are to be considered meat-eaters.” (Mahabharata, Anu. 115:40)
2. “Those sinful persons who are ignorant of actual religious principles, yet consider themselves to be completely pious, without compunction commit violence against innocent animals who are fully trusting in them. In their next lives, such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.5.14)
3.”By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation.” (Manusmriti, 6.60) He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness in this life or the next. (Manusmriti 5.45)
4. “Those noble souls who practice meditation and other yogic ways, who are ever careful about all beings, who protect all animals, are the ones who are actually serious about spiritual practices.” (Atharva Veda, 19.48.5)
5. “One who partakes of human flesh, the flesh of a horse or of another animal, and deprives others of milk by slaughtering cows, O King, if such a fiend does not desist by other means, then you should not hesitate to cut off his head.” (Rig Veda, 10.87.16)
6. “You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever.” (Yajur Veda, 12.32)
7.”One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me—he is very dear to Me.” (Bhagavad gita.12.13-14). The Gita clarifies exactly what should be offered: “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.…all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Bhagavad-gita. 9.26, 27)
8. “A person fully aware of religious principles should never offer anything like meat, eggs or fish in the Sraddha ceremony, and even if one is a Kshatriya (warrior), he himself should not eat such things.” (Bhagavata Purana 7.15.7)
9. Protect both our species, two-legged and four-legged. Both food and water for their needs supply. May they with us increase in stature and strength. Save us from hurt all our days, O Powers! (Rig Veda 10.37.11. VE, 319)
10. A twice-born person (Dwija or Brahmin) of virtuous disposition, whether he dwells at home, with a teacher, or in the forest, must never, even in times of distress, cause an injury to any creature which is not sanctioned by the Veda. (Manusmriti V, 43)
11. Ahimsa is the highest dharma. Ahimsa is the best tapas. Ahimsa is the greatest gift. Ahimsa is the highest self-control. Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice. Ahimsa is the highest power. Ahimsa is the highest friend. Ahimsa is the highest truth. Ahimsa is the highest teaching. (Mahabharata 18.116.37-41.)
12. Goodness is never one with the minds of these two: One who wields a weapon and one who feasts on a creatures’ flesh. If you ask, “What is kindness and what is unkind?” It is not killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous. Life is perpetuated by not eating meat. The clenched jaws of hell hold those who do. When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh Of another creature, he must abstain from eating it. (The Tirukural Verse 254-312)
Food can be classified based on the three gunas:-
– Satvik – milk products, most of the vegetarian foods. – Those that stabilizes the mind.
– Rajasik – masala (including onion, garlic), meat, fish, cigarette, liquor, narcotic drugs – Those which generate uncontrollable attraction or addiction if once liked; i.e. those which makes mind restless.
– Tamasik – rotten foods whether veg or non-veg, or very heavy meals – Those which generate laziness or disinterest i.e. Mind remains dormant always
NOTE – The classification of VEG or NON-VEG is absurd, whereas satvik or rajasik gives a clear picture. Eg: all herbivorous animals do consume milk, but is it right to say that they are thus, flesh eaters? Moreover, do the vegeterains consume liquor/cigaratte/drugs though all these come from plants?
Hence, the classification should be SATVIK/RAJASIK than vegeterian/non-vegeterian.
OUTCOMES OF THE GUNAS
SATVA – Cheerfulness of mind, control of mind, calmness, purity of inner feelings, ability to motivate & help others, unswayed by success or failure, unegoistic etc. A satvik truly perceives what ought to be done & what not.
RAJO – Greed, interest in worldly enjoyments, uncontrollable desires, dissatisfaction in achievements and feeling of discomfort at times, either too happy or too frustrated (extreme states of mind), lack of control of emotions, etc. A rajasik doesn’t truly perceive what is Dharma and what is Adharma (or cannot determine what ought to be done and what not).
TAMO – Laziness, procrastinating, arrogant, uncultured, destructive thought aimed at harming the society, inclined to rob others of their livelihood, etc. A tamasik imagines Adharma to be Dharma, sees all things upside down due to ignorance.
I personally have tried to be vegan 4 times in my life. Every time is for a different reason. And the maximum I could hold on to it was 4 months :). I love non vegetarian food. Probably its on more “cool” factor to try out all the good delicacies in the world.
Its been 4 days since I have become vegan again. I strongly know this time that I will continue this. I have a very good reason to justify myself this time.
Thanks Sir for the wonderful post. We knew most of the concept but you managed to make it soo simple to follow and understand.
Few sentences in this article moved me. Dead dogs on the road….etc .. To be honest my next to-do list was to try monkey head soup in tokyo !! It feel soo gross to me now.
I will definitely pass on to the people who are “trying” to be vegan from many years 🙂
I feel proud to say that I am a Hindu & a complete Vegetarian as well…
I feel proud to be a Hindu & a vegetarian as well….
I have read half of your article. It is excellent. When any animal is killed it emits an enzaim which is carcinoginious. The meat contains enzime which when eaten the human beings get cancer. The Germans have discovered this and they are turning to Veg
In Coimbatore and Bangalore many Rotary meetings serve Veg food. Unfortunately Keralites invite Cancer. Only when fright is created and few gets affected with Cancer will they switch to Veg. No amount of preaching will convince them.
Where can I find the photos. In your sight or my sight.
Dear Pai Mam,
The article is very Good. Especially I liked your reference to India turning to slaughter house by opening of Macdonald and KFC.
Awaiting more such articles
Dear Pai Mam,
Very nice article. Especially I liked your reference to India turning to slaughter house by opening Macdonalds and KFC.
I have a heard a story which states that The auspicious Muhurat of Madhyana was first suggested by GSB for the coronation of Sree Rama.When the King’s messengers reached Saraswathi River they found that the people (GSB) were catching fish and after cutting the center portion the head and tale were joined and again deposited into the river.It is said that the fish got
back their life and went swimming.This story was told to stress that even though GSB ate fish they never harmed any life.
Awaiting more such articles.All the Best
TOP 15 COMMENTS FROM SPEAKING TREE
Jun 18, 2012 at 01:34 pm
Some people feel some ego – ‘As I am a vegetarian so I am a better human’. No, to be a better human we need lots of other qualities.
You know, there are three gunas- satta ,raja & tama. Eating only vegetables is only a characteristic of a sattvic person or we can say It slightly increase satta gana in a person. That’s all.
Jun 18, 2012 at 02:45 pm
Very nice article. After a while, I read a good article on ST. Good article doesn’t mean that I agree fully with author.
Jun 18, 2012 at 04:28 pm
Choice of food for each one of us is personal . And food served ( be it vegetarian or non vegitarian) should be taken with lot of compassion and gartitude ( do not waste ) as in both the case people have put effort on it , animals / plants might have given their lives for us.Consider it as food only not as dead animal or dead plant as both are “dead things” if you start thinking so.
Jun 18, 2012 at 04:41 pm
Beautifully explained the reasons of being a vegetarian!! Do not miss the opportunity of being Proud of the fact that u r a Vegetarian!!
Ca Subramanian Iyer
Jun 18, 2012 at 06:29 pm
Uday lovely msg . Veg is the best food. Non veg food petrifies in the stomach . One poet said ” mera pet koi kabristan nahi ke mein is se non-veg se bar dhun”!.
Jun 19, 2012 at 08:52 am
I LOved this blog because it does not only tell the religious aspects for being vegetarian but other reasons as well….TOO good,VERY INFORMATIVE….. for all the ppl who defend their NV eating.
Last episode of satyamev jayate showed violence by men on women and a analyst said it is because of Patriarchy…male dominance hence no equality..no compassion.I think the killing for animal is none other than HUMAN DOMINANCE…….one is FOOD FOR EGO the other is FOOD FOR FLESH n TASTE.
moreover while telling her story one victim of domestic violence said that one day after quietly bearing years of violence she reciprocated with a tight slap to her husband….he got shocked then she said…DARD HUAA…… MUZEE BHI HOTA HAI(got hurt…it hurts me too)…I wish if animals could reciprocate in the same way.
AHIMSA PARMO DHARMA.
Jun 19, 2012 at 04:50 pm
I am a Malayalee, a Hindu. I love my beef, fish, shell fish, like 75% of my brethren Keraleans. I suspect a good portion of the rest 25% too have tasted or had non-veg food some time or the other in their lives and have chosen be vegetarians for very personal reasons (maybe they have a weak stomache).
Most of the pure veg people are either of ethnic Brahmin castes who have not acquired a taste for non-veg. All food is an acquired taste – and some food we learn to eat and perhaps like. Even though I am non-veg, I may not relish mutton brain fry (favourite of Malabar Muslims) or “botti” a dish made from the intestines of beef favourite among Latin Christians. Conversely, many Brahmin kids relish chicken and other non-veg, including beef. (Shiva, Shiva!!)
If eating non-veg is not right for humans, the majority of Americans, Europeans, South Americans, Africans, South Asians (except a large number of Hindus / Buddhists / Jains etc of India), the Japanese, the … would not have been eating flesh of land, air or aquatic animals.
It just defies logic to say that all of them ever knew that the human body is not made for flesh eating.
One of the major reason that Keralites enjoy better health and nutrition is because even the poorest sections of the Kerala society had access to cheap proteins – fish and beef.
Denying people access to meat and fish for reasons of religious mumbo jumbo is sheer nonsense. Not only that – it is now being enforced – and that is pure Fascism of the religious right wing.
I would always say to my relatives who chose to be pure vegetarian – you have lost access to much more than half of the food universe – all the delectable dishes, curries, pastries… I don’t think it is something God wants you NOT to enjoy. Your self denial is your own loss.
And to all Vegetarians out there – you are no way MORALLY better than us non-vegs just because you eat plants and fruits. You just happen to live in a fools paradise. 🙂 Thank you. I am happy and content to be a Non-Vegetarian. Where’s my ‘porotta beef curry’? Yum.
Jun 19, 2012 at 04:56 pm
I loved this article and can relate to your entire analysis. I took the liberty to repost it on my FB page and – as you will see – the initial comments on it are far from inspiring. One can sit and rebuttle all that has been written with other historical facts or physiological processes. However, personally I know your analysis to be true because I am a vegetarian now but ate meat most of my life and the results – both physical and at the energy level – are visible and beneficial. I feel cleaner, stronger, more alert, the list can go on and on. Each person must follow their path based on their level of consciousness. No one is better than anyone else, we are just all choosing to live with more or less presence. thank you again for this great article, you can see it posted on FB through this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Healing-Consciousnes s/306422919391234
Narayanan P S
Jun 19, 2012 at 06:32 pm
It is so exhaustive, I am tempted to add, … when we go to visit a close person in a hospital, to wish him good health and ‘get well soon’, can we offer a non-vegetarian dish, instead of the customary fruits? (at least now, at least till you regain normal health, … stick to selective items of vegetarian food, the best of vegetarian items… fruits, the most easily digestible!)……..
That structure meant for vegetarian food, the support for academic brilliance better from vegetable, is the main attraction, where logic prevails very strongly……..
And spiritual practices? Mid-night meditations? Veg or non-veg supports better?
Pranava Sri Kaluri
Jun 21, 2012 at 03:14 pm
Sir i hv a doubt dat is egg come under vegetarian food as it is an eatable and perishable product of animals, if not, den wat abt milk it is also similar where it comes frm animals for their baby’s food?
Jun 21, 2012 at 06:18 pm
I belong to a very strict vegetarian family but long ago i used to eat non-veg provided it is served,,but my experience suggests that when ever i ate non-veg food i used to loose my temper very quickly so i left eating non-veg to remain kool
Jun 21, 2012 at 06:25 pm
Nice article Uday. I also wrote once an article wondering about why I am vegetarian and how it started in India.
over all more than philosophical reasons, largest number of vegetarians are in India because of a very nice tradition. I hope we preserve it.
Jun 22, 2012 at 10:47 am
A very nice article … liked reading it … i am told that when an animal is killed, its body stiffens due to the pain, suffering and fear; this releases a whole load of hormones which are not suitable for human bodies … apparently these hormones are passed on when we humans eat the flesh. This increases tension in the mind & makes us ‘tamasic’ whereas vegetarian food freshly cooked increases ‘satvik’ and ‘rajasic’ tendencies.
Jun 22, 2012 at 11:32 am
It is good to be a vegetarian but non- vegetarians are also helping in maintaing the ecological balance. One eats the food prevalent in family or the society. One must eat a balanced healthy diet – vegetarian or non- vegetarian….food like clothes should be a personal choice……..I am a vegetarian though.( eggitarian to be precise)
Jul 07, 2012 at 12:49 pm
I have read all your articles. Superb blogs. After reading this I promised myself that I would become a vegetarian…:) It is difficult, but not impossible.
Jul 08, 2012 at 09:18 pm
Is it right to expect the entire world to follow what we eat?
Is it not right, the choice of food we eat, more depend on where we live, (near hill or near sea, near desert, near river etc).?
Yes, most hindu religions talk about food restrictions including fasts – but it is season (mansoon, winter, summer etc) or month or day specific; and vary various parts of our sub-continent (yeas, sub-continent).
Finally, am I not violent, by forcing my host to get BP as everyone wants to be a good host. This reminds me of a story of Krishna Devaraya’s mother asked mangoes in November.
The view is that offer your stomach whatever “simple quality” available food in your region and in that season.
Jul 11, 2012 at 01:43 pm
When i see a non vegetarian i just think that how can a human eat a dead body!!
Jul 11, 2012 at 05:31 pm
Most powerful ways to make a difference is to be vegetarian,helps save animals,helps the ecology of the planet & can improve your health ♥
We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our
community. Your website offered us with valuable info to work
on. You’ve done a formidable job and our entire community will be grateful to you.
Good Article Uday Sir! The world is slowly turning into the old traditional VEGAN way!! The Vegetarian culture will be back and people will realize the importance of Vegetarian foods..
The culture should change…
Awesome post! Am a vegan by birth, still following the same culture.. A must read to my fellow friends who are non vegan and keep teasing me on US not having “Special” options in vegetarianism!
Awesome article. But I wanted some clarifications.These were raised by one of non vegetarian friends when I told him about this article. You mentioned “Vegetarians do not consume plant parts that won’t grow again. They are not killing the plant” Aren’t we eating so many varieties of spinach which is nothing other than killing the plants. If the problem is while eating you think about the suffocation and pain the animals have gone through, what if the animals are killed painlessly?Finally, I was speechless when he mentioned the teachings of swami vivekananda, in which he insists indians to eat meat. I am also a vegetarian because of all the reasons you have crafted in this article, but I just wanted to know your opinion on the concerns my friend has raised
try to find “Farm TO Fridge” video on youtube , you will get all your answers there.
there you put yourself in place of those animal and try to feel their pain , how a mother will feel when their newborns are slaughtered in front of them.
some of the animals didn’t even see the sunlight in their whole lifespan.
and try to tell your non veg friend that we are human beings not carnivore animals .
Try to be human ..show some mercy on these poor animals , they also have heart and emotions like us ..PLEASE LOVE THEM ,DON’T SLAUGHTER THEM FOR YOUR MEAL.
A really nice article..I was once a non-veg..turning veg half a year back…I used to argue with vegetarians on the same topic that there isn’t anything wrong in being a non veg…
n no arguments coming from vegetarians ever satisfied me (but I was always open to accepting the thing if I really found it satisfactory)..unless I one day realized the thing myself while watching a movie..
that’s how it struck my on its own (I guess it’s impossible to make a non-vegetarian accept it unless he gets a self-realization)..
Taking an example of three living beings : A Tiger, You..and a chicken..(no plants taken here since I’m not sure if they feel pain or not but ATLEAST WE AS HUMANS ARE EXPECTED TO REACT RATIONALLY TO WHAT WE CAN SEE..)..
1). The Tiger & You: Think of the fear you would feel when you r left alone with a tiger..think of the pain if the tiger tears off ur flesh..
2). You & The Chicken: I don’t think I need to say anything more here about the chicken’s feelings..
– “You have an emotional heart that can feel and a mind that can think far beyond the mindset a Tiger has…and on SEEING the chicken if u can NEITHER FEEL NOR THINK like a human being..I guess u r worst than an animal..like I once was.
I cried a lot that day thinking what had I done to some many small creatures in all these years..I couldn’t correct the wrong I had done..but atleast I could refine my present & future..
Admiring the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.
Inspiring article. After reading it , I realized what I was missing : the deeper essential meaning of vegetarianism . Thanks
Yes, the biggest reason for myself being a Vegan (as the West fashionably terms it nowadays) is compassion to other living being (the live and let live policy). But your (author’s) justification in biological terms was interesting – of how human biology is designed for vegetarianism. But somewhere I see “intolerance” to non-vegan cult.
Common!! they too must be good fellow humans/friends/family to the author.
Shouldn’t we respect their choices too?
I would call them as “not so enlightened” than call their non-vegan culture as totally inhuman. Human diet can encompass various forms of food, including meat. Our biological bodies have evolved from apes who were pure veggies in the past, to accommodate meat digestion. So your biological explanation for our bodies designed for pure vegetarianism and rejection of meat was rather disputable, lengthy and stressful.
I’d say give them time to “be enlightened”. The “prevention of cruelty to animals” idea will be much more acceptable universally, than “biological design” concept to avoid flesh eating.
In recent times, just like many vegans who converted to non-vegan, I find a lot in the west and east who have converted from non-vegan to vegan. First name that comes to my mind is Toby McGuire (of Spider-Man fame), who so skillfully/confidently faced chiding questions from Jay Leno-a non-vegan proponent in his “Tonight Show” on why/how he converted from non-vegan to vegan diet, which was not just for calorie-conscious purpose.
A good article.But you are saying most brahmins are non.vegetarians.In Karnataka most of dwitha&adwaitha brahmins are vegetarians.
Vegetarianism is best for human beings.Live and let them live.Have mercy on animals.They cannot speak their feelings.Stop cruelty.There are many vegetarian eatables available as food.