Vegetarianism

It is well known that the majority of the Indian populations do not eat meat. (The Muslims and a few modern Hindus do eat it.) This is not altogether because they cannot afford meat. Most of them object to it because it involves the taking of life. Underlying that objection is the law of karma, which has been familiar to Indians for many thousands of years. Saints and their disciples do not eat meat, fish, eggs or any sort of animal food for the same reason. It involves the slaughter of animal life, and that means the assumption of karmic debts. Let us now see how it works out both in theory and in practice.

In vegetables there is but one active tattwa, or elementary condition of matter. That is jal, which means ‘water’. It refers to the liquid state of any substance. In insects there are two active tattwas, agni or ‘fire’, and vayu or ‘air’. Agni refers to the resolving state, or heat; it means a transitional state of matter. Vayu refers to the gaseous condition of matter. In birds there are three active tattwas: jal, agni and vayu. In the higher animals there are four active tattwas: prithvi (earth), jal, agni and vayu. But in man, and in man alone, all five tattwas are active. As a matter of fact, all five tattwas are in everything in the world, but they are not active. Akash is the last one, which is active in man alone.

Now, the law by which we are governed is this: The greater the number of active tattwas that are combined in the living individual, the higher he is in the scale of evolution and also the greater the responsibility involved in killing that individual – hence, the greater the burden of karma assumed in killing. But since man has to eat something in order to continue his life here, the ancient sages and Masters selected the least harmful substances, that is, those things in the killing and eating of which there is the least karma to be assumed. They decided on vegetables; no animals at all. Of course, there is some karma to be assumed in eating vegetables, as there is life in them too. But in vegetables there is the lowest form of life, and hence the least karma involved. This is the chief reason why the saints do not approve of killing and eating animals.

The second reason is that the eating of animal food interferes with one’s spiritual refinement. It drags a person down toward the animal plane. It is a fact that as long as one eats animals, he will be more or less like animals. It is unavoidable that we should become like what we eat, just as we become like that of which we constantly think. We must absorb its qualities to some extent. How could it be otherwise? That is but common sense, and I believe most people will agree to it. It may be tested by anyone. A heavy animal diet will always awaken the animal passions and drag one’s thoughts down to th animal plane. But the disciples of the saints have as their chief aim and effort in life to rise above the animal plane and to unfold their spiritual powers. Hence they must not eat that which will pull them down to the animal level.

Another reason is that an animal diet is an unhealthy diet. It fills the body with impurities, the purine group especially – uric acid and other by-products of animal-food digestion. All these bring on their train of evils – rheumatism, metal dullness, heaviness and laziness, appendicitis, etc. the refuse in the intestinal tract from animal foods develops soluble poisons that are themselves deadly, and if a person goes on manufacturing and absorbing them, they may lead to disease, an enfeebled old age or an early death.

But the student of the Masters wishes to keep his body in as perfect a condition as possible. This is one of the oft-repeated commands of the Master. Then it stands to reason that he must select the purest and least harmful foods available. This means a diet of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts, and all dairy products.

Students of the Masters are strictly enjoined not to indulge in intoxicating drinks. This is because they confound the intellect, vitiate judgment and almost destroy discrimination, leading to creating bad karmas. Under its influence, one may do things which result in a heavy karmic debt that can only be wiped off in several incarnations, besides bringing shame and dishonor here. Both body and mind suffer, the resulting mental slavery being a great impediment in the way of spiritual practice.

The Path of the Masters, The Science of Surat Shabd Yoga, The Yoga of the Audible Life Stream

Julian Johnson, M.A., B.D., M.D.

 

 

 

Why Vegetarianism?

SOURCE: dharmawarrior

 

More often than not, when someone learns I am vegetarian the first thing they ask is why? I’ve noticed this question is not just proposed by non-vegetarians and is a staple within the veggie community as well. There are many answers to this question depending on the person questioned. This answer however will focus on the why’s of vegetarianism as it pertains to Sanatana Dharma.

Lacto-Vegetarianism

Before we dive into why, let’s define and understand exactly what the diet is as there can be much confusion with vegetarianism, such as the consumption of fish and how it differs from veganism. As yogis or “Dharmis” we adhere to a strict Lacto-Vegetarian diet which consists of no meat, poultry or fish and no eggs. We do however eat dairy, the exclusion of dairy along with our lacto-vegetarian diet would then reach vegan. We are not vegans and we don’t eat any meat, including fish.

Logical and Philosophical

There are many valid reasons to adopt a vegetarian diet and in regards to Sanatana Dharma they range and intermingle in logical, ethical and philosophical ways.

Environmentally Harmful, Economically Absurd

In a June 2014 study by the National Academy of Sciences, a prominent scientific journal, they showed that livestock-based food production produces one-fifth of the global greenhouse gas emissions and is the key land user and source of water pollution by nutrient overabundance. It is also known to attribute to species extinctions, competes with biodiversity, impacts air and water quality, ocean health and again, is the largest use of land of the planet today.

It’s impact on natural resources is astounding.  According to the Water Education Foundation, it takes 2,464 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef in California. This is the same amount of water you would use if you took a seven-minute shower every day for six entire months. In contrast, only 25 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of wheat. Present human water consumption drains aquifers around the world. Water tables are dropping drastically and wells are going dry. The United States Geological Survey says that 40 percent of fresh water used in the U.S. in 2000 went to irrigate feed crops for livestock. Only 13 percent was used for domestic purposes including showers, flushing toilets, washing cars and watering lawns. Switching to a plant-based diet or reducing the amount of meat in your diet is clearly an important choice you can make to help save water.

Topsoil and fossil fuels are used in abundance to provide big macs around the world. The abuse of topsoil by the production of corn and soybeans to feed the livestock causes massive soil erosion because those crops are grown in rows. The bare patches between the rows expose the topsoil to both wind and rain erosion. Pimentel has calculated that in Iowa one half of the topsoil has been lost due to farming over the past 100 years. It is estimated that we lose nearly 7 billion tons of topsoil every year.

Though there are more environmental impacts associated with meat consumption we will touch just one more, the rainforest.  According to the Nature Conservancy, every second of every day one football field of rainforest is being destroyed. Much of this forestland is being cut down to farm and raise livestock, which is then exported to the U.S. and ends up in fast-food hamburgers. According to the Rainforest Action Network, 55 square feet of tropical rainforest are destroyed to make every fast-food hamburger made from rainforest cattle. This is an area about the size of a small kitchen and it is gone forever each time one of these hamburgers is eaten. It is even worse because with each square foot of rainforest gone, up to 30 different plant species, 100 different insect species and dozens of bird, mammal and reptile species are destroyed. The rainforests are so important because half of the species on earth live in them and the forests are vital to the world’s oxygen supply.

None of this makes any economical sense either. Consider the piece of ham on your breakfast plate, and where it came from before landing on your grocery store shelf. First, take into account the amount of land used to rear the pig. Then factor in all of the land, water and fertilizer used to grow the grain to feed the pig and the associated pollution that results. Finally, consider that while a small percentage of the ham may have come from Denmark, where there are twice as many pigs as people, the grain to feed the animal was likely grown in Brazil, where rainforests are constantly being cleared to grow more soybeans, a major source of pig feed.

Philosophy of Sanatana Dharma

Very simply put, a follower of Sanatana Dharma does not eat meat because of the adherence to ahimsa, or non-violence. We choose to not cause harm or suffering to any living being whenever possible. The production “feed lots” and  slaughter houses of industrial meat are nothing short of torturous and terrifying for the animals subjected to them. These animals howl, moan and cry as they are shoved single file to have their throats slit by the man at the end of the line ready to end their life in a horrific manner that leads to the animal just bleeding out. Nothing about this practice is in accordance with Dharma and as such the Dharmi abstains.

Many will say well what about plants? They are alive are they not? Surely they must suffer as well? Here is where we have an opportunity to address one of the myriad misconceptions of Santana Dharma. First of all, absolutely plants are alive and it has been proven they respond to events such a leaf being cut off. We know this to be true . Sanatana Dharma is not a fanatical religion but rather a logical one. Let’s take ahimsa (non-violence) for example, when taken to fanatical levels as can be seen in Jainism where they will go so far as to whisk the pavement with a broom to clear the path in front of them so as not to step on a bug and wear masks like a surgeon to not inhale and kill microbes, it’s easy to see that this fanatical approach is impossible to adhere to. What if you are sick, can you not cough? Surely coughing would release harmful germs. So this is the fanatic approach. In Sanatana Dharma,  perhaps a better definition of ahimsa would be “Minimized Violence”, or as little violence as possible. So to address the plant debate, yes it’s alive and yes we are causing it suffering but it is clearly far and away the smallest amount of suffering of all our options. Ethically, it is the right choice.

Similarly, the question arises “what if a dharmi was trapped in some terrain that had no vegetation but had small animals, would the yogi eat the animals?” Again, being a logical religion the answer is of course yes. However, the yogi would say many prayers and plead forgiveness for having to do such a thing, and would only do it if it is the ONLY choice.

Aum Shanti

SOURCE: dharmawarrior

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 05:01:05

    Appreciate if you can define ‘modern Hindus’?

    Reply

    • yachna
      Aug 08, 2012 @ 09:02:12

      My understanding of the term modern day Hindus is the Hindus in today’s day and age; we do not follow everything to a T as laid out in our Vedas or other scriptures. It is just hard to do. We live a different life and in our effort to hold on to whatever priciples and rituals we can, we have modified them to suit our modern day lifestyle and convenience by putting a scientific spin on them or we discard them by putting a ‘superstition’ spin on them.

      A simple example that I can relate to is- Hindu Brahmans consuming beef. The last time I checked, for Hindu Brahmans consuming beef was sacrilege. But today the ‘modern hindu’ consumes beef very comfortably. I’m sure you can come up with some of your own examples that you can relate to.

      If you have any further questions regarding this article I would encourage you to address them to the author of this article.

      Reply

  2. Kautilya
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 05:02:48

    Hey, what do you mean by ‘modern hindus’?

    Reply

    • yachna
      Aug 08, 2012 @ 09:01:01

      My understanding of the term modern day Hindus is the Hindus in today’s day and age; we do not follow everything to a T as laid out in our Vedas or other scriptures. It is just hard to do. We live a different life in the 21st century and in our effort to hold on to whatever priciples and rituals we can, we have modified them to suit our modern day lifestyle and convenience by putting a scientific spin on them or we discard them by putting a ‘superstition’ spin on them.

      You don’t think there is any difference between the Hindus in the 21st century compared to Hindus 5000 years ago?
      A simple example that I can relate to is- Hindu Brahmans consuming beef. The last time I checked, for Hindu Brahmans consuming beef was sacrilege. But today the ‘modern hindu’ consumes beef very comfortably with excuses and reasons at hand. I’m sure you can come up with some of your own examples of modern day hindus that you can relate to.

      If you have any further questions regarding this article I would encourage you to address them to the author of this article.

      Reply

      • shukladhaivat17
        Nov 24, 2015 @ 08:18:59

        I agree with you…. There has been a vast vast differences between Ancient Pure minded Hindus and Modern Pervert minded Hindus… I am also a Brahmin…. And I feel shame for my own castemates for eating nonveg…

  3. sjdate
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 05:15:06

    If eating of animal food drags a person down toward the animal plane & make him . more or less like animals; if it t is unavoidable that we should become like what we eat, then by eating vegetables, the lowest form of life what do we humans become like ?

    Reply

  4. yachna
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 08:53:25

    @ sjdate
    The topic of vegetarianism is comprehensive and sensitive and needs an article of its own to be discussed as this can branch out into several sub topics. I will try to touch on it here.

    Whether plants are the lowest life form really depends on one’s perspective. So biologists have given us their cave man, version of the food web or predatory web, according to which the bigger predatorycarnivores are superior because they consume the one’s below it and so on and so forth. Plants may be the lower life form on the predatory food web, but they are THE BIGGEST PRODUCERS of food energy. They not only independently sustain themselves, they eventually sustain all life on earth. Yes even the ‘superior’ carnivores that are higher on the food web are sustained directly or indirectly by this supposedly lowest life form 🙂
    Who is superior? The one who provides sustenance to the entire living world OR the one who is dependent on the provider for it’s daily sustenance?

    When one eats rajasic or tamsic food, meat, hot and spicy food notice how it makes the mind restless and agitated. Tamsic guna is characterized by inertia, ignorance, close-mindedness, limited thinking (limited by the confines of the human body, the mind cannot accept or understand anything that falls outside of the confines of what one can perceive through one’s sense organs. One demands empirical data for everything outside of the normal/physical realm. This is where faith comes in. Faith or belief in a higher superior energy. You can’t see it or hear it or prove it, but you believe in it and pursue it. Another topic for another day….) Rajsic guna is characterized by passion, bad thoughts, anger, selfishness etc. The term- animal like was probably used by the author to reflect these tendencies. Meat was consumed by kshatriyas (warriors) which is commensurate with their profession, lifestyle and temperament hence effectively used by their body. A brahmin’s lifestyle on the other hand involved imparting of knowledge, learning, spiritual realization etc. Their diet was more in keeping with that aspect.

    Look at all the rich man’s disease of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart attack. That does not come from a moderate diet of fruits, grains and vegetables; it comes from consumption of rajsic and tamsic foods and also overeating which is also a rajasic/tamsic quality.

    In plants the predominating essence is saatvik. On days that one fasts or moderately consumes only saatvik food like fresh fruits, dairy, vegetables etc, one’s disposition is relatively calmer and situated in a state of conscience awareness. One thinks twice before they say or do something hurtful. So by eating a satvik vegetarian diet one does imbibe and hence reflect the saatvik qualities of this higher life form the plant compared to imbibing and reflecting tamsic qualities of the lower life form – animal/meat.

    Like everything else, food has vibration. Meat has low vibration while saatvik foods like fruits, nuts etc whave higher vibrational frequency. When one sits in meditation they are establishing a higher vibrational frequency. Sitting in dhyan or meditation hleps one access the higher vibrational spiritual force aka God. People who are chronicaly sick have low vibrational frequecy compared to people who are radiant, vibrant and healthy. When one eats food the gross aspect of food becomes excreta, the middling portion contributes to flesh and bones and the subtle guna of the food is what makes the mind. In animals the predominant guna is tamsic guna. Animals strive for only three instinctive things- food, procreation and defense against being eaten by a predator. There is no opportunity of spiritual upliftment for animals as they don’t know anything outside of these basic needs. But surely human beings can think outside of these basic survival needs and are blessed with the opportunity to gain higher knowledge and spiritual upliftment. For one who is sincerely interested in spiritual realization, giving up meat is definitely and ultimately a requisite. But this desire should arise naturally from within as an individual evolves and progresses spiritually and should NOT be forced.

    Other articles that might interest you:
    https://yachnayoga.wordpress.com/yoga-asans/recommended-yogic-diet/
    https://yachnayoga.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/the-three-modes-of-material-nature/

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Manisha Koirala

Knowing Me!

Divine Spice Box

Mix of Food, Art and Passion

srimadbhagavatamblog

one-pointed devotion is the easiest path to Narayan

Framed Recipes

- Tried, tested and framed

Cooking in Mexico

Cooking, eating, recipes and food happenings in Mexico

frugalfeeding | Low Budget Family Recipes, UK Food Blog

n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food.

PASSIONATE TRAVELLERS

It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville

%d bloggers like this: