Saturday March 24, 2018

Find out why Hinduism always emphasizes on being a vegetarian

The non-vegetarian foods make the mind restless, disturb to concentrate in worship, study or meditation

Vegetarian Food and Hinduism
Indian food, Wikimedia

August 15, 2016: Vegetarianism is linked to numerous religions but it took shape in India as- Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. There are instances of having non-vegetarian food but from the ancient times, Hindu community people have always supported the vegan way of living and have always fought against violation of animal rights.

The Hindu text, Vedanta teaches that the only goal of a life is ‘Atmanam Bodhi’(self-realisation). It shows the path to a person who can experience being Atman (eternal soul), the indivisible part of God, that has never been born or will never die. As every person is compositive of mind, body, and soul; it is necessary to control the mind to come into direct contact with Atman or soul.

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Swami Vivekananda explains the control of mind with an analogy,”Get hold of the mind. The mind is like a lake, and every stone that drops into it raises waves. These waves do not let us see what we are.” Thus the thoughts- fears, desires, and attachments create waves in our mind, which can be mastered by control on food habits. Food habits change the mind and personality as claimed by Swami Chinmayananda (Founder of Chinmayananda Mission). He says,“Non-vegetarian food is laced with many toxins that create agitation and disturbance in the mind.” The non-vegetarian foods make the mind restless, as a result one fails to concentrate while they worship, study or meditate. So to know the true self and get liberated from the cycle of birth and death, Hinduism always emphasised on Sattvik food (vegetables).

Meditation, Wikimedia Commons
Meditation, Wikimedia Commons

Swami Avedananda (a direct disciple of Paramahamsa Shree Ramakrishna) said,“A Hindu is a vegetarian from the standpoint of Love. Love means an expression of oneness.” Hinduism defines that the whole universe is originated from non-materialised consciousness, Brahman. Chandogya Upanishad recites, “Tat Twam Asi” means, which unifies a person with every animal.

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Apart from these spiritual realisations, Hinduism always nurtured the idea of ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence). Yajur Veda advises, “You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever.” In Mahabharata, Ved Vyasa stated, “Ahimsa Parmo Dharma“(Non-violence is the primary religion).

George Bernard Shaw once said,“My stomach and body are not a crematorium or cemetery for killed or dead animals. While we ourselves are living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?”

Mot only him, but the great scientist Albert Einstein said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

Hinduism gives the theory of Karma (cycle of work and result), and considers slaughtering of animals as sinful. One can understand, how modern is the faith, if one delves into it. In Hindu texts, to protect the nature- it is personified as the mountains, rivers, air etc. and worshiping animals as the deity, is a known fact to all.

– by Priyanka Saha of NewsGram. Twitter: @priyanka140490



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  • चाणक्य my teacher

    nice explanation

Next Story

Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

Should rivers be considered Living Entities?

Right of Nature
Many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

By Dr. Bharti Raizada, Chicago

Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.

However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.

ALSO READ: Worshiping mother nature part of our tradition: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Right of Nature
Rivers are sacred in many religions, including Hinduism. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.

After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:

Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs,  agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?

Right of Nature
If the river gets a living status, as human, then we cannot use it for anything without its permission, so everyone has to stop touching the water. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: Decoding supernatural: What is the nature of entities and gods who influence human behavior

Other queries, which arise, are:

Will animals and plants get the same status? What if you kill an ant or a chicken etc. or cut a tree? Will all animals and plants get a legal custodian?

Where is all the waste supposed to go? It has to go somewhere back in nature, right?

Uttrakhand state government challenged the judgement in Supreme Court and the latter reversed the judgment.

Right of Nature
So where do we stand? In my opinion, granting living status to nature is a different thing than giving protected status or preserving nature. Image by Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: How nature destroys the negative tendencies in a positive manner

Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.

Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.

Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.

These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.

On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.

Dr. Raizada is a practicing anesthesiologist.