Monday 25 July 2016

The Virtue of Vegetarianism in Hinduism

The virtue of non-violence 

The Hindu culture is deeply rooted in ahimsa (  non-violence ) under the torch of dharma.We did not blatantly oppose killing.In our culture,we were enlightened enough to understand the interrelation of body and spirit - that the body is a mere shell that houses the fathomless spirit ( Atma ).The atma that governs all being is common.

For example, avatars ( absolute divinity descended in mortal form)  like Shri Rama and Krshna were dharmic when they killed asuras ( demons ) who were causing misery.The presence of demonic energies should be removed as per dharma ( righteousness ) so that the spiritual frequency of the planet can be preserved.In simpler terms,they killed demons who terrorised the innocent.

Otherwise,we always ensured our conduct provided least harm to other beings.

Rangoli in process - The edible substance used to draw the geometry is fed on by ants and insects alike.

In our culture,it was such that if we saw a bird,we bowed and saw divinity in the form of Lord Garuda.We saw Lord Ganesha in an elephant,Lord Vishnu in boars and so forth.Even today,we revere cows as one of our very mothers.This is how we revered every creation of God.As such, how would we have the heart to kill,smother and eat innocent animals for pleasure ?

Isn't it demonic for us to do such to these innocent beings ?

We did not even have the idea of killing wild beasts.In most of our hymns and stotras,we only request for protection from harmful creatures - and not that they should be destroyed.The origin of martial arts - Kalari - was developed as a means to protect ourselves from wild beasts.If you look at this art carefully,it did not emphasise on killing.It was more of rendering the beast unconscious - more of hypnotism and self-defence rather than brutal murder.

The killing part in martial arts only came after kalaripayathu was modified to fight humans.Humans are cruder than animals.While animals only attack for food, humans go beyond.

All our siddhas,masters,yogis and enlightened beings who founded the very culture of hinduism emphasised on vegetarianism.

Thiruvalluvar,the eminent Tamil icon,greatly emphasised on vegetarianism.In fact,he even abuses meat eaters.The irony is that tamil children are taught to imbibe lessons of thirukural as a norm whilst their parents stuff them with non-veg items fancied with glossy names like ' 65' , 'piece' and so forth.

There is a complete chapter in the thirukural - chapter 26,section 1 on this .

தன்னூன் பெருக்கற்குத் தான்பிறிது ஊனுண்பான்

எங்ஙனம் ஆளும் அருள்.

How can he be possessed of kindness, who to increase his own 
flesh, eats the flesh of other creatures?.

செயிரின் தலைப்பிரிந்த காட்சியார் உண்ணார்
உயிரின் தலைப்பிரிந்த ஊன்.

The wise, who have freed themselves from mental delusion, 
will not eat the flesh which has been severed from an animal.

அவிசொரிந் தாயிரம் வேட்டலின் ஒன்றன்
உயிர்செகுத் துண்ணாமை நன்று. 

Not to kill and eat (the flesh of) an animal, 
is better than the pouring forth of ghee etc., in a thousand sacrifice

கொல்லான் புலாலை மறுத்தானைக் கைகூப்பி
எல்லா உயிருந் தொழும்.

All creatures will join their hands together, 
and worship him who has never taken away life, nor eaten flesh. 

உண்ணாமை உள்ளது உயிர்நிலை ஊனுண்ண
அண்ணாத்தல் செய்யாது அளறு. 

Not to eat flesh contributes to the continuance of life; 
therefore if a man eat flesh, hell will not open its mouth 
(to let him escape out, after he has once fallen in).

படைகொண்டார் நெஞ்சம்போல் நன்னூக்காது ஒன்றன்
உடல்சுவை உண்டார் மனம். 

Like the (murderous) mind of him who carries a weapon (in his hand), 
the mind of him who feasts with pleasure on the body of another (creature), 
has no regard for goodness.

Today, let it be anyone, whether one deems himself a devotee or not, he should give up meat eating. Why? meat eating promotes only animal qualities. It has been well said that the food one consumes determines one's thoughts. By eating the flesh of various animals, the qualities of these animals are imbibed. How sinful is it to feed on animals, which are sustained by the same five elements as human beings! This leads to demonic tendencies, besides committing the sin of inflicting cruelty on animals. Hence, those who genuinely seek to become devotees of God have to give up non-vegetarian food. Calling themselves Sai devotees or devotees of Rama and Krishna, they fatten the chickens. How can they be deemed Sai devotees? How can God accept such a person as a devotee? Therefore, whether they are devotees in India or outside, they should give up from this instant meat eating.  Therefore, those who aspire to become devotees of God must give up meat, liquor and smoking."

- Shri Sathya Sai Baba, Divine Discorse on 23 Nov 1994, Sanathana Sarathi December 1994 p. 315

Are all vegetarians good then ? Can't a non-vegetarian be noble ? 

People often question me as to how I could use the basis of vegetarianism to conclude the purity of a person.Their logical reasoning was that a person could be spiritual and good even if he takes meat.

The point here is that meat-eating for the sake of pleasure is purely adharmic.Don't compare and justify it with other factors. It's like saying,' Albeit him being a rapist,he took care of his parents'.A rapist, despite all his other noble qualities, is still a sinner in terms of sexual misconduct.

You can be as 'noble' as you can be ,but as long as you eat meat,you incur the relevant karma.As the scriptures say : 

(1)  The one who kills the animal

(2)  The one who cooks the animal
(3)  The ones who serves the animal
(4)  The one who eats the animal

All four incur karma.This is the law of nature.If you read Buddhist scriptures, you will read stories on how butchers who slaughter goats end up being born as goats and so on.The Garuda Purana also describes horrible hellish punishments to those who relish meat-eating.

Garuda Purana

But there are past devotees who ate meat ? What about Kannapa Nayanar ?

Understand that we are not in Kanappar Nayanars era ( Kannapan was an ardent Shiva devotee.He was a hunter who killed animals for food and offered the same to His lord ) .

The way meat industry functions today is different.In the egg industry, male chicks are grinded or suffocated to death alive.This is because only female chickens are useful for the egg industry.

Even something as common as eating egg today requires so much torture and cruelty.

Devotees like Kanappa Nayanar were very simple and did not crave for meat.He self-arrowed creatures for food,which cannot be compared to the hellish meat industry of the contemporary.He plucked his eyes out for lord Shiva.Pluck out your eye-balls for Shiva like Kanappa before comparing yourself with Him.

A devoted person at present age will definitely be well educated and enlightened about meat eating in spirituality.

But what about protein ? Where will I get my nutrition ? 

It is absurd to believe you require meat to stay healthy.Science has proven that human body is not compatible with meat.

Teach your kids to cognise animals as sentient beings - instead of an ingredient of your burger !

Our dietary lifestyle has been well-set by our ancients.The Indian diet is by default 90 % vegetarian.Just remove the corpse from your plate and substitute em' with protein rich legumes,peas or beans.

The western countries are leaping a great degree towards vegetarianism,and perhaps veganism.Go green.


  1. This is such a beautiful article..It's so touching.. It's so genuine and touching.. Honestly this has given me all the best reasons to stop eating meat.. thanks so much.

  2. handsome man with tremendous knowledge.