VEGETARIANISM | SWAMI SIVANANDA

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VEGETARIANISM | SWAMI SIVANANDA

|| INTRODUCTION ||

Sage Uddalaka instructs Svetaketu :

" Food when consumed , becomes threefold . The gross particles become the excrement , the middling ones flesh , and the fine ones the mind . My child , when curd is churned , its fine particles which rise upwards form butter . Thus , my child , when food is consumed , the fine particles which rise upwards form the mind . Hence , verily , the mind is food " .

|| THREE KINDS OF DIET ||

Diet is of three kinds , viz , Sattvic diet , Rajasic diet , and Tamasic diet . In the Bhagavad Gita , Lord Krishna says to Arjuna :

" The food which is dear to each is threefold . The food which increases vitality , energy , vigour , health , and joy and which are delicious , bland , substantial , and agreeable are dear to the pure . The passionate persons desire foods that are bitter , sour , saline , excessively hot , pungent , dry , and burning , and which produce pain , grief , and disease . The food which is stale , tasteless , putrid , rotten , and impure , is dear to the Tamasic " .

Milk , barley , wheat , cereals , butter , cheese , tomatoes , honey , dates , fruits , almonds , and sugar candy are all Sattvic food stuffs . They render the mind pure and calm and play a very important part in the practices of spiritual aspirants , in the mental development of the student , and in the personality power of the leaders of humanity .

Fish , eggs , meat , salt , chillies , and asafoetida are Rajasic food stuffs ; they excite passion and make the mind restless , unsteady , and uncontrollable . Beef , wine , garlic , onions , and tobacco are Tamasic food stuffs . They exercise a very unwholesome influence on the human mind and fill it with emotions of anger , darkness , and inertia .

|| STRESS ON MORAL AND SPIRITUAL VALUES ||

No doubt , animal diet may produce a strong Sandow , or a dauntless soldier , or a keen , brainy scientist . But , in the Hindu view of life , the real value is placed upon the moral and spiritual worth of the person .

Humans are more than just body and mind ; they are essentially ever perfect , ever pure , and ever free spirit in their true inner nature . Human birth is given as an opportunity and a means to attain this sublime knowledge of inner spiritual nature and to regain divinity . In this process , all grossness and animalistic tendencies have to be totally eliminated from the human personality .

Nonvegetarian diet , which is gross and animal by its very nature , is a great hindrance to this process . Whereas , pure Sattvic diet is a great help to the refinement of the human nature .

The chemical components of different foods vibrate at varying rate . Each particle of food is a mass of energy . The intake of certain foodstuffs sets up discordant vibrations in the physical body which throw the mind into a state of oscillation and disequilibrium .

Concentration of mind is rendered difficult and high thinking is disturbed , because elevating thoughts imply fine vibrations .

|| MEAT DIET GENERATES DISEASES ||

Meat generates diseases , excites passions , and produces restlessness of mind . Scientists are coming to the conclusion that there are , in meat , certain things which are absolutely poisonous . A very large number of physicians who have studied the subject of diet in relation to health are forbidding their patients to eat animal flesh , not only as a means of cure for such diseases as gout , rheumatism , etc , but also as a preventive against uric acid ailments and diseases of many kinds , including consumption , cancer , and appendicitis .

Meat is not at all necessary for the keeping up of perfect health , vigour , and vitality . On the contrary , it is highly deleterious to health ; it brings in its train a host of ailments such as tapeworm , albuminuria , and other diseases of the kidneys . In large meat eating countries , cancer mortality is admittedly very high .

|| FLESH EATING INVOLVES CRUELTY ||

Moreover , flesh eating involves the exercise of cruelty which is not an elevating virtue . It is a bestial quality which degrades the human .

Cruelty is condemned by all great people .

Pythagoras condemned meat diet an sinful food . The cruel slaughter of animals and the taking of innocent lives which flesh eating entails makes it abhorrent to all right thinking people all over the world .

Butchery and bloodshed is a great disgrace to civilisation and culture . Killing of animals for food is a great blunder ; and the mentality it engenders is fraught with potential dangers for the life of humanity , a recognition of which made George Bernard Shaw say that as long as people torture and slay animals and eat their flesh , we shall have war .

|| ABOLISH SLAUGHTER HOUSES ||

If you want to stop taking mutton , fish , etc , just see with your own eyes the pitiable , struggling condition of the animals at the time of killing . Now mercy and sympathy will arise in your heart .

You will determine to give up flesh eating . If you fail in this attempt , just change your environment and live in a vegetarian hotel where you cannot get mutton and fish , and move in that society where there is only vegetable diet . Always think of the evils of flesh eating and the benefits of a vegetarian diet .

If this also cannot give you sufficient strength to stop this habit , go to the slaughterhouse and the butcher's shop and personally see the disgusting , rotten muscles , intestines , kidneys and other nasty parts of the animals which emits bad smell . This will induce Vairagya ( dispassion ) in you and a strong disgust and hatred for meat eating .

All slaughter houses should be abolished , and the use of animal flesh as food should be absolutely given up . Flesh eating is unnecessary , unnatural , and unwholesome .

The countless instances of reputed philosophers , authors , scholars , athletes , saints , Yogins , Rishis who lived on vegetable diet conclusively prove that vegetarian diet produces supreme powers both of mind and body , and is highly conducive for divine contemplation and practice of Yoga .

The human is created a frugivorous or fruit eating creature . This scientific fact is evident on a comparison with the carnivorous animals from whom the human differs completely in respect of internal organs , teeth , and external appearances , whereas , anatomically , the human is most intimately allied to the anthropoid apes whose diet consists of fruits , cereals , and nuts .

When people abandon flesh foods and take their nutrient direct from nature's hand , of well ripe and healthy fruits and grains , nuts and vegetables with addition of honey , cheese and milk , we shall find a large number of diseases disappearing . People will have more power of endurance and attain longevity .

What is needed is a well balanced diet , not a rich diet . A rich diet produces diseases of the liver , kidneys , and pancreas . A well balanced diet helps a person to grow , to turn out more work , healthily increases one's body weight , and keeps up efficiency , stamina , and a high standard of vim and vigour .

People who are slaves to the flesh eating habit cannot give up animal diet , because they have become confirmed and inveterate meat eaters , and hence they try to justify their habit by various arguments and statistics .

One cannot change their ways merely by argumentation and disputation . Ultimately , it is only the force of personal example that has a strong effect upon the people around you .

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SOURCE | SATYAVEDISM.COM