IS THE TRUE STORY BEHIND VEGETARIANISM IN
I have thought and read quite a lot about
this issue. In fact, you will be surprised to know that abstaining
from meat is more a Buddhist and Jainist idea than a Hindu idea.
Even the Bhagavad Gita contains no specific injunction against eating
meat. The cows mentioned in the Rig Veda as "aghnya" or
not for killing, are milking cows. The Rig Veda does not preclude
the slaughter of bulls and cows on a variety of religious occasions.
Aitareya Brahmana talks about sacrificing oxen to the gods. In the
Griha Sutras, the sacrifice of cows is associated with many religious
ceremonies. Even Manu, who was against meat-eating in most of his
codes, stated, "One may eat meat when it has been sprinkled
with water while mantras are recited, when Brahmins desire for one
to do that, when one is engaged in performing a rite as per the
law, and when one's life is in danger" (Manusmriti 5:27). In
the Ramayana, Sage Agasthya ate a ram so that he could annihilate
the demon Vatapi. In the Mahabharata it is stated that in the palace
of Rantideva, about two thousand cows were killed every day to feed
the Brahmins. Meat of all sorts appears during the wedding of Panjali
in the Mahabharata.
feel that as per the Puranas written after the birth of Buddhism
and Jainism, Hindus are forbidden from the consumption of any meat
or meat products. With the problems of heart diseases and cholesterol
all over the world, we should propagate vegetarianism and abandon
- India's Gift to the World
idea that every living thing has a right to live is the cornerstone
of Hindu Philosophy That, meat eating is unnatural and harmful to
human beings has been emphasised in our scriptures since time immemorial.
The world today is finding out very painfully the error of meat
eating and the first and foremost problem with meat eating is health.
KILLER DISEASES AND MEAT-EATING
Heart disease is the biggest killer disease in Britain today. In
1984 around 180,000 people died of heart disease in Britain. That
equals one death every 3 or 4 minutes. Excessive consumption of
meat with its high content of fats is one of the main causes of
heart disease. The adoption of a vegetarian diet goes a long way
towards combating the risk of coronary heart disease. By eliminating
meat from the diet, one automatically cuts out major sources of
fat. Apart from this, animals are given drugs to fatten them up
artificially. Some of these drugs can be very harmful to the consumer
of meat. In 1981, a massive statistical world survey of 41 countries
concluded: TOTAL FAT AND ANIMAL PROTEIN STRONGLY CO-RELATE INTERNATIONALLY
WITH HEART DISEASE, COLON CANCER AND BREAST CANCER.
Diet is responsible for 35% of all cancers. Cancer of the bowel
is a major killer in western countries. High meat consumption and
low fibre diets appear to be the main factors. One reason why vegetarians
suffer far less from cancer of the bowel may be that the higher
proportion of fibre in their diet means a reduced incidence of constipation.
The regular and prompt elimination of waste matter from the body
is absolutely vital to health as it prevents the build up of toxins
in the bowels which may affect the whole system. Meat putrefies
in the intestines much more rapidly than vegetable matter and so
the dangers of constipation are increased. Chronic constipation
also causes a painful inflammation of the colon known as divericular
disease. Meat itself often contains nitrates which are used as preservatives
by the meat processing industry and are known to be carcinogenic,
many cows and chickens themselves suffer from tumours and cancers.
Cancerous meat is not always removed at the slaughter house and
may end up on the plate of the consumer. It is thus quite possible
that one may end up eating a part of an animal that either has cancer
or has been exposed to a virus that can cause cancer. Seventh-day
Adventists in U.S.A. who are vegetarians due to religious reasons,
have a lower cancer incidence generally, including a low incidence
of breast cancer and leukaemia.
Arthritis is also associated with meat eating and excessive protein
intake. Excessive protein in the blood can lead to a negative calcium
imbalance in the body. When calcium is deficient in the bones it
leads to arthritis.
Recent evidence seems to suggest that diabetes is more than just
failure of insulin production; it would indicate a breakdown of
the metabolism as a whole. It is possible that high meat diets over
stimulate the system and contribute to the likelihood of diabetes.
A survey in 1960 in U.S.A. showed that people on meat free diets
were 25% less likely to contract diabetes.
Meat eaters require of their kidneys 3 times the amount of work
in the elimination of nitrogenous waste than is demanded of those
who do not eat meat. While kidneys are young they are able to bear
this extra burden so that no evidence of injury appears. However,
in advancing age they could fail to work efficiently.
Death by food poisoning is an ever present and increasing risk for
meat eaters. The term "food poisoning" is applied to acute
inflammation of the Gastro Intestinal tract following the consumption
of food contaminated by harmful organisms. More than three-quarters
of all bacteria poisoning have been identified with animal foods.
Epidemics of salmonella infection are usually traced to such foods
as meat pies, sausages, beef and poultry. In Britain, notified cases
of salmonella poisoning has risen from 10,000 in 1977 to 17,000
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. High blood
pressure is one of the key risk factors in the development of heart
disease and cerebrovascular disease. In the U.K. Over 240,000 people
die every year as a result of a hypertension-related disease. There
is considerable evidence to show that a meat free, high fibre diet
can lower blood pressure while high meat, low fibre diet quite often
results in carrying high blood pressure. Meat contains no fibre
and a lot of sodium (salt) which, in itself, is a contributory factor
in raising blood pressure prevention is the best form of treatment
for high blood pressure, thus a vegetarian diet is the best diet
MEAT EATING AND HUMAN HUNGER
At a time when world population is continuing to grow, meat eating
remains the most wasteful form of food. 90% of all agricultural land
in Europe and America is used to grow crops, which are fed to animals.
The animal itself uses 90% of protein in its growth, leaving only
10% for the consumer. Only 44% of the animal is edible. For every
16lbs of grain fed to animals, only 1lb of meat is produced. A 10%
reduction in meat production would result in enough grain to feed
10 million people. Land which is used to produce food crops for direct
human consumption feeds 14 times as many people as land used to grow
food for animals - used for human consumption. While millions go undernourished,
stable crops are fed to cattle for turning into burgers.
with a quotation from Gandhiji:
is a poor specimen of Hinduism who stops merely at cow protection
when he can extend the arm of protection to other animals."
Mehta, Young Indian Vegetarians.