(A Continuing Discussion)

Amrita: “From what you have been saying, Deviji, it makes health and ecological sense to be a vegetarian. But the majority of the world’s people do not think about these things. Actually, many people think that animals were made as food for us. To me, it appears contradictory that people follow religions, and then kill living beings for food. Perhaps you can discuss this matter further.”

Deviji: “I am glad that you have raised this question, Amrita. The fact is that most people do not follow their religious teachings in diet as in other things, such as rituals, creeds and observances. Lord Buddha, after whom Buddhism was formed, never taught people to eat meat. He is called the Compassionate Buddha. When he was fed meat on one occasion, he became quite ill. But a large number of the Buddhists are meat eaters, and there are 376 million Buddhists in the world. Similarly, the Christian Bible teaches not to kill, as one of its commandments. And there are about 2.4 billion Christians in the world. In the Bible, in the first book of Moses, called Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 29 states: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” The Bible also relates the story of Daniel when he proved to King Nebuchadnezar that a vegetarian diet was superior to the meat diet that the King served at his court. Daniel asked the King to be allowed to remain a vegetarian, and in a few days his wisdom surpassed those of his meat-eating colleagues. He was able to interpret the King’s dreams by his insight. The others could not. He was also much healthier in body and mind.

There are approximately 1.15 billion Hindus in the world, and their scripture teaches them to practice ahimsa (non-violence). Unfortunately, many Hindus are also not vegetarians. However, on an average, more people in India are vegetarians than in most other countries. There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Allah is said to be the Merciful. It is difficult to conceive that a Merciful Allah will instruct his followers to be violent towards innocent creatures. As you can see, girls, there are approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, and most of them are instructed through their scriptures not to kill. This clearly shows that most people are supposed to be vegetarians. Being vegetarians will fulfill their religious obligations much better than being meat eaters.”

Rachna: “It is truly amazing and quite interesting, Deviji, when you explain vegetarianism in the light of religious teachings. It appears that the natural and proper diet for human beings is the vegetarian diet. I wonder if people will ever pay much attention to this aspect of spiritual life!”

Deviji: “It is very interesting to speculate what people in the world will do. Religions have been around for thousands of years and, so far, people have not really lived up to the true spiritual teachings. There are a few people who pay attention to religion, and try to live up to its principles. But the majority, unfortunately, do not make much effort to pursue a true spiritual life. As the world population increases, and violence in the world increases, and as land becomes scarce, people may gradually realize that it makes a great deal of sense to live as vegetarians. Violence begets violence. Violence against innocent creatures results in violence among people. Every action has a reaction. The action towards killing any creature cannot go without producing a reaction. Unfortunately, the reaction has to be endured by human beings.”

Amrita: “Perhaps, another way to look at this issue of diet is to compare all animal meat with human flesh. Animal meat is not really different from human meat. They both consist of muscles, nerves, blood vessels and blood, lymphatic vessels and connective tissue. People will not think of eating human flesh, and since animal flesh is so much like human flesh, I would think that people should abstain from eating them.”

[The religious populations are for 2012 from Wikipedia]

Dr. Jagessar Das

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