Jai Mahavir ji
The spirit of Vegetarianism
By:-Upadhyaya Munishri kamakumar Nandi ji
Ref books Fundamental features of Jainism (Extract form) and other related books and web pages.
Acharya Amritchandra's words need careful attention, "Meat cannot be procured without causing destruction, one who eats meat, therefore, commits Himsa (Violence) or injury unavoidably. If the meat be that of a buffalo etc., which has died by itself, even then Himsa is caused by the crushing of the creatures spontaneously born therein. Whether pieces of meat are raw or cooked or in the process of cooking spontaneously- born creatures of the same genus are born creatures of the being generated there. He who eats or touches a raw or cooked piece of the meat certainly kills a group of spontaneously- born creatures constantly gathering thereon" (Purushartha-Sidhyupaya,pp.65-68)
Why Vegetarianism:- There are various reasons that justify the stand in favor of vegetarianism and a few of them are mentioned below:-
1. Ahimsa, the law of no injury, is the Jain's first duty in fulfilling religious obligations and follow the basic rule of Jainism "Ahimsa Permo Dharma" (Non-Violence is the prime religion) subsequently leading to co-existence i.e. "Live and let live". The non-vegetarian diet is available after injury, pain and death only.
2. The Karmic Consequences Reason:- All of our actions, including our choice of food, have Karmic consequences. By involving oneself in the cycle of inflicting injury, pain and death, directly , indirectly or even to accord consent by eating other creatures, one must in the future experience in an equal measure the suffering caused.
3. The Spiritual Reason:- Whatever we eat, it affects our consciousness, emotions and experiential patterns. If one wants to live in higher consciousness, in peace and happiness and love for all creatures, then he cannot eat meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs. He should take "Satvik " means exclusively pure vegetarian diet By taking the non-Vegetarian or " Tamsik " food one introduces into the body and mind anger, jealousy, anxiety, suspicion and a terrible fear of death, all of which are locked into the the flesh of the butchered creatures. For these reasons, vegetarians live in higher consciousness and meat-eaters abide in lower consciousness.
4. The Health Reason:- It is known fact and proved by medical science that a vegetarian diet is easier to digest, provides a wider ranger of nutrients.. Vegetarians are less susceptible to all the major diseases that afflict contemporary humanity, and thus live longer, healthier, more productive lives. They have fewer physical complaints, less frequent visits to the doctor and fewer dental problems. Their immune system is stronger, their bodies are purer and more refined.
5. The Ecological Reason:- As everyone well knows, we need our forests. However, our forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Consequently the escalating loss of species, destruction of ancient rainforests to create pasture lands for live stock, loss of top soils and the consequent increase of water impurities and air pollution have all been traced to the single fact of meat in the human diet. It takes between 100,000 liters of water to produce a single kg of beef, and where as the same amount of water can produce 100 kg or more of grains. No decision that we can make as individuals or as a race can have such a dramatic effect on the improvement of our planetary ecology as the decision not to eat meat apart from growing and use more and more agricultural products.
The words of Mahatma Gandhi Ji are noteworthy: "If any one said that I should die if I did not take beef-tea or mutton., even under medical advice, I would prefer death. That is the basis of my vegetarianism; I would love to think that all of us who called ourselves vegetarians should have that basis."
Egg and fish are non-vegetarian:-
Persons interested in vegetarianism should carefully bear in mind the fact that eggs in diet comes under the category of non vegetarian food. People in some countries think that eggs come under the vegetable; therefore, they serve the Indians/Jains egg preparations under the name of vegetarian diet. It is therefore necessary for the strict vegetarians to be careful, else fish or egg-preparations may violate their sacred vow. Fish is a living animal therefore apparently fish eating will come under the category of meat i.e. non-vegetarian diet.
Our Jain sages, who were great philosophers as well as astounding spiritual- scientists have explained that egg comes under meat diet. The white side of the egg is a bony substance. The liquid matter inside forms the body of the chicken when hatched. Thus it has been classified as meat. To treat egg at par with milk is as erroneous as to call a horse, a cow. Milk is the stage of food before it is transformed into blood, while egg contains blood and other constituents of flesh. Even the unfertilized egg is a non-vegetarian item. It is something like still born baby or unfertilized egg of mammals. It is clearly stated in the scriptures that this animal mass is the habitat of infinite number of nigod (microbes) souls irrespective of whether we interfere with ultimate growth by arresting the process of fertilization.
Therefore vegetarians should never eat egg to keep their vow of Ahimsa.
VEGETARIANISM AND JAINISM
Who are Vegetarians?
The Jain code of Food (Aharasamhita)
1. Boiled water - The monks, nuns, Sravakas and Sravikas should always drink boiled water.
What modern science has discovered now, the great Tirthankaras proclaimed thousands of years ago? It was that water contains innumerable bacteria. Many living beings are killed by drinking water with bacteria and many physical diseases appear. For this reason, public propaganda is undertaken for drinking boiled water at the time of epidemics like cholera, malaria, etc. Boiled water should be taken to avoid violence and diseases. Raw water should be used only after straining it. By drinking strained and boiled water one can save oneself from the sin of violence and probable diseases.
2. Giving up eating of non-eatables.
There is a proverb - As is the food, so is the eructation. If one has eaten sour food, his eructation would be sour. Food and water have a definite effect on body, mind, behavior and thought. That food and water, the intake of which causes the mind to be excited, the feelings to be distorted and the thoughts to be polluted, are considered non-eatable. Devotees and aspirants should give up such food and water.
In Jainism a detailed study has been made of non-eatable things. They are fully discussed in books like ‘Jiva-Vichara’. The following is a brief summary of non-eatables in general.
1. Eating meat: Meat-eating is strictly prohibited. Meat of small or big creatures, fish and eggs should not be taken in any form. (Medicines and things, wherein these are used should also be avoided as far as possible.)
2. Bulbs, roots, tuber - bulbs etc, should be given up. There are innumerable living beings in bulbous vegetables. By these things living beings die and the mind gets excited. There are 22 types of bulbs like onion, ginger, radish, brinjal, etc. Blood becomes warm by eating these things. The mind gets excited easily and feelings get polluted.
3. Prohibition - Innumerable bacteria are killed in the production of wine. By drinking wine, not only does killing of bacteria take place, but also the drunkard loses his discretion and takes to unworthy things. His intellect gets blunted and feelings get quickly excited.
In order to keep body and mind cool, healthy and free from sin, eating meat, bulbs etc., and consumption of wine should be given up for the whole life.
4. Giving up eating at night - If possible both food and water should be given up after sunset. If water cannot be given up, taking food at night must be given up.
Hygiene also says that food taken after sunset is not properly digested. Non-digestion of food leads to diseases like dyspepsia, constipation, etc. If the stomach is disturbed, surely one cannot worship god with a calm and tranquil mind.
At night many small insects are produced and they die. If we take food at night, many small insects are killed. Eating at night should be given up to save oneself from the sin of violence and also to keep one healthy.
health benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarianism FAQ /Replies to Arguments of Non-vegetarians:-
Given below are the answers to the arguments put forward by non-vegetarians to justify meat eating.
Question:- Nature enjoins a struggle for survival. One living being preys upon another to feed upon it. So, what is wrong about man feeding upon animals?
Answer: - The struggle for survival is indeed a fact of nature but this does not mean to kill and eat others. Rather it means to fight for the defense of our own life and that of others. No doubt, some wild animals and animals of lower order lives on flesh of others, but animals of higher orders such as cow, horses and elephants, etc live only on grass or other plants. Many animals having shape and size similar to that of man like Apes and Chimpanzees survives only on fruits Many animals help and defend the weaker individuals of their spices. Then why not compare man with nobler animals, like cow, ox, horse and elephant etc rather than the barbaric animals. One wrong can not justify another wrong.
According to Bio-Chemistry, the body structure of man is different from meat eating animals which proves that nature has not evolved the body of a man as flesh eaters. Nature has also bestowed man with many materials and has given him the ability to produce food through the noble vocation of agriculture. It is defiantly going to be condemned if the master of so many abilities and power of rich culture leads a barbaric life and act against the whims of nature.
Question:- If a man is vegetarian, why he has dog-like sharp teeth in his mouth.
Answer: - The so called sharp teeth in man's mouth are not like the teeth of dog but are like the teeth of apes and monkeys who are all vegetarians, Meat eating has no relevance to these teeth.
Question:- If animals are not eaten, will they not over-crowed the earth?
Answer: - It is a false notion. The number of animals always remains within a reasonable limit due to hunger, disease and other natural factors. Wild animals generally confined themselves to forests. Their balance of population is maintained by what is called the food chain. Man himself causes an artificial population boom among the animals he wants to eat. If men were to cease rearing such animals their number would remain at a reasonable level.
Question:-Will only my renouncing of flesh-food will stop violence to animals?
Answer: - No, not totally but it will definitely decrease violence to animals to some extant. A further step will definitely be treated in the direction of achieving the goal. In the beginning only one person takes the initiative for every cause, others follow him. Your example will encourage others who come in your contact then with those examples many others coming in their contact will renounce flesh food and so on it will go on multiplying. Thus, only your renouncing of flesh food means renouncing by several other persons too in the long run.
Question:-If there is nothing wrong in killing snakes ions, wolves, etc., why is it bad to eat meat?
Answer: - " Live and Let Live" is the best dictum to follow. To defend oneself against an attack is justifiable. In self defence, even the killing of a man is considered just, because the motivation is preservation of life, (self-defence) not destruction of life, But to kill any animal for fun or satisfaction of your taste buds is a sin and it is prohibited in every religion. In law also, killing anyone deliberately is considered a crime, if , however, a person is killed in self defence, the crime is mitigated.
Question:-Even man treads the earth, many ants and insects are trodden under foot. So, what is different if other animals are killed?
Answer: -A man's character is judged by his intentions and deliberate actions. If a man deliberately and knowingly crushes under his feet any harmless animal then it is violence. But if involuntarily or in unavoidable circumstances, some insects are killed then it is an exceptional situation. But to kill others without any specific reason or to abet killing for food is plain murder.
Question:-Does not meat give more strength?
Answer: - Pulses, soybean, dry fruits and nuts, etc. contains more
protein than do eggs or meat. Much more than our body's requirement of
protein can easily be had from vegetarian food.
Mostly all unrefined
foods contain significant amounts of protein. Potatoes are 11% protein,
oranges 8%, beans 26%, and tofu 34%. Other foods, beans and fruits contain
sufficient amount of protein.
Meat eating gives the body not strength but a kind of unhealthy stimulation. The body receives an excess of nitrogen which creates uric and other harmful compounds in the blood stream. Just to expel these compounds from the body a lot of energy is needed which the body's defence mechanism pumps up in a hurry to meet the emergency. This is mistaken as an input of energy, although in fact it is a depletion of the body's reservoirs of energy.
Question:-Are not the meat eating races of Europe, more civilized learned and powerful?
Answer: - Their civilization, power or learning is not a gift of non-vegetarian food. Rather, it is a resultant of their other qualities, such as discipline, application co-operative working and extracting power from the forces of nature. As regards meat. many jungle tribes also eat meat but they are backward because they lack the other qualities. Europe itself is witnessing an energetic movement against meat-eating and in favor of vegetarian. Hence, it is wrong to ascribe the power of Europe race to the practice of eating meat.
For more questions please click the following link;-
do people become vegetarians?
It has become trend to mention E-numbers on the packings of eatables to confuse the user and to make it difficult to find the contents used in their products although the marking shown as green dote indicate it being vegetarion but actually it may contain sone kind of additive items. A list of such E markings is given below.
unions, societies working for Promotion of Vegetarianism.
There are number of unions, societies those are working to create the awareness about the vegetarian diet and protection of lives used for non-vegetarian diets etc among the general masses.
In most of Indian restaurants, hotels and Indian railways you will get vegetarian diets. Chinese restaurants offer all kinds of vegetable, rice, and tofu dishes. In Mexican restaurant you can always get beans, rice, and tortillas. Italian restaurants are known for spaghetti, ravioli, vegetable lasagna, and minestrone soup. Even a steak restaurant is guaranteed to have big salads, baked potatoes and bread. Fast food chains are also accommodating vegetarian diets.
Following is a list of organizations in Asia and other countries from where more information's can be obtained: -
There are number of web sites that gives information about the vegetarian restaurants all over the world. Some of these are given below for reference.
1.Vegetarian restaurant guide and directory-Providing
vegetarians around the world with vegetarian and vegan
healthy restaurant dining and a directory of natural
health food stores. ...
2. VegEats! - Vegetarian/Vegan Foods and Restaurants Guide :-Portugal - Restaurants - Macrobiotic and Vegetarian Food in the area of Lisbon [2002 Oct 05][cached] Europe/Portugal/Madeira - Madeira Directory - MIRADOURO ...
3. Toronto Vegetarian Directory - Restaurants :-restaurant day – open daytime only early – closes early (7 ... vary, call ahead V – all meals vegetarian Vv – all ... please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ...
Vegetarian Restaurants in London Vegetarian Restaurants
guide to London Vegetarian Restaurants in London Vegetarian
Restaurants directory UK in your comprehensive Touch
London Vegetarian Restaurants directory ...
5.Vegetarian Restaurants In London in directory.co.uk :-Find Vegetarian Restaurants In London information in directory.co.uk - Locate Vegetarian Restaurants In London related web sites in the UK's favourite online ...
6.Vegetarian Restaurant Guides - Vegetarian Restaurants:-Directory of vegetarian or vegan restaurant guides and vegetarian or vegan restaurants around the world. Also: organic food restaurants. ...
7.VegEats! - Vegetarian/Vegan Foods and Restaurants Guide:-guide and directory of natural health foodstores. [cached] Asia & Middle East/Japan - Happy Cow's Global Guide to Vegetarian Restaurants - Japan, Asia
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