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Take your healthy meal without a pound of flesh

The World marks ‘Vegetarian Day’ today (October 1)

Acharya Ajay Tiwari – take-your-healthy-meal-acharya-ajay-tiwari

All of us are aware that non-vegetarian foods are the products of animals killed.

Hinduism, which is a ‘way of life’ rather than a religion, accords greater importance to ‘Dharma’, a concept which highlights ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence as the supreme mode of living.

India holds the roots of Hinduism and is noted for its large number of vegetarians and wide availability of vegetarian foods.

Vegetarianism was once adopted on religious grounds. But today, the reason for ‘going veg’ is more ethical, social and spiritual, and has less to do with religion.

This awareness needs to be promoted on the special occasion of ‘World Vegetarian Day’ on October 1.

Ethical Reasons

All animals are sentient beings and they go through exactly the same pain, emotions and feelings like humans. Just as how we would love our pets sincerely, we should know that there is not much difference between pets such as cats, dogs and other living beings such as sheep, cattle, pigs, chicken, geese, turkey, duck and fish.

Exhibiting kindness to animals is moral rectitude, not a sign of weakness.

The golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” emphasises the fact that compassion should be extended to all living beings, and not limited to human beings.

 

“All animals are sentient beings and they go through exactly the same pain, emotions and feelings like human beings.”

Social Reasons

“We are what we eat” is another well-known quote and according to this, our minds, thoughts, processes, likes and dislikes are all determined by the type of food we consume.

It is strongly believed that the pain, anguish, fear, anxiety and helplessness which the animals endure whilst being slaughtered, strangled or slit are imbibed into the flesh of the animals and in turn is passed on to the people when they subsequently partake the flesh.

Mughal Emperor Abdul Fath Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar (better known as ‘Akbar the Great’), who ruled Hindustan during the 16th century, patronised vegetarianism after reportedly coming under the influence of the Jain monk Hiravijyaya who famously said, “How could a man’s stomach be a tomb of animals?”

Spiritual Reasons

The notion of ‘Karma’ can be defined in simple terms as ‘when a predator eats a prey, there will be a time when the prey becomes the predator and the action will be reversed.’

One might argue that, even a vegetarian is harming plants, fruits, leaves, roots, trees, seeds and stems. In justice terms – for survival purposes, if eating ‘living beings like animals’ leads to the punishment for ‘murder’ and eating ‘living things like vegetables’ leads to the punishment for ‘manslaughter’ – then surely ‘manslaughter’ would be a desirable option in one’s lifetime!

Health Reasons

In Hinduism, all foods are classified into three categories: Tamasic (Darkness), Rajasic (Passion) and Sattvic (Purity).

Vegetarian foods, which come under the ‘Sattvic’ category, provide innumerable health benefits.

Besides supplying vital nutrients essential for health and maintenance of body, they are mostly cholesterol-free and contain complex carbohydrates.

Vegetable protein can be found in lentils, soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, quinoa, peas, corn, rice, spinach, broccoli, bulgur, brown rice, tempeh, firm and regular tofu, soymilk, soy yoghurt, whole wheat bread, whole wheat toast, seitan (wheat gluten), bagel, veggie baked beans, oatmeal, almonds, cashews, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, baked potato, veggie burger and crackers.

A practising vegetarian will find that the mind is calm and focused, which accelerates progression to a fast healthy, happy and peaceful life.

Food Combinations

Non-vegetarians usually believe that meat is their only sole source of protein and that a vegetarian diet provides little-to-no protein.

This is not true.

There are eight types of proteins vital for life. While meat contains all the eight types, they lack in vitamins and the ‘Sattvic nature’ that lentils and vegetables contain.

Traditional Indian vegetarian foods such as ‘Dhal and Chawal’, ‘Sabzi and Roti’ and ‘Vada and Pao,’ not only tickle the palate but also contain four proteins each that make up the eight proteins that all human beings need to survive.

Nowadays, a rich variety of vegetarian dishes and meat alternatives are on offer that consuming animal flesh would just be a mere excuse.

With nutritious vegetarian ingredients available (such as listed above), one can cook endless breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack combinations.

I wish all Indian Newslink readers a ‘Happy World Vegetarian Day!’

Acharya Ajay Tiwari is a Priest and Preacher. He is associated with Sanskrit Yoga & Jyotish Trust and can be contacted on (09) 2679980 or 021-0347956. Email: acharyatiwari@gmail.com

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