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Re: Does Hinduism require belief in God ?

In article <2tirc5$qiq@ucunix.san.uc.edu>, pratipn@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu (Pratip Kumar Nag.) writes:
|> In article <2tb078$cm7@ucunix.san.uc.edu>,
|> Jayant Lulla <lulla@athena.mit.edu> wrote:
|> >In article <2sjb4r$f19@ucunix.san.uc.edu>, * subbu sivaramakrishnan * <SXS144@PSUVM.PSU.EDU> writes:

|> >what you say about believing in God is true.  the question about 
|> >vegetarianism is more tricky.
|> >
|> >i would say that vegetarianism is a requirement for strict hinduism, but it
|> >is not one of the "major" requirements - if that makes any sense....
|>        [part of the article deleted]
|> First,  What is vegetarianism required for is it some sort of law in hinduism 
|> or just to "better" oneself?  If it's to "better" oneself, then in regard to
|> whom should one better oneself, basically who sets the standards.
|> >so, in a nutshell, it is better to follow vegetarianism, and if you have a 
|> >choice, you should.  Vegetarianism is "higher" than non-vegetarianism but is 
|> >not an "absolute" requirement.
|> >
|> >- this is just my understanding - further discussion is welcome...
|> The notion of vegetarianism as being higher than non-vegetarianism is a rather
|> weak reason for someone to become a vegetarian since the person doesn't under
|> stand the necessity (if there is one) to become a vegetarian.  
|> In my opinion, I think it is the humility one shows and the thankfulness with 
|> which one recognizes that the food that he eats is all that is required.  As
|> Khalil Gibran in his Prophet said, (I am not quoting) that to kill an animal
|> for food or clothing one should recognize with HUMILITy (for emphasis) that 
|> he is as prone to being killed and is no different from the animal he is 
|> killing but is the same.  Again this brings up the thought that there is no
|> heirarchy in the animal or plant kingdom but that we are all the same from
|> one source of life and one source of energy.
|> I hope this makes some sense, and I am very keen to recieve your thoughts.
|> thanks

No, that vegetarianism is higher than non-vegetarianism should not be a 
"weak" reason for someone to be vegetarian.  Perhaps I should have spelled 
it out.  Vegetarianism is higher for several reasons.  First, there is the 
principle of the chain of life - animals are higher on the evolutionary scale
than plants and therefore eating vegetarian foods can be regarded as more pure
than eating non-vegetarian food.
Second, there is the principle of taking life - non-veg requires the killing
of animals whereas one can eat vegetarian food without necessarily killing the 
plant / crop.  Third, there is the principle of energy.  Animals are higher
on the energy pyramid (food-chain) than plants.  What this means is that 
eating animals is less efficient from a nutrient / energy transformation 
point-of-view because they are one step removed from the source.  Fourth, 
vegetarianism is better from a Yoga standpoint - the Raja Yoga scriptures 
state that one should follow a strict vegetarian diet until he has obtained 
complete control of his nerves - then he may eat what he wants.  Gandhi made 
his Satyagrahis follow a veg diet because he thought it would help them 
maintain chastity.  Fifth, a veg diet is better from a medical standpoint 
because it reduces the chances of cancer / heart attacks etc.

As you can see, vegetarianism has several arguments in its favor - ranging 
from moral (the fact that it is wrong to take lives) to scientific.  However,
what Pratip says about humility is true.  Even if one does not follow a 
veg diet, he should acknowledge that eating meat is wrong.  The American 
Indians used to worship an animal (usually a buffalo) and pray before taking 
its life.  Similarly
Vivekanda said that "when i eat meat, i know it is wrong."  Hence what Pratip 
says about humility / thankfulness being "all that is required" is correct.
One does not have to be a strict vegetarian to respect life, but there IS 
a hierarchy among the plant and animal species.

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