Re: Does Hinduism require belief in God ?
Subject: Re: Does Hinduism require belief in God ?
From: email@example.com (Jayant Lulla)
Date: 14 Jun 1994 04:20:53 GMT
Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com (Pratip Kumar Nag.) writes:
|> In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
|> Jayant Lulla <email@example.com> wrote:
|> >In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, * 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.
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.