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Ayurveda and Vegetarianism

In the words of Albert Einstein " It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind…"

Ayureveda strongly recommends vegetarianism

.For a person practicing vegetarianism far as the daily protein requirements of the human body are concerned these can be easily met by making fruits, vegetables and nuts a part of our daily intake, it recommends a wholesome vegetarian diet based on different types of fruits and nuts that are available in plenty during their season.

Despite all the available evidence that points to no extra nutritional, physiological or psychological justification for meat eating millions all over the globe continue unabated.

So why do we continue to do so is what comes to one's mind instinctively. Two simple reasons seem to account for this irresistible urge. One could be a habit and conditioning and secondly because some simply savor the taste of it and relish it to temptation.

Well then we must have the courage to admit it and not attempt to justify it for reasons of health. However if you decide to practice spirituality, meat eating is one of the habits you need to necessarily drop before you embark on this journey.

It implies not just killing life, which violates one of the primary rules of right conduct, but also creates Heat in our body wasting away in the process loads of bodily energy which otherwise would have been used for better digestion.

The Hindu Dharma Sutras (Code-books) have prescribed rules of conduct, duties, rights and obligations for us to follow. Non-violence (ahimsa) is one of the prescriptions in there for the eternal way of living happily in this world as we humans do not have the moral right to take away a life or cause sorrow to others.

It is a simple dharma to live by, for if we destroy others for the sake of our own pleasure , we are cutting at the very root of human life's glory and thereby degrading ourselves. Even though life exists in all beings, in both the vegetable and animal kingdoms, there are degrees of evolution and in the manifestation of intelligence.

The degree of feeling and understanding, of mental and physical pain, is less developed in plant-life as compared to the animal-life. According to our dharma sastras, the purpose of human life is to know the Truth. In order to know the Truth, we must sustain our lives, but with proper discrimination.

Although life must be sustained with life, it should be done by causing the least Pain and disturbance to nature. This means that even when eating vegetarian food we should eat moderately. From a medical standpoint also many people today are advised to reduce their fat and cholesterol intake, which generally means the reduction of red meat in their diet.

These scriptural injunctions make us wonder at times if people strictly practiced vegetarianism back in the vedic ages or were they too meat eaters like us.

The vedas and the dharmasastrs both prohibit it, except under certain circumstances as a concession to human weakness, which sometimes makes us incapable of living up to a higher ideal. The sastras explain for instance, which animals can be eaten on which day of the month, when eating meat is prohibited, and what special rituals are to performed before eating meat.

These facts and restrictions in our sastras were meant to help them rise above craving and ideally practice vegetarianism. Non-vegetarian food was, however, allowed for a particular class of people, the ksatriyas,or the ruling class.

For other classes, such as the business people (Vaisyas) or the philosophers/teachers (Brahmins), hunting and meat eating was not allowed. Why was this distinction made? The kshatriyas nature of work required them to have the strength to fight for their nation. They underwent training in defense (hunting) and needed animal protein for physical strength.

Yet the kshatriyas too were told that after a certain age even they should ideally renounce that type of life, take to sannyasa (the order of renunciation), and go to the forest for contemplation.

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