Tradition of Veganism
‘Veg’, ‘Non-veg’, ‘Vegetarian’, ‘Vegetarianism’ ‘Vegan’, ‘Veganism’, etc. words are frequently heard nowadays. A growing trend towards ‘Veganism’ is seen among the health conscious people around the world. I would like focus on this topic briefly.
The dieticians and physicians are now suggesting the new generation to concentrate on their daily menu of diet. On the other hand, those who love to taste all types of food regularly do not pay heed to words regarding diet control. But to a true devotee of Hindu community never needs the suggestion of a dietician. Diet means ‘svattik’ (pure) foods to him/her. He/she takes the foods as ‘prasad’ after offering them to a god or goddess. The foods offered as ‘prasad’ can never be controversial as these are mostly veg foods. As per different Hindu scriptures, non-veg foods are strictly prohibited on the Ekadashi days.
Hindu scriptures and monastic communities encourage meatless diet which is very important in worship. Hinduism’s vast scriptures contain thousands of passages which strongly suggest veganism. It i nos based on profound link between non-violence and spirituality. The Yajur Veda states, “You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s creatures, whether they be human, animals or whatever“. The Atharva Veda says, “Those noble souls who practice meditation and other yogic ways, who are ever careful about all beings, who protect animals, are committed to spiritual practices”. The Manusmriti declares, “Having well considered the origin of flesh-foods, and the cruelty of slaying corporeal beings, let man entirely abstain from eating flesh”. Besides, recommendations for veg-foods are found in the Mahabharata stories, Srimad Bhagavatam and many other Sanatan Hindu scriptures. For centuries Hindu temples and shrines serve only vegetarian food though few ways offer non-veg diet to the gods and goddesses.
Modern science says that vegetarian diets are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber. So, these prevent fatal diseases like cancer, heart attack, blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, forming kidney stones and gallstones etc. It also says that a vegetarian menu is life extending. As young children, vegetarians may grow gradually, reach puberty somewhat later, and live substantially longer than do meat-eaters. World-famous figures as diverse as philosophers Plato and Nietzsche, political leaders Benjamin Franklin and Mahatma Gandhi, and pop icons Paul McCartney and Bob Marley advocated vegetarian diets.
In fine, It can be affirmed that Hinduism’s basis for veganism is not only spiritual, but also scientific. So, try to follow that way strictly for the sake of life as well as the planet and say –