Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vegetarianism in Hinduism

This article stresses the fundamental concept of adhering to vegetarianism by the Hindus

It also highlights and tries to justify animal slaughter/sacrifice to some extent in accordance with the Vedas stating that "killing of animals and eating of their flesh are only provided in the Vedas for sacrificial purposes and that the Vedic mantras and rites are considered so effectual in themselves that the souls of the animals offered for sacrifice are purified and despatched at once to some form of heaven or other, while the performers of the sacrifice are given some form of grace or other in a ‘secular plane’".

A lot of people feel that if it has been stated so in the Vedic mantras, it is sheer nonsense. We, born as human beings, are blessed by our Creator to possess ‘intuition’ to decide what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ unlike animals which lack the attributes of speech and perhaps, judgement!

Nothing could be more horrifying than seeing an animal undergoing torture when it is slaughtered for its flesh for ‘consumption’ or ‘sacrifice’.

The folly of animal sacrifice has now been realised by most right-minded Hindus and animal sacrifice has been banned in many Hindu temples though I was highly saddened to watch quite recently on a television programme the most cruel slaughter of goats by chopping off their necks with a sword as a ritual of animal sacrifice in a Hindu shrine in Nepal. It was horror indeed!

In this context I would like to quote the late Swami Sivananda (a medical practitioner himself), who attained ‘enlightenment’ at Rishikesh, India) for the benefit of those who value and treasure ‘Ahimsa’ (compassion) and ‘Metha’ (loving kindness) or reverence for all life in general.

"In the Hindu view of life, the real value is placed upon the moral and spiritual worth of the man. Moreover, flesh- eating involves the exercising of cruelty which is not an elevating virtue. It is a bestial quality. It degrades man. Cruelty is condemned by all right-thinking men".

Thus the cruel slaughter of animals and flesh-eating make them abhorrent to all right-thinking people. People who are slaves to flesh-eating cannot it give up because they have become addicted to it. Hence, they try to justify the habit by devious arguments.

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