Any query......

Somik Raha somik at YAHOO.COM
Wed May 15 20:59:53 CDT 2002

Hi Hemang,
> I recollect
> a lecture from  ISCKON where the lecturer teaching the GiTa had
> quoted parts of it which dealt with this effect of food on the
> human body/soul/physique. but that was only one of the
> interpretations.

ISKCON lectures almost always talk about the goodness of vegetarianism. They
base their concept on the sloka in the Gita - "He who offers me a fruit, a
flower or water with devotion, I accept".

Their interpretation is - if Krishna really wanted to accept meat - he would
include it in this list. So by the principle of exclusion, and looking at
the Gita as one would look at other texts like the Bible as the be all, end
all, one shouldnt eat meat, and meat eaters are sinners.

My understanding is - you cannot talk about non-vegetarianism being a sin,
and still say you follow the Gita. Bcos the Gita also says - "Thou cannot
kill and thou cannot be killed". And in a parallel thread on this list,
about swarga and naraka, Shri Vaidya talks about naraka existing for
creatures like crabs and shrimps (to create the Japanese dish tempura -
which I as a base sinner love to eat). The whole concept of Karma is that
you get what is due to you from your past actions - unless with the
knowledge of the self, you stop accruing further actions, and simply burn
out your prarabdha. This you can do, only in the human state, as is widely

The pain and suffering caused to animals - are a part of their karma phala.
And that is the natural cycle of evolution, as stronger animals kill weaker
ones for survival. Folks at ISKCON do say that if you have a choice you
should go for vegetarian. But this really needs to be qualified. From
personal experience - (I stay in Japan, which is a nightmare for
vegetarians), the Indian restaurants here suck big time - bcos they serve
oily, greasy, spicy food. My criticism is purely on my perception bcos I
have a big problem with such food (for health reasons). And I love to eat
the grilled fish which is cooked with almost no spice or oil  - its bland
and very good for health. I would safely classify Indian vegetarian food in
the restaurants as Rajasic (nowhere near sattvic).

Going at the definition of sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic food from the
Gita - I have not found anywhere that non-vegetarian food is tamasic or
rajasic. But the Gita does say - "Food that nourishes you, improves your
health can be considered sattvic, food that incites your passions and is
meant only to please the tongue, is rajasic, while that which is stale or
putrid is tamasic."

>From this definition - I am left without much doubt about the misconceptions
of the sinfulness of non-vegetarianism.

However, my friends at ISKCON think differently. In a recent discussion, I
was told that non-vegetarians can be considered to be murderers - just like
anyone who abets a murder is also a party to the murder. Since we have the
option of being vegetarian (notwithstanding the fact that its impossible for
bachelors in IT in Japan with 14 hour work schedules), we should be so.
However, when I asked him whether all the people in Iceland can be called
murderers (for they dont eat any vegetarian food due to their environment),
I was told I should not think about the people of Iceland (they are probably
not beneficial to this discussion).

On the other hand - I always prefer the home-made vegetarian food in
ndia  - back home, non-vegetarian Indian is the worst from the point of
digestion bcos of the amount of oil and spice used. I take veg when I get
the chance - not bcos I believe it makes me less of a sinner, but bcos it is
simply easier to digest. I can completely buy the argument that veg is good
when cooked with less oil and spice bcos its good for health and whats good
for health is good for the mind, and ultimately the spirit. But when non-veg
food turns out to be better than veg in the options that one has in this
criterion - I see no reason to be fundamental about it.

Historical facts about the Mahabharata would show that kshatriyas were known
meat eaters - which includes Arjuna and Lord Krishna (but by now I have said
enough scandalous things).

(Pls note : I have deep respect and love for my friends of ISKCON, inspite
of deep differences with their philosophy and these opinions are my own from
a logical point of view - at my current level of understanding, which is
low. I did try vegetarianism for one whole month in Tokyo after being
inspired by them, but I realized I had either to marry (as almost all the
ISKCON people here have their families here to look after them - or they
have the time to cook) or revert back to non-veg. The latter was feasible
for me)

----- Original Message -----
From: "hemang Chamakuzhi Subramanian" <hemangcs at REDIFFMAIL.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 6:24 PM
Subject: Any query......

> Hello,
>   According to the philosophy of Advaitha, the non-duality of the
> self and the almighty is embodied in various scriptures, which
> expotiates the power of the Almighty, The same almighty encomposes
> the cosmos.
>         One question which I could not find an answer
> reading quite some literature with regards to this all pervasive
> power, is the metabolic activity of the human body.
>      could anyone guide me as to which parts of the scriptures
> deal with the food habits, which type of food causes what
> affect/which type of food cleanses the soul/ why is
> non-vegeterianism forbid...for if the almighty pervades all then
> what is the difference between an egg of a fowl and a mango(both
> expotiate life, both are metabolically digested, both procreate
> into next generation).
>    Is there any literature available on this subject. I recollect
> a lecture from  ISCKON where the lecturer teaching the GiTa had
> quoted parts of it which dealt with this effect of food on the
> human body/soul/physique. but that was only one of the
> interpretations.
>   Any responses would sincerely be appreciated. would the
> enlightened embody me with some pointers to this subject..
> Regards.
> =H.C Subramanian
> _________________________________________________________
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