Any query......

Somik Raha somik at YAHOO.COM
Wed May 15 23:00:03 CDT 2002

Dear Sir,
    Many thanks to you for your kind words. In this day and age that no one
finds a moment to pray for another, you pray for my upliftment. I hope Sri
Krishna shows me some light.
    At a logical level, to answer to some of your points,

> I do not understanding where you got the meaning of
> 'greasy' or 'spicy' in the word 'vegetarianism'. You
> are linking your ideas to what suits your taste, than
> the true spirit of the topic.

I am afraid you misunderstand me. I do not connect "greasy" or "spicy" with
"vegetarianism". But I do connect them with the options before me - and I
clearly mentioned "Indian restaurants". I doubt how many Indian restaurants
will serve true sattvic vegetarian food - low on oil and spice. Given the
options before me - I prefer non-spicy, non-greasy non-vegetarian to spicy,
greasy, oily vegetarian. I hope you are not recommending that I choose the
latter over the former.

> You know America and other countries have shown that
> 'meat' eaters suffer more cardiac and other serious
> problems of health.

> All cravings will stop when deseases come. No
> exception. It is better to be disciplined now, than
> regret when one gets old and suffers the consequences
> later.

I agree with you. It is no wonder to me that New Delhi with so many
vegetarians constitutes some of the primary reasons for heart institutes in
the area. Vegetarian Indian food cooked the oily way is just as bad as
non-veg food cooked that way.

And yes, America suffers from cardiac problems - bcos there is a prevalence
of junk food - the burgers are not what I call sattvic. I am not making
sweeping generalizations here. Non-veg cooked in the tamasic or rajasik way
is just as bad as veg cooked in the tamasic or rajasic way.

> Also, do not mis-interpret Sattvic etc. in the way
> that pleases you. You must understand that this is a
> classification system, and suitable suggestions are
> given so that people can design their diet, based on
> thier true inner aspirations. For the great glory of
> being closer to TRUTH, by practice and control of mind
> through diet, this classification of food as inducing
> Sattvic or Rajasic or Tamasic is given. The
> intelligent man follows it and benefits from it. The
> weak, neglect those valuable suggestions and suffer.

If you can tell me which verses in the Gita include meat in tamasic or
rajasic, I will be much obliged to you.
The intelligent man should always reason for himself - after being given all
the inputs. For the stupid man - you would want to cram it down his throat.
So - I believe food has an important bearing to spirituality- it should not
be closed to discussion.

FYI, Swami Vivekananda, before he went to attend the Parliament of
Religions, took permission from Sri Ramakrishna whether he could eat beef in
America as the perception in those days was that you had to, if you would go
to the West. Sri Ramakrishna told him - he was so pure, nothing would affect
him and he could eat just what he wanted to. Beef is probably another
debate, but it is a known fact that Ramakrishna Mission does not consider
fish as tamasic or rajasic, and allows it in the diet.

There are views and then there are views. Everyone is of course entitled to
his/her own opinion. Personally I am in favour of vegetarianism, but not at
the cost of practicality. There is no point in starving and not doing my
duty for my company, at the cost of sticking to this idea.

I am not a scholar on our epics or shastras. But from what little I have
read - I understand that Hindus dont eat beef, its against the religion. The
reason is that the cow is considered akin to mother - as it gives milk for
the little babies. And one cant kill one's mother. Now, it leads one to
ask - where did such a huge thought originate ? I am given to understand
that it was Lord Krishna who originated this - when he found that cows were
being mercilessly slaughtered, and little children were not getting milk and
dying. Also Lord Krishna himself as a child was known as "makhan chor" - he
loved butter, and that comes from milk. For these reasons, he proposed this
idea -and instantly, people found they were unable to raise their axe to
kill the cow.

This anecdote leads one to believe - that people in India, were beef eaters
upto that point. Also - the beef consumption might not have been restricted
to "lower" classes of society - bcos then the brahmins would automatically
have condemned them, and ostracized them. Since it was so prevalent
requiring Lord Krishna to intervene - one might assume that even the higher
classes - Kshatriyas and Brahmins were beef eaters (and of course meat
eaters). It is interesting to note - that other forms of meat were not
forbidden by Lord Krishna. And he didnt forbid beef either - he only gave
the comparison.

You mentioned "high ideas" like spirituality, and how good health is at a
different plane. I am sure you might have heard of the "Hindu" notion - the
body is the temple of God. I have learnt as a child that one is not to abuse
one's own body under any circumstances, and always treat it as a gift from
God - with which one has to strive to achieve realization. This has to be
done with sadhana, the proportion of which depends on the path and the age.
But one thing is critically clear- which even the Gita mentions - that one
must have a sound, healthy body, so that one may concentrate the mind on the
Supreme One  - and this teaching is very important. It is very hard to pray
and concentrate on one thing - when you have a flabby body with portruding
tummies (after consuming those tons of desi ghee). That is definitely

Just as a disclaimer - I am not contesting the usefulness of sattvic
vegetarian. I am contesting the non-usefulness of sattvic non-vegetarian vs.
rajasic or tamasic vegetarian. Why this is relevant today - outside India -
is because we dont get sattvic vegetarian in restaurants. And we dont have
time to cook. These are practical problems - and if the road to spirituality
cannot accomodate these, then you will be indicating the road to be very
narrow. That is contrary to my perception of Hinduism and spirituality.

Lastly, I am not sure if you are from South India - but if you are - then
you would surely know of the great devotee Kanappa. A Brahmin discovered a
shiva linga in the forest, and gave all the fruits and flowers would be
horrified to find the linga desecrated with meat the next day. He would
clean it up again, and find the desecration on the following day, and so on.
The third day he was furious. He was about to curse the base man who was
doing this. On which he is supposed to have heard a voice asking him to stay
back. He did so and hid in the trees. Around midnight (the wrong hour for
abhishek ??) - along came hunter Kanappa - with a slaughtered deer on his
shoulders. He laid it down, threw off all the flowers and fruits offered to

Then he cut the deer into pieces, and tasted each piece. He then offered the
best tasting piece to Shiva. Then he had a feeling that Shiva was thirsty -
and he didnt have a glass - so he brought water from the nearby lake in his
mouth and poured it over the Shiv ling. Thinking that this man was the worst
of descrators, the Brahmin was going to curse him, when suddenly, one of the
two eyes in the Shiv ling burst and started bleeding. Kannappa couldnt stand
it - he plucked his own eye with his arrow and replaced Shiva's eye - upon
which the bleeding stopped. But then, the second eye burst out bleeding.

Now, Kannappa couldnt see if he would pluck out his second eye. So he used
his toe and placed in on the second bleeding eye. Then he plucked out his
remaining eye and put in on the lingam. Then the Brahmin realized what sort
of a devotee this man was. The story goes that Shiva appeared and restored
his eyesight.

Hinduism is a system of paradoxes - it is not so black and white as many
claim - and each has to find his own path in this vast system. It is true
that your path is noble and great - but it is not true that other paths are
all false.

> May you see the spirit of 'Vegetarianism' and 'Indian
> thought'

I hope so too. Please continue to remember me in your prayers. Om Tat Sat.


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