Invitation To Health: 19 ►Vegetarianism Is Human Nature

Published: 01.04.2017

Vegetarianism Is Human Nature

I read a write up under the heading of 'Christianity and Vegetarianism' in Navabharata Times (5 May 1990). After reading it I felt that in the western countries vegetarianism is a subject matter of wonder, surprise or debate. Food is a necessity for human being and therefore it should be non-controversial, but debating is human nature and therefore he does not allow any field to be debate-free. The debate is between grain and meat. To eat grain and vegetables is regarded as natural food for human being and this is being accepted from very long time.

Statement of John Brumer

The Agriculture and Food minister of Britain John Brumer said, "Vegetarianism is absolutely unnatural". The honourable minister might be having the problem of food scarcity or the industry of fishery might be dwindling and that is why he is making undesirable pleading by telling natural food to be unnatural and unnatural food to be natural. Based on Bible, he says—'We are the master of birds in the sky and animals on the earth and therefore we eat them.' This is an arrogant and haughty statement. A master is one who protects the others. One who kills them can be an enemy, and never a master. The truth is that human being is not a master of his body even. Had he been the master he would not get it diseased or sick, old, and would not have permitted it to go into the jaw of death. The philosophy of non-violence is the philosophy of mastery. We have to regard the birds in the sky and the animals on earth as equal to ourselves; we do not deprive them of life, and then we can be entitled to be called master.

Question is that of religion and morality

The honourable minister has the objection that the eatables and drinkables are being associated with religion, this objection is correct. The eatables and drinkables should not be associated and are not being associated with religion and morality. Religion is associated with one who eats. What the eating person eats and what are its consequences, this question is associated with religion and morality. In the market, there are plenty of things to eat and drink. This has nothing to do with religion and morality. While selling the shopkeeper exercises honesty or not? Here comes the question of religion and morality. The same thing holds good with regard to food.

Meat eating: religion and morality

Meat has no connection with religion and morality but eating meat does have connection with them. With meat eating the cruelty of violence to living being is associated. Greed and violence -both these are the generators of cruelty. One who does not eat meat easily escapes from cruelty arising out of violence to life. Its self-evident proof is Jain society. It is away from many crimes because it is not meat eating. Violence itself is crime. It gives rise to many crimes. One who does not eat meat saves himself from all these. The scientists dealing with diet or nutrition tell about ample relation between diet and behaviour. According to them diet can change the nature of human being. The neurotransmitters produced by diet control our behaviour and therefore it is not unnatural to think about diet from the point of view of religion and morality.

Basis for selection of diet

Vegetarianism is more conducive to health; this is the aspect of hygiene. It has spiritual aspect as well. For spiritual development, it has much more value. George Bernard Shah said—"My stomach is not a graveyard and therefore I do not take meat". Keeping meat eaters in view he wrote—we are the living graves of dead animals. Animal will go inside the stomach; will its samskāras (past karmic impressions) not go in along with it. Human being has animal tendencies. This is agreed truth. Cruelty is animal tendency. The first characteristic of a spiritual being is compassion. Meat eating is a strike on it; and therefore, a spiritual person for quenching hunger does not eat whatever is available, but eats with discriminative intelligence. For him diet has two classes—eatable and non-eatable. That which is not a hindrance to spiritual growth is eatable. That which becomes a hindrance is non-eatable. Human being is not mere body that has to worry for quenching hunger. He is a conscious soul as well. He worries about awakening of consciousness as well and therefore we select diet keeping in view both quenching of hunger and awakening of consciousness.

Wave of vegetarianism

Human being is vegetarian by nature. Based on constitution of body and bodily activities animals are classified into two groups—cow, horse, elephant—these are vegetarian creatures. Cat, dog, lion—these are non-vegetarian creatures. Some aspects of the difference in both these with regard to their body-constitution and body-activities are as follows:



  • Do not take water by taking out tongue but by immersing mouth in water.

Take water by licking with tongue.

  • Have plain teeth and nails

Have piercing teeth and nails

  • Digestion begins from mouth

Digestion begins in stomach

  • Intestines of stomach are long

Intestines of stomach are short

Human being can be compared with vegetarian animals and therefore by nature he is not meat eating. Meat eating is learnt by him by practice. Jain religion had started the movement of vegetarianism. It had great impact. Today in the whole world it is spreading like a wave. It is possible that after sometime it may become the main stream of diet.

Title: Invitation To Health
Author: Acharya Mahaprajna
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
HN4U Digital Edition: Ratna & Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Consciousness
  3. Greed
  4. Non-violence
  5. Soul
  6. Vegetarianism
  7. Violence
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