Say Yes to Vegetarianism


To be a vegetarian or not to be a vegetarian that is the question. Most serious practitioners of Yoga choose to become vegetarians for two reasons principally, one is ethical and the other is nutritional. We shall now examine these two guiding principles for adopting the vegetarian life style. One of the most important aspects of Yoga is non-judgment, so you are free to choose whatever types of food you want to eat. If your Yoga practice has spilled over into the spiritual aspect, however, then you may seriously be having second thoughts about eating meat.

Ethical Reasons for Vegetarianism

Lets address some of the ethical objections to eating meat. Through the course of human history mans ethical attitudes towards each another and towards the animals has always continued to evolve. In the past men used each other as slaves, there was rampant cannibalism and human sacrifices were considered morally acceptable behavior. Across the many thousands of years of social evolution our ethical standards have developed to this point in our history when slavery and human sacrifice have almost completely disappeared and when at last we are beginning to respect and honor both human and animal rights. Animals have not as yet been given the same social status as human beings but they are beginning to be thought of as emotional and intellectual beings and so using their flesh for nourishment has now been called into question.

It is now become more acceptable to think that animals have real emotions, that they can feel love, and hate, that they may rejoice, worry, mourn, suffer, and that they may possibly feel the same range of feelings we feel. Certainly animals display various levels of intellect, as they can obviously learn and remember, so can we safely assume that they may also have souls. Though the intellectual capacity of most animals is much more limited than those of human beings, none the less, it is obvious that they do experience a very rich sensual reality, (the experience of the senses), which is in many ways must be a more complex and rich world experience than our own. Animals, it may be argued, seem to lack the psychological compartment of the ego, so animals are generally not self reflective though even here there are exceptions such as dolphins and chimps. Yet animals because of their deep sensual acuity are able to respond to the world more directly thus giving animals a more intimate and passionate relationship with nature. If you have ever loved an animal you can attest to the fact that each animal is a sentient, aware being with a distinct individual personality. To a practicing yogi or anyone who has cultivated a deeper sensitivity to all life, the killing of any animal for sustenance or sport is the equivalent to the killing a human being for sustenance or sport, it is absolutely abhorrent and completely unconscionable.

Another objection to vegatarianism which is often argued is that if animals kill each other for food, why then can we not live by that same ethical standard set by nature in the animal kingdom. But it is impossible to imagine that the animals killing of each other is in any way a violation of moral law or ethic. Animals are always innocent in their actions because they are driven by a natural instinct to kill one another for food, it is not a choice. Even the primitive bushman is not really cruel or immoral when he kills and eats his human enemies, for him, this is normal and completely within the bounds of his societies moral code, he is innocent by ignorance. Then how is it that in some humans the killing of animals for any reason is absolutely objectionable and unthinkable. Could there be a moral imperative that can only be appreciated by just a few men and women who have developed their sympathies more broadly to also include animals.

The answer to this question is, yes, the progress of our moral values has been the labor of ages and there has always been only a small minority of the human race, in any given time, who have achieved genuine moral progress, their values are then eventually and gradually adopted by society. When man learns to recognize the divine within himself, when he begins to recognize himself as a spirit who is only temporarily experiencing flesh, then his feelings and emotions naturally evolve and become more complex and subtle, more broad and deep, and he is then able to feel empathy for every living being equally. This evolution of feeling is inevitable and built into our DNA but it is witnessed in only a few people at first. If you have natural empathy for animals, if your feelings of love transcend your own species then you must have the courage of your convictions and lead this moral evolution by proudly displaying your feelings and empathy for the animals. There are some spiritually advanced Yogis for instance who have developed their moral feelings to such an extent that they can not harm even a littlest mosquito or ant. There are tales of great mahatmas or gurus who had the road in front of them gently swept as they walked ahead, for they feared that they might accidentally step on an insect on the road.

So choosing to become a vegetarian can come from this superior moral imperative which holds all animals in such high regard that to eat them becomes impossible.

Nutritional Reasons for Vegetarianism

The other major motivation for vegetarianism is nutritional. The most nutritious foods are fresh vegetables and fruits and are the most important sources of vitamins and minerals in a diet. Most flesh foods which are commonly consumed today are highly imbalanced nutritionally, containing an excess of protein while almost completely lacking in calcium and growth promoting vitamins which were originally derived from the vegetable kingdom by the animals. Calcium is absorbed from the soil and changed by plants (with the aid of photosynthesis) into organic or food calcium and vitamins are manufactured by the green leaves in plants.

It has been found that a large number of diseases suffered by modern man are caused by the uric acid deposits which can be found in the muscle fibers of meat. When this extra uric acids is introduced into the body it must then eliminate its own naturally manufactured supply, plus the extra supply taken from the meat source. For example a pound of liver contains 19 grains of uric acid, a pound of beef contains 14 grains, but the body can only eliminate 6 grains through the kidneys and liver. The uric acid which has not been eliminated becomes the seeds for gout, rheumatism, headaches, nervous diseases etc. By not eating meat you can reduce your chances of getting gout or rheumatism, two very crippling diseases, as well as a host of other ailments linked to uric acid imbalance.

Meat putrefies, or more graphically, it rots very quickly. Animal protein putrefies twice as fast as vegetable protein. Animal muscles are tender but after death they stiffen from the coagulation of the muscular tissues, the muscles toughen and they do not become tender again until they putrefy. This is the reason that meat is kept for sometime to ripen or in other words to decay. During the process of purification poisons are released these poisons are then absorbed by the human body when the meat is consumed. Some meat may also be contaminated with with the eggs or even adult parasites. Ordinary cooking will not destroy these parasites because they are able to withstand high temperatures. Several types of animal parasites can be found in the human intestine, the most common are beef, pork, and fish tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm, pin worm, and liver fluke. Certain species of parasites in their embryonic form are absorbed into the human blood stream and may travel throughout the body, sometimes lodging in the liver, lungs, brain, muscles and in the intestines.

These parasites may not produce symptoms for a very long time, so people may not be immediately aware that they have them. Some of the symptoms that will show up only later are, irregular evaluation of the bowels, itching of the rectum, abdominal pain, vomiting, severe headaches, loss of appetite.

All food was originally produced by the vegetable kingdom which absorbs and stores the suns energy. The energy which we and other carnivores are getting from eating the flesh of an animal is the balance stock of the suns energy that the animal has not used. Vegetable food is the original energy source for all animal energy. By being a vegetarian you eat from the most direct source of the suns energy not the second hand source. So by not eating meat you can prevent many debilitating diseases as well as maintain a clean, nontoxic physical system, and you will be absorbing the suns energy from its most direct source, the bountiful world of the vegetable kingdom.

If you should decide to become vegetarian please go to the (Diet Nutrition and Yoga) section of this web site for further nutritional guidance.

Love and Peace, Ava

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