Various Religions Ban Flesh-Foods
Scriptures of all religions all over the world, have taught us to see a reflection of the Heavenly Father in every living being and have considered non-violence as the best religion. Most religions have detailed the harm done by eating meat and called it an enemy of the longevity and a cause of degradation. But all the religions have prohibited the killing of any harmless and innocent living being. Some people who consider the satisfaction of their appetites the prime objective of their lives try to show, in pursuance of their self-interest, that their religion does not prohibit meat-eating, but that is untrue.
Hinduism : All Hindu Scriptures unanimously consider every living being a part of God and lay the utmost stress on ahinsa, compassion, love, forgiveness and such other virtues. Meat eating has been described as totally abjurable, sinful and leading to the decline of the soul. In the, "Anushasana Parva" of the Mahabharat, Bhishma Pitamaha has described as the sinners all those who eat meat, those who trade in meat and those who kill animals for their flesh. He said that any one who desires to increase his own meat by consuming meat of others will never be able to live in peace wherever he might be born. Those who eat the flesh of other living beings will themselves be eaten by the latter in a subsequent reincarnation. Any living being that is slain proclaims:
"Mas Bhakshyate yasmad Bhakshishya Tampapyaham"
i.e. "Today, he consumes me, some day I will eat him."
The Srimada Bhagawat Gita lays down that there are three categories of food :
Satvik Food such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, nuts, milk, butter etc. which promote longevity, intellect and strength while granting pleasure, peace of mind, compassion, non-violence and equanimity, and saving the body, heart and mind from all impurities.
Rajasik food includes very hot, sour, bitter, spicy and dry substances. This kind of food creates perverted feelings, sorrow, disease and tensions.
Tamsik food such as stale, juiceless, half-cooked, evil smelling, rotting, impure, intoxicating materials and meat, etc., which lead man to evil deeds, cloud their intellect, nive rise to disease, laziness and other evil qualities.
According to the doctrine of rebirths set out in the scriptures, one attains to the human form only after undergoing eighty four lakh births in other forms. This leads us to believe that all living beings are related to us in any of the earlier births. Thus by consuming meat of a living being, we are consuming meat of any one of our relatives.
The Atharva Veda (8.6.23) prohibits meat-eating and foeticide in these words :
"Ye Ammam Mas Madanti Paurusheyam che ye Kavi Gaurhan Khadanti Keshwastanto Nashyaamasi."
i.e., whoever eats raw or cooked flesh, and whoever destroys a foetus shall be destroyed by us from here.
In Satyartha Prakash, Maharishi Dayananda has said that meat eating makes a person's temperament violence prone. Those who eat meat and consume liquor, their bodies and semen also get contaminated.
Islam: All Sufi saints of Islam have laid great stress on leading a noble life, a life of renunciation and compassion, eating simple food and abjuring meat. They themselves avoided meat eating. Sheikh Ismail, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia, Bu Ali Oalandas, Shah lnayat, Mir Dad, Shah Abdul Karim etc., were Sufi Saints whose path was pious living, self-restraint, love and affection for all and vegetarian food. They said "Ta Bayabin Dar Bahishte Aden Ja, Shafkate Banumaye Ba Khalke Khuda' i.e. if you want to live in heaven for all times to come, then behave in a spirit of compassion and sympathy with the entire creation of God. The Iranian philosopher Al Ghazali has stated that besides pieces of bread whatever we eat is simply to satisfy our urges.
The famous saint, Mir Dad, said that anyone who eats the flesh of any living being shall have to repay it with his own flesh. He who breaks another living being's bone shall have his own bones smashed. Every drop shed of another's blood, will have to be accounted for by one's own. Because that is the eternal law.
The great Saint Sarmad condemned meat - eating by saying that the light of life is asleep in metals, dreaming in plants, awake in animals and completely alert in human beings. Kabir, addressing Muslims, makes it clear that even fasting (Roza) is in vain if its practitioner lets his tongue dictate the killing of living beings for the sake of its taste. Allah will not be pleased this way. The Imam of London mosque, Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri, in his book "Islamic concern for Animals", has expressed sorrow about the excesses against animals in the name of religion. Quoting from the holy Quran Majeed and the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he described all acts of torturing of animals, and even keeping birds in cages as sin. According to him even cutting of trees is prohibited in Islam. On page 18 of his book the Imam Saheb has repeated the saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as under :
"There is no one who kills (Even) a sparrow or anything smaller, without its deserving it, but God will question him about it."
"He who takes pity (Even) on a sparrow and spares its life. Allah will be merciful on him on the day of Judgement."
The lmam Masri is himself a vegetarian and advises everyone to vegetarianism.
Christianity: Lord Jesus Christ obtained spiritual awakening from John the Baptist, who was a strict opponent of meat eating. The two main principles of the teachings of Jesus Christ are: Thou shall not kill and Love thy neighbour. The views of Jesus Christ in his Gospel of Peace are, "The truth is that one who kills others, is, in fact, killing himseff. Whosoever eats flesh of an animal after killing it, is actually eating his own flesh himself. The death of an animal is the death of him who kills the animal because the, revenge or punishment for this crime cannot be less than death itself." Again: Kill not the harmless animal, nor eat the flesh of your innocent prey, lest you become a slave of Satan. He further said: Vegetarian food will give you life and strength but if you eat dead food (meat) your food will kill you because life begets life and death always begets death.
Sikhism: The Gurbani, for the followers of the Guru, lays the principle of "Anna Pani Thora Khaya" meaning eat and drink less than your needs. Guru Arjan Dev has compared true lovers of God to the Swans and have named others as cranes. He said that diet of Swans consists of pearls whereas cranes feed on fish and frogs,
"Hansa Hira Moti Chugna, Bagu dada Bhalan Java"
Adi Granth Page 960
The "Prashad" served in Gurudwara is always vegetarian.Guru Nanak Dev always consumed only vegetarian food.
The Gurbani clearly prohibits violence and professes love and compassion for fellow living beings:
"Hinsa Tou Man Te Nabin Chuti Jia Daiya Nahin Pali"
Adi Granth Page 1253
Kabir Sahib's teachings of pity, non-violence and his condemnation of meat-eating have been highlighted at various pages in the Adi Granth. All Guru Sahibs have very clearly forbidden violence. And when violence is prohibited, the question of eating fish, fowl and flesh does not arise. After years of intensive research, the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee has published the orders and edicts of the Gurus in the form of a book. One of those Hukum-namas reads as follows.
Hukum-nama No. 113 Page 103
Hukum-nama Baba Banda Bahadurji
Dego Tego fatehi nusrat bedring
yaft az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh
I Oh Fateh Darsanu
"it is the order of the True Lord to the entire body of the Khalsa ....... that they shall abstain from bhang, tobacco, opium, alcohol and desist from eating meat, fish, onions, nor indulge in theft and lust."
The food in the Langar of all Sikh Gurudwaras is compulsorily vegetarian.
Jainism: Ahinsa is the most important principle of the Jain faith. The Jain scriptures list 108 forms of violence. Violence in thought and actions, indulging in violence one self or getting others to use violence or abetting violence by others, are all forbidden. Even to contemplate violence is a sin. Violence is manifested in thought, word and deed. Even the utterance of words which hurt another person is considered -as a sin. In a religion where tying up of animals, causing hurt to them, overloading them or even keeping them in cages is considered sinful, the question of eating meat just does not arise.
Buddhism: According to Buddhism's Panchsheel (which means five principles of correct- actions), the first and main principle is not to torture any living being i.e. non-violence. The fifth and final principle forbids the use of liquor and other intoxicating things. According to the 8th Kand of the Sutra of Lankavatara, in the long chain of births and rebirths every living being has at one- time or other been related to every other living being. It directs every body to treat all living beings as their own kith and kin. Even in an emergency the intake of meat is not considered justified. Only that food is advised suitable which does not contain flesh or blood or does not have life producing elements.
Thus, we see that every religion admits the presence of God in every living being. They have taught non violence and compassion and prohibited the eating of meat.