Why Vegetarian?

 

Given below are the answers to the arguments put forward, by non. vegetarians to justify meat-eating.

Question : Nature enjoins a struggle for survival. One living being preys upon another to feed upon it. So what is wrong about man feeding animals?

Answer : The struggle for survival is indeed a fact of nature but does not mean to kill and eat others. Rather it means to fight for the defence of our own life and that of others. No doubt, some wild animals and animals of lower-orders live on the flesh of others, but animals of higher orders, as the cow, horse and elephant etc. live only on grass or other plants. Many animals having shape and size similar to that of man like Apes & Chimpanzes survive only on fruits. Many animals help and defend the weaker individuals of their species. Then why not compare man with nobler animals, like cow, ox, horse and elephant etc. rather than with barbaric animals? One wrong cannot justify another wrong.

According to Bio-chemistry, the body structure of man is different from meat eating animals which goes on to prove that nature has not evolved body of man as flesh eaters. Nature has also bestowed man with materials and has given him the ability to produce food through the vocation of agriculture. It is definitely going to be condemned if the master of so many abilities and owner of a rich culture leads a barbaric life and acts against the whims of nature.

Question : If man is a vegetarian, why he has dog like sharp teeth in his mouth?

Answer : The so called sharp teeth in man's mouth are not like the teeth of dog but are like the teeth of apes and monkeys who are vegetarians. Meat-eating has no relevance to these teeth.

Question : If animals are not eaten, will they not over-crowd the earth?

Answer : It is a false notion. The number of animals always remain within a reasonable limit due to hunger, diseases and other natural factor Wild animals generally confine themselves to forests. Their balance population is maintained by what is called the food chain. Man himself causes an artificial population boom among the animals he wants to eat. If men were to cease rearing such animals, their numbers would remain at reasonable level.

Question : Will only my renouncing of flesh-food will stop violence to animals?

Answer: No, not totally but it will definitely decrease violence to animals to some extent. A further step will definitely be tread in the direction of achieving the goal. In the beginning only one person takes the initiative for every cause, others follow him. Your example will encourage others who come in your contact. Then with those examples many others coming in their contact will renounce flesh food, and so on it will go on multiplying. Thus only your renouncing of flesh-food means renouncing by several other persons too in the long run.

Question : If there is nothing wrong in killing snakes, lions, wolves etc. why is it bad to eat meat? Answer : Live and let live is the best dictum to follow. To defend oneself against an attack is justifiable. In self-defence, even the killing of a man is considered just, because the motivation is preservation of life, (self defence) not destruction of life. But to kill any animal for fun or for satisfaction of your taste buds is a sin and it is prohibited in every religion. In law also, killing anyone deliberately is considered a crime, if however a person is killed in self-defence, the crime is mitigated.

Question : Even when man treads the earth, many ants and insects are trodden under foot. So, what is different if other animals are killed?

Answer : A man's character is judged by his intentions and deliberate actions. If a man deliberately and knowingly crushes under his feet any harmless animal, then it is violence. But if involuntarily or in unaovoidable circumstances, some insects are killed, then it is an exceptional situation. But to kill others without any specific reason or to abet killing for food is plain murder.

Question : Botanical science tells us that plants also-have life. Then where lies the difference between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food?

Answer : There are two kinds of life on earth, animate and inanimate. Men, beasts, birds, fish etc. are animate life while trees and other plants are inanimate life. Fruits ripen on the trees and then fall of by themselves, branches and leaves may be lopped off a tree and now one arise in their place. Many plants are propagated by their cuttings. Others can be transplanted. But all this is not possible with birds and animafs. No limb of an animal can grow by itself after cutting. Man cannot produce animals like plants from earth.

All the living beings are made up of five elements - the earth, water, fire, air and sky. All these five are present in man clearly and predominantly. Only four elements - earth, water, fire and air are predominant in animals, while in birds only three air, water and fire are predominant. Two elements - earth and fire - make up the insects and only one water is predominant in fruits, leaves and vegetables etc. The rest four elements are in sleeping state in vegetables and plants. Therefore, eating vegetable foods consumes the minimum of factors. Saints and Sages do not pluck fruits from the trees, but they eat only those fruits which have fallen by themselves on ripening. Minimum damage to life is the basic criterion. There is no harm in obtaining fruits from trees but harm lies in their cutting. It It is better to carry ten kilograms load of sin by eating vegetarian food instead of carrying thousands of tonnes of load of sin by meat eating.

Question : Does not meat give more strength?

Answer : Pulses, soyabean, dryfruits and nuts etc. contain more protein than do eggs or meat. Much more than our body's requirement of protein can easily be had from vegetarian food. Besides, vegetarian food contains the vitamins, minerals, etc. which are very essential for health and development of the body. These items are completely missing in non vegetarian food.

Meat-eating gives the body not strength but a kind of unhealthy stimulation. The body receives an excess of nitrogen which creates uric acid and other harmful compounds in the blood stream. Just to expel these compounds from the body, a lot of energy is needed which the body's defence mechanism pumps up in a hurry to meet the emergency. This is mistaken as an input of energy, although in fact it is a depletion of the body's reservoirs of energy.

Question : Are not the meat-eating races of Europe, more civilised, learned and powerful?

Answer : Their civilization, power or learning is not a gift of non- vegetarian food. Rather, it is a resultant of their other qualities, such as discipline, application, co-operative working and extracting power from the forces of nature. As regards meat, many jungle tribes also eat meat but they are backward because they lack the other qualities. Europe itself is witnessing an energetic movement against meat-eating and in favour of vegetarianism. Hence, it is wrong to ascribe the power of European races to the practice of eating meat.

Question : What should one do if a doctor prescribes flesh-foods?

Answer : Nature has created so many vegetarian substances which can easily compensate the benefits of meat-eating and can serve the same purpose much better. Only protein and fats are abundant in non-vegetarian food and these can be obtained from pulses, nuts, milk and butter etc. So it is not essential to obtain them from meat only. In this context, the incidents relating to Mahatma Gandhi's son and to George Bernard Shaw are clear examples of doctors insisting that life would not be saved without non- vegetarian food but these people refused to consume meat and yet survived. Hence it is neither proper nor necessary to follow the advice of meat-eating by the doctors. It is better to select appropriate vegetarian foods in its place.

 

-----------------------------------------------------

Mail to : Ahimsa Foundation
www.jainsamaj.org
R9111