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by Swami Sivananda

Meat is not at all necessary for the keeping up of health. Meat-eating is highly deleterious to health. It brings a host of ailments such as tapeworm, albuminuria and other diseases of the kidneys. After all, man wants very little on this earth. A few slices of bread and a little dhal will quite suffice to keep up his health, vigour and vitality. Killing of animals for food is a great sin. Instead of killing the egoism and the idea of "mineness", ignorant people kill innocent animals under the pretext of sacrifice to the goddess. But it is really to satisfy their tongue and palate. Horrible! Most inhuman! Ahimsa is the greatest of all virtues. Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah. Ahimsa is the first virtue that a spiritual aspirant should possess. We should have reverence for life. Lord Jesus says: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Lord Jesus and Mahavira shouted at the top of their voice: "Regard every living being as thyself and harm no one". The law of Karma is inexorable, unrelenting and immutable. The pain you inflict upon another will rebound upon you and the happiness you radiate to another will come back to you, adding to your happiness.

Dr. J. Oldfield, senior physician, Lady Margaret Hospital, writes: "Today, there is the chemical fact in the hands of all, which none can gainsay, that the products of the vegetable kingdom contain all that is necessary for the fullest sustenance of human life. Flesh is unnatural food, and therefore tends to create functional disturbances. The manner in which it is taken in modern civilisation, it is infected with such terrible diseases (readily communicable to man) as cancer, consumption, fever, intestinal worms, etc., to an enormous extent. There is little need for wonder that flesh-eating is one of the most serious causes of the diseases that carry off ninety-nine out of every hundred people that are born."

Meat-eating and alcoholism are closely allied. The craving for liquor dies a natural death when the meat diet is withdrawn. The question of birth-control becomes very difficult in the case of those who take meat diet. To them mind-control is absolutely impossible. Mark how the meat-eating tiger is ferocious, and the cow and elephant, which live on grass, are mild and peaceful! Meat has a direct evil influence in the compartments of the brain. The first step in spiritual advancement is the giving up of meat diet. The divine light will not descend if the stomach is loaded with meat diet. In large meat-eating countries cancer mortality is very high. Vegetarians keep up sound health till old age. Even in the West in the hospitals, doctors are now putting patients on a vegetable diet. They convalesce very quickly.

Pythagoras, the Grecian sage preached: "Do not kill or injure any creature." He condemned meat diet as sinful food! Just hear what he says "Beware, O mortals, of defiling your bodies with sinful food! There are cereals, there are fruits, bending their branches down by their weight, and luxurious grapes on the vines. There are sweet vegetables and herbs which the flame can render palatable and mellow. Nor are you denied milk, or honey, fragrant of the aroma of the thyma flower. The bountiful earth offers you an abundance of pure food and provides for meals obtainable without slaughter and bloodshed."

If you want to stop taking mutton, fish, etc., just see with your own eyes the pitiable, struggling condition of sheep at the time of killing. Now mercy and sympathy will arise in your heart. Then you will determine to give up meat-eating. If you fail in this attempt, change your environment and live in a vegetarian hotel where you cannot get flesh and move in that society where there is only vegetarian diet. Always think of the evils of flesh-eating and the benefits of a vegetable diet. If this also cannot give you sufficient strength to stop this habit, go to a slaughter-house and butcher's shop and personally see the disgusting rotten muscles, intestines, kidneys and other parts of the animal which emit bad smell. This will surely induce Vairagya in you and a strong disgust and hatred for meat-eating.

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