By Dada Dharmavedananda

A rich man is sleeping in his house. Suddenly he is awakened by the burglar alarm.

“Ach! These stupid systems never work properly!” he exclaims, rubbing his eyes and struggling to stand up. He goes downstairs and, still cursing the system, turns off the alarm. Going back to his bedroom he quickly falls asleep again.

The burglars can’t believe their good luck, as they take their time to carefully find and steal every available expensive item in the house.

The health situation of most people in the meat-eating nations of the world is analogous to that rich man’s condition. Usually when people experience uncomfortable symptoms and sickness, they turn to doctors and medicines to turn off the symptoms so that they can again be comfortable. Just like the rich man who believes he is safe falls back asleep, so most people, under the illusion of recovered health go back to eating the wrong food, and resume other bad habits. Meanwhile, the cause of the suppressed symptoms remains and gets worse. Over time the person becomes more and more sick.

The physical cause of more than 90% of human sickness is the same: too many toxins in the body. Most of these toxins are located in the stomach, intestinal system, organs and circulation system. As an example let’s look at the common cold. Here the symptoms are a running nose, fever, sore throat, sneezing, and so on. The use of medicine turns off these “problems”. Unfortunately they are alarms, not problems. They are also the means for the body to rid itself of the real problem — excess toxins. The increased flow of mucous provides a channel for toxins to flow out. The fever causes sweat, which is also a medium for elimination. At the same time the message of the sore throat and the sneezing is: “Stop eating! Drink more and more!” Because they go on eating even though they are not hungry, most people who catch colds are compelled to continue suffering for many days or even weeks at a stretch. If they were simply to fast on water or lemon water (with a little salt, not sugar), the cold almost always fulfills its purpose and stops within one or two days.

In this case, what is the reason for the effectiveness of fasting? To answer this question we should understand a most fundamental principle of our digestion system. The digestive system has two functions: 1) abstract energy from the food and immediately pass the waste matter out of the body and 2) clean itself of old static waste matter that has clung to the walls of the intestines and other organs for days, years, or even decades. The first function is well known to everyone. The second function is also known, but essentially ignored, by most conventional doctors. They especially neglect the fact that when the digestive system becomes clean, the body next directs its cleaning efforts at any other organs or systems which contain toxins.

The two functions of the digestion system are basically non-simultaneous. That is, whenever the body is busy in digesting newly consumed food, then no energy remains for deep cleaning activity. It is only when the stomach and intestines are more or less empty of fresh food, then those organs will automatically start cleaning themselves. The toxins causing the cold are rapidly eliminated, the symptoms stop, and the person can resume eating. Hopefully s/he is wiser due to having been sick, and is more careful to avoid over-toxifying the body.

From which foods does toxification more likely occur? Here the principle is easy to understand: food which is more difficult to digest is more likely to not be fully digested. When any food enters one’s mouth, digestive juices start secreting in the mouth, esophogaus, and stomach. When the food reaches the stomach, the digestive acids try to quickly break it down into small particles. Easy-to-digest food requires less acid secretion, difficult-to-digest food requires more acid. The process continues as the food solids and liquids are worked upon by the liver, the kidneys, the small intestine, the large intestine and other organs. Acids, fats and other toxic substances also pass into the blood stream, polluting the circulation system and adhering to the walls of the arteries and other blood-carrying channels. Thus, the difficult-to-digest foods are called acid-forming, while easy-to-digest foods are classified as alkaline. In the case of some extremely alkaline foods, such as juicy fruits, they contribute their own fruit acids which may help in the digestion of other foods. There are a few foods, like sugar, tea and onion which are not difficult to digest but are classified as acidic because they contain elements which greatly disturb the equilibrium of the body. These elements are mildy poisonous.

Here is a list of foods categorized from most alkaline to most acid-forming. (As one reads down the list, each succeeding item is somewhat more acid-forming.):
1)Lemon water
2)Herb tea
3)Honey (a little)
4)Citric fruit juice
5)Other fruit juices
6)Vegetable juice
7)Citric fruits
8)Juicy fruits
9)Other fruits (except banana)
10)Non-starchy vegetables *
(up to here all items are relevant for “graduated fasting”)

13)Starchy vegetables and banana *
14)Fresh tofu
16)Raw sugar
17)Whole grains
19)Refined grains
20)Refined sugar
21)Tea, coffee
22)Fried foods

23)Milk varies according to personal situation **

Avoid extremely acidic food: 24)mushrooms, 25)onion, 26)garlic, 27)fish, 28)meat, 29)eggs

* Non-starchy vegetables may also be considered as salad-vegetables, i.e. they may be eaten raw. Starchy vegetables, like potato, are difficult to eat raw. Banana is much more starchy then most other fruits (unless it is extremely ripe, in which case its classification become more alkaline).
** Depending on the condition of one’s liver, and also on the functioning of milk-digestion enzymes, people differ in their capacity to digest milk and milk products. For some people milk is a medicine, e.g. certain patients of ulcer. For many, milk causes gas formation, and may thus be recognized as being highly acid-forming. Non-homogenised milk is much easier to digest than homogenised milk because when fats are forcibly mixed with the rest of the milk such that separation does not occur, such globules of “whole milk” become strenuous for the liver.

Items numbered from 1 to 11 generally have a cleansing effect on the body. If a person thus restricts his diet for any length of time to those initial items, the body will undergo a gradual or radical cleansing process. The higher up on the list the restriction is made, so the faster the cleansing will occur. In this regard, the most extreme method of cleaning the body is to neither eat nor drink anything, not even water. But such a method, though appropriate for some people for a short time, is dangerous for most people.

In any case we may thus clearly understand that if an individual uses simple natural means to keep the body relatively clean from toxins, and if there is a regular intake of a reasonable amount of nutrition (not too much and not too little), then there is the greatest possibility that such a person will maintain a high degree of health.

Of course many factors enter into “keeping the body relatively clean from toxins”. It is not only a matter of food and fasting. These factors include exercise, bathing, sleep, mental activity, purity of air and water, presence or absence of chemicals in the food, hormonal inbalances of the glands, and inborn genetic peculiarities. But of all these, food and fasting remain the foremost important for most people.

Thus we come to the main statement of this article: a vegetarian diet is better than a non-vegetarian diet for our all-round health. For the moment we are looking only at the physical aspect, and later will deal with the psychic and spiritual aspects. Vegetarianism is preferable for the bodily health because it consists of items which are easier to digest and thus much more alkaline than fish, meat and eggs.

The human body system has exactly the same food-eating and digesting characteristics as other vegetarian mammals (like cows, monkeys, deer and elephants), and totally different from the meat-eating mammals (like tigers, lions, wolves, dogs and cats). These characteristics include:

1) Vegetarian mammals including man have flat rear molar teeth for grinding their food. Meat-eaters do not have flat molars, and instead have sharp front teeth for tearing food.

2) Vegetarian mammals have an intestinal tract 10 to 12 times their body length. The intestines of meat-eaters is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass out quickly.

3) The stomach acid of vegetarians is 20 times less strong than that of meat-eaters.

4) Vegetarians have no claws, whereas meat-eaters have claws to catch and kill their prey.

5) Vegetarians perspire through their skin. Meat-eaters have no skin pores, and instead perspire through their tongues.

6) Vegetarian mammals require high-fiber diets (available in fruits, vegetables and whole grains) or else they eventually become constipated. Meat-eating mammals remain perfectly healthy even when their diets include very little fiber. Constipation is usually the first cause of digestion-related diseases in humans.

7) Meat-eaters can easily digest foods containing a high quantity of cholestorol and saturated fat. Vegetarians have a very limited capacity to deal with these same elements. For example laboratory experiements show that if dogs are gradually given more and more butter fat, even 250 grams every day, they show no increase in their serum cholesterol level. On the other hand, if vegetarian mammals eat much fat a great strain is first placed on the liver, fatty deposits develop on the inner walls of the arteries, and gradually the heart weakens through over-work, causing heart attacks and blood clots.

It is clear that human beings are bound to face difficulties in the digestion of meat, fish and eggs. Furthermore, humans who regularly eat such heavy foods gradually experience weakening of their digestive systems such that they are unable to rapidly eliminate waste matter, and thus their bodies get less and less time to perform self-cleaning.

Regarding heart disease, the cause of more than half of the deaths in the USA, the American Medical Association states that more than 90% of all heart disease could be prevented by vegetarian diet.

The editor-in-chief of the prestigious “American Journal of Cardiology” and a foremost expert on heart disease, DrWilliam Roberts, wrote: “When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh was never intended for human beings, who are naturally herbivores.”

Now let’s look at a few myths concerning protein, calcium, and the benefit of eating eggs.

One of the commonest fears regarding vegetarianism is often expressed through the question: “What about protein? Is it not some times difficult to get sufficient protein through a vegetarian diet?” The answer is a resounding No! It is VERY easy to get enough protein. There is a great myth surrounding protein. Our bodies in fact need such a small amount of protein that it is very difficult not to get enough. This truth has only recently been scientifically exposed, but it is now well known among many nutritionists,
especially in the USA. The facts are:

Human mother’s milk contains only 5 percent of its calories as protein. Little babies are growing the fastest they will ever grow in their lives, and their protein needs are maximum. On the other hand, the average American consumes more than 20 percent of his or her calories in the form of protein. It is much more than needed, and indeed is unhealthy.

One of the most famous nutritionists, Nathan Pritikin, wrote: “Vegetarians always ask about getting enough protein. But I don’t know any nutrition expert who can plan a diet of natural foods resulting in a protein deficiency, so long as you are not deficient in calories. You need only 5 or 6 percent of total calories in protein, and it is practically impossible to get below 9 percent in ordinary diets.” He goes on to explain that on a mixed vegetable diet, to avoid protein, one would have to resort to high levels of sugar, jams, jellies, and other essentially protein-free foods.

Some also fear about an adequate balance of amino acids. The “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” compared the intake of amino acids in the diets of meat eaters, vegetarians who eat dairy products, and vegetarians who do not even eat dairy foods, and they concluded: “Each group exceeded twice its requirement for every amino acid, and surpassed this amount by large amounts for most of them.”

Another famous dietician, Frances Moore Lappe, aouthor of “Diet for a Small Planet”, which sold over 3 million copies, wrote: “If people are getting enough calories, they are virtually certain of getting enough protein.”

For a bit more mathematics on this subject, one can note that even if we ate nothing but wheat (16 percent protein), oatmeal (15 percent), or even pumpkin (12 percent) or potato (11 percent), we would still be getting protein far excessive to our needs.

The famous muscle building actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book on bodybuilding wrote: “Kids nowadays tend to go overboard on protein, something I believe to be totally unnecessary.” This explains why Dave Scott could win the global competition Ironman triathalon six times on a vegetarian diet, and why Sixto Lenares, who holds the world record for the twenty-four-hous triathalon, can swim 4.8 miles, cycle 185 miles, and run 52.4 miles in a single day as a vegetarian without even dairy products.

The reader may be interested in my own experience of low-protein diets. Not only have I been a strict vegetarian for the last 40 years of my life, but numerous times for months at a stretch I have also eliminated from my diet milk products, grains, beans and starchy vegetables. During those periods, which continued for as long as 9 months at a time, I ate only fruit and salad. Without any major source of protein I felt stronger and better than during any other times of my life. Indeed I would maintain such a diet always, except that I prefer to be able to eat together with other people. Also, this sort of diet is awkward or even impossible in very poor societies where the climate is cold, such as in Mongolia and Russia (where I am presently working). Thus, only due to circumstances, not due to physical need, I eat a diet containing some high protein foods. Still, I prefer that my meals predominantly consist of fruits and salad-type vegetables.

What to speak of not needing much protein, we should also be aware that too much protein is the cause of numerous diseases. In the USA 25 percent of sixty-five-year-old women are suffering from osteoporosis, which means they have lost 50 to 75 percent of their original bone material. This gives them constant back pain, susceptibility to frequent fractures, and frequently causes them to be stooped over. Today more American women die from the effects of osteoporosis than form cancer of the breast and cervix combined. Most people still think that insufficient calcium in the diet is the cause of weak bones. This is simply a myth which has been spread by the dairy industry. Calcium IS related, but the direct cause of calcium loss comes from eating too much protein. Hundreds of research studies declare this fact, and all agree that: 1) Low-protein diets create a positive calcium balance, meaning bones are not losing calcium and 2) High-protein diets create a negative calcium balance, meaning osteoporosis is developing. These studies have been presented in renown magazines including “The British Medical Journal” and the “Journal of the American Medical Association”.

American nutritional authority, John McDougall, went even further in the fight against excessive protein by reporting: “An important fact to remember is that all natural diets, including purely vegetarian diets without a hint of dairy products, contain amounts of calcium that are above the threshold for meeting your nutritional needs. In fact, calcium eficiency caused by an insufficient amount of calcium in the diet is not known to occur in humans.” He explained that calcium deficiency is only caused by excessive protein causing the calcium to be washed out of our bodies through our urine.

Many people (even some doctors) still believe eggs to be a source of good health. Yet as far back as 1971, the American Heart Association declared that dietary cholesterol is a main cause of heart disease, and stated that the egg is the most concentrated source of cholesterol in the human diet. Absurdly, the National Commission on Egg Nutrition tried to counter this knowledge by placing a series of expensive ads in the “Wall Street Journal”. A typical ad stated: “There is absolutely no scientific evidence that eating eggs, even in quantity, will increase the risk of a heart attack.” The Federal Trade Commission was forced to file a formal court complaint against the egg Commission. After a lengthy court battle, Judge Ernest Barnes, in his 101-page decision, called the statements made by the National Commission on Egg Nutrition “false, misleading, deceptive and unfair.” He went on to write, “There exists a substantial body of competent and reliable scientific evidence that eating eggs increases the risk of heart attacks or heart disease. This evidence is systematic, consistent, strong and congruent.”

It is interesting to note how much the egg industry has been for so long fighting against the scientists. It is just these sorts of propaganda efforts which confuse the public, and make them believe that the protein of meat, fish and eggs is vital for good health. So, a couple more examples follow. In 1977 when the American Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, under the chairmanship of Senator Geroge McGovern, was working to establish guidelines for the nation’s food choices, the egg industry presented five different research studies claiming the value of eggs. McGovern was confused by the reports, and asked the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to assess their validity. The Institute’s impartial appraisal was that the studies were “seriously flawed, meaningless, and should be discarded.”

“Time Magazine” denounced the American Egg Board for the most deceitful advertising in 1991. In Time’s article, they said, “An ad aimed at children boasts that ‘eggs have as much protein as hot dogs.’ So what? An egg also has nine times as much cholesterol as a hot dog. And nutrition experts say most American children get much more protein than they need.” The Egg Board’s ads claimed that “there are twenty-five vitamins and minerals in just one egg,” when in fact an egg is a source of only two vitamins, one of which, iodine, we already get too much of. Why not openly declare the main element of which eggs are actually an excellent source: artery-clogging cholesterol?

Of course if vegetarians eat a high proportion of foods from the lower part of the alkaline to acid chart, then they also have a higher chance of becoming diseased. For example if much of their diets consist of white bread, white rice, sweets, tea and deep fried foods (even fried vegetables), then they may also suffer from digestion problems. On the other hand, if a vegetarian eats only when hungry, fasts occasionally, drinks water frequently, and his or her diet consists primarily of the items in the first half of the chart, then it generally becomes an easy matter to maintain good physical health.

Now let us turn to the relation of diet with one’s mental and spiritual health. First a few obvious points may be made:

1) Toxic build-up does not only affect intestines, arteries, kidneys, liver and other organs — it also is bound to affect the nervous system, which is directly related to the functions of the brain. Therefore toxicity is bound to hinder the individual’s capacity to react appropriately to all sorts of external and internal stimuli. Toxicity also must dull one’s efforts to concentrate and to contemplate.

2) Many people believe that the only exhaustion a person may experience is physical body-tiredness. Usually, however, when an individual becomes depressed or confused, by resting or sleeping he or she again feels mentally rejuvenated and clear. Due to physical struggle our bodies develop, and due to mental struggle our minds develop. When that struggle becomes excessive in quantity or duration, then the mind begins desiring to enter into the non-conscious condition during which it rests and gets energy by merging in the unconscious-mind. Poor physical health exhausts the body, destroys the effectiveness of our resting periods, and thus certainly creates an environment in which it is difficult for the mind to rest, in which case the mind’s development becomes stunted.

3) Usually yogis are explain to their students that the physical and mental exercises of yoga and meditation are closely related with glandular hormonal secretions, i.e. to increasing, decreasing or balancing the activities of the glands. They therefore encourage students to be vegetarian so that they may better control their glands, and thus better control their minds. Over thousands of years of experimentation yogis found that different foods differently affect the glands, and have categorized them accordingly. (A categorized list follows later.)

4) The same yogis teach that lighter food is easier for digestion, and thus is generally better for meditation or for any other brain work.

5) One’s ability to concentrate or meditate depends to a large extent on the mental strength derived from following one’s conscience. The evils of meat-eating include environmental destruction, harm to one’s own body, the immorality of unnecessarily killing innocent conscious animals, and helping to maintain a global economic disbalance due to the rich nations over-consumption of the expensive foods: meat, fish and eggs.

The conclusion of the yogis regarding the effect of foods on the mind and body is contained in the following well-known list:

SENTIENT FOODS (good for both body and mind): fruit, most vegetables, grains, beans, milk products, nuts, apple vinegar, honey, sugar (in small quantity)

MUTATIVE FOODS (if taken in small quantity neither harmful nor helpful): coffee, tea, caffeinated drinks (like colas), brown chocolate, kelp, brewer’s yeast, hot spices

STATIC FOODS (bad for body or mind or both): meat, fish, eggs, onion, garlic, mushroom, mustard greens, alchohol, tobacco, narcotics and many drugs

The yogis explain that the static foods which are harmful to the mind cause disturbance to the three lowest psycho-spiritual energy centers, called “chakras”. The main chakras are usually categorized as being seven in number, and are related to physical glands. The hormonal secretion of each of the glands affects various human emotions and instincts which are either beneficial or harmful to mental balance and development. The relationship is as follows (the list of emotions is only partial to avoid complication):

1st and 2nd chakras (respectively near the bottom of the backbone and 6 finger widths above that): the gonads, i.e. ovaries and testes. Imbalanced secretion of the gonads causes increased tendency for cruelty, dogmatic-mindedness, hopelessness and sexual craving.

3rd chakra (on the level of the navel): adrenal glands. Related emotions are fear, jealousy, shame greed and hatred.

4th chakra (on the level of the heart): thymus gland affects hope, deep thinking or anxiety, love or infatuation, argumentativeness, repentance

5th chakra (on the level of the throat): thyroid gland affects irrationality, nervousness, paranoia, repulsion or attraction, capacity to easily gain worldly knowledge, service mentality, spiritual tendency.

6th chakra (reflected between the eyebrows): pituitary gland affects spiritual knowledge and almost all the mind’s tendencies by controling all the lower glands.

7th chakra (at the top of the head): pineal gland secretes melatonin which causes the mind to become internalized inducing meditation. The lack of melatonin causes externalization of the mind’s attention.

When the static foods heat up the three lowest chakras the mind’s balance and concentration is directly disturbed. As a result, both mental and spiritual progress are sharply hindered.

The yogis teach that renunciate monks and nuns should eat only sentient foods. Family people should likewise prefer sentient food, but they may consume small amounts of mutative food if they so wish. Everyone should strictly avoid static foods except when compulsorily required for medicinal purpose or in conditions where starvation would otherwise result.

Considering that onion and garlic are generally praised as body cleaners, one may wonder why they are categorized as static. These two foods are affective as cleaners because they are mildly poisonous to the body. When the body tries to quickly reject them, usually other negative elements may be simultaneously expelled. This is not a good method because it causes a large amount of internal heat to be created in the area of the lower glands. It is far better, rather it is positively helpful, to use lemon water or apple cider vinegar in small quantity mixed with water to clean the body. These two sentient cleaners increase alkalinity and help the over-active glands to cool down.

Very little has so far been done in physical laboratories to examine these yogic teachings. On the other hand, as previously mentioned, for thousands of years the relationship of food with mental and spiritual development has been the matter of experimentation by countless individuals working with their own bodies and minds. We may hope that such objective examination is done in the near future. It will be a great service to humanity to clarify these fundamental principles. In the meantime, however, any individual may try for himself or herself, and see the results within a matter of a few weeks.

As such information cannot be objectively justified, we may refer to the large number of famous persons who personally analyzed the relation of food with the body and mind and decided to be vegetarian. The list of such famous people who have publicized their preference for vegetarianism is long indeed. The fact that such highly developed personalities were vegetarian is in itself a statement of the intimate relationship between a subtle diet and a subtle mind. To finish this article I quote a few of these famous people.

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s foremost leaders in physical science, ethics, social movement and many other fields, became a vegetarian when he was 16 years old. From his diet Franklin understood “greater progress, from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension.” He called flesh-eating “unprovoked murder.”

The French philospher Jean Jacques Rousseau said that as meat-eating animals are by nature much more violent than herbivores, so the vegetarian diet generally produces more compassionate people. He even suggested that butchers not be allowed to testify in court or sit on juries.

Because the great Greek mathematician Pythagoras was a vegetarian, so the vegetarian diet is sometimes called the Pythagorean system. He said, “The earth affords a lavish supply of riches, of innocent foods, and offers you banquets that involve no bloodshed or slaughter; only beats satisfy their hunger with flesh.” Pythagoras was known to even pay fishermen to throw their catch back into the ocean.

In several essays attacking meat-eating, the Roman author Plutarch spoke of the horrors of killing animals for their meat — the barbarism of slitting their throats, cutting off their skins, tearing their limbs apart, and enduring the repulsive stench just for the sake of consuming polluted vile flesh. He challenged those who said it was natural to eat meat in this way: “If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax.”

The essence of a strong mind is to follow one’s conscience, or in other words to be consistent with one’s beliefs. The poet Shelley pointed out that a meat-eater cannot have a strong mind because he is not consistent with his deeper feelings. He said, “Let the advocate of animal food force himself to a decisive experiment on its fitness, and as Plutarch recommends, tear a living lamb with his teeth and, plunging his head into its vitals, slake his thirst with the steaming blood….then, and then only, would he be consistent.”

One of the world’s greatest physicists, Albert Einstein, said, “The vegetarian manner of living, by it’s purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”

The great Renaissance painter, inventor, sculputor and poet Leonardo da Vinci wrote about meat-eaters, “He who does not value life does not deserve it.” He said that the bodies of meat-eaters are nothing other than “burial places”, graveyards for the animals they eat.

Even Adam Smith, the propounder of free-market capitalism, was a vegetarian. He said, “Grain and other vegetables, with the help of milk, cheese, and butter, or oil, where butter is not to be had, afford the most plentiful, the most wholesome, the most nourishing, and the most invigorating diet.”

The Russian author Leo Tolstoy said that by killing animals is “simply immoral,” and that by doing so “man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity — that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures lilkle himself — and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel.”

Mahatma Gandhi, perhaps the most famous Indian social leader, wrote five books on vegetarianism. He said, “It is necessary to correct the error that vegetarianism has made us weak in mind, or passive or inert in action. I do not regard flesh-food as necessary at any stage.”

Most Christians believe that their meat-eating is proper because they think that Jesus ate meat. Here we are faced with a trick of translation just to befool people, causing widespread misunderstanding for these 2000 years. Nowhere in the original Greek manuscripts of the Bible is there any reference to Jesus eating meat or encouraging others to eat meat. The words that have been translated as “meat” are such Greek words as “trophe, brome, and phago,” which simply mean “food” or “eating”. The Greek word for “meat or flesh” is “kreas”, which is never used in relation to Christ. Understanding this point, many of the early Christian saints were vegetarian, including St Jerome, St John Chrysostom and St Benedict. Also many early Christian fathers like Clement of Alexandria ate no meat.

Today many Buddhists including even monks and nuns are eating non-vegetarian diets. This is the height of irony when one considers that one of the main thrusts behind the first spread of Buddhism was as reaction to the widely accepted practice of animal slaughter. By and large Buddha stopped this evil by preaching the doctrine of nonviolence.

Nobel-prize-winning Jewish author Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote, “We are all God’s creatures — that we pray to God for mercy and justice while we continue to eat the flesh of animals that are slaughtered on our account is not consistent.” He added, “Even if eating flesh was actually shown to be good for you, I would certainly still not eat it. Various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their disciples and followers that animals are nothing more than machines without a soul, without feelings. However, anyone who has ever lived with an animal — be it a dog, a bird, or even a mouse — knows that this theory is a brazen lie, invented to justify cruelty.”

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who became a vegetarian at an early age, even though many doctors warned him that the diet would finally kill him. When he was an old man, he was asked why he did not go back and show them what good it had done him. He replied, “I would, but they all passed away years ago.” Once someone asked him how it was that he looked so youthful. “I don’t,” Shaw answered. “I look my age. It is the other people who look older than they are. What can you expect from people who eat corpses?” On the relationship between flesh-eating and violence, Shaw wrote:

We pray on Sundays that we may have light
To guide our footsteps on the path we tread;
We are sick of war, we don’t want to fight,
And yet we gorge ourselves upon the dead.

H.G. Wells wrote about vegetarianism becoming the only way of life in his vision of a future world in “A Modern Utopia”. He wrote, “I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse.”

Though the realization of Wells’ vision still looks far away, in one way any meat-eater can bring about the end of the slaughterhouse today itself. Because today every house in which flesh is eaten is just like a mini-slaughterhouse. All the humane loving creatures, be they animals, plants or humans pray that a change will come in the meat-eating humans. They pray that those meat-eaters, who’s digestive systems squirm with the extreme unnaturalness of their barbaric habit, will embrace the lifestyle based on fruits, vegetables and other natural elements. And each time even one barbaric human opts for becoming civilized and shutting down his or her own personal slaughterhouse — the world rejoices.

About the author
Dada Dharmavedananda is a yogi and naturopathic doctor. He is the founder of the Ananda Marga Yoga Wellness Center, an in-patient natural treatment center in Cebu, Philippines.