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RE:Vegetarianism and Hinduism
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 17:08:26 PST

Dear Bhagavathas,

This topic comes up often. Hinduism (Sanathana Dharma) is too broad
and deep to have such narrow concepts. It is fairly clear that meat was 
consumed by Hindus from times immemorial. Life supports life. Ahimsa is the 
principle of causing least injury (in thoughts, words and deeds). Adolf 
Hitler was a vegetarian! Bhagavadgita discusses fairly elaborately on 
different kind of foods.
Only people who cook for themselves verily eat sin!  Gita also talks about 
Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic foods. Interestingly, there is no mention or 
emphasis on
avoiding meat. It is people who read into it and label meat as Tamasic food.
Does it mean that many of our great Reshis and avataras (Rama for example)
were Tamasic?
Avoidance of meat may have been stressed in Bhagavatham and other Hindu 
scriptures, but certainly not in Bhagavadgita. We say what other shaastram is 
needed besides Bhgavadgita- as stated, Gita does not forbid meat and  then 
why fuss about meat?
I believe, it is mostly cultural. Brahmins (other than Bengali and Kashmiri) 
and few other sub-castes (Veerashaivas and some Chettiars) follow 
vegetarianism, by and large. Likewise, most Christians in the West do not eat 
dog or horse for that matter, eventhough it is not forbidden in their 
religion. I am told dog is consumed in Nagaland and in  parts of China.  When 
people here asksme why many Hindus do not eat  cow (or other met), I tell 
them it is mostly cultural, just like Americans generally  don't eat dog! If 
they ask me whether I am a vegetarian, I tell them that I am a TASTARIAN!
Food has to taste good- that matters most. Try eating stale Bisibele bath 
(100% vegetarian).
 If we can think of one religion that STRICTLY FORBIDS meat is Jainism.


K. Sreekrishna Tatachar

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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