“Do you miss bacon?” is one of the first responses I get when I tell someone I’m a vegetarian. The answer is no. In fact, the thought of ever eating meat again makes me shudder. Vegetarianism is a hotly debated topic, and there will always be people that believe they “can’t” live without bacon. This article is not here to try and persuade you to become a vegetarian or to shove “meat is murder in your face”. I am merely explaining vegetarianism from a spiritual point of view.
Albert Einstein once said that “nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”. There are many scientific arguments which support a vegetarian diet. Meat eating causes cancer, obesity, heart disease and many other health issues. The meat industry also destroys the environment. It causes deforestation, a waste of resources, water pollution, and global warming. Spiritual people are vegetarians for different reasons, though.
Imagine how terror-stricken an animal becomes the moment before it is slaughtered. There are many stories of how cows die of fear while they are led to the slaughterhouse. It was even found that dead pigs have humungous veins which basically exploded of fear and adrenalin while the pig was led to the slaughterhouse. The perpetuate cycle of being born only to become someone’s dinner transmits an energy of anxiety and melancholy onto our plates. Energy can’t be destroyed, and it remains in the meat from the moment the animal is slaughtered until the moment we consume it. It is impossible to keep our bodies pure while sustaining ourselves on meat. Our body is a temple, and it is spiritually counterproductive to pollute it with the corpse of a dead animal.
In an interview with Murari Gupta Das, a local monk at the Hare Krsna temple in Rondesboch, he shared an anecdote with me about how he became a vegetarian. A Swami asked him, “Do you want a relationship with God?” Murari replied, “Yes”. The Swami then said, “But when you eat meat, it’s like me going to your house and saying ‘I’m hungry, can I eat your dog?’ Would you want to be friends with me then?” Murari said “no”. The Swami explained that the same applies when you want to have a relationship with God. If you want to be friends with him, you cannot eat meat. Nine years later, Murari is still a vegetarian.
Vegetarianism is also encouraged by the Bible and ancient Vedas. Stephen Knapp quotes the Vedic text of the Manu-samhita (5.45-8) in his book The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment and Illumination: “… but let him [man] never seek to destroy an animal without a [lawful] reason. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it without a [lawful] reason suffer a violent death in future births.” (Manu-samhita 5:37 – 38) This quote shows us that when you sow suffering, you will reap suffering. As the second law of thermodynamics states, for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. This is called karma. In your next lives, you will pay the consequences for inflicting pain and suffering on innocent animals. When we base our happiness on the suffering of other beings, we bring upon ourselves undesirable consequences. Is it worth slaughtering an innocent animal for the sole purpose of satisfying your taste buds?
How can man find peace if, through the tortuous cycle of the meat industry, man’s body is permeated with the anxious energy of an animal living on a factory farm? How can man find peace if his karma accumulates every time he eats an animal? Finding peace and bliss is a crucial part of spirituality, and it is important to remember “until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”