Why is a strict vegetarian diet essential for spiritual growth ?

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Living a vegetarian life is a philosophy of AHIMSA, which means kindness and non violence against all living beings including animals, birds, fishes and insects.

 Vegetarianism is directly related to spirituality. The Sanskrit word ahimsa, meaning “to do no harm,” is emphasized in spirituality. It respects all living beings as one and includes the fundamental truth that the Almighty exists in every living soul. The Almighty has created this universe, the earth, and its creatures, it is natural for us to respect all life rather than destroy what the Almighty has created.

Those who are truly connected with god and truth will feel a love for all creatures, great and small They recognize and treat the soul in all living being as equal. The Almighty’s light exists in the soul of every living being as much in the humble ant as in the powerful lion. It shines in the snake as well as the cow. It shimmers in the fish, as well as the birds. When we look at life through the eyes of our inner self, we witness truth and love in even the humblest and smallest of creatures.

This is one of the reasons that many spiritual people turn to be vegetarians. They feel god has provided us tasty and enough food in many forms other than meat and it is not necessary to kill any life for our own selfishness and gratification of our sense of tasting meat.

Enlightened souls like Ramana Maharshi and St Francis have taught that animals too have consciousness and a soul, which makes them also a part of our self. If we wish to find love in our self, then we need to be loving and caring to every living soul. That is why a vegetarian diet forms a very important part of our spiritual life. The food that we eat not only has physical effects but also emotional and mental effect on our spiritual consciousness.

If we are trying to lead a life of non-violence and compassion, if we are trying to become more serene and peaceful, if we are trying to calm our mind to concentrate within our self to find our spiritual treasures, then we will naturally want to follow a diet that involves in non – violence and avoid killing of animals directly and indirectly.

The whole point in being a vegetarian is to avoid inflicting pain and harm to these poor, gentle and defenseless animals. There is so much cruelty involved that shames millions of human being to be qualified as being called human beings.

There can be no argument in any way to justify pain, hurting and killing of lives just because they are in a animal form and not in our human form. We no longer live in the primitive age of hunting for food and today we have choices and alternatives. Every argument in support to kill and eat meat is only a sorry and pathetic excuse to satisfy ones gratification of their sense of taste and the ignorance and arrogance caused by the absence of moral and spiritual character in themselves. So we cannot carry on the bullshit arguments of being a vegetarian Vs being non vegetarian.

People are often confused between morality and spirituality. The truth is that they both are one and the same. The foundation of moral and spiritual character stems from being truthful. Truth is accepting, recognizing, respecting and loving every soul in every form without inflict pain on any living being directly or indirectly. This is the first and the only truth.

By leading a life of non violence and showing compassion for all the other souls, we will also develop love for own inner self and grow spiritually. Vegetarianism is consistent with leading a life of non violence. All faith and traditions teach a common principle—thou shall not kill. If we witness the suffering of these souls – such as a chicken or a turkey or a cow being slaughtered for food or a fish caught on a fishing hook writhing in pain— any person with a spiritual heart will realize the suffering they undergo in these violent acts.

There are those who may think animals, birds, and fish do not have conscious or soul and they are meant only to be eaten. These ignorant idiots will carry all the bad karma on themselves and suffer in many births for causing pain and harm to the defenseless animals and birds. This is clearly stated in all holy books and by every enlightened saints. 

Those who have been successful on the spiritual path know that vegetarianism helps in meditation and spiritual progress. Once we realize that divinity lives in all forms of life on our planet, we will spread peace and love wherever we go.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi on vegetarian food –

As devotees of Aruanchala and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Mahrashi,we must clearly understand and follow the path of Ramana Maharshi in matters of spirituality.we cannot live as we wish, eat meat, go against the teachings of Ramana Mahrashi and then declare that we are lovers and devotees of Aruanchala and Ramana Mahrashi.

The views on being a vegetarian is explicitly stated by Ramana Maharshi at various times. When repeatedly asked about the right diet Ramana Maharshi strictly prescribed vegetarianism.Ramana Mahrashi said  “Regulation of diet, restricting it to sattvic (i.e. pure and vegetarian) food taken in moderate quantities is the best of all rules of conduct and the most conducive to the development of pure and godly qualities of the mind and heart. These in turn help one in the practice of Self-enquiry.”These are the teachings of Ramana Mahrashi.

Here we take a passage from “TALKS WITH SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI, VOL. I “. (p. p. 23) published by the ashram to explain the views of Ramana Maharshi on vegetarian food and its importance in spiritual life.

The passage quoted continues with a Western lady named Mrs. Piggott who visited Ramana Maharshi. The western devotee asked questions relating to diet regulation and pleaded that a concession should be made for foreign devotees.Bhagavan Ramana Mahrashi refused to make any compromise nor concession in regard to vegetarian food.

Here is a the talks between Ramana Maharshi and Mrs Piggot –

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : What diet is prescribed for a sadhak (one who is engaged in spiritual practices)?

Ramana Maharshi : Satvic food in limited quantities.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee :  What is satvic food?

Ramana Maharshi : Bread, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : Some people take fish in North India. May it be done?

No answer was made by the Maharshi.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : We Europeans are accustomed to a particular diet; change of diet affects health and weakens the mind. Is it not necessary to keep up physical health?

Ramana Maharshi : Quite necessary. The weaker the body the stronger the mind grows.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : In the absence of our usual diet our health suffers and the mind loses strength.

Ramana Maharshi : What do you mean by strength of mind?

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : The power to eliminate worldly attachment.

Ramana Maharshi : The quality of food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : Really! How can the Europeans adjust themselves to satvic food only?

Ramana Maharshi : (Pointing to another western devotee, Mr. Evans-Wentz) You have been taking our food. Do you feel uncomfortable on that account?

Mr. Evans-Wentz: No. Because I am accustomed to it.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : What about those not so accustomed?

Ramana Maharshi : Habit is only adjustment to the environment. It is the mind that matters. The fact is that the mind has been trained to think certain foods tasty and good. The food material is to be had both in vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet equally well. But the mind desires such food as it is accustomed to and considers tasty.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee :  Are there restrictions for the realized and enlightened man in a similar manner?

Ramana Maharshi : No. He is steady and not influenced by the food he takes.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : Is it not killing life to prepare meat diet?

Ramana Maharshi : Ahimsa stands foremost in the code of discipline for the yogis.

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : Even plants have life.

Ramana Maharshi : So too the slabs you sit on have life!

Mrs. Piggott –Devotee : May we gradually get ourselves accustomed to vegetarian food?

Ramana Maharshi : Yes. That is the way.

In conclusion, it can be said quite definitely that vegetarianism is beneficial to those who follow a spiritual path in the conditions of the modern world, and especially to those who aspire to follow the path of the Maharshi.

Spirituality is not living your life according to your whims and fancies.True and complete spirituality consists in following the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and all the other enlightened saints by avoiding eating meat and other non vegetarian foods.

Ramana Maharshi clearly states that Ahimsa (non violence) stands foremost in the code of discipline for the true yogis.Not only Ramana Mahrashi but every scripture and every saint taught the same. Here are few of the teachings from scriptures of every religion and great saints of the world –

Bible –

And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” — ( Genesis 1:30 )

“Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy” – New Testament

Bhagavad Gita –

One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities is dear to me – ( Lord Krishna )

Quran

“It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (22.37)

“Show mercy to all living beings like the mercy and love shown to you by the Lord” – ( Mohammed Words.)

Buddhism

To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.

Manu-Samhita:

“He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, must all be considered as the slayers of the animal. There is no greater sinner than that man who though not worshiping the gods or the ancestors, seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of other beings.” (Manu-samhita 5.51-52)

“By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation.” (Manu-samhita 6.60)

Saint Vallalar

Even if one has the power to bring a dead person alive but if he eats meat then he can never be a Jnani – Enlightened – Liberated. He will never get the grace of lord and his life will be determined by his fate and will never cross the birth death cycle. Person who avoid eating meat and has compassion on all form of life will be eligible for getting divine grace. Vallalar has clearly warned that one of the worst sins to commit is to “Put a bird in a Cage”.

Every enlightened saint laid a very great emphasis on being vegetarian. They always taught that god is personification of grace and mercy. The path of compassion and mercy are the only path to spirituality and god. The almighty exists in the soul of every living being and we must never cause pain directly or indirectly to any life.

We cannot move forward in our spiritual journey if we eat meat or be a part of killing any living being, directly or indirectly. This is the harsh and bitter truth. If you consume meat, then spirituality will be only be cosmetic, ornamental and superficial. It will never be real. How can we kill and extinguish life and walk the path of spirituality?

Where is human’s love, kindness, affection and care for a life or soul if we are part of harming or killing a life to satisfy our senses of taste and justify killing with unjustified  arguments of science and stupidity. We do not show mercy to these souls and yet ask god for mercy for ourselves. If we do not show mercy to these animal lives and remain ignorant, then how can we expect mercy for ourselves from the Almighty ?

Vegetarianism is a noble and compassionate diet and way of life because it involves eating food containing the least amount of destruction of life. People who talk about love and spirituality must adopt a path of non-violence towards all living beings.

Always Remember we are all accountable for our actions. So my dear friends, kindly drop your inhuman qualities and honestly try to make a attempt to become a vegetarian to take the right path to humanity, spirituality and enlightenment in this life.

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