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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra

Cultural or Historical reasons are no excuses for not adopting a Vegetarian diet

Cultural or Historical reasons are no excuses for not having a vegetarian diet. It is an uncivilized act to say bluntly, because though many people know that you can make your balanced diet with vegetarian diet alone, people tend to eat meat only for the pleasure, rather than the real health concerns. Of course health really gets better with increased vegetarian food than the meat or animal based foods.

Whether we believe it or not, the humans started separating themselves from the animals, prior to which the humans were similar to the animals in their life style. Such human evolution had happened in various parts of this world irrelevant to one another, and we know it from our history that there were great civilizations like the Mohenjadaro, Harappa, Indus valley civilizations in Indian sub-continent whereas there were Mayan Civilization, Egyptian Civilization, Roman Civilization in Europe and other parts of the world.

If many civilizations exist at a time, then the most ancient civilization will generally have more wisdom compared to the others, because the evolution of humans and the development can only happen by the experience over hundreds or thousands of years. It is where Vedic civilization has its endurance and it makes a difference for the Indians, as Vedic civilization is still the underlying theme in various forms of traditional Indian wisdom.

When the Vedic civilization was at its peak, the other civilizations of the world were not even known to others, or had not been started. During those times only the ancient Indians have realised the importance of vegetarianism as a prerequisite to achieve the spiritual progress. Yoga, Meditation, various rituals and routines were all put in place by the ancient sages for the welfare of the mankind.

Some religions or cultures have adopted meat eating as a food habit like those cultures, which were derived from tribes, those which inhabited the countries in the Polar Regions or in the deserts.

Primarily, this might be due to the fact, that either in the deserts or in the Polar Regions, the vegetation is very low. Therefore the religions which were developed by these cultures recognize animals as living objects and assume that was God has given the animals for man to eat them. In the beginning of the most primary civilizations, as is explained in the theory of evolution, man was originated from the animals and he was eating other animals as his food. Then he discovered fire, learnt to cook food, later he learnt also to make farming, cultivation of crops, etc.

Considering that all the above cultural and/or historical reasons are true regarding the food habits of the people belonging to different cultures and countries, we have some more points to think about.

Now the world has become small, in terms of the availability of items and goods which may not be necessarily produced in one particular place. Today you get those things in your vicinity which your ancestors might not have seen in their lifetime. The exports and imports of various goods among the countries of the world allow any person today to choose vegetarianism as their mode of life. This choice can be made either to have the health related advantages of being vegetarian or for spiritual progress like intellect and wisdom or for any other goal.

Let us have a look at what the great people from different civilizations have told about vegetarianism:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” – Alice Walker

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” — Albert Einstein.

“If slaughter houses were made of glasses, everyone would be a vegetarian” – George Bernard Shaw.

According to ancient India’s wisdom again, God has created animals and other creatures in this world for the man to recognize himself and to know the distinction of the man from the rest of the living creatures, to understand the cycle of life and death, to understand how great and gifted a human being is. So the man starts to think about the difference between his qualities and those of the animals, he can question himself about why there are all humans on this earth, why the God’s creation is made in this way, why some animals are depending on some other animals for food, while some other animals are only depending on plants or vegetation, why man has the ability to think, why the animals remained the same for ages, and why man alone got civilized, etc. Finally this leads to spirituality and paves the way for Salvation through Spiritual enlightenment.

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