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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra

Is the Violence in Vegetarian diet the same as that of the Meat?

“Ah, nowadays Vegetarianism has become a movement or a cult, as people tend to label the meat lovers are ruthless people.”

This is the common argument when a vegetarian or a vegan tries to educate the meat lovers about the need of being vegetarian for various reasons.

Some of the meat lovers are fooled by the so called nutritionists and doctors who make them believe that meat can’t be totally avoided to get complete protein. People simply feel convenient when they hear this from their doctors and take pride in believing in science and technology and tend to ridicule the noble concepts of vegetarianism and ahimsa (non-violence).

And when some people get cancer kind of diseases at some later phase of their life, they tend to blame the God, the environment, the pollution, the drugs and all other stuff, but conveniently forget their past actions of eating big macs, burgers, cheese cakes, microwaved or grilled red meats which had increased their total and bad cholesterol levels.

In view of the above points, we deal with the basic issue of violence involved in the vegetarianism and then leave it to the readers to use their intellect about choosing to be a meat lover or a vegetarian.

There are two kinds of logic – 1. Blind logic and 2. Intellectual logic. I belong to the second category. All the vegetarians belong to the second category.

1. Wicked Logic/Blind Argument

This category people don’t have control over one of their senses – their taste and craving of the tongue. So they make wicked logic like plants have life, animals have life, so taking life for food is just common as other animals like lions or tigers do the same in a jungle. 


Ah, killing a plant or a hen is the same. It is taking life. And aren’t we living in a jungle, not of trees but of concrete? Aren’t we still animals as we fight better than them for various silly reasons?

While there is no denying of this fact it is killing in either cases, by their logic, killing a mosquito or a man should also be the same. But then why no culture or religion or holy books or ideology on Earth doesn’t promote cannibalism, as the logic of meat lovers is that if we don’t eat meat the cattle would be overpopulated. Biologically we are also animals called ‘Homosapiens’ or some other.

Aren’t we overpopulated as humans? All poor people in Africa, India and in other developing countries should be eaten up in this case, as they are hardly making their ends meet in a day or they have hardly any goals in life. Their lives are simply not enjoyable. Isn’t it?

These people could be atheists or they find some silly logic in some religious books that animals are created by God to allow the men to eat them. They don’t give a thought to any scientific advances and discoveries in the current generation that animal based foods like red meats, fish, sea food, other types of even lean meats, dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, yogurt all are high in saturated cholesterol and their consumption should better be avoided or done carefully. Very few vegetable sources are as high sources in LDL cholesterol as are animal based foods.

However those people who are stubborn and who wishes not to understand can never understand the philosophical things.

2. Intellectual logic/Wisdom

Fruits are to be eaten and seeds thrown so that the new plants emerge from them. But if animal parts are eaten and bones thrown, no animal’s offspring emerges from them. This is the summary of all the logic given below.


Being vegetarian or a vegan is not just about nutrition, taking life for maintaining life. There is a great philosophy and a stricter moral code of life involved in vegetarianism. Religious books are to be respected no doubt at them when it comes to philosophy behind eating particular types of meats or abstaining from meat consumption. 

However better than the religious books which could be present today with/without adulteration from the original concepts, we have to depend more on the intellect aided by the sole principle of exploration of truth and rejecting all falsehood that doesn’t stand by the logic and reasoning.

While doing that, examining on a deeper sense, we have the following viewpoints.

Plants and all animal species are in this world in a particular hierarchy set by the Nature (which is God’s creation). Scientifically they have varying degrees of the complexity of their nervous systems. Let us recollect the fact Anesthesia is given to make a person forget the pain of a surgery or any cuts involved during a medical intervention.

There are plants with weak nervous systems, single celled organisms also with weak nervous systems and we have higher order of animals with more bones, brains and most complex nervous systems.

Now killing a plant or killing a mosquito or killing a hen or even killing a man has nothing to do with the souls as souls are eternal, but there are nervous systems and it causes different levels of pain and suffering as there are differences in animal kingdom.

Killing the plants for sure is a form of violence, but this violence is negligible compared to that performed by killing of animals and is again different ranging from a microbe or a mosquito or an ant to a cow or an elephant.

Are we really killing the plants/trees causing a suffering to them?

Another point to look at is, almost all the plants and trees never resist any animal or a man if they are plucking the fruits or flowers or even killing them by uprooting them as a whole. This is a natural law and is a fact based on observation. They are not given mouths to shout, nor are they given limbs to fight or resist.

However the fact remains that many of the plants or trees are not killed in entirety to get food from them. All fruit bearing trees aren’t killed at all for just one yield. The grain producing plants are of course killed, but each plant gives back hundreds of seeds to be planted again. After reaching the yield point for harvest, many of them also die naturally. A fully ripen fruit detaches itself from the tree.

Some stem or root tuber crops also won’t die completely as the off-springs develop from the parts of these plants. Some plants like those of rhizomes known for vegetative reproduction don’t even die when their roots are cut into two. Examples are hops, asparagus, ginger, irises, Lily of the Valley, Cannas, and sympodial orchids. Some examples of rhizomes that are used directly in cooking are ginger, turmeric, galangal, and fingerroot.

Is there any animal in this world that invites its death voluntarily being fully aware of it in any circumstance?

Coming to the animal kingdom now, a small ant or a mosquito tries to escape from its predators just like how goats, sheep, pigs, elephants and even a man do when their life is in danger. They protest violently to safeguard themselves. Examples also include honeybees, wasps, sea animals and many wild animals. Even a cow, a bull or a goat tries its best to protect its life. Again there is a natural law based on observation.

Animals and birds are given mouths/beaks, teeth, jaws, sharp claws or stingers, not only to catch their prey but also to resist themselves and use them as tools to fight with their enemies or predators.

Animals cry in pain, show their helplessness when captured and slaughtered and show their unwillingness by moving their limbs, groaning in pain till their last breath.

To go green, we must eat green!

There is a silly logic mostly of satirical nature that people who are vegetarians or vegans eat all the greens and there by contribute to greenhouse gases and so the meat lovers are correct as they eat meat to keep the greens intact.

This is too foolish to understand with an intellectual mind unless if this metaphor is used just to crack a joke to ridicule a vegan or a vegetarian in a crowd of meat lovers.

All the animals slaughtered for meat production are extensively fed in captivity too much of corn, soy, oats, and many kinds of grasses and in some extreme cases, they are force-fed through mechanical feeding guns to  make them attain fat bodies and develop fatty livers, brains, etc., which are then slaughtered as more meat is obtained.

And these animals won’t eat that much in the natural way of their living. Meat production is a too much ineffective process in terms of cost of production and the nutritional needs obtained from it with respect to the vegetables/grains production.

Various scientific studies done on these aspects and observations point out to the fact that the too high consumption of meat in the developed countries is one of the reasons of the world’s poverty.

Why intellectual/philosophical people abstain from meat?

Intellectual people or those who are well versed with Hinduism know it clearly that the Soul as an entity is the same in all and is eternal, but it is bound with three types of Shareer (body) due to the influence of Maya (the Nature):

1. Bhoutik/Sthoola Shareer (Physical body) made of five elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Sky, Space) which we have during our life on Earth.

2. Sookshma Shareer (Subtle body), which contains our Buddhi (Intellect), Manas (Mind), Chitta (Free will) and Ahankara (Ego/Identity of self)

3. Karan Shareer (Causal body) which has to undergo punishments or rewards in other worlds, and which carries forward all our vices and virtues from different births based on the ‘law of Karma’

Soul is different from all the three above and it doesn’t have any attachment with any of these bodies or senses and it can be known only when we get rid of all these attachments.

So by killing or preserving any life on this planet, the actions are performed on those living beings which deserve equivalent results.

All the actions and the results we get based on our actions aren’t affecting the soul directly but are affecting the Bhoutik Shareer and at a subtler level the Sookshma Shareer, and the Karan Shareer. As long as we are bound with these, we can never get to reach our soul. So we have separate identities as people, and as animals too based on our balance sheets of ‘Karma’!

As we are not aware of our Karma under normal circumstances, any intellectual with the wisdom on the above shall strive for nullifying the effects of bad karma and should take a vow to follow a vegetarian diet.

So we have the past karma both good and bad to be experienced in the form of pleasures and pains, but we ensure that we can assure ourselves of avoiding bad karma by sticking to a vegetarian diet with as little consumption of animal based foods like milk, butter and yogurt (which are obtained without taking the life of an animal) just to maintain a balanced diet for a healthy living!

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