RADHA SOAMI SATSANG
” The Green Way to Health “
We share the Earth with millions and millions of species of plant and animal life, and all creatures .. from ants building a colony in a tropical rain forest to a family of elephants sashaying through an African Savannah ·· have a critical role to play in the ecosystem.
By eating low on the food chain, we not only support conservation efforts, but we also improve the ethical treatment of animals. In earlier times, the quest for survival put our ancestors into daily contact with ‘the hunt’ and’ the ‘kill’. Today, this is left to anonymous middlemen, and our food comes to us sanitized and wrapped in plastic. We are so far removed from the cruel act that we overlook the reality that to sustain ourselves we are constantly taking life.
Animals are no more immune to suffering and pain than we are. Although their behavior is instinctual, they often display remarkable intelligence when it comes to preserving life. Observe how a dog puts itself in great danger to save the life of its owner, or how any animal will protect itself or its young when it feels its life threatened. We all want to live.
Humans are also animals. Although we have mastered many of the forces of nature, we are still subject to the same process of birth, growth, and death as other organisms. But it is our ability to think, discriminate, and to choose that sets us apart from the lower species.
What we choose to eat not only affects our own physical, spiritual, and emotional health, but it also affects the world in which we live. The relationship between humans, animals, and plants forms an interconnected web which is fundamental to life.
The first step in healthy living is to maintain this fragile web by living in harmony with nature. Respect for the creation is not just an ethical imperative. It is a necessity of life.
The order of nature is this: life must subsist on other life. Only plants draw their sustenance directly from light, water, and soil. When we choose to eat plants, we are still taking life, but it is the simplest form of life.
Even human law provides a different punishment for snipping a neighbor’s rose, killing her chicken, taking the life of her dog, or murdering her child. Although the penalty varies according to the level of consciousness, a balance sheet is kept and plays itself out. The wheel of life turns; we do reap what we sow. The animals we eat in this life may be eating us in the next.
Francis of Assisi used to call animals our brothers and sisters, but many of us have difficulty in acknowledging this kinship because we see only the body which is different for all.
We have been in this world before and we have had other bodies. We are hardly free of one, before another stands ready to replace it. It is only after many births that we receive a human birth. If, because of our karmas, we are born as a cow or a goat, we are not eager to be slaughtered in order to satisfy someone’s palate.
As humans, we have the unique ability to look beyond the body to the Soul within and, in this way, to consciously experience God. The Soul, which is the essence of our being, remains largely unknown to us. It is like living in a house where the light is never turned on.
We are fields of energy; part of an organic whole, and, like other organisms, we maintain life by the constant exchange of energy between ourselves and the larger universe.
Physicians are beginning to examine the relationship between food and health, at least in part,based on this more dynamic understanding of the body.
Einstein, the most eminent of physicists, offered his view that “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution of a Vegetarian Diet”.
Scientific studies now support the value of a Vegetarian Diet, and there is evidence to suggest that it lowers the risk of many diseases, including cancer and heart disease. People are turning to it in ever greater numbers for its health benefits and its effects on animal welfare and the environment, as well as for its spiritual benefits.
Abstention from animal food is not a new idea. One finds instances of it in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, and Greece. The word ‘diet’ itself comes from the Greek ‘diata’, meaning ‘way of life’.
People of very diverse philosophical and spiritual paths have given up the use of meat in order to raise their consciousness. A lacto-Vegetarian Diet, rich in natural fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, as well as nuts, seeds, and dairy products, is suitable for this purpose.
The ideal diet is one that is non-violent and promotes inner equilibrium. It helps to balance the body, mind, and Soul. It is the foundation which supports a balanced and healthy life.