” Refrain from Eating Flesh “
Humans are both physical and spiritual beings. These aspects are inter-dependent. As physical beings, our life-style can promote inner growth and be motivated by it. As spiritual beings, we are nurtured through inner experience and meditation.
Q : Does this mean that there is something intrinsically, spiritually important about our food choices? After all, we have to eat. Can we theorize that our commitment to a compassionate diet signals a growing spiritual development?
” COMPASSION ” is like a muscle that must be flexed in order to grow strong. Our daily commitment to a compassionate diet is vital to this practice. It contributes to our development into a spiritually focused human being. Developing and practicing COMPASSION is an important requirement in finding success in both our physical and spiritual lives. We can say that the development of COMPASSION is an intrinsic part of finding inner peace.
“Ahimsa “is a religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life. “Ahimsa ” in Sanskrit is for” avoidance of himsa, or injury “. It is interpreted most often as meaning peace and reverence toward all sentient beings.
” Ahimsa “, or non-injury, refers to abstaining not merely from deeds of physical violence but includes the control of our thoughts and words as well. The practice of Ahimsa makes us strong and gives us bearing power when we meet with opposition.
” Ahimsa “was introduced to the West by the Mahatma Gandhi. Inspired by his actions, Western civil rights movements, led by such people as Martin Luther King Jr., engaged in non-violent protests.
Gandhiji was clear on the need for Compassionate Diet in humankind’s development. In the West, Martin Luther King was of likemind. Even today his wife Coretta Scott King and his son are vegetarians. The brilliant philosopher Immanuel Kant was also very clear on man’s need to become vegetarian :
” If man is not to stifle human feeling, he must practice kindness toward animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealing with men. We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals ” – Immanuel Kant
As we refrain from eating the flesh of innocent creatures, we become more sensitive to the life around us. We begin to realize that much of our suffering has stemmed from our participation in the suffering of the slaughtered animals. We begin to glimpse the higher truth that all life is connected.
Compassionate Diet can be classified into grain, cereals, vegetables, and fruits. In the Ayurvedic tradition these foods are called satvic. A satvic diet is pure and produces serenity and equipoise.
Historically, Sages and Saints have preferred these foods as the best to facilitate spiritual meditation. Satvicfoods and simple living are conducive to the development of highest culture or civilization.
Our priority should be that food is made for humans and not humans for food. If we wish to create receptivity for higher things in life, we may want to remember to eat to live rather than live to eat. Following this course, along with choosing an ethical life will do much to lead us on our journey toward self-knowledge and God knowledge.