Settling the debate: Veg v/s non-veg

Settling the debate: Veg v/s non-veg

In this article, I will not tell you what you should or should not eat, but I will definitely reveal the karma rahasya (secrets) and the subtle effects of consuming meat which deeply affect your life

Acharya Upendra JiUpdated: Saturday, August 19, 2023, 06:17 PM IST
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The debate over whether one should prefer a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian diet has been going on for centuries, globally. In this article, I will not tell you what you should or should not eat, but I will definitely reveal the karma rahasya (secrets) and the subtle effects of consuming meat which deeply affect your life.

Chandogya Upanishad 6.5.3, states that the fats in food get divided into three parts — the grossest becomes bone, the less gross becomes marrow and the subtlest becomes speech (vani). Good fats like cow ghee, homemade butter enhance your speech, whereas bad fats found in meat, junk food, etc. affect your vani negatively, making you unknowingly use hurtful/abusive words. It results in wrong karma which starts affecting your destiny. It affects the lubricants in your joints resulting in arthritis, etc. Similarly, as per verse 6.5.2, the water that you drink also gets divided into three parts — the grossest becomes urine, the less gross becomes blood and the subtlest part becomes praan (life force energy). If you consume rajasik/tamasik liquids like cold drinks, alcohol, etc. it will eventually reduce your overall enthusiasm and lifespan. Whereas satvik liquids like milk, buttermilk, coconut water, etc. increase your enthusiasm, radiance, lifespan, etc. Hence, when someone is hospitalised they are injected with saline water or when someone is breathing their last breaths they are given a few sips of water.

Consuming meat and alcohol can start an endless loop of tamo gun. As per Bhagavad Gita chapter 17, verses 8,9,10, you prefer your diet as per your gun. The three gun are sattva (knowledge, happiness and detachment), rajas (actions and attachments) and tamas (ignorance, laziness, inertia). Your gun becomes as per the family and the atmosphere you are born and brought up in. If you are born into a family which consumes a non-vegetarian (tamasik) diet, you will also grow up eating meat from childhood.

Consuming such a diet will increase your tamo gun and make you choose a tamasik diet regularly, further increasing your tamo gun. Chandogya Upanishad verse 6.6.6 mentions ‘annamayamhi somya manah’ — the mind is formed by food. Tamasik diet will result in an impure mind. Such a mind can make you do tamasik karma (actions) like addictions, indulging in bodily/ worldly pleasures, procrastination, theft, etc. your entire life. As per Bhagavad Gita, 14.8-9, tamo gun keeps wisdom away and makes you lethargic and negligent. Consumption of meat and alcohol has been harshly criticised in many of our scriptures like Chanakya Niti, where Acharya Chanakya clearly states in chapter 8 verse 21, that such people live animalistic lives. Bhagavad Gita chapter 14, verses 14, 15, 18 also states that too much tamo gun makes you fall into hell or take birth as humans with lower consciousness, insects, animals, etc. in your next birth.

When you consume any animal meat, you instantly activate a karmic cycle. As per Manusmriti chapter 5.2.55, the meaning of the word मांस (maans — meat) itself means ‘whichever animal I consume in this birth as meat, will consume me as meat in my next birth’. Due to severe suffering at the time of death, the vengeful animal is reborn as a human to eat you in its next birth. Likewise, in the next birth, you will be reborn as an animal just to be eaten.

This same cycle continues for births where the victimiser becomes a victim and vice-versa. You have to face its grave consequences in this birth too. The suffering of the animal gets transferred through the meat you consume, deeply affecting your mind. Eventually, it causes painful stomach/intestinal disorders because our intestines are not made to digest meat. The fats in meat increase LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood which can result in blocked arteries, heart stroke, etc. It can also cause chronic diseases, high blood pressure and even cancer. Even if you are a pure vegetarian, you will also have to face similar health issues if your diet is full of rajasik/tamasik foods such as deep-fried, junk food, baked goods, cold drinks, spicy meals, etc.

You can consume any kind of rajasik/tamasik food. Our scriptures do not entirely reject it. Only in extreme conditions where survival is crucial, you can make an exception and opt for such foods. It cannot be your everyday diet. For example, a soldier fighting for his country in a war will be a kshatriya (warrior) who will not get a homemade meal there. In such an emergency, if no food is available he can consume an animal within his reach only to survive and not to relish it. The law of karma is still applicable here and he will have to remedy the sin later if he survives. Some still debate that as per the Varna system kshatriya are allowed to eat meat. But when a soldier is spending time with his family he is neither in the role of a kshatriya nor is it an emergency. Hence, this exception is not always applicable.

If the laws of karma are applicable to you, are they applicable to spiritually realised saints, monks, etc. who are known to have consumed meat? Let me reveal all the answers to these and many other questions in the next article. Stay tuned!

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