Being a Vegetarian
Kishore (January 2004)
Are you a vegetarian who is hell bent up on avoiding meat stuff? Do people
take special note of you when you mention your vegetarianism.
Well, Non-vegetarians may not really understand why you are a vegetarian and
have curious questions to ask? Have you not tasted meat at all. If not, why? Is
it because of your religion? Does your religion ban you from eating meat? If you
don't eat meat what do you eat? Salad and Raw vegetables?
As a vegetarian you might find a center of attraction among a party of meat
eaters with all the curious questions. At the same you are wondering what kind
of answer will convince them that you can 'survive' without eating meat.
I am a vegetarian, but I would not say 100% vegetarian in the strict sense. I
do think I understand what being a vegetarian means. By understanding the
purpose behind being a vegetarian, it becomes easy being one.
Vegetarianism is not something that is demanded by religion nor it is a
fashion. It is not a custom that should be kept. Purpose of following a vegetarian
diet is to foster spiritual growth and progress. It has been recommended
for spiritual progress.
For spiritual progress, it is important to keep one's senses under control.
Staying focused on spiritual path and not being tempted by senses can be
achieved by controlling diet. Some people fast to retain control on senses. Some
people follow vegetarian diet. A strict vegetarian diet that fosters spiritual
growth is eating raw vegetables and fruits, just to fill stomach and not stay
hungry. Eat enough to live and not live to eat. This diet will even mean not
cooking the vegetables and not adding spices to the vegetables.
But no modern vegetarian food is like that. Though we don't cook meat, we put
all spices and make it stimulant. There are enough ways to make the vegetarian
dishes tasty and attractive. Though eating only items cooked with vegetables if
they are highly stimulant and is accompanied by drinks etc, it is equivalent to
a non-vegetarian diet in a spiritual way.
If you are not really worried about spiritual aspects of diet, don't get
worked up about being a vegetarian. If you enjoy eating non-vegetarian stuff go
for it without lot of guilt. You are putting yourself under lot of stress, by
denying yourself something without really understanding why.
If you have stopped eating meat just to impress others or joining a club of
vegetarians, it does not matter.
If you have a tendency to criticize meat eaters and you yourself take
vegetarian food with spices, you better stop being critical.
Vegetarianism in strict sense means eating raw vegetables and fruits that
helps keep a control on senses easy. Any other "noise" over being
vegetarian should not be taken seriously if one is not interested the spiritual
aspect of it. I just wanted to share my understanding of this in this
article. Hope it makes sense.
Article reprinted with permission by CS Kishore. Original content at cskishore.com
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