Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bhagavan on Vegetarianism

"the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of Great Kindness" -- Buddhist quote
In general, although attaching little importance to physical aids to meditation, the Maharshi was insistent on the advantages of limiting oneself to sattvic, that is vegetarian and non-stimulating food.

Regulation of diet, restricting it to sattvic food, taken in moderate quantities, is the best of all rules of conduct and the most conducive to the development of sattvic (pure) qualities of mind. These in turn help one in the practice of Self-enquiry. (The Teachings of Bhagavan in His Own Words)

From Talk 24, Sri Bhagavan on the consumption of eggs:

Mrs. Piggott: Why do you take milk, but not eggs?

The domesticated cows yield more milk than necessary for their calves and they find it a pleasure to be relieved of the milk.

Mrs. Piggott: But the hen cannot contain the eggs?

But there are potential lives in them.

From At the Feet of Bhagavan comes this moving story on how Sri Bhagavan strives to save a cracked egg:

IT was the early hours of the morning in the Hall of Sri Bhagavan. He had had His bath, and now went to the farther end of the Hall to take His towel that hung from
a horizontally suspended bamboo, at one end of which a sparrow had built her nest and laid therein three or four eggs.

In the process of taking His towel Sri Bhagavan's hand came against the nest, which shook violently, so that one of the eggs dropped down. In this way the egg was cracked; Sri Bhagavan was taken aback, aghast. He cried out to Madhavan, the personal attendant. "Look, look what I have done today!" So saying, He took the cracked egg in His hand looked at it with His tender eyes, and exclaimed: "Oh, the poor mother will be so sorrow-stricken, perhaps angry with me also, at my causing the destruction of her expected little one! Can the cracked eggshell be pieced together again? Let us try!"
See Full Story

Other quotes on Vegetarianism:
According to the Roman poet Ovid (43BC), Pythagoras (580 BC) said: "As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."

Both poet Percy Bysshe (1792-1822) and Mary Shelley were strong advocates of vegetarianism. Shelley wrote several essays on the subject, the most prominent of which being "A Vindication of Natural Diet" and "On the Vegetable System of Diet".

Shelley wrote: "If the use of animal food be, in consequence, subversive to the peace of human society, how unwarrantable is the injustice and the barbarity which is exercised toward these miserable victims. They are called into existence by human artifice that they may drag out a short and miserable existence of slavery and disease, that their bodies may be mutilated, their social feelings outraged. It were much better that a sentient being should never have existed, than that it should have existed only to endure unmitigated misery."

Shelley was a strong advocate for social justice for the lower classes. He witnessed many of the same mistreatments occurring in the domestication and slaughtering of animals, and he became a fighter for the rights of all living creatures that he saw being treated unjustly.