Why I am a vegetarian? -Life styles India, USA, Europe

June 19, 2010

For a change I want to write a few articles on life style and philosophies in average Indian life. It is much more pleasant to talk about these ideas than reactions on political events. Since I have lived in USA also often and visit Europe, a lot of my remarks will also include the same aspects in these countries too, of course with my Indian color.
I think ideas about religion automatically become part of these topics. Religion has been unnecessarily made a separate entity in countries like India, where majority of people are any way from Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Buddhist communities, in which religion is not considered so much of a separate entity from these aspects. Perhaps it is true for other countries too for different reasons. In USA, Europe also time has come now, that it should be treated as part of these aspects.

Like Russian characters in movies of Woody Allen
I feel among almost all these communities in India, most of ideas about philosophy, religions, life style, you learn from talking. In daily life, Indians talk quite a bit and on every issue. Very much like characters in Dostoevsky's novels or Russian characters in movies of Woody Allen. Though in actual life it is mostly pleasant and not comical. Indians, particularly Hindus do not visit temple so regularly as others do. At least there is no compulsion. In any case temple or any other group activity involving hundreds of people except for going to school is nonexistent in life of a child. There are no fixed books too for reading. We mostly learn about life, set up our basic ideas about god, religion, rituals etc. from what elders talk. Mostly they talk or argue among themselves. Children just listen. But that leaves impressions on them. Stories your grandmother or grandfather tell you and a little explanations mom offers about characters and actions in those stories, are the main tools, which teaches one about religion and life style. That is all. Even the well known books, like Bhagvad Geeta etc. which in western countries are thought of as forming the basis of life of Hindus, are rarely read by them. You know more about contents in them, from stories you hear. Religion or rituals are considered by people right from childhood, as something for fun and enjoyment. There is very little of organized religion, where some priest lectures about god etc. All this was in this way in my childhood time

Gautam Buddha
Gautam Buddha
Varanasi
Varanasi
Mahavir Swami
Mahavir Swami
Radha and Krishna Raas (dance)
Radha and Krishna Raas (dance)
Gautam Buddha
Gautam Buddha
Maurya Emperor Ashoka
Maurya Emperor Ashoka
Krishna
Krishna
Shiv Parvati and Ganesha
Shiv Parvati and Ganesha
Gomateshwar- one of the tallest statues in world
Gomateshwar- one of the tallest statues in world
A miniature painting
A miniature painting
A Jain painting
A Jain painting
Radha Krishan
Radha Krishan
White Buddha statue
White Buddha statue

Now children pass more time with servants- grand parents may be in some other town
Though with family becoming nuclear in towns and cities, both husband and wife working and grand parents not so often there, things seem to be changing now. Lot of times, children pass much more time with servants who come to clean house or to baby-sit. People are indeed a little worried about it. Children learning basic ideas from people with much lower level of education is not such a good idea. Not only parents do not have much time for them, in the evening when they are back, often they feel guilty that they did not give enough time to children. This makes them to please children with what ever they demand. Which is again not a good idea, in building up character of a young guy/girl. But any way these problems, I might focus on some other time. Let me start with a simple idea I learnt in my childhood.


Why I am a vegetarian?

I was asked this question during my first trip to USA by some girl. I was staying in Colorado. I was then perhaps about 25 years old. Why I am vegetarian? Before that I never even thought about it. In India to be vegetarian is very common. If you grow up in a vegetarian family you become vegetarian. If you grow up in a non-vegetarian family you become non-vegetarian. This is so natural, that you never even think of asking about it, why you are vegetarian -Like I did not even consider the question for 25 years. I took some moments in USA to answer that girl. But I could see the reason immediately. I told her "Well! I am vegetarian because I grew up in a vegetarian family." She was a little surprised about that. She in fact asked me "Every body in your family Vegetarian? How can that be? I never met such a family. I know only one more vegetarian apart from you. And you are vegetarian, just like that? Gee! Oh! I thought people are vegetarian only for some principles?"

More than 40% of Indians are vegetarian
Statistics say more than 40% of Indians are vegetarian. That makes it about 70% of all vegetarians in world. I think actual numbers must be even more. Most non-vegetarians also take often only vegetarian food. Many restaurants serve only vegetarian food. I have often seen statements in other countries like "Brahmins are vegetarians others are not etc." or "people in India are vegetarian because of religious reasons." Those comments are quite off the mark. Many communities in India have a large percentage of families which are vegetarian. Most of it is out of culture or tradition.


How It all started
When and how it started no body really knows. One has to go to ancient texts. There are four most ancient books Vedas-. Rig Veda,Yajur Veda, Athar Veda and Sam Veda, written perhaps more than 5000 years back (Initial versions are only by oral communication -they are called "shrutis"- some thing you heard, only later versions called "samhitas" are the compiled vedic literature). Though shrutis survive perhaps much more in rituals because of their poetic form. A lot of initial Hindu ideas and even other knowledge originate from these Vedas. Word Veda actually means Knowledge. Vedas do describe rituals and life style followed at that time. During Vedic time it seems vegetarianism was not followed so strictly. In that early Vedic times rituals included sacrificing animals and then meat of sacrificed animal was taken as a food. This was done only by priests etc. who performed these rituals. It is not clear what did others do. There are some references though that unnecessary killing should not be done. By 6th or 7th century BCE (for example in Krishna (black) yajurveda or Chandyoga upnishada) killing of an animal except for rituals was strictly prohibited. Here are sentences from some of these ancient texts.

(Mahabharata is considered to be one of the oldest epic written more than 2500 years back and is among longest poetry even today. Bhgavad Geeta is part of Mahabharata, it was preached by Krishna who is supposed to have lived before Kalyuga -the era of today. Kalyuga is about 5000 years old. )

"You must not use your God-given body for killing God's creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever." (Yajur Veda, 12.32)

"By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation." (Manusmriti, 6.60)

"The purchaser of flesh performs himsa (violence) by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does himsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts of the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it-all of these are to be considered meat-eaters." (Mahabharata, Anu. 115:40)

"…all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me." (Bhagavad-gita 9.27)

The Gita also clarifies exactly what should be offered: "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." (Bhagavad-gita. 9.26)

"One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me—he is very dear to Me." (Bhagavad gita.12.13-14)


Gautam Buddha was perhaps not vegetarian
Gautam Buddha perhaps lived in 18th century BCE or 6th century BCE (general history books depending on some Greek stray papers assume the date to be around 6 BCE but many experts, who depend on ancient Indian records have opinion that he perhaps lived much earlier around 18 BCE, at the end of a period of a long drought, which had lasted for about 300 years). During Buddha's time people were both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Buddha himself was most likely a non-vegetarian. There were disputes in those days about vegetarianism. Nonviolence by then was a basic principle. But meat of an animal which was not killed just for food was ok., was the opinion of some. One of the story says that Buddha died after taking sukara-maddava, which is translated by some as pork, while as mushroom by others. There are also references that even when Buddha was alive one group of monks led by Devadatta, left the community because they wanted stricter rules, including an unconditional ban on meat eating.

Emperor Ashoka
But the well known emperor Ashoka, the Great in 3rd century BC was strictly vegetarian (there are two well known emperors with same name Ashoka in Indian history, Ashoka Maurya and Ashooka Priyadarshini. According experts, Indian records suggest that one of them Ashoka Maurya lived around 15 BCE and Ashoka Priyadarshani lived around 3rd century BCE, both had adopted to buddhism). He had adopted to Buddhism after a very bloody war he fought. It is he, who is credited with spreading Buddhism all over India, China, Sri Lanka, Far East etc. Ashoka Stumbhas (pillers) are all over India. He had also created metallic pillars consisting of iron alloys. Which have still not rusted even after 2000 years. The puzzle of decoding its chemical make-up which protects it from rusting is being tried by engineers and scientists even today. As far as I know it is still not solved. He protected elements, plants forests almost any thing you can think of etc. Some of today's environmentalists do get inspired by him. Here is one of the sentences inscribed on these pillars

"Twenty-six years after my coronation various animals were declared to be protected—parrots, mainas, //aruna//, ruddy geese, wild ducks, //nandimukhas, gelatas//, bats, queen ants, terrapins, boneless fish, //vedareyaka//, //gangapuputaka//, //sankiya// fish, tortoises, porcupines, squirrels, deer, bulls, //okapinda//, wild asses, wild pigeons, domestic pigeons and all four-footed creatures that are neither useful nor edible. Those nanny goats, ewes and sows which are with young or giving milk to their young are protected, and so are young ones less than six months old. Cocks are not to be caponized, husks hiding living beings are not to be burnt and forests are not to be burnt either without reason or to kill creatures. One animal is not to be fed to another."

All paths towards understanding truth are parallel
Even though Buddhism today is considered a separate religion, in India it has been always considered by many as a reformist movement in Vedic religion or what is today called as Hinduism. Gautam Buddha is considered among Hindus as an Avatar (reincarnation) of Lord Vishnu in human form. His teachings are also considered as part of Hindu religion and philosophies. These kind of styles are common in India. Outsiders might feel how can contradictory things be part of common religion. But In India people do not see it in that light. Two principles common in Indian style, rituals, culture and philosophies are "sarva dharma saman bhava" (try to understand ideas of all religions with equal glance) and "All paths towards understanding truth (or nature/universe or god -often these words are considered synonymous in India) are parallel and they reach the same goal. You choose what is suitable for you."

Jainism
While Buddha is known, all over world and Buddhism is much more common, even out side India. There is another religion in India almost equally popular. Followers of it are called Jains. Ideas and philosophies of Jainism were propagated and formulated initially by 24 Jain Tirthankars (roughly speaking first monks). The last of these Tirthankars was Mahavir Sawami, who lived almost the same time as Buddha. His teachings had profound influence in India. Even today Jain teachings are highly respected and followed not just by Jains but a large majority of Indians. Nonviolence is one of the basic principles of Jain thought. Mahavir Swami had propagated it very strictly and even by earlier Tirthankars Obviously Jains are vegetarians.

"Try not to kill even bacteria whom you may not see"
Jains community has many interesting people. They are mostly Business people. A lot of today's India's business and Industry ownership is in their hands. But over all you see very successful Jains in almost all walks of life. Some Jain monks are so strict that they cover their mouth or nose with a small white cloth. Idea is that this helps in avoiding killing even small bacteria, who may get killed while you are breathing. Jains are also very fond of fasting. Mahavir Swami while doing Tapasya (a sort of spiritual suffering or austerity including long meditation sessions, to last until you understand the truth) had lived for some days in nude. There is a sect among Jains whose monks live in nude.


Mahavir Swami
Mahavir Swami
A Jain painting
A Jain painting
Krishna preaching Bhagvad Gita to Arjuna in the Mahabharata Battle
Krishna preaching Bhagvad Gita to Arjuna in the Mahabharata Battle
Gautam Buddha
Gautam Buddha
Shiv Parvati
Shiv Parvati
Krishna
Krishna
Krishna preaching Bhagvad Gita to Arjuna in the Mahabharata Battle
Krishna preaching Bhagvad Gita to Arjuna in the Mahabharata Battle
Gautam Buddha statues and stupas
Gautam Buddha statues and stupas

"Onion had rolled out of God's Plate"
Jains are not only vegetarians, they also avoid taking roots. So for example they do not consume onions, garlic or potatoes. Many Hindus also follow similar customs. For example I am a Hindu, but in our home also we do not consume onions or garlic. Though we do take potatoes. I myself take onions even outside in restaurants, more out of convenience. There are various reasons given for this custom. Jains feel that roots may have more insects who may get killed. Some people feel that reason is that your mouth smells after consuming these. The same can be said about most non-vegetarian dishes. Another reason given is that these are so called Tamas goods, too much consumption of them increase your drives of senses like sex drive to an unhealthier level. Among the reasons given one which I like and enjoy most is that "onion had rolled out of the dinner plate of God. From that time it is not consumed."


A Jain painting- killing animal is only animal instinct
Some years back I had seen a Jain painting in a museum in Kolkata. That describes very nicely some of these ideas. The painting showed a rat being killed by a cat for food. The cat was shown to be being bitten by a dog. The dog was shown to be being preyed by a fox and the fox by a lion. There was a man standing and on the back of it there was a glimpse of Mahavir Swami with a glow. Initially one is puzzled, what does it say. In fact I was with some Europeans at that time and they did ask me "What does it say?" Well ! what it conveys is that Mahavir Swami is telling you that among animals, it is a natural instinct that they kill each other for security or food. But as a human being you are different. You should not get into such violence.

Incidentally I could not find a picture of this nice painting on internet, If some body knows a link, please do send it to me.


Kosambi's explanations
A completely different style of explanations are offered by a well known historian Damodar Dharmraj Kosambi (1907-1966). Dr. Kosambi was a great scholar. He was a mathematician as well as a historian, a rather strange combination. He studied History quite differently. He brought a method to style of studying History of India. He was sympathetic to Marxist style. So Marxist type of idea of looking at all development very mechanically with economic reasoning is quite visible in his books. But at the same time his experimental methods were based on seeing the cultural aspects, visiting temples caves etc. His description of India has a very different color and vision. His books on History of India are among the best ones, I have read.

From Food gathering society to food producing society
He attempted to describe India what it stands for. In one of his books he describes the difficulties

"There is no national language or alphabet; a dozen languages and scripts appear on the ten-rupee currency note. There is no Indian race. People with white skins and blue eyes are as unmistakably Indian as others with black skins and dark eyes. In between we find every other intermediate type, though the hair is generally black. There is no typical Indian diet, but more rice, vegetables, and spices are eaten than in Europe. The north Indian finds southern food unpalatable, and conversely. Some people will not touch meat, fish, or eggs; many would and do starve to death rather than eat beef, while others observe no such restrictions.Cultural differences between Indians even in the same province, district, or city are as wide as the physical differences between the various parts of the country. Yet in spite of this apparent diversity, there is a double unity"

Description/definition of Indian society which comes out of Kosambi's discussions, I like most. I put it in this form.

Indian society is a continuous transformation of food gathering society (tribal society where you get food by hunting or plucking fruits etc. ) to food producing society (agriculture based society) and that transformation is still continuing.

Indeed we still have many tribes. Their ideas are respected and not resented. At the same time we have people in cities, always thinking of computers, atoms, stocks and what not.


In one of the books of Kosambi, there is a very interesting chapter which I often remember. He used to live in Poona. In India in practically every place you can find small statues, idols, temples - some even very tiny one consisting of just stones, relics kept with some symbolic significance and they can be of any type of God/Godess of any religion or their messengers, Buddha , Krishna, Hanuman (monkey faced god ) , Durga or Christ or a Muslim saint. Some people feel every inch of Indian land some time or other might have been a temple, Mazar, Church, Gurudwara or a Pagoda. Near my home almost in downtown Mumbai, on a busy road, I see practically any time of the day people in a group of 8-10 worshiping in front of a statue of Christ, kept in a small cupboard of size perhaps 10"X10", just at the edge of footpath. Others walking on the footpath or some even driving the car or motor cycle on road, most of whom may not be Christians, generally fold hands or bow with respect.

Now Kosambi did more than just such simple observations. He selected four temples near his city Poona where people used to come to worship regularly. He started making a list of people who came there and talked with them. With in a few months, he could trace practically in every case some common tribe to which most of them belonged 2000 years back. It looks like the tradition of visiting the same temple, continues via parents, grand parents not just for decades but for hundreds of years. Also many of the Indian traditions in a community can be traced back to original tribe from which community has evolved. Kasambi could trace for most the names of their communities. subcast or the name of their ancestor priest to some original tribe. In most countries this will be quite difficult to do since traditions die or change completely in different eras. But in Indian style, they continue for centuries and sort of continuously evolve. There is a lot of scope to study thee aspects in India and create an understanding of style of social evolving for whole human race.

Idols of gods colored with red color - arrival of Buddha and Mahavir Swami.
Kosambi traces reasons for vegetarianism in these rituals originating from tribal practices as well as his Marxist style- economic reasons. It seems initially in India there were not enough tools to do a large scale agriculture and forests were so thick that they could not be cleared. So society was food gathering. Many Idols of Gods and Godesses in India, particularly those coming from tribal traditions are generally colored with red color often using sindhoor (vermillion). Some times whole temple has the same color. The color is very similar to the color of blood. Kosambi says in ancient tribal rituals, when sacrifice of animals was common and society was food gathering, blood was used. As the society and economy changed to food producing one, a new order, style and rituals were needed to match the needs of changing time. That was just the right time for Buddha and Mahavir Swami to arrive and preach nonviolence and vegetarianism.


Vegetarianism in Europe USA - "Don't ask me why you are uncivilized" (George Bernard Shaw)
Until recently vegetarianism was not so common among western countries except for some interesting traditions in UK. During my visits to Colorado decades back, most students and several professors perhaps had no idea about even India, where exactly it is? First instinct of many on seeing me was that I must be Mexican. Today in USA more than 3% of people are vegetarian. In UK it is much higher percentage about 10%. In Other european countries it is much less. Even in earlier times some famous people have been vegetarian, in UK like George Bernard Shaw. On being once asked why he was vegetarian, he replied in his unique and quite British style , "Don't ask me why you are uncivilized".

Gandhi's Vegetarianism - My experiments with Truth
Mahatma Gandhi was a vegetarian. Of course he had to be- it would have been perhaps unnatural otherwise. He writes in quite interesting manner some of his puzzles about it in his autobiography. His autobiography is among the best books, I have ever read. He called it "My Experiments with Truth". What I like most about it is its simplicity. Generally you would expect, a book by him will have a lot of political ideas, philosophies and sermons. But no! he essentially describes only his basic problems about daily living, he faced. How to keep things clean and how he tried to live healthy etc. For him his daily routine done, in simple manner with strength was much more important than all his public life.

Let the country wait
When I was a child, I remember I had seen a short documentary movie made in shadows rather than showing actual people. In the movie it was shown that some of the top leaders of country were having a public meeting near Gandhi's home and were waiting for Gandhi to come out of his home and give a lecture. But Gandhi did not come.
He was nursing a patient suffering from leprosies. Some of the leaders came to his home and asked Gandhi "Please come ! The country is waiting for you". Gandhi says "Let the country wait, just now the need of this patient is more urgent"

Gandhi's Puzzle -Is egg vegetarian?
Gandhi had lived in UK to study law for some time. He had promised his mother that he will remain vegetarian while in UK. In India, most people are what is called Lacto-Vegetarian. They take milk but not eggs. In UK, he was once puzzled whether egg should be considered vegetarian or not. He started reading books about it. He had discussions organized in some vegetarian society. But then one day he solved it at least for himself. He felt, he has been unnecessarily wasting time. "After all why I am vegetarian here. Because I promised my mother that I will remain vegetarian. For my mother egg is not vegetarian. That's it, why get lost. Egg is not vegetarian for me."

Other reasons to be vegetarian.
Hub pages have many articles by people who are passionate about vegetarianism. Some out of love for animals. Whitney writes a lot of interesting articles on this topic. I give link below to one of them. Whiteny describes in this interesting article how human body is more similar to those animals who are vegetarian. For example one argument is that structure of our teeth is more suitable for vege diet. I wonder what do biologists say? I also give link below to one more such article by suraj.

In Colorado in those days, I had met a young American girl, who was vegetarian. She told me that when she was eight years old, she saw once a chicken getting killed. That created so much nausea in her mind that she never took any thing non-vegetarian after that despite scoldings by her parents.

Does the grass get hurt when you walk on it?
I remember an old Hindi movie in which a teenage heroine is shown to be trying to convince hero about vegetarianism. Her argument is that if "I hurt an animal , I can see that it feels pain. But when I pluck a fruit, I do not feel plant is hurt." The hero there says "No! Plants also feel the pain." But my biologist friends tell me plants do not have any known central nervous system, so perhaps they do not feel pain. But that even I am not sure. Who knows tomorrow biologists may find one?
One of my friends tells me that he always feels even the grass may be feeling a little pain when we walk. "May be just a little but it does" were his words.

Some times unknowingly you make others change style.
Some years back two of my friends whom I knew for several years were visiting me. One was from USA and another from Denmark. On arriving in Mumbai in January leaving snow behind they were surprised at airport, "Even Police cops are walking in shorts." (In those days Police cops had such a dress in Mumbai, though it is another matter that some of them were not very happy about it). Then they gave me a surprise. Both told me that they had become Vege. I think happiness is natural instinct on seeing some friends follow similar style as one's own. On the other hand you also feel pleasure in seeing a friend having quite different style than your own.

References

1. Wikipedia is of course one of the most convenient source now a days
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_M%C3%BCller
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_vegetarianism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damodar_Dharmananda_Kosambi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka_the_Great

2. some other sources about ancient Hindu rituals and vegetarianism

http://www.ivu.org/news/march2000/hinduism.html
http://gita-talk.blogspot.com/2009/07/gita-talk-re-why-be-vegetarian-after.html

3. One of the books by Kosambi and many other free books are available on Arvind Gupta's site
http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/cultddk.pdf

4. Vegetarianism on hub pages - two article
http://hubpages.com/hub/not-created-to-eat-meat
http://www.raw-food-health.net/NumberOfVegetarians.html

5. Picures are from these sources
http://www.4to40.com/images/discoverindia/places/rajasthanrajputpainting/miniature_painting_kota.jpg
http://spirituality-meditation-yoga-pictures.blogspot.com/search/label/Krishna%20Radha
http://www.porchlight.ca/~blackdog/rock.jpg
http://www.porchlight.ca/~blackdog/sarhead.jpg
http://viewonbuddhism.org/images/buddha_borobudur_chanez.jpg
http://www.siamese-dream.com/white-buddha-meditation.html
http://www.google.co.in/imgres?imgurl=http://broapocalypse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/shivaparvati.jpg&imgrefurl=http://broapoca
http://www.varanasicity.com/history-of-varanasi.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Ashok-A-Short-Biography-of-Ashoka-the-Great-of-India

http://www.vaastuinternational.com/spiritual_guide/gita.jpg
http://krishna.org/a-practical-prescription-to-self-realization/


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Comments 96 comments

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 6 years ago from Port St. Lucie

You said it was a "Vedic" ritual to make animal sacrifices. Are you speaking about offerings to Kalki? If you are, I don't think that counts a Vedic. I think you have to substantiate vegetarianism with reference to the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-Gita.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Vrajvala

Welcome! Thanks for visit. By Vedic I only meant sacrifices mentioned in rig Vedas and other Vedas. Actually I am mentioning afterwards that "By 6th or 7th century BCE (for example in Black yajurveda or Chandyoga upnishada) killing of an animal accept for rituals was strictly prohibited."

Which is supposed to be earlier Black Yujurveda Or Shrimad Bhagvat? According to professional historians Shrimad Bhavatam is a Purana which perhaps came later than Black Yajurveda?)

Though Bhagvat Gita was preached by Krishna himself who lived in Dwapara Yuga. Kalayuga is supposed to be more than 5000 years old. So he should been even much earlier than all the dates I give. But if I say that it will not at all be accepted by current professional historians. It will create turmoil in their world about all dates.

I am writing dates only from history point of you as refered by professional historians in India and West. I also do not think they are always right. I accept your point.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

Soumyasrajan: your hub brings a warm glow to my heart. Not that I am a vegetarian, I am not. But, the beautiful photos, and the information brings happy thoughts back to me. A dear friend, Ashoka, was from Sri Lanka and stayed with us for many months. We would wake up to him cooking at midnight with heavy spices filling the house. Delicious food, and wonderful memories. I believe I may have been from your country in a past life.

Wonderful information of historical / religious nature. I was following Ramana Mahrishan and was invited to his Ashram in '03, but was unable to leave the country at that time.

Thanks for this hub, it is a pleasure reading it. :)


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Vrajvalaji

I liked your suggestions even more. I have included some of the quotes from Mahabharata and Bhagvat Gita


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Denise

Enjoyed your comment. Thank you. Why not visit now! If you do decide and come to Mumbai please do contact me.


BJBenson profile image

BJBenson 6 years ago from USA

Sorry I like my meat. However this was a great hub and I still hope to come there some day. The pictures were awesome!


suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

Rajan-I like this one,I am also a veg(well almost)for some years now and surly not for any religious reasons,but I find I am not missing much,Thanks for the lovely and great pictures.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! BJ

Welcome! and Thanks. Your visits are pleasure. Some Colors in India are so different from West. Did you feel that?


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! suny

Thanks a lot! Your comments are always pleasure. You know so much about spiritualism and practice also in quite exceptional manner. I am sure you must have gone through quite a lot of this material earlier also.


suraj78 profile image

suraj78 6 years ago from India

Hi Soumya, I am feeling so great to read this beautiful article. I proud to be an Indian as well as Vegetarian. Thanks for mentioning me in your hub.

I am great follower of Vedas than any other books, so nice to know that you explained many things from Vedas.

Now just waiting for new articles from you.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Suraj

Thanks for the visit and so nice comment. I knew of course that you love vegetarianism and Indian style. so do I.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Concise and thanks for filling in the blanks. I enjoy steak. Not good, not bad, just is. I learned in my travels "diversity" provide the contrast, and richness of our lives. Well written. Wikipedia: I wish they did not have the hyper text links. Studies have show we comprehend more and better when we do one thing at-a-time. To have our attention diverted by the hyper text initially was thought to enhance the Internet experience. Wrong! Great hub, flag up and awesome...


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

soumyasrajan: I will take you up on the kind offer and when I make my trip will stop to visit with you.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Dallas

Thanks a lot. I agree it should be balanced. Too much of any thing kills the joy. I just visited your site and read chapters of your intriguing novel. Enjoyed.


BJBenson profile image

BJBenson 6 years ago from USA

Yes, there is a vibrante feel to many of the colors. When in Turkey and I learned about the dyes for the rugs It made me understand one reason why they are so beautiful. It is the same with the pictures too.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! BJ

Quite true. I also feel a rug one can some time just say by the color that it must be Turkish or it must be Persian etc.


dreamreachout 6 years ago

The portrayal in your hub is wonderful!! It comes with absolute depth and gets to the root!! A meat eater will think twice before eating meat again, i.e, post reading your hub!!

Kudos for a job well done!!


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! dreamreachout

Thanks a lot for your wonderful comment.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Very full and interesting hub here. Lots of information, so much so, I will have to come back and revisit.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Springboard

Thanks for yr visit. It made me look at yr hub and I enjoyed a lot some of yr articles.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

What a fantastic hub! There is so much information here, and the pictures are wonderful too. I'm mostly vegetarian myself, although I have to confess to eating a very occassional piece of fish. Vegetarianism is quite a common lifestyle choice here in the South-East of England, and there are four or five good vegetarian restaurants in my nearest large town, Brighton.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Amanda

Thanks a lot for the visit. Yes as I mentioned England has some traditions of vegetarianism. Hope you also enjoy partial vegetarianism. Now actually there are lots of Indian restaurants in England. I think some of them specially some gujju ones must be vegetarian.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Glad to stop by. Lots here of interest as well. Keep on hubbing.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot for the visit Springboard


bhagwad profile image

bhagwad 6 years ago from Chennai, India

I became vegetarian when I found out how animals were tortured before being killed. I don't have problems with killing animals and eating them - I feel that's part of nature. But I don't believe in their suffering even a little more than they have to. But most places where animals are killed, they lead horrible lives before they die and I don't want that on my conscience...

Having said that, it's very difficult to be a vegetarian in the US! Back in India, it's so easy I don't even miss non vegetarian food :)


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Bhagwad

Thanks a lot for your comments.

I am not so sure now it is very difficult to be vegetarian in USA. Food stores even in small towns do stock vegetables and many vegetarian products. Many restaurant also have enough vegetarian food. There are generally Indian stores some where near by. Not just in USA, even in remote Europe now, to be Vegetarian is not so difficult. Last year I lived for a few weeks in Tampere Finland. Even there I did not find it difficult to be vegetarian.


ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York

I was a vegetarian when I lived in Asia and Europe. It s a bit of a challenge here in the US, athough it shouldn't be. Thank you for sharing your rich knowledge of your culture.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot for the visit Cecillabeltran! You must be a much better expert than me. I saw on your hub that you are a certified yoga teacher. It must be interesting to teach yoga.

It used to be a little cumbersome in USA in 70's etc. to be vegetarian, if you are in remote place. But no longer it is true. You have to know right places to shop and right restaurants to dine. I feel now by and large it is a pleasure even in USA- remote places. May be just find out some friend or your student who may be vegetarian to know, if you are interested.


GyanP 6 years ago

An interesting discussion at the following link, which also discusses the possible religious reasons for not eating animal meat -

http://samirbharadwaj.com/blog/understanding-the-h...

Thought you will enjoy it!

Regards

GyanP


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot GyanP! I will go through the article.


snagerries profile image

snagerries 6 years ago from Singapore

What a great hub it is.Thats a great display of culture in this hub.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! snagerries

Thanks a lot for so nice comment.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Very interesting read - maybe its something to do with purity. I am not a vegetarian but I think being a vegetarian is a healthier option. (Its just having the discipline to stay away from meat/chicken etc)

I wonder what your thoughts are on being a Vegan. I'm surprised its different from being Vegetarian.

Best Wishes.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Lady_E

If one can live with Vegan- restriction why not? That is even better. In India there are some people who just take fruits and roots etc.

Though I do take Milk. Over all in the Indian style milk and curd are important part of diet and sweets. I think more than half of Indian sweets have milk as the main ingredient. So taking away milk will take all the colors in Indian taste.

People who think of it as nonviolence - argue that to get milk you do not harm an animal so it is just like plucking fruits from trees.

Though occasionally there have been movements about it. Gandhi for example stopped taking milk as protest against ill-treatment of cows . After this Once he was sick and doctors advised him to take some milk-otherwise he will not survive was their assessment. But he did not agree finally a compromise was worked out and he took goat's milk. Though he was not happy about it, he felt this is a bit of weakness and not being so truthful to his decision about not taking milk.


Angela_1973 profile image

Angela_1973 6 years ago

Very interesting read, I spent one month in India, that was 10 years ago, I bet things have changed now, people did have a lot of servants, but the servants did not take care of the kids, grandparents live close by and visit often. I guess things are probably different now with more women working.

Being a vegetarian is one of the best thing you can do for your body, most people don't realize how many tasty things you can eat, while in India I ate a lot of vegetarian plates that were very good. They were cooked with vegetables, spices, rice, lentils,beans, it was not only healthy but it tasted great.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Angela

Welcome! Thanks a lot for the visit.

Yes things are changing in India. Still in many families grandparents do look after kids. But in cities small or large if both parents are working and grand parents are in some other town, things are different as you have guessed. Family life is still quite intimate. One good change is that now parents of both husband and wife visit more often (earlier it was much more husband's parents). But over all time spent together is reducing.


kims3003 6 years ago

Very well done article. Great information about being a vegetarian but also lots of interesting information about the culture in India. I loved this! Beautiful work! Glad I found you! Look forward to reading more.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot for so strong appreciation kim! Yes I also like this aspect of hubpages. We discover each other. I just became your fan.


kapileswar 6 years ago

although i am vegeterian , this reading has increased my confidence to be a vegeterian person. because some time i am troubled by some persons , that eating nonveg give a good health.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot kapileswar for the visit and comment. Oh! as far as I know world seems to be going in other direction. Vegetarian food is now considered healthier.

In any case one does not have to feel apologetic for being either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Both types of food have all the necessary nutrients to keep one healthy. Choice people make is not so much for the concern about health.

As I mention at least Indians generally are vegetarian because traditions in their family makes it so natural and cultural that they never think of even discovering any reason for it.


masmasika 6 years ago

This is an amazing hub with lots of beautiful pictures. I love the reasons why people become vegetarians. I had tried being vegetarian for 4 years because I believe in the healing effect of vegetarianism. The food that I really don't eat now is pork.

Thanks for sharing such amazing hub.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Masmasika

Thanks a lot for the visit and appreciation. Perhaps a reason that vegetarian food is healthier is that generally plants are healthier than animals in their life style, they extract minerals in a natural manner from earth and get their energy (food) directly from air. Also preserving them is easier. One can see more easily that they are not stale.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

So simple - your family is vegetarian so are you! I love Indian cuisine and fortunately I live here in New York City where there is a large Indian population and I can enjoy the very tasty spicy vegetarian foods - excellent. And shop for all the healthy spices.

Americans are sold on meat, even poor quality meat that is often recalled. Here, people don't know how to use all the healthy herbs and spices to stay healthy and prepare Indian and other cuisines. No other nation on earth consumes meat like this country and we are the most unhealthy - thanks to our poor diet. I haven't eaten meats or chicken (and our fish here is filled with mercury)in over 30 years and I do not have the chronic ailments of other older people, no high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, asthma, obesity, high cholesterol, arthritis, etc. etc. Nor do I have colds, flu, etc.

Sigh! Thanks for an article filled with so much information! Nice to meet you too! I'm a big fan now!


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Bk

Thanks a lot for the visit. It is pleasure to know you Bk! I am also going through hubs written by you, Many interesting ones. I was just reading one on alternate fuels. I also like NY very much. I often say that just like Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city in India, where you see faces from all parts of India, NY is the real cosmopolitan city of world, where you faces from people from practically any corner of world.

NY/NJ area has many Good Indian and vegetarian restraints. So you must not be facing any problem. I am sure by now you must have tried Indian stores you get there lots of Indian style food. Even big food stores P like Whole Foods, though a bit expensive, keep lots of interesting stuff.

If you come to Mumbai some time do visit us.

I have also wondered often why Americans became so fat ( a little bit of that you see every where, but much more in USA). I have started visiting USA since early seventies. One used to see then much more lean people. Now it has become a rather rarity. Is it just due to meat? I am not so sure?


Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

Wonderfully informative hub with beautiful pictures, thank you for working so hard on these. I voted you up and hit some buttons also. beautiful work here. aloha


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Sa`ge

Thanks a lot for so strong appreciation. I like to hear your "aloha" very much.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Sa`ge! coming back to your comment I do not know at all about this vote and buttons etc. What does it count? Does it matter much? So far I never bothered about it. I just published what ever I liked to convey and hoped, those who go through it will enjoy it. Hub pages does have a lot by many interesting people to go through and enjoy. I of course like comments discussions on my articles as well as those of others equally. They are the big pleasure.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Beautiful hub and message. I too am a veggie kind of guy! God bless You.


Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

soumyasrajan the voting helps a bit I think, people vote if your have a good or not so good hub. also if it is funny or helpful, if it is awesome and beautiful. all these are added up for you and i think makes the hub stronger for ratings. maybe to be featured I am not so sure. I always vote up if i like something very much. if I don't i don't vote at all. after all some other people might like what I do not like. so it is not for me to say that someones writing is not good. So I only vote for what I like :D. I hope this help you to understand the voting thing. sorry i answered late! :D aloha


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot for visit and comment micky! Interesting that u are also kind of veggie. Your very soft and nice style on hub pages, I admire very much.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Sa`ge

Thanks a lot. I am also like you, I will not like to vote some thing negative.

I will also now keep in mind a little voting other's articles. Though I think it matters not so much compared exchanging comments which makes an article go much further than original one.


Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

aye, i agree there with you on that on. aloha :D


marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 6 years ago from Australia

I suppose it's as simple as that: growing up vegetarian because you simply grew up vegetarian :) Interesting history!


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Yes, quite true Macrofratelli! Thanks a lot for the visit.


oishi profile image

oishi 6 years ago

Great article. so many interesting informations! what is interesting is that you have presented both sides of the view. Interesting to know that Buddha might or might not be a vegetarian.

I am a vegetarian and one thing that makes me happy about it is that I will be less vulnerable to some of the health problems meat-eaters face in the long run.

Botanists already claim that plants too have cns. but one argument in favour of vegetarianism is that if a part of a plant is severed the main plant still survives and even that part may regrow. but that is not possible when an animal is killed.

Thanks for posting.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Oishi

Thanks a lot for your visit and intriguing comment. Yes it is indeed true that there a little less problems with vegetarian food. I did not know that it is already accepted by botanists that plants have cns system. Very interesting.

Where is it located? It must be sort of every where, since as you mention even a severed part of a plant has exceptional capacity to survives and grow.


denden mangubat profile image

denden mangubat 6 years ago from liloan, cebu, philippines

thanks for sharing this.nice article


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot denden for the appreciation.


Leann Zarah profile image

Leann Zarah 5 years ago

Wish I could go vegetarian again...Thanks for this one, Soumyasrajan. :)


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Leann

Thanks a lot for the visit. I am happy that it generated at least a wish in you. Wish you all the good luck.


Leann Zarah profile image

Leann Zarah 5 years ago

Thanks, Soumyasrajan. Been wishing for that for the past couple of years actually. I was able to do so for two months this years but stopped when I had too much stress at work.

Thanks again. :)


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Leann

That is fine. Change at your speed. Being vegetarian does keep a person healthier, leaner. Also vegetarian food costs much less, apart from other advantages.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

I have often wrestled with the idea of being or not being vegetarian and for many years I was vegetarian. I have been eating meat for the last 3 years and enjoying it so much that I am not thinking about the problem. I love the way you write. You simply present the facts as they are without making judgement leaving it up to people to make their own minds up. It is also comforting to people who struggle with issues of trying to be good to be aware of how great men and women struggled with these same ideas but did not allow their dilemmas to stop them doing their duty. A wonderful hub once again packed with amazing and invaluable information and insights. I will definitely now buy Gandhi's autobiography as I too was expecting it to be filled with political ideology. Thank you.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Spirit Wisperer, for so strong appreciation. It is very encouraging.

I do enjoy just presenting facts and my anlasysis. Freedom to choose a path suitable for a person has to be of that person. One has to respect the person whom you are addressing, generally he is intelligent enough to see what is suitable for him/her. Moment one assumes a superiority that I have some thing to tell a person what is good for him/her, the whole discussion may become completely uninteresting.


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

What a wonderful article. So much information to digest. I will book mark this one as it will take me several readings to comprehend it all. I too am a vegetarian of sorts. I never eat beef, rarely other meats, but do like eggs, cheese and fish.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! william

Thanks a lot for the visit and so strong appreciation. There are many in India specially in Bengal (which has lots of ponds and rivers) who are like you they take only fish among meat products

Cheese is a milk product so it is any way included in vegetarian food.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Hi soumyasrajan. I am veggie but for fish occasionally. I want to go completely veggie. I kid myself that what I do demands better food. It's true in a way. Our food in the US is compromised. It would take 50 peaches to equal the one peach grown back half a century ago. The food our parents had and our grandparents - does not exist.

But - my time is running out. My usefulness has long withered.

I need a "walk-about" for my final days. I'm thinking of India. I want to be in a place where most are considered equal. America is a CASTE SYSTEM as much as India as ever ever been. The money pave needless sidewalks where few people walk. They PREFER to see the needy mother pushing her stroller with baby - in the mud. I SEE THAT CONTINUALLY and the American that will not agree can not see and does not want to see. But I can prove what I say I can PROVE what I say. Any day. I just wish someone would call me on this. I can prove it ANY DAY.

I am just wanting to be the man I want to be - instead of the man America, at large with MONEY, wants me to be. God bless you


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Micky

Thanks for the visit. Enjoyed your comments. It is not so difficult to be completely veggie.Just decide and start, if you wish. Be careful to always have some beans, milk, yogurt etc. (for proteins) in your meals.

I quite agree with you over the years we are loosing (not just in USA in countries like India also) quality to quantity - 50 peaches of today back to one peach of 50 years back (specially in cities) may be quite right. At the same time is it not true with a lot of other aspects of life too? While we think of changes as a progress, quite a few things are changing, it seems in reverse direction.

I think cast system, though thought about as some thing in India, has been there in Western countries and perhaps much more ruthless than that in India. With your pension etc., I am sure you can live in India a very comfortable life. Trying out India for you may be a great idea. Things of daily life are much cheaper there and needs of daily life are much fewer than those in USA (I am just now visiting USA). Actually a person like you can live there practically without any money. You look like a person who may like life in a good Ashram in India at least for some time (may be in Himalayas or at least near it). Though I must say, I am a city guy from Mumbai and have never lived in an Ashram. Reading you bicycle ventures, I am reminded of guy from India, who had bicycled around the world in 60's. Though I think today with so much war, hate and terrorism around it may be much more difficult to do.

About sidewalks, in India problems are in other direction. There are lot more people who prefer walking but government machinery, specially in metropolitan areas, is bent on destroying sidewalks for the comfort of those few who prefer automobiles.

Actually both can have enough if things are managed properly but they generally are not. I still hope that style of management both in USA and India will change for better.


Sueswan 5 years ago

Excellent hub! One wouldn't think of asking a meat eater why they eat meat.

I look forward to reading more of your articles Soumyasrajan. :-)


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Sueswan

Thanks for the visit. I liked your comment.


qwark profile image

qwark 5 years ago

G'mornin' soumyasrajan:

Thank you for becoming a "follower" (friend.) :):

I always read a hub written by a new "friend."

This excellent hub has been well researched and professionally presented.

I vote it up!

Lets begin with, I am an "ignostic" and pragmatic realist.

I've dedicated myself to education, health and wellness over the past 45 yrs.

WE humans are what we are because we became "omnivores."

Adding animal protein to our diets for a couple million yrs, separated us from our vegetarian, hominid ancestors and was responsible for the evolution of our massive, unique brains.

I'm sure you know that our digestive systems contain all the necessary digestive enzymes to efficiently breakdown ingested material to be effectively assimilated and utilized by our "human" bodies.

Being a "vegan" is contrary to the natural character of "man" which is "predation."

If you've read any of my hubs, it becomes very evident, very quickly that I view "all" religion as being the result of "our" evolving consciousness and the resulting fear that "ignorance and naivety" produce.

We are an infant species that is laboring to adapt to the unique awareness we have gained. An awareness that has created a human characteristic we have named: "curiosity."

"Curiosity" drives man to explore and in so doing advance his knowledge and to progress.

Unfortunately, All men are born equal, but environment controls evolution and existing in such a variety of environments on our planet, has, necessarily, created fragmenting variations in culture, society, mores and appearance. Difference causes anxiety and fear. That anxiety and fear result in death and destruction.

The advent of "monotheism," a couple of millenia or so, has been and still is a deadly, regressive influence on the "natural" evolution of the human species.

The religious influences you cover so well in this hub, also influence the natural "character" of man.

Vegetarianism is but one of myriad other influences.

I'm rambling on here. So here I'll end my response. :):

You are an interesting person!

Qwark


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Qwark

Thanks a lot for your visit. Exactly! I also like to read at least one article of a person whom I have made friend or who has become my friend. I also like some times to write comments.

Your biological explanation why people are non-vegetarian are interesting (digestive system etc. ). Though I am not sure whether our brain became big because of that. Most animals are non-vegetarian, while they have much smaller brains. While elephants one of the biggest animal is vegetarian. I do know what biologists say.

I have also seen often reasoning in other direction that human teeth etc. are suitable for vegetarian food only. Though over all I agree with your theme people are not vegetarian or non-vegetarian because of biological reason that much. They are so because they want to be like that and we are humans so we try to

go against routine and enjoy that.

When ever I vist regions with very cold climate (north of USA/Canada or Europe etc.), coming from Mumbai where weather is quite comfortable for practically whole year, I always feel that these places were not really made for human beings. But on the other hand I also admire how people have made life quite comfortable even in such places with heating etc. Again we humans do so because we are like that, we just enjoy such struggle. I think that is what you also convey in your comment.

Did you by the way notice in the article interesting arguments of Kosambi, who tries to prove that it is the nature, economy or inventions (invention of a plough for example) which result in changes in religion or food habits.


qwark profile image

qwark 5 years ago

soumysrajan:

Oh yes I am in total agreement with Kosambi.

There is not doubt that technical advances definitely produces changes in food habits.

Religion? I haven't studied that aspect of modern mans propensity for religious belief.

Most people I chat with relate to modern man: Homo/sapienssapiens, when they make decisions as to why man is why he is. They haven't studied the anthropological history of man over the past, close to 4 million yrs of his evolution.

The brains of lesser

primates is much smaller compared to body mass that in the human because they are, with the exception of the chimp, strictly herbiverous creatures, thus the massive stomach. They have to ingest massive amounts of vegetation (cellulose)to provide the proteins necessary to maintain a viable energy level and good health.

This is just one bit of research ( it exists by the book load) available in ref. to the evolution of mans massive brain;

"In 2004, Dennis Bramble and Daniel Lieberman proposed that early Homo were scavengers that used stone tools to harvest meat off carcasses and to open bones. They proposed that humans specialized in long-distance running to compete with other scavengers in reaching carcasses.[6] It has been suggested that such an adaptation ensured an animal protein food supply that made large brains possible."

The teeth.

Observe the massive "canines" in most of the lesser apes.

Man has small canines, but they are there. The eventual advent of tools

lessened the need for teeth to rip and shred.

There are "vestigial remnants" of our evolution that are gradually disappearing because they are no longer of any use i.e. the appendix, the coccyx, remnants in the throat of ancient gills ( the name escapes me.)

Our evolved genetic programming makes us omnivorous predators.

Without claw and fang, man could not have survived if he had not become a social omnivore.

His evolved brain and improving "consciousness" caused man to "invent" curiosity and guile! They were his saviors!

Our digestive systems will digest just about anything but cellulose and much of plant life is cellulose. It is valuable tho as dietary fibre.

No one eats a "balanced" diet. I eat no beef (takes too long to digest and ferments in the lower bowel.)

There are few veggies that contain complete protein.

To be a vegan, one must be very careful to combine foods that provide the 8 essential ammino acids.

Enuf! My fingers are getting tired...lol

Anyway, nice chatting with ya! :):

Qwark


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! qwark

Thanks for your comment. Interesting observations. I thought one important development among humans was locking arrangement in ankles, so that they could stand up. Where does this fit into this set up. Or perhaps that was earlier than period you are talking about.

Pulses are considered to be the main sources of proteins and basic amino acids. In India vegetarians generally take milk, so they are not vegan. I also do. Number of people who are vegetarian is in hundreds of millions. Not only they are quite healthy and fit. It has been like this for almost 2000 years. Is that not enough proof that it does have sufficient basic diet for humans?


qwark profile image

qwark 5 years ago

Hello soumyasrajan:

:): "Pulses?" Is that an Indian word?

In English a pulse is caused by heart beat.

I have no idea how it relates to proteins and basic amino acids.

Milk is a wonderful source of complete protein.

There are 6.7 billion people on earth. Hundreds of millions? Not many.

But humans are wonderfully adaptive animals. We wouldn't be here if we weren't :): If animal protein isn't "handy," of course people will adapt and be healthy.

As I mentioned in my last comment, no one eats a "balanced" diet, consistantly.

2000 yrs ago is a nano second in geologic time.

Homo/sapiens had already been here for close to 500k yrs.

Have a good night soumyasrajan. :):

Qwark


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Qwark

Pulses is a common English word, perhaps not used in USA. may be you are more familiar with beans or lentils

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse_%28legume%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lentil

But I like it you were ready to consider heart beats and try to explore how it is related with vegetarianism.

I agree with your other comments. Human beings are surely very adoptive. It does not have to be even physical- just a mental spurt is enough to change them.


qwark profile image

qwark 5 years ago

Hi soumyasrajan:

yep, the legumes do contain moderate levels of protein. Some, like soy beans, contain all the essential amminos.

To insure that the vegan gets the protein needed grains should be mixed with legumes.

I had never heard legumes called "pulses." You just added another word to my vocabulary. Ty! :)

I eat everything in moderation, plus taking a very good multi vitamin/mineral supplement.

There are no bad foods, only bad dietary habits.

It's late, I'm gonna turn in.

Nice chatting with ya. G'nite....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Qwark


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Qwark

Oh! I do not take that much soyabeans. But Garbenzos, kidney beans and what we call dal (a soup of lentils called toor dal - see some Indian recipes) - that is included in a common diet. Also yogurt gives proteins, if you take milk.

G'nite!


quark 4 years ago

Why are we talking about food items when these great Lords like Mahavir swami and Gautam Buddha in front of us? This can be explained by a relating a leaf to a dozen gardens. This is nothing more than foolishness!


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! quark

Thanks, I agree -it is a bit insane to talk about specialized food while people like Mahavir Swami, Buddha and several others Rishis of that time in that era did so many interesting things. Whole society in India changed quite a bit with what they did.

I have been trying rewrite the model of universe built of philosophers of those time in today's style and some simple language. They built the model by very rational arguments. One of the conclusions one can draw from those arguments is that meditation is an important tool to study such aspects and some thing like meditation is needed to understand these aspects. I found this interesting, that a conclusion about meditation can be drawn from rational arguments built to understand a model of universe.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

As I said before, the Jamaican culture is influenced by the Indian culture. Jainism is very close Rasta.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Rasta1 for the visit. It is indeed interesting that this whole movement started in Jamaica and is close to Indian ideas too. I did not know much about it.


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 4 years ago from Los Angeles

Soumyasrajan, I really enjoyed the history of vegetarianism in India. Likewise, I am not a vegetarian for the same reason.

My parent expected us to eat meat, and my family will question why there is no meat for a meal. The first day of my college life, I was served fried cheese. For me, this was vegetarian. I called my parents and told them that my first meal at this expensive dormitory lifestyle had no meat.

India food is so delicious that it does not need meat. And, same goes with Japanese curry (meatless is fine).

Great hub. Voted up and beautiful!


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Formosangirl

Thanks a lot for visit and interesting comments. Yes meat is not really needed. In India also cheese is considered vegetarian (milk products).


wordsword profile image

wordsword 4 years ago

Hi, nice that you touched upon vegetarianism, i read somewhere that the human body is not fit for consuming meat. If you observe a cow you can see that the teeth are fit for eating grass and leaves. The same with a monkey. Even human being have the same teeth. i even heard that animals which eat meat have a special chemical which makes digestion easy.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot wordsword for the visit. Yes I have also heard this argument. Our teeth do seem to be similar to animals who are generally vegetarians and do not have teeth of the type generally used for cutting meat type products.

As I mentioned in the article, Whitney has written an interesting article on why eating meat is biologically not suitable for us. Here is the link to her article

http://hubpages.com/food/not-created-to-eat-meat...


Shri 4 years ago

Is egg a vegetarian food?


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Interesting question Shri. How does one decide? Way Gandhi decided I mentioned in the article - I hope u enjoyed that.

That says more or less - one method to decide. Just look at tradition u feel like following and decide what u feel comfortable with.


sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

sunilkunnoth2012 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

Hi Soumyasrajan,

You have narrated thing in clear language. The photos are fantastic. I wonder why you go in a slow pace in spite of the fact that you have good talent to pen your thoughts. Don't give up. If you do allot a little more time for hubbing, you can do wonders here. I loved the way you presented your hub on vegetarianism. I too almost a veg and and I will support your activities for promoting vegetarian foods. I am going to publish one hub on Kerala food culture soon. Hope you will find and leave your precious comments. Wish you the best of luck!


soumyasrajan 3 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Sunil

Thanks for the visit and appreciation. I surely will go through yr hub and article when ever u write.

Oh! I enjoy writing occasionally on internet. I have not recently written an article on hub pages - but I wrote some time back an article on ancient Indian philosophies

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Truth-what...

Later I started writing a series of articles on advaiata philosophy on speaking tree. Here is a link to my articles

http://www.speakingtree.in/public/soumyasrajan/blo...

the starting article in that series 9first two are more on histroy etc.)

http://www.speakingtree.in/public/spiritual-blogs/...

I wanted to publish the same articles on Hub pages but they some how did not allow that.


N A Ramachandra Pai 3 years ago

I am also a Vegetarian. The usual reasons for choosing vegetarianism by people may be related to moral, religious, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, environmental, social, taste, or health concerns.


soumyasrajan 3 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Ramachandraji for the visit and nice comment. yes I agree with you.


narayanan shanker 3 years ago

Plants are also living things. To live on this earth we need to kill another living thing i.e either a plant or an animal. We will die if we do not eat. How will you resolve this dilemma.


soumyasrajan 3 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks for the visit. As I wrote to u earlier also naryanan shanker - to resolve yr dilemmas and superstitions, u do not need me, all u need to do is to study a little of basics of science, ancient philosophies and related subjects.


jcressler profile image

jcressler 2 years ago from Orlando, Florida

Thanks for sharing so much of your culture and history with us!


soumyasrajan 2 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot jcressler for the visit and appreciation.

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