In most parts of the world, people have been eating meat since infancy, and are not told about the consequences of eating meat. Priests, heads of state, parents, friends, teachers, health programmers, the media, the desire to continue eating meat and the taste of meat itself have made people addicted to eating meat. Meat tastes good, therefore people do not bother to consider the ghastly acts of killing innocent animals that bring meat to the table. Thus, the result is that more and more people ignorantly have adopted the life-style of meat-eating. But in God’s law, ignorance is no excuse. Therefore, it is wise to study and find the best foods to eat and remain free from the consequences and be healthy, happy and wise.
Normally, those who are attached to eating meat think that vegetarian food has no taste, is not varied, has no protein or vitality, and that it is just boiled in water. Their mindset is that people cannot survive if they don’t eat meat. How is it, then, that the gorilla, elephant, horse and bull are so big and strong? They are all vegetarian creatures, yet each is very powerful. The idea that meat gives energy by supplying the body with large amounts of needed protein is propaganda.
St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) wrote in his “Free Choice of the Will,” which was later translated and published in “Fathers of the Church’s Services,” saying that “Although the first men were undisciplined and brutish, they were vegetarians nonetheless.” Largely due to Augustine’s propaganda, our attitude and nature has been changed without thinking about the consequences of the present actions which remove the value of animals from the minds of men.
Until Augustine, practically everyone followed vege-tarianism. Origen (A.D. 1857-254?), who was considered the founder of Christian philosophy, was also a vegetarian. Human beings are given a certain amount of free will to choose the right thing for the self; but when this power to choose is misused, it brings bad Karma (or reaction) to the person. Therefore, Origen considered that the fall of an individual is due to misusage of his or her free will. He believed in transmigration of the soul’s rising and falling in the evolutionary scale. According to him, the individual soul, falling short of the ultimate goal, is reincarnated into this world again and again. Until Augustine came along, this idea of reincarnation prevailed, which kept people from eating meat.
Therefore, the priesthood, heads of state, parents, teachers, health programmers and the media should see the real health value for people and introduce vegetarianism for their long and healthy life. Even though meat has been included in the diet since one’s birth, it should be given up, because it impli¬cates the person into sin. Therefore, it is wise for every intelligent person to be vegetarian to be happy and peaceful.
Everyone needs proper guidance to take the right path to avoid doing the wrong things. The timeless Sanskrit texts known as the Vedas, which are the first written religions texts, provide this guidance. According to Vedic Sanskrit scholars, these books were either spoken or written by the Supreme Lord Himself. The Vedas tell us that the Supreme Lord, who lives in His Kingdom, created this world and filled it with every kind of living entity so that each could experience the consequences of their past deeds. The merciful Lord, knowing the problems of living entities, manifested these Vedas to give information about how to live incessantly happy in this problematic material world, and after death reach the Kingdom of God.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Vedas (written in Sanskrit) originated long before Christianity. Another name for the Sanskrit language is deva-nagari or the language of God or demigods, and it has existed since the time of creation. Even if we take the opinion of the College Dictionary, the Sanskrit language has been in use since about 1200 B.C., and all Vedic scriptures are written or spoken in this language. In these scriptures, and also in the other holy books of the world, it is slated that everything that we see is created by the Supreme Lord. In this variegated creation the Lord divided humans into two categories—divine and demoniac. This is confirmed by Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad Gita (16.6), “dvau bhuta sargo loke’smin deva asura eva ca, there are two kinds of beings in this world—the divine and the demoniac.” He further says that demoniac people do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. They have neither cleanliness nor righteous conduct.
Divine people always abide by the laws of God, whereas the demoniac people act impulsively, ignoring the laws of God. These two classes of men–divine and demoniac–have existed throughout history. Meat-eating has also existed a long time. In the beginning all humans were vegetarians but eventually some adopted meat-eating. Upon their need they would hunt and eat their prey. But now slaughterhouses have taken the place of the hunt and supply meat in packages so the people do not realize that meat comes from ghastly killing. Because people are kept in such ignorance, the meat-eating population has greatly increased.
The Vedas also state that sacrificed animals could be eaten, but only under sacrifice restrictions. When a sacrificial animal was brought to the dais for sacrifice, it was told in its ear, “If you are not liberated, you come back and kill me in my next life.” Such sacrifices were performed on the night of new moon, which comes once a month on the lunar calendar. In this sacrifice, a pure priest would chant perfected Mantras (spiritual hymns) so the killed animal would become liberated. Unless such rules were followed, meat-eating was not allowed by the Vedas. These restrictions had to be followed by those who desired to eat meat in the Vedic civilization.
Now, in this present age of disturbance, Vedic priests do not engage in any type of ghastly activities, such as chanting Mantras for animal sacrifices, because they know that such Mantras have lost their potency. That is why the Vedic scriptures have put a ban on every animal sacrifice for this age. As it is said in the Vedic scriptures:
kalau panca vivarjayet
“The horse sacrifice, the cow sacrifice, the taking to renuncient life, the offering of oblations to the fore-fathers and begetting a son by contacting the husband’s brother are the five things forbidden in this present age of Kaliyuga.”
For these reasons, and many others, people around the world have eaten meat for many centuries. However, to improve one’s health, happiness and inner peace, one should consider refraining from eating meat, and begin the journey to a vegetarian way of life.