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Vegetarian Discussion
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <span style='color:red'> The latest Fasion - Vegetarian </span>

A vegetarian diet is good for you, says the stunning Yana Gupta and Amitabh Bachchan agrees. Exposed to the hottest Indian vegans, JENNIFER AU is almost convinced to look beyond her Sunday roast.

As a seasoned meat lover, the word vegetarianism isn’t part of my vocabulary. My favourite meal is a Sunday roast — slices of tender meat, covered in gravy, with vegetables — on the side. But lately, the number of friends who have decided to become vegan has suddenly escalated. Dinner dates are no longer a chance to unwind and relax over a glass of wine. Instead, I’m faced with a scowl, as knife in hand, I tuck into a steak tartare.

It seems that the growing trend in vegetarianism is gaining momentum, with everyone from Hollywood — Brad Pitt and Liv Tyler, to Bollywood — Jackie Shroff and Amrita Rao, jumping on the bandwagon.

According to the Anthropological Survey of India, there are about 220 million strict vegetarians in India, and the figures are rising. A reflection of this is the abundance of vegetarian-only diners dotted all over town. There’s Kadambam which serves authentic Iyengar cuisine, the legendary Mavali Tiffin Rooms, and the state-wide chain, Kamat Yatri Nivas. Even restaurants in swish five-star hotels are serving up vegetarian specials. Keeping it in mind, is the Chinese outlet, The Szechuan Court in the Oberoi Hotel, which has recently designed an extensive menu catering to those who only eat greens.

Senior sous chef at the Oberoi, Anthony Huang, has been cooking for the past decade in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, and has noted that vegetarianism is flourishing. “More people are requesting vegetarian fare and they want variety,” says Huang. As a result, Huang and his team have devised a constant vegetarian menu with a vast selection — vegetable spring rolls accompanied by glass noodles, silken tofu broth with coriander and braised bean curd in spinach sauce, just to name a few. Huang believes that vegetarians should be given the same eating experience as meat lovers. “Indians are very well travelled. They appreciate quality and know what they’re looking for,” adds Huang.

Picking up on the vegetarian craze, PETA India is holding it’s third annual Hottest Vegetarian Alive Contest. The on-line poll is currently posted on the activist website, www.PETAIndia.com, and web surfers will be able to vote for who they believe is the ‘hottest’ vegetarian celebrity, with results tallied at the end of the month. The previous two competitions were won by Amitabh Bachchan and Yana Gupta, both of whom managed to oust competitors ranging from Shahid Kapur to Alicia Silverstone to Pamela Anderson. This year, there are new additions to the star studded list, including actor, Shahid Kapoor, cricketer, Anil Kumble, and designer, Stella McCartney.

While everyone has their own personal reasons for going veg, Bijal Vacharajani, special projects co-ordinator of PETA India, cites that her motivation is based on two firm beliefs. “Well firstly, it’s for the animals. Each vegetarian saves 80 animals every year from a lifetime of misery and death,” says Vacharajani. “Secondly, it’s a health reason as well,” says Vacharajani. “Women who eat meat daily are almost four times as likely to get breast cancer, and men with diets rich in meat and other animal products are almost four times as likely to develop prostate cancer than men with the lowest intake of meat.”

Czech model and PETA pin-up, Yana Gupta, is an adamant spokesperson for vegetarianism. Accompanying a recent campaign for PETA, the model advocated a non fish-eating stance. “There are so many delicious and nutritious vegetarian options to choose from these days, in every part of the world, that there is no need to kill fish or any other animal for food,” says Gupta. “A vegetarian diet is good for your health, the animals, the environment and your taste buds!”

With a penchant for his own special home-made recipe of coconut and potato curry, designer, Hemant Trevedi, has been a staunch vegetarian for the past five year, and credits his stance to PETA. “When they first approached me to style and create their first vegetarian ad-campaign for India, I realised the importance of the cause that I was going to be associated with,” says Trevedi. “So it was only natural that on the very first day of the shoot I automatically became vegetarian. I respect our planet too much to eat animals.” He believes that vegetarianism is gaining eminence in India. “With more and more people realising that their meat eating habits are linked to heart ailments, diabetes and obesity,” says Trevedi, “they are at least looking at turning vegetarian.”

Model Rajneesh Duggal began her vegetarian crusade nine years ago, for both ethical and religious reasons. “Also, someone suggested that by following a vegetarian diet, I would be able to curb my short temper more easily,” says Duggal. “And guess what it worked!” She finds vegetarian food a more nutritious option and regards the health aspect a bonus — “keeping fit is essential for a model.” Like Trevedi, she has also seen interest in turning veg within her own social group. “I have noticed a lot of my friends shunning meat in favour of a healthy veggie meal,” says Duggal. “I hope that it signals that more and more people are embracing vegetarianism.”

With pro-vegetarian campaigns posted on every corner, and a surge in restaurants catering to non-meat eaters, vegetarianism isn’t merely a fad — it’s here for the long haul. Carnivores may soon have to face the once vegetarian domain of searching for a suitable meal. Perhaps it’s time to convert to vegan ways, but then again, there’s always that Sunday roast...

Health benefits of vegetarianism are plentiful. They include:
*Reducing the risk of certain cancers by up to 40 pc.
*Decreasing possibility of heart disease by over 30 pc.
*Restricting chance of suffering from kidney and gall stones, diet-related diabetes and high blood pressure.
*Lowering cholesterol levels and reducing health problems linked with obesity.

Quote:I beg to differ. I will prefer my favorite veg dish for a chicken burger.

Heh! I mean, generally speaking. Non-vegetarian's strongest claim is taste, and no one can argue with his own personal tastes..Personally, I agree with you...

Quote: Einstein, Plato, Socrates, Thomas Edison, and all ancient Indian thinkers were veg

Einstein was vegetarian only for the last year or so of his life.

I would not make a statement like, All Indian thinkers were Vegetarians.

I know about Einstein..veg at his wisest. He said "world would be better off veg" or something like that, did he not?

*ancient*...Not "all"..well Ok even there some may have been non-veg
<!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

(Damn formatting!!)


This is why I turned veg: my curiosity about life in general led me to read up and think about comparative religions and about Sanatan Dharma in particular. I am incredibly lazy inspite of being curious, and I always want to simplify things. And I found "Truth" to be the one common thread that u can base ur life around and everything will fall in place. "Truth" explains why I keep harping on the need to expose pak and Xtianity and Islam, and the need to show Indians what India was.
I could not bear the guilt of eating animals and still pretending to be on the side of truth. (If killing in the name of Allah is not truth, then why should killing innocent animals be truth? Both are killing for your selfish wants..one is killing for booty and power, the other is to please your palate. "Dominion over animals" etc is a foreign concept, not an Indic one. Plus I visited a few veg sites..saw the treatment of animals..
Also, the US spends thousands of $$ rescuing a pet dog trapped on an ice floe, and shows it on National TV, but send millions of animals to die a tortured death..that disgusted me)

And there is no doubt **for me** that giving up meat improves your connection to God.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Cross posting this link from another thread:

Kids With High IQs Grow Up to Be Vegetarians

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->FRIDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- As a child's IQ rises, his taste for meat in adulthood declines, a new study suggests.

British researchers have found that children's IQ predicts their likelihood of becoming vegetarians as young adults -- lowering their risk for cardiovascular disease in the process. The finding could explain the link between smarts and better health, the investigators say.

"Brighter people tend to have healthier dietary habits," concluded lead author Catharine Gale, a senior research fellow at the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre of the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital.

Recent studies suggest that vegetarianism may be associated with lower cholesterol, reduced risk of obesity and heart disease. This might explain why children with high IQs tend to have a lower risk of heart disease in later life.

The report is published in the Dec. 15 online edition of the British Medical Journal.

In may be the other way round of cause and effect too. A vegetarian diet may improve the functions of the intellect. A sattvik diet is always a better diet for a better intellect.

Bhagavad Gita says:

AyuH sattva bal Arogya sukh prIti vivardhanAH
rasyAH snigdhAH sthirAH hridA AhArAH sAttvikpriyAH (BG 17:8)

[The sattvik food is naturally liked by a sattvik mind. Such diet improves: lifeforce, sattva, energy, strength, health, happiness, and compassion. Such diet contains 'Ras' and smoothness, does not rot for long time, and is naturally liked by the mind.]
Unfortunately most Indians today are to sissy to chase their convictions. Idiot yindoo eating a calf that was dragged from its mother will boast about his red-blooded manliness, and will later on put his thumb up his b*tt and say "yeshhar, yeshhar" when some psec tells him how Shahjahan built the Taj Mahal *even if he knows that Tajo Mahalaya was a Shiv temple and was converted* (like hundreds of other temples; thousands were just plain razed). Apparently, no manliness in looking a mullah in the eye and telling him to FO; only in eating animals who have done nothing to you. (Now: I am vegetarian, but would gladly eat Yasin Malik..if well marinated, that is)... <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<span style='color:red'>Japan, until about a century back, was predominantly Vegetarian</span>

I was reading a book, which describes St Francis Xavier's missionary journeys to China and Japan in 16th century. One very surprising comment in that travelogue was about the food habits of Japanese. He described Japanese people to be predominantly vegetarians (he mentioned it as if it were a vice).

Little bit of google gave this nice article:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Vegetarianism and Vegetarians in Japan
Mitsuru Kakimoto,  Japanese Vegetarian Society
Department of Environmental Science,
Osaka Shin-Ai College, 2-7-30 Furuichi, Joto-ku, Osaka 536-8585, Japan

A survey that I conducted of 80 westerners, including Americans, Englishmen and Canadians, revealed that approximately half of them believed that vegetarianism originated in India. Some respondents -- 8 per cent. in each case -- assumed that vegetarianism had its origin in Japan or China. It seems to me that the reason why westerners associate vegetarianism with Japan or China is Buddhism. It is no wonder, and in fact we could say that Japan used to be a country where vegetarianism prevailed.

Gishi-wajin-den, a history book on Japan written in China around the third century B.C., says "there are no cattle, no horses, no tigers, no leopards, no goats and no magpies in that land. The climate is mild and people over there eat fresh vegetables both in summer and in winter". It also says that "people catch fish and shellfish in the water". Apparently, ancient Japanese ate fresh vegetables as well as rice and other cereals as staple foods. They also took some fish and shellfish, but little flesh.

Several hundred years later, Buddhism came to Japan and the prohibition of hunting and fishing permeated the Japanese people. In 676 AD, the then Japanese emperor Tenmu proclaimed an ordinance prohibiting the eating of fish and shellfish as well as animal flesh and fowl. Subsequently, in the year 737 of the Nara period, the emperor Seimu approved the eating of fish and shellfish. During the twelve hundred years from the Nara period to the Meiji restoration in the latter half of the 19th century, Japanese people enjoyed vegetarian-style meals. They usually ate rice as staple food and beans and vegetables. It was only on special occasions or celebrations that fish was served. Under these circunstances the Japanese people developed a vegetarian cuisine, Shojin Ryori (ryori means cooking or cuisine), which was native to Japan.

The word "shojin" is a Japanese translation of "Virya" in Sanskrit, meaning "to have the goodness and keep away evils". Buddhist priests of the Tendai-shu and Shingon-shu sects, whose founders studied in China in the ninth century before they founded their respective sects, have handed down vegetarian cooking practices from Chinese temples strictly in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha. In the 13th century, Dogen, the founder of the Soto sect of Zen, formally established Shojin Ryori or Japanese vegetarian cuisine. Dogen studied and learned the Zen teachings abroad in China, during the Sung Dynasty. He fixed rules aiming to establish the dietary habits of a pure vegetarian life as a means of training the mind.

One of the other impacts Zen exerted on the dietary habits of Japanese people manifested itself in Sado, the Japanese tea ceremony. It is believed that Eisai, founder of the Rinzai-shu sect, introduced tea to Japan and it is the custom for Zen followers to drink tea. The customs preserved in the teaching of Zen lead to a systematic rule called Sado. Believe it or not, a Cha-shitsu or tea ceremony room is so constructed as to resemble the Shoin, where the chief priest is at a Buddhist temple. Food served at a tea ceremony is called Kaiseki in Japanese, which literally means a stone in the breast. Monks practicing asceticism used to press heated stones to their bosom to suppress hunger. Then the word Kaiseki itself came to mean a light meal served at Shojin and Kaiseki meals had great influence on the Japanese dietary culture.

As an example of a Buddhist vegetarian in the modern age, I can mention Kenji Miyazawa, a Japanese writer and poet of the early 20th century, who wrote a novel entitled "Vegetarian-Taisai", in which he depicted a fictitious vegetarian congress which reminded me of those that the IVU has held since its foundation. His works played an important role in the advocacy of modern vegetarianism.

The Buddhist teachings are not the only source contributing to the growth of vegetarianism in Japan. In the late 19th century, Doctor Gensai Ishizuka published an academic book on a dietary cure in which he advocated vegetarian cooking with an emphasis on brown rice and vegetables. His method is called Seisyoku (Macrobiotics) and is based upon ancient Chinese philosophy such as the principles of Ying and Yang and Taoism. Now some people support his method hoping for the benefit of preventive medicine. Japanese macrobiotics suggest taking brown rice as half of the whole intake, with vegetables, beans and seaweeds and a small amount of fish.

After world war II, Japan was greatly influenced by nutritional ideas introduced from the USA and in the 1980s, like the USA, we experienced a serious social problem in the high rate of geriatric diseases resulting from hyper-nutrition. Seventh Day Adventist vegetarian cuisine, which is supported by scientific evidence, then began to attract interest and Japanese people adopted the US-style Adventist cuisine and came up with a new Japanese-style lacto-ovo-vegetarian cuisine in which brown rice is taken in addition to corn flakes and milk.

Thus there are three main vegetarian influences in Japanese cuisine: Buddhist, Seisyoku (Macrobiotic) and Adventist.

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Japanese people started to eat meat some 130 years ago and now suffer the crippling diseases caused by the excess intake of fat in flesh and the possible hazards from the use of agricultural chemicals and additives. This is persuading them to seek natural and safe food and to adopt once again the traditional Japanese cuisine.</span>

In 1993 the Japanese Vegetarian Society (NPO) was formed as a result of concern about animal rights, global environmental issues, third world hunger and human health. Vegetarian society members are eager to face these issues and are working hard both in Japan and globally.

Good discussion on the science and philosophy of food intake. Sorry to nitpick, but please do consult this site before throwing up numbers on calories, cholesterol and other nutrition related numbers.
A Zen master spoke in 10th century, thus:

From this book: Buddhist Scriptures

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><b>What great need to destroy lives in quest of rich and exotic flavors? Can you gorge yourselves from cup and tray to the music of reed pipe and song, as butchered animals scream on the chopping block? Alas! Could anyone with a human heart be so insensitive as this?</b> That the whole world engages in this without realizing its error, surely this is an example of something so painful that one weeps endlessly with grief?

<b>When you know that the creatures on your tray come, struggling and squealing, from the chopping block, then you make their extreme anguish just a slight delight of tastebuds for yourself?</b> You would never be able to get them down, even if you tried to eat them. Is it not the height of insensitivity?</span>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><b>To make one's living by taking life is something that in principle is condemned by the Gods...There is no more certain means than this when it comes to planting the seeds for rebirth in the hells and evil retribution in lives to come. How could you face such pain and not seek a different livelihood?

I pray that all will refrain from taking life, and that household after household will observe vegetarian fasts. All the Buddhas will be filled with joy, and the myriad gods and spirits will extend their protection to you.  </b>Armed conflict will for ever cease; punishments may never need be applied; the hells will be emptied; and people will for ever depart from the causes that produce the ocean of miseries. </span>
My opinion is that when one sticks to one's personal principles it is okay. One should never give up on what one believes is ethically and morally right for trivial reasons. (Which is different from changing one's principles after thinking through a matter).

That's why I don't like it when Brahmana Hindus turn non-veg just to fit in or so they seem more suckular. Same goes for Jains, and Hindus of the Veerashaiva community. Or when Hindus in general start eating beef to show they're 'progressive'.

I'd prefer humans to be vegetarian for animal-friendly reasons, but then I also prefer diseases to vanish, and other miseries to end. It ain't going to happen any time soon.
I oppose this, though:
Cloned-Animal Food Safe Says FDA
Engineering animals just to feed us 'better', that's just ... well, that's just wrong:<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Advocates of livestock cloning hope the technology will help produce more milk and lean, tender meat by creating more disease-resistant animals.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, while describing the kaliyuga, says:

sarvaih sardham ca sarveSAm
bhakSanam niyama-cyutam
abhakSya-bhakSya lokas ca
catur-varas ca lampatAh

All will eat together, without observing any niyams of eating right. People will start eating non-edible objects (abhakshya). And (as result) people of all the four varnas will become lampat. (Lampat is a Sanskrit word, which survives in Hindi to date. I don't know its equivalant in English)
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Dec 29 2006, 10:32 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Dec 29 2006, 10:32 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I oppose this, though:
Cloned-Animal Food Safe Says FDA
Engineering animals just to feed us 'better', that's just ... well, that's just wrong:<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Advocates of livestock cloning hope the technology will help produce more milk and lean, tender meat by creating more disease-resistant animals.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

You are right!! No need of cloned animals!! <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->
We don't need meat to feed us good!
I think if every people of the world turn vegetarian more fields now used to breed animals will be used for cereals cultivations and product more food!
Just tink about how much does a cow eat, if we have to breed cows to eat their meat we must breed many many cows using many fields to feed them, but if we eat the milk we can breed a small number of cows and then use the field to cultivate.
May be a way to solve the problem of people now tryng to live without food!!
12th and 13th Parvas of Mahabharat - Shanti Parva and Anusasana Parva - constitute the upadesh of pitAmah bhISma on his bed of arrows, to maharAj yudhiSThira.

In Santi Parva is related the despondency of maharAj yudhiSThira on his having slain his close relations in war. In this Parva is described how from his bed of arrows pitAmah bhISma explained various systems of dharma, particularly of interest to kings; this Parva expounded the duties relative to emergencies, with full indications of time and reasons.

In continuation of the same context is the 13th, Anusasana Parva. In it is described how Yudhishthir was reconciled to himself on hearing the exposition of dharma by Bhishma. This Parva treats of rules in detail of Dharma and Artha; the rules of charity and its merits; the qualifications of donees; ceremonials of individual duty; the rules of conduct and the merit of truth. pitAmah bhISma ends his sthool Sharir in this Anushasan Parva.

There is this very interesting discussion between the two great men of Bharat race, on the topic of merits and demerits of meat-eating:

Vaisampayana said, 'After this, king Yudhishthira, endued with great energy, and the foremost of eloquent men, addressed his grandsire lying on his bed of arrows, in the following words.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O thou of great intelligence, the Rishis and Brahmanas and the deities, led by the authority of the Vedas, all applaud that religion which has compassion for its indication. But, O king, what I ask thee is this: how does a man, who has perpetrated acts of injury to others in word, thought and deed, succeed in cleansing himself from misery?'

"Bhishma said, 'Utterers of Brahma have said that there are four kinds of compassion or abstention from injury. If even one of those four kinds be not observed, the religion of compassion, it is said, is not observed. As all four-footed animals are incapable of standing on three legs, even so the religion of compassion cannot stand if any of those four divisions or parts be wanting. As the footprints of all other animals are engulfed in those of the elephant, even so all other religions are said to be comprehended in that of compassion. A person becomes guilty of injury through acts, words and thoughts. Discarding it mentally at the outset, one should next discard in word and thought.

He who, according to this rule, abstains from eating meat is said to be cleansed in a threefold way. It is heard that utterers of Brahma ascribe to three causes - the sin of eating meat. That sin may attach to the mind, to words, and to acts. It is for this reason that men of wisdom who are endued with penances refrain from eating meat. Listen to me, O king, as I tell thee what the faults are that attach to the eating of meat. The meat of other animals is like the flesh of one's son. That foolish person, stupefied by folly, who eats meat is regarded as the vilest of human beings. The union of father and mother produces an offspring. After the same manner, the cruelty that a helpless and sinful wretch commits, produces its progeny of repeated rebirths fraught with great misery.

As the tongue is the cause of the knowledge or sensation of taste, so the scriptures declare, attachment proceeds from taste. Well-dressed, cooked with salt or without salt, meat, in whatever form one may take it, gradually attracts the mind and enslaves it. How will those foolish men that subsist upon meat succeed in listening to the sweet music of (celestial) drums and cymbals and lyres and harps? They who eat meat applaud it highly, suffering themselves to be stupefied by its taste which they pronounce to be something inconceivable, undescribable, and unimaginable. Such praise even of meat is fraught with demerit.

In former days, many righteous men, by giving the flesh of their own bodies, protected the flesh of other creatures and as a consequence of such acts of merit, have proceeded to heaven. In this way, O monarch the religion of compassion is surrounded by four considerations. I have thus declared to thee that religion which comprises all other religions within it.'"

"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast told it many times that abstention from injury is the highest religion. In Sraddhas, however, that are performed in honour of the Pitris, persons for their own good <b>should make offerings of diverse kinds of meat</b>. Thou hast said so while discoursing formerly upon the ordinances in respect of Sraddhas. How can meat, however, be procured without slaying a living creature? Thy declarations, therefore, seem to me to be contradictory. A doubt has, therefore, arisen in our mind respecting the duty of abstaining from meat. What are the faults that one incurs by eating meat, and what are the merits that one wins? What are the demerits of him who eats meat by himself killing a living creature? What are the merits of him who eats the meat of animals killed by others? What the merits and demerits of him who kills a living creature for another? Or of him who eats meat buying it of others? I desire, O sinless one, that thou shouldst discourse to me on this topic in detail. I desire to ascertain this eternal religion with certainty. How does one attain to longevity? How does one acquire strength? How does one attain to faultlessness of limbs? Indeed, how does one become endued with excellent indications?

"Bhishma said, 'Listen to me, O, scion of Kuru's race, what the merit is that attaches to abstention from meat. Listen to me as I declare to thee what the excellent ordinances, in truth, are on this head. Those high-souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength, and memory, should abstain from acts of injury. On this topic, O scion of Kuru's race, <b>innumerable discourses took place between the Rishis.</b> Listen, O Yudhishthira, what their opinion was.

The merit acquired by that person, O Yudhishthira, who, with the steadiness of a vow, adores the deities every month in Ashwamedha, is equal to his who discards honey and meat. The seven celestial Rishis, the Valakhilyas, and those Rishis who drink the rays of the sun, endued with great wisdom, applaud abstention from meat. The Self-born Manu has said that that man who does not eat meat, or who does not slay living creatures, or who does not cause them to be slain, is a friend of all creatures. Such a man is incapable of being oppressed by any creature. He enjoys the confidence of all living beings. He always enjoys, besides, the approbation and commendation of the righteous.

The righteous-souled Narada has said that that man who wishes to increase his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures, meets with calamity. Vrihaspati has said that that man who abstains from honey and meat acquires the merit of gifts and sacrifices and penances. In my estimation, these two persons are equal, viz., he who adores the deities every month in a Ashwamedha for a space of hundred years and he who abstains from honey and meat. In consequence of abstention from meat one comes to be regarded as one who always adores the deities in sacrifices, or as one who always makes gifts to others, or as one who always undergoes the severest austerities. That man who having eaten meat gives it up afterwards, acquires merit by such an act that is so great that a study of all the Vedas or a performance, O Bharata, of all the sacrifices, cannot bestow its like.

It is exceedingly difficult to give up meat after one has become acquainted with its taste. Indeed, it is exceedingly difficult for such a person to observe the high vow of abstention from meat, a vow that assures every creature by dispelling all fear. That learned person who giveth to all living creatures the Dakshina of complete assurance comes to be regarded, without doubt, as the giver of life-breaths in this world. (he who observes the vow of abstention from injury comes to be regarded as the giver of life-breaths in this world. The assurance given to all creatures of never injuring them on any occasion is the Dakshina or Sacrificial present of the great sacrifice that is constituted by universal compassion or abstention from injury.)

Even this is the high religion which men of wisdom applaud. The life-breaths of other creatures are as dear to them as those of one's to one's own self. Men endued with intelligence and cleansed souls should always behave towards other creatures after the manner of that behaviour which they like others to observe towards themselves. It is seen that even those men who are possessed of learning and who seek to achieve the highest good in the form of Emancipation, are not free from the fear of death.

What need there be said of those innocent and healthy creatures endued with love of life, when they are sought to be slain by sinful wretches subsisting by slaughter? For this reason, O monarch, know that the discarding of meat is the highest refuge of religion, of heaven, and of happiness. Abstention from injury is the highest religion. It is, again, the highest penance. It is also the highest truths from which all duty proceeds.

Flesh cannot be had from grass or wood or stone. Unless a living creature is slain, it cannot be had. Hence is the fault in eating flesh. The deities who subsist upon Swaha, Swadha, and nectar, are devoted to truth and sincerity. Those persons, however, who are for gratifying the sensation of taste, should be known as Rakshasas wedded to the attribute of Passion. That man who abstains from meat, is never put in fear, O king, by any creature, wherever he may be, viz., in terrible wildernesses or inaccessible fastnesses, by day or by night, or at the two twilights, in the open squares of towns or in assemblies of men, from upraised weapons or in places where there is great fright from wild animals or snakes. All creatures seek his protection. He is an object of confidence with all creatures. He never causes any anxiety in others, and himself has never to become anxious.

If there were nobody who ate flesh there would then be nobody to kill living creatures. The man who kills living creatures kill them for the sake of the person who eats flesh. If flesh were regarded as inedible, there would then be no slaughter of living creatures. It is for the sake of the eater that the slaughter of living creatures goes on in the world. Since, O thou of great splendour, the period of life is shortened of persons who slaughter living creatures or cause them to be slaughtered, it is clear that the person who wishes his own good should give up meat entirely.

Those fierce persons who are engaged in slaughter of living creatures, never find protectors when they are in need. Such persons should always be molested and persecuted even as beasts of prey. Through cupidity or stupefaction of the understanding, for the sake of strength and energy, or through association with the sinful, the disposition manifests itself in men for sinning. That man who seeks to increase his own flesh by (eating) the flesh of others, has to live in this world in great anxiety and after death has to take birth in indifferent races and families.

High Rishis devoted to the observance of vows and self-restraint have said that abstention from meat is worthy of every praise, productive of fame and Heaven, and a great propitiation by itself. This I heard in days of old, O son of Kunti, from Markandeya when that Rishi discoursed on the demerits of eating flesh. He who eats the flesh of animals that are desirous of living but that have been killed by either himself or others, incurs the sin that attaches to the slaughter for his this act of cruelty. He who purchases flesh slays living creatures through his wealth. He who eats flesh slays living creatures through such act of eating. He who binds or seizes and actually kills living creatures is the slaughterer. Those are the three kinds of slaughter, each of these three acts being so. <span style='color:red'>He who does not himself eat flesh but approves of an act of slaughter becomes stained with the sin of slaughter. </span>

By abstaining from meat and showing compassion to all creatures one becomes incapable of being molested by any creature, and acquires a long life, perfect health, and happiness. The merit that is acquired by a person by abstaining from meat, we have heard, is superior to that of one who makes presents of gold, of kine, and of land. One should never eat meat of animals not dedicated in sacrifices and that are, therefore, slain for nothing, and that has not been offered to the gods and Pitris with the aid of the ordinances. There is not the slightest doubt that a person by eating such meat goes to Hell. If one eats the meat that has been sanctified in consequence of its having been procured from animals dedicated in sacrifices and that have been slain for the purpose of feeding Brahmanas, one incurs a little fault. By behaving otherwise, one becomes stained with sin.

That wretch among men who slays living creatures for the sake of those who would eat them, incurs great demerit. The eater's demerit is not so great as his. That wretch among men who, following the path of religious rites and sacrifices laid down in the Vedas, would kill a living creature from desire of eating its flesh, would certainly become a resident of hell. That man who having eaten flesh abstains from it afterwards, attains to great merit in consequence of such abstention from sin. He who arranges for obtaining flesh, he who approves of those arrangements, he who slays, he who buys or sells, he who cooks, and he who eats, are all regarded as eaters of flesh. I shall now cite another authority, depending upon that was declared by the ordainer himself, and established in the Vedas. It has been said that that religion which has acts for its indications has been ordained for householders, O chief of kings, and not for those men who are desirous of emancipation.

Manu himself has said that meat which is sanctified with mantras and properly dedicated, according to the ordinances of the Vedas, in rites performed in honour of the Pitris, is pure. All other meat falls under the class of what is obtained by useless slaughter, and is, therefore, uneatable, and leads to Hell and infamy. One should never eat, O chief of Bharata's race, like a Rakshasa, any meat that has been obtained by means not sanctioned by the ordinance. Indeed, one should never eat flesh obtained from useless slaughter and that has not been sanctified by the ordinance. That <span style='color:red'>man who wishes to avoid calamity of every kind should abstain from the meat of every living creature. </span>

It is heard that in the ancient Kalpa, persons, desirous of attaining to regions of merit hereafter, performed sacrifices with seeds, regarding such animals as dedicated by them. Filled with doubts respecting the propriety of eating flesh, the Rishis asked Vasu the ruler of the Chedis for solving them. King Vasu, knowing that flesh is inedible, answered that is was edible, O monarch. From that moment Vasu fell down from the firmament on the earth. After this he once more repeated his opinion, with the result that he had to sink below the earth for it. <b>Desirous of benefiting all men, the high-souled Agastya, by the aid of his penances, dedicated, once for all, all wild animals of the deer species to the deities. Hence, there is no longer any necessity of sanctifying those animals for offering them to the deities and the Pitris.</b> Served with flesh according to the ordinance, the Pitris become gratified.

Listen to me, O king of kings, as I tell thee this, O sinless one. There is complete happiness in abstaining from meat, O monarch. He that undergoes severe austerities for a hundred years and he that abstains from meat, are both equal in point of merit. Even this is my opinion, In the lighted fortnight of the month of Karttika in especial, one should abstain from honey and meat. In this, it has been ordained, there is great merit. He who abstains from meat for the four months of the rains acquires the four valued blessings of achievements, longevity, fame and might. He who abstains for the whole month of Karttika from meat of every kind, transcends all kinds of woe and lives in complete happiness. They who abstain from flesh by either months or fortnights at a stretch have the region of Brahma ordained for them in consequence of their abstention from cruelty.

Many kings in ancient days, O son of Pritha, who had constituted themselves the souls of all creatures and who were conversant with the truths of all things, viz., Soul and Not-soul, had abstained from flesh either for the whole of the month of Karttika or for the whole of the lighted fortnight in that month.

They were Nabhaga and Amvarisha and the high-souled Gaya and Ayu and Anaranya and Dilipa and Raghu and Puru and Kartavirya and Aniruddha and Nahusha and Yayati and Nrigas and Vishwaksena and Sasavindu and Yuvanaswa and Sivi, the son of Usinara, and Muchukunda and Mandhatri, and Harischandra. Do thou always speak the truth. Never speak an untruth. Truth is an eternal duty. It is by truth that Harischandra roves through heaven like a second Chandramas. These other kings also, viz., Syenachitra, O monarch, and Somaka and Vrika and Raivata and Rantideva and Vasu and Srinjaya, and Dushmanta and Karushma and Rama and Alarka and Nala, and Virupaswa and Nimi and Janaka of great intelligence, and Aila and Prithu and Virasena, and Ikshvaku, and Sambhu, and Sweta, and Sagara, and Aja and Dhundhu and Suvahu, and Haryaswa and Kshupa and Bharata, O monarch, did not eat flesh for the month of Karttika and as the consequence thereof attained to heaven, and endued with prosperity, blazed forth with effulgence in the region of Brahman, adored by Gandharvas and surrounded by thousand damsels of great beauty.

Those high-souled men who practise this excellent religion which is characterised by abstention from injury succeed in attaining to a residence in heaven. These righteous men who, from the time of birth, abstain from honey and meat and wine, are regarded as Munis. That man who practises this religion consisting of abstention from meat or who recites it for causing others to hear it, will never have to go to hell even if he be exceedingly wicked in conduct in other respects. He, O king, who (often-times) reads these ordinances about abstention from meat, that are sacred and adored by the Rishis, or hears it read, becomes cleansed of every sin and attains to great felicity in consequence of the fruition of every wish. Without doubt, he attains also to a position of eminence among kinsmen. When afflicted with calamity, he readily transcends it. When obstructed with impediments, he succeeds in freeing himself from them with the utmost ease. When ill with disease, he becomes cured speedily, and afflicted with sorrow he becomes liberated from it with greatest ease.

Such a man has never to take birth in the intermediate order of animals or birds. Born in the order of humanity, he attains to great beauty of person. Endued with great prosperity, O chief of Kuru's race, he acquires great fame as well. I have thus told thee, O king, all that should be said on the subject of abstention from meat, together with the ordinances respecting both the religion of Pravritti and Nivritti as framed by the Rishis."

<span style='color:red'>"Yudhishthira said, 'Alas, those cruel men, who, discarding diverse kinds of food, covet only flesh, are really like great Rakshasas!</span> Alas, they do not relish diverse kinds of cakes and diverse sorts of potherbs and various species of Khanda with juicy flavour so much as they do flesh! My understanding, for this reason, becomes stupefied in this matter. I think, when such is the case, that, there is nothing which can compare with flesh in the matter of taste, I desire, therefore, O puissant one, to hear what the merits are of abstention from flesh, and the demerits that attach to the eating of flesh, O chief of Bharata's race. Thou art conversant with every duty. Do thou discourse to me in full agreeably to the ordinances on duty, on this subject. Do tell me what, indeed, is edible and what inedible. Tell me, O grandsire, what is flesh, of what substances it is, the merits that attach to abstention from it, and what the demerits are that attach to the eating of flesh.'

"Bhishma said, 'It is even so, O mighty-armed one, as thou sayest. There is nothing on earth that is superior to flesh in point of taste. There is nothing that is more beneficial then flesh to persons that are lean, or weak, or afflicted with disease, or addicted to sexual congress or exhausted with travel. Flesh speedily increases strength. It produces great development. There is no food, O scorcher of foes, that is superior to flesh. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>But, O delighter of the Kurus, the merits are great that attach to men that abstain from it.</span>

Listen to me as I discourse to thee on it. That man who wished to increase his own flesh by the flesh of another living creature is such that there is none meaner and more cruel than he. In this world there is nothing that is dearer to a creature than his life. Hence (instead of taking that valuable possession), one should show compassion to the lives of others as one does to one's own life. Without doubt, O son, flesh has its origin in the vital seed. There is great demerit attaching to its eating, as, indeed, there is merit in abstaining from it. One does not, however, incur any fault by eating flesh sanctified according to the ordinances of the Vedas. The audition is heard that animals were created for sacrifice. They who eat flesh in any other way are said to follow the Rakshasa practice.

<span style='color:red'>Listen to me as I tell thee what the ordinance is that has been laid down for the Kshatriyas. </span>They do not incur any fault by eating flesh that has been acquired by expenditure of prowess. All deer of the wilderness were dedicated to the deities and the Pitris in days of old, O king, by Agastya. Hence, the hunting of deer is not censured. There can be no hunting without risk of one's own life. There is equality of risk between the slayer and the slain. Either the animal is killed or it kills the hunter. Hence, O Bharata, even royal sages betake themselves to the practice of hunting. By such conduct they do not become stained with sin. Indeed, the practice is not regarded as sinful.

However, There is nothing, O delighter of the Kurus, that is equal in point of merit, either here or hereafter, to the practice of compassion to all living creatures. The man of compassion has no fear. Those harmless men that are endued with compassion have both this world and the next. Persons conversant with duty say that that Religion is worthy of being called Religion which has abstention from cruelty for its indication. The man of cleansed soul should do only such acts as have compassion for their soul. That flesh which is dedicated in sacrifices performed in honour of the deities and the Pitris is called Havi (and, as such, is worthy of being eaten). That man who is devoted to compassion and who behaves with compassion towards others, has no fear to entertain from any creature. It is heard that all creatures abstain from causing any fear unto such a creature. Whether he is wounded or fallen down or prostrated or weakened or bruised, in whatever state he may be, all creatures protect him. Indeed, they do so, under all circumstances, whether he is on even or uneven ground. Neither snakes nor wild animals, neither Pisachas nor Rakshasas, ever slay him.

When circumstances of fear arise, he becomes freed from fear who frees others from situations of fear. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a gift that is superior to the gift of life. It is certain that there is nothing dearer to oneself than one's life. Death, O Bharata, is a calamity or evil unto all creatures. When the time comes for Death, a trembling of the whole frame is seen in all creatures. Enduring birth in the uterus, decrepitude and afflictions of diverse kinds, in this ocean of the world, living creatures may be seen to be continually going forward and coming back. Every creature is afflicted by death. While dwelling in the uterus, all creatures are cooked in the fluid juices, that are alkaline and sour and bitter, of urine and phlegm and faeces,--juices that produce painful sensations and are difficult to bear. There in the uterus, they have to dwell in a state of helplessness and are even repeatedly torn and pierced. They that are covetous of meat are seen to be repeatedly cooked in the uterus in such a state of helplessness. Attaining to diverse kinds of birth, they are cooked in the hell called Kumbhipaka. They are assailed and slain, and in this way have to travel repeatedly. There is nothing so dear to one as one's life when one comes to this world. Hence, a person of cleansed soul should be compassionate to all living creatures. That man, O king, who abstains from every kind of meat from his birth, without doubt, acquires a large space in Heaven.

<span style='color:red'>They who eat the flesh of animals who are desirous of life, are themselves eaten by the animals they eat, without doubt. Even this is my opinion. Since he hath eaten me, I shall eat him in return,--even this, O Bharata, constitutes the character as Mansa of Mansa. [Mansa is flesh. This verse explains the etymology of the word, "Mam" : me, and "Sah" : he ; Me he eateth, therefore, I shall eat him.] The slayer is always slain. After him the eater meets with the same fate. </span> He who acts with hostility towards another (in this life) becomes the victim of similar acts done by that other. Whatever acts one does in whatever bodies, one has to suffer the consequences thereof in those bodies. Abstention from cruelty is the highest Religion. Abstention from cruelty is the highest self-control. Abstention from cruelty is the highest gift. Abstention from cruelty is the highest penance. Abstention from cruelty is the highest sacrifice. Abstention from cruelty is the highest puissance. Abstention from cruelty is the highest friend. Abstention from cruelty is the highest happiness. Abstention from cruelty is the highest truth. Abstention from cruelty is the highest Sruti.

Gifts made in all sacrifices, ablutions performed in all sacred waters, and the merit that one acquires from making all kinds of gifts mentioned in the scriptures,--all these do not come up to abstention from cruelty (in point of the merit that attaches to it). The penances of a man that abstains from cruelty are inexhaustible. The man that abstains from cruelty is regarded as always performing sacrifices. The man that abstains from cruelty is the father and mother of all creatures. Even these, O chief of Kuru's race, are some of the merits of abstention from cruelty. Altogether, the merits that attach to it are so many that they are incapable of being exhausted even if one were to speak for a hundred years."

Mahaparinirvana Sutra is part of Dirgha Nikaya, and an important foundation of the Mahayan Buddhism. In format, it is very similar to the Shanti Parva and Anusasana Parva of Mahabharat, which contain dialogues between Pitamaha Bhisma and Maharaja Yudhishthira.

Mahaparinirvana Sutra relates to Bhagwan Gautama Buddha spending his last days of sthool sharir, in the forest of Kushinagara, the land of Mallas, on the bank of river Ajitavati, in a grove of twin-Saal trees. He had declared his intentions of entering maha parinirvana, and all Bodhisattvas, Arhats, or Chakravartees, come to him to have dialogues on different matters. This Sutra contains great and lengthy dialogues between Him and various famous disciples like Ananda, Kasyapa etc, and contains discussions on a spectrum of issues, particularly for the Sangha and codes of Bhikshuks. Philosophically, this Sutra is like the saara of Bhagwan Buddha's all teachings.

One selection relevant to this thread:

...then Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! To one who eats flesh, we should not give flesh. Why not? I see a great virtue arising out of abstention from eating flesh."

The Buddha praised Kasyapa and said: "Well said, Kasyapa! You know my mind well. A Bodhisattva who protects Dharma should be thus. O good man! From now on, I do not permit my sravaka disciples to eat meat. When receiving from a daanapati a pristine dana of faith [containing meat], think that one is eating the flesh of one's own son."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said further to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Why is it that the Tathagata does not allow us to eat meat?" "O good man! "One who eats meat kills the seed of great compassion."

Kasyapa said again: "Why did you first allow the bhiksus to eat three kinds of pure meat?" "O Kasyapa! These three kinds of pure meat were so instituted following the need of the occasion."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! In what circumstances do you not allow the ten impurities or the nine kinds of what is pure?" The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "This also is permitted by gradual steps following the need of the occasion. This is what applies in the actual segregation from eating meat."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said further to the Buddha: "Why is it that the flesh of fish is praised and called beautiful?" "O good man! I do not say that the flesh of fish is a beautiful food. I say that sugar cane, rice, rock candy, black rock candy, all kinds of wheat, milk, cream, and oil are beautiful foods. Various kinds of clothing material can be stocked, but what can be stocked is those whose colour has faded. How could one greedily stick to [crave after] the flesh of fish?"

Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "If the Tathagata means to prohibit the eating of meat, such things as the five kinds of flavours as milk, cream, fresh butter, clarified butter, and sarpirmanda, all kinds of clothing, silk cloth, horse-shoe shell, hide and leather, bowls of gold and silver should not be received."

"O good man! Do not muddle things up with what the Nirgranthas [Jains?] say. Each of the prohibitions which the Tathagata lays down has a different meaning. By this, three pure meats are permitted standing on different grounds and the ten kinds of meat are prohibited by different standpoints. By different standpoints, all are prohibited, until the time of one's death.

O Kasyapa! "I, from now on, tell my disciples to refrain from eating any kind of meat". O Kasyapa! When one eats meat, this gives out the smell of meat while one is walking, standing, sitting or reclining. People smell this and become fearful. This is as when one comes near a lion. One sees and smells the lion, and fear arises. O good man! When one eats garlic, the dirty smell is unbearable. Other people notice it. They smell the bad smell. They leave that person and go
away. Even from far off, people hate to see such a person. They will not come near him. It is the same with one who eats meat. It is a similar situation with all people who, on smelling the meat, become afraid and entertain the thought of death. All living things in the water, on land and in the sky desert such a person and run away. They say that this person is their enemy.

...Then Kasyapa said further to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! The bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas and upasikas may have to live depending on people. At the time of the alms-round, one may be given food containing meat. How can one take it and yet be pure?"

The Buddha said: "Use water, wash away the meat, and then eat it [the rest of the food]. The utensil may be defiled by meat. But if no taste of meat remains, this may be used. There will be no harm done. If one sees that there is a lot of meat, one should not accept such a meal. One must never eat the meat itself. One who eats it infringes the rule. I now set this rule of segregating one's self from eating meat.

If we go into detail, there will be no end of explanations. It is now time that I enter Nirvana. So I must dispense with explanations. This is "answering well what is enquired about."
Bodhi, Thanks for pointing out that vegetarianism stems from eons before Bhisma or at least the time of Bhishma's discourse. The usual secular position is that it is an adoption of Jain and Buddhist practices. The social scientist/agro-economist spin is that it is due to population pressure and resource optimization.

BTW there is a civilizational memory in the Jewish avoidance of milk and meat together in a dish.
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Feb 21 2007, 02:43 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Feb 21 2007, 02:43 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->The usual secular position is that it is an adoption of Jain and Buddhist practices.

Ramana, 'who influenced whom' was once a mere academic trivia, which these non-practicing scholars enjoy turning into unnecessary conflicts. Those who practice any of the Indic faiths, realize the common values and ethos rooted in distant yore, binding all of these together, rather than divide.

To quote Acharya Rajneesh, who puts it very nicely comparing the popular religions:

...there are infantile religions which remain infantile. Judaism, Christian, Islam decide to remain immaturish. Fit for people who remain immatured. Fit for people whose faith can be governed by fear or greed, the childish motivations. Then they have all the apparatus to invoke great fear and great greed, Hell and heaven. These have remained meat-eater, and these have kept away from meditation, and these have remained 'public' religions. Faith of the mob, of the crowd. These faiths depend upon a crowd to invoke the faith of an individual. and last messiahs to deliver the promise, insisting on 'lastness'.

... then there are religions for grown ups. Bauddha, Jain, Hindu, and many countless branches, unnamed beautiful faiths, who have not cared to even name themselves. They are exact opposite. They have all encouraged avoiding meat. They have all encouraged meditation. They all motivate the individual to move away from the crowd into absolute aloneness. In fact all of them have employed as their goal, need to be absolutely single, absolutely alone and therefore absolutely complete. Bauddha call it Nirvana, Jain Kaivalya, Hindu Moksha. All the same goal. Roots are the same. Faith of an individual (guru) may motivate the faith of people around him, and not the other way round. No last messiahs ...one has to be ones own deliverance...

I will, when get a chance, quote some excerpts from Lankavatara Sutra, to highlight the mutual influence of Hindu-Bauddha-Jain heritage. Why insist on who influenced whom. What is important is the common roots.
Post 33 (Bodhi)
Although I agree with most of what Bhishma has said, I would never (willingly, consciously) eat an animal were it even part of a sacred and auspicious Hindu sacrifice. But that's me, and I'm not denouncing ancient Hindu practises for that.

Post 36:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Why insist on who influenced whom. What is important is the common roots.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->This is true where Jainism and the rest of Hinduism is concerned. But Hindus and Jains already knew vegetarianism and the value of all life well before Buddhism. Buddhism's roots in these matters lie wholly in Sanatana Dharma.
So it's not wrong to point out to western people or to communists and pseculars, for instance, that Buddhism did not introduce vegetarianism to India.

Changing topic slightly, when I was much younger I watched a documentary about an African community still following the Ancient Ways that was completely vegetarian too, also for similar reasons as Dharmic Indians were.
But they were living in a much lusher area (more greenery) than many other African communities are living in today, so that might explain why their vegetarian diet provided them with the required nutrients. One can't expect vegetarianism from all Old African communities, since man can only eat what is available and only do what is humanly possible.

Bodhi, concerning post 33 again, Bhishma speaks out against meat and honey. There was a time, a few years back, when I suddenly felt guilty for eating honey because I thought that the bees had put so much effort into gathering it for themselves and humans just stole their hard-earned 'bread' as it were. Is this why ancient Hindu principles (which Bhishma revisits here for the Pandavas) placed a ban on honey - because it is gathered by bees to support their own hive?
In any case, giving up honey would be a hard thing to do for me. Not that I've had it in a long time, but I've not consciously been avoiding it.
Do you know the reason why ancient Hindus believed it was to be avoided?
Valid points Husky. Allow me to share my opinion on these.

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Feb 27 2007, 05:49 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Feb 27 2007, 05:49 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->One can't expect vegetarianism from all Old African communities, since man can only eat what is available and only do what is humanly possible.

Certainly. Food is the most basic necessity of all life. Kind of food eaten has always been and will be governed by what is available and humanly possible. Swami Shankaracharya's discourse on this topic, in the North East where cultivation was not easily possible, and Lamas' opinion in Tibet where enough vegetation does not grow, agree on this.

Eating meat as a result of nature's compulsion is however very different from eating meat for taste or due to habitual inertia.

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Feb 27 2007, 05:49 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Feb 27 2007, 05:49 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Is this why ancient Hindu principles (which Bhishma revisits here for the Pandavas) placed a ban on honey - because it is gathered by bees to support their own hive? Do you know the reason why ancient Hindus believed it was to be avoided?
One must see how commercial honey is produced to realize this. Bees make their nest and beehive to primarily house their eggs, larve, and honey - which selfish humans call 'honeycomb'!. In the wax (or paper) structure of beehive not only is stored honey but also live countless eggs, larve, and even grown up bees and insects.

Now there are two ways of getting honey for human usage. One harmless way is this - Once the hive is full with ripe honey, it becomes overloaded, and honey starts to drip from the hive on its own. If a pot is kept beneath the hive, all the extra honey can slowly be collected, without doing any harm to the bees. In fact Ayurveda prescribes, as medicine, honey collected from a particular tree like Neem, Vilva or Peepal etc for a particular ailment, this is what is recommended.

The second way, and obviously more economic or commercial method is to not collect honey but 'extract' honey. The beekeeper removes the whole hive, puts it in a rotating and mildly heated chamber, and with the centrifugal rotation extracts out all the honey that is in the hive. Process obviously kills all eggs, larve, insects, and that honey therefore is full of contamination from their body remains. The left over hive, most times is then heated to take out any remaining honey and of course the wax.

So, the natural honey collected, may be vegetarian, but certainly not the commercial honey. Mithila region in Bihar, especially Madhubani area (Madhubani literally means honey-forest) was once famous for the non-violent honey collection described above. Even now, in villages such honey is collected and used as medicine. But being scarce in availability happens to be expensive.

Some Pharmaceutical firms, like Dabur and Vaidyanath, claim to manufacture Ayurvedic and non-violent honey. I am not sure about that though.

So the reason why Hindus and Jains may have avoided honey may have been for the reason of honey being considered to be produced through killing animals or insects, and even contaminated by their meat. Very hard to imagine a honey that is not contaminated.

But all this is my opinion only. More thought needs to be applied probably.

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Feb 27 2007, 05:49 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Feb 27 2007, 05:49 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Buddhism's roots in these matters lie wholly in Sanatana Dharma.
So it's not wrong to point out to western people or to communists and pseculars, for instance, that Buddhism did not introduce vegetarianism to India.[right][snapback]65042[/snapback][/right]

Oh yes. Bhagwan Buddha's teachings have very deep roots in Sanatan Dharma. Dhammo Sanantano and Dhammo Poranko (Established Tradition, Pauranik Tradition) are very respected words in Bauddha thought. One must read, first hand, the words spoken by Bhagwan Buddha, and no doubt remains of this, of where He is coming from. Same is true of other principal Bauddha teachers.
Bodhi, <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I will not eat honey here then (I'm not living in India, and even then certainly not anywhere near Mithila). Can't abide my eating something that is paid for with the lives of other creatures.
Certainly never knew that bits of bees and their larvae were mixed in with it.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Certainly. Food is the most basic necessity of all life. Kind of food eaten has always been and will be governed by what is available and humanly possible. Swami Shankaracharya's discourse on this topic, in the North East where cultivation was not easily possible, and Lamas' opinion in Tibet where enough vegetation does not grow, agree on this.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->See, I always knew great people use(d) their common sense and compassion in understanding humans and life. There are no ridiculously high expectations that can never be fulfilled (without making a sacrifice of one's own life, that is). 'Do the best you can with what is available and hurt as few as you can' is more their point.
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The above is only informational.

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