"If you can't explain something simply, you don't know enough about it." - [Albert Einstein]
Plainly and simply, at least as far as past and present gurus, yogis, free mystics and enlightened beings of India such as Buddha, Mahavira, Rama, Krishna, Saint Kabir, Guru Nanak, Vivekananda or Gandhi are concerned; the quest for The Ultimate Truth or God is futile without a vegetarian lifestyle. That’s how these great but humble people lived in the East.
So also, Saint Matthew and Saint John (who are historical narrators of The Gospels) were vegetarians; not without a reason. And, pray, why were Saint Martín de Porres, Saint Richard, Saint John de Brito, Saint Angela de Merici, Saint Francis of Paola Saint Hilarion, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Catherine of Sienaand Saint Francis of Assisi pure vegetarians; if Christianity, to them only conveyed it was righteous to kill innocent animals to cater to one’s taste buds? Some modern day scholars advocate that Jesus belonged to Essences; a sect that shunned non-vegetarian food.
Why did Sufi Saints, as Rabia Basri, Ibn Arabi, Al Ghazali, Nizamudin Aulia, Moinyundin Chisti or Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and other such gentle souls from meat-eating Islamic background live a humble, vegetarian life in their quest of God? For what reason are Jewish spiritualists like Rabbi David Cohen, Rabbi She’ar Y Cohen or Nobel Laureate Nobel Laureate Shmuel Yosef Afgnon vegetarian? How many of us know Martin Luther King, the German Church reformer and founder of Protestantism, was a vegetarian?
And, how come; but why! was Confucius a vegetarian?
“Why is it that the Thus Come One does not allow eating meat?' The Buddha replied, "It is because meat-eating cuts off the seeds of great compassion." – [Cherishing Life, II 5]
It is no secret that ancient yogis, as also modern day scientists, uphold that All Existence is One Indivisible Reality. Mystics arrive at this conclusion in a much similar but circuitous route, though travelled differently, than the one undertaken by the scientific fraternity. The former’s search is within, the latter look outside. For the spiritualist, the search for The End Reality or God is deeply personal; for the scientist, it’s integrally impersonal. Yet, somehow, modern day science and pre-historic mysticism arrived at the same conclusion. It is that this world is but One Inseparable Whole in The Ultimate Reality; once existence is delved into its root composition. Quantum Physics and Enlightened Mystics agree on this end result.
Now, it’s known that past, present and future is but One in Existence.
Scientists may view this oneness in nature as an insentient phenomenon; spiritualists see this as One Life, sentient and alive, in all phenomena. To the former, all life is some molecular nothing; the latter view all as life – in, as, unto everything. However, scientists have only now started seeing Oneness and Unity of All That Is. Free mystics, since the beginning of time, have advocated thus. At least, Indian yogis did; yet do.
"He who sees that the Lord of All is ever the same in all that is - immortal in the field of mortality - he sees the truth. And when a man sees that the God in himself is the same God in all that is, he hurts not himself by hurting others. Then he goes, indeed, to the highest path.” [Bhagavad Gita 13.27-28]
Somewhere, in the depth of their mind and soul, great thinkers know the truthfulness and sagaciousness of this basic, fundamental and primordial spiritual and mystic concept. From Socrates to Plato, Hesiod to Horace, Pythagoras to Leonardo da Vinci, Voltaire to Vincent Van Gogh, Plutarch to Plotinus, Virgil to William Blake, Leo Tolstoy to George Bernard Shaw, Milton to Shelly, Abraham Lincoln to Nobel Laureate Poet Rabindranath Tagore; all these high and mighty but humble in humility and humanity, followed and postulated a vegetarian diet for a healthy, wealthy and a wise life.
“What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life, for killing leads to every other sin.” - [Thirukural, 2-3 B.C.]
In India, millions follow such a diktat. Alternatively, some minions, in many millions, among Indians too; as also elsewhere in the world, do not. Most adherents of Abrahamic faiths such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam find nothing wrong, and perfectly sanctioned, nay holy even, to not only sacrifice but mercilessly butcher and eat anything that dare move – well, except for a pig here and a crow there. In Korea and China, our beloved pets - dogs - are a delicacy to be skinned alive, savoured and salivated upon.
"Those sinful persons who are ignorant of actual religious principles, yet consider themselves to be completely pious, without compunction commit violence against innocent animals; that are fully trusting in them. In their next lives, such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world." - [Bhagavat Purana]
It is interesting to note that a number of renowned scientists have been vegetarians. These include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla etc.
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." – [Albert Einstein]
This religiousness, of respect for all life, is inherent in every sensitized and sentient being; be it an agnostic or even an atheist. Einstein was no believer in God; but godliness permeated this scientist’s beautiful soul. Theologian and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Schweitzer, more than seconded this view point of the greatest scientist humankind has probably known.
"One day the world will look upon research upon animals as it now looks upon research on human beings." – [Leonardo da Vinci]
"A human can be healthy without killing animals for food. Therefore if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite." - [Leo Tolstoy]
Yet, meat eating does not stop. We continue with our mayhem. The Westerners have their scriptures to quote to continue doing what they have been doing since thousands of years. Millions of non-vegetarian Buddhists and other Easterners do not even have their scriptures to support them.
“People who eat meat.. are all great demons.. They are not disciples of the Buddha. Such people as these kill and eat one another in a never-ending cycle.” - [Shurangama Sutra, Buddhism]
"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?” - [Mahabharta]
Other well known eminent citizens of the world as Kafka, Sir Edwin Arnold, Charlotte Bronte, Henry David Thoreau, R.W. Emerson, Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, humourist Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, industrialist Henry Ford, as also late Steve Jobs; were all vegetarians. Today, along with many Hollywood celebrities, many a kindred soul, such as Dr. Abdul Kalam (Ex-President and Nuclear Scientist of India), Paul McCartney, Reshma (Muslim Pakistani Folk Singer), Amitabh Bachchan and world-level athletes Carl Lewis, Mike Tyson et all; for one human and humane reason, follow a vegetarian lifestyle.
Some people are becoming vegetarians or vegans for health reasons too. In fact, medical science is providing more than enough data against a non-vegetarian diet and for benefits accruing by adopting a vegetarian lifestyle.
Yet, for a spiritual person; knowing Oneness of All That Is as one’s own life and soul “stuff”; not following a vegetarian diet, is not an option. It’s a sine qua non.
“Only the animal-killer cannot relish the message of The Absolute Truth.” – [Srimad Bhagwtam]
Sadly, there’s no, one holy cow, for the elitist whole or the hoi polloi.