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I now take soy milk instead of cow's milk because the cows are very cruelly treated in factory farming. Ever since I learned about it nine or ten years ago, I gave up milk. I believe it's the food of violence. The cows are confined to a small area. They can't move and are just milk manufacturing machines.
Dada J. P. Vaswani
Spiritual Head, Sadhu Vanwani Mission in an interview in Hinduism Today.

Below are quotations from Hindu scripture and leading Hindus both past and present concerning animal rights; the humane treatment of animals and adopting a vegetarian/vegan diet. This page is part of a section about animal rights and religious and philosophical belief, it is the forerunner of an in-depth article concerning Hinduism and animal rights which I hope to include here in due course.  Also links to Hindu websites advocating Vegetarian/Veganism and articles of interest.

The Vedas, a sanskrit word meaning knowledge, are sacred texts that originated in ancient India and are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.  According to the Vedas and other Hindu scripture the attainment of spiritual knowledge and development begins with vegetarianism.

Firstly quotations and brief comments from Hindu sacred text:

Srimad Bhagavatam

Srimad Bhagavatam, are Hindu Scriptures, compiled some 5,000 years ago by Krishna Dvaip‚yana Vy‚sadeva who also compiled the Vedas and wrote the Mah‚bh‚rata. The Srimad Bhagavatam is intended as a guide to spiritual progress and contains comprehensive range of Vedic knowledge

Non-injury, truthfulness, freedom from theft, lust, anger and greed, and an effort to do what is agreeable and beneficial to all creatures - this is the common duty of all castes. Ö To be non-violent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satan's philosophy. In this age there is always enmity against poor animals and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society and therefore there is always the strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally."
Srimad Bhagavatam

   

Mahabharata

Mahabharata or Mahabharat  900 BC is a major ancient Indian Epic, it is an important text of Hinduism. With about one hundred thousand verses, long prose passages, and about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is the longest epic poem in the world. It emphasises the important goals of human life and our interconnection with one another.

He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take his birth.
Mahabharata, Anu.115.47

   

The purchaser of flesh performs violence by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does violence 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 off the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it--all these are to be considered meat-eaters.
Mahabharata, Anu.115.40

   

If there were nobody who ate flesh, then there would be nobody to slay living creatures. The man who slays living creatures kills them for the sake of the person who eats flesh. If flesh were not considered as food, there would then be no destruction of living creatures. It is for the sake of the eater that the destruction of living entities is carried on in the world. Since, O you of great splendor, the period of life is shortened by persons who kill living creatures or cause them to be killed, it is clear that the person who seeks his own good should give up meat altogether. Those dreadful persons who are engaged in the destruction of living beings never find protectors when they are in need. Such persons should always be molested and punished even as beast of prey.
Mahabharata115.29-32

   

That wretched man who kills living creatures for the sake of those who would eat them commits great sin. The eaterís sin is not as great. That wretched man who, following the path of religious rites and sacrifices as laid down in the Vedas, would kill a living creature from a desire to eats its flesh, will certainly go to hell. That man who having eaten flesh abstains from it afterwards acquires great merit on account of such abstention from sin. He who arranges for obtaining flesh, he who approves of those arrangements, he who kills, he who buys or sells, he who cooks, and he who eats it, [acquire the sin of those who] are all considered as eaters of flesh. [Therefore] that man who wishes to avoid disaster should abstain from the meat of every living creature.
Mahabharata 115.44-48

   

Hence a person of purified soul should be merciful to all living creatures. That man, O king, who abstains from every kind of meat from his birth forsooth, acquires a large space in the celestial region. They who eat the flesh of animals who are desirous of life, are themselves [later] eaten by the animals they eat. This is my opinion. Since he has eaten me, I shall eat him in return. This, O Bharata, forms the character as Mamsah [meaning flesh] of Mamsah [me he, or ďme heĒ will eat for having eaten him]. The destroyer is always slain. After him the eater meets with the same fate.
Mahabharata,116.36-37

   

Abstention from cruelty is the highest Religion. Abstention from cruelty is the greatest self-restraint. 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 power. Abstention from cruelty is the greatest friend. Abstention from cruelty is the greatest happiness.
Mahabharata,116.38-39

   

The Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita "Song of God" is one of the most important and  revered sacred scriptures of Hinduism, and considered as one of the most important philosophical classics of the world. It is part of the  Mahabharata one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna, an important deity considered in some traditions to be svayam bhagavan, or the Supreme Being.

One is dearest to God who has no enemies among the living beings, who is nonviolent to all creatures.
Bhagavad Gita

   

I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear. But those who worship me with love live in me, and I come to life in them.
Bhagavad Gita

   

He alone sees truly who sees the Lord the same in every creature...seeing the same Lord everywhere, he does not harm himself or others.
Bhagavad Gita

   

The concept of harmlessness towards all has been created by Me alone.
Bhagavad Gita

   

Avoiding harm to all creatures... this is true knowledge. All else is ignorance.
Bhagavad Gita

   

Nonviolence... and mercy to all life forms are the goals of godly persons who are endowed with My nature.
Bhagavad Gita

   

Avoiding harm... and working towards the happiness of all living creatures is the duty of everyone.
Bhagavad Gita

   

Be fearless and pure; never waver in your determination or your dedication to the spiritual life. Give freely. Be self-controlled, sincere, truthful, loving, and full of the desire to serve...Learn to be detached and to take joy in renunciation. Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all. Cultivate vigor, patience, will, purity; avoid malice and pride. Then, you will achieve your destiny.
Bhagavad Gita

   

Manusmriti

The Manusmriti, or laws of Manu, is one of eighteen Smritis, (which means "what is remembered")  of the Dharma shasta, or "laws of righteous conduct".  The Smritis are of human composition and are an ancient Sanskrit code of conduct for the individual, society, the community, and the nation. Highly revered by orthodox devotees of Brahmanism.

Having well considered the origin of flesh-foods, and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let man entirely abstain from eating flesh.  
Manusmriti 5.49

   

Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient beings is detrimental to the attainment of heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun the use of meat. Having well considered the disgusting origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh.
Manusmriti 5.48-49

   

He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, must all be considered as the slayers of the animal. There is no greater sinner than that man who though not worshiping the gods or the ancestors, seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of other beings.
Manusmriti a 5.51-52

   

He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness in this life or the next.
Manusmriti 5.45

   

He who does not seek to cause the sufferings of bonds and death to living creatures, (but) desires the good of all (beings), obtains endless bliss. He who does not injure any (creature) attains without an effort what he thinks of, what he undertakes, and what he fixes his mind on.
Manusmriti  5.46-47

   

By the restraint of his senses, by the destruction of love and hatred, and by the abstention from injuring the creatures, he becomes fit for immortality.
Manusmriti 6.60

   

Yajur Veda

Yajur Veda, are collection of mantras and verses, the third of four canonical texts of Hinduism known as the Vedas, the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism.

   

You must not use your God-given body for killing God's creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever.
Yajur Veda 12.32.90

   

Padma Purana
Padma Purana one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text. The Puranas "of ancient times" are a group of important Hindu (or Jain and Buddhist) religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.

Of all the gifts only one is supreme. it is the freedom from fear For all of the creatures of this universe. There is no other gift greater than this.

   

The Tirukural

Regarded as the world's greatest ethical scripture The Tirukural was written in Tamil about 2100 years ago. The Tirukural is a classic of couplets, composed by Tiruvalluvar an Indian sage, it give us an insight into the lofty ethics and wisdom of ancient Indiana.

Below are quotations from the Tirkural admonishing against the eating of meat and causing harm to any creature:

Verse 251 How can he practice true compassion Who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?
 
Verse 252 Riches cannot be found in the hands of the thriftless, Nor can compassion be found in the hearts of those who eat meat.
 
Verse 253 Goodness is never one with the minds of these two: One who wields a weapon and one who feasts on a creatures' flesh.

Verse 254 If you ask, "What is kindness and what is unkind?" It is not killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous.

Verse 255 Life is perpetuated by not eating meat. The clenched jaws of hell hold those who do.

Verse 256 If the world did not purchase and consume meat, There would be none to slaughter and offer meat for sale.

Verse 257 When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh Of another creature, he must abstain from eating it.

Verse 258 Perceptive souls who have abandoned passion Will not feed on flesh abandoned by life.

Verse 259 Greater then a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial fires Do not do sacrifice and consume any living creature.

Verse 260 All that lives will press palms together in prayerful adoration Of those who refuse to slaughter and savor meat.

Verse 312 It is the principle of the pure in heart never to injure others, even when they themselves have been hatefully injured.

Verse 321 What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life, For killing leads to every other sin.

Verse 322 Of all the virtues summed by ancient sages the foremost are these: To partake of food one has shared and to protect all living creatures.

Verse 324 What is the good way? It is the path that reflects on how it may avoid killing any living creature. Refrain from taking precious life from any living being, even to save your own life.

Verse 328 By sacrifice of life some gain great wealth and good, But sagacious men scorn such gains.

Verse 327 Refrain from taking precious life from any living being, Even to save your own life.

Verse 329 Those whose trade is killing creatures are deemed defiled By men who know the defiling nature of being mean.
 

   

Eminent Hindu theologians and philosophers

Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869 - 1948,  commonly called by the honorific Mahatma, which means great soul, was born in Porbandar, a coastal town in present-day Gujarat, India. He was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India, best known for his non violent struggle for India's freedom during the Indian independence movement.

With one exception during a short period in his youth Gandhi was a strict vegetarian

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.

I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth.
Mahatma Gandhi

I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.
Mahatma Gandhi

It is necessary to correct the error that vegetarianism has made us weak in mind, or passive or inert in action. I do not regard flesh-food as necessary at any stage
Mahatma Gandhi

I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world if we are superior to it
Mahatma Gandhi

I abhor vivisection with my whole soul.  All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence. 
Mahatma Gandhi

It is very significant that some of the most thoughtful and cultured men are partisans of a pure vegetable diet
Mahatma Gandhi

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated
Mahatma Gandhi

I still believe that man, not having been given the power of creation, does not posses the right of destroying the meanest creature that lives. The perogative of destruction belongs solely to the Creator of all that lives.
Mahatma Gandhi

Complete non-violence is complete absence of ill-will against all that lives. It therefore embraces even sub-human life, not excluding noxious insects and beasts. They have not been created to feed our destructive propensities. If we only knew the mind of the Creator, we should find their proper place in His creation.
Mahatma Gandhi

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, was a Gaudiya Vaishnava teacher and the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, commonly known as the "Hare Krishna Movement

To be nonviolent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satanís philosophy. In this age there is always enmity against poor animals, and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society, and therefore there is always strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally
 A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
 

 

 

to kill nothing, that is love.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
 

 

 

Hunting involves many terrible Karmic aspects. In murdering a father or mother animal, very likely some young creatures are made orphans, left unprotected in the wilderness. And, often, clumsy hunters only succeed in wounding the creatures; thus escaping immediate destruction, the maimed animals may roam in agony for days upon days, until Death finally supervenes. More misery in trapping: caught in the wicked traps, many creatures actually gnaw off their own paws, to gain the precious freedom."

Swami Noshervanji quoted in the pamphlet The Dhammapada:
the virtuous path published circa 1963 by the brotherhoold of the buddha (swami noshervanji dinshah), malaga, new jersey

 

 

 

Links

Be Pure.Info  Hindu website advocating vegetarianism

On the spiritual path, there are several reasons why a person is recommended to be vegetarian. One primary reason is that we need to see the spiritual nature within all living beings, and that includes the animals and other creatures as well. Universal brotherhood means nonviolence to both humans and animals. It consists of
understanding that animals also have souls. They are alive, conscious, and feel pain. And these are the indications of the presence of consciousness, which is the symptom of the soul.

click the link below to go straight to the section on vegetarianism.

Be Pure. Info Vegetarianism

 

 

Article: Vegetarianism: Recommended in Vedic Scripture By Stephen Knapp
 

Many times there seems to be some confusion or lack of clarity on whether the Vedic path condones or condemns the eating of meat. Often times I hear Indians and followers of the Vedic path explain that meat eating is all right, that the Vedic shastras do not condemn it. Of course, in this day and age meat eating includes and supports the whole meat industry, which is the systematic slaughter of thousands of animals on a daily basis. But if we actually research the Vedic texts we will find that there are numerous references in the various portions of the Vedic literature which explain in no uncertain terms the karmic dangers of meat-eating and unnecessary animal slaughter. These indicate that meat eating should be given up for oneís spiritual and even material progress. This means that the Vedic conclusions that some people present for meat-eating are not accurate, and that they have never studied their own religious books very thoroughly. This is something that is important to understand, so let us take a look.

To read the rest of this article:

Vegetarianism Recommended in Vedic Scripture

 

 

How to Win an Argument with a Meat Eater

Published by

Himalayan Academy

Here now is The Hindu Virtue of Vegetarianism, with facts on the dangers of meat-eating, the "new four food groups," excerpts from Food for the Spirit, and quotations from Scripture.

- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami


Vegetarianism, known in Sanskrit as Shakahara, was for thousands of years a principle of health and environmental ethics throughout India...

 

Is vegetarianism integral to non injury?" In my book, Dancing with Siva, this question is addressed as follows: "Hindus teach vegetarianism as a way to live with a minimum of hurt to other beings, for to consume meat, fish, fowl or eggs is to participate indirectly in acts of cruelty and violence against the animal kingdom. The abhorrence of injury and killing of any kind leads quite naturally to a vegetarian diet, shakahara. The meat-eater's desire for meat drives another to kill and provide that meat. The act of the butcher begins with the desire of the consumer. Meat-eating contributes to a mentality of violence, for with the chemically complex meat ingested, one absorbs the slaughtered creature's fear, pain and terror. These qualities are nourished within the meat-eater, perpetuating the cycle of cruelty and confusion. When the individual's consciousness lifts and expands, he will abhor violence and not be able to even digest the meat, fish, fowl and eggs he was formerly consuming. India's greatest saints have confirmed that one cannot eat meat and live a peaceful, harmonious life. Man's appetite for meat inflicts devastating harm on the earth itself, stripping its precious forests to make way for pastures. The Tirukural candidly states, 'How can he practice true compassion who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?...

Please read the complete article:

Himalayan Academy Publications



Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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