The VFA Journal # 2

        In this edition we will look at the reasons and benefits for being vegetarian. Naturally there are health reasons why a balanced vegetarian diet is beneficial for a person. But the Vedic system also includes

information why the vegetarian diet is good for a person for spiritual reasons. This goes beyond the process of analyzing whether the vegetarian diet is good or bad for physical or health reasons, but points out that our

diet affects our karma and consciousness. This is what makes meat-eating hazardous: It produces reactions that affect our karma, and decreases the refinements we are trying to make in our consciousness when we follow a spiritual path.

        I've read where some Indian doctors talk about the idea that eating meat does not make an impression on the sattvic (goodness), rajasic (passionate), or tamasic (darkness) nature of our health. However, this is

not the point and lacks full understanding. Meat is essentially a product of violence. It cannot be produced without seriously causing pain and suffering to other living beings. Such an action will produce regressive

reactions to those who participate in such an action. This is what produces sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic reactions in regard to our consciousness. Though it is a law of nature for animals that the strong will live off

the weaker creatures, this applies to humans to only a certain extent.

        Humans have the consciousness to choose to live as nonviolently as possible. As we all know, it does not kill the trees to collect the fruits that have ripened naturally. It does not harm the grains when they are harvested after they have already dried. Even if we do pull up something like carrots to eat, which kills the plant, it is still much more nonviolent than slaughtering an animal. Furthermore, many people collect vegetables to first offer to God, and then honor it as prasada, or the mercy of the Lord, for following a spiritual lifestyle, which helps continue the process of purification rather than merely eating whatever one wishes to merely satisfy the tongue.

        Anyway, there is much more to this, but the point is that the diet we choose produces varying degrees of reactions that will certainly affect our karma and consciousness. This has to be taken into consideration and for this reason is a part of the Vedic system, which is left out of other forms of analysis and spiritual development.

        So please find articles on both the health dangers of the meat industry, as well as the quotes in Vedic scripture, and other religious texts, that recommend the avoidance of the meat diet, and other quotes regarding the higher awareness and more civil means of eating than including the meat diet. You may want to keep these on hand to use when sending information to others who may not be so informed on this topic.

Hari Om and Hari bol,

Stephen Knapp   


A summary of the PBS special called:

Modern Meat: A PBS Frontline Documentary

Aired Thursday, April 18, 2002 at 9pm, 60 minutes

        It's as American as apple pie and vastly more popular. The

hamburger has become our national food: Americans eat more meat than

any other people in the world, with the average person devouring three

hamburgers a week. And with more meat available than ever before,

today's beef costs 30 percent less than it did in 1970, making it that much

more attractive to consumers looking for a quick, cheap meal.

Yet despite new federal safety regulations, more than 100 million

pounds of meat has been recalled since 1998 due to suspected bacterial

contamination. And just last summer, the nation's largest meat processor

had to recall 500,000 pounds of beef contaminated with e.coli bacteria

from seventeen states.

        How much does the average American know about the beef they're

eating? Have dramatic changes in the U.S. meat industry compromised the

overall safety of American beef? And are the new federal regulations

enough to guarantee the safety of the meat we eat?

FRONTLINE explores these and other questions in "Modern

Meat," through interviews with current and former U.S. Department of

Agriculture officials, meat inspectors, food safety experts, and industry

representatives, the one-hour documentary reveals how today's

highly-industrialized meat business has fundamentally changed the

composition of the typical American burger, causing some to fear the

spread of serious -- and even deadly -- bacteria. The program also explores

the powerful U.S. meat industry's attempts to resist certain government

regulations aimed at preventing contaminated meat from ending up in

supermarkets and fast food chains across America.

        "I think what the [meat] industry is saying is that they don't want to

be accountable for the product that they're selling," says Eric Schlosser,

author of Fast Food Nation, an expose of the meat and fast food industry.

"This industry has fought against food safety inspection for a hundred


        "Modern Meat" takes viewers inside the U.S. meat industry,

beginning at the cattle ranch and then moving on to the "feedlot" -- a huge

industrial holding pen where as many as 100,000 cattle are held together

until they are fat enough to be slaughtered. Then the carcasses make their

way down a Detroit-style assembly line or "dis-assembly line," as one

industry insider quips -- where modern advances have enabled some meat

companies to strip as many as 400 carcasses an hour -- nearly three times

as many as in 1970.

        But such modern efficiency may pose potential health risks.

In "Modern Meat," FRONTLINE speaks with numerous scientists

and industry observers who raise serious concerns about today's meat

production system. With large numbers of animals being raised together in

huge feedlots covered with feces, they say, it's easy for bacteria to spread

from one animal to another.

        "Cows tend to produce feces [and] feces is primarily bacteria," says

Glen Morris, a microbiologist at the University of Maryland and a former

USDA official "When those bacteria are spread around, there's ample

opportunity for bacteria to be spread from one cow to the next.

"In the larger feedlots," he adds, "there's a greater chance for the

passage of microorganisms back and forth. All of that contributes to the

spread of microorganisms like e. coli."

        Dr. Robert Tauxe is also concerned. "The new highly industrialized

way we produce meat has opened up new ecological homes for a number

of bacteria," says Tauxe, head of the Centers for Disease Control's

Foodborne Illness Section.

        Gone are the days, Tauxe says, when a hamburger patty contained

the meat from a single cow; with enormous numbers of cattle now being

herded, fattened, slaughtered, and ground up together, it's virtually

impossible to determine how many cows contribute to a single burger.

"If we take meat from a thousand different animals and grind that

together," he says, "we're pooling bacteria from a thousand different

animals as well."

        What's more, there is increasing evidence that the modern meat

industry's widespread use of antibiotics to promote growth and keep

livestock healthy may result in the development of bacteria strains that are

resistant to antibiotic treatment.

        The consequences of bacterial contamination can be deadly. In

1993, Jack in the Box hamburgers contaminated with a deadly strain of e.

coli killed four children and injured 750, causing the government to seek a

more scientific system for inspecting meat.

        For decades, industry experts say, meat inspectors had practiced the

"poke and sniff" method of visually inspecting carcasses for signs of

disease. Following the Jack in the Box outbreak, the government proposed

implementing a new inspection system -- known as "HACCP" (Hazard

Analysis and Critical Control Points) -- that would require microbial testing

to detect the presence of invisible -- yet harmful -- bacteria such as e. coli and


        The proposed testing for salmonella, however, was not embraced

by the meat industry. In "Modern Meat," FRONTLINE speaks with

industry insiders and government officials who say the powerful U.S. food

lobby -- which has contributed heavily to key Capitol Hill lawmakers --

aggressively fought including this testing as part of the new regulations.

        It's a charge that the American Meat Institute's J. Patrick Boyle

denies. "It's not the beef industry that's fighting standards that are

meaningful, that improve the wholesomeness of the product," Boyle tells

FRONTLINE. "The beef industry has reservations about unscientific

standards that have no relation to the safety of our products."

The USDA resisted industry pressure, and in 1996 the U.S. meat

industry began making the transition to the new inspection system. Since

then, the USDA has reported a marked drop in salmonella contamination of

ground beef, while the CDC has also begun to see a drop in some food

borne illnesses. Yet the American consumer still faces serious risks.

Each year, the CDC tracks numerous cases of food poisoning,

while the USDA maintains a running list of tainted meat recalls. The

growth in global trade, meanwhile, has increased the risk of diseased cattle

or beef coming into the country and decimating the U.S. livestock

population. Last year, for example, USDA Inspector General Roger

Viadero discovered that 650,000 pounds of foreign meat from a country

embargoed because of foot and mouth disease found its way into America's


        In addition, a recent court ruling threatens to limit the government's

enforcement of its new food safety regulations. In "Modern Meat,"

FRONTLINE examines a lawsuit filed by Texas meat grinding company

Supreme Beef against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When the

USDA effectively shut down the company after it failed bacterial

contamination tests three times -- once after nearly 50 percent of its meat

was found to be contaminated with salmonella -- the company sued.

Supported in its lawsuit by the National Meat Association, Supreme Beef

charged that the government didn't have the right to shut down its

operations simply because it failed to meet the USDA salmonella standards.

Last month, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the meat industry,

prompting concern from some industry observers.

        Carol Tucker Foreman, head of food safety at the Consumer

Federation of America and a former USDA official, believes the modern

meat production and distribution system leaves consumers vulnerable to a

widespread outbreak of bacterial contamination. She points to a case in

which sixteen deaths and five stillbirths were connected to Ball Park Franks

found to be contaminated with deadly listeria.

        "Those hot dogs were shipped everywhere," Foreman says. "And

thousands and thousands of them were made every day. So the potential

for one mistake rippling out and causing thousands of deaths is there."

"Modern Meat" is a FRONTLINE co-production with Cam Bay

Productions. The producer and writer is Doug Hamilton. The co-producer

is Steve Johnson. The senior producer for FRONTLINE is Sharon Tiller.

        FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast

nationwide on PBS.

        Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS

viewers. National sponsorship for FRONTLINE is provided by EarthLink«

and NPR«.

        FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing


        The executive producer for FRONTLINE is David Fanning. Press

contacts for



by Stephen Knapp

        I know some people may not want to consider the information in this

section. Others will feel this has nothing to do with establishing world peace

and unity. However, there are numerous ancient religious texts and

contemporary authorities who feel otherwise. Therefore, if we really want to

establish peace and brotherhood among all people, we should take it a step

farther to include the animals.

        As I have said before in my book, Toward World Peace, we need to see

the spiritual nature within all living beings, and that includes the animals as

well. Universal brotherhood means nonviolence to humans AND animals. It

consists of understanding that animals do have souls. They are alive,

conscious, and feel pain. And these are the symptoms of the presence of the

soul. Even the Bible (Genesis 1.21; 1.24; 1.30; 2.7; and in many other places)

refers to both animals and people as nefesh chayah, living souls. Meat-eaters,

however, because of their desires to eat animals, are not easily able to

understand the spiritual nature of all beings. If you know that all living entities

are spiritual in essence, and that all living beings that are conscious show the

symptoms of the soul within, then how can you go on killing them? Any living

creature is also the same as we are in that it is also a child of the same father,

a part of the same Supreme Being. Thus, the killing of animals shows a great

lack in spiritual consciousness.

        Many portions of the Vedic literature describe how the Supreme Being is

the maintainer of innumerable living entities, humans as well as the animals,

and is alive in the heart of every living being. Only those with spiritual

consciousness can see the same Supreme Being in His expansion as Supersoul

within every being. To be kind and spiritual toward humans and be a killer or

enemy toward animals is a barbaric philosophy, and an exhibit of one's

spiritual ignorance and sluggish mentality. To maintain so many

slaughterhouses for the sake of satisfying the human beings' taste for eating

flesh will continue to produce reactions that will constantly disturb the very

peace we are trying to establish.

        We have to consider the amount of fear and pain animals are forced to

endure when taken to the slaughter house. There are countless stories of how

in fear cows cry, scream, and sometimes fall down dead while inside or even

before they are taken into the slaughter house. Or how the veins of dead pigs

are so big that it shows they have practically exploded from the fear the pig

felt and the adrenalin that was produced while the pig was being led to

slaughter. This certainly causes an immense amount of violence to permeate

the atmosphere. The adrenalin and fear also produces toxins which then

permeates the body of these animals, which meat-eaters then ingest. People

who consume such things cannot help but be effected by it. It causes tensions

within them individually, and then spreads in their relations with others. This

is one of the reasons why we experience quarrels, hostilities, even

international tensions and wars.

        We may respect our fellow human beings, but unnecessary violence to

animals is also a sin. People who prescribe the killing of animals out of

voracious selfishness are guided by their lower animal propensities. Our true

human and spiritual nature can never fully shine if we do not refrain from

killing and abusing animals.

        The ancient Vedic text of the Manu-samhita (5.45-8) says, "He who

injures innoxious beings from a wish to give himself pleasure never finds

happiness, neither living nor dead. He who does not seek to cause the

suffering 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. 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."

        The Bible (Romans 14.21) also says, "It is neither good to eat flesh, nor

to drink wine." However, how many people who claim to be Christians

continue to do this? Therefore, how can they call themselves real Christians?

And another biblical commandment (Exodus 23.5) instructs to help animals

in pain, even if they belong to an enemy.

        The Buddhist scripture (Sutta-Nipata 393) also advises: "Let him not

destroy or cause to be destroyed any life at all, or sanction the acts of those

who do so. Let him refrain from even hurting any creature, both those that are

strong and those that tremble in the world."

An important principle of Jainism is related in the Sutrakritanga (1.11.33)

which explains, "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he

himself would be treated."

        For Jews, the Talmud (Avodah Zorah 18B) forbids the association with

hunters, not to mention engaging in hunting. So if people are going to be true

Jews or Christians, they should follow the tenets of their religion. Otherwise,

anyone may profess to be of any religion, yet not be a true follower because

of failing to regard the principles.

        Some Jews and Christians are convinced that sacrificing animals, as

mentioned in certain parts of the Bible, justifies meat-eating. But Jesus

preferred mercy over sacrifice (Matthew 9.13; 12.7) and was opposed to the

buying and selling of animals for sacrifice (Matthew 21.12-14; Mark 11.15;

John 2.14-15). One of the missions of Jesus was to do away with animal

sacrifice and cruelty to animals (Hebrews 10.5-10). So how can Christians

continue to sacrifice animals for the sake of their tongue if they claim to be

followers of Christ?

        We especially find in Isaiah where Jesus scorns the slaughter and

bloodshed of humans and animals. He declares (1.15) that God does not hear

the prayers of animal killers: "But your iniquities have separated you and your

God. And your sins have hid His face from you, so that He does not hear. For

your hands are stained with blood. . . Their feet run to evil and they hasten to

shed innocent blood. . . they know not the ways of peace." Isaiah also

laments that he saw, "Joy and merrymaking, slaughtering of cattle and killing

of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine, as you thought, 'let us eat and

drink, for tomorrow we die.'" (22.13)

        It is also established in the Bible (Isaiah 66.3), "He that killeth an ox is as

if he slew a man." In this regard St. Basil (320-379 A.D.) taught, "The steam

of meat darkens the light of the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys

meat meals and feasts."

        In an article called "The Golden Age Must Return: A Catholic's Views on

Vegetarianism," written by the Chairman of the Catholic Study Circle for

Animal Welfare in London, Reverend Basil Wrighton, it establishes that a

vegetarian diet is consistent with and required by the tenets of Christianity.

The article further explains that the killing of animals for food not only

violates religious tenets, but brutalizes humans to where violence against other

humans becomes inevitable.

        In this way it can be understood that a true religionist, one who is always

thinking of the welfare of others, never tries to cause anxiety for any creature,

human or otherwise. Therefore, we should understand that killing other living

entities for one's food is an act of cruelty to others and must be avoided. So

if you want peace, you must think of others' well being also. That includes the

animals. It is not that we must always go out of our way to provide the

animals with all the comforts of home. They can usually provide for

themselves, at least those in the wild. However, we should find alternatives to

killing animals to satisfy our appetites. Otherwise, there must be reactions to

such violence. We cannot expect peace in the world if we go on killing so

many millions of animals for meat consumption or through abuse. A basic law

of physics is that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. On

the universal level, this is called the law of karma, which affects every

individual, as well as communities and countries. As the nation sows, so shall

it reap. This is something we should take very seriously, especially in our

attempt to bring peace, harmony, and unity into the world. If so much

violence is produced by the killing of animals, where do you think the

reactions to this violence goes? It comes back to us in so many ways, such as

the form of neighborhood and community crime, and on up to world wars.

Violence breeds violence. Therefore, every several years there is a big war in

various areas of the world which causes wholesale slaughter of people. This

is the reaction of nature for the immense cruelty produced by humankind.

Humanity may not see this, but the reaction must be there. Thus, quarrels and

wars appear between any group, such as Protestant and Catholic, Russia and

Afghanistan, Muslim and Christian, or so many others. This will continue

unless we know how to change.

        Isaac Bashevis Singer, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, asked,

"How can we pray to God for mercy if we ourselves have no mercy? How can

we speak of rights and justice if we take an innocent creature and shed its

blood?" He went on to say, "I personally believe that as long as human beings

will go shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace."

In conclusion, we can mention the March 10, 1966 issue of L'Osservatore

della Domenica, the Vatican weekly newspaper, in which Msgr. Ferdinando

Lambruschini wrote: "Man's conduct with regard to animals should be

regulated by right reason, which prohibits the infliction of purposeless pain

and suffering on them. To ill treat them, and make them suffer without reason,

is an act of deplorable cruelty to be condemned from a Christian point of

view. To make them suffer for one's own pleasure is an exhibition of sadism

which every moralist must denounce." Eating animals for the pleasure of one's

tongue when there are plenty of other foods available certainly fits into this

form of sadism. It stands to reason that this is counterproductive to any peace

and unity we wish to establish. It is one of the things we need to consider

seriously if we want to improve the world.


The Vedic texts and system are not a dogma. It is not a list of rules that

must be followed or one will enter into eternal damnation. It is a system of

recommendations given to help one understand how his or her activities will

bring about certain results or destinations. However, often times I hear

Indians and followers of the Vedic path explain that meat-eating is all right,

that the Vedic shastra does not condemn it. 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 one's spiritual and even material progress.

This means that the pro-meat-eating conclusions that such people present 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 start with, the Manu-samhita clearly recommends that, "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." (Manu-samhita 5.48-49)

        However, it is not simply the person who becomes implicated by eating

the dead animal, but also those who assist in the process. "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." (Manu-samhita


        "As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed

it without a (lawful) reason suffer a violent death in future births." (Manu-


        "By subsisting on pure fruit and roots, and by eating food fit for ascetics

in the forest, one does not gain so great a reward as by entirely avoiding the

use of flesh. Me he [mam sah] will devour in the next world, whose flesh I eat

in this life; the wise declare this to be the real meaning of the word 'flesh'

[mam sah]." (Manu-samhita 5.54-55)

        "He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure,

never finds happiness in this life or the next." (Manu-samhita 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." (Manu-samhita 5.46-


        "If he has a strong desire (for meat) he may make an animal of clarified

butter or one of flour (and eat that); but let him never seek to destroy an

animal without a (lawful) reason. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often

indeed will he who killed it without a (lawful) reason suffer a violent death in

future births." (Manu-samhita 5.37-38)

        "By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation." (Manu-

samhita 6.60)

        The earlier texts, such as the Rig-veda (10.87.16), also proclaim the need

to give up the eating of slaughtered animals. "One who partakes of human

flesh, the flesh of a horse or of another animal, and deprives others of milk by

slaughtering cows, O King, if such a fiend does not desist by other means,

then you should not hesitate to cut off his head."

        There are also references in the Mahabharata that forewarn the activity of

eating flesh: "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)

        "The sins generated by violence curtail the life of the perpetrator.

Therefore, even those who are anxious for their own welfare should abstain

from meat-eating." (Mahabharata, Anu.115.33)

        "Those who are ignorant of real dharma and, though wicked and haughty,

account themselves virtuous, kill animals without any feeling of remorse or

fear of punishment. Further, in their next lives, such sinful persons will be

eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world." (Bhagavata Purana


        From these verses there should be no doubt that the Vedic shastra

recommends that such selfish meat-eating must be given up if one has any

concern for his future existence, or for attaining any spiritual merit.

In Bhagavad-gita, however, we also find similar verses on what is

recommended for human consumption. Lord Krishna says, "If one offers Me

with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it."

(Bg.9.26) This means that not only should one be a vegetarian and eat only

fruits, water, grains, vegetables, etc., but such items should be made as an

offering to God with love. The reason is that, "The devotees of the Lord are

released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for

sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat

only sin." (Bg.3.13)

        As further elaborated in Bhagavad-gita by Lord Sri Krishna: "O son of

Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well

as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto

Me. In this way you will be freed from all reactions to good and evil deeds,

and by this principle of renunciation you will be liberated and come to Me."


        As the Vedic literature explains, what we eat is an important factor in the

process of purifying ourselves and remaining free from accumulating bad

karma. It actually is not so difficult to be vegetarian, and it gives one a much

higher taste in eating and in one's spiritual realization. For those of you who

would like to learn more about what a vegetarian diet can do for you and how

to cook vegetarian meals easily, there are plenty of books available to help

you get started. Or check my website for additional information, at:


        Meat-eating and animal slaughter also disrupts and disregards the doctrine

of ahimsa, or non-violence. It is not possible to kill animals for the pleasure

of the tongue without violence. The Padma Purana (1.31.27) simply says that

"Ahimsa is the highest duty." Therefore, one must honestly ask themselves if

they intend to truly follow the Vedic tenants or not, at least if they call

themselves a Hindu. If they are, then they must adopt the ways of ahimsa.

Ahimsa is more directly explained in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (2.30)

wherein it is said: "Having no ill feeling for any living being, in all manners

possible and for all times, is called ahimsa, and it should be the desired goal

of all seekers."

        It is also said in the Buddhist scripture, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, "The

eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion."

One of the principles that one must follow in the endeavor to be free from

acquiring bad karma and for spiritual advancement is being merciful, based on

ahimsa. Mercy means more than just being nice. Mercy means being kind to

all living entities, not just to humans, but also to animals, birds, insects, etc.

This is because the living entity, depending on its consciousness, can take a

material body in any one of the 8,400,000 species of life. Therefore, to

develop and maintain the quality of mercy, one must follow the principle of

no meat-eating. This includes no eating of meat, fish, eggs, or insects. This

way, those who are serious about a spiritual path remain free from so many

unnecessary karmic reactions. Karma means that for every action there is an

opposite and equal reaction. Killing an animal to eat is certainly an act of

violence which creates a negative reaction in the atmosphere which returns as

more violence, which comes back to us as reversals in life which we must

endure in the future.

        It is stated that meat-eating is actually the grossest form of spiritual

ignorance. To kill other living entities for the pleasure of the tongue is a cruel

and selfish activity which requires one to be almost completely blind to the

spiritual reality of the living being. It also causes one to remain hard-hearted

and less sensitive to the concern for the well-being and feelings of others.

As previously explained, according to the law of karma, whatever pain we

cause for others we will have to suffer in the future. Therefore, a wise man

does not even want to harm an insect, what to speak of slaughtering an animal

in order to taste blood. The sinful reaction for animal slaughter is received by

six kinds of participants, which include, (1) the killer of the animal, (2) one

who advocates or advertises meat-eating, (3) one who transports the meat, (4)

one who handles or packages the meat, (5) one who prepares or cooks the

meat, and (6) one who eats it.

        The sinful reaction shared by these six participants in animal slaughter is

very severe. In fact, the Bible compares the killing of cows to murdering a

man: "He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man." (Isaiah 66.3) It is also

explained in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta,(Adi-lila, Chapter 17, verse 166):

"Cow killers are condemned to rot in hellish life for as many thousands of

years as there are hairs on the body of the cow," which is referenced in the

Manu-samhita. So an intelligent person will try to avoid this fate.

        Some readers may say, however, that the sacrifices in the early Vedic

literature prescribed animal slaughter, so for that reason it is all right to kill

animals. But such activities in this day and age is refuted by Sri Caitanya

Mahaprabhu in the Caitanya-caritamrita, (Adi-lila, Chapter 17, verses

159-165) which He explains to the Chand Kazi who was a Muslim:

"The Vedas clearly enjoin that cows should not be killed. Therefore any

Hindu, whoever he may be, does not indulge in cow killing. In the Vedas and

Puranas there are injunctions declaring that if one can revive a living being, he

can kill it for experimental purposes. Therefore the great sages sometimes

killed old animals, and by chanting Vedic hymns they again brought them to

life for protection. The killing and rejuvenation of such old and invalid animals

was not truly killing but an act of great benefit. Formerly there were great

powerful brahmanas who could make such experiments using Vedic hymns,

but now, because of Kali-yuga, brahmanas are not so powerful. Therefore the

killing of cows and bulls for rejuvenation is forbidden. 'In this age of Kali, five

acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow

in sacrifice, the acceptance of the [renounced] order of sannyasa, the offering

of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man's begetting children in his

brother's wife.' Since you Mohammedans [and others] cannot bring killed

animals back to life, you are responsible for killing them. Therefore you are

going to hell; there is no way for your deliverance."

        This quotation makes it perfectly clear how anyone who participates in

killing other living beings is responsible for such acts which cause one to

attain a hellish future. We mentioned the karmic reactions for killing the cow,

but there are karmic results that one acquires from killing other entities as

well, which is to suffer a similar pain or die in a similar way. Whatever you do

unto others will later return to you, either in this life or in a future life. For

every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is the law of karma.

We can now begin to understand how dark the future is for someone who

owns or manages something like a hamburger or fried chicken stand. Not only

is he responsible for the animals that are killed, cooked, and then sold by his

business, but he is also responsible for those he hires to help with it.


        The cow and bull are the prime targets of the meat industry. However,

cows and bulls are very important to human civilization. Until the recent

invention of the tractor, the bull was used for helping to cultivate fields for

producing food, and the cow has always supplied milk for human

consumption. Milk is important and a moderate supply of it in our diet

provides the proper nutrients for developing a good brain for understanding

spiritual topics. [However, this is not to condone the present mainstream or

western milk industry.] From milk one can make many other foods that are

used in thousands of recipes that we all appreciate, such as cheese or curd,

yogurt, kefir, butter, ghee, ice cream, and so on. This means that, according

to the Vedas, the cow is one of our mothers and the bull is like a father for the

benefit they have done for society. To do outright harm to such creatures is

considered extremely serious.

        I have heard Western people criticize India for not slaughtering its cows.

Uncultured tourists talk about how there would be no more starving children

if they would just eat the cows. For one thing, I have traveled all over India

and have seen hungry people there as well as in American cities. Homeless

people are found in every country. For another thing, cows are one of India's

greatest resources. They produce food, fuel, and power. Bullocks do as much

as two-thirds of the work on the average farm. They help plow the fields, hall

produce, and turn the presses. For India to convert to machinery to do these

tasks would cost as much as 20 to 30 billion dollars. For a country like India,

that is out of the question and a waste of time and money.

        The cows also supply up to 800 tons of manure each year for fuel. Cow

dung gives a slow even heat, good for cooking. Using coal for cooking would

cost 1.5 billion dollars a year. And besides, believe it or not, cow dung kills

bacteria and is antiseptic. And keeping cows is cheap since they eat things like

wheat stubble, husks, and rice straw, which people cannot use.

So why raise cattle for meat consumption when it takes seven times more

acreage for a pound of beef than a pound of milk? Only four to sixteen pounds

of flesh food is produced for every hundred pounds of food eaten by cattle.

        Ten to twenty tons of nutritive vegetable food can be produced from the same

amount of land that can produce only one ton of beef. In one year, you can

get much more protein from a cow in the form of milk, cheese, etc., than in

the several years it takes for a cow to mature enough to produce meat. To

produce one pound of wheat takes 25 gallons of water, whereas one pound

of beef requires 2500 gallons. And water is not always a plentiful resource in

countries like India. Obviously, using agricultural resources for meat

production is nothing but wasteful.

        Furthermore, if we are so concerned about the starving people in the

world and the environment we live in, then let us consider the fact that 60

million more people in the world could be fed if Americans reduced their meat

consumption by only 10%. Plus, an estimated 216,000 acres of rainforest is

lost every day in various countries, and it is said that 50% of that is directly

linked to raising cattle for meat production. And though 76% of Americans

consider themselves concerned about the environment, only 2.8% are

vegetarians (at the time this was written). Many Americans may say they love

animals, but they still eat them on a regular basis. Obviously, they need to

raise their consciousness about this. In any case, there are many books on the

market that present this type of environmental information much more




        The Bible has many quotations against meat-eating as can be seen from

the following: "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall

ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of

every beast will I require it." (Genesis 9.4-5) Certainly we can see in this verse

that no one was meant to live by eating the flesh and blood of others. If one

did so, then he would have to pay with his own blood, as it says, "your blood

of your lives will I require." This is merely a reference to the law of karma: for

every animal who suffers because of you, you will also similarly suffer: "at the

hand of every beast will I require it."

        "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the

Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I

delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of goats. When ye spread

forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many

prayers, I will not hear, for your hands are full of blood." (Isaiah 1.11,15)

"It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your

dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood. (Leviticus 3.17). . . And

whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of strangers who sojourn

among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set My face against

that soul that eateth blood." (Leviticus 17.10)

        From these verses and others not included here, we can certainly see that

God's law, as set down in the Bible, was against the eating of flesh and blood

and the killing of other entities. However, there are some people who try to

legitimize the eating of meat by draining the blood and, thus, make the meat

"kosher." Of course, this idea doesn't really work. Blood permeates meat, so

how can one be free from eating blood by trying to drain it from the flesh?

This is not very realistic, and it certainly does not free one from the violence

that must be inflicted on the animal when it is killed in order to eat its flesh.

The real point of the matter is not to kill. This is clearly stated in Exodus

(20.13) in the Hebrew lo tirtzach, which, when accurately translated, means

"thou shalt not kill."

        In fact, the Bible compares the killing of cows to murdering a man: "He

that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man." (Isaiah 66.3)

There are a few verses, however, which I am sure some students of the

Bible will reach for that seem to support the eating of flesh. But in every case,

this is due to inaccurate translations as we shall see.

        For example, in John (4.8) it states: "For his disciples were gone away

unto the city to buy meat." The word meat was taken from the Greek word

trophe, which actually means nourishment. This is exactly the same case in

Acts (9.19): "And when he had received meat, he was strengthened." When

translated accurately it means that by receiving nourishment, he felt stronger.

In Luke (8.55) we find, "And her spirit came again and she arose

straightaway: and he (Jesus) commanded to give her meat." The word meat

in this case was translated from the Greek word phago, which translated

correctly simply means to eat.

        In I Corinthians (8.8) it states: "But meat commendeth us not to God, for

neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither if we eat not, are we the worse."

The word for meat here is broma, which actually means food. Therefore, this

verse signifies that eating or not eating food has little to do with our

relationship to God and not, as some people think, that eating meat holds no


        In Romans (14.20-21) the verses are: "For meat destroy not the word of

God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with

offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything

whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." The word

for meat here is broma, which actually means foods, and the word for flesh is

kreas, which does mean flesh. Therefore, this verse makes it clear that flesh

eating is unacceptable.

        If the Bible explains that eating meat is wrong, then what is the proper

thing to eat? Genesis (1.29) clearly states: "And God said, Behold, I have

given you every herb bearing seed, which is on the face of all the earth, and

every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for

meat." This makes it quite obvious that the food for human beings is herbs,

seeds, grains, and fruits.

        We also find in Isaiah (7.14-15): "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give

you a sign; Behold, a young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall

call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to

refuse the evil, and choose the good." The first verse is often quoted by

Christians for proof that Jesus was the savior, but the next verse shows that

he will be a vegetarian to know the difference between right and wrong.

As mentioned earlier, meat-eating is a sign of spiritual ignorance and tends

to keep one from developing compassion and mercy towards our fellow living

entities. To be merciful only to man and yet be an enemy to animals by killing

and eating them is Satan's philosophy. One will never live in true harmony

with God while performing such activities. This is often overlooked by the

Christians, Muslims, and others. If these verses were actually understood and

the meaning fully realized and practically applied by the Christians and others,

I am sure it would bring beneficial reactions the world over in their spiritual

development. After all, one of the ten commandments specifically says thou

shalt not kill. It does not say merely thou shalt not murder, which would imply

only humans, but it says "Thou shalt not kill," meaning any living being.


"Is it not a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True, he can and

does live, in a great measure, by preying on other animals; but this is a

miserable way--as any one who will go to snaring rabbits, or slaughtering

lambs, may learn--and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall

teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. What

my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the

human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely

as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact

with the more civilized." Henry David Thoreau in "Walden"

"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 my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical

effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot

of mankind." Albert Einstein

"As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he

who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."


"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

"Nonviolence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution.

Until we stop harming all living beings, we are all savages." Thomas

Edison, inventor

"When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants

to murder him, he calls it ferocity." George

Bernard Shaw

"Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live

by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured

the use of meat..."

Leonardo da Vinci, painter,

sculptor, poet.

"A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The

same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher's stall passes as food!"

J. H. Kellog

"I do not see any reason why animals should be slaughtered to serve as

human diet when there are so many substitutes. After all, man can live without

meat..." The Dalai Lama

"He who does not value life does not deserve it." Leonardo da Vinci

"Flesh-eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act

which is contrary to moral feeling--killing." Count Leo

Tolstoy, great Russian philosopher

"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 look my age. It is the other people who look older than they are. What

can you expect from people who eat corpses?" George Bernard

Shaw, great English playwright

"Oh, my fellow men, do not defile your bodies with sinful foods. We have

corn, we have apples bending down the branches with their weight, and

grapes swelling on the vines. There are sweet-flavored herbs, and vegetables

which can be cooked and softened over the fire, nor are you denied milk or

thyme-scented honey. The earth affords a lavish supply of riches, of innocent

foods, and offers you banquets that involve no bloodshed or slaughter; only

beasts satisfy their hunger with flesh, and not even all of those, because

horses, cattle, and sheep live on grass." Pythagorus

"Can you really ask what reason Pythagorus had for abstinence from

flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of

mind the first man touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh

of a dead creature, set forth tables of dead, stale bodies, and ventured to call

food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried,

moved and lived. How could eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit

and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the

stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made

contact with sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal

wounds? It is certainly not lions or wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on

the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without

stings or teeth to harm us. For the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of

sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and


"If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first

kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own

resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax." The

Roman Plutarch, in an essay "On Eating Flesh".

In a similar line of thinking is this quote: "I'm no shrinking violet. I played

hockey until half my teeth were knocked down my throat. And I'm extremely

competitive on a tennis court. . . But that experience at the slaughterhouse

overwhelmed me. When I walked out of there, I knew I would never again

harm an animal! I knew all the physiological, economic, and ecological

arguments supporting vegetarianism, but it was firsthand experience of man's

cruelty to animals that laid the real groundwork for my commitment to


Peter Burwash, champion tennis player in his book, "A

Vegetarian Primer"

"I do not want to make my stomach a graveyard of dead animals." George

Bernard Shaw

"He who, seeking his own happiness, punishes or kills beings who also

long for happiness, will not find happiness after death." Buddhist


"It may indeed be doubted whether butchers' meet is anywhere a

necessary of life. Grain and other vegetables, with the help of milk, cheese,

and butter, or oil where butter is not to be had, afford the most plentiful, the

most wholesome, the most nourishing, and the most invigorating diet.

Decency nowhere requires that any man should eat butchers' meat."

Economist Adam Smith in "The Wealth of Nations"


"In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But

now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And, in a population

that is all educated, and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is

practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig... I can

still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last

slaughterhouse." H. G. Wells, vision of the future in "A Modern


"We are all God's creatures--that we pray to God for mercy and justice

while we continue to eat the flesh of animals that are slaughtered on our

account is not consistent."

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel-prize winning author

"Vegetarianism is a greater progress. From the greater clearness of head

and quicker apprehension motivated him to become a vegetarian. Flesh-eating

is an unprovoked murder."

Benjamin Franklin, great American statesman

"Various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their

disciples and followers that animals are nothing more than machines without

a soul, without feelings. However, anyone who has ever lived with an animal--

be it a dog, a bird, or even a mouse--knows that this theory is a brazen lie,

invented to justify cruelty." Isaac Bashevis Singer

"To be nonviolent 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 strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or

nationally." A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in Srimad-

Bhagavatam (1.10.6)

"Every act of irreverence for life, every act which neglects life, which is

indifferent to and wastes life, is a step towards the love of death. This choice

man must make at every minute. Never were the consequences of the wrong

choice as total and as irreversible as they are today. Never was the warning

of the Bible so urgent: 'I have put before you life and death, blessing and

curse. Choose life, that you and your children may live.' (Deuteronomy

30:19)" Erich Fromm

"To avoid causing terror to living beings, let the disciple refrain from

eating meat... the food of the wise is that which is consumed by the sadhus

[holymen]; it does not consist of meat... There may be some foolish people in

the future who will say that I permitted meat-eating and that I partook of meat

myself, but... meat-eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I

will not permit meat-eating in any form, in any manner and in any place; it is

unconditionally prohibited for all." The Buddha in Dhammapada

In the words of George Bernard Shaw:


We are living graves of murdered beasts

Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites.

We never pause to wonder at our feasts,

If animals like men could possibly have rights.


We pray on Sunday that we may have light,

To guide our footsteps on the paths we tread.

We are sick of war, we do not want to fight,

And we gorge ourselves upon the dead.


Like Carrion Crows we live and feed on meat,

Regardless of the suffering and pain

We cause by doing so, in this we treat,

Defenseless animals for sport or gain -


How can we hope in this world to attain

The peace we say we are so anxious for,

We pray for it o'er hetacomba of slain,

To God while outraging the moral law,

Thus cruelty begets the offspring --- WAR !

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