The term Vegetarian is derived from the Latin word vegetal meaning “whole, lively, sound, fresh.” Thus from a Jain point of view, a vegetarian is one who dopes not eat any meat, fish, fowl or eggs. But there are many who consider themselves to be vegetarians even though they eat eggs. There are three categories of vegetarians; 1) lacto-ovo-vegetarians: those that include milk, dairy products and eggs in their diets; 2) lacto-vegetarians: those that include milk dairy products but no eggs in their diets; and 3) vegans: those that do not include any animal; products like milk or eggs in their diets (most even eschew honey).
Since time immemorial, studies and research have led us to one thing that is common to all living beings; the desire tops live and be happy. However, man in his pursuit of pleasure and happiness uses everything and everyone to satisfy this yearning to the extent of hunting, confining and taking the life of freely roving animals. In this way, not only does he abuse living creatures, but abuses himself as hye too is a living creature and cannot remove himself from the universal vibrations of the living, until, subconsciously he reaches a point of hating himself. When one does not have reverence for one’s life, how can one have reverence for other living beings? To have reverence for oneself, one must be non-violent to oneself which then extends to others.
The first step is to watch one’s eating habits. One starts to observe what one puts into the body where the soul is housed. The body is, therefore, provided with healthy and wholesome foods, pure and untainted by blood and negative vibrations. One is often not aware of the fact that when one eats meat, one takes in protein as well as the chemicals which are injected into the animals top control; diseases and fatten them up. One also forget that in flesh, the negative vibrations of pain, fear and rejection do exist, and they permeate the cells of the human body creating there the feelings of fear, pain and rejection. How can one hope to live with good feelings of health, when negative vibrations blended with chemicals are working in the body? These, then lead to fatal diseases. Statistically, approximately two million Americans die each year of which 68% are victims of the three major chronic diseases in which diet is a major contributory factor: heart disease, cancer and stroke. The foods that have been singled out for special; concern in connection with theses diseases are meat and animal fat. So feed the body with those foods which involve a minimum and violence. Grannies, legumes, beans, vegetables and fruits are goods souses of protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
One never stops to think that eating meat for palate and stomach involves much pain and torture to a life! A life that cannot be created in the laboratory! A very precious life with a strong will to live! A life that needs time to unfold its own destiny on earth, fopr a premature death breaks the cycle of a natural unfoldment. Leonardo da Vinci rightly said, “The time will come when men will,. Look one the murder of animals as they nor look on the murder of men.”
Here, many ask the question, “Why, then, kill vegetables if not animals?” The school of Jain philosophy answers this question precisely. Basically, this universe is made up of two substances,. I.e., “living” and “non-living”. Classified as “living” as human beings, animals, birds insects, smaller organisms, vegetation, air and water. Non-living substances are sand, rock, buildings, trains, cars, machines, etc. Wherever there is life,. There is consciousness, there is a response to stimuli. According to Jain philosophy, all life is divided into five groups, embodying the various stages of evolution. Vegetables are one-sense beings and animals are five-sense beings. Life has top go through a laborious and strenuous proposes to evolve from one-sense top five-sense beings. By slaughtering an animals, one destroys completely the evolutionary progress of that life which it has attained through one destroys completely the evolutionary progress of that life which it has attained through suffering and pain. The vegetable kingdom has not reached the bood “consciousness” which the animals (and humans) have. Where there is blood there are feelings, emotions and possibility to feel deep pain.
Two thousand five hundred years ago, Mahavir, the great teacher of Non-violence, emphasized that thoughts which govern our actions are the products of the food we eat. The food that feeds the system has a definite influence on the person physically as well as emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Healthy, whole and harmless foods give rise to healthy whole and harmless thoughts. Once our thoughts are harmless and healthy, our actions reflect the same qualities. Weaknesses of character always develop in those who are in poor health. Science discovered in recent years that character and personality are attributes opf the inner workings of the body and have a great bearing upon our success in life and happiness. The personality reveals and expresses itself through the physical body. The expression of the face, the smile; which is the manifestation of joy,. Happiness and compassion, reveal and personality within. Without a healthy body these manifestations would not be possible. Thus the vegetarian way is a key to health and happiness.