Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Great Quotations on Vegetarianism

Albert Einstein: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.   ...I have long been an adherent to the vegetarian cause in principle. Besides agreeing with their aims for aesthetic and moral reasons, 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.”
[Quoted in:
(a) “Einstein, A Life” p.388, by Denis Brian, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1996
(b) “Vegetarian Watch - Tower”, Albert Einstein, 27 December 1930]

“The vast majority of those who eat meat never consider its rights and wrongs; society condones it, and that is sufficient reason to think no further. So it is the vegetarian who is called upon to explain his odd behaviour, and not those who support the unnecessary slaughter that meat eating requires. It requires very little moral sense to realise that the taking of life is an important matter, yet for most people the choice between a nut cutlet and a beefsteak is about as important as that between chipped and boiled potatoes; a matter of taste, not morality.
-John Harris - Animals, Men and Morals
[Quoted in “The Extended Circle,” p.114, Jon Wynne-Tyson, Paragon House, New York, 1989]

Be spiritually healthy after death: No matter how hard a person tries to be physically healthy in other respects - eating right, exercising often, holding to a proper weight - smoking several packs a day eventually is going to undermine those efforts. "Great body; looks real fit," the coroner will say. "Too bad about the cancer that destroyed his lungs, otherwise he would have lived a long life."
And no matter how hard a person tries to be spiritually healthy in other respects-giving to charity, worshipping regularly, adhering to ethical tenets-eating flesh several times a day eventually is going to undermine those efforts. "Beautiful soul; basically sound," the Angel of Death will say. "Too bad about the killing for which he must be held responsible, otherwise he would have had a wonderful after life."

Is this overstating the case?
No, not according to the perennial wisdom handed to us through the ages; the following quotations from around the world speak for themselves.

"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, epic Hindu scripture (c. 500 BCE-CE 400)

"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."
-Laws of Manu, code of Hinduism (c. 200 BCE-CE 200)

"The greatest progress of Righteousness among men comes from the exhortation in favour of non-injury to life and abstention from killing living beings."
-Asoka, 3rd century BCE Buddhist emperor
[Quoted in “Food for the spirit – Vegetarianism and the World Religions,”p.80, Bala books, New York, 1987]

"Alas what wickedness to swallow flesh into our own flesh, to fatten our greedy bodies by cramming in other bodies, to have - one living creature fed by the death of another!"
-Ovid, 1st century BCE Roman poet
[Quoted in “The Philosophy of Vegetarianism,” p.85, The University of Massachusetts Press, 1984]

"The unnatural eating of flesh-meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its impure feasts, through participation in which a man becomes a fellow eater with devils."
-Clementine Homilies, 2nd century Christian text
[Quoted in “Food for the spirit – Vegetarianism and the World Religions,”p.19, Bala books, New York, 1987]

"It is far better to be happy than to have our bodies act as graveyards for animals. Accordingly, the Apostle Matthew partook of seeds, nuts and vegetables, without flesh."
-Clement of Alexandria, 2nd century Christian theologian

"But as water which flows through a rock is more uncorrupted than that which runs through marshes, because it does not bring with it much mud; thus, also, the soul which administers its own affairs in a body that is dry, and is not moistened by the juices of foreign flesh, is in a more excellent condition, is more uncorrupted, and is more prompt for intellectual energy."
-Porphyry, 3rd century Neo-Platonist philosopher
[Quoted in “Porphyry – on Abstinence from Animal Food,”p.177, Centaur Press, London, 1965]

"...he [Pythagoras] forbade the most contemplative of philosophers, and who have arrived at the summit of philosophic attainments, the use of superfluous and unjust food, and ordered them never to eat anything animated, nor in short, to drink wine, nor to sacrifice animals to the Gods, nor by any means to injure animals, but to preserve most solicitously justice towards them. And he himself lived after this manner, abstaining from animal food, and adoring altars undefiled with blood."
-Iamblichus, 4th century Greek philosopher and historian
[Quoted in “Iamblichus’ Life of Pythagoras,”p.58, Inner Traditions International, 1986]

"We, the Christian leaders, practice abstinence from the flesh of animals to subdue our bodies... the unnatural eating of flesh-meat is polluting."
-St. John Chrysostom, 4th century Father of the Eastern Church
[Quoted in “Food for the spirit – Vegetarianism and the World Religions,”p.18, Bala books, New York, 1987]

"Eating the meat of a cow causes disease, its milk is health and its clarified butter is medicine. Compassionate eating leads to compassionate living."
-Al-Ghazali, 11th-12th century Muslim theologian and mystic

"And remember: when you hunt and kill,
your punishment will depend
on where [on the scale of evolution]
you have struck your blade - high or low!...
You are not a vulture, to stoop on carcasses,
and do not, like a crow,
dip your feet in others' blood.
Even if hunger has reduced you to a mere skeleton -
bloodless like a picture image -
you will, at least, be spared the punishments
of a carcass eater."
-Nizaami Ganjavee, 12th century Sufi poet
[Quoted in “Mazkhzan-i Azrar,” p.123, 185, Munshi Naval Kishore Press, 1872, Kanpur, India]

"When he [St. Francis] considered the primordial source of all things, he was filled with even more abundant piety, calling creatures, no matter how small, by the name of brother or sister, because he knew they had the same source as himself.”
-St. Bonaventure, 13th century Franciscan minister and theologian
[Quoted in “Bonaventure,” p. 254-255, Paulist Press, New York, 1978]

"You violently slaughter innocent animals
and claim it to be in keeping
With the canons of your creed.
But when God places before you
The record of your cruel deeds,
What will your fate be?"
-Kabir, 15th century Indian mystic
[Quoted in “Kabir – The Weaver of God’s Name” by V.K Sethi, www.scienceofthesoul.org]

[Da Vinci, a vegetarian, eliminated even honey from his diet]… "And many others will be robbed of their store of provisions and their food, and by an insensitive folk will be cruelly immersed and drowned. O justice of God! Why dost thou not awake to behold thy creatures thus abused?
... He who does not value life does not deserve it. "
-Leonardo Da Vinci, 15th century Italian artist and scientist
[Quoted in “The Vegetable Passion – A history of the vegetarian state of mind,” p.70, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1975]

"I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food and from much food of any kind... 'That in which men differ from brute beasts,' says Mencius, 'is a thing very inconsiderable; the common herd lose it very soon; superior men preserve it carefully.' Who knows what sort of life would result if we had attained to purity?"
-Henry David Thoreau, 19th century American writer and naturalist

[Shaw, a vegetarian, was told by the doctors in 1898 that he would die unless he ate some meat. He said,] … "My situation is a solemn one. Life is offered to me on condition of eating beefsteaks. But death is better than cannibalism. My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small travelling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarfs in honour of the ‘man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures.’ It will be, with the exception of Noah's ark, the most remarkable thing of the kind seen."
-George Bernard Shaw, 19th - 20th century British writer and critic
[Quoted in “Bernard Shaw: Selections of his wit and his wisdom,” p.359, Follet Publishing Company, Chicago, 1965]

“I think that eating meat or fish is a denial of all ideals, even of all religions. How can we pray to God for mercy if we ourselves have no mercy? How can we speak of right and justice if we take an innocent creature and shed its blood? Every kind of killing seems to me savage and I find no justification for it."
-Isaac Bashevis Singer, 20th century Jewish writer
[Quoted in “The Holy Name,” by M.B Caravella, www.scienceofthesoul.org]

Do these words reflect fantasy or reality?
Each of us will find out after we take our last breath.
Until that moment comes, what's the wisest course of action?

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