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March 22, 2006

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Brian and Bob's comment
I was vegan before ever coming across sant mat or spiritual paths.
I am sorry, but I have little tolerance towards cruelty, and the eating of higher animals is gross cruelty. Dress it up any way you wish, it is what it is. It galls me that people talk crap about 'alarm bells ringing' and to blame their own bloody selfishness and lack of vision on a path, rather than their own self regarding appetites.
Bullshit and bollocks that vegetarian diets are for sedentary types. I know vegan martial artists and labourers who are bulit like the proverbial brick out house.
Stop making excuses and blaming sant mat you bunch of disaffected boring baby boomers with your whinging me me attitude.
Bullshit and more bollocks that cows amble through fields eating daisies before they gamble off to the slaughterhouse.
Cows in particular are so shit scared by the time they get to the abbatoir that they literally crap themselves and pump all that fear and misery round their blood streams and then greedy selfish indulgent humans gorge themselves on their flesh and blood!
Disgusting and shameful. I'm with you Brian, vive la difference. But don't blame cult brainwashing for your utter disregard for animal rights and your neglect for compassion. If we turn our backs on animals and say each to his own as to how we treat them, then that is mere speciesism and base predjudice. Why not welcome in all the paedophiles, child molestors and rapists who have been held back from expressing themselves by some mind controlling cult!
I have not ever read a more lame and bullsit defense of cruelty and another attempt by an ego to blame sant mat for their life decisions.
I am sorry that this email is industrial strengh, but animal rights came first for me long before any path and I feel most indignant at reading such lamo excuses for turning your back on vegetarian lifestyle.
Sorry Bob, but you had better hope that fellow humans treat you with a darn sight more respect and regard than you now treat the animals that you stuff your face with!
I have long felt that vegetarianism is part of an evolutionary impulse amongst humankind, and is more in tune with a holistic vision of life and our common kinship with all nature. Its bad enough to hear people apologising for meat eating when its all they have ever done, but to have been given an opportunity to live that life and then turn your back on it! What a pity! What a pity for all those extra dead animals too!
And to drag the path of sant mat into it and try and find yet more reasons to rub its nose in it! Why don't you whingers (mostly American middle class boomer ME generation) shut up and take responsibility for your own lives. The merits of vegetarianism stand without any regard to any dogma, path or science. It is a vision of life and a philosophy in itself.
Why not try living up to something noble and good and kick those king size yankee egos into touch for once in a while.
Don't get me wrong I have several good American friends, but is it any wonder that some of you yanks end up pissing off half the rest of the planet?
With apologies to Bob, its nothing personal its simply the view you are giving. I can pronounce it as utter bollocks and utterly self regarding indulgent shit, without any core disrespect to you.
No more apologies! For god's sake have some care and regard for those creatures that we share this life and planet with!
Regards
Nick

Hello Nick, you wrote: "I have long felt that vegetarianism is part of an evolutionary impulse amongst humankind, and is more in tune with a holistic vision of life and our common kinship with all nature."

Well, this of course doesn't take into account that the human being, so called 'top of creation', wouldn't have 'evolved' a brain large enough to concieve of such matters as 'god' & religion, if it wasn't for our meat eating ancestors. Kind of a koan right there, no?

And, I'm not sure what the old shamanic cultures spread throughout the world would think of your statement about vegeterianism being moree in tune with a 'holistic vision of life and our common kinship with all nature'? I strongly suggest finding out about these cultures, their unity with nature, and their meat eating.

Besides all this, isn't the 'ego' you speak of, which thinks & cares about lessening it's 'karma', seeing itself as a 'doer'? Is it not 'God' who creates then devours countless 'souls' in a ceasless movement of life subsisting on other life?

Apparently, according to RS dogma, 90% of these souls are engaged in this unforgiving dance of killing to survive for no other purpose than for God's amusement & pleasure?

Ah, perhaps man IS made in God's image?

Yours sincerely,
somebody who instinctively refused eating meat as a very young child when my mother tried feeding it to me, and a vegeterian for the past 15 years.......

Nick's correct. I am a yank baby boomer, age 57. Sorry.

I have found that dedicated vegans are frequently very strident and intolerant when confronted with an opposing viewpoint. It is ironic that many of them are so vituperative while claiming moral superiority due to their "evolved" and sensitive viewpoint regarding animals. This is understandable, however, because becoming vegan is an emotional decision... not that there aren't,arguably, practical aspects to it.

Nick's right. Many vegetarians are strong and healthy. Ironman triathalons have been completed, and won, by vegetarians. I was a pretty good runner on a veg diet and could do manual labor all day. In my opinion, however, these successes are in spite of, rather than, because of the vegetarian diet.

It is the consensus opinion of the scientific community that the human species developed eating considerable amounts of animal protein and especially, for brain development, animal fat. Flesh is natural food for humans and most of us will do better in the long run with some of it in our diets. But if you don't like the idea of killing and eating animals you'll survive as a vegetarian and live a normal lifespan. I suggest to vegans that they supplement with vitamin B12, nutritional yeast, L-carnitine, taurine, and the ayurvedic herb colleus forskolli. If you are willing to eat eggs and/or dairy products supplementation is not as critical.

If a vegan wishes to be consistent in their avoidance of harming creatures, they will have to be very careful about the source of the vegetation they eat as more animals are killed every year by commercial agriculture than by the meat and dairy industries. That's right. I'm not kidding. Not only do animals die due to habitat displacemet due to large tract agriculture, but the machinery used to produce the crops, plus pesticides, kill literally billions of rodents, birds, worms, small mammals and insects every year. Better grow your own food and, as I said, very carefully.

Well, this has strayed a bit from the topic of Radha Soami Beas. When I said "the alarms went off" when I was forced to refuse a bit of mayonaise with a fraction of an egg in it due to the R.S. vow of not eating eggs, it was because I felt like a fanatic with a blind adherence to an ideology that had no rational explanation for doing so. This is a sign of a cult, or at least a religion, which R.S. proclaims itself not to be.

Hmmmm...Interesting comments, Nick and Manjit. Look, Nick, I haven't eaten a bite of animal flesh for about 37 years (became vegetarian at age 20). I put a couple of years of totally volunteer effort into writing a book, "Life is Fair," that described the karmic rationale for vegetarianism.

It was published non-commercially in India. Over 25,000 copies were printed, so probably at least a few people have been encouraged to become vegetarians as a result. I feel like I've done my bit for animal rights, through both my individual lifestyle and writing.

Still, my wife was a meat-eater before I met her. And she was, and is, a tremendous animal-lover. She ate free-range chickens because they lived a good life before they died. If no one ate meat, there would be many fewer animals. Is it better to live and then die to be eaten, or to never live at all?

I don't know. That not-knowing leaves me pretty accepting of people who choose to eat meat. Some Buddhists do, even though this is a religion of compassion. Go figure.

That said, I understand the energy surrounding this issue. I don't like the idea (or reality) of killing. I carefully avoid the worms that crawl out onto our driveway when I get the paper in the morning. I carefully carry bugs that fall in the sink outside.

All the same, I think love and compassion for animals can manifest in many ways. There is indeed a balance of nature that needs to be maintained. Killing deer when herds get over-populated can be a humane thing to do, if the alternative is slow starvation.

To close: I was thumbing through a humor book about growing old and doing what you want while waiting in line at a store yesterday. I read (roughly remembered):

"I'll go to the Sportsmans Banquet and yell out, 'If you really want Ducks Unlimited, stop shooting their damn butts off!" Yes, absolutely.

Gentlemen,
I eat meat. Yet it appears to me that several of you could easily outdo me in ego. Robert Paul Howard

Nick, your regard for the lives of our fellow creatures and your commitment to vegetarianism is noble. Perhaps you might want to consider deepening your study of ahimsa. For starters, try reading some of the widely available writings on the subject. Here's just one:

http://www.dlshq.org/teachings/ahimsa.htm

The true practice of ahimsa on all levels becomes very liberating and uplifting and fills one with love for all.

Nick says, "I have little tolerance towards cruelty," and then he (1) calls Brian and Bob a "bunch of disaffected boring baby boomers with your whinging me me attitude," (2) accuses them of having "utter disregard for animal rights" and "neglect for compassion," (3) compares them to "paedophiles, child molestors and rapists," (4) admonishes them to "shut up and take responsibility" for their own lives, (5) says they have "king size yankee egos" that "end up pissing off half the rest of the planet," and (6) labels their opinions "utter bollocks and utterly self regarding indulgent shit."

And then he concludes by saying, "For god's sake have some care and regard for those creatures that we share this life and planet with!"

Guess I won't be needing to take my irony pill today.

I fail to see Editor at large's point on cruelty, unless it's just that he feels that harsh language and (sometimes) misspelled words are cruel. I suppose insults are cruel, but I'll take them anytime rather than being killed! :-)

As far as being vegetarian, I am one. I understand that something must die so that I live. I also understand that I can't live without violence (sorry microbes and some other small fauna). I have the ability to choose how much damage I cause, however, and hence the vegetarianism. Bob makes a good point about agriculture displacing other sentient beings on the planet. So what do we do? First and foremost, limit the number of people on the planet! If the population were to be reduced we wouldn't need so much food, space, fuel, medicines, etc. Can we do it? Who knows? We all need to be on the same page and we're not. I don't know if we'll ever be, but it would be nice.

Incidentally Bob, I, as a vegetarian/vegan, practice martial arts and have a third degree black belt in Kempo Karate, and am currently practicing Tai Chi. I have energy, great blood pressure, am very healthy in general and women want me! Ok, the last part I just had to throw in, sorry.

Oh, one more thing, if we go by the idea that "they are going to die anyway", then I could use that excuse to take someone out. I mean, we're ALL going to die, so what should prevent me (excluding those pesky laws we have)from helping someone along? I believe the Bhagavad Gita even uses that argument when Arjuna doesn't want to go to war.

Right on Nick!,
Of course animals,birds, insects are killed in commercial agricultural production;in home gardens too(Just insects I hope). This vegetarian kills ants alone by the thousands each year! They're interesting little critters and I wish I did'nt have to do it but when they damage crops and invade the home in droves I have to treat them as pests. Cars also kill scores of animals accidently but that doe'snt mean I want to go scrape off the roadkill and bake it in a casserole for dinner!People get killed in farming accidents occassionally too

Eric,
When I was vegetarian, I practiced martial arts off and on for years and had no energy problems either except for occasions when I took repeated hard blows to the head or solar plexus. When you're 20 or 30 years old you're going to feel pretty good on most any diet. It sometimes takes decades for real problems to show up from eating incorrectly for your metabolic type. For you, your diet may be just fine for the rest of your life. Time will tell.

You are a civilized person but if you need to take someone out to save your life, you may have to do so outside of the pesky laws established by the minds of men or their imagined gods. In nature, there are no such laws, ideals or rules.

I like Bob's decision to think for himself and go his own way, both spiritually and diet-wise. I myself have been a vege for 40 years and a vegan for 20 years. At this point I could change my diet if I pleased, but over many years of research and adherence to raw and unprocessed, I have found a wise and healthy balance that works for me, and I don't really need to change it. Rember that our choices have consequences. To each his own.

Sant Mat's notion of vegetarianism has little do, apparently, with animal rights, but much more to do with archaic notions of "purity."

Try this Beas Koan on for size:

Why is it okay for the

guru to have meat on the feet

but it is karmically much more horrible to have but one tiny morsel of an unfertilized egg on one's tongue?

Or, more tersely, why does Gurinder Singh issue edicts about "no rennett" while wearing leather shoes?

Dear all
I understand that my views were not so well expressed (vituperative and overly ranting).
My core sentiment remains however regarding animal rights.
What is it that makes us think that killing and roasting a baby cow (veal) is okay, and yet if a psycho did that to a child we would be rightly be horrified!
The partial answer is that we are species -ist in our behaviours.
No more judgements here, simply posing questions. In the grand cosmic scheme of things many mystics say there is no right or wrong as such. This resonates with me, but at the relative scale I still see veganism as a moral imperative and am unashamed to proselytyse it.
Bob I appreciate your calm and measured response to my rant. And Tao I appreciate your interesting note on investigations into raw foods etc.
Wish you all well. Have a great weekend no matter what you eat.
Nick

Well, as an omnivore, I am glad this discussion is taking place in the church-free church. I am not sure any of you can say what is "true" behind the moralizing, and that includes the you that is me. What is the deal with suffering and death? Are you so far removed from them that you will micromanage the universe's gestures acting through you? And me, too. Now I have the burden of having to fashion another opinion!

The only "truth" with respect to diet that I can see is that it is all a matter of choice. In other words, whatever the reason, positive negative or otherwise, everyone determines their own "truth" about it. But then thats pretty much a given, except for those who are influenced or trapped in dogma and need someone else to tell them what is right.

But really, what is "right" is whatever one is willing to be responsible for. D.L. clearly pointed out the hypocrisy of no rennet, yes leather shoes. And make no mistake, animals are killed to produce leather shoes. That obviously shows that shoe leather is condoned even though it causes suffering and death to animals. And yet Sant Mat tells that the reason for vegetarianism is to avoid bad karma. Yet it's somehow alright to use leather derived from .... the killing of animals. Clearly hypocrisy.

So it appears that there are different principles and reasons at work:

Those who wear leather shoes are not concerned about supporting the killing of animals for leather and perhaps the presumed negative karma?), irrespective of the idea that leather is efficient for protecting the feet.

Then there are those who do not eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, etc because they consider it to be bad karma.

Then there are those who do not eat the above same plus not even dairy for purely physical health reasons.

Then there are those who do not eat meat, etc, and they also do not wear leather because they consider any and all consumption or use of animal products to be infringing upon the rights of animals to live, not suffer, and not be exploited.

We all know these different sides to the issue. I can only say that I encourage everyone to deeply consider the consequences of their actions, and not to rationalize justifications for their personal dietary desires.

The question remains: Is putting meat in one's stomach more important than the right to life of some other creature? I personally do not feel that I have a right to end an animals life just so I can fill my belly. Humans can and do subsist quite well on vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, etc, without ever bothering or killing animals. (For those who may take exception: The only exception to that would be if somehow no vegetable foods were available.)

In the end, each human must choose what is important to them, and/or to the whole, and are they willing to bear the consequences.

I think Tao is thinking pretty clearly in the post above.

I would like to add this: We have the luxury in modern civilization to make food choices according to ideals and personal preference. A wide variety of choices are readily available everywhere these days due to modern food production, transportation and storage technologies.The vegan diet is made a viable alternative by the availability of vitamin B12 supplements.

I wonder what would happen to those ideals if civilization were removed from the equation and we found ourselves naked in the forest, desert, or jungle with nothing but a sharp stick. Then, what is natural for humans to eat may become more apparent without the abstraction of civilization. No doubt vegans would attempt to forage for roots, berries etc. The omnivore, in addition, would attempt to secure animal food which would increase the options for survival, especially in winter when vegetation is scarce. Vegans would seek warmth from fibers and bark while the omnivore would have the use of skins as well. I think in northern latitudes, the omnivore would have a clear survival advantage. In the tropics, the vegan would fare better, but even there, I think the omnivore has the best chance of securing sufficient nutrition for optimal survival, and especially, if the situation were permanent, for propagation and continuance of the species.

Make no mistake about it, cows are NOT killed to make shoe leather! There's more than enough leather left over from slaughtering cows for meat to make shoes,belts,etc. If meat consumption ever decreases to the point where meat is left over and cows are primary killed for the leather then I will definetly check out the alternatives.

Joe,
You don't think cows would be killed for their leather even if the meat wasn't any good? Leather is a unique product with many practical uses. If you buy leather products you are supporting the slaughter of cows just as much as the meat eater because cows are killed for everything they can be used for.

Many vegetarians eat dairy products, which are no problem in RS. But, what happens to these cows once their milk-producing days are over???

Joe is simply and flatly incorrect in relation to my particular comment. I did not write "cows". I wrote "animals". I quote myself: "And make no mistake, animals are killed to produce leather shoes."

So Joe would be wise to pay more attention to the precise statement. When I said animals, I was not particularly refering to cows. Shoes are also made with many other types of animal skins. And as was also pointed out, other parts of animals (including cows) are used after they are slaughtered, not just the meat.

If Joe wishes to justify leather, then he should find a better reason than the false idea that leather is only just a by-product of the meat industry. There are many other examples besides shoes. There are hand-bags, furs, belts, saddles, upolstery, etc. So please get your facts straight before debating the issue.

Cow's leather, of course, is a by product of the slaughterhouse. Even some of the anti-leather websites call it that-but I can certainly understand why some vegetarians dont wear cow's leather for any reason.

The reason sant mat gives for not killing animals is not because of animal rights or cruelty per se, but because every living thing is supposed to be created by God (shabad). Now, plants are also living beings and vegetarians kill them for food so that too should not be allowed. The point is that we should do the least amount of damage that we can get away with. In other words, accumulate as little karma as possible. Killing plants, no doubt, results in karma but it is not too heavy when compared to killing animals.

Again, no one really knows what the reality is. I don't know what might happen to those who kill animals. May be nothing. Or may be they would have to come back as a cow. We'd never know. No one has ever come back to tell the story. So all we can do is follow what OUR heart/mind thinks to be correct. And to me, being vegetarian is the right path.

Regarding anyone who follows a strick vegetarian diet. It would be very interesting to find such person that has taken a yearly complete medical physical with blood work. True, the definition of strick vegetarian diet may be different from person to person. However, to examine some medical data over a period of many years with a complete descriptive balanced vegatarian diet would be fasinating to study. This data would be associated with that particular person, age range, work habits, etc. I think anyone interested in following the diet would appreciate the infomation.

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