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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Question about Vijnanamaya Kosa experience

Question: 'what happens actually at the level of vigyanamaya kosha level in deep relaxation technique', when we go out of body conciousnes?

Answer: In deep relaxation we are fully aware of the changes happening and we consciously and with friendly suggestions go to deeper relaxation.So in DRT the Vijnanamayakosa is fully operative and if we start recognizing that it is not that we are relaxing but we are actually going to our nature called relaxation which will enable us to trascend from the physical personality level and go to Pranamaya level of functioning. Again further Vijnanamaya does not leave its presence and helps us to recognize that we can slow the breath and ease our involvement in Pranamaya and transcend to subtler level called Mnomaya and from there to Vijnanamaya. After recognizing that bliss or harmony is our nature we can go beyond and identify with anandamaya kosa. All this is possible only if Vijnana is objective or Sakshi. In good DRT therefore you becoem sakshi.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Spirituality, mind-body medicine plays valid role in health, healing

-An article from Gurav Kale-

The concept of spirituality to study quality of life and health is not new, but has returned to the scene during recent years and has gone through an evolutionary process. Recently, most of the advanced hospitals have begun to incorporate spirituality with health to encourage patients in the faith aspect while they are hospitalized.
Spirituality and health in real meaning, is to look beyond the physical body. In ancient systems of body meditation, mind and soul were seen as interconnected and inseparable, and if one part of the whole system was stimulated, it affected the other parts as well.
MSU's initiative toward studying the effect of spirituality on cancer patients and validating the results can assure the use of holistic medicine in healing patients.
A recent study at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson center in coordination with Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana research foundation in Bangalore, India, showed that involving the practice of yoga during breast cancer treatment actually helped in improving the quality of life of the patients. Lorenzo Cohen, associate professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, said, "Cancer and its treatments are associated with considerable distress, impaired quality of life and reduced physical function. This is true for women with breast cancer who receive multi-modality treatment over an extended period of time." The study showed significant increase in general health, physical function and enhanced quality of life of the participants.
Yoga is generally referred to as the union of the individual atma, or soul, with paramatma, or the universal soul. This translates to a union with the divine by integration of body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda — a Sanskrit term for knowledge of life — is a healing side of yoga, and yoga is a spiritual tradition from which Ayurveda emerged. It is based on the view that the elements, forces and principles that comprise all of nature, holding it together and making it function are also seen in human beings.
Through yoga one prepares the body and mind for self-realization or union with the divine, and through Ayurveda one supports the spiritual journey by maintaining body and mind in a state of balance and well-being.
According to Ayurveda, each person has a constitution that determines the basic physiology and personality. This constitution is an inherent balance of three doshas — a unique mix of three mind-body principles, which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics — which are vata (motion), pitta (metabolism) and kapha (cohesiveness).
The basic theory of mind-body medicine is to treat the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states of human beings in such a way that there is a balance between them. According to Daniel Goleman and Joel Gurin, mind-body medicine is "an approach that sees the mind — our thoughts and emotions — as having a central impact on the body's health."
The therapies of mind-body medicine include relaxation training, meditation, hypnosis, psychotherapy, guided imagery and prayer. Ayurveda provides an integrated approach in preventing and treating illness through lifestyle involvement and natural therapies. In Ayurveda, the mind, or consciousness, and the body not only influence each other, but also have to work together in overcoming a disease.
Another idea of mind-body medicine is prevention of disease by helping patients realize the healing potential in themselves by empowering them with the use of those therapies. The practice of yoga along with Ayurvedic therapies has been noted in ancient Ayurvedic texts and found to be beneficial in treating diseases or conditions such as hypertension, bronchial asthma, anxiety and depression, neurosis, gastrointestinal disorders, headache and insomnia.
Also, Ayurveda contributed a specialized and elaborate system of massage therapies like acupressure therapy. Martial arts, such as qi gong, tai chi and karate, were adopted and practiced in Chinese monasteries for centuries and also originate from Ayurvedic traditions.
Ayurveda is not only getting popular in medical establishments, but also in cosmetology institutes. Aveda Institutes headquarters in Blaine, Minn., took inspiration from Ayurveda in manufacturing of skin care, cosmetics, perfume and hair-care products, and trains students in cosmetology. Aveda's spa framework is based on the foundation of elemental nature philosophy from ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.
The United Nations health agency aims to bring traditional or alternative medicines, including Ayurveda, for research into their effectiveness and safety by promoting their proper use and regulation and by helping countries integrate them into their health-care services. The combination of integrative medicines, including mind-body therapies, with mainstream biomedical therapies in one practice that can offer added value to existing systems.

Gurav Kale is an MSU packaging graduate student. Reach him at

Please visit for more information.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

VEGETARIANISM -4- Energy Release and Epilog

Energy Release on Eating:

Now coming to the concept of energy, the vegetarian food gives us energy immediately, due to the simple cell structure. Animals take a long time digesting and releasing energy, but it can release energy for a sustained period of time. That is probably the reason why most of the people who are at the intellectual and heart level, would always eat vegetarian food, whereas people who are warriors, whose activities include hard work like protecting the country without knowing how long the gap between meals will be, eat non-vegetarian food. So the Kshatriya community would eat non-vegetarian food. This was not taboo for them. Vivekananda was born in a half-Kshatriya family and this cast used to always eat meat. Similarly, people near the coastal areas where fish was available in abundance would eat fish, including Brahmins. The Brahmins outside of the coastal regions and the Vaishyas are intellectuals who eat regularly and, thus, are vegetarian. This is how the food habit of the Indian subcontinent has formed.

Is egg a non-vegetarian food?

One thing that can resolve eating or not eating eggs is that God naturally provided the process of life in the womb, but in the breast he provided food in the form of milk, When the child is born he drinks the milk of the mother; we drink the milk of the cow. Whereas, the egg grows itself in a womb and we know for sure that the egg or the womb is the place meant for procreation or which is meant for creating another living being. So, the vegetarians do not eat egg because it is the product from the womb and not from the mammary gland which is meant for producing milk. So milk is food, whereas eggs are not meant to be food.


To summarize the discussion thus far, it is essential to respect the consciousness, and thus be vegetarian. In areas where vegetables were not available, people would eat non-vegetarian food. Because non-vegetarian food also gives us longer sustenance without food, warriors and long distance travelers would eat meat, while the common intellectual trading person would not. In vegetarianism, it is not a cultural background, but historically, eating non-vegetarian food was a primitive form of eating and when society became more civilized, vegetarian food became primary. So vegetarianism is essentially and culturally an evolved society. Added to all of these discussions are now the medical studies and research which are indicating that the source of many ailments lie in a non-vegetarian diet.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Radio Interview "Yoga for Positive Health"

Dear Friends,

The radio interview at stanford with the topic "yoga for positive health" from Raghuramji can be listened to in the following web site:


directly download it from the following links:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:


Monday, June 19, 2006

Raghuramji's Detroit Program / June 2006

Dear All,
Please find Raghuramji's program in Detroit/ USA. You are kindly invited to listen to his talks and share. For reservation and details, please contact: Ms. Seetha Ramu : (248) 763-5044

Advanced training on JNANA YOGA
June 20, 21, 22
7 pm – 9 pm
Village Oaks Clubhouse
22859 Brook forest
Novi, MI

Workshop: YOGA THERAPY FOR MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
1 hour theory
1 hour practice
Thurs, June 22
2 pm - 4 pm
National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter,
Southfield, MI

Wed, June 21
12:30pm - 1:30pm
Beaumont Hospital, Troy

Friday, June 23
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Comfort Inn, Farmington Hills

Start date: Saturday, June 24 - please refer to Ms. Seetha Ramu for details and schedule.
8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Comfort Inn, Farmington Hills

SATSANG – Happiness Analysis
Tues, June 27
7 pm – 9 pm
L.N. Sastry's residence
38881 Lancaster drive,Farmington Hills

Satsang: Inner Freedom and Expanding Awareness
Wed, June 28
10:00am – 12:00pm
Oakland Community College

SATSANG – Messages from Episodes in Ramayana
Wed, June 28
7 pm – 9 pm
Seetha’s residence
35104 bunker Hill
Farmington Hills

Thurs, June 29
7 pm – 9 pm
Hindu Temple, Canton
Uday Gopinath

Thurs, June 29
11:30am – 12:30pm
Ford Motor Company

SATSANG - Inner Freedom & Expanding awareness
Friday, June 30
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Gayathri’s Residence.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Questions about devil,after life and cast system

Question: whether, really, devils exists, or it is simply,our imagination?
when we know that, after leaving one body, it will gain another, then why do the necessary to perform VAIDIKA KARMAS?

Both the above questions are interlinked.
I dont know whether you heard my talk on pranayama where in i talk about the Udaana vayu. I dont go into details here but I explain there at length that Udaana is not only connected with this body but it acs as a brodge between ths body and transcends. That Udaana is the store house of our memory. it is beyond this body. even when body is not there Udaana suvives and the immediate body impressions are carried by this udaana for few days after death and our soul will have this udaana attached to it and will stay in this area our body used to be there. that is why some people have seen that a person is still living in the same place for some more time after death and is experienced like participating in the conversations after death. strangly this is for thirteen days therfore we have thirteenday ceremony after death.
Even after that the Udaana carries the impressions of the ambitions of the person. Inorder to convert these ambitions into reality the person will not have a instrument called body So such intentions will try to associate with one who has similer intentions and persuing. Thus we see when ever we are doing any work we suddenly feel some extra energy is working and with our energy we would not have achieved it. This applies both for good work and bad work. This is what in Gita Krishna says 'Devan bhavayataneva te deva bhavayantavah' But two thins we need to understand such forces help us in our persuite. but intention in the first place is ours and secondly we are stronger and we have the advantage because we have body, they dont have one. They can never be stronger than us. These forces people call a ghosts or devils. Therfore devils are Udaana mounted soul or consciousness which has left the body and waiting for a suitable new birth to persue the ambitions!
People do the Karmas during the initital thirteen days becasue that is the period when the person is aaround the same surroundings hoping to interact and the living people by doign these karmas will make them feel satisfied and cared so that the departed soul will have peace.

Question: When actually,this present ,cast system came to exist/and why it came to exist?

Here Caste system was always there and will always be in some for or the other. What our people have done even in hte times of vedas is to give a proper shape to it. But some how in the middle times it has been abused for personal gains so it went into wrong hands. I have written in one of my articles about the importance of the caste system. One thing is that we need to resturcture the system after understanding its importance and What is happening now is people do not understand but meddle with it fo rpolitical gains or people discard it without understanding it like throwing baby with bath water.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

MD Anderson test the effect of yoga on women with breast cancer

Here is the press release from MD Anderson where htey have mentioned about the cancer research Dr Kavitha is our vice president of VYASAUSA in Houston and alos co researcher. and is also teacher of yoga. Congratulations to our team in Houston and Dr Sudha Rajan whose leadership has lead to this honor.
Please also visit the web site given for further details.

May 17, 2006
AUSTIN, Texas—Large National Cancer Institute Grant Will Test the Effect of Tibetan Yoga on Women with Breast Cancer

M. D. Anderson News Release 05/12/06
Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have received a $2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the effects of Tibetan yoga in women with breast cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy.

News Release - 06/04/06
In an ongoing effort to scientifically validate the age-old belief that mind-body interventions have a beneficial impact on the health of cancer patients, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have shown that breast cancer patients who participate in a yoga program during treatment have improved quality of life, compared to patients who do not.
The study, presented today at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at M. D. Anderson, is one of the first to incorporate yoga as part of a treatment plan for cancer patients. It's also the first collaborative research effort representing the partnership between M. D. Anderson and India's largest yoga research institution, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (research foundation) in Bangalore, India.

"Cancer and its treatments are associated with considerable distress, impaired quality of life and reduced physical function. This is particularly true for women with breast cancer who receive multi-modality treatment over an extended period of time," Cohen says. "With our studies, we think that we could help ameliorate the treatment-related side effects that accumulate in cancer patients over time.

"The main objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of integrating a daily yoga program into the treatment care plan for women with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment, and determine if this is something the patients found useful and enjoyable, as well as assessing aspects of their quality of life," he continued.

Sixty-one women with breast cancer undergoing radiation were randomized to participate in the yoga classes twice weekly at, or around, the time of their radiation appointments, or, as the control group, to be offered yoga post-treatment. The patients ranged from Stage 0 to Stage 3 disease; 48 percent had undergone breast-conserving surgery, and 75 percent had received chemotherapy prior to radiation treatment. The yoga program was designed specifically for this patient population - emphasizing breathing and relaxation, and excluding some positions, for example, that would be difficult, given the patients' possible weakened range of motion.

After just one week of yoga and radiation, the patients reported significantly increased physical function, as well as general health, compared to the control group. The study participants also reported marginally better social functioning, significantly lower levels of sleep-related daytime dysfunction, as well as marginally lower levels of fatigue overall. However, no differences in the level of depression or anxiety were found between the two groups.

"It was gratifying to see that we could make a clinically significant difference in these quality of life of these women in such a brief program," says Kavita Chandwani, M.D., yoga instructor and co-investigator responsible for overseeing the trial. "Whether it's yoga or some other type of mind-body program, we believe this study shows how beneficial it is to participate throughout treatment to help with quality of life-based issues."

As a result of these positive findings, a follow-up study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, in breast cancer patients receiving radiation comparing yoga to stretching exercises and standard care is ongoing at M. D. Anderson. Also, from the ASCO highlighted study, Cohen and his team plan to analyze the cortisol levels, a stress hormone collected from saliva samples, and immune function measured from blood samples that were both collected as part of the study.
M. D. Anderson recognizes the growing body of research indicating that relaxation-based interventions can contribute to the well-being of people with cancer. Through the Integrative Medicine Program, complementary therapies are offered through M. D. Anderson's freestanding facility, Place ... of Wellness, and are used in concert with mainstream care to manage symptoms, relieve stress, and enhance quality of life for patients and their caregivers. M. D. Anderson's Integrative Medicine faculty also conduct research in the biological and behavioral effects of mind/body based interventions; the anti-cancer potential of natural compounds; and acupuncture to treat common cancer treatment-related side effects.
Recently, Cohen and his team received a $2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the effects of Tibetan yoga in women with breast cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy; the grant is the largest ever to study Tibetan yoga in cancer patients.

©2006 The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030
1-800-392-1611 (USA) / 1-713-792-6161 (7)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

VEGETARIANISM -3- Consciousness


Let us go into a more philosophical discussion. The life should support life, which is divinity. In other words, consciousness supports consciousness. One very important aspect that we need to consider while eating or discussing food is consciousness.
Human Beings recognize and respect this consciousness. We can see that when somebody dies, we feel pain within our heart that s/he is gone and no longer has consciousness. The manifestation of consciousness is the one which a human being respects. It is only the human who respects and has the freed to give this respect to consciousness. When you pet an animal or a bird, since you are its master, you are recognized as divine by its consciousness. Even for the master, the wild animal is very obedient. They not only respect but also protect you. For example, a Shepherd dog protects his master and his belongings.
The human being respects consciousness and animals also, to some extent, recognize and respect this consciousness. Human beings have the freedom to kill or not kill an animal. He has the freedom to eat a bird, an animal, or to be vegetarian. He has this choice. He has the freedom to respect this consciousness and its manifestations or not to do so. He has the choice to eliminate his consciousness or not to eliminate it. Humans have the freedom to eat the consciousness which is in the form of plants or in the form of animals.
We wonder how a human can eat another human. Logically, this is not wrong. When animals can eat humans, why can’t humans eat each other? We have heard in history that some humans have actually eaten others. He could have survived without eating the human, but he did not see anything wrong with eating humans. I do not know how far this is true, but I have heard that in some cultures, illegal pregnancy and illegal abortion of babies, unwanted but premature babies, are preferred and have become highly desired and expensive cuisines. It sounds atrocious, but then some argue, when we can eat other forms of meat, why can’t we also eat humans when you know that fetus will not survive?
This would never be desired on earth. At once, our minds rebel as though it is far removed from spirituality. In the same way, people think that killing and eating an animal or a bird is far removed from spirituality. That concept of consciousness and its manifestation and spirituality vs. non-spirituality is very important and needs to be understood from a deeper perspective.
When we hear stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata, people normally think that people of high respect such as Krishna and Bheeshma have not eaten meat in their lifetime. However, in the story of Bakasura, Bheema appears to have eaten meat. In the famous movie ‘Mayabazar,’ the tribal king and Bheema’s son Ghatotkacha is portrayed eating highly sattvic vegetarian food and a variety of sophisticated dishes like puris, dhai vada, kheer, etc. Some even argue, how can one be a saint if he is not vegetarian? How can Jesus or Mohammed be a saint when they have eaten meat? But they forget that Vivekananda and Ramakrishna both ate fish. Vivekananda even ate meat. Saints like Guru Nanak also ate meat. You can never forget these things.
We can willfully alter mythology and history according to our preferences, but this is not right. Buddha eating meat, Jesus ate meat, or great saints like the Sufis would eat meat. These facts should not disturb us. But the question still remains, how can we explain and understand the connection between food and spirituality? Why in some areas is it spiritual to be vegetarian, while in others it is not? Simple explanations such as ahimsa, or non-violence, or life present in the animals and humans, do not solve this issue. We need to dig deeper.
This is my attempt to answer these questions. In my view, the ancient sages must have thought of it very deeply. So we have developed a vegetarian food pattern in India whereas in other places of the world people eat plants and animals. But the meat that they eat is proper processed and shows that the life process did not bother them. There are TV shows such as ‘Fear Factor’ where they show live insects which the participants have to swallow or animal parts that are ground and eaten raw. The rejection shows on their faces, however, they drink it as a challenge, or to get paid, or to prove themselves as unique. People crush their consciousness to perform such an act.

Manifested Consciousness:
The plants have manifested consciousness in the form of freedom. The object does not have freedom. In the objects, solids have the least amount of freedom. Whereas the liquids have more freedom in the way of conforming to the shape of the container it is in. Gases have an extraordinary freedom of form. All of these forms of matter cannot grow, whereas plants and animals can. They have the ability and freedom to grow. The plants do not have the freedom of locomotion, as do animals. Animals do not have the freedom of consciousness that humans have and are seen in organization. Animals, birds, and insects cannot organize. They may appear to be organizing a few things such as building a nest, etc, but their organization is based on instinct. This organization is programmed, not free.
The highest degree of its manifestations is in the human race and least in matter. Even animals recognize consciousness, and humans not only recognize it but respect it and its manifestations. Because he respects the consciousness, his survival is the survival of the highest form of consciousness. He has to survive and for this he goes from the least manifestation of degree of consciousness which is in matter. Once this exhausts, he goes to the higher level which is plants. Going to plants and not going to the next level, animals, is his respect to the consciousness which is innately there in the human being. So vegetarianism essentially has the meaning of respect for the consciousness rather than the consideration of himsa or ahmisa, or killing or not killing, because if it is plants or animals, the need to kill is there. Only the case when man is in such a place where the plants are not available that he goes to eat meat. That is how the description found in the Vedas and earlier texts, that people living in the hill regions where there is a lot of snow and the climate is not conducive to the growth of plants, that people ate meat.
The meat that they ate was also offered to God before eating it. People who are vegetarians, the cooking which is offered to God before they ate, the same way the meat is offered to God before consumption, it becomes sanctified.
This has come up in the form of what is called “Animal Sacrifice” or “Bali.” Actually in the true sense, Bali is not just to kill animals in the name of offering so that the God is favorable to you, but it is the food that you are going to take for your hunger that you will offer to the God prior to consumption. What has to be offered to God should be the food that we eat. Unfortunately, the whole concept has been mistaken and human beings, who normally do not eat meat, are made to kill animals in the form of Bali so that the Gods will grant them special favors.
And man will never eat another human because he is at the same level of consciousness. So that is why we can best stop at the level of animals and we can never go to the level of eating humans. A person, who does eat a human, does not respect the human race.

-to be continued...


Some pictures from tour program spring 2006

Few recent pictures from Switzerland WHO exposition and from Germany and Sanjose are added Please view them

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

VEGETARIANISM -2- Aspects of Spirituality and Energy Source

Spirituality and Vegetarianism:
The next common discussion is the spirituality of vegetarianism. Eating vegetarian food is considered highly spiritual not only in India, but in various cultures and religions throughout the world.
For example, while I was in Romania, visiting a monastery, the nuns at the monastery offered my friend and myself food which contained meat. My friend explained to them that I do not eat mean. The nuns assumed that we may not know about Easter, so they explained that Easter had passed last week and so I was able to eat meat now. My friend further clarified to me that during Easter, Christians do not eat meat. My friend replied to the nun indicating that I am not eating meat because I am a vegetarian, not because of Easter. Immediately, the nun replied enthusiastically, “Then you must be really spiritual!” The other nun, with a frown, stated, “It is not that he is necessarily spiritual; it is just part of their culture.”
One concept often overlooked or ignored, is that of energy. This is the one facet that can logically explain vegetarianism. We need food for the sake of energy and it is the only thing that can give us energy, for almost everyone.

Energy Source:
Everyone has only one source of energy: the sun. We absorb the sun’s energy in various forms. Human beings absorb the sun energy in the form of pigmentation called melanin in the body. We cannot absorb and store the sun’s energy in any other form. Plants, on the other hand, absorb the sun’s energy in the process of photosynthesis. The plants are our next source of energy since they absorb the sun’s energy directly. Insects and animals consume these plants and process this energy and store it in their body. This is the food cycle said in the Bhagavad-Gita. The Gita says food can only be food for the food, i.e. the insects consume their food which is the plant and they themselves become food for other animals or birds and the bird’s die and their body will be consumed by other animals and when they die, they become soil which is the support of plants. This is how the food cycle is maintained. So if we want the most energy, we have to consume it from the closest level to direct absorption from the sun, which are plants.
The source of energy is sun and if we cannot take energy from the source directly then the primary source is plants. It is easy to digest the simple cells of plants and release the energy from these cells. We do not have to wait for long for this energy to be released in our body. Animals and birds are the secondary and tertiary sources of energy. So, they have a complex cell structure in which they store this energy, so they need more time to release this energy. They sit in the stomach and our bodies need to work extremely hard to obtain the energy. This phenomenon can be observed in the amount of time it takes us to cook non-vegetarian food versus vegetarian food.
Resource Requirements:
In addition, statistics also show that when one is vegetarian, the resources needed for sustenance is minimal. The amount of land that is required to sow the seeds and grow the seeds and life can be managed is a well maintained 1 acre area! In this one acre one can produce all the varieties of food items when he is vegetarian. Whereas if somebody is non-vegetarian, then he will have the cattle (goat or cows or poultry) which will have to feed on the produce of this land and then process it. So such a person needs at least 15 acres of land first to feed the animals which in turn feed one in a day. So being a non-vegetarian, we use up the resources of the earth. In the Gita, Lord Krishna says it is the Lord who is dwelling in all living organisms and he is the one who is digesting the food through four ways: munching, licking, drinking, and sucking. When he describes these four methods, he is not only mentioning the ability of a human being but of all living beings. Plants make food from the soil, but it is the God in them. The plants are in turn eaten by animals or human beings. In other words, the life in animals and human beings is the divinity which is consumed by plants. When we or animals die, the bacteria will eat our physical beings. This cycle is the divinity in human beings. In this, ‘the life’s existence’ is the description in this divinity which is called ‘Sat.’ This cycle keeps going on at all times. Often some of the translators mention that God lives in he human being and the whole world is provided as food for the human being, so s/he is to eat whatever comes in his path to maintain her/his life. In this thought process the arrogance of man is hidden. Man feels that God has special care for man and he created the whole world for man to consume. But this is man’s imagination.
Yet another interesting aspect of food and eating, we notice that the eating habits of humans and other animals are extremely different. In the case of all other beings, they are programmed as to what to eat and what not to eat. For example, the birds eat grains and insects. A cow eats grass and does not go to eat another animal unless he is forced to by humans. We have found that meat does not go well with the constitution of the animal. That is one of the reasons that cows developed “Mad Cow Disease” recently and later they found that the cows are fed with bone powder to ensure that their milk is rich with protein. Similarly, a tiger or a lion are programmed to hunt and eat meat. Just because there are no animals available or because there is a nice piece of fruit in front of them, they do not become vegetarian. In the case of Indian mythology, Lord Narasimha has the body of a human being but the head of a lion. He feeds on human flesh because though he is a Lord, he is in the form of half lion and thus kills Hiranyakashyap.
Plants are programmed to eat the material from the earth. We cannot say my plant is very respectful and very sacred so let me feed this Tulsi (the sacred plant for all Indians within the country), some freshly cooked rice. However sacred the food or plant may be, the plant which does not get its necessary nutrients of the soil and earth, it will certainly die. The entire realm of creation is programmed to eat, except for the human being. Humans can eat plants, animals, fish, birds, eggs, and even another human. That is his freedom.
Even then the law still holds well in creation, what Krishna stated in the Bhagavad-Gita that is food which sustains food. The food in all forms supports food.

-to be continued...


Friday, June 02, 2006


Written on : Thursday, October 06, 2005

Vegetarianism: this one word has led to many lively debates and multiple questions. Why should one be vegetarian or not be vegetarian? Is it spiritual to be vegetarian? Is it healthy to be vegetarian? Do certain cultures promote vegetarianism? These are just a few of the common questions that have caused various debates and opinions, so let’s begin exploring these questions in depth and then see the philosophical and yogic idea behind the idea of vegetarianism.
There are various reasons people state for being vegetarian, but these reasons are often arguable. A common reason many have for being vegetarian is that they believe in non-violence and so they do not want to kill anything with life, including animals. But the idea that being vegetarian prevents the death of life is argued when it is realized that plants also have life. So isn’t the question of killing plants also as important as the thought of killing animals?
Another reason for vegetarianism is often religion. One such religion is Hinduism. But many non-vegetarian Hindus, only exclude the consumption of cows. This has led many to ask the question, “What is the reason that Hindus do not eat cows for meat?” To explain the value of cows, many Hindus explain that in the old days and in some rural areas today, cows were considered to be wealth. So naturally, with the respect of wealth, comes the respect of cows. Having a cow was like having a bank account, so it wasn’t eaten, much like how people don’t eat currency now. This answer may convince some, but others will be confused and question this reasoning. “Aren’t other animals considered wealth? Why can we eat the other animals and not the cows?” In addition, there are places in India where cows are considered wealth, but in such places, people specifically eat cows on important auspicious days, so how is that justified? Even further, some people attack vegetarianism by stating that even in the Vedas, there are references that they ate meat, particularly cow meat. So it becomes extremely difficult to justify not eating meat, especially cow meat for reasons of religion.
So why are people vegetarian? Why do we think that being vegetarian is natural? The jaws of human beings are similar to herbivorous animals, even though we are omnivores. Our natural jaw structure is more similar to herbivores than carnivores, but in reality, only a small percentage of people are actually vegetarian.
Some even suggest that those who eat meat develop sickness quickly. But, this has to be scientifically proven before suggesting it to others. But many who are turning to Indian philosophy and yoga are becoming vegetarian for the simple purpose of health. In response to this claim, proponents of a non-vegetarian diet argue that there are many health disadvantages to being vegetarian. For example, vegetarians lack protein in their diets so one may not receive enough nourishment, unless they eat eggs. Recently my friend is diagnosed to have calcium deficiency and people started putting blame on her vegetarian diet. Further, it is a general opinion that eating meat makes you strong, athletic, and powerful, whereas, vegetarians are not as physically strong. This point is not completely refutable because there are some chemicals within the meat which make people more competitive and aggressive, but overall, there is not much evidence of overall contribution to the development of an individual and there are many contradictory opinions in this regard.
Many other considerations have been made in regards to the type of people who are vegetarian and those who are not. Some say that with vegetarianism comes intelligence, compassion, etc. But, none of these thoughts have a logical reasoning behind them. In fact, intellectuals and such persons are found in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties. Similarly, ruthless and uncompassionate people are also found in both varieties. So these cannot be the logical reason to become vegetarian.
Another issue that some vegetarians have come across is that they feel that vegetarians believe they are a bit primitive versus non-vegetarians. Obviously, this is not the case because before the advent of technologies, primitive man actually ate meat. The methods of preparation now are more technically advanced, but the same can be said of vegetables.

-to be continued...