Think Before You Eat

July 5, 2007 at 7:49 am 9 comments


Every day, several times a day, every living being, in whichever part of the world he may be, enjoys a universal ritual – eating.

Most people decide what they eat based mainly on taste, cost, habit, nutrition and convenience. But for those who are a little more thoughtful, here are some other points worth considering.



Let us compare the nutrition values of some common vegetarian foods and
some common flesh foods:

Vegetarian foods (100 gm)

Sr. No. Name of food stuff Medical calories
1 Cashewnut 596
2 Coconut 444
3 Groundnut 549
4 Cheese 348
5 Ghee 900

Flesh foods (100 gm)

Sr. No. Name of food stuff Medical calories
1 Egg 173
2 Fish 91
3 Mutton 194
4 Pork 114
5 Beef 114


Let us compare some of the physiological features of flesh eaters, plant eaters & human beings:

Sr. No. Features of flesh eaters Features of Plant eaters Features of human beings
1 Intestinal tract only 3 times body
length, so rapidly decaying meat can pass out of body quickly
Intestinal tract 10-12 times body
length, fruits do not decay as rapidly, so can pass more slowly through
Intestinal tract 12 times body
2 Small salivary glands in the mouth
( not needed to predigest grains and fruits )
Well developed salivary glands,
needed to predigest grains & fruits 
Well developed salivary glands
needed to predigest grains & fruits
3 Acid saliva; no enzyme ptyalin to
predigest grains
Alkaline saliva; much ptyalin to
predigest grains
Alkaline saliva;Much ptyalin to predigest grains. 
4 No flat back molar teeth to grind
Flat back molar teeth to grind
Flat back molar teeth to grind

Clearly the human body is not made for a non-vegetarian diet.


Due to their unnatural diet meat-eating human beings are far more susceptible to diseases and disorders as compared to their vegetarian counterparts. Comprehensive investigations by groups such as the National Academy of Sciences have linked meat eating to cancer, and the Journal of American Medicine reports: “90-97% of heart disease could be prevented by a vegetarian diet.”


Meat eating also has hazardous effects on the environment, such as forest destruction, agricultural inefficiency, soil erosion and desertification, air pollution, water depletion and water pollution.


Consider the following data. One thousand acres of Soyabeans yield 1124 pound of usable protein. One thousand acres of rice yield 938 pound of usable protein. One thousand acres of corn yield 1009 pound of usable protein. One thousand acres of wheat yield 1043 pound of usable protein. Now consider: this one thousand acres of Soyabeans, corn, rice or wheat, when fed to a steer, will yield only about 125 pounds of usable protein.

These and other findings point to a disturbing conclusion: meat eating is directly related to world hunger. A few statistics are as follows –

  • If all the Soyabeans and grains fed yearly to U. S. livestock were set aside for human consumption, it would feed 1.3 billion people.
  • It takes 16 pounds of grains and Soyabeans to produce 1 pound of feedlot beef. Therefore about 20 vegetarians can be fed on the land that it takes to feed 1 meat eater.
  • Feeding the average meat eater requires about 4,200 gallons of water per day, versus 1,200 gallons per day for lacto-vegetarian diet.
  • While it takes only 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat.
  • Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer has estimated that reducing meat production by just 10 percent would release enough grain to feed 60 million people.

In summary, millions will continue to die of thirst or starvation, while a privileged few consume vast amounts of proteins wasting land and water in the process. Ironically, this same meat is their own bodys’ worst enemy.


“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

“When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls him ferocity.”

George Bernard Shaw

“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

“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. “

M. K. Gandhi

“The flesh eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to moral feeling- killing. By killing man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity- that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself and by violating this his own feelings become cruel.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Flesh eating is unprovoked  murder.”

Benjamin Franklin

“As long as man massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”


“A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of a carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher’s stall passes as food.”

J. H. Kellogg.


The Bhagavad Gita states that foods such as milk products, grains, fruits, and vegetables increase the duration of life and give strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction. Conversely, foods such as, meat, fish and fowl are putrid, decomposed and unclean. They cause numerous hazards to physical health.

The Srimad Bhagavatam, the summum bonum of all Vedic literature, states that meat-eating is one of the four pillars of sinful life. Apart from bringing evere sinful reactions, meat-eating also dulls the human intellect thus rendering it incapable of understanding the higher dimensions of life. Therefore real spiritual life, nay real human life, can not begin unless a human being stops killing his younger brothers, innocent animals, just for the satisfaction of his tongue.


We request all the readers of ‘Spiritual Scientist’ to forward this article to their friends and relatives who may have been misled and victimized by the treacherous propaganda blitz of the meat packing industry. This will help them to think for themselves about their dietary habits and arrive at an intelligent and mature decision.

The Spiritual
Investigating Reality from the Higher Dimensional
Perspective of Vedic Wisdom

Published by
Bhaktivedanta Academy for Culture and Education (BACE), Pune

Dedicated to 
His Divine
Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada,

The Greatest Spiritual Scientist of the Modern TimesMagazine Committee:
Radheshyam Das
(M Tech IIT, Mumbai), Director, IYF

Chaitanya Charan Das (BE E&TC), Editor, The Spiritual

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Parishad: Sri Vakresvara Pandit Ratha Yatra in Sri Jagannatha Puri 1 of 5

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sundra  |  July 6, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    All your notes are gospel truth. there’s no doubt about it. Promote good health and be a vegetarian.

  • 2. Hitesh  |  September 22, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Nice article to read. However, how do you explain the following:
    1) The human system is capable of digesting veg. as well as non-veg food… something that carnivores or herbivores are incapable of.

    2) The human being has canines as well as grinders. Again, something not known with carnivores or herbivores.

    3) The Vedic perspective…

    To come to the point, I’ve often heard that the Gita prohibits the consumption of meat, and hence followers of the Gita should abstain. Let us study this claim.From the commentary of Adi Sankaracharya on the Gita, Chapter 17, verses 7-10 :

    7: “Food also, which is dear to all, is of three kinds; and so also are sacrifices, austerity and charity. Listen to this classification of them.”
    8: “Foods that augment life, firmness of mind, strength, health, happiness and delight, and which are succulent, oleaginous, substantial and agreeable, are dear to one endowed with sattva.”
    9: “Foods that are bitter, sour, salty, very hot, pungent, dry and burning, and which produce pain, sorrow and disease, are dear to one having rajas.
    10: “Food which is not properly cooked, lacking in essence, putrid and stale, and even ort and that which is unfit for sacrifice, is dear to one possessed of tamas.

    It is so surprising that we do not find any mention of meat in the “rajas” or “tamas” categories. For if it is truly bad, Lord Krishna could have, in one splendid verse, proclaimed so, and so many millions would have followed. But he didnt.

    On the contrary, most of the vegetarian food eaten in Northern and Southern India would easily come under the category of “sour, salty, very hot, pungent…” – hardly sattvic.

    Well… with due respect, I think mentioning half truths could sometimes be dangerous.

    Thanks & good luck

  • 3. jeyanthy  |  September 27, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Answers to Hitesh prabhu’s queries are broken into several parts.


    Hare Krishna,

    Thank you for your humble inquiry. We shall attempt to answer your question by first addressing the third point that you have raised. As we discuss this, the reasons raised in points 1 and 2 will become apparent.

    Sudarshan Das

    Text 10 , Chapter 17, Bhagavad Gita As it Is

    äta-yämaà gata-rasaà
    püti paryuñitaà ca yat
    ucchiñöam api cämedhyaà
    bhojanaà tämasa-priyam

    yäta-yämam—food cooked three hours before being eaten; gata-rasam—tasteless; püti—bad-smelling; paryuñitam—decomposed; ca—also; yat—that which; ucchiñöam—remnants of food eaten by others; api—also; ca—and; amedhyam—untouchable; bhojanam—eating; tämasa—to one in the mode of darkness; priyam—dear.

    Food prepared more than three hours before being eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness.

    Is meat not bad smelling, and decomposing as compared to vegetables, fruits etc so much so that slaughterhouse workers require gas masks and meat storage requires big freezers to maintain “freshness” (What is ‘fresh’ in a carcass?)

    I would like to highlight the word “amedhyam”, meaning untouchable. It is a natural conclusion for anyone acquainted with vedic scriptures, that amedhyam here refers to non vegetarian food. Please read on and this point will become clearer.

    Abstaining from non vegetarian food is considered by vedic scriptures, as a criteria to come to the platform of being known as a civilized person, what to speak of spiritual advancements which begins thereafter. Therefore, going vegetarian is merely the A, B Cs of spiritual understanding.

    The Bhagavad Gita on the other hand is considered to be one of the highest philosophical treatises dealing with the absolute truth. (As sung by Sripad Shankaracarya in his Gita Mahatmya). Because of this, it is also known as Gitopanishad. Therefore such basic topics as prohibition from eating meat is only lightly touched in the Bhagavad Gita. Clear irrevocable instructions on this matter are supplied in various preliminary scriptures. Just like when we read a book on algebra, the author assumes that we know basic arithmatic.

    We shall start with, the Manu-samhita – the law book of mankind. Manu clearly and logically 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)

    Meat-eating and animal slaughter 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 tenets or not, at least if they call themselves a Hindu, follower of Vedanta, or a Sanatana-dharmist. If they are, then they must adopt the ways of ahimsa.

    However, it is not simply the person who eats the meat that 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 5.51-52)

  • 4. jeyanthy  |  September 27, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Answer to Hitesh prabu’s queries by Sudarshan Das:

    Part 2

    As we get further into the Manu-samhita, there are warnings that become increasingly more serious. For example, “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)

    In this way, the only time to carry out the need to kill animals for consumption is when there is an emergency such as when there simply is nothing else to eat. Otherwise, when there are plenty of grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., to eat, it is only mankind’s lust and selfish desires that motivate one to kill other beings to satisfy one’s tongue by tasting their blood and flesh, or to fatten one’s wallet by making money from participating in the distribution or the cooking of meat. Such violent actions create opposite reactions. For this reason the warnings are given, “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)

    Nonetheless, there are also benefits that are mentioned that a person can attain simply by not eating the bodies of other creatures: “By subsisting on pure fruits 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 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 5.46-47) Also, “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.”

    “You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever.”
    (Yajur Veda 12.32.90)

    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 [next] 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) All of these people will also incur the same karmic reactions for their participation in killing, distributing or eating the flesh of animals, as explained next.

    “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)

  • 5. jeyanthy  |  September 27, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Answer to Hitesh prabhu’s queries by Sudarshan Das:

    Part 3

    “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 11.5.14)

    The following verses are from the Tirukural:

    How can he practice true compassion
    who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?
    Riches cannot be found in the hands of the thriftless,
    nor can compassion be found in the hearts of those who eat meat.
    He who feasts on a creature’s flesh is like he who wields a weapon.
    Goodness is never one with the minds of these two.
    If you ask, “What is kindness and what is unkindness?”
    It is not-killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous.
    Life is perpetuated by not eating meat.
    The jaws of Hell close on those who do.
    If the world did not purchase and consume meat,
    no one would slaughter and offer meat for sale.
    When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh
    of another creature, he will abstain from eating it.
    Insightful souls who have abandoned the passion to hurt others
    will not feed on flesh that life has abandoned.
    Greater than a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial
    fires is to not sacrifice and consume any living creature.
    All life will press palms together in prayerful adoration
    of those who refuse to slaughter or savor meat.

    To conclude this point, The Bhagavad Gita in 3.13 says “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.”

    And then further 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) Note he does not say meat. So what is offered are only those things that Krishna accepts. That becomes prasada, or remnants of foods offered to the Lord. This is a further indication of what is recommended for human consumption. Of course, here we are going beyond just vegetarianism to eating only prasadam.

    So from all these verses (and there are more) there should be no doubt that the Vedic shastra recommends that meat-eating must be given up if one has any concern for other living beings, or one’s own future existence, or for attaining any spiritual merit.

    Furthermore, all the recognized Acharyas such as Shankaracharya, Madhvacharya, Sri Ramanujaacharya, Sri Madhavendra Puri, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and so many other prominent saints and gurus are all strict vegetarians and preach the same conclusion of the shastras.

  • 6. jeyanthy  |  September 27, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Answer to Hitesh prabhu’s queries by Sudarshan Das:

    Part 4

    In reply to your points :

    “On the contrary, most of the vegetarian food eaten in Northern and Southern India would easily come under the category of “sour, salty, very hot, pungent…” – hardly sattvic.”

    The manner of cooking is different than the type of food one eats. For example, fruits are in the mode of goodness but if they are cooked in spicy rojak sauce, it becomes passion and if it is pickled, then the same fruit become tamas.

    To satisfy individual tastes, any cuisine in the world that may be using originally sattvic foodstuffs can be cooked to Rajas or Tamas. You may note that the same type of Indian cuisine served in brahmachari or sanyasi ashrams and temples and in places of spiritual focus will be very much sattvic as opposed to those served in fancy indian restaurants nowadays which are merely catering to the tastes of those predominantly in the modes of passion or ignorance.

    “However, how do you explain the following
    a) The human system is capable of digesting veg. as well as non-veg food… something that carnivores or herbivores are incapable of.
    b) The human being has canines as well as grinders. Again, something not known with carnivores or herbivores. “

    Actually this is not scientific fact. Animals are generally classified as carnivores or herbivores based on their general eating patterns and preferences not based on their ability to digest.

    It has been observed in nature [1] (in instances where tigers raid durian farms to eat the fruit and other instances.. ) as well as practised by modern farming methods (many so called modern livestock farming especially in the US and Japan include animal part wastes – animal meat, organs and bones etc which are unfit for human consumption – as ingredients in processing cattle livestock feed [2] , that herbivores are capable of ingesting non vegetarian food products and vice versa.

    As for the teeth, did you know that other purely herbivorous animals like the horses, zebras and gorillas also have human-like so called “canine” teeth. [1]. Secondly by scientific classification, human canine does not share the same function nor anatomy of the classical carnivorous canine teeth [1].

    There is overwhelming evidence in the physiological makeup of the human being that strongly suggests that we are meant for a vegetarian diet [1]. However, God gives us our free will which is the hallmark of the Jiva (soul). The jiva has a choice of by either using higher intelligence (of the vedic scriptures) to advance or by submitting to baser nature (of the imperfect mind) towards degradation. Therefore at the end of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna in BG 63.18. as follows: “ Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do”.

    I hope this clarifies your doubts. Once again thank you for your queries. For further clarification and much more on spiritual life please feel free to come to our temple.

    Hare Krishna and have a blessed day.

  • 8. lavanya  |  January 30, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    hare krsna i would very much like to leave foodstuffs detrimental to spiritual advancement but i’m still dependent on my family and according to them all this things should be done in oldage i donot agree but i’m left with no option i have tried to convince them but to no avail i also do not want to disrespect them because they are my elders i do chant the mahamantra everyday i hope i will be able to continue my spiritual progress please advice.

  • 9. jeyanthy  |  May 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Dear Lavanya,

    It’s good to hear you are endeavouring to take up spiritual advancement seriously. If your family is a problem, do try to take one step at a time. Start by just omitting taking beef or lamb first, then later omit chicken, pork etc, then eggs and so on. Slowly without them realising, you will be a vegetarian. And do not forget to chant intensively and pray to the Lord to help you. Depending on your endeavour, the Lord is sure to reciprocate. Just have faith.


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