Monday, February 18, 2008


Swami Vivekananda wrote to Shrimati Saralâ Ghosal, Editor, Bhârati, from Darjeeling, 24th April, 1897.
" long as vegetable food is not made suitable to the human system through progress in chemistry, there is no other alternative but meat-eating. So long as man shall have to live a Râjasika (active) life under circumstances like the present, there is no other way except through meat-eating. It is true that the Emperor Asoka saved the lives of millions of animals by the threat of the sword; but is not the slavery of a thousand years more dreadful than that? Taking the life of a few goats as against the inability to protect the honour of one's own wife and daughter, and to save the morsels for one's children from robbing hands — which of these is more sinful? "

Swamiji's thinking about vegetarianism appears to be skewed.
1. Swamiji identified vegetarianism as the principal cause for the weakening of the Indians from Ashoka's rule and their loss of freedom. He attributed thousand years of slavery of Hindus to vegetarianism. 2. He also implied that vegetarian food is not good and nourishing food. 3. He impled that only Non vegetarians can protect their wife and children and vegetarians cannot.

4. He ignored the following key historical factors which led to the enslavement of India:
a) Use of explosives, mortors and gun pounder.
b) Use of primitive arms like bows and arrows, spears and swords by Indian soldiers.
c) Absence of a sense of one country and the need to defend it.
d) Postponing or hurrying up wars, misguided by astrologers
e) Lack of unity among kings.
f) Not using strategies required for winning battles.
g) Unnecessarily laying down lives in the name of reaching heaven by dying in war.
h) Excess dependence on elephants instead of horses.
i) Kings engaging themselves in liquor and women, leaving battles to lowly soldiers.
j) Excess reliance on hill forts instead of fighting in open places, which would have given them opportunity to flee when required and engage in guerilla warfare
k) Taking queens and concubins to battles as if they were going to picnics.
l) Not giving a share in booty to soldiers. Sultans and Moghuls permitted their soldiers to retain whatever they capture and seize during their raids (eg. gold and gems on the bodies of slain soldiers, robbing of temples and villages) etc.)
m) With the exception of Asoka's successors probably, other Indian dynasties and their soldiers were omnivorous. They cannot have weak bodies for the sake of vegetarian food habits.

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