In the last post of this series I struggled a bit, I feel. This topic of the human diet and what is supreme in regard to it is actually a big thing to consider and try to explain. Before continuing, allow me to offer apologies here for any confusion I might cause or miscommunition that might be my responsibility. I wrote about many things inherent to the diversity of Hinduism, and maybe a few other things. It was a lot and I feel like I mostly only touched on each of those things, which leads me to think it might be inappropriate to continue without going deeper into those topics.
I mentioned that, like so many other aspects of our religion, for every yes there is a no and every up corresponds to at least one down. Most people, especially Westerners, are not terribly aware of how truly immense and diverse Hinduism is. As Westerners not born into the religion or culture, our beginning stages often amount to somewhat of a scramble to understand as much as possible as quickly a possible, the result of which usually is that our minds only grasp part of the whole and then clings to that part because that’s all we feel we can understand right then. In Hinduism, literally everyone has a seat at the table. None are excluded on the path to liberation – that’s important to remember regardless of your sect. Hindus adhere to many different scriptural authorities. It’s important to remember that these authorities do not always agree – this isn’t to imply about conflict in the religion, rather to testify that Truth is far to big for one path to entirely, fully, hold the market on.
One possible authority is probably the most-read of all Hindu scriptures – The Bhagavad Gita. In the last post, I mentioned that violence isn’t inherently bad and is even natural in life – and that the Gita supports this. A key factor pertaining to that concept, is equipoise. Krishna explains to Arjuna that the yogi (one who achieves union, aka moksha) is one who remains ultimately unaffected by life’s roller coaster-like happenings. This is the Yoga of Equanimity and is a key to vairagya and renouncing karmaphala. Do you see how it’s all connected?
Some might incorrectly interpret this to imply indifference or apathy. I don’t agree with that. It requires much work to govern both personal inclinations and aversions – a work that actually implies anything but indifference or apathy. It is quite a passionate endeavor indeed to consistenly remain equipoised. On a superficial level, what we eat doesn’t affect our soul, which remains untouched by anything happening within Maya. Multiple world religions affirm this.
Another text belonging to Advaita Vedanta, and which many Hindus revere whole-heartedly is The Yogavasishta, which states, “It is the actions of the mind that are truly termed Karmas…True liberation results from the disenthralment of the mind…Those who have freed themselves from the fluctuation of their mind come into possession of the supreme Nishta…Should the mind be purged of all its impurities, then it will become as still as the milky ocean undisturbed by the churning of Mandara hills; and all our samsaric delusion attendant with its birth and deaths will be destroyed…Those who without longing for objects avoid them can be termed as subjugators of their mind.” This may not say much about avoiding meat as food, but it does add additional support to my point that whether one eats meat or not shouldn’t be too key.
Our mind’s actions are the bijas of all external karmas. Certainly, “outside” stuff can have an influence on the mind’s actions, but ultimately all possible outcomes related to that “outside” stuff are dependent upon what’s in the mind to begin with. This can also relate back to the Gita where we’re encouraged to follow our own dharma over someone else’s. For some, in this current life, the menu will only include plant material.
For others it’s simply not so – and I must insist, for the sake of your own karmas, that that’s alright.
Don’t worry – there’s more.
Aum Mahaganeshaya Namaha