Today makes 31 days since my last birthday. Four weeks and three days. Something has been on my mind. I won’t say it’s been on my conscience because my conscience … is just different. But this “thing” has definitely been on my mind. Anyone who knows me, understands that transparency is important to me and that level-headed, reasonable communication/education is also. It’s been obvious to me, for more than a little while, that some people think things of me that simply aren’t true. I’m writing now, not to come clean (that would relate to my conscience, which is already guilt-free in this instance), but to come “clear.” If that makes sense, you’re ahead of the game and I’ll encourage you to continue reading.
I’m not a vegetarian.
That’s not true. I am. However, it’s actually a very – VERY – recent development, as of, umm, about 31 days. Only those who are absolutely the closest to me have known, although it’s nothing I’ve deliberately hidden form anyone. The only active role I’ve played in people thinking this (vegetarian) about me is that I’ve not stopped anyone to clarify. I suppose you could have called me a “closet omnivore.” I’ve never been much into meat-heavy meals, and as I’ve grown my consciousness through the years baby-stepping away from meat foods has been the gradual result. Anyone connected to me on Facebook can probably recall a number of posts/reposts I’ve made to promote abstaining from meat foods. Certainly, people will have taken those posts to mean that (at the time) I don’t eat flesh.
Ultimately, I am responsible for the words I say, not for how someone understands them, and to be honest I’ve never really said I eat only plants – but if any guilt is to be assigned to me, it could definitely be that I guessed people would be inclined to assume something about me and, until now, didn’t take action to remedy that misperception. That’s what this post is meant to do – as briefly as I feel able.
A number of posts following this one will go into much greater detail about my view of meat eating, Hinduism, vegetarianism, and a lot more – as well as how each of those things relates to the others. Although you’ll be hearing from me extensively in those posts, going into them I want to make some thing(s) clear.
As far as direct relation is concerned, I’m not a vegetarian because I want to clean up my karmas, although I believe that will happen. I’m not a vegetarian because I want to make any kind of statement. I will not be encouraging anyone else to adopt vegetarianism. I don’t, in any way whatsoever, feel vegetarians are necessarily higher or more evolved/progressed/developed/human than carnivorous or omnivorous humans – and in fact, many vegetarians I know do as much if not more harm in the world.
By far, my choice to adopt this into my life is based on the ethic of reciprocity, otherwise known as the Golden Rule or the Silver Rule (depending on how it’s phrased). For Hindus, that ethic is stated variously. One way can be found in the Anusasen Parva of the Mahabharat, “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behaviour is due to selfish desires (Verse 8, Section CXIII).” Another form of this comes in another Hindu scripture, chapter 32 of the Tirukkural, “श्रूयतां धर्मसर्वस्वं श्रुत्वा चाप्यवधार्यताम्। आत्मनः प्रतिकूलानि परेषां न समाचरेत्।।” which is to say, “Why does man inflict upon other creatures those sufferings, which he has found by experience are sufferings to himself.” Elsewhere, it states, “Let not a man consent to do those things to another which, he knows, will cause sorrow.”
In addition to this, I don’t care for inconsistency. I’m unable to rationalize eating one animal (cow, pig, chicken, fish, etc…) but not eating another (dog, cat, gerbil, etc…). I can longer reconcile eating a cow, chicken, or pig, but not eating my dogs or cat. In fact, when any of those are faced with being on a dinner plate, all respond the same.
It simply doesn’t make very much sense to eat one but not all, especially when none wants to be eaten anyway. Simply put, I don’t want to consume meat because it didn’t want to be consumed. All else is secondary in this choice.
There you have it. Now you know me better than you did 750 words ago.
Aum Mahaganeshaya Namaha