Vegetarian Ideal

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
- Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 23, 2013


This is a verse from the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, ( 11.5.32):

“In the age of Kali, intelligent persons worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly performs the sacrifice of congregational glorification of the Lord. Although His external complexion is not blackish, within, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanies by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions”

According to the opinion of many Acharyas who are experts in the study of Vedic literature, this verse describes the incarnation of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who descended to earth in the holy place known as Navadvipa on  the bank of the Jahnavi (Ganges) river in the present state of West Bengal, India, in the year of 1486 A.D.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, became famous as Nimai pandita (pandita means a great scholar of the Vedas; having been born under the medicinal neem tree, He was known as Nimai) from His early childhood, because of his erudite scholarship of the vast ocean of Vedic literature. He compared the ten essential subjects of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana with the ten medicinal roots of the Ayurveda (Dasha mulas).

Medicine and healing are the two most important physical sciences explored and developed in the vedic times. The Nyaya, Vaiseshika and Sankya Darshanas are directly and intimately connected with these aspects of vedic knowledge.

Hatha yoga, Tantra physiology, Siddha and many other yoga schools of study extensively deal in their anatomy sections with subjects from the diffusion of energy in the body through the nervous system (based on the chakra linked management of energy) up to the study of embryology, heredity and genetic codes.

“That which pervades the entire body (consciousness) you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that (only the body can be destroyed).”

Because this consciousness pervades the subtle mechanism, viz., the mind , one is able to perceive the world through the senses.

In the Gita (2.14) this is explained as follows:

“O son of Kunti, by touch of the sense objects (by the mind) one experiences heat, cold, happiness and miseries….”

“The spirit souls in this world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to the conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”

The great Ayurvedic Acharyas have confirmed that Ayurveda is also part of the Vedas.

Susruta, one of the greatest Ayurveda Acharyas says in his Samhita (1.1.5) :

“Ayurveda is an upanga of the Atharva Veda, containing 100,000 verses in one thousand chapters. Brahma is the author of these verses.”

In an imbalanced state of the dhatus, the resistence goes down and other entities subsisting in the body tend to weaken and destroy the body. Similarly, the ulterior and external motives which are material and unconstitutional (to the soul), viz., the fruitive, speculative and exploitive motives, weaken the consciousness and destroy the mission and real goal of life.

“For the soul, there is neither birth nor death at any time. It does not come into being at any time, it is unborn, eternal and primeval. It doesn’t die when the body is put to death.”

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies. Besides these, O mighty armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who exploit the resources of this material, inferior energy.”

The mental attitudes are determined by the state of mind of the individual in the previous life.

This same truth is confirmed in the Gita (8.6) as follows:

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.”

In the Gita (2.17) we find:

“That which pervades the entire body (consciousness) you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that (only the body can be destroyed).”

Read More:

Daily Routine by Ayurvedic Physician

The Daily Routine

by Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc., Ayurvedic Physician

A daily routine is absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind, and consciousness. Routine helps to establish balance in one’s constitution. It also regularizes a person’s biological clock,

1. Wake Up Early in the Morning

It is good to wake up before the sun rises, when there are loving (sattvic) qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses. Sunrise varies according to the seasons, but on average vata people should get up about 6 a.m., pitta people by 5.30 a.m., and kapha by 4.30 a.m. Right after waking, look at your hands for a few moments, then gently move them over your face and chest down to the waist. This cleans the aura.

aids digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generates self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.

2. Say a Prayer before Leaving the Bed

“Dear God, you are inside of me, within my very breath, within each bird, each mighty mountain.
Your sweet touch reaches everything and I am well protected.

Thank you God for this beautiful day before me.
May joy, love, peace and compassion be part of my life and all those around me on this day.
I am healing and I am healed.”

After this prayer touch the ground with your right hand, then the same hand to the forehead, with great love and respect to Mother Earth.

3. Clean the Face, Mouth, and Eyes

Splash your face with cold water and rinse out your mouth. Wash your eyes with cool water (or one of the eye washes mentioned below) and massage the eyelids by gently rubbing them. Blink your eyes 7 times and rotate your eyes in all directions. Dry your face with a clean towel.

Tridoshic eyewash: try triphala eyewash -¼ tsp. in 1 cup water, boil for 10 minutes, cool and strain.
Pitta eyewash: use cool water or rose water from organic rose petals – most commercial rose water has chemicals in it that will sting the eyes.
Kapha eyewash: try diluted cranberry juice, 3-5 drops in a teaspoon of distilled water.

4. Drink Water in the Morning

Then drink a glass of room temperature water, preferably from a pure copper cup filled the night before. This washes the GI track, flushes the kidneys, and stimulates peristalsis. It is not a good idea to start the day with tea or coffee, as this drains kidney energy, stresses the adrenals, causes constipation, and is habit-forming.

5. Evacuation

Sit, or better squat, on the toilet and have a bowel movement. Improper digestion of the previous night’s meal or lack of sound sleep can prevent this. However the water, followed by sitting on the toilet at a set time each day, helps to regulate bowel movements. Alternate nostril breathing may also help. After evacuation wash the anal orifice with warm water, then the hands with soap.

6. Scrape your Tongue

Gently scrape the tongue from the back forward, until you have scraped the whole surface for 7-14 strokes. This stimulates the internal organs, helps digestion, and removes dead bacteria. Ideally, vata can use a gold scraper, pitta a silver one, and kapha copper. Stainless steel can be used by all people.

7. Clean your Teeth

Always use a soft toothbrush and an astringent, pungent, and bitter toothpaste or powder. The traditional Indian toothbrush is a neem stick, which dislodges fine food particles from between teeth and makes strong, healthy gums. Licorice root sticks are also used. Roasted almond shell powder can be used for vata and kapha, and ground neem for pitta.

8. Gargling

To strengthen teeth, gums, and jaw, improve the voice and remove wrinkles from cheeks, gargle twice a day with warm sesame oil. Hold the oil in your mouth, swish it around vigorously, then spit it out and gently massage the gums with a finger.

9. Chewing

Chewing a handful of sesame seeds helps receding gums and strengthens teeth. Alternatively, chew 3-5 dried dates and an inch of dried coconut meat. Chewing in the morning stimulates the liver and the stomach and improves digestive fire. After chewing, brush the teeth again without using toothpaste or powder.

10. Nasal Drops (Nasya)

Putting 3 to 5 drops of warm ghee or oil into each nostril in the morning helps to lubricate the nose, clean the sinuses, and improve voice, vision, and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain, so nose drops nourish prana and bring intelligence.

For vata: sesame oil, ghee, or vacha (calamus) oil.
For pitta: brahmi ghee, sunflower or coconut oil.
For kapha: vacha (calamus root) oil.

11. Oil Drops in the Ears (Karana purana)

Conditions such as ringing in the ears, excess ear wax, poor hearing, lockjaw, and TMJ, are all due to vata in the ears. Putting 5 drops of warm sesame oil in each ear can help these disorders. Then give the ears a light dusting with your constitution herb. Wrap it in a few layers of cheesecloth then tap against the ear.

Vata: mahanarayan oil, dust with dashamula.
Pitta: brahmi oil, dust with sandalwood powder.
Kapha: neem oil, dust with vacha powder.

12. Apply Oil to the Head & Body (Abhyanga)

Rub warm oil over the head and body. Gentle, daily oil massage of the scalp can bring happiness, as well as prevent headache, baldness, graying, and receding hairline. Oiling your body before bedtime will help induce sound sleep and keep the skin soft.

For vata use warm sesame oil.
For pitta use warm sunflower or coconut oil.
For kapha use warm sunflower or mustard oil.

13. Bathing

Bathing is cleansing and refreshing. It removes sweat, dirt, and fatigue, brings energy to the body, clarity to the mind, and holiness to your life.

14. Dressing

Wearing clean clothes brings beauty and virtue.

15. Use of Perfumes

Using natural scents, essential oils, or perfumes brings freshness, charm, and joy. It gives vitality to the body and improves self-esteem.

For vata the best scent to use is hina or amber.
For pitta try using khus, sandalwood, or jasmine.
For kapha use either amber or musk

16. Exercise

Regular exercise, especially yoga, improves circulation, strength, and endurance. It helps one relax and have sound sleep, and improves digestion and elimination. Exercise daily to half of your capacity, which is until sweat forms on the forehead, armpits, and spine.

Vata: Sun salutation x 12, done slowly; Leg lifting; Camel; Cobra; Cat; Cow. Slow, gentle exercise.
Pitta: Moon salutation x 16, moderately fast; Fish; Boat; Bow. Calming exercise.
Kapha: Sun salutation x 12, done rapidly; Bridge; Peacock; Palm tree; Lion. Vigorous exercise.

17. Pranayama

After exercise, sit quietly and do some deep breathing exercises as follows:

12 alternate nostril breaths for vata;
16 cooling shitali breaths (curling up your tongue lengthwise and breathing through it) for pitta;
100 bhastrika (short, fast breaths) for kapha.

18. Meditation

It is important to meditate morning and evening for at least 15 minutes. Meditate in the way you are accustomed, or try the “Empty Bowl Meditation”. Meditation brings balance and peace into your life.

19. Now it is time for your breakfast!

Your meal should be light in the hot months or if your agni is low, and more substantial in the cold.
Enjoy your day!

Veda Academy - The Hindu Concept of Vegetarianism: A Philosophical Defense

The Hindu Concept of Vegetarianism: A Philosophical Defense

Frank Morales – University of Wisconsin-Madison

The ancient Hindu diet of vegetarianism has recently been gaining a great deal of popularity, both as a diet and as a way of life. Influenced by a number of different factors, millions of people worldwide have been increasingly turning to this ancient vegetarian lifestyle. In the United States alone, there are an estimated twenty-million people who consider themselves vegetarians. Their reasons for turning to the vegetarian diet are almost as diverse as are the individuals themselves. As medical data continually streams in linking meat-eating with a number of illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, many have chosen to renounce meat for health reasons. While others have decided to become vegetarians for primarily ethical and moral concerns. 

As the animal rights movement continues to gain momentum, many are beginning to recognize the natural link between fighting to alleviate the suffering of animals in laboratories and hunting ranges and our refusal to consume their tortured bodies in our kitchens.

Another concern of vegetarians is the adverse impact upon our environment due to the wasteful policies of the meat industry. Consequently, a large number of environmental organizations have adopted vegetarianism into their agendas. Despite the fact that vegetarianism has gained a great deal of recent popularity, however, it still remains a little understood phenomenon to some. What is even less known is the truly ancient and spiritual roots of the vegetarian philosophy. In the following, we will explore the philosophy of vegetarianism from the ancient Hindu perspective.

One of the central tenets of Hindu philosophy is the concept of ahimsa, or non-violence. While many ethical systems espouse some form of non-violent ethic or another, what makes the Hindu practice of ahimsa radically unique from other systems is the universal scope of its concern. For most ethical schools of thought, the concept of ethical concern extends no further than the human race. The criteria for whether or not a being is worthy of being the object of compassion is determined by the species of the being involved. For Hindus, on the other hand, all living creatures are worthy of respect, compassion and ethical concern, irregardless of whether they are human or non-human.

The general Western consensus is that humans are completely justified in their treatment of animals, both theologically and philosophically. From the Christian philosophical perspective, it has been claimed that animals are of an inferior order of being in comparison to humans. This being the apparent case, it is perfectly permissible for humans to kill animals for consumption, or for any other purpose they deem appropriate. Animals were, after all, created by a loving and compassionate God – so the Biblical argument goes – for our own needs. Animals are seen as being mere means to an end. That end is the gratification and satisfaction of human needs. Thus, all non-human living beings have no inherent value as ends in themselves, but only acquire a minimum sense of value as objects for our use. Indeed, God Himself seems to have confirmed this functionalist relationship between human and non-human animal in the Bible: “God blessed them saying: ‘be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds in the air, and all the living creatures that move on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:28) One representative of this distinctly anthropocentric outlook was Thomas Aquinas, the great synthesizer of Aristotelian philosophy and Christian dogma. He has written that, “…irrational creatures have no fellowship with human life, which is regulated by reason. Hence friendship with irrational creatures is impossible…”. (Summa Theologica) Thus stands the traditional Christian argument in favor of man’s continued exploitation and killing of animals.

If one examines these opinions with a deeper philosophical scrutiny and from the perspective of the Hindu concept of ahimsa, however, their many flaws are quickly revealed. First of all, while it is apparent that God gave us a superior position over animals in the hierarchy of being, this higher status does not automatically give us the right to kill other life-forms simply for our selfish ends. Mere superiority over another sentient being can never be interpreted as a license for abusing a less capable being, or a class of such beings. The contemporary philosopher Bernard Rollin confirms this in his Animal Rights and Human Morality, “Even if man has been placed by God at the peak of the Great Chain of Being, or even in command of it, it does not follow that the creatures beneath him many be treated in any way he sees fit.”

If it were the case that superior beings have the right to exploit supposedly inferior ones, then it would be morally permissible for one human to enslave and victimize another. An intellectually or physically more powerful man could justifiably kill another, weaker man. Physically weaker women and children would be at the mercy of stronger, abusive men. Indeed, the entire moral order – which is based on the premise that ethical means, and not merely brute force, should be used to achieve ends – would collapse.

Moreover, the Hindu position is that if we are, indeed, superior to other life-forms, we should clearly exhibit that superior nature precisely in our actions towards them. It is the very height of irrationality, says Hinduism, to claim that our inherent intellectual and ethical superiority over other beings gives us license to then act in unthinking and immoral ways towards these less capable beings. Overall, then, the traditional Christian philosophical arguments against compassion towards animals simply does not stand up to close scrutiny.

Two other, somewhat more sophisticated, arguments used to justify the unwarranted killing of animals are as follows. First, animals are incapable of thinking rationally. Therefore, they are not worthy of the same ethical consideration that humans are. Only a being who is able to formulate (or at least understand) ethical principles via the process of discursive reasoning is eligible to be considered a moral agent, and therefore a moral object. The second argument is that only beings that are capable of communicating through language are to be deemed worthy of moral consideration. Let us now explore these anti-ahimsa arguments in more depth.

While seemingly valid arguments, from the Hindu perspective these two opinions are revealed to be somewhat flawed. If we were to hypothetically accept these two criteria as being valid, namely that only beings who exhibit the abilities to think rationally and to communicate verbally were worthy of being treated morally, it would then follow that several categories of human beings would also consequently lie outside the bounds of moral consideration. Human infants, for example, would not pass this criteria for ethical inclusion. Infants are incapable of either thinking rationally or of speaking. Does this fact, then, give us the right to kill human infants at will? According to the standard of judging who is worthy of moral treatment outlined above, the answer would have to be yes. The argument for ahimsa can be further developed.

For the defender of Western anthropocentric ethics may then attempt to rebut that while a human infant may be presently incapable of rational thought and speech, he/she is still categorically – and solely – worthy of our ethical treatment because there lies within this human infant at least the potential for these two faculties. Given time, the infant will eventually (and hopefully) think rationally and be capable of human speech. The new, broadened, standard for a being having inclusion within the scope of ethical concern would then be the possession of at least the potential for rational thought and language.

This anti-ahimsa argument, however, presents yet another problem. For there are several categories of human beings who do not possess even this minimalist potential. For example, what of a mute person who is simultaneously suffering from severe mental retardation and who will, consequently, never truly have even this potential? What of someone’s mute mom or dad who may be suffering from irreversible Alzheimer’s disease, and who has thus lost this potential? Again, following the logical chain of thought contained in the anti-ahimsa argument, these individuals would fall completely outside the scope of moral concern. The contemporary philosopher and bioethicist Peter Singer goes so far as to say that, “Whatever the test we propose as a means of separating human from non-human animals, it is plain that if all non-human animals are going to fail it, some humans will fail as well.” (In Defense of Animals) In order to be consistent with his arguments, someone who opposes the concept of ahimsa would be forced to treat these people in the same terrible manner in which he treats animals: he would have a right to kill them at will.

The problem with these anti-ahimsa arguments is that they are using the right criteria for the wrong argument. The abilities to think rationally and speak are, indeed, correct standards for judging whether or not a being can be a moral agent, that is, whether or not a being is capable of comprehending and being accountable for its actions. Most human beings fall under this category. However, being a) a moral agent and being b) an object of moral concern are two completely different things. Agreeing with this criteria, Bernard Rollin writes, “It is easy to see, of course, why rationality would be important for a being to be considered a moral agent, that is, a being whose actions and intentions can be assessed as right and wrong, good or bad…but it is, of course, not obvious that one must be capable of being a moral agent before one can be considered an object of moral concern.” This point having been firmly established, then, exactly what would be the proper criterion for deciding which living beings will or will not be included within the range of moral concern?

For Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), to be a proper object of moral concern, all that is required is that a being is sentient, that is, that it be a living being capable of experiencing feeling, and thus pain. All living beings, irregardless of their physical form, are atman, or individual units of consciousness, in their innermost essence. The attributes of atman are sat, chit and ananda, or being, knowledge and bliss. The atman is the ultimate experiencer of all that occurs to the body, either good or bad. That being the case, causing any suffering to any living being is considered to be the greatest offense. If any being is capable of experiencing pain, regardless of what species that being is a member of, it is immoral to needlessly inflict pain on that being.

That a being is unable to express itself rationally only tells us that we will not be able to engage in a philosophical dialectic with it or have a conversation with it about the latest fashion trends. But, by registering such a clearly and universally recognizable verbal sign of suffering as a scream when we abuse it, torture it or try to kill it, a conscious being is pleading with us to cease its suffering. The entire realm of living beings thus falls within the scope of moral concern. It is in keeping with this ethic of valuing all life that thoughtful Hindus follow a strict vegetarian diet, a diet which seeks to reduce suffering to its minimal level.

Source:  Frank Morales – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Veda Academy - The Hindu Concept of Vegetarianism: A Philosophical Defense

Extreme Ascetic Practices Today

Extreme Ascetic Practices Today (BBC video)

Pfc. Sandoval, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Cobwebs From An Empty Skull

A lotus's meaning (

(BBC Four) Anglican priest Pete Owen-Jones hosts the BBC’s “Extreme Pilgrim” program. Owen-Jones is the vicar of a parish in Sussex, England. This three-part documentary follows him on a search for meaning through extreme ascetic practices of several religions, including Zen Buddhism (Japanese), Kung Fu (an offshoot of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism), Hinduism, and Christianity. 
Although the Buddha realized that self-mortification was not the path to freedom and happiness, these practices have never fallen out of favor. Practitioners have yet to realize what finally dawned on the seeker Siddhartha under the Bodhi tree. The path to liberation, the path of purification, is more heart-centered and mental than physical. 
The body is not to blame for the sources of hidden motivation behind our actions (karma). 
The resolution is going inward rather than obsessing on punishing/tormenting the outward. 
The body may be brought into complete submission, yet a defiled heart/mind will soon move one again to the edge of ruin.
Conversely, while standing in the muck, one may rise above the din by attending to the defilements that spring within. Like a lotus shooting skyward toward the light while still rooted in fertilizer-mud and murky water, having found the actual source of our ills, one transcends suffering.  

Stop. Soften. Be still. 

Touch the bliss -- remembering that

 "there is no 'path to happiness'; happiness IS the path!" 

Develop liberating-insight based on this tranquility. 


Reasons to Believe

Happiness is measured by the level of contentment

Call it the Great Mystery but don't deny that it is all a miracle.  On the other hand, don't 'create' an entity that allows you to charge other people with blasphemy like happened during the Inquisition or is happening now with the Muslims... i read on Twitter about a writer getting 13 months in prison for blasphemy... 

blas·phe·my  [blas-fuh-mee]   
noun, plural blas·phe·mies.
impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.
an act of cursing or reviling God.
pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) in the original, now forbidden manner instead of using a substitute pronunciation such as Adonai.
Theology . the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.
irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless, etc.: He uttered blasphemies against life itself.
1175–1225; Middle English blasphemie  < Late Latin blasphÄ“mia  < Greek.  See blasphemous, -y3

Related forms
non·blas·phe·my, noun, plural non·blas·phe·mies.

1. profanity, cursing, swearing; sacrilege, impiety.