Where The Matter Meets Spirit
You may already be aware of some health benefits of being vegetarian such as a lower risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. Have you also considered the more subtle effects of your diet on your mind and consciousness? According to the Vedas, following a sattvic diet (diet in the mode of goodness) is essential for maintaining a healthy, peaceful, and happy mental state. Foods in goodness include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Canned or frozen foods, whether vegetables, beans, or meats, are not sattvic, as any food that is not fresh loses some of its prana or life force/energy. Meats then, are far from being sattvic, as animal flesh is old and decomposed. Rather than giving us prana, animal flesh can actually deplete the body of prana. A diet heavy in meat can thus leave one feeling lethargic, while a vegetarian diet with fresh foods can help the mind feel lightness, creativity and happiness. Recently, some scientific research studies have supported this notion that a vegetarian diet creates a more peaceful mind such as one study entitled, “Vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults” published in Nutritional Journal in June 2010.
We absorb the energy of the foods we eat. If we eat an apple picked fresh from a tree, we intake fresh energy and life. If we ingest meat however, our minds can absorb the negative emotions the animal felt upon slaughter such as anxiety, suspicion and fear of death. Such emotions can get stored on a cellular level in the animal flesh and make its way into the consciousness of one who eats it.
Furthermore, one important quality of practicing any form of spiritual life, be it Christianity, Krishna Consciousness, Judaism, or Islam, is to become free from envy of other living creatures. God created and loves all creatures, and hopes that we also love and respect our fellow beings as commanded in all religious practices. As long as we are participating in, or supporting animal slaughter, we are not exactly following the instruction of God to love and care for all creatures, but rather causing unnecessary pain to others. We did not create the animals, so why do we have the right to take their lives away, when we can subsist rather nicely on a meat free diet? The mind and spirit will feel more compassionate and less envious when we eat a vegetarian, cruelty free diet. Our diet does affect our consciousness and mental state.
To take your vegetarian diet to the next level, prepare your vegetarian food as an offering to God, and then accept the food as His mercy, or prasadam. Visit your local Hare Krishna temple to sample delicious vegetarian prasadam or to learn in detail how to prepare your own. By eating prasadam, and by following a vegetarian diet, your mind can increase in goodness, peace, and clarity.
By Miroslav Krleza
In this mud here, through which flow waters as oily and thick as some kind of a blood soup, where every creature is drowning in its own feces, all our ideas conform to the provincialist, petit bourgeois, unsophisticated reality: roasted chicken, grilled pork, venison with sour cream and cranberries, woodcock, pheasant, partridge, lamb, turkey, wine, beer, and whiskey.