Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A once- meat-eater's call to Vegetarianism


A Hindu’s Call To Vegetarianism


(Author, Well-being Expert, Meditation teacher, and Chaplain at New York University and Union Theological Seminary)

No matter how much I try and explain the benefits of a vegetarian diet, there are always people who, while nodding their heads in agreement with everything I say — will conclude our dialogue by saying, “but...I love my meat.”

I know how difficult it is to give up eating meat, as I ate it for over 20 years of my young adult life. It took me almost a whole year to wean myself off of it. It had become something like an addiction. I was vegetarian until the age of seven, while growing up in India, but soon after we moved to the U.S., it was burgers and fries and everything else I could get my hands on. For some reason, I can still remember very clearly the first time I ever bit into a burger, sitting at Wendy’s. I was too young to think about it philosophically, but something about the experience is lodged into my head.

The main reason I became a vegetarian, about 14 years ago, was for the reason of compassion. I had started exploring the spiritual direction I wanted to take for my life and the teachings of the Gita and the meditation practice I had adopted inspired me to incorporate a more compassionate diet, where others wouldn’t have to get brutalized simply for the satisfaction of my tongue.

I had never seen animals as sentient beings. Television advertisements do such a good job of making them look simply like a food product, like cereal or candy bars. Companies do such an amazing job of hiding how animals spend most of their lives in cages, unable to move or turn around, or living knee-deep in their own fecal matter.

Most of us would puke and might even get traumatized if we saw how animals actually get killed in a slaughterhouse. Here’s a mild video from PETA giving us a glimpse of reality that we ignore. Don’t worry, it’s milder than a lot of the video games out there today.

I learned from the Hindu scriptures, and our teachers of the past and present, of the karmic implications for one who causes, directly or indirectly, physical, financial, or emotional harm and suffering to others. This not only refers to actions directed towards other humans, but also to animals and the environment.

The law of karma records everything we do. “Karma“ literally means “activity,” so a karmic reaction would be a result of one’s activities. In this case, even if we don’t directly hurt a human or animal, but if we partake of something that caused suffering, we will have to undergo some pain and suffering as a reaction to that activity. That reaction may come in this life or a future life. It’s like making a credit card purchase and getting the bill 30 days later. The Manu Samhita and the Mahabharata, respectively, further expound on this point.

“He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, must all be considered as the slayers of the animal...”
(Manu Samhita 5.51-52)

“The sins generated by violence curtail the life of the perpetrator. Therefore, even those who are anxious for their own welfare should abstain from meat-eating.”
(Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva 115.33)

People always ask the question, “What about killing plants? Doesn’t that create bad karma?” Abstaining from killing is one of the foundational teachings of Hinduism. Yes, killing plants does involve some violence, but since plants lack a central nervous system and a brain to process pain, they don’t experience pain the same way humans and animals do, and thus the violence is minimized. Moreover, a lot of fruits and vegetables will fall off the tree when ripe. A cow or pig will never just drop a part of its body and grow another.

A simple question I’d like to pose: If you had to show your child where his or her food came from, where are you more likely to take them, a farm where fruits and vegetables are harvested or a slaughterhouse?

Animals live and care for each other as much as humans do. They will do whatever they can to defend their family members. They suffer emotionally when their offspring are taken away from them. How is it that we can be so callous towards these creatures of God? The goal of Hinduism is to love God. However, in order to love God, we need to love all of God’s creatures, which means the two-legged, the four-legged, the winged and the gilled.

In America alone, the largest meat consuming nation on the planet, over 10 billion animals are killed for food each year. This number doesn’t include fish. We really need to ask ourselves if all this violence is really necessary? There is no shortage of food, especially in this country. And, according to the USDA, there is no shortage of protein in vegetarian foods.

There is also enough evidence that indicates that a vegetarian lifestyle will not only be better for our health, but also for the planet. Here’s a great article from Mark Bittman called “Rethinking the Meat Guzzler” in which he describes in great detail the damage that’s done to our planet as a result of raising and killing so many animals. So, with all these reasons, ranging from freeing ourselves of karmic debt, living a healthier life and preserving the planet, is it enough for us to just say “but...I love my meat?”

Follow Gadadhara Pandit Dasa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nycpandit


Food for Thought:-

Hinduism has advocated well being for all animals and planets and not destruction of them as seen in the Swasthi vachan

"swasthir maanushEbhyah :
Oordhwam jigaathu bheshajam/
Sham no asthu dwi-padhE:
Sham Chathush padhE
OM Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi:"


Let there be goodness to human beings.
Let the plants which are like medicine to us grow up well.
Let the bipeds and quadrupeds be well.
Let there be our goodwill to them.
Let there be peace at all three levels of
Bhu (physical),
Bhuvah (vital)
and swah(mental levels of) all these beings

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Judges should not dictate religious practices – Dr David Frawley


Turning temples into courts: Prejudice against Hinduism on the rise.


Dr David Frawley

Visiting Hindu temples is an amazing experience, an inner journey through history, culture and cosmic dimensions. Each temple is profoundly unique with its own identity. Such temples represent one of the most important cultural heritages of all humanity.

As a Western-Hindu visiting Hindu temples for several decades, each temple has been a transformative event in sacred time and space.

Unfortunately, there are a few temples where as a Westerner I have been unable to enter. Having an Arya Samaj certificate of conversion to Hinduism does help, but is not always enough. Yet there are many Hindu temples that let everyone in. Often we are taken to the front of long queues in respect of having come so far in our pilgrimage.

Some complain that there are not enough Hindu women priests, though that situation is improving, or that women cannot enter certain temples, though they can get into most. These are areas of genuine concern. Hindu dharma honours Shakti and this should extend into the society overall.

Yet my wife, who is an Indian and a Hindu religious teacher, always receives special respect at any temple she visits, often from the head pujari, even at temples that I am not able to enter. But she approaches temples with genuine heartfelt devotion, not as an angry activist.

I know something of history, how thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed by Islamic invaders, and how the British belittled Hinduism. I can sympathise with temples that do not want non-Hindus to enter as mere tourist sites. Temples, just as churches, have dress and codes of conduct that should be followed and security concerns in this age of terrorism.

Politics of temple going

It is sad to see temple entry in India being made into a political football. It is strange to see the Indian judiciary ruling on who can go into temples and how far, as if temples should be under court jurisdiction.

This is compounded by the fact that churches and mosques in India are exempt from such interference and regulation. In addition, temple revenues are taken by state governments for their own usage, while church and mosques receive state subsidies.

Clearly, there is a tremendous prejudice against the majority religion in India that is unparalleled in any country. In other countries majority religions are treated as well or better than minority religions. In Islamic states like Pakistan and Bangladesh, Islam is given precedence and prestige over all other religions.

In the secular USA, there is a strict separation of church and state, and the judiciary does not rule on church practises. On the contrary, the government grants extensive and equal tax benefits to all approved religious groups, with majority Christianity granted the most regard.

The sanctum sanctorum

Going into temples should be an act of devotion, not of political assertion. Allowing political activists into the sanctum sanctorum of temples can be a gross violation of religious respect. That is an area of the temple reserved for the priests, not for the general public.

There are Hindu temples and festivals for men or women only. There is nothing wrong with this, any more than gyms or clinics that cater to male or female only concerns. There is a strict separation of men and women in certain temples. That is also fine and creates a different type of energy than the free mingling of the sexes.

Hindu temples have a vast array of deity forms and worship at special times and in distinctive ways. There is no single standard church service or namaz. Such local variations of practise should be honoured and preserved. They reflect the richness of Indian civilisation.

Judges should not dictate religious practises. Political activists should not be allowed to use temples for political agitation.

At the same time, temple entry policy should be respectful of different types of devotees in terms of age, sex or ethnicity - but this can be done without destroying the sanctity of the temple or curtailing the myriad forms of temple worship.

Friday, April 22, 2016

What is the Hindu concept of Vegetarianism?

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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Paid news by TOI on Sasikalaa?

On the day the DA case of Jayalalithaa was being argued in the Supreme Court by Sasikalaa’s lawyers rejecting the notion of Sasikalaa as a power centre, Times of India, Chennai edition carried a huge headline saying that Sasikalaa had a hand in the change of candidates in the upcoming elections. 

While the headline screams “Sasikalaa’s stamp on changes in AIADMK’s list of candidates”, the article does not contain any information linking Sasikalaa to the changes that Jayalalithaa has made in the candidate list. No source or authenticity was quoted in the article to indicate Sasikalaa’s complicity in this matter. Instead it has been said throughout in the article that the changes have been effected based on the winnability of the candidates and the inputs received from the surveys and intelligence reports. That means even if Sasikalaa had wanted her men to be given seats, their winnability and popularity only had decided their inclusion in the list.

Such being the case, why this mischievous title was given by the News network of TOI? Why passing on specific notions as news and pushing them in the title by the News desk of TOI?  If this news appears under some writer’s name, we will think that it is the writer’s wish to project such a notion. But when the news appears in the name of TOI news network, then it smacks of some hidden agenda or motive. Or is this a case of paid news by the TOI?

The title on Sasikalaa appearing at a time when the case is being heard about her complicity in DA case raises the question whether TOI is upto creating opinions in somebody’s mind. (If I mention who that somebody is, I may be accused of abuse of a constitutional authority). Only a DMK support- magazine can make such headlines without substance to support.

I would accuse that this is paid news, for, in the same newspaper a more important news of the day was not given the place that is due to it. Kanimozhi, Karunanidhi’s daughter had made an important statement that all the liquor manufacturing units run by the DMK men would be closed if DMK comes to power. This news appears as a small box item on the 10th page.

This was not told by some DMK man, but by the daughter of the DMK patriarch who is a contender to the post of a future successor to Karunanidhi. Kanimozhi have even said that once coming to power they would not even divert the liquor sales to other States. It would be a complete closure. Kanimozhi has said that this was told by Karunanidhi himself. 

From another online magazine (tamil.oneindia.com)

Is this not a newsworthy statement? This statement by none other than Kanimozhi raises the counter question why not close down the liquor units NOW itself. If the DMK is serious about prohibition, why wait till it comes to power? It should close the manufacturing units now itself. Why TOI failed to give a prominent slot to this news item in its newspaper?

This statement by Kanimozhi spelling out DMK’s stance is worthy to be the headline in the front page but it also would attract a political storm. But by pushing it to a small box-news, TOI stands suspect in the eyes of the reader that it has tried to reduce the brickbats to the DMK generated by this statement. Why should it do this unless TOI had been taken care of well by the DMK. One can recall the meet with the media that Stalin had at the end of his “Namakku Naame” programme. Public has no idea of who attended that meet. But the news carried by the magazines, now including the TOI shows who attended it and what happened behind the screens.

Earlier TOI carried a news item (a few months ago) on the powerful / power wielding sons of politicians. Almost every politician in TN has a son or a son in law who is doing the controlling act from behind the politician. Sabareesan, the son in law of Stalin is a well known name in this segment. Only Jayalalithaa is left out in this area. As if to make up for it the TOI article / news item showed Jayalalithaa’s picture and a ‘son’ who is the son of the Ilavarasi. Has at any time until now, this son of Ilavarasi made his name or face or clout anywhere felt? But the news item said that he is the foster son of Jayalalithaa but could not pinpoint any instance of a role for him in the party or anywhere. But then why drag Jayalalithaa’s photo and that guy’s photo in that article? Is it to satisfy some pay masters and to say that TOI does a ‘level playing’ game with all parties, even if there is none to point out on Jayalalithaa in that segment?

This makes me think that TOI is going The Hindu way. The Hindu which was once called as Mount Road Mahavishnu by Karunanidhi is now known among readers as Mount Road Murasoli! (Murasoli is the official news paper of DMK). Not many believe or care about the articles and opinions published in The Hindu. It is now on par with many local Tamil dailies and magazines like Nakkeeran and Vikatan which are the mouth pieces of the DMK. No wonder the reader base of The Hindu is eroding day by day. The TOI is also going to go on that direction.



Apr 19 2016 : The Times of India (Chennai)

Sasikalaa's stamp on changes in AIADMK's list of candidates


Party Drops 8 Candidates, Replaces 3

AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa's associate Sasikalaa appears to be making her presence felt as the AIADMK list of candidates for the assembly election goes through a review. On Monday, the party chief made yet another change in her list, dropping eight candidates and replacing three with ministers, who had been left out in the original list of 227 released on April 4.

So far, Jayalalithaa has changed 21 candidates. Sources said several factors influenced the AIADMK leader's decision, including Sasikalaa's insistence that some of her supporters, sitting MLAs, be retained, besides intelligence inputs about candidates' image, credibility and petitions from cadres.
Jayalalithaa has chosen to bring back three ministers, who did not figure in the initial list, to take on heavyweights from other parties.

While higher education minister P Palaniappan has been fielded in Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri district, where he had contested and won in 2011,

minister for rural industries and milk P Mohan will contest in his home constituency of Sankarapuram in Cuddalore district. It was found that A S A Rajasekar, who was replaced by Mohan, was not so popular.

Tourism minister S P Shanmughanathan will contest again from Srivaikuntam in Tuticorin district.
Party leaders whisper about surveys conducted by the leadership to assess how voters are receiving their candidates.

It was found that G S Kuppusamy , who was fielded earlier in Pappirediipatti had poor prospects. “The feedback Amma got was that Kuppusamy was sure to lose,“ said a party functionary on condition of anonymity . The “survey“ apparently also indicated that Palaniappan would win if he was fielded.

Jayalalithaa has clearly accorded priority to ensuring that candidates with a clean image are fielded as corruption is emerging as a key plank.

Jayalalithaa had fielded Tamilarasi, the party's women's wing secretary , to take on DMK veteran K N Nehru in Trichy West. Later a decision was taken to replace her with Trichy district secretary R Manoharan and to move her to Trichy East. The decision to replace her kicked up a furore among her supporters, who picketed the entrance of the Rock Fort Temple when Natarajan and his men had gone to pray .

Subsequently, the leadership has replaced Tamilarasi with Vellamandi N Natarajan in Trichy East. In the process, Tamilarasi has now ended up losing her post as councillor in Trichy corporation as well. She had tendered her resignation from the post after announcement of her candidature.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Does Hinduism require one to be a vegetarian?

Excerpted from

Does Hinduism require one to be a vegetarian?


K. Sadananda

Recently two questions were asked –
Does Hinduism require one to believe in God?
Does Hinduism require one to be a vegetarian?
In a recent article, I have addressed the first question. 
Here I will provides some thoughts for the second question.

In relation to the first question, I have discussed what Hinduism stands
for and who is truly a Hindu. 
In essence, Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma,
and that Dharma is from time immemorial –
it involves pursuit for Moksha.
Therefore the one who is seeking for Moksha is a true Hindu,
Irrespective of the nationality, caste, creed or gender. 
With that catholic
understanding, one can see that Hinduism becomes a way of life
because the pursuit of the essential purpose of life is
the goal of the Hindu life.

With that perspective, it is easier to analyze all other questions
including whether Hinduism requires one to be a vegetarian. 

Since the purpose of life is securing liberation or Moksha,
until we reach that we need to live. 
Only death is the death of the ego that happens in the
spiritual awakening. 
Hence, keeping the body alive by nourishment is
our Dharma. 
That means one has to eat to live
(not the other way – living for eating sake!)

Life lives on life. That is the law of nature.
 Whether I eat an animal or plant I am destroying a life.
Among all life forms Man is different from the rest of the life kingdom. 
He has the capability to discriminate the right from wrong.
That also gives him the freedom of choice. 

Plants have just body and perhaps a rudimentary mind.
Animals have both body and mind to express
 feelings and suffering, but rudimentary intellect. 
Man has not only body, mind
but also well developed intellect to discriminate, decide and to choose. 

He always has three choices –
Karthum sakhyam, akartum
sakhyam and anyathA karthum sakhyam –
he can choose to do,
not to do and
do it other way. 

For animals and plants there is no freedom of choice.
They are instinctively driven. 
Cow does not sit down before meals, and
inquire whether it should be a vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
So is a tiger. 
For a Man the discriminative intellect is very evolved.
Plants and animals do not commit sin in their actions
because there is no will
involved in their actions.
For a human, the story is different. 
You may wonder why I brought sin in the argument. 
Let me explain.

Sin is nothing but agitations in the mind. 
It is these agitations that
prevent me in my journey to Moksha.
Mind has to be pure
(meaning un-agitated)
for me to see the truth as the truth. 

To define sin more scientifically - it is the divergence
between the mind and intellect.
Intellect knows right from wrong –
but we feel like doing things even
though we know they are wrong –
that is, the intellect says something,
but mind which should be subservient to intellect rebels and
does whatever it feels like. 
This divergence is sin. 
After the action is performed -
there is a guilt feeling,
because intellect, although was overruled, does
not keep quiet, it keeps prodding
" I told you it is wrong.
Why did you do it?"
With peace of mind gone Man goes through a "Hell". 
Man is not punished for the sin,
he is punished by the sin! –
Think about it.

All yogas, if you analyze clearly, are bringing this integration
Between the body, mind and intellect. 
For a Yogi - What he thinks, what he speaks
and what he does are in perfect harmony or alignment
(Manasaa vAcha karmana).
In our case, we think something but have no guts to say
what we think, our lips says something
different from what are thinking –
if you watch the lips and the actions that follow,
they are again different! -
There is no integration anywhere.
We live a chaotic life. 
Besides deceiving others,
most pathetic is we deceive ourselves,
and the worst thing is we don't even realize that.

Now, when a tiger kills and eats, it does not commit a sin. 
Because its intellect is rudimentary,
 and it does not go through any analysis
 before it kills –
“should I kill or not to kill –
Should I be a non-vegetarian or
should I be vegetarian?". 
When it is hungry, to fill the natures demand,
it kills it pray and eats what it needs and
 leaves the rest when it is full. 
It is not greedy either. 
That is its Swadharma.
It follows a beautiful ecological system.

It is only man who destroys the ecology by being greedy. 
"Should I be a vegetarian or non-vegetarian?"
is asked only by a man. 
Why that question comes?
Because man has discriminative intellect,
and he does not want to
hurt others to fill his belly. 
He learns what `hurt' means because
He surely does not want others to hurt him.

Plants are life forms too, should one hurt them?. 
 You may ask. 
If one can live without hurting any life forms that is the best,
but that is not possible. 
Life lives on life -that is the law of nature. 
My role as a human being with discriminative intellect is
to do the least damage to the nature for keeping myself alive. 
At least, I am not consciously aware of suffering of the plants.
That is why eating to live and not living to eat is
the determining factor.

In Bhagawad Geeta, Krishna emphatically says
that a Sadhaka (one who is in pursuit of Moksha)
should have a compassion for all forms of life
Sarva Bhuta HitErathAha

In the spiritual growth, one develops
subtler and subtler intellect
(Sukshma Bhuddhi in contrast to TeeKshna Buddhi, i.e.
sharper intellect).
That is, the mind is becoming quieter,
 calmer and
Your sensitivity to suffering of others also grows. 
Hence it is advisable to be a vegetarian.

Even the traditional non-vegetarians repel against
eating dogs and cats or
other human beings! Why? 
Meat is a meat after all! 
But with familiarity grows a compassion.

There are many two legged animals in human form
with rudimentary intellect.
They behave like animals. 
But in the evolutionary ladder one develops
subtler and subtler intellect,
then it is advisable to be a vegetarian
only taking from nature what it needs to keep the body going.
One should not hurt any life forms
to satisfy the craving of one’s tongue.

Should Hindu be a vegetarian?
Since such a question already arose in your mind,
you have a degree of sensitivity not to hurt
other living forms to satisfy your belly.
Then you may be better off not eating meat and
You will be at peace with yourself. 
Since you are sensitive to this your
intellect directing you one way and
your mind wants some baser pleasures
and directing you the other way.
When you go against your own intellect
you commit sin.
That is against your SWADHARMA as Krishna puts it.

Besides, now, even the traditional non-vegetarians
are choosing vegetarianism
not because of any compassion to other animals
but they are recognizing that it is not good for their health.

I have already mentioned that
Hinduism has no doos and don'ts,
but you determine your own doos and don'ts
based on your intellectual values,
culture, education and primary goal in life. 
You will find that
Following your Swadharma makes you comfortable with yourself.
It is not others to judge, it is for you to judge. 
If you are agitated, that means
you are loosing peace of mind for these and
that is a sin! 

Imagine yourself that chicken or cow that you are eating.
Would you not advice the guy who is eating you
to be a vegetarian instead and spare its life? 

Do not say you are not killing the animal yourself,
and killing will go on whether you eat or not.

If you don't eat, one animal is spared.
This is the demand and supply. 
I may not be stealing myself,
but if I buy the stolen property knowing that it was stolen,
it is a crime!
Is it not? 
Now there are imitation meats too –
so why the crave for a dead meet?   
Why do you want your stomach
to be a burial ground for a dead animal?


Food for Thought:-

Manu Samhita says

5/51. He who permits (the slaughter of an animal), he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells (meat), he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, (must all be considered as) the slayers (of the animal).

5/52. There is no greater sinner than that (man) who, though not worshipping the gods or the manes, seeks to increase (the bulk of) his own flesh by the flesh of other (beings).