Why Sanatan dharma places such high importance to vegetarianism? I can think of 4 reasons.
First is medical: Look at the teeth of humans and compare with that of a cat and a herbivore. Look at the intestine of a cat. It is straight where as human intestine is curvy. These make it amply clear that human body was made to consume plant food only. Had human body meant to eat flesh our teeth would have been designed accordingly. We have just 2 small tearing teeth. That means Humans can eat flesh during extreme emergencies only. Meat especially red meat takes long time to digest. Digestion is a very heavy work for the body. The energy you spend for digestion of meat could be used for enhancing brain. Hence non-vegetarian food makes a person aggressive and passionate. A strong person is calm where as an aggressive person is weak. Do you know highest cancer rates are seen in countries consuming more meat. Flesh contains excessive protein and human body needs protein in limited quantities unlike say Tiger who need a muscular body to run and hunt. When there is excessive protein in body that makes it easy for cancerous cells to develop easily.
Second, economic. If world becomes vegetarian today, then the world can be fed by just tilling 30% of today’s land. Food inflation will vanish. Forest cover will increase and air pollution will be a thing of past. 10kgs of plants create 1kg of meat. The reason behind food shortage, inflation and pollution is caused by excessive consumption of non-vegetarian food.
Third, scriptural. Prabhu has said in BG (9.26) to offer “Patra (leaves), pushpa(flowers), phala(fruits and grains), toyam(water and milk)” not mutton, chicken, beef and pork. That instruction was given with a well thought reason considering the holistic nourishment of mankind. The nature has gifted so many varieties of fruits, vegetables, grains and cows/buffaloes who give us milk. A lot of delicious food can be made by combinations of the above.
Fourth, cooking style: Today the people are doing very little physical work. All non-veg foods are cooked using high amounts of oil and spices which are not helpful in today’s age where people are leading a sedentary lifestyle. Though epidemics like Small pox have gone down, life style diseases like high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, high cholesterol are becoming very common. Hence, becoming vegetarian is a great prevention for such life style related diseases.
Hence, it is important human society incentivizes vegetarianism.
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