HOW DOES THE VEGETARIAN WAY BENEFIT THE MIND AND EMOTIONS?

The right nutrition nourishes not only physical health, but mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well.  Shree Chitrabhanu points out,  “Whatever we eat permeates in all our cells, including the brain cells.  If the body is sustained by flesh which retains the vibrations of fear and terror from the moments of slaughter, how can one have a serene and clear feeling of peace of mind?  How can we develop a render and compassionate heart if we are indifferent to the spilling of blood?”

Not that those who eat with compassionate awareness automatically become peaceful; vegetarianism  complements efforts to rid thought and deed of the power struggle and subtly unloving atitudes.  For most people, one look into the eyes of a mother cow being dragged away from her baby would be enough to melt their hearts.  It would be impossible nor to think of one’s own loved one being snatched away, violated, and killed.  Concentration camp survivors cannot help being reminded of human torture when they see animal exploitation.

By choosing foods  which entail the least possible harm, we reverse the desensitization process which numbs feelings.  Just knowing that in some small way, we are enabling thousands of animals to be spared makes us feel buoyant and happy; we find, too, that we also are spared unnecessary suffering and subconscious guilt.  In Shree Chitrabhanu’s view, those who are lending their protection to animals are themselves receiving their blessings and strength continuously.

Ultimately, it is the quality of our consciousness that remains with us.  What it is that will allow us to close our eyes for the last time with a smile of peace and inner ecstasy?  Is it not a special kind of inner knowing, a deep contentment with one’s life?  We need to explore this question for ourselves.  From the Jain standpoint, that contentment can blossom into fullness when, throughout our lives, we do our best to live in harmlessness, without being cruel or callous to anyone, and honoring our interconnectedness with all.

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