Saturday, October 18, 2008

celebrating vegetarianism

during my last visit to kolkata in end september along with my colleagues we decided to have lunch at the kenilworth hotel at shakespeare sarani. we were quite surprised when on arrival, the steward told us that the hotel was celebrating three days of vegetarianism. nonogenarian sadhu vaswani,spiritual head of the sadhu vaswani mission based in pune, the wellknown guru and referred to as the "shaper of souls" was camping in the hotel and in deference to his wishes, the hotel run by raju bharath, decided to observe and offer only vegetarian food during his stay. i asked him whether that did not put off the non-vegetarian guests. he replied that on the contrary,there were more people visiting the restaurant than normal.

dada j p vaswani maintains that peace and harmony will not be there until we "stop all killing".november 25 which is his birthday is celebrated as "meatless day" and animal rights day."if today i don't hesitate in killing an animal,i won't hesitate in killing a man tomorrow. life is god's gift;only he can take it away," says dada vaswani.

for many years now one can see a virtual vegetarian uprising. and india is recognised as the main originator of vegetarianism.hinduism and its offshoots-buddhism and jainism were born in india. all these religions have preached ahimsa (non-injury) from ancient times.even in a country like usa there are about 15 million full-time and part-time have jewish vegetarianism and sufi vegtarianism groups too.more and more people are being influenced by the animal rights movement and by environmental and health concerns.veg food is no longer "rabbit food".

veg falafal and chinese special veg food has become the flavour of the day.veg cookbooks are sprouting a dime to a dozen.there is even a lowfat jewish veg cookbook written by debra wassermann. according to rev dada j p vaswani,the true vegetarian is one who is filled through and through with reverence for is a gift of god which no man should is the food,so is the mind. as is the mind,so are the thoughts. as are the thoughts,so is the conduct. as is the conduct,so is the health.

the buffet lunch was thoroughly enjoyable. it was absolutely delicious. a combination of east and west. an interesting fusion and subtle mélange. starting with spicy avocado soup,we had pasta avaieletta, baked vegetables, german potato salad, vegetable quessidillas with broccolli, pod thai noodle and baby potatoes with garlic. the dessert counter had besides Indian sweets, mangocheese cake and chocolate parefit. it was an unforgettable lunch and something that all eight of us ate to our heart's content.

the icing on the cake was swarup chatterjee, the amiable chef. the avocado soup was heavenly.when i requested that I wanted to meet him,he promptly came over to our table and met me. i congratulated him on the excellent spread that he had painstakingly prepared and in particular the mouthwatering soup. i asked him whether he could give me the recipe. within 15 minutes he came back with the recipe artistically written in his own hand. something i will treasure. i liked the youngster. his spontaniety, his culinary skills and his desire to satisfy nay delight a customer.

"nourish life with vegetable food.and shun the sacrilegious taste of blood".


HaNi's Blog said...

Dear uncle,

A very well written peace...Gestures like these go a long way in shaping the world's thinking. I'm curious to hear your take on a question I gwet asked a lot, by a 'carnivoours ' friend who mostly does this to spite me - 'If u don't b'lieve in killing a life - aren't plants living things too? esp when u take say carrots/tubers frm root up???" I'm also interested to know ur take on veganism....isn't that a superior form of vegetarianism....

I personally cannot imagine starting my day w/o a good dose of milk or have a burrito w/o loads of cheese.....but its interesting if ppl can do that.....

SOrry for the long comment.u kinda have that effect on ur readers....making them ponder :)

Warm regards...

gs said...

hello haNi
your questions are very intelligent and our scriptures it has been said that "gomamsam brahamana aaharam". beef is brahmin's food!.there are numerous such examples which can be culled out to show that brahmins indeed were nonvegetarians thousands of years ago.

food habits have a corelation with climatic conditions. in extremely cold climates living on only vegetarian food can be life threatening. according to history,our ancestors migrated to india from around persia unable to bear the extreme cold conditions. in a tropical country like ours vegetarian diet normally suffices. plants and animals also have lives. plant is inferior to animals in the hierarchy . as such it is permissible to eat plants. also there is no bloodletting involved in eating plants. even among vegetarians,some vegetables like potato and onions are taboo for the jains and some others too. basically,the type of food we eat generates raajasic,taamasic and saatvik qualities in us.veg food with limited spices is saatvik food. nourishment to the body and to the soul too.

among vegans even dairy products like milk,cheese,butter and buttermilk is taboo.maneka gandhi is a vegan. after all you get all these products from milk from a live cow or buffalo and not by killing or from a dead animal.

my philosophy on eating is a vegetarian.drink and eat limited quantities of milk and milk products and keep away from eating non vegetarian kind to animals and birds and don't encourage their killing for human pleasure.