The concept and practice of Vegetarianism is inherent in
much of Hindu history and civilization. Hindus have traditionally eaten
vegetarian diet. The concept of ahimsa (non-violence) and the reverence of life
in all forms are fundamental aspects of Hinduism, culture and tradition.
However, some Hindus have also adopted a meat-based diet.
Hindus, deeply wedded to the concept of Ahimsa and staunch
believers in the sacredness of all life, have been re-affirming the importance
of a vegetarian diet.
The Hindu knowledge texts promote the concept of Vasudeva
Kutumbakam (the world is one family). The mantras from Vedas imply universal
and all inclusive meanings, e.g., “May all be happy and healthy.” Within that “all”
are included human beings and all living beings.
The reason why majority of Hindus avoid non-vegetarian food
is because the violence and suffering to the animals. Inherent in the idea of
eating meat is the fact that the animal has to be killed. Therefore, clearly,
the very nature of a non-vegetarian diet is one of himsa (violence).
Hindu heritage and knowledge texts are the bearers of
sciences of ayurveda, yoga and pranayama, bearing witness to the Hindu emphasis
on natural health and balance of the body and mind. Thus maintaining health and
balance both physically and emotionally, is another important reason that
Hindus choose the vegetarian path.
Hinduism does not force anything on an individual. So there
is no rule in Hindu society that you should be a strict vegetarian to practice