By Esther Williams
"The core of Buddhism is non-violence
and this should be reflected in our diet. Since killing of animals
amounts to violence, non-violence in diet is vegetarianism,"
says Founder President of the Pune-based Sarva Jeev Mangal Pratishthan
( 'reverence for all life') movement Dr.Kalyan Gangwal. Holidaying
in Sri Lanka recently, he visited Kandy, Polonaruwa and Colombo
to discuss this issue with priests in several temples.
he argues, has a scientific basis which accounts for why the whole
world is going vegetarian. More importantly, many are being forced
to become vegetarian for medical reasons. The human body is made
for a vegetarian diet, Dr.Gangwal stresses. Our teeth, intestinal
tract, gut, saliva, secretions of different glands are all meant
to digest vegetarian food.
probing the secrets of the immune system have found that healthful
diet, physical fitness and a positive emotional state of mind stimulate
and strengthen the body's immune system, while illness, drugs, improper
diet and excessive stress can depress and weaken it," he says.
therefore has an effect on one's mind, emotions, feelings and behaviour.
While Tamas (non-vegetarian) food invokes feelings of anger and
violence, Satvik (vegetarian) food leads to calmness which is good
for meditation, he says. Reports indicate that excessive consumption
of meat leads to cancer and heart disease as it contains cholesterol,
saturated fatty acids and no fibre. Meat eating is also linked to
many other diseases such as high BP, gallstones, osteoporosis, diabetes,
asthma, etc. Besides, there are toxins in all flesh and by eating
meat, man is simply adding other toxins to those which his own body
generates placing a heavy burden on the heart, liver, kidney, lungs,
time he travels, Dr. Gangwal passes on this message of good health
which is to be close to nature and live by the laws of nature. "Our
bodies often tell us that we are meant for vegetarian food,"
says this champion of vegetarianism.
movement he founded in India has protested actively against fast
food chains such as McDonalds and KFC. It has a following of some
50-60 lakhs of people in India, also leading to the formation of
an Islamic vegetarian society.
Gangwal has authored many books on vegetarianism and religious practices.
He is also the recipient of many national and international awards
for his work in the field. He strives to dispel the myth that consumption
of meat makes people strong or that non-vegetarian food has more
nutritive value. "To live long, without suffering any illness,
you need to go vegetarian," he stresses.