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Vegetarianism and Nonviolence

Both Gandhi and `Abdu'l-Bahá felt that the killing of animals for food is somewhat contrary to nonviolence and compassion, and suggested alternatives to meat. `Abdu'l-Bahá writes,

Truly, the killing of animals and the eating of their meat is somewhat contrary to pity and compassion, and if one can content oneself with cereals, fruit, oil and nuts, such as pistachios, almonds and so on, it would undoubtedly be better and more pleasing.[4]
Gandhi writes,
I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow-creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.[6]
Vegetarian diet, besides grains, pulses, edible roots, tubers and leaves, includes fruits, both fresh and dry. Dry fruit includes nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnut, etc.[3]

While both Gandhi and the Bahá'ís agree that the killing of animals for food may be somewhat immoral, they both emphasize the importance of not blowing the issue out of proportion. Gandhi writes,

It is wrong to over-estimate the importance of food in the formation of character or in subjugating the flesh. Diet is a powerful factor not to be neglected. But to sum up all religion in terms of diet, as is often done in India, is as wrong as it is to disregard all restraint in regard to diet and to give full reins to one's appetite.[7]
Perhaps for this same reason, vegetarianism has not been made a central teaching of the Bahá'í Faith, even though it is very much encouraged.


next up previous contents
Next: Kindness to Animals Up: Vegetarianism Previous: Vegetarian Foods Best   Contents

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