MYTH: Hinduism teach vegetarianism as a way to live and avoid harming living creatures. But in today’s world not all Hindus are vegetarians.
Answer: It is the biggest myth that Hinduism has so many “do’s and don’ts.” Hinduism give every person equal freedom to choose what they want to eat or have in their life, there is no restriction as such. If we talk about vegetarians, then they are more in number in Southern India than in Northern India owing to the fact that North is comparatively cooler than South and have Mughal influence for that matter. In order to maintain the purity, the priests and religious leaders are basically vegetarians as they hold a different perspective of maintaining spirituality.
Then there is other section of the population which includes those covering the borders like soldiers and law enforcement officers. These people need proper nutrition as they have to perform at work with aggression so they prefer eating meat. It is a general believed that avoiding meat can actually help a person to keep his mind calm and composed which is helpful in performing meditation. Even then there is a larger section which is non-vegetarian. Statistics reveal that only 20 percent Hindus are vegetarian as of now.
Explanation: This is a sensitive subject to discuss as there are multiple ways to respond to the question. But the fact remains the same, Hinduism preach non-violence or ahimsa which refers to abstaining from violence or physically hurting any living creature. And the person who wants to follow Hinduism is expected to adopt life as a vegetarian since it is a matter of conscience.
It is assumed that whenever we eat meat, fish, fowl and eggs, we are actually absorbing their innate vibrations unconsciously which alters our nature and boost emotions like fear, anger, jealousy, confusion, resentment etc
Several Hindu priests usually advise their followers to give up eating meat before getting into the practice of reciting mantras. Priests have this notion that the vegetarianism helps in reducing problems in family life thus it should be promoted.
Various scriptures guide against eating meat.
The Yajur Veda (36.18) calls for sensitivity toward all creatures living on the Earth, in the air and in the water.
The Tirukural, a 2,200-year-old masterpiece of ethics, states, “When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh of another creature, he will abstain from eating it” (257).
The Manu Dharma Shastras state, “Having well considered the origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let one entirely abstain from eating flesh,” and “When the diet is pure, the mind and heart are pure.”
Hindus rely on their community leaders and gurus to consult on such matters. Eating meat or abstaining from it does not prove that you are a true follower of Hinduism or not rather it is about conscience.
Even in western countries like America and Europe people have adopted vegetarianism choosing a long and healthy life while most of the people reject the thought of meat-eating considering that it promotes mentality of violence.