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Why does Hindu Dharma prohibit consumption of non-vegetarian food?

Majority of Hindus believe that, ‘Non-vegetarianism is demonic and the height of cruelty’. A Hindu woman says, “My husband, who has adopted Western Culture, may have non-vegetarian food; but I, being a Hindu wife, will never even touch meat.’ However, in this day and age some Hindus in the villages as well as in cities, blindly imitate the western culture and have non-vegetarian food. They are Hindus in namesake only.

The reasons why Hindu Dharma prohibits consumption of non-vegetarian food are

  • Eating meat is a Tama-dominant act. That is why, it is prohibited in Hindu Dharma. The act of eating meat represents the Raja-Tama-dominant foreign culture.

  • Hindu religious texts advise refraining from consuming non-vegetarian food.

It is said in Manusmruti,

न मांसभक्षणे दोषो न मद्ये न च मैथुने ।
प्रवृत्तिरेषा भूतानां निवृत्तिस्‍तु महाफला ।। - मनुस्‍मृतिअध्‍याय ५, श्‍लोक ५६

Meaning: Since man has a natural inclination towards consuming alcohol, meat and copulation, having a desire for them does not amount to sin. But being free from the three is beneficial.

Another shloka in Manusmruti advises giving up all consumption of non-vegetarian food by looking at the origin of meat, the shackling and slaughter of animals for meat. All points elucidated in these shlokas are advice to Hindus by the religious texts.

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