--> Skip to main content

Vegetarianism In Hinduism

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 the religion.