Jai: Swamiji, does Vedas preach vegetarianism?
Swami Ram Swarup: Yes, In Vedas, Non-vegetarian food is strictly prohibited. I paste my article in this regard-
Vegetarians and non-vegetarians are two categories. Accordingly the construction of body i.e., teeth, small intestine and large intestine, and digestive system has been made by God.
Human beings come in vegetarian category. Our teeth and digestive system are different from that of cat, dog, lion etc. Some animals like cow, buffalo, goat, elephant etc., also come in Vegetarian category. We take water by sipping but the animals who are non-vegetarian i.e., meat eaters they do not sip but lick. Whatever we eat, that food develops our mind and body and creates natural behaviour. For example if we take a cub who is newly born and nurse him by giving milk and thereafter vegetarian food only and on the other hand to another cub we provide him meat, then when they will be younger their habits will differ. The cub taking vegetarian food will not be as violent as the cub who took meat.
Now medical science also says that the energy in vegetarian food is more than that in non-vegetarian food. Vegetarian food gives long and ill free life. Vegetarian elephant is stronger than non-vegetarian lion.
Nobody can take meat until one inflicts violence on animals or birds etc., which is a sin. Our stomach becomes a graveyard where we gather meat by eating. As regards life in vegetarians it does not harm to them while plucking from plants etc. because every vegetarian plant has short life and is meant to give food to the human life. But to us meat is not entitled. Science has recently told that non-vegetarians are more susceptible to cancer disease and teeth degeneration as compared to vegetarians.
Non-vegetarian food is prohibited as per Vedas, shastras, Upnishads and all the ancient holy books. In vegetarian food an ocean of calories and vitamins is available by the mercy of God. Please check from a dietician about the same. Because it is lengthy one and I cannot explain here. For example dal, is full of proteins, soybean has more protein than any non-vegetarian food, which has ability to inhibit cancer also where as non-vegetarian doesnot. Green vegetables like palak, methi, etc., are the richest source of iron and vitamin A. So is the case of milk, curd, rice, fruit, etc.
Jai: Swamiji, what is the essence of the Vedas?
Swami Ram Swarup: Vedas is a knowledge and preaches following three educations-
There are three educations/preach about:
(i) knowledge – science etc(Gyan) in Rigved,
At the time of every creation, knowledge of four Vedas emanates direct from God and is originated in the heart of four Rishis in non-sexual creation. In the said process, first of all, the knowledge of Rigved advents and originates in the heart of Rishi Agni. In this Veda though the description of every worldly matter right from straw to God has been mentioned but it speaks especially about matters concerning science of the world. God has described qualities/nature of all materialistic articles of the universe. Therefore, the entire mankind must get the benefit of eternal knowledge of Vedas by knowing about right from straw to Brahma i.e., God. The meaning of “Ric” is that wherein the qualities and nature of all matters have been described and the meaning of Veda is knowledge i.e., true knowledge. These words are used in making the pious word “Rigved”.
(ii) In Yajurved, the form of true, pious deeds have been preached. So, in the absence of listening of Yajurved, we can’t know about real moral duties of students, married persons, vanprasthis and sanyasis. Even the moral and social obligations of King, parents, children etc., can’t be known.
(iii) In Samved there is preach about eternal true worship of God like Yajyen, name jaap, practice of Ashtang yoga by following which an aspirant realises God/attains salvation.
(iv) Atharvaved authenticates the above three vedas’ preach. It also contains comprehensive knowledge of medical science.
So, Almighty God who is formless, creates, nurses, destroys and again creates universe. This process is eternal and everlasting. So, at the time of beginning of each non-sexual, the knowledge of above four Vedas emanates direct from God and is originated in the heart of four Rishis. The knowledge is given by the God to the human-beings for their welfare/benefit because until the knowledge is given by somebody, no one can attain the knowledge. In the beginning of the creation, no preacher, guru, acharya, teacher is present there to teach. So, God gives the knowledge.
“Vedas- The Storehouse of Knowledge, Deeds and Worship”
In Samveda mantra 7, two kinds of languages are stated.
First “Ittha” and second “Ittra”. Ittha is the divine Sanskrit language which emanates direct from God in the shape of four Vedas to preach the human beings. (Yajurveda Mantra 31/7 refers). Naturally, the Ved Mantras are not in worldly language but in divine Sanskrit language. Ittha is preached at the time of every creation.
So when we will talk about the present creation i.e., about more than 1 Arab, 96 crores, 8 lakhs, 53,111 years ago, when this earth came into existence, the knowledge of Vedas emanated from God as usual. As God is immortal so the said language is immortal too. It is not out of place to mention here that immortal power can only generate immortal language. Keeping the said statement in mind it is very clear that Vedas have not been written by any Rishi-Muni, saint, men or women etc. Another language is called “Ittra language”, made by human beings. The second one is not immortal because it is generated from the mind of human being and the mind being made of Prakriti is destructible and not immortal. It concludes that whenever we want to know the truth, we will have to tally it with the Vedas. If any kind of material, deeds, worship, action is to be checked as to whether it is true or false, it is to be verified from Vedas. If it is mentioned in Vedas as true then it is true otherwise it will have to be declared false. (Yog Shastra sutra 1/7 and Samkhya Shastra 1/52 refer). This is fundamental law so cannot be changed. Now we discuss about the form of Almighty God from Vedas. Yajurveda Mantra 31/18 says- God is form of light, the light which is the source of light and energy to sun, moon and to whole of the world i.e., God is Himself the perennial source of light. He is enlightened through His own light. He gives the light to all but He Himself never takes light from any source. When anyone (Yogi), through the power of Ashtang Yoga, realizes the light within his soul, he overcomes the death and gets final liberation. It means we must worship the God who is formless and Himself a light. The idea of Rigveda Mantra 10/121/1 and Yajurveda mantra 40/8 is that all the powers rest in God, i.e., why He is called Almighty. He is light. God was before the creation i.e., He was in past, is in present and
will remain in future unchanged after destruction of this earth/world. He is the only matter who creates, nurses and destroys the universe that is why Yajurveda Mantra 27/36 also states that the God is one and equivalent to this God, no other God was either born or will ever be born. We must worship the said God only. God gives birth to everybody but He never takes birth. Yajurveda Mantra31/3 says that His (God’s) greatness is beyond description. We can only say that God is so great that this creation is nothing before the greatness of Almighty God. Now we must discuss as to how many Gods are there to be worshipped. In this connection, all four Vedas, six shastras and holy books of all religions clarify that there is only one God, who was present before creation, He is present now and will remain present after destruction of this world, being immortal.
Atharvaveda Mantra 13/4/16 to 21 say that God is neither two nor three, four, five, six, seven, eight or nine. There is only one God. So we must only worship, one God and no other. In this connection, the guidance from a proper spiritual master (Acharya, guru who is learned of Vedas) is a must. The form of God is light which is within each human being. God is always away from birth, death, or to face the result of any deeds etc., (Yog shastra sutra 1/24 refers). He is the only source of merriment. He whose several names have been mentioned in Vedas. He is the only God described in Vedas. For example, Vishnu. Vishnu word occurs in Vedas and it means omnipresent God. Traditionally Vedas were being learnt and recited orally since Satyug by the grace of our ancient Rishi- Munis. Afterwards, about more than 5,300 years ago Maharishi Vyas jee wrote the Vedas on Bhoj patra. Then few historic events which took place in Dwapur Yug were compiled in the form of Mahabharata epic by Vyas Muni jee.
Mahabharata originally has 10,000 shlokas written in Sanskrit, which are true and give Vedas’ knowledge too. Presently, Mahabharata contains 1 lakh 20,000 shlokas out of which 10,000 shlokas are only true. That is why untrue and impossible stories are being heard like birth from fire (agnikund). Vedas do not accept it. Vedas do not contain any historic event. It is a knowledge which emanates direct from God. So naturally the Vedas do not tell about any individual’s name, place etc. After destruction of the previous creation, there remains nothing in the world. There was no sun, moon, human-being, day and night, death and birth, space etc. (Rigveda mandal 10 sukta 129 refers). So at the beginning of present creation, no event could take place in the absence of living-beings and other matters etc. Then at a fixed time power of Almighty God starts functioning in prakriti and the creation starts. Thus, the world comes into existence. It was non-sexual creation of all living-beings. And naturally, they were not learned.
At this juncture, question arises, who was present there to educate the human-beings as without giving knowledge to men or women, no one can become wise. God is merciful and therefore as usual He showers His eternal mercy in the shape of four Vedas on all the human-beings to educate them well. The said knowledge of Vedas emanates from God and is originated in the heart of four Rishis of non-sexual creation, who then become wise. Thereafter, the Rishis shower the knowledge of Vedas to aspirants. So the first Guru of our ancient Rishis is God (Yog shastra sutra 1/26 refers). Thereafter only Rishis have been our Guru to give Vedic knowledge not only to worship God, but to educate people about all kinds of science and pious deeds. Hence, as said above Vedas are not a story. Story describes an event or happening and will be destroyed at the time of final destruction of the world. But God and His knowledge of Vedas being immortal, will ever remain, surpassing destruction. And this is the true knowledge. So we must worship only Almighty God through Yajyen, reciting the holy name given by a guru (learned Acharya of Vedas). Vedas state to discharge family duties besides worshipping God. We must always leave sins and accept the truth but to realize truth, one will have to listen the Vedas first. It is unfortunate that often some people falsely state that Vedas are difficult. In this connection, please remember that when a child first time goes to school or first time starts studying, is the study easy for him? Or is to get B.Sc., M.Sc., PhD., degrees or to be a doctor, scientist or engineer easy? Yes, the same are very difficult for thosewho are lazy and is quite easy for those who are hard workers. So when a student listens carefully and works hard then no topic remains difficult for him. So are the Vedas. You have to listen the Vedas and not read them. In the matter of Vedas, these are to be listened traditionally and not to be read. So listening is not difficult. One has to seek his Acharya who is learned of Vedas, to listen the Vedas from him.
Listening of Vedas is an order direct from God. And to oversight the same may be the order of man. We have to decide either to obey or not.
In Vedas, there is no history, event and no proper noun has been used in Vedas except name of God.
God has made universe and blessed us with human body to do pious deeds to attain salvation only. He has not made any heaven or hell. All have to face the result of their deeds, good or bad here only, even by taking rebirth. (Rigved mantras 10/135/1,2 refer)
God has not only made universe but has also given knowledge of four Vedas where answers to your and everyone’s questions have been given. There are four Vedas:
1. Rig Veda – gives knowledge of science, matter of the universe like sun, moon, air, body etc., etc.
2. Yajurved – gives knowledge of all the deeds and duties to be performed by men, women, students, leaders, king, agriculturist etc., etc., etc.
3. Samved – gives knowledge how to worship God who gives peace and long happy life etc. In this way, details of Yoga philosophy, qualities, supreme deeds and nature of the God are also given.
4. Atharvaved – gives details of God, medical science and details of medicine etc.
Actually in four Vedas there is unlimited knowledge. Yajurved mantra 40/8 says that God is everywhere, is Almighty, formless, devoid of nervous system, purest, away from sins and does not have to face any result of any karmas (deeds), knows every soul, knows what is in everyone’s mind, no body has made God, but God creates universe, has given the eternal knowledge of four Vedas and always gives the said knowledge at the beginning of every universe to know the science and deeds to all concern. Similarly four Vedas say about God that God is an omnipresent, omniscient, formless, beyond imagination and beyond calculation. Actually God has unlimited qualities. There is only one God who creates, nurses, destroys the universe and recreates. Atharvaved mantra 4/1/1 also says that God gives the knowledge of Vedas at the beginning of the earth to four Rishis of non-sexual creation. And thereafter only public listens Vedas through Rishis- Munis as yet and become learned. Rig-Veda gives knowledge of Almighty, Yajurved gives knowledge of karmas (deeds), Samved tells about worship-Yoga philosophy and Atharvaved about medicines and God. Actually all Vedas commonly says about God also, so this is about Vedas in short. But the knowledge of Vedas is endless.
It is a fundamental law that knowledge is always given by somebody. Otherwise knowledge can’t be gained at any cost. If a new born baby is nursed well in a dense jungle and is not educated then he will not be able to gain any knowledge even if he becomes young or old. So we have to think about the origin of the knowledge prevalent in the world today. In this connection the Vedas themselves say that God gives this knowledge to four Rishis. As said by Rishi Patanjali in Yog shastra sutra 1/26, God is the first Guru of the four Rishis. Yajurved mantra 31/7 also refers. This is all in short about Vedas.
The Vedas are not a book, rather it is a knowledge originated in the heart of Rishis. At the time of beginning of the earth those Rishis preached Vedas by mouth and all others remembered the same orally. At that time there was no pen, pencil, paper, etc. This process of studying Vedas orally remained till Mahabharata time. Muni Vyas too remembered Vedas traditionally by heart. Then Muni Vyas for the first time wrote the Vedas on Bhoj patra about 5300 years ago. In 16th century when printing press came into existence then the Vedas were printed. Still Vedas are not those which have been printed but those which are preached by mouth by an Acharya/yogi and the printed Vedas are called Sanhita.
Now if somebody worships a statue etc., then it is their own creation please but Vedas deny. According to Vedas the best worship of the God is Yajyen for which all Vedas are self-proof. Yajurved mantra 31/16 says that the learned persons worship God by Yajyen.
So many people have asked me that most of the scholars/preachers of different religion state that their religion incorporates all matters of the world including science. What about Vedas? I wrote so many Ved Mantras describing science matters therein. For example, Yajurved Mantra 3/6 states
“Ayam Gauhu Swaha Pitram Puraha Prayan Mataram Prishnihi
This earth revolves around the Sun in the space and it also rotates on its own axis. Vedas are eternal like God because Vedas emanate from God. Now, according to Vedas, this present creation is about 1 Arab, 96 crores, 8 lakh 53,111 years old. So are theVedas but as said in Rigved Mantra 10/191/3 the present creation is same as was the previous one and this process of creation is eternal. So are the Vedas which emanate from eternal God. This all concludes that Vedas are the oldest in this creation also and no other book of science, maths or pertaining to spiritualism is written before Vedas.
Like the above example of rotation and revolution of earth, the significance of whole present science is mentioned in Vedas. We can see that whatever is happening in the universe, is all according to the Vedas. For example, occurrence of six seasons, actions of Sun, moon, process of death, birth, worship, yoga philosophy, atomic energy, agriculture, animal husbandry, knowledge of politics, administration, architecture, solar energy, knowledge of home appliances like mixer, grinder, business rules, about men, women, children, marriage, Brahmacharya, education, clothes etc., etc., i.e., knowledge right from a straw to Brahma is all in Vedas. God is Almighty and has unlimited powers. So through His power He is able to originate the knowledge of Vedas in the heart of four Rishis without pencil, paper, help of mouth or any other worldly assistance.
We, i.e., the whole world depends on Almighty God but God is forever independent. That is why, He is God. We are the souls who reside in human bodies. We need assistance of senses, perceptions, mind and body to do deeds but not God.
Nowadays, so many saints are writing books. What is the background to write their books? Background is clear that they have first studied or listened the preach from their Gurus, keeping aside the matter of truth or falsehood. And after studying or listening the same, they became able to write the books. So this is also fundamental law, based on which, the ancient Rishis first listened Vedas and when they became learned then only they wrote the Vedic books like Valmiki Ramayana, six shastras, Mahabharat (Bhagwad Geeta), Upanishads, etc., etc. So, first the knowledge of Vedas is initiated in the universe and afterwards other books come into existence.
Somebody may say that human beings have knowledge by their nature to create anything like books etc., but we see that the newly born baby who is nursed in a jungle, in the absence of knowledge of a learned person, he becomes incapable to do anything. Thus, he can’t be M.A, M.Sc, doctor etc. So there are two types of the words and meanings. First, eternal which are from Almighty God and second, natural made by human beings. Eternal word meanings are always from Vedas i.e., from God. After listening/studying Vedas, human beings become learned and then too based on their own natural knowledge, they make their own words and meanings, literature etc. But it is very much clear that in the absence of knowledge of Vedas, no one can become learned. Nowadays, also people live in dense jungle and do not lead a civilized life because they are not learned as cited above. Vedas are not sects because they emanate direct from God and God is one for all human beings. God creates sun, moon, air, water, food etc., which are meant for the best use of all human beings for their long, happy life, so are the Vedas.
So all human beings must accept Vedas as an eternal knowledge from God, for the benefit of whole creation.