It will not be an exaggeration if I say that vegetarianism is coming up as a movement albeit silently. It is a movement because it is spreading very fast. During my stay in Princeton University (New Jersey, USA) from 1974-79 one of the five large dining rooms for the undergraduate students was converted into a vegetarian dining room. Recently I heard that one St. Andrew’s University in the state of Michigun in USA is a fully vegetarian university. Some months ago a report on a fully vegetarian boarding school in England was carried by “Sarvadeshik” (the Hindi weekly published by the International Aryan League, New Delhi, India). My personal experience indicates that our position is very strong. Let me briefly narrate the experience I had last Thursday Oct, 14, 1982 when I was invited by a discussion group in the town of Welfsburg, West Germany to answer some questions on Indian religions and philosophy. But the first question asked to me was “Why do you not eat meat?”. I spoke extemporaneously on “why meat is not a part of human diet” for about twenty minutes. Later on, many in the audience said to me that they had never thought of or heard of what I said and were impressed by my ideas and arguments. I have had similar experiences elsewhere. Once this question asked I have been able to convince the questioner without any exception that meat eating is a non-human act. This simply shows how sound our position is as far as propagation of vegetarianism is concerned. What the Arya Samaj can do in this area is to emphasize that food is for mind as well as for body. Vegetarianism holds the key to the answer to many problems viz., physical and mental health problems; world hunger (it takes 8 kg of staple food to convert into 1kg of meat in an animal body—it is much more sensible for us to consume land produce directly); nutritional problem (21 kg of vegetation protein is fed to cattle and then 1 kg of meat protein is obtained); and above all the growing problem of the absence of world peace.
In addition to propagating vegetarianism through all the possible means I think that it will be a constructive contribution by every Arya Samaj to manage and run a vegetarian restaurent within its premises. It may be better if the restaurant is run by two partners (the Arya Samaj through its management committee being on partner and one energetic, faithful, sincere, to the cause of vegetarianism, able and knowledgeable manager being the second partner) to ensure a business-like efficiency together with maintaining the key principles behind the venture. The restaurant may become a source of income to both the partners. It will be a place attracting many kinds of people. It can also serve as an outlet for the literature on vegetarianism, the Vedic culture, the Arya Samaj etc.
by:- Har Bilas Sarda