Diet in Hinduism varies with its diverse traditions. The ancient and medieval Hindu texts recommend ahimsa—non-violence against all life forms including animals because they believe that it minimizes animal deaths. Many Hindus follow a vegetarian diet (that may or may not include eggs and dairy products), that they believe is in sync with nature, compassionate, respectful of other life forms.

Hindu mendicants (sannyasin) avoid preparing their own food, relying either on alms or harvesting seeds and fruits from forests, as they believe this minimizes the likely harm to other life forms and nature.

        The Vedic texts have verses that scholars have interpreted to either mean support or opposition to meat-based food. Early Vedic texts such as the Rigveda, states Nanditha Krishna, condemns all killings of men, cattle and horses, and prays to god Agni to punish those who kill. The Shatapatha Brahmana condemns the consumption of beef from cows and oxen as a sin. The Atharvaveda mentions that “rice, barley, bean, and sesamum” are the food allotted for human consumption. According to Harris, from ancient times, vegetarianism became a well accepted mainstream Hindu tradition.

       While Jha and Bhaduri contend that some of the verses also support the eating of flesh, especially beef, on some occasion, Maneka Gandhi points out that in context, and consistent with other Vedic verses and the Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, the verses have been mistranslated. Edwin Bryant points out that although references to animal sacrifice and consumption of animal flesh is found in the Vedas, these acts were not fully accepted as there were signs of unease and tension owing to the ‘gory brutality of sacrificial butchery’ dating back to as early as the older Vedas. The concept of ahimsa (non-injury to living beings) is first observed as an ethical concept in the Vedas that found expression as a central tenet in Hindu texts concerned with spiritual and philosophical topics.

             Similarly, the Vegan food is described in the Upanishads, Samhitas, Sutras and Dharmashastras.

         Hinduism does not explicitly prohibit eating meat, but it does strongly recommend ahimsa – the concept of non-violence against all life forms including animals. As a consequence, many Hindus prefer a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian lifestyle, and methods of food production that are in harmony with nature, compassionate, and respectful of other life forms as well as nature. Well, there is a difference between Vegan and vegetarian…

        Hinduism does not require a vegetarian diet, but some Hindus avoid eating meat because it minimizes hurting other life forms. Vegetarianism is considered satvic, that is purifying the body and mind lifestyle in some Hindu texts.

        In the Vedas, the oldest of the Hindu scriptures, the cow is associated with Aditi, the mother of all the gods so as one of the major reason of being vegan.

         There are high numbers of vegetarian in India especially among the members of the upper caste. Since the earliest recorded times, India has been the melting pot of diverse people, ideas and customs. The history of vegetarianism in India is complex.Vedas are the earliest text of Hinduism written around 3500 years ago. There are multiple mentions of rituals and animal sacrifices in Vedas. The animal meant to be sacrificed to the God was considered sacred and consumed to honour the God. For example, in the famous ritual of Ashvamedha Yagna, a horse is sent across territories to establish a King’s supremacy. Even Hindu Lord Rama did that as mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana. But unbeknownst to most, the ritual ends with the sacrifice of the horse, and the king and his family consumed the horse meat along with the priests, and the guests.

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