About Akarma food

Why become a Vegetarian?
Millions of people in the world are practicing vegetarianism influenced by factors ranging from health and economics to ethics and religion. There are many reasons why people stop eating meat. They are as follows:
  1. Human teeth like herbivores are designed to chew only fruits and vegetables. 
  2. Meat eating burdens the digestive system and produces lot of toxins which affects the kidney.
  3. The inability of human body to deal with excessive animal fat in diet leads to heart disease like coronary artery disease.
  4. One reason for incidence of colorectal cancer is high-fat, low-fibre content in meat centred diet.
  5. Numerous potentially hazardous chemicals are present in meat products due to the latest gimmicks used in the corporate owned animal factories. The animals are force-fed and fattened unnaturally by injecting growth hormones, tranquilizers, antibiotics and other drugs.

6.  Meat themselves carry diseases from animals.

Nutrition without meat

One can gain all nutrition in vegetarian diet without meat. The ideas that meat has monopoly on proteins and that large amount of proteins are required for strength and energy are myths. Numerous studies have proven that a proper vegetarian diet provides more nutritional energy than meat.  Although not widely known, grains, beans and milk products are excellent source of high quality proteins. Meat provides less proteins when compared to vegetarian sources.

Hidden cost of meat 

 By becoming vegetarian one could potentially save several hundred dollars a year and thousands of dollars over a lifetime. The savings to the consumers as a whole would amount to billions of dollars annually. Considering this it is hard to see how  one could afford not to become a vegetarian.

Environmental Damage
Another price we pay for meat-eating is degradation of the environment. The United States Agricultural Research Service calls the heavily contaminated runoff and sewage from America's thousands of slaughterhouses and feedlots a major source of pollution of the nation's rivers and streams. Cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. This has been the case since at least the 1970s: government figures attributed 38 percent of deforestation from 1966-1975 to large-scale cattle ranching. However, today the situation may be even worse. According to http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/ (CIFOR), "between 1990 and 2001 the percentage of Europe's processed meat imports that came from Brazil rose from 40 to 74 percent" and by 2003 "for the first time ever, the growth in Brazilian cattle production—80 percent of which was in the Amazon—was largely export driven."

Vegetarianism and Religion
In nearly all faiths avoidance of meat has been a part of the religious practices. Although the Old Testament, the foundation of Judaism contains some prescription for meat eating, the ideal situation is vegetarianism. The practise of  vegetarianism has been streesed in various chapters of Old Testament. In Genesis (9:4) God directly forbids meat-eating: " But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it."The Seventh Day Adventist Church strongly recommends vegetarianism for its members. The huge American breakfast industry got its start at an Adventist health resort run by Dr.Jonh H. Kellogg.
The largest concentration of vegetarians in the world are found in India, the homeland of Buddhism and Hinduism. The Vedic scriptures of India also stress non violence as the ethical foundation of vegetarianism. The Manu samhita, the ancient Indian codes of law states that "Having well considered the disgusting origin of flesh, and the cruelty of fettering and slaying of the corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh.The Interernational Society for Krishna Consciousness popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement had introduced these ethical conditions around the world 30 years ago. Srila Prabhupada the founder acarya of ISKCON while emphasising on the Vedic conception of the unity of all life stated "Everyone is God's creature, although in different bodies or dresses. God is considered the one Supreme father. Why should he sanction the killing of animals who are also his sons?" Even in the Ten Commandments it is prescribed that "Thou shall not kill". This is a perfect law but men by discriminating and speculating distort it as "I shall not kill man but I shall kill animals". In this way people cheat themselves and inflict suffering on themselves and on others.

Karma and Reincarnation

What is Karma? In  India's greatest spiritual classic, Bhagavat Gita it is explained that the actions that are performed in terms of one's prescribed duties, as mentioned in the revealed scriptures, are called karma. Actions that free one from the cycle of birth and death are called akarma. And actions that are performed through the misuse of one's freedom and that direct one to the lower life forms are called vikarma. Animal killing violates the universal law of Karma which is similar to the modern scientific principle of action and reaction. The law of karma insures that those who cause violence and suffering to other living beings must themselves experience equivalent violence and suffering- immediately or in future.
Karma is intimately related with the principles of reincarnation. In Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna describes the soul as the source of consciousness and the active principle that animates the body of every living being. This vital force, which is of the same spiritual quality in all living beings is distinct from and superior to the matter comprising the temporary material form. At the time of death the indestructible soul transmigrates to another physical body, just as one chnages the clothing.

The Vedas explain that the soul, known as atma may inhabit any of 8,400,000 species of material body. The action of mind is the prime source compelling the living entity to transmigrate from one body to another. The Gita explains, "Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state of being he will attain without fail." The laws of Karma are so arranged that if a human lives and dies with animalistic mentality of a creature such as dog, then in his next life he will be able to fullfil his doglike desires through the senses and organs of a dog. 

Is Killing Vegetables Wrong?

Another common metaphysical question is, "If all living entities are spiritually equal, then why is it acceptable to eat grains, vegetables, etc., and not meat? In response, it may be pointed out that vegetarian foods such as fruits, nuts, milk, and grain do not require any killing. But even in those cases where a plant's life is taken, the pain involved is much less than when an animal is slaughtered, because the plant's nervous system is less developed. Clearly there is a vast difference between pulling a carrot out of the ground and killing a lamb. But still, one must undoubtedly suffer karmic reactions even for killing plants.

For this reason, Lord Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita that not only should man eat only vegetarian foods, but he should also offer these eatables to Him. If we follow this process of sacrifice, the Supreme Lord, Krishna, protects us from any karmic reactions resulting from the killing of plants. Otherwise, according to the law of karma, we are personally responsible. The Gita states, "The devotees of the Lord are released form all sins because they eat food that is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin."

Srila Prabhupada elaborates on this principle of spiritual vegetarianism. "Human beings are provided with food grains, vegetables, fruits, and milk by the grace of the Lord, but it is the duty of human beings to acknowledge the mercy of the Lord. As a matter of gratitude, they should feel obliged to the Lord for their supply of foodstuff, and they must first offer Him food in sacrifice and then partake of the remnants." By eating such sanctified food - prasadam - one is protected from karmic reactions and advances spiritually.

Beyond vegetarianism
Beyond concerns of health, psychology, economics, ethics, and even karma, vegetarianism has a higher, spiritual dimension that can help us develop our natural appreciation and love for God.

Once we admit that life comes only from life, it's entirely reasonable to suppose that all life originates from a common living source, the one Supreme Lord, known to the Muslims as Allah, to the Jews as Yahweh, to the Christians as Jehovah, and to the followers of the Vedas as Krishna.

So at the very least we should offer our food to God out of gratitude. Every religion has such a process of thanks-giving. But the spiritual path outlined in the Vedic scriptures of India is unique in that the offering of food to the Lord is part of a highly developed form of yoga that helps one develop one's personal loving relationship with God. This is called bhakti-yoga.

The Yoga of Eating
Devotional service, or bhakti-yoga, is the highest form of yoga. In Bhagavad-gita, after discussing various kinds of yoga, Lord Krishna, the master of all yoga, declares, "Of all yogis, one who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service [bhakti], is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is highest of all." Lord Krishna further states, "one can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God."

Summarizing the process of bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion, the Lord says, "All that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me." So offering food is an integral part of the bhakti-yoga system.
The Lord also describes the types of offerings that He will accept in Bhagavat Gita. "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it." Krishna specifically does not include meat, fish, or eggs in this list; Therefore a devotee does not offer them to Him. 

Spiritual Food
By His immense transcendental energies, Krishna can actually convert matter to spirit. If we place an iron rod in fire, before long the iron rod becomes red hot and takes on all the essential qualities of fire. In the same way, the material substance of food that is offered to Krishna becomes completely spiritualized. Such food is called prasadam, a Sanskrit word meaning "the mercy of the Lord."
Eating prasadam is a fundamental practice of bhakti-yoga

Eating only food offered to Krishna is the ultimate perfection of a vegetarian diet. After all, even many animals such as pigeons and monkeys are vegetarian, so becoming a vegetarian is in itself not the greatest accomplishment. The Vedas inform us that the purpose of human life is reawakening the soul's original relationship with God, and only when we go beyond vegetarianism to prasadam can our eating be helpful in achieving this goal.

*All the recipes posted in this blog are Karmafree(prasadam or spiritual food). If you have any questions or comments regarding this post please feel free to write to us at akarmafood@gmail.com or leave your comments or questions at the comment column of our recent post.

*The contents of this page are excerpts from the book called "The Higher Taste" which is based on the teachings of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.