Most major paths of Hinduism hold vegetarianism as an ideal, though not all Hindus are vegetarian. Hindus almost universally avoid beef since they consider the cow sacred. The prohibition against harming or killing cows frequently benefits nutrition in India. There are three most important reasons for Hindus: the principle of nonviolence -ahimsa, applied to animals, the intention to offer only "pure" food to a deity and then to receive it back as prasad, and the conviction that non-vegetarian food is detrimental for the mind and spiritual development. Hindu vegetarians usually avoid eggs but consume milk and dairy products, so they are lacto-vegetarians. Mahatma Gandhi took Hindu vegetarian observance one step further by declaring, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way in which its animals are treated.” The devotees of Krishna, really gave vegetarianism its big push in Hinduism. They originated the tradition of the cow as sacred in India. Those who are true to the Hindu traditions will not eat flesh in any form and are being vegetarians.
ABOUT VEGETARIAN TIMES
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
—Charles Darwin, English naturalist (1809–1882)
Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.
—James A. Froude, English historian (1818–1894)
If you visit the killing floor of a slaughterhouse, it will brand your soul for life.
—Howard Lyman, author of Mad Cowboy
A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
—Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (1828–1910)