Veganism is spiritual

Acharya Prashant
5 min readMar 3, 2020

Question: Why is it important today for us to turn vegan?

Acharya Prashant: Man has a tendency to further his self-interest. The self he defines, usually, quite narrowly, in relation to his body then all the other bodies become material benefits to be exploited. When he defines himself in terms of gender, then, the other gender becomes a means to further his own gratification. Similarly, he can define himself in terms of an immediate family, community — whenever there is division, a party on the other side is conveniently created and exploited.

There is the Homo sapiens species and there are other species as well. Man’s egoistic worldview is that all these other species exist just for the sake of man; hence we exploit them in all possible ways. This is the very antithesis of spirituality, which is about the broadening of ego boundaries. The dissolution of the narrow ego resonates with veganism. I do not see how it is possible to be spiritual and not be vegan.

There is biodiversity loss and extinction of species happening today; millions of interconnected micro-ecosystems are threatened all because of man’s flawed self-concept. So these two are interrelated — man’s quest for liberation from his ego, narrow self-concept, and his compassion towards the larger world. The larger world includes all flora and fauna.

Question: Does veganism fit in with our culture, where we are brought up on a milk diet? In fact, the first solid meal offered to an infant is rice pudding.

Acharya Prashant: Cultural and social practices are time-dependent. So when we talk of the Hindu community’s affinity with milk and milk products, it’s a socio-cultural thing and it doesn’t have anything to do with the essence of religion. Since India was an agricultural economy, the role of the cow and oxen was always important. From there came this association with the entire cow family. Earlier, all of that was in limits and it was mostly a cultural practice. Cultures must change in response to the realities of time, but the essence of religion cannot change; cultures have to adjust as per the prevailing conditions.

Question: What is the essence of religion?

Acharya Prashant: Man lives by his ego and the narrower the ego boundary, the greater his suffering. This is the…

Acharya Prashant