Non-violence is about not harming anyone and anything, as possible, or consciously in my opinion. So, Yoga as a path is supposed to be “vegan”, as the nature of life to not cause suffering to other beings…but…… Nowadays, we hear about lots of spiritual paths, more or less healthy, but there are several paths, schools, and information out there to push us to achieve our goals. We are living in a world where there are endless possibilities to learn, practice, get knowledge, and feed our insufficiencies.
Some of us are following paths, and special lifestyles, and we can talk about thousands of reasons why those are good or helping us. Yoga is one of these schools. It is a practice, it is a piece of knowledge, is it a path, lifestyle, or philosophy? Some say it is a spiritual path and science to achieve the Samadhi, others are saying that yoga is a balancing method of our mind and body. The word “yoga” as it is translated means “to unite”.
Some paths and schools are teaching that yoga is not just a practice, but it is also a state of mind. Patanjali, for example, includes in his teachings specific guidelines which include standards of ethics and self-discipline. As he says “restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness.” – the practice begins by sitting and calming the fluctuations of the body, breath, and senses, and then the more elusive whirlings of consciousness”.
In my opinion, it is something through which you can explore your own body and mind, but I would include here veganism, why? Because veganism is not about eating or not eating meat, it is more, just like yoga is more, than Asanas. In Patanjali’s “code of ethics” there is also about not killing, and not killing and eating animals(or other beings), unfortunately, even though we see lots of people who are doing this, even they are practicing yoga, or even they are at a, let’s say, “higher level” of consciousness. As I was on the Tibetan Buddhist path for a period and I understood this differently, because there is also Dzogchen, which is something similar, that “we can do naturally whatever we want” at a “higher level” of consciousness.
Other times we see that the paths, schools, or teachings themselves do not mention anything about food, or our actions of killing. What I mean is that all paths I went through in my personal life, seem fake in this matter of veganism. Why is that? I don’t know the answer, yet, but I suppose that there are not the true teachings, or it is something that was misunderstood.
The logical thing is, and I agree with that, nobody can tell us what to do, then comes the political issue, the schools, the teachings. What is moral, what is not, and where do we “draw the line”. As we know from the Mahayana teachings, the Buddha insisted that his followers should not eat any kind of meat or fish.
We can write and talk about things, what is moral for one, and immoral to the other, but when you follow a path, you have to think about the knowledge they give you, what represents, and why to follow. Do we agree that we need to release the suffering of spirit and mind through discipline? Yes, how about morality if we are vegans? We cannot provoke suffering, right? Veganism is not about people, veganism is about animals, animals in every path are just there, and they are not Souls? this is thought in every culture, on every path, so everybody should suffer, just humans not. If Yoga talks about self-discipline how about being so “disciplined” to not give money for suffering, not to consume dead bodies and those who have killed just for you to eat them…? I did this, and not because I don’t want to eat meat, but because I don’t like to eat other beings with “pleasure”, more than those, who cannot tell us how they feel. So, this was the first natural thing that comes in this matter of non-violence from my childhood, I couldn’t eat the legs, organs, etc of other beings, who were “loved” by a family, then killed. Everything is alive? Maybe, but even though, I cannot measure the suffering of cabbage with the suffering of a being who has a complicated nervous system.
For me maybe this came naturally, the violence in my own family was like, I never understood why parents are almost killing a child, beating every day, and calling it in every day, just because they get an 8 at school. Violence was a non-stop lesson that was given by my father, but also my mother. So, for a child who is little and cannot think on her own, how is this a lesson? Maybe it was because gave me a deeper understanding of others’ suffering. But, yes sometimes you help people, give your hand, and they want your all body.
We can do 1000s of yoga postures if we cannot deliberate the root of suffering, which includes animal protection, and other beings’ lives. On the other hand, to make others suffer another innocent being in our modern world is not a necessity, it is the supreme crime we’ve ever seen before. (in my opinion)
Not to mention, that for example, Patanjali doesn’t mention even the physical postures as a foundational role in achieving Samadhi. This is only a new concept, in the modern Yoga world. It is good because exercise is good, the breathing techniques are great and to calm our mind is a need today. Even though, I feel like we are fake, memorizing postures, techniques, etc for our good and “illumination”, but kill and eat innocent animals at the same time. This is what I think for now, maybe I am wrong and I will understand later.
2. I think I am honest(Satya) and I was honest all my life, and never wanted something back, but it is always something behind the curtains, that I don’t understand. Maybe I am not so truthful to my own body and I had times when I didn’t honor that much.
3. Non-stealing was also a part of my lessons, I just couldn’t do things like that, never in my childhood, nor in my adulthood. Non-stealing is nowadays something misunderstood, because governments – who are talking about “codes of ethics” and who puts you in jail for an apple, are stealing every single day, from you, from others, by the single thing of paying taxes. paying taxes is not ethical, not moral, and not even legal or constitutional. So, how do we expect to remain with a truthful mind and give us lessons about morality? Yoga Teachers and yogis are talking about how Asteya is more than this concept of non-stealing, it is about the fluctuation of the mind, how nice, that things are interpreted how our society wants.
4. Brachmacharya comes in the Yoga is the 4th Yama, which is called the right use of energy and moderation of senses. In my life, this is something, which is natural. We see on one’s body when it gets older, what she/he did in moderation, and what was used as extreme. It is translated as celibacy, which means the practice of sexual chasity (they put it into the Bible, too as “one who is pure”. The meaning of terminology is total Celibacy (in Latin caelibatus) – “is the state of voluntarily being, unmarried or sexually abstinent or both” -, according to Wikipedia, but this was in the old times, usually for religious reasons. So, can we say that Yoga comes from a religion, which was interpreted in different ways? Can we know the truth, that what is better for us? According to paths and ways, schools and religions, yes, but how about the Truth? Everything is written in the books. Yes, we can experience the truth by practicing all these. Still, how we can know for sure, who is illuminated, and then if the person was liberated from life cycles, karmas, etc. ? This is the unknown part of the given knowledge.
The non-greed(Aparigraha) Yama is also very representative of our society. Greed is everywhere, but greed was given by society, the kind of fake liberalism, and governments who we have this kind of approach. Not to mention the Business World. (those two are going hand in hand) It is also interpreted as non-attachment. Some things need balance, others fulfillment, and other things need to be released from us, maybe by us. We are attached to everything and everybody, but this is also given by culture. No human lives without attachment, it is impossible to live like that. Even yoga, meditation, food, and water, can be necessities or attachments. Yes, there is a difference between them, but today for example we need more water because we are doing more exercise, we need more exercise, because our lives are sedentary, so on…Our necessities are attachments, our attachments or somehow necessities, too. Social media was a very good factor that gave us not more liberty, but more chaos in our lives, more attachments, and more dumbness. It is more dangerous than attachment to a partner, parents, or even drugs(including so-called “medicine”). Try to live one day without phone, social media… Everybody is talking today about attachment as something emotional. In my opinion, can be both, but the phone, the internet, and social media are very emotional, and psychical, too. Is this a necessity? Yes, but as I’ve mentioned above, in modern life necessities became attachments, and attachments became necessities.
I am putting so many questions about how One can go through these and can be “liberated” and at least how can be useful in people’s lives through those teachings and knowledge.
I will close with my favorite:
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France.
I put this together, just what came to my mind, and added it to my other article Is Yoga vegan.
Our bodies are important to sustain the Soul and Mind, and in my opinion, it is not “just a body”, so this is why for me what I put in my body remains important!