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Summary of Question:Re: Meat
Date Posted:Sunday, 5/02/1999 3:48 AM MDT
For the record, I do eat meat which is non-halal. I have often thought about this question of right or wrong but have concluded that it should be left to the individul on what they deem fit. In my opinion based on the 'Reht Maryada', we are forbidden to eat meat only when it is sacrificilly cut with prayers causing more suffering to the animal. Since this it stated, I assume that eating meat is allowed except in the above circumstances. I would agree that meat eating may cause a person to feel slightly intoxicated at times.
The real issue for me is HALAL! We are quietly accepting this wave of meat which is finding inroads into every country. The word 'HALAL' simply means pure or permissible for consumtion by Muslims. But I fear that this is what Guru Ji warned us about. The U.S. 'Humane Slaghter Act' confirms this. What can we do about this. This my worry.

Having read your post a number of times, it's not at all clear just what your question is, exactly. Since I don't eat the flesh of animals, I have to acknowledge that I'm not very informed or aware of any wave of <Halal meat> that you say <is finding inroads into every country>.

You also said that <it should be left to the individul on what they deem fit> on the issue of whether to eat the flesh of animals. Since I'm unable to understand your question clearly, I'm going to respond with a question to you, instead.

Let's begin by getting a more explicit about the concept of what eating <meat> really means. We are really talking about killing another living being with an animal body, cutting off the flesh and muscles which that animal relied upon for living its life, and eating that flesh.

This is a Forum for clarifying issues about Sikh values and practice. Let's consider for a moment that the Guru Granth Sahib has to say about what physical life is for and why beings have bodies. Why do beings (including humans) get born into a life?

I went to the copy of Siri Guru Granth Sahib on my computer (which can be downloaded from this website) in Microsoft Word. I went to the beginning of Siri Guru Granth Sahib and reflected for a moment in the hope that I might learn something from my Guru. I started a word search on the word <born> because I am wanting to know more about why beings get <born> into a life. Out of 1431 pages, the search only had to go to page 12 to find the first instance of the word <born>, and this passage also seems to have very interesting implications about what a <body> is truly for, and whether or not we should eat the dead bodies of other beings. Here is what Guru said in that passage:

<I am not celibate, nor truthful, nor scholarly.
I was born foolish and ignorant into this world.
Prays Nanak, I seek the Sanctuary of those
who have not forgotten You, O Lord!

<This human body has been given to you.
This is your chance to meet the Lord of the Universe.
Nothing else will work.
Join the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy;
vibrate and meditate on the Jewel of the Naam.
Make every effort to cross over this terrifying world-ocean.
You are squandering this life uselessly in the love of Maya.
I have not practiced meditation, self-discipline,
self-restraint or righteous living.
I have not served the Holy;
I have not acknowledged the Lord, my King.
Says Nanak, my actions are contemptible!
O Lord, I seek Your Sanctuary; please, preserve my honor!>

The body is given in order for beings to meet the Lord of the Universe. And, Guru says, there is no other way to meet Him. <Nothing else will work>, it says.

So far as <eating meat> goes, I would assume that you intend to eat healthy flesh, that you are not going to wait until an animal dies of old age or disease, or other degenerative causes. To do that you'll have to have a healthy animal killed (or else wait for some accident to occur) and thus interrupt that being's life experience and evolution toward meeting the Lord of the Universe. Perhaps you're saying that being will evolve toward the Lord of the Universe faster or more effectively by some presumed good fortune of being eaten by none other than you? Perhaps you're saying that you have some capacity to bless that animal further on its way toward clearing its karmas and achieving a human, dharmic existence by your eating it. Otherwise, aren't you interfering with that animals desire to meet the Lord of the Universe? Do you think that animals don't want to be blessed? Do you think animals would rather be killed and eaten? Animals have a very powerful emotional and glandular response to pour on the
energy and hormones in their fear to avoid being eaten. When you eat that flesh into which those hormones and that fear has been dumped temporarily, you take on those hormones, that fear, and that animal's karma. And, by adding the karma into your own body of that killing and eating, aren't you interfering with your own desire and destiny to meet the Lord of the Universe? Isn't that really only more <squandering this life uselessly in the love of Maya> (as the Guru says above), rather than making <every effort to cross over this terrifying world-ocean>, as the Guru is asking us to do?

Here is a question: <Do beings get born on the earth, and have living bodies, just to be a convenience factor for other beings to have something to eat? Or do beings get born into a life with a body so they can develop and eventually evolve away from karma into dharma? If you interrupt that being's life by killing it in order to eat the flesh of its body as a meal for yourself, aren't you interrupting that being's process of development and spiritual evolution? Rather than killing that being (or hiring someone to kill for you, anonymously), as a Sikh, could you not have done more to promote the evolution of that animal by being kind and loving toward it, instead of having it killed? If Sikh Dharma is a path of compassion and enlightenment, what kind of Sikh practices compassion by taking the life and body of another being just in order to have a meal? Is that a necessity? Isn't that unkind?

The body is the vehicle of karma, either involved in creating more karma or else getting evolved away from karma into dharma. In any case the body holds the karma of the being. Now you are saying that you want to eat the karma of another being? If you have not yet completely cleared up your own karma, why would your want to create the karma of killing, and then eat the body of karma of the being you killed, and take on all that being's karma as well? As a Sikh we are meant to clear up our karmas, become dharmic, and then be a blessing to the earth and all other beings, as a representative of the blessings of our Guru. Yet, we can see that eating the meat, the flesh of other beings (apart from being unhealthy) would only be leading us to create and take on more karma. How can that be consistent with being Sikh?

Since you have said that <it should be left to the individual what they deem fit> and that you have made this reflective, analytical choice as an individual, to eat meat, perhaps you could share with us just what insights and experiences of personal wisdom and enlightenment you used in order to make this decision to eat meat. I am very interested in hearing all about this from you. If you can explain all this so that it really makes sense, then perhaps we can get on to this other question about the <inroads of Halal meat into every country>. Please respond.

Krishna Singh Khalsa

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