Sh. Ashok Pradhan, Director, BVB, Delhi Kendra said that it is an old age Upanishad saying that the less you eat the more you live. People from over nine religions participated in the seminar.
Prof. Sunil Kumar, Member, Managing Committee, Ramakrishna Mission said that Hinduism recognizes that people are different because of their ‘ahaara’, which means not just diet or food we eat, but everything that our mind intakes through our five sense organs! The subtlest part of the food that we eat goes to form the mind, and therefore the purity and quality of all ahaara not just food is important. Satvik food, which is fresh, simple, wholesome, including non-vegetarian food, is generally helpful for those Satvik people who are consciously striving towards the holistic and healthy worldview of ‘oneness’. For the majority of people, who are ever active, righteous conduct is more important.
Dr Shikha Sharma, Wellness Expert said that even blood groups can help your diet patterns. Dr. Shridhar Dwivedi, Dean & Principal, Professor of Medicine/ Preventive Cardiology, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Hamdard University said that Islam as such forbids consumption of pork, alcohol and anything, which is detrimental or obnoxious to human health or soul as it considers that we are mere custodians of the priceless gift of the Almighty God. It is under this surmise that Emperor Jehangir had prohibited use of tobacco or smoking in the 17th century. Muslims by and large follow rigid dietary guidelines (no pork, no alcohol) and are required to wash specific parts of the body before each of the required daily periods of prayer. Further they observe 'roja' for one month during the holy month of 'Ramadan', which is again a very healthy practice, if followed as per the strict tenets of Islam.
Sister Prabha Varghese said that in Christianity, diet varies with tradition. Some people choose to fast on particular religious holy days. Catholic Christians fast and abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Some but not all Catholics also abstain from meat on all the Fridays of the year. Hospitalized or ill patients are excused.
Dr. AK Merchant of the Baha’i faith, quoting Baha'u'llah said: "Eat ye, O people, of the good things which God hath allowed you, and deprive not yourselves from the wondrous bounties..." Consumption of alcohol is prohibited. It includes when alcohol is taken as a drink as well as in cooking. For example, wine in sauces, sherry in trifles, and so on. The Baha’i teachings permit the eating of all foods. There is nothing in the Baha’i teachings about whether people should eat their food cooked or raw, nor is it forbidden to eat meat. The only dietary law is the prohibition of alcohol, which is forbidden except for medicinal purposes. Baha’is believe that living a simple life, abstaining from the use of alcohol and mind-altering drugs is beneficial to spiritual development, greatly reduces illness and has a good effect on character and conduct. It may be further mentioned that if a person can live on a purely vegetarian diet, it would be most beneficial.
Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar said that traditional Jews observe the dietary restrictions known as Kashrut; they "keep Kosher". That means that they eat only those fish, fowl, and animals allowed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14: specifically, fish with scales and fins (no shell fish), domestic fowl (chicken, turkey, etc., no birds of prey), and animals whose hooves are parted and who chew their cud. Moreover, fowl and animals must be slaughtered in a specific way, the blood must be drained from the meat, and no dairy products may be served with a meat meal.
Dr. Shernaz Cama said that from the earliest times, the Iranians ate the flesh of domesticated animals and birds. Meat, poultry and fish was either roasted or cooked or fried before eating and eaten with various kinds of vegetables fruits, and dry fruits and consumed with milk, yogurt drink and alcohol. Animal food was used in the sacred feasts and festivals or in funeral repasts. To be constantly alert against evil, excess – gluttony, and deficiency – fasting is forbidden. Zoroastrianism has no food products that are forbidden and consuming alcohol, especially wine, is considered a religious duty.
Sh J Jolly said that Sikhism talks about earning livelihood with honesty and hard work. Body should be cared for in order to attain spiritual evolution. One should eat less, sleep less and talk less. Sikhism does not talk about fast and says it is not necessary but one should eat in moderation. Sweet foods should be avoided as many of them may cause disease. Sikhism does not restrict one to be a vegetarian but with spiritual advancements one automatically shifts towards vegetarianism.
Sikhism says big NO to alcohol. Smoking is considered as a cardinal sin. One should avoid foods, which may end up with physical and mental sufferings.
Samani Charitra Prajna said that the core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Food is the main source of energy to survive. Bhagwan Mahavir talked about two types of diet – Hitkari (Beneficial) and Mitkari (Moderate). Jains are lacto vegetarian and even many are vegans. Many avoid root vegetables in their diet. Among the seven prohibited addictions, alcohol is one.
Fasting is a way of penance for purification of consciousness. There are many ways of fasting like abandon of all kinds of food for a day or more, unodari - that means eat less than hunger, ras parityag - give up food like butter, milk, oil for few days etc. In Jainism, there is a mention of abstinence from night eating. Acharya Hemchandra, in Yoga Shastra, says that the digestive system becomes inactive after sunset. So this time is not suitable to eat.
Dr. T.D. Kartsang said that Buddhism strictly prohibits alcohol. For meat you have to kill a sentient being, which is the biggest sin. Therefore consuming any kind of meat is not encouraged or appreciated but also not strictly prohibited as some of the countries which are geographically at high altitudes and where plantation is not possible; people have to depend on animal products like meat, milk and butter etc.
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