International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India


The Religion of Compassion
D. C. DESAI

Hardly one in a thousand people of the civilized countries is a Vegetarian and out of a thousand such rare souls, there is probably only one who is a practising Vegan. It will thus be evident that a Vegan finds himself in the hopeless minority of one in a million people inhabiting this disgusting blood-thirsty planet, and is constantly ridiculed for his apparently cranky belief and practices, ideals and principles, by every person with whom he comes in social contact.

2. It requires the strength of a Hercules and the courage of a Napoleon to abide by one's conscience and stick to one's highest principles in the face of continuous ridicule, unwarranted criticisms, powerful opposition and other heavy odds. Such courage and strength can only arise from rational conviction, unshakable faith and impregnable intuition emanating from the innermost recesses of one's heart.

3. The Vegan is constantly on the vigil, whether treading on grass or buying a limousine. The idea uppermost in his mind is not to cause pain to any living creature directly or indirectly. For example, he would remove leather-washers or upholstery from his tap or car, if existing previously or used inadvertently. He would not buy even common articles of daily use such as ordinary gum, writing paper, tooth paste, soap or cosmetics, without enquiring about the sources of their ingredients.

4. The urge to abandon the use of milk, butter, cheese, honey, leather, silk and other products of animal exploitation obtained from the slaughter-house, or less ostensible sources of torture is spontaneous and gushes forth suddenly like a flash of lightning from the soft and pure heart of a Vegan quickened by the life-giving tremors of conscience or spirit. The ideal of Veganism and its lofty principles are usually revealed to a receptive mind in such an impressive and awe-inspiring manner, that no amount of arguments, logic or presentation of statistics will ever be able to shake the determination of a re-generated Vegan, who has seen the light of wisdom in all its effulgent splendour. He will never accept anything less noble as the guiding principle of action for the rest of his life.

5. I have renounced all connections with the various religions and philosophies to which I was attached by birth or education before. For me there is only one religion and that is the Religion of Compassion! Veganism is its practical outcome, serving as a code of conduct for every day life. This is the only religion of a truly universal nature, which partakes of the essence of all previously established religions or philosophies, for, compassion towards all living creatures implies a universal love of all that hath life, and strictest compliance with the golden rule of ethics-. "Do unto others as you would be done by."

6. Veganism at once uplifts the mind and soul to the pinnacle of purity - physical, sensual, mental and spiritual. Physically, the body of a Vegan tends to become purer and purer day by day, on account of gradual and daily elimination of foreign proteins and fats derived from milk, eggs, meat, lard, suet, fish and other animal products. The nervous system and its nlyelin sheaths are thoroughly purged and cleansed of all the various animal impurities covering, contaminating and obstructing them. The arteries, veins and organs are freed from all cholesterol, indol, skatol and similar poisons. Finally, the brain becomes clearer day by day on account of the continuous elimination of cells and other by-products having animal magnetism and vibrations of a lower order.

7. Sensorially, a Vegan develops acuteness of vision, keenness of hearing, sensitivity of smell. sharpness of touch and fineness of taste. He can smell butter or ghee like the Naga Tribes of Assam from a long distance and turn away from it in disgust and repugnance equal to that of a, civilized man from evil-smelling excretion. He is repelled by the touch of leather or silk with the aversion of a refined person from the touch of a corpse. The taste of milk products soon becomes repulsive to him and would even cause tremors in the body, if taken by mouth accidentally. Even the sight of milk, honey or butter reminds him of the tremendous cruelties involved in the dairy and apiarian trades causing the current of compassion to flow out of his spongy heart.

8. Mentally, the Vegan develops clear and logical thinking, and an unfailing insight into the secrets of Nature. These are revealed to him by the sixth sense of "immediate" perception, which needs no further proof from any outside source or authority. Spiritually the Vegan takes great strides in the path of self-realization on account of his physical and mental purity and removal of obstacles in the form of animal magnetism and lower vibrations.

9. Such then is the glorious ideal of Veganism and the Religion of Compassion. Blessed are the few bold and courageous souls, to whom the revelation has come in a flash from within and who possess an unflinching determination "to pursue the path of purity."

10. I will conclude with the remark that "Truth is simple, eternal and irrefutable. It needs no proof or scientific support, stands revealed by its own light. It needs no other source of illumination to reveal its presence, like the mid-day Sun in a cloudless sky". The Religion of Compassion can be summed up in one single Sanskrit verse as follows :-