|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
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
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 :-