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


VEGETARIANISM - IT'S BIOLOGIC BASIS
M. K. Pandurangam

No principle or practice can claim to be ideologically good and biologically correct, if does not decisively help man to win the battle of survival in this good earth.

Vegetarianism does not claim exception to the application of this acid test. This discourse will prove to the hilt that Vegetarianism is in its theory, morally and its practice biologically correct.

Creative Assimilation

Creative assimilation, succinctly and in the ultimate, can only mean conversion of vegetable matter into animal matter. No part of creation can hope to survive physically as long as it does not contribute its quota of creative activity, of producing an art form. The Vegetable Kingdom ceases to earn its right to survive in this planet, when it ceases to convert of loses its capacity to convert inorganic mineral matter into vegetable matter. In the same manner when an animal or man does not contribute to the creative activity by exercising the special skill endowed by nature, to convert vegetable matter into animal matter, the organism loses the right to survive. In the measure man increasingly and heavily leans upon carnivorous food, in that measure he progressively loses the capacity of creative assimilation, by sheer disuse of the special mechanism.

THE PRINCIPLE OF UDDER-TO-MOUTH.

A very important law of survival consists in consuming food in its fresh state, bubbling with life, and free from internal and external impurities that develop and accumulate by the passage of time; and this aging gradually denudes the food of its vitality. It is the principle of udder-to-mouth practised by the sucking child and calf.

UNRIVALLED GREATNESS OF VEGETARIANISM

The unrivalled greatness and biologic correctness of Vegetarianism lie in the fact that it lends itself to the practice of the principle of udder-to-mouth. When Adam plucked an unforbidden apple and ate it, he was unconsciously following this supreme law and his span of life was great indeed:

During animal metabolism, toxins are produced in the system which must be neutralized and eliminated promptly, else the accumulation of these endogenic pathogens will lead to degeneration and disease. By maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in our food, this adverse development is warded off and health is ensured. In the natural food of man, either of the sun-cooked varieties, fruits and nuts, or man-cooked foods, of a wholesome nature such as whole rice (hand-pounded), whole wheat flour, whole grains, vegetables and greens ; sugar-cane juice, jaggery, unrfined cold drawn oils etc., there is the important requirement of acid-alkaline balance.

Timely elimination is as important as perfect assimilation: and these are secured through proper food, that contains the necessary digestible and indigestible material. The wholesome vegetarian foods are all naturally endowed with this important combination.

The Vegetable kingdom plays an very important role by utilizing the pathogenic carbon-dioxide breathed out by the animal kingdom and releasing oxygen much needed by us : thus the atmospheric gases maintain the balance and purity. Man aspiring to be master of life in this planet must learn a lesson from creation and see that the balance between these two kingdoms is maintained. This can be most effectively done by man following vegetarianism and afforesting the land area with trees-trees not merely for timber and fire-wood, shade and manure, but for nutritious and easily assimilable sun-perfected foods.

It is like the child's safety and health being maintained by the existence of its mother, the man's survival is insured by this new approach to afforestation with vegetation.

WHY CANNOT MAN BE A CARNIVORA?

Carnivorous animals follow the laws of survival almost unfailingly. For instance when the lion hunts and eats its prey it follows the principle of udder-to-mouth. When it drinks the blood and cracks the bone and swallows it, secures the required acidalkaline balance in its diet, as these are rich with alkalinizing minerals. Along with these by eating the skin with hairs, there is sufficient quantity of indigestible matter to secure timely elimination. Like whole rice and whole wheat, the whole prey is a wholesome food for the carnivora, as it is uncooked with no spices.

Man cannot hunt, hold his prey, tear the flesh and swallow the pieces of flesh and bone and drink the blood. He has not been endowed with the necessary biologic equipment as the carnivora that has to tackle this kind of food. He has not the canine teeth. To call it so is a nomenclatural inaccuracy. Man's teeth are formed to masticate his food but by masticating flesh, he loses teeth fast. Along with flesh food, uric acid, purin bodies and venous blood, which collects pathogenic material during circulation, are all ingested. Apart from the acids that are formed during the metabolism of food, the flesh-eater has to eliminate also the poisons ingested with the flesh. This double elimination weakens the eliminating organs such as the kidneys, and the heart, with the result arthritis and heart diseases are nowadays as common as flesh-eating is. Further, a pound of pork is obtained after squandering about 35 pounds of wheat, when cereal shortage is acute in Asia. It is a moral slur on those who encourage carnivorous food by which overfeeding and fattening of pigs become more important to allay the hunger of the starving underfed millions of backward humanity. Unconsciously the advocates of carnivorous food are perpetuating hunger, discontent and other conditions that bring about the disturbance of peace. Though the solution lies in Vegetarianism, one should understand its natural and perverted forms,

VEGETARIANISM IN ITS NATURAL FORM

Before the advent of modern technological science, man carried on his food preparation with the help of instruments that conformed to the principles of creative science. For instance man can dehusk paddy by crushing the grains in the palm of his hands which practice is carriecl on even now by merchants who test paddy for its quality. A bird also dehusks paddy with its own instrument - its beaks. Wheat was ground by stones and eaten in its wholesomeness and this helped to maintain the acid-alkaline balance, and the balance between the digestible stuff in the food.

VEGETARIANISM IN ITS PERVERTEFD FORM.

By modern methods of polishing and refining foods and producing white rice, white flour, white sugar etc., the acid-alkaline balance and other balances are upset.

Thus when they become devoid of natural taste, flavour, and colour, with added spices, coal-tar colours and essences they are ingested. Food technology goes a step further by preserving cooked foods in undated cans, with the help of poisonous chemicals, or vacuum, and stored and then distributed when they are devitalized. If one partakes of this kind of perverted food the difference between vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes become thinned out - of course biologically speaking. The following will indicate the extent of ruin that perverted foods have perpetrated on humanity.

An unusual doctor, a genius in his profession of Dentistry one day walked out of his laboratory in Ohio, America., on a global investigation to discover good teeth and the cause; and this Dr. Weston A. Price brought out a masterly treatise "Nutrition and Physical Degeneracy." Prof. Ernest A. Hooton in his foreword to this monumental work points out that "seldom in the history of science has there been assembled such a massive documentation of scientific investigation and observation in which again and again the same pattern of cause-and-effect, to wit, that primitive people with a high survival quotient often choose from the natural foods available to them a daily fare of extraordinary excellence, and that the best primitive diets are in fact far higher in essential vitamins and minerals than the average civilized diet ; and so long as the primitives adhere to their diet their teeth are almost free from cavities, their dental arches are perfect, and their health extraordinary when measured by western scientific standards. As soon however, as they begin to use the white flour, granulated sugar and canned foods of our civilization, their teeth begin to decay with astounding rapidity. Tuberculosis and arthritis make their appearance and in a hundred ways their resistance to disease declines. Within a generation the pregnancies of their women become difficult and the dental arches of their children are malformed."

Referring to the large number of rejections of American youths for lack of physical fitness, in the last two wars, with about 95% of the population suffering from dental troubles, and the constant increase in size and number of hospitals for the insane, drug addicts, and alcoholics, Dr. Price questions "why these dismal signs of the day are multiplying and his answer is "what we are suffering from is malnutrition plus a thousand ills that following in its wake." He concludes that" no food chemist can 'restore', 'fortify' or enrich any fraction of a natural food pattern that has been devitalized by processing, so that it will be in accord with or surpass the natural food pattern ...... We cannot solely use a processed food-even the processors admit this when they advise us to bolster up their canned products by including a few natural foods in our dietary."

WHERE EAST AND WEST MEET?

The conclusion arrived at by the creative scienitists of the West is in accord with the practice of the greatest of creative scientists, Mahatma Gandhi, who used in his Ashram unspiced and unmutilated foods based on Lacto-Vegetarianism. He went a step further and devised instruments of production in conformity with the laws of creative science by which the life principles of foods are preserved. He indicated economic and political changes to suit this kind of production and distribution in each village and town on a self sufficiency basis.

In " Tomorow's Foods," the authors, Dr. James Rorty and N. Phillip Norman ask: Why all these manipulations with doubtful results, when the ultimate aim is to get back to what we started with, wholesome food ?" "Can there be any explanation for this meddling and mutilating of our food except large profits to processing concerns ?" They despair that no progress is possible as long as vested interest is entrenched in the citadel of power. But Gandhiji cuts the Gordian knot by creating a new World motivated by love and peace. Thus the Sarvodaya movement is gathering power and momentum under the able leadership of his follower Vinoba Bhave. Nothing will help the world-wide movement of vegetarianism as much as a close study of Sarvodaya.