|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
17th World Vegetarian Congress 1963
The I.V.U. welcomes you to its 17th World Congress. We vegetarians believe life is meant to be enjoyed and I hope all of you will have a very good time while you are here in beautiful Barcelona, the world-capital of Congresses.
To begin with I want to thank everyone in Barcelona who has helped to make this Congress possible. Especially the Members of the Comité Español, and last, but not least, Dr. V. L. Ferrandiz the guardian angel of the Spanish vegetarian movement.
I would like to express my gratitude twice. First on behalf of the I.V.U. and its Executive Committee. And second, my personal gratitude. If I had not come to Barcelona with Mr. Geoffrey Rudd at the invitation of the Barcelona vegetarians, I might never have discovered La Budallera in Vallvidrera, where I now have a home. All over the world people are dreaming of having a castle in Spain. Thanks to the vegetarians in Barcelona my dream has at last come true.
There is an invisible connection between what we do and what happens to us afterwards. After I became a vegetarian and stopped killing and eating my fellow creatures, kind things began happening to me that never happened before. The most urgent need of our age is to stop the killing, and the preparations to kill, that are going on all around us. To acquire true social security we must turn away from the unpredictable explosions of power-politics to the quiet principle of respect for life. The real enemy of man lies hidden within each one of us. To see him we have only to look in the mirror of our relationship to others. The seemingly separate members of our world-family are very closely related, and if we are ever to arrive at world-peace we must take the birds and beasts with us.
At present our fund-raising moonstruck 20th century appears to be on
the march like a remorseless horde of soldier-ants. Popular values of
today are ant-making, war-making, money-making - anything but man-making.
The result is a commercially profitable nightmare. While still in the
womb of his mother, modern man is artificially deformed by alcohol,
tobacco, and wonder-drugs. Not satisfied to contaminate the yet unborn,
Man further insures his own destruction by polluting the air, land,
and water with noxious fumes, radio-active fall-out, and a wide selection
of pesticides that destroy birds and earthworms, as well as friendly
microbes, which under natural conditions, feed on the toxic metabolic
waste of the human organism.
The right and natural course of Man is up towards ever higher levels of compassion. True civilization must radiate kindness, not cruelty. The mechanized slaughter-house, the nuclear deterrent, and many other artificial products of photo-factual science, are leading us astray from the ultimate reality. Science has depended largely on information obtained through the five senses-five of the most unreliable witnesses in the world. Nothing is more false than a partide of truth separated from the whole truth, even when weighed and measured and double-checked by the scientist in his laboratory, particularly if the laboratory is endowed by a rich commercial corporation. Accused of having perverted the soul of Man, contemporary science is transcending its 19th century domain of weights and measures, but no matter how disinterested and un~ attached the scientist may be, he cannot grasp the whole cosmic truth ~with his intellect. Fortunately for our future here on the home-planet, we have developed during the process of our evolution an intuitive faculty by means of which we may know the oneness of all life as a direct liberating experience. Sound asleep, above and beyond the intellect, this intuitive faculty awakens when the heart is pure and the mind is still. Not in explosion but in quietness and confidence shall be our strength. True power makes no noise.
Life is too full of almighty possibilities to be forced to fit into
a political system, a theological dogma, or any other rigid man-made
mould. Therefore I no longer lean on my own intellectual under-standing,
but instead-with the utmost reverence and thankfulness- I have put my
trust in the hidden mystery of life, itself. Choosing to incur the consequences
of kindness rather than cruelty, I believe I shall continue to find
good fortune along the highway of Ahimsa.
Faithless, fund-raising materialism has over-charged our 20th century
with fear. In trying to frighten and deter the enemy, Man has succeeded
only in frightening himself. Offering food for the body and shelter
for the soul, the non-violent vegetarian way of life opens a door to
feeling at home in a world of crises.
Today, in an age of artificially instigated anxieties, nearly every-one-each
in his own fashion-is seeking some sort of security. If he stops long
enough to think things over quietly, he will see there are two ways
left open. He may try to guarantee the future with money and other material
possessions, or he may make sure the present is right. Since the end
is contained in the means, if the present is right the future will take
care of itself.
In any case, no one who seeks security and peace of mind can afford
to leave aside the health of his body. Here on earth, even for the spiritual
adventure towards ultimate reality, the body is an instrument Man has
to use, and at present all over the world the body is being pushed off
balance by the machine. In reality the machine and its foul fumes are
not to be blamed. Only Man can harm Man. Therefore, in order to make
sure the present is right, all Man needs to do is to be kind enough
to stop killing himself and other members of the world-family whom he
ought to protect.
There is no alternative to kindness. It is lack of kindness that has
produced the world-wide feeling of tragic insecurity which now darkens,
our 20th century. When will this darkness pass? Not until Man in his
own heart extinguishes cruelty, and in its place kindles compassionate
love, the One and Only Light. All things pass. Only the One remains.