Monday, December 13, 2010
Is Mushroom a vegetarian food or Non-veg?
Mushrooms are not conceived in a womb, Mushrooms do not feel pain when you pluck them off, so they have got to be vegetarian. Also, they dont yelp when you throw a stone at them. Even Egg's dont yelp, so can it be a vegetarian too?
The counter argument is, they are thriving fungus! So, it has to be non-veg. The argument obviously is insufficient to be able to conclude weather or not mushroom is a vegetarian or not.
I started doing a bit of research (now you know what I do on free-time at work) on this and found a link to Srimad Bhagavad Gita: http://www.bhagavad-gita.us/bhagavad-gita-6-16.htm
According to Krishna or Krishna consciousness, if you will, don't indulge in over/under eating.
Food is divide in to 3 types according to Gita. Now it is up to us to decide where each food falls.
Saatvik (goodness): Milk, honey, vegetables, rice, lentils etc. If you ask me, eggs are also vegetarian. They are unfertilized by sperm isn't it? Also by definition, you are not causing pain to the egg when you make an omelet (just like you don't cause pain to carrots when you dig them out of soil). No offense to anyone, this is strictly my opinion. In my definition, egg falls into Saatvik category.
You might argue that we need to classify food based on cell-structure not where it comes from. I would not agree because when Gita was being written or when Krishna was defining Saatvik food, He didnt consider cell structure. If He did, we would have found some texts suggesting the same. Anyway, back to types of food.
Does it mean that it is time to redefine what "vegetarian" is?
Rajasik (Passion): Anything which is hot (chili-hot) and spicy falls into this category. From what I understand, there is no clear definition of which foods fall under this category.
Taamsik (Ignorance): Meat and meat products fall under this category. It always surprised me that, we Hindus give so much importance to religion, peace etc, yet Bhagavad Gita (or rather Kurukshetra) itself is a justification of why war is essential at times. Of course I fully believe that it is the Holiest of text's till date, yet the irony is not lost on me.
Another thing is, how many of us realize that its not about veg or non-veg but its about not killing animals for our wants/needs? For the same reason even leather cloths should also be a strict No for a practicing vegetarian. can we live without eating meat? Yes. But do I propagate that eating vegetarian food is the way to go? No. I am not against eating meat...and I don't try to persuade those who do to consider my perspective.
Its up to you, the reader to decide where Mushroom falls. It obviously does not fall under Saatvik, but it could be either Rajasik or Taamasik.
So, it is not possible for us to arrive at a blanket conclusion that Mushroom is a veg or a non-veg item.
Disclaimer: My intention is not to offend anyone. If I come across that way, let me know and I will edit my post. These views are just my views. So, you will have to let me know if I offended anyone, since that's not my intention.