We often hear or come across arguments, debates, opinions, writings, etc., regarding should one eat meat (another Jeeva or life).
As mentioned in the SGGS, there are four sources of creation or life: (1) Andaj (ਅੰਡਜ: the egg-born), (2) Jeraj (ਜੇਰਜ: fetes-born or born from the womb), (3) Setaj (ਸੇਤਜ: the sweat-born), and (4) Outabhuj (ਉਤਭੁਜ: the earth-born).
The Gurbani call all these four as ‘Jantaa’ (‘ਜੰਤਾ’) — beings or Jeeva.
In other words, as indicated in the following verses, the universal ‘Jot‘ (Universal Energy, light…) dwells in all.
- ਅੰਡਜ ਜੇਰਜ ਸੇਤਜ ਉਤਭੁਜ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮਾਣੀ ॥: The Light (Universal Energy) fills all those born of eggs, born from the womb, born of sweat and born of the earth, each and every heart. (sggs 1109).
- ਅੰਡਜ ਜੇਰਜ ਉਤਭੁਜ ਸੇਤਜ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀਤੇ ਜੰਤਾ ॥: (O Divine, Hukam, Law of Nature…) the Jeeva born of eggs, born of the womb, born of the earth and born of sweat, all are created by You (sggs 596).
The Gurbani (Gur Shabad) further affirms that each and every grain is a Jeeva (living being) as well. For example, if one sows a grain (seed), it will grow into a plant or a tree (ਉਤਭੁਜ-born from the earth).
- ਜੇਤੇ ਦਾਣੇ ਅੰਨ ਕੇ ਜੀਆ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: As many as the grains of food, none is without Jeeva (i.e, life etc.). (sggs 472).
Thus, according to the Gurbani, all sources of creation on this earth are in fact Jeeva (living beings, life…).
Not only that, the Gurbani proclaims that water is also Jeeva!
In fact, water is responsible for the existence of this world. Water sustains life, keeps vegetables, grain, crops, trees, etc., alive or green. Similarly, it also keeps the livestock alive. In addition, water has countless micro Jeeva in it. In addition, there are also countless micro Jeeva in air we breathe, and the earth we walk on.
- ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: First, the water is Jeeva itself (there is life in it), by which everything else is made green. (sggs 472).
- ਪਾਂਡੇ ਤੂ ਜਾਣੈ ਹੀ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਥਹੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਉਪੰਨਾ ॥ ਤੋਇਅਹੁ ਅੰਨੁ ਕਮਾਦੁ ਕਪਾਹਾਂ ਤੋਇਅਹੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਗੰਨਾ ॥ ਤੋਆ ਆਖੈ ਹਉ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਹਛਾ ਤੋਐ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਕਾਰਾ ॥: O Pandit, you do not know where meat originated. From water are produced corn (that other Jeeva eat), sugarcane (that other Jeeva eat) and cotton (that other Jeeva wear its clothes) and (thus) from water the whole universe springs forth. Water says, ” (thus) I am good in many ways.” All these are the modifications of water (i.e., there is countless stuff in water). (sggs 1290).
Furthermore, the Gurbani proclaims all vegetables are also Jeev (beings, life).
- ਕਉਣੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਉਣੁ ਸਾਗੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਪ ਸਮਾਣੇ ॥: The fools argue about saying “meat meat” (flesh flesh), but they don’t pay attention to Wisdom (Giaan). (Due to lack of Wisdom, they can’t reflect that there is no difference in) what is called meat, and what is called “Saagu” or vegetable, (and eating) what leads to sin. (sggs 1289).
Now, summing up all this, the implication is that if all sources of creation (‘ਅੰਡਜ ਜੇਰਜ ਉਤਭੁਜ ਸੇਤਜ’) on this earth in fact are Jeeva (beings, life…), then, regardless of what we eat in this world throughout a day or throughout a lifetime, we are just eating another Jeeva (beings, life…) only!
That is, Jeeva eats Jeeva!
Hence, in nutshell, all humans and animals are naturally non-vegetarian from birth to death!
In other words, to be a strictly vegetarian, one has to completely stop breathing air, drinking water, eating any grain or plant food!
Let alone water and food, no humans and creatures can live without breathing air! Furthermore, we all use milk or milk-products in one or other form. In fact, milk is nothing but liquid meat!
- ਜੀਆ ਕਾ ਆਹਾਰੁ ਜੀਅ ਖਾਣਾ ਏਹੁ ਕਰੇਇ ॥: Jeeva are the food (diet) of Jeeva, this is what they eat (dine, live on…). (sggs 955).
- ਜਿਉ ਸਾਸ ਬਿਨਾ ਮਿਰਤਕ ਕੀ ਲੋਥਾ ॥: As the corpse of a dead man without breath. (sggs 280).
Clearly, first, strictly based on what one eats, one is no less worthy and one is no more worthy of Mool-Abidance. The same One Universal Energy dwells in all.
Hence, Baabaa Nanak says that this is the subject of ‘fools‘ to argue about eating or not eating meat.
- ਮਾਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਝਗੜੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਕਉਣੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਉਣੁ ਸਾਗੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਪ ਸਮਾਣੇ ॥: The fools argue about saying ‘meat meat’ (flesh flesh), but they don’t pay attention to Wisdom (Giaan). (Due to lack of Wisdom, they can’t reflect that there is no difference in) what is called meat, and what is called ‘Saagu’ or vegetable, (and eating) what leads to sin. (sggs 1289).
- ਖਾਣਾ ਪੀਣਾ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰੁ ਹੈ ਦਿਤੋਨੁ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸੰਬਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝਿਆ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਸੂਤਕੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੩॥: Whatever Rijak (food…) is made available (‘ਸੰਬਾਹਿ’) to you, eating and drinking it is pure. O Nanak! By becoming the Gurmukh, who understood this, to him Sootak sticks not (doubt, impurity, ਭਰਮ, ਅਪਵਿਤ੍ਰਤਾ…). (sggs 472).
- ਅੰਧਾ ਸੋਇ ਜਿ ਅੰਧੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਸਿ ਲੋਚਨ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਕੀ ਰਕਤੁ ਨਿਪੰਨੇ ਮਛੀ ਮਾਸੁ ਨ ਖਾਂਹੀ ॥: They alone are blind, who act blindly (ਜੋ ਅੰਨ੍ਹਿਆਂ ਵਾਲਾ ਕੰਮ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ). They have no eyes in their hearts (i.e., devoid of Aatam Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom – ਸਮਝ ਤੋਂ ਖਾਲੀ) . (Otherwise, think about it -) they are produced from the blood of their mothers and fathers, but they do not eat fish / meat (ਭਾਵ, ਮਾਸ ਤੋਂ ਹੀ ਪੈਦਾ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਮਾਸ ਤੋਂ ਹੀ ਪਰਹੇਜ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਨ । ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਭੀ ਤਾਂ ਮਾਂ ਪਿਉ ਦੇ ਮਾਸ ਤੋਂ ਹੀ ਸਰੀਰ ਪਲਿਆ ਹੈ). (sggs 1290).
In fact, according to the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS, if you practice greed, lying, falsehood, cheating, slandering or badmouthing, etc., then know you are eating dead animals. So, don’t preach who is Dhaarmic or religious and who is not!
- ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਅਵਰੀ ਨੋ ਸਮਝਾਵਣਿ ਜਾਇ ॥: Telling lies, they eat dead bodies. And yet, they go out to teach others (as to who is Dahaarmic or religious and who is not). (sggs 139-140).
- ਲਬੁ ਕੁਤਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਚੂਹੜਾ ਠਗਿ ਖਾਧਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ॥: Greed is a dog (within me); falsehood is a street-sweeper (within me). Cheating is eating a rotting carcass (within me). (sggs 15).
- ਹਕੁ ਪਰਾਇਆ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਉਸੁ ਸੂਅਰ ਉਸੁ ਗਾਇ ॥: To take what rightfully belongs to another, is like a Muslim eating pork, or a Hindu eating beef (sggs 141).
However, as time and again asserted, the Gurbani does not want us to go on a rampant sense-gratification — Don’t make it ‘ਰਸ-Ras’.
What is ‘ਰਸ-Ras’? In nutshell, ‘ਰਸ-Ras’ is sense-slavery or something you become slave of, or you get addicted to and would do anything or stoop to any level to obtain it!
- ਰਸੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰਸੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਰਮਲ ਕੀ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਰਸੁ ਘੋੜੇ ਰਸੁ ਸੇਜਾ ਮੰਦਰ ਰਸੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਰਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ॥ ਏਤੇ ਰਸ ਸਰੀਰ ਕੇ ਕੈ ਘਟਿ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥੨॥: (Addiction or slavery of) pleasures of gold, silver, women, the sandalwood fragrance (i.e., perfumes), horses (i.e., modes of transportation), bed, houses, sweet treats, and meat — (addiction to) such pleasures of the human body are so numerous; how can the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues) find its dwelling within ||2|| (sggs 15)?
- ਆਸ ਅਨਿਤ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਿਟੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਅਰੋਗ ॥੧॥: Desires for transitory things (ਨਾਸ-ਵੰਤ ਪਦਾਰਥਾਂ ਦੀ ਆਸ) are effaced for (the person) who has become the Gurmukh; O Nanak; Naam alone keeps (that person) free of the disease (of desires etc.) ||1|| (sggs 254).
At the same time, the Gurbani does not want us to starve either, or stop drinking water, or stop breathing air!
In other words, the Gurbani challenges us to be engaged in this world, but with a detached attitude and with Wisdom (ਅਕਲ, ਬਿਬੇਕ-ਬੁੱਧ, keen understanding, discerning intelligence) — be in the word, but not of the world!
- ਬਿਨੁ ਖਾਏ ਬੂਝੈ ਨਹੀ ਭੂਖ ॥: Without eating, hunger is not satisfied. (sggs 1149).
- ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਭੇਟਿਐ ਪੂਰੀ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੁਗਤਿ ॥ ਹਸੰਦਿਆ ਖੇਲੰਦਿਆ ਪੈਨੰਦਿਆ ਖਾਵੰਦਿਆ ਵਿਚੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥: O Nanak! Meeting the Satigur (Knowledge of Truth – ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ), one comes to know the Perfect Way of life (thus). While laughing, playing, dressing and eating, become liberated (Freedom from Bikaar: lust, anger, greed, etc.). (sggs 522).
They have been exploiting and plundering people by keeping them ignorant of the real Giaan or Wisdom of the SGGS; keeping people fearful, misguided (ਗੁਮਰਾਹ), confused, entangled in Karamkaand or rituals, doubt-ridden (ਵਹਮ-ਭਰਮ), wandering, superstitious, mentally slave, etc.
Last but not least, the Gurbani condemns sacrificing living beings (offering, oblation; sacrifice in Yagna – ਜੱਗ ਕਰਨ ਵੇਲੇ ਕੁਰਬਾਨੀ ਜਾਂ ਬਲੀ ਦੇਣੀ) on the name of upholding Dharma; and offer the killing to please some gods, or demigods, or goddesses, Guru, etc. In addition, there was time when humans were also sacrificed (ਬਲੀ)!
- ਜੀਅ ਬਧਹੁ ਸੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਥਾਪਹੁ ਅਧਰਮੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਤ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਮੁਨਿਵਰ ਕਰਿ ਥਾਪਹੁ ਕਾ ਕਉ ਕਹਹੁ ਕਸਾਈ ॥੨॥: You kill living beings, and deem it as Dhaarmic act (ਬਲੀ ਦੇਣਾਂ, ਜੱਗ ਕਰਨ ਵੇਲੇ ਕੁਰਬਾਨੀ ਦੇਣ ਲਈ). Tell me, brother, what would you call an Adharma (i.e., irreligious act, sin…)? You call yourself the most excellent sage; then who would you call a butcher? ||2|| (sggs 1103).
- ਗੈਂਡਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਕੀਏ ਦੇਵਤਿਆ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੇ ॥ ਮਾਸੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਬੈਸਿ ਨਕੁ ਪਕੜਹਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ॥ ਫੜੁ ਕਰਿ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੋ ਦਿਖਲਾਵਹਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: It was the habit of the gods to kill rhinoceros and perform sacred feasts after Yagna (ਜੱਗ). Those who renounce meat, and hold their noses when sitting near it, devour men at night (in secret they plan to cheat, exploit others…). They practice hypocrisy (that they do not eat meat), and make a show before other people, but they do not understand anything about meditation or Spiritual Wisdom (Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge). (sggs 1289).
For those who sacrifice animals reading verses from their religious texts, and sacrifice (offering, oblation, ਕੁਰਬਾਨੀ, ਬਲੀ) another Jeeva (being, life), and then claim they are doing it to please their so called god, are utterly doubt-ridden and brainwashed. Owing to their doubt-ridden mind, they have no idea what they are doing or saying. This is the edict of Baabaa Kabeer:
- ਮੁਲਾਂ ਕਹਹੁ ਨਿਆਉ ਖੁਦਾਈ ॥ ਤੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O Mullah! You tell (other people) about the Khuda’s justice. (But) the doubts of your own mind have not been dispelled yet. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 135).
Bhagat Kabeer Jee further enlightens these doubt-ridden people with an example of sacrificing chicken in the name of their god while reading some verses from their religious texts. In other words, Baabaa Kabeer tells them if you think your god is in all including Chicken, then why do you slaughter it to propitiate that god!
- ਜਉ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ਕਹਤ ਹਉ ਤਉ ਕਿਉ ਮੁਰਗੀ ਮਾਰੈ ॥੧॥: You say that the One Khuda is in all, then (to offer other Jeeva to your Khuda) why do you kill chickens? ||1|| (sggs 1350).
It’s worth noting here that the Pujaaree groups ritualistically slaughter goat (after goat is bathed!) at Hajoor Sahib Gurdwara in the name of the Guru and god while reciting some verses.
Although this sort of Karamkaand is assertively rejected in the SGGS, it’s still being carried out today, in this 21st century!
In nutshell, what to eat and what not to eat is a personal choice (ਨਿਜੀ ਮਾਮਲਾ, ਨਿਜੀ ਨਿਰਣਾਂ). It’s your own decision. If you want to eat, go ahead and eat. If you don’t want to eat that’s your choice. But don’t do Pakhand by saying you are doing it to propitiate god, goddess, deity, Guru, Dharma, and so on.
As we can see, Mullahs slaughter Jeeva reading Kalma (from their texts), Brahins slaughter Jeeva reading verses from their texts, and Sikhs slaughter Jeeva reading theirs. Since the SGGS rejects such nonsense, this is nothing but a fraud in the name of Sikhi if Sikhs (learner or student of the SGGS) also do it!
Did Baabaa Nanak equate Sikhi = Mullah’s and Brahmin’s Karamkaand?
NO! NO! NO! …
Listen to what SGGS has to say in this context:
- ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: Whatever the Pandit and the Mullaan have written (the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat…), I have abandoned (all of that); I have not taken any of it ||3||. (sggs 1159).
Any doubt? Read on:
- ਨਾ ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ॥: I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim. (sggs 1136).
- ਹਿੰਦੂ ਅੰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਤੁਰਕੂ ਕਾਣਾ ॥ ਦੁਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਿਆਣਾ ॥: The Hindu is blind (mentally blind, spiritually unintelligent, etc., who has made-up phony stories and claims God is limited only to the temple…) and the Muslim is one-eyed (i.e., who has some intelligence – but claims Allah is limited only to the mosque, etc.). The Giani (the knower of Truth…) is wiser than both of them. (sggs 875).
As cold cannot affect a stone, similarly, the Wisdom or Bibek cannot affect an idiot’s brain bent on stupidity, sense-slavery, and trickery (ਠਗੀ).
Gurbani (Gur Shabad teaches us very simple and practical spirituality.
Hence, the Gurmat’s own ‘Rahat‘ is very simple and practical!
Here is a glimpse of Gurbani’s this simple and practical spirituality and ‘Rahat’.
For example, the Gurbani (Gur Shabad) advises us not to eat foods that fan Bikaar (i.e., lust, anger, greed, etc.). That’s all!
- ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O brother! Eating those foods makes you ruined (bothered, tormented, distressed, despicable…), by eating which the body is crushed and Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.) enter the mind. (sggs 16).
Similarly, the Gurbani advises us not to wear clothes that bother you. That’s all!
- ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਪੈਨਣੁ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਪੈਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O brother! Wearing those clothes makes you bothered (ruined, tormented, tormented, distressed, despicable…), by wearing which makes the body miserable, and also bad thoughts enter the mind. (sggs 16).