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IT consists with the exquisite harmony of Nature that man, the highest product and function of the sensible world, should, while so constituted mentally as to be free to develop his consciousness to the rank of a god, or degrade it to that of a demon, be so formed in every physical respect as to be able to attain the highest development of all his faculties, physical, mental, and spiritual, without doing violence to a single one of his finer sentiments, and therefore without inflicting suffering or death on his sensitive fellow-creatures; and that he should also at the same time be so formed as to be able to sustain his physical life on a diet that destroys his higher faculties, and sinks him below the level of the beast, whose life he so recklessly takes, heedless of the injury done thereby to his own finer sentiments, and whose flesh he so greedily devours, equally heedless of its unsuitability for enabling him to attain his own highest development, as if the world's whole history did not amply show that all the highest thought, best work, and purest lives have, from ages before Pythagoras until now, been those of the abstainers from a diet of flesh. (2)

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We are becoming a race of human carnivora. Man, as I have said, is so constituted that, while he attains his full perfection as man, in respect of all the higher faculties of man, only upon a diet, mental and physical, which is absolutely pure, he can, so far as his lower nature is concerned, exist, and to appearance even thrive, upon the foulest garbage. (3)

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It is too much the custom to burden the outer and false self of the body and its mental apparatus with substances of which the consciousness is too low to be capable of being worked up

(p. 154)

by the system to the highest degree of vitalisation of which the individual is capable. It is through the voluntary choking of our inner and true flame, the soul, that we render ourselves so dense and dark. (1)

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            The source of all evil in mortal existence is the limitation of the spiritual vision. The cause of that limitation is unsuitable diet, physical or mental. Neither mind nor matter is inherently other than "very good," even as they were when first created, and "God saw that they were good." Physical and spiritual health are interchangeable terms. The enemy of both is the same, namely, the blood that the orthodoxies force upon us at every turn of our lives; on every plane of our consciousness; and in every sphere of our activity. To be well, means to be in the possession of a faculty of spiritual perception as different from and as far surpassing any reason as sight differs from and surpasses touch. (2)

If I be asked for my authority for the statements I have made, (...) I reply that I find them all where all may equally find them, who will take the same pains to keep their reason and their intuition developed and balanced, namely, in that Self which, by being at once one's own self and the self of the universe, is the self of all men; and which, by its presence in all men, constitutes man in very truth the microcosm of the universal macrocosm – only, we must be sure that it is the true self that is found, and that in our quest for it we are not induced to fall short of that. It is upon the true place of the I that our solution of the problem of existence depends. And that cannot be found so long as we create for ourselves a false / by sustaining ourselves physically, intellectually, or spiritually on a diet which we cannot vitalise by the force of our own spirits. For, in spite of all that the ministers of the orthodoxies may say, whether they be priests, doctors, or scientists of any kind whatever, it is not his food or his facts that vitalise the man, but it is the man who vitalises his food and his facts. And this he does by virtue of his own prior vitalisation by the soul of humanity. God is in that soul incarnate in every one of us; and as a portion of God we are free and able to make for ourselves the materials upon which we operate into the heaven of a healthy, happy life, or the hell

(p. 155)

of an unhealthy, miserable one. It is because at the bidding of orthodoxy we have adopted for body, mind, soul, and health a regime that is unsuited to us by nature, that we suffer so much misery. On the true, pure diet we should find all the delights of life infinitely enhanced. We should love and be loved far more tenderly, and work and play far more heartily. Envy, hatred, malice, jealousy, covetousness, and all un-charitableness would vanish. For we should be so well in mind and body that we should fret for nothing. And even death would be no complete separation, as we should be in the possession of faculties so sublimed as to enable us to hold intimate communion with those we have loved on earth. It is impossible for those who do not know by actual experience to imagine how large and noble existence may be made by following Nature as made by God, instead of as marred by the demons who take form in the orthodoxies. Do not think it is man who so hates his fellow-man as to take pleasure in his misery and destruction. Man, if left to himself, would sink into the negation of a mere animal existence, and soon die out. He is not actively malignant. We have to revive the world-old belief in the spiritual world to account for this world's evil. It comes solely of beings who have had long and vast practice in being selfish and rebellious; but who, notwithstanding their power and skill, are utterly incapable of harming man, if only man chooses to listen to the intuitions of his conscience, and to reject the promptings they instil into his lower nature. Even that lower nature of ours is not bad in itself. It is negative, and just what we choose to make it. It all depends upon whether we live up from, or live down to, it. In one case we lift it up to us; in the other case it drags us down to it. We are not it, or its; and it is not us, but ours; and we, properly, are God and God's. (1)

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It is not difficult to discern a reason why the Gospel as promulgated in India should specially address itself to the question of diet. We may be sure that, although the welfare of the animals themselves was an important consideration, that of man was a consideration not less important. As pre-eminently the land of ferocious beasts, India must have afforded many a striking lesson to the meditative Buddha respecting the mystery of the carnivora. He manifestly saw in them no

(p. 156)

essential part of the Divine order, but a result of man's own degeneration. The whole long line of creatures of prey, from the lion and tiger downwards, must for him have represented the after-condition of men themselves, who in their human forms had already been beasts of rapine and cruelty; and who now were condemned, through the operation of a natural law, to wear forms corresponding to the tastes they had manifested. The animal life of India must have shown him, as that of no other country could have done, the immensity of the influence for good or for evil exercised by diet upon constitution and character. For he there saw all the useful work of the world done by means of the strength, intelligence, and docility of the herbivora; and all the waste and rapine and cruelty committed by the carnivora. And he must have seen also that, even if at the first shock of conflict between the two classes of animals the advantage were for a moment on the side of the frantic and inflamed flesh-eater, the endurance and real strength, and therefore the final victory, lay with the pure livers. Buddhism had no ritual, no sacrifice. A religion of the "lamb" and the "dove," it repudiated bloodshed as the worst of sins against both the executioner and his victim. Of the latter, it might kill the body. Of the former, it must kill the soul. Buddha could no more than we can escape the logical conclusion, that if man is the better for feeding on the flesh of the creatures that most nearly approximate to himself, his best diet must be his own kind, and the step from the carnivora to the cannibal a step upwards. (...) It is our addiction to blood that has prevented the full consummation of the marriage in us of the dark and light races of men. For us to abjure the accursed drop would be at once to make a new heaven and new earth alike for the East and the West. The assertion that man requires in a northern climate a more heat-giving diet than he finds in his own vegetable products, is not wholly groundless in fact, but is an impeachment of the harmony and perfection of Nature. Between them, the sun and the earth provide for all their children whatever is good for them, without requiring the selfish infliction of suffering on any. The heat-giving properties of those most perfect of foods, the highly vitalised seeds and fruits which contain only the germ of the new generation, are everywhere apportioned to the needs of men. (1)

(p. 157)

Just as the diet healthy for the soul is that which is permeated by the intuition of God, so is the diet most suitable for the body of the perfect humanity that which grows and ripens in the sunshine. Roots and herbs may sustain the lower nature. Man's mouth is not placed close to the ground that he may subsist wholly on them. He walks erect, with face turned upwards to behold the skies whence he has origin, even the sun above him, at once physical and spiritual. And his healthy, because natural, diet consists of the seeds and fruits which grow above the ground, within his reach as he walks along, and to be gathered without stooping. These the bounteous Mother prepares and sheds for us when fitted for our use by the elimination from them of every particle of fibrous and innutritious substance, shed, too, in such abundance that, if not used by us, they lie on the ground to rot. (...) Life is of many grades; but to assume of the warm-blooded animals that they and we are not brethren, is to expose ourselves to the liability of eating our own kith and kin. (1)

We spoil the world and existence for ourselves and each other by our ignorant and brutal mode of sustaining our lives. And I say with the most absolute confidence, that no man has a right to pretend to know anything whatever about the nature either of the Creator or of the creature until he has, by a long, persistent, and rigidly conscientious experience of the pure and innocent regime natural to man, qualified himself for forming an opinion in the matter. As men live now, they have not, in any degree approaching its natural perfection, any one faculty that they would have if they lived in the way I am indicating. Physique, mind, and character alike are removed by an absolute interval below the perfection of which they are capable. And not only would a complete reformation in this respect constitute an absolute remedy for all our evils, individual and religious, but it would do so for our evils, political and social, at home and abroad, in all questions, from those of population and food supply, to questions of foreign policy. The great, primary, and absolute certain fact to be borne in mind is the fact that man cannot, by any possibility, subject any region of his nature to the unnatural diet of blood, without depraving every region of his nature, and that in respect to its every function.

(p. 158)

As members of the great Aryan race, we attained our preeminence by means of the superiority of our diet. We came from countries where, by reason of the severity of the climate, life was harder than in the tropic; and where Nature, with the infinite wisdom and kindness manifested in her every act, adapted her vegetable products to the requirements of her children; giving in place of the cooling fruits of the torrid, the heat-producing cereals of the temperate zone. Changing its diet under seductions at once sacerdotal and devilish, the Aryan race has gradually and steadily sunk from its ancient perfection of mind and body, until it has come that, so far from aspiring to fulfil its original destiny by being the earth's redeemer from evil and wrong of every kind, and the restorer to man of the paradise he has forfeited, it is settling down into the lowest forms of selfishness and sensuality, and even erecting into a religion and a worship, principles and practices which are absolutely incompatible, not only with happiness, but with existence itself. (1)





(153:2) England and Islam; or, The Counsel of Caiaphas (1877), by Edward Maitland.

(153:2) Pp. 83-84.

(153:3) P. 179.

(154:1) P. 360.

(154:2) Pp. 433-434.

(155:1) Pp. 544-547.

(156:1) Pp. 559-561.

(157:1) Pp. 588-589.

(158:1) Pp. 612-614.



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Seguinte: 11. O Vegetarianismo em seus Aspectos mais Elevados (159-169)