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November 1977

High on Waves

Editorial

Why Eat Meat?
Swami Muktananda Saraswati

Yoga and Vegetarianism
Dr. M.M. Bhamgara

The Melon Method
Dr. M.M. Bhamgara

Something to Chew On
Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati

Space is God
Dr. Shreeniwas

Ahimsa
Swami Mungalmurti Saraswati

Diet and Cancer
Dr. Swami Vivekananda Saraswati

Soybeans
Swami Satyadharmananda Saraswati

Vegetarianism and Heart Disease
Dr. Swami Shankardevananda Saraswati

Meat and Madness
Swami Gaurishankara Saraswati

Samadhi is Sublime
Swami Satyananda Saraswati



Meat and Madness

Swami Gaurishankara Saraswati, Linotype operator

Not only physical but also mental ills have been linked with diets based on flesh foods. Commercial slaughtering methods put livestock under extreme stress at the time of death, flooding the animal's system with chemicals produced by terror and emotional disturbance. Now, doctors in Russia and America have found a connection between these chemicals in meat and high states of anxiety, even the bizarre characteristics of schizophrenia.

There is considerable scientific proof that animals and even plants are sensitive to the deaths of their fellows and other living beings in their environment. Soviet scientists have even detected distress in a mother rabbit when her litter was killed, many miles away, in a submarine beneath the sea. There is no doubt that animals are sensitive to the aura of death around slaughterhouses, and as they are kept waiting for days before they are slain, they must be aware of their forthcoming doom.

When led from the stockyards, they are passed through a narrow passage, hurried along by electrified prodders which save time but increase pain and panic. At the end, they all pile up in terror to wait for the slaughter man who is armed with a pneumatic gun. This gun is designed to fire a bolt into the back of the head, instantly severing the brain from the spinal cord. However, in fifty percent of cases the first shot fails to kill instantly, and the wounded animal struggles fiercely while the executioner tries again. All this is witnessed by the waiting animals who will soon pass through the same ordeal.

It is at least fifteen to twenty minutes before the animals are bled. Their flesh and organs are therefore saturated with adrenaline and other stress hormones. Even 'kosher killed' animals - slain the traditional way and instantly drained of blood - are not free from these toxins. They are subject to the same conditions, in the same slaughterhouses. The only difference is that they are killed by a Rabbi with a consecrated knife, who slits the jugular vein instead of shooting their brains out.

Dr. Joseph Barnes of Walla Walla College, Washington USA, has found that the chemicals produced by animals under severe stress are similar to those in schizophrenic patients. More importantly, these chemicals and hormones can easily be transferred to humans through the consumption of meat. He concludes that the alarming incidence of mental disease and severe emotional disturbance now sweeping the world may well be caused by, and is certainly aggravated by, diets high in flesh foods.

Other researchers have shown that meat is excessively high in tryptophane, a constituent of protein that is required in very small amounts by humans. Excessive tryptophane causes fatigue and speeds ageing. It also affects the production of the hormone serotonin, which is important in regulating states of consciousness. Investigators at the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry have shown that schizophrenic symptoms can result from too much protein, usually due to heavy meat diets. They put their patients on a fast for thirty or forty days to purify their systems, then put them on a vegetarian food regime. The Russian psychiatrists recommend that patients keep to this non-meat diet if they do not wish their symptoms to return. In the USA, Dr. Allan Colt, MD, is using a version of this therapy for persons with schizophrenic symptoms.

Of course, you could argue that these stress hormones and other toxins, such as antibiotics, are not found in meat produced in developing countries like India, where agricultural methods are more traditional. Even so, meat here is still far from wholesome. Livestock in the developing nations eat whatever they can find in the nation's garbage, and what the poorest beggars refuse is hardly fit to become the meat on your plate. In this hot climate, dhal and left-over food go sour between one meal and the next; vegetables, fruit and peelings are flyblown and rotten within a few hours; and there is the inevitable human and animal excrement.

Conditions are ideal for the rapid proliferation of all kinds of bacteria and parasites, not to mention cockroaches, rats and flies - all disease carriers. It is made vividly clear why pigs are taboo in most religions when one sees what they eat - they are the community's street cleaners and sanitation department. Precisely because they are given no antibiotics, livestock in India develop all the diseases these drugs normally suppress.

The 'developed' nations who produce most of the world's meat not only have developed economies, but overdeveloped bureaucracies. There is a full range of government departments to check all phases of the production and sale of meat. Yet they are still finding so many toxins, diseases and parasites in their meat. Despite jail sentences and fines, many slaughterhouses and butcher shops fail to maintain the specified standards of cleanliness.

None of this is present in the developing nations. There is no one to check that animals killed for eating are not seriously diseased, or that they are slaughtered in hygienic conditions. When an animal is slain it frequently attracts a noisy crowd which gathers for the 'entertainment', and the atmosphere becomes as unpleasant and distressing as western carnage houses. The stress hormones flow freely. Sanitary precautions and refrigeration are unknown in open-air butcher shops. Flies abound and in the hours between slaughter and sale the meat putrefies so quickly that the shop can be located by smell from any part of the market.

In the days before autopsies, one way to commit murder without detection was to feed the victim a small amount of poison every day along with his food. As the poison gradually accumulated in his body, it reached a point where the victim either dropped dead of apparently natural causes, or went insane and killed himself. Eating flesh foods may be just a new twist to this old technique, only the poisoner is also his own victim.

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