Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Q&A: How do I reconcile with the fact that being a Hindu, I ate beef?

I was raised in a strict Hindu family where we did not eat meat. I am in North America now and I ate Hamburger while going out with some friends. RiIght now, I feel quite uneasy and am ashamed of myself. How do I get to terms with this thing? Is eating beef while you are away from home normal for Indian Hindu students?

My answer to a recent query online


Thanks for asking. Like you, I too was raised in a Hindu family where we did not eat meat. Although I have lived and worked in a dozen countries, I continue to be a Vegetarian. I have spent nearly half-decade with a multinational Agri-business company. My Musing on Food, Protein and Vegetarianism

Others have answered this question and have refereed to Vedas, Hindu scriptures etc. Let us set aside religion and scriptures for a minute and focus on personal beliefs and mores, since this is the crux of your question “How do I reconcile with the fact that being a Hindu, I ate beef?”
A simple answer. No, you don’t try and reconcile with the fact.
Have I been in a situation like you? Perhaps, the closest I came to such a “conflict” was during a corporate retreat at a resort in small-town Germany.
(indicative image)
During lunch on the first day, after the first course, I politely informed the Maitre d' of my Vegetarian preference. The Maitre d' returned back after a few minutes - after I had enjoyed the Salad - and politely explained that the salad dressing had Pork extract.
She apologized, and promised that they would arrange for vegetarian alternatives for my dinner and meals during the following days. I thanked her and joked that it would have been better if she hadn’t mentioned the ingredients of the salad dressing to me.
Did I feel “quite uneasy and ashamed of myself.” (quoting you). No, I didn’t have time to think about it that day. But I did reflect on it later; and the fact I am blogging about it means it must be in my subconscious mind.
Back to your questions
  • Is eating beef while you are away from home normal for Indian Hindu students?”
    • No, it is not the norm though some students might choose to do so. A $1 burger at McDonalds or a beef-burrito at Taco-bell may feel inexpensive compared to a $6.99 buffet at an Indian restaurant.
  • How do I get to terms with this thing?
    • It’s simple, you don’t try and come to terms with it. Life is too short and there are bigger things to worry about!