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.
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!