My family compels me to eat meat for strength violating regulative principle. What to do?
Three similar problems of three devotees:
Hare Krsna Prabhuji Dandavat pranam. My question is a couple have taken their first Diksha and after 4 to 5 years one of them fall in sick and their parents tell them to eat non veg for their health purpose. But without telling or consultation he or she started eating non veg coz he or she thinks that food will give them strength or cure them. I need advice is this kind of food allowed for health purpose. And the partner who is doing well in spiritual platform got angry for that issue and now their is problem in their marriage life pl’s give some solutions what supposed to do. One more thing that their parents are against Iskcon.
“Hare Krishna prabhu ji. I belong to a Mohammadan family. I am a post graduate student. I visit Iskcon very frequently and chant and read Prabhupada books. But I get so much disturbed by my family when they force me to eat non-veg food, due to my health as they think so that I’m weak, and when I refuse, my father almost try to hit me. I love food called satvik or Krishna parshadam, but my parents are very strict, so they don’t allow me to go outside during holidays. I visit temple only at the college time without their knowledge. Now I want that they just don’t force me to cook non veg food and eat either. What should I do. Please reply as soon as possible, I will eagerly wait for ur reply.. Hare Krishna. And one more thing please don’t disclosed my identity, they even don’t know that I have the Facebook acct, I don’t hv cell ph either. Hare Krishna.
(3) A girl devotee asked like this (Name hidden on request):
“Hare krishna !! Prabhu ji i was non vegitarian b4.. after becoming i stoped eating non veg.. now i read bg, chant but my parents are not kc.. i am nt able to convience them to stop eating meat i dnt no whtr thy are worried abt caste and all dat now i hav realized importance of fasting on ekadashi but i wont get support from my family i nevr fasted before m pampered child even now they ask me to eat meat but i refuse i feel m missing opputunity of fasting my family is nt supportive in this.. since they are elder to me i feel my words wouldnt b valued much n dat wont b effective on them as they may think m still younger:-( so how do i convince them abut krishna? they think more abut family n culture which they hav followed so far v r nt bramhins.. so if i speak against them n hurt them vl dat b wrong prabhu ji?? hope i get ans.. if ur putting dis on page hide my name thank u..!”
All three of you deserve good encouragement and facilities from Krishna to undergo Krishna Consciousness comfortably.
However, as we have to live with the family members for social security and social order that is good for a society, we have to go peacefully with the family.
IS MEAT REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN BODY STRENGTH?
No. The people misunderstand the aggressive nature given by the meat as strength. When you eat meat, it increases the domination of rajo and thamo gunas. Therefore, you become aggressive in nature. This is not the strength, but, a disturbance and inducement to commit violations.
A food should help you to act with satva guna. Only vegetarian foods will help you to remain in satva guna.
All the nutrients given by the meat are available in vegetables and fruits also. The meat definitely affects our consciousness.
So, you do not require meat for your strength.
Do you require an example?
The elephant that eat only the grass is the strongest and calm (satvic) animal in the creations. Isn’t it?
The wild animals that eat meat are always aggressive.
HOW TO BALANCE WITH THE FAMILY?
There are priorities in saadhanas. Let me give them one by one in the sequence of importance:
(1) Chanting is the first and foremost saadhana that one should compulsorily do. Though you are unable to perform any other saadhanas, you must atleast chant as many rounds as possible. The convenience in chanting is that you can even chant secretly by closing the doors of room or while travelling in bus/ train, if your family object it. So, in my view, chanting should NEVER be stopped. No one should call him as devotee if he does not chant Lord’s Names.
(2) Next comes, Regulative Principles (No meat, No gambling, No intoxication and No illicit relations). For this also, you do not need your family support because if you are disciplined, your family will be happy.
However, in case of Gambling, Intoxication, illicit sex, your family will support you. But, in the case of meat eating, your family does not suppport you. So, you have problem in only one regulative principle and also fasting. All other saadhanas like chanting can be done secretly even in college or office.
But, I tell you that even in the case of fasting you can fast secretly. As far as the family objection to the Ekadasi fast is concerned, you can prepare wonderful preparations using vegetables, coconut, sun flower oil, ghee and ground nut. These recipes may excel in taste of even regular prasadams. I have already posted such recipes. I have been noting that almost all ISKCON temples cook Ekadasi prasadam (Anukalpa Prasadam) with an extraordinary taste. They even allow devotees to have such grainless prasadam on every ekadasi either freely or by paying a small amount depending on the financial capability of the temples.
So, you can do one thing. On ekadasis, just have milk at home, prepare wonderful recipes made of the above things except grains. Offer to Krishna just for a few minutes. And honour it and ALSO GIVE IT TO YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS. If they take that prasadam even without interest, they will be attracted by its taste and spiritual nature as it is the remnant given by Krishna.
If they are adament even after this for 2-3 ekadasis, just tell them that you will take full food in ISKCON temple during ekadasis. On every ekadasi, go to ISKCON temple in the afternoon, have Ekadasi prasadam and also pack for dinner prasadam, pay some donation to cover the cost of that food and come back to your college or office. Lunch is over in the temple itself. Now, after going back home, take that dinner prasadam that had been brought packed from temple. So, your family members will get convinced that you are not starving.
And, there is no need to observe full fast during ekadasis if u have works to do on ekadasis. Partial fast itself will be enough.
As far as meat is concerned, you can daringly fight with your family and refuse to take as you have right to choose what to eat. If they force, do not care about it and be firm that you will never take meat. But, at the same time be active and score good marks in exams that will testify them that your performance in life has not been affected even after quitting meat.
Whenever they cook meat, just take curd rice alone. For Krishna, do not offer such food that were cooked along with the meat. Instead, offer some Dates, grapes, banana, apple, orange, dry grapes, milk, butter etc.
I myself offer the above said fruits whenever I go to outstation and can not offer food to Krishna. I keep some fruits like dates in a vessel, close it and request Krishna to open it and take the food tomorrow as I will not be available tomorrow. I convince myself that Krishna will take the closed vessel tomorrow and take that prasadam. So, offering fruits is not wrong when we have no other options. The point is that we have to remember to show our love by offering some food to Krishna on daily basis.
A consoling thing is: If you remain with vairagya for atleast one year or two, your family will stop compelling you as NO ONE CAN FIGHT FOR VERY LONG PERIOD. And you can arrange a groom/bride who supports your activities of devotion and then continue all saadhanas and offerings from your husband’s house without problems.
So, keep up this vairagya for ever though you face objections. Everything will settle down within a year or two.
As far as the muslim devotee is concerned, yes, it is very difficult for your parents to accept Krishna Conscious rules and regulations because, muslims usually do not reject meat. It is very difficult for them to quit meat eating. It is understandable. If you are following vegetarian foods from this atmosphere, it is very appreciable. This is the power of Krishna Consciousness. It is beyond religion. Anyone can adopt and follow the principles recommended by Srila Prabhupada.
See what you can do to tackle this situation:
(1) For any attempt, timing is important. Wait for any time for your father when he is in very cordial mood. Then, start your conversation cordially:
“Dad… I need your only one help as your daughter. I do not ask you for plenty of jewels, dress, sweets, comforts, etc. And, I will never violate the disciplinary regulations stipulated for girls. I will co-operate with all your regulations. But, I don’t know why I do not like meat. If I take meat, I feel heavy inside my stomach. I feel acidic. I feel sleepy and I could not concentrate in studies/ work. So, my efficiency comes down. In the creations of God, everyone is different. All people do not have the same taste and character. Someone will like meat; Some others do not. I was eating till my body co-operated. Now, my body rejects it. If I do not eat meat, I feel healthy and brisk. It is not my willful decision to avoid meat. My body has started to reject it naturally with the advancement of age. So, as you are my dear father, I beg you to allow me to eat whatever I want. This is the only request for me from you. Nothing else. If you permit me to have vegetarian food only, I will be ever thankful and grateful to you throughout my life. Don’t fear whether my future husband will not accept my vegetarian food liking. It is my responsibility to convince him and ensure that there is no problem from him. Please allow me to eat whatever I want. I go out of mood whenever I take meat. I am not asking you anything, except deserting meat only that is not suitable for me. Some people will like more swets. Some others do not. Some people like some vegetables. Some others do not like those vegetables. My taste is also different. So, please understand me and leave me to act as per my taste. I will be very grateful to all of you. I am not adament, but, I am speaking about my real nature. If the father himself do not understand his daughter, who else will understand?”
He may get convinced if you tell this in a right time and right mood and in a POLITE WAY.
(2) In case, he does not accept this frank speech, seek the help of any of your relative who has understood well. Ask him/ her to discus with your parents and pressurize them to allow you to take vegetarian food. Bring them to discuss with your parents in a right time and right mood. This may work out.
(3) If this also does not work out, you have to start non-violent strike. Stop taking food for one day or two and take only fruits. If they beat you, get it for Krishna. They will act like that for one day or two. After that, they will stop compelling you. This is the human nature.
(4) Before doing these processes, pray to Krishna sincerely to make your parents understand your genuine wish to come up in Krishna Consciousness. Chant more for this purpose.
Pray to Krishna to help you in gaining the co-operation of your parents. He will definitely help you. But, the process may be or may not be easy. You have to bear the process for Krishna.
All the best.