“Earth, in which the seas, the rivers and many waters lie, from which arise foods and fields of grain, abode to all that breathes and moves, may She confer on us Her finest yield.”
-Bhumi Suktam, Atharva Veda xii.1.3
The Hindu tradition understands that man is not separate from nature, that we are linked by spiritual, psychological and physical bonds with the elements around us. Knowing that the Divine is present everywhere and in all things, Hindus strive to do no harm. We hold a deep reverence for life and an awareness that the great forces of nature – the earth, the water, the fire, the air and the space – as well as all the various orders of life, including plants and trees, forests and animals, are bound to each other within life’s cosmic web.
Ahimsa, non-injury in thoughts, words and deeds is one of the main tenets of Hinduism. Hence most Hindus are vegetarians. In Hinduism, food is considered as Brahman (God). Food nourishes the entire physical, mental and emotional aspects of a human being. It is considered as a gift from God and should be treated respectfully. It should be Satvick, pure – that which promotes health, vitality and mental calmness.
“When one’s food is pure, one’s being becomes pure” – Chandogya Upanishad 7.26.2
Realising the importance of reducing meat consumption in our diet to tackle the problems relating to climate change, global warming, cruelty to animals and human health, the Hindu Council of Australia with the support of ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) was the first in Australia to launch the 'Meat Free Day' campaign on 2nd October, 2008 on Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, who was one of the greatest proponents of Ahimsa and vegetarianism.
The Hindu Council of Australia has since been working closely with ARRCC. Continuing its efforts to reducing the ecological footprint, the “Climate Action Kit for the Hindu Faith” was launched at the Deepavali function in October 2013.