Biography of Famous Vegetarians Mahatma Gandhi

About the famous Indian vegetarian and civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi, history and biography of the man.

MAHATMA GANDHI. 1869-1948. Indian.

--Studied law in London and practiced in South Africa, where he organized Hindus in discrimination protests. Returned to India, became leader of National Congress, and led movement for independence. Imprisoned in 1922 (6-year sentence) but was released due to ailing health. Organized 2 major civil disobedience movements which advocated freedom through passive resistance. Resigned from politics to doctor the sick and was renamed Mahatma ("great soul").

--Conducted an experiment of eating meat but had nightmares of goats bleeding in his stomach. Became a member of the Vegetarian Society. Ate dates, nuts, fruits, and whole-meal bread, but never more than 5 items in one meal. Said that "one should not eat to please the palate but just to keep the body going." Occasionally took small amounts of fruit juices when fasting. Would never eat eggs and refused cow's milk because it "stirred the passions." Suffered from an attack of dysentery and was advised to drink milk. Refused because of his "vow against it." Convinced by his wife to drink goat's milk (instead of cow's milk) but later regretted doing so because: "The ideal of truth requires that vows taken should be fulfilled in the letter as well as in the spirit. I have killed the soul of my vow by adhering to its outer form only, and that is what galls me."

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