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  1. Is it alright for vegetarians to consume mushrooms? Shri Manikanta asked: Padanamskaram Swamiji! Are mushrooms considered vegetarian food or non-vegetarian? Please enlighten us on this point. Manikanta Swami replied: The main issue is to ensure that the food you eat is not obtained by causing an animal to suffer the agony of being killed. Mushrooms are fungi. Scientists do not classify fungi as either plants (botany) or animals (zoology). We even consume foods containing bacteria such as curd from milk. Mushrooms do not exhibit pain and suffering as an animal or bird does, when it is killed. Therefore, mushrooms can be consumed as food. They contain a lot of proteins and other nutrients and are even good for diabetes patients. Since they do not exhibit the pain of death and they are good for health, there is no sin in consuming them. Plants do not have a nervous system to feel pain and hence, vegetarian food is free of sin. Bose suspected that awareness might exist even in plants. Goddess Pārvatī even gave up eating the leaves of plants during her penance and hence, was called Aparṇā. Jains even wear masks to avoid germs from accidentally entering their noses and mouths and dying. But we need not go to such a micro-level. If we follow non-violence at the macro-level, it is sufficient. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
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