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  Volume 3 - Issue 5
MAY 2005


-By Jeroo Captain

I grew up in a family where meat, fish and eggs were part of the daily diet. I had some friends who were vegetarian, but the thought of becoming a vegetarian myself never occurred to me.

In 1993, I heard about Sathya Sai Baba’s work and my two children and I started attending weekly bhajan sessions at our local Sai center in Sacramento, California. Soon after that, my daughter, a teenager, watched a T.V. program that was particularly disturbing for her—it portrayed the inhumane treatment of poultry and cattle prior to being slaughtered for food. “I am not eating any meat or chicken any more,” she announced.

`Oh well, just another teenage fad,’ I thought, ‘This will probably last a week, or may be two.’ But I agreed as long as she was ready to prepare her meals herself.

Weeks passed and I marveled at her resolve. She did not flinch even once as she quite happily prepared her veggie meals. Soon she started working on her younger brother. Being very resolute and articulate, she had him convinced in no time. Now they both began to work on me.

We had subscribed to the Sanathana Sarathi, and each time it arrived in the mail, my daughter read it cover to cover. She would run to me with any quotes from Swami she could find to support her case. Trips to the supermarket became battlegrounds: my son would look at me with big soulful brown eyes, “How would you feel if you were this chicken’s mother—would you like your kid to be cut up and served for food?” Oh please! Up until then, chicken was simply a well-packaged piece of high-protein food—I did not think of it as having been alive at some point, let alone having a mother!

Soon my defenses began to crumble and I half-heartedly agreed to try. I decided to give up cooking meat every other day and so Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays became vegetarian days for a while. But my heart was not in it--and needless to say, I did not succeed. Giving up a habit of over 40 years was not easy, I found out.

Then one day I was in my back yard. There is a small lake behind our property. The water was clear and I could see the fish swimming around. Does God really exist in all creatures, I wondered. Without much thought, I threw out a challenge. “OK, Swami, if you are really present in every creature, make that fish swim to me,” I said in my mind. Sure enough, a fish made its way slowly to the shore where I was standing, then turned to the right and swam away. My doubting mind jumped right in “Oh that was just a coincidence,” I thought. “Surely the fish was just swimming with the current!” No sooner had I finished this thought, the fish made a sharp turn around, swam swiftly back to where I was standing, paused in front of me, and for several seconds, looked directly into my eyes.

After that experience, the desire to eat any fish, meat or fowl simply vanished, and to this day I remain a happy vegetarian.

Mind full of doubts?
Habits too hard to bend?
Ask—He will reveal the Truth
In ways you can comprehend:

On land, sea or sky
Creatures great or small
Bhagvan Sri Sathya Sai
Resides in one and all.

Jai Sai Ram!
- Jeroo Captain

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