The discussion was supposed to be on the subject of “Karma and Reincarnation”, and hence quite unrelated to an individual’s dietary habits. But somehow the discussion had sidetracked onto whether a non-vegetarian person can consider him or herself to be a good Hindu.
Now let me state at this point that I’m a vegetarian myself. Vegetarianism is a value that I hold very dear and is closely connected to my personal beliefs.
But witnessing the argument that followed, I really felt that despite being non-vegetarian, the girl in question was a far more decent, humble and composed person compared with her vegetarian detractors. Clearly, being a vegetarian is not a shortcut to being decent, which is far more important in Hinduism compared with what one eats.
Most of Hinduism’s teachings relate to cultivating a virtuous character, full of values such as humility, fearlessness, compassion and truthfulness. All but the most irrational people would agree that being a meat-eater is no bar to try and develop these characteristics.
Hinduism does look highly upon vegetarianism, but teaches that there is more to a person than their dietary habits, and that choosing to refrain from meat is purely a personal choice rather than a religious injunction. So PLEASE do not judge a person’s Hindu-ness by their diet and lay off meat eating Hindus.
Related article: Eggs are NOT vegetarian!