isopanisad book coverby Ishtar Darlington

This book is a great insight into a vegetarian lifestyle and acts as a guide to gourmet vegetarian cooking and a karma-free diet.

It is based on the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Praphupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It covers all aspects of a vegetarian diet from its health benefits and religious connotations to its economic problem solving potential.

Opening with quotes from unexpected vegetarian celebrities such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and even Geoffrey Giuliano, Ronald McDonald actor of the 1980s, it draws the reader into the ideologies and concepts behind living a meat free life. The first chapter focuses attention on the physiological comparisons between carnivores, herbivores and, finally, humans. It then goes on to address the health benefits of incorporating a vegetarian diet into your own lifestyle, making references to health issues such as heart disease, cancer and mad cow disease.

Moving on then to look at the possibility of solving worldwide hunger problems in the long term, some very valid, scientifically based arguments hone in on price comparisons between feeding ourselves with meat versus crops and on environmental damages caused by our diets, such as global warming. We then go on to look into factory farming and the lack of compassion generally shown towards animals. The focus then moves to a vegetarian lifestyle in relation to certain religious views such as those found in Judaism, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Buddhism, Hinduism and in the Hare Krishna Movement.

The Indian philosophy of non-violence is found in the Vedic scriptures where there is reference to the yoga of eating. This covers the art of offering food to Krishna before eating it, needless to say, this food does not include the rotting corpses of dead animals. Prasadam is the term used to describe this offered up food and we get a detailed look into how to prepare and offer this. Interviews between AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Praphupada and visitors, interviewers and priests on the topic are followed with pages of his own insightful quotes on meat eating.

A large proportion of the book is then made up of delicious vegetarian recipes from around the world, with sections including Indian dinners, European winter banquets and Latin American buffets. The book closes with useful information on vegetarian festivals and restaurants around the world associated with the Hare Krishna movement.

I must say, this book makes some very strong arguments for a cruelty free lifestyle and is a useful guide to understanding the ideologies behind a vegetarian diet and cooking some mouth watering meat free dishes. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the freedom of mind, body and soul that can come from making vegetarian food a part of your life.

Editor's note: available in our Temple Shop (open at Temple during Sunday Feasts) and all the time at Govinda's Vegetarian Restaurant on Abbey Street.