Mahatma Gandhi Joins the Vegetarian Society

gandhiIn September 1888 Mohandas Gandhi set sail for England to further his education. At this stage he was a vegetarian through family upbringing, and not because of any conviction that it was the right thing to do...

...What mattered more than anything else to him was the fact that he had taken a vow before his mother that he would not touch meat or wine. His very high regard for his mother, an unusual passion for honesty and truth and a very strong willpower to back up his vows and promises meant more to him than the tradition itself. He was prepared to go back to India rather than break a solemn vow.

In the event he survived the rigours of the journey on a vegetarian diet, and reached London on 27th October.  There his main cause for anxiety and concern seemed to be food, and his vow to abstain from meat not only led him into awkward and embarrassing situations but the paucity of vegetarian food kept him at a level of semi-starvation most of  the time. One day, however, he was in luck. During one of his long walks in London, he stumbled upon a vegetarian restaurant. 

… He bought his first vegetarian book, A Plea for Vegetarianism by Henry Salt.
….He became a member of the Vegetarian Society and a dedicated worker for the movement.
…From vegetarianism to religion and philosophy was an easy transition, especially as Sir Edwin Arnold was, as well as an eminent vegetarian, the author of The Light of Asia, the immortal poem on the life of Gautama the Buddha, and The Song Celestial, the English translation of the divine poem Bhagvad Gita, the holy book of the Hindus.

Source:  Mahatma Gandhi His Life and Influence by Chandra Kumar and Mohinder Puri.