When you enter the atmosphere of the Iranian Vegetarian Association, a calm and friendly person may come to you, greet you and give you a warm and welcomed feeling.
Nima Khataee is born in Januari 1995. He decided to be vegetarian when he was 21. In a society like Iran it is pretty difficult to be vegetarian or vegan. Most of the food are made with meat and this is part of the culture. So you may experience it difficult when it comes to cook everyday vegetarian or vegan. ‘’It’s very challenging and some times I have to explain myself to people.’’ Says, Nima.
How did you become acquainted with vegetarianism?
‘’I became acquainted with vegetarianism through my aunt who went to yoga classes. At that time we went to a vegetarian restaurant for the first time. The restaurant had a completely mystical atmosphere and I was there to see what the vegetarians were eating.
I changed everything in 2 weeks. The main reason was that I became acquainted with the mystical subject of yoga through a teacher. In fact, my aunt was the factor that made me know this person.’’
So you first became acquainted with mysticism and reached vegetarianism along the way?
‘’Yes. That’s true.’’
Did you find any problems with your family?
‘’No, it was not a particular problem. They only sometimes said that if you do not eat meat, you will become weak. I think these are natural reactions of people. But over time, that is likely to change. In fact, I followed a teacher on my way and I was quite confident in my work.
In my opinion, it is important that the person has the right answer for those around him. The logical answer is the reason that they accept it over time.’’
Why didn’t you give up dairy?
‘’Because I considered milk a necessity of life. Yogurt also seems to be necessary for health and is said to have beneficial bacteria for the stomach. Of course, I had a more main reason, and that was that my teacher recommended me to consume milk because he said that cow’s milk contains substances that stimulate the growth of brain cells, which in turn helps to develop self-awareness and spirituality.
I was not very scientific. I can only say that it made milk and yogurt for my body and I had no problem with it.In vegetarianism, I pursue nonviolence, something that is said in Ahimsa Yoga and that I feel can be achieved by not eating meat.’’
Do you think that drinking milk does not spread violence?
‘’Of course, I have to say that I have been drinking very little milk lately. Very rarely. Especially because milk is hormonal and there is no healthy milk. I eat a lot of salads.’’
Why did you quit eating eggs?
‘’Because eggs are also the sperm of animals and their use interferes with animal life. If this sperm remains normal, it will turn into a chicken.’’
You know that many people who have become vegetarians because of animal protection that believe that killing an animal is a minute, but the use of animal products is in fact an abuse that causes suffering to continue throughout the life of the animal. What do you think about this?
‘’ What you are talking about is a personal thing. Because I operate through the Vedic system and because the Vedas have a divine source, they must have specific reasons for doing so. The Vedas use naturally produced milk, and the “cow” animal is bred and kept in perfect condition according to special Vedic rules. This does not mean that they are worshiping cows, but because they believe that cows are the second mother of the earth. The first mother breastfeeds her baby as a child, if the mother can not breastfeed for any reason, the second mother does. It is based on the fact that we use natural milk without wanting to harm the animal.’’
Can you briefly talk about the Vedas and tell the story?
‘’Veda literally means knowledge. Knowledge that has come from the top down. Like the Qur’an, which was inspired by the Prophet Muhammad and later became written. Because human beings are so diverse and different consciousnesses are different between different races, different prophets have brought the divine message to the people. The Vedas are one of the sources of self-knowledge that emerged 5,000 years ago as a dialogue between God and a third party in Sanskrit.
The Vedas have been spread throughout history by the devotees and scholars of this science, as we see today. These include Ayurvedic medicine or astronomy, philosophy, religion and yoga. This set is called Veda science. I always had a penchant for yoga and vegetarianism and non-violence, which is why I came here. I think vegetarianism should be accompanied by insight and awareness. Vegetarianism is a stage in which a person grows. Vegetarianism is not an important thing in itself, it is important to get somewhere with vegetarianism.’’
Do you think you are spiritually different from others?
‘’No, I adapt to any group I am in. Although it is a little difficult, but in the end it is possible.’’
Do you follow a special vegetarian diet?
‘’No, I have the same routine as everyone else. I can only say that I love salads. At night, I often eat light food such as bread, cheese and walnuts. But in general, I do not have a precise and specific plan and I have not found any problems in these few years.’’
What do you think about raw vegetarianism?
‘’I agree with raw vegetarianism, but because I have experienced it, I know it is very difficult. I could not match it for a while. But my experience is that it is great for treating many acute illnesses.’’
Which food do you like the most?
‘’Salad! No, I like Iranian food very much, like vegetable broth or fesanjan and … they are all great. I also like spicy Indian food.’’
How successful do you think you have been with such behavior?
‘’I do not know how much, but I know that vegetarianism has become a positive thing for those around me. Everyone says how calm and patient vegetarians are. This is very important to me.
A quick reaction usually leads to the end of the relationship. Discussions are always defensive, and I prefer to answer questions rather than constantly arguing with others.’’
How many people have you made vegetarian?
‘’I have not counted yet. But I can say that I made ten people 100% vegetarian. I have talked to many people about this in general, now I do not know whether these talks have had any results or not.’’
How to teach vegetarianism to others?
‘’In Iran, we must move forward very slowly. We must first establish an emotional and friendly relationship with others. Then present it as a suggestion. Because what I have experienced over the years is that people either strongly resist or, conversely, let go of themselves and accept everything. It is necessary to move forward calmly and logically. When asked, it is clear that they have the necessary grounds. That’s the time to answer. In my opinion, it should not be advertised in this regard.’’
Why do you think others should be aware of vegetarianism?
‘’Because I think this is how peace spreads.’’