Is Honey Non-Vegetarian?
Question : Is honey a non-vegetarian product?
Sage TGN : Honey is an insect-product and hence per se non-vegetarian.
In a beehive there is one queen-bee, which is slumbering most of the time; and there are hundreds of worker-bees that do the fetching and carrying. These worker-bees buzz out at daybreak in different directions in order to collect nectar from flowers. Nectar is the raw material and honey is only the finished product. Just an infinitesimal quantity of nectar is to be found in a flower, which the bee ingests. In return the bee spreads the pollen of the plant and thus renders service in helping for the continuity of the plant-species.
After labouring for hours, the bee stores the nectar in the hive where it is processed through months in order to be converted into the golden-hued honey.
Wily man surveys the beehive high up on the tree or a promontory. When the hive starts dripping, that is the indication of fullness and man stokes a fire underneath on the ground. The intense heat and smoke billowing upwards drive away the bees and even kill many of them. The queen bee inside is now identified, taken out and placed in a clod of beeswax on the branch of another tree. The evicted worker bees instinctively make a beeline to their ruler and they lose no time in commencing to construct another hive, cell by cell, in the new location.
The honeycombs in the deserted hive are now taken out and squeezed to yield their contents into a vessel. Eggs and embryos of the bees also get crushed. The honey thus collected is then filtered and bottled to reach your table.
The bees had toiled to collect and process the nectar for their own food-requirements and man robs them of the fruit of their hard labour, apart from inflicting pain and death on the innocent insects.
If you value your spiritual progress, eschew honey.
After listening to me on this topic in some of our recent programmes, many persons have forsworn honey. May their tribe increase!