Will it be a bad karma on my side if I run for safety when I see a mob or somebody assaulting another?

Safeguarding oneself from any form of physical hurt is a natural human instinct. Most people have this tendency to run away for personal safety when seeing a mob or somebody assaulting another.

Particularly when we are not part of the mob fury or when the cause of someone assaulting another is unknown, I would say it is better to run away rather than trying to interfere. It may be considered selfish or cowardly. I would still personally believe that it is ‘karma neutral’. It means you would neither acquire bad karma or good karma.

But if you are a policeman and you try to run for your safety, then it is definitely adharma and you will acquire bad karma.

If the mob is trying to molest a girl and the girl is appealing for our help, then our running away selfishly will have an element of adharma in it and we will acquire bad karma, I think.

Suppose the person getting attacked is a known person and there is injustice in that attack, then too it would be adharma to run away without doing something to protect or support him.

Suppose we are forced to be part of the mob (because of our allegiance to a community, caste, political party or a group of vested interests) and the mob suddenly turns violent; in this case, if our personal ethos is against indulging in mob violence, then I would say running away is not adharma and it will not add bad karma to us.


Do Hindu scriptures prohibit eating non-veg? Is it true that even Brahmins were non-vegetarians in the distant past?

Eating non-veg is NOT prohibited in Hinduism. Actually,  the concept of vegetarianism as an extension of non-violence (in the matter of eating) came to Hinduism from Jainism/ Buddhism.

In any case, non-violence is part of ‘yama’ (right practices) for a Hindu spiritual aspirant and consequently, vegetarianism is part and parcel of it. Most Hindu spiritual masters do encourage vegetarianism only.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, being a Bengali Brahmin was eating fish (since fish is not strictly treated as non-veg by Bengalis). During his early days in Dakshineswar temple, he was reportedly eating goat’s meat too coming from Temple kitchen as prasad (off the goats offered as sacrifice to Bhavatarnini Kali) but later years, he stopped eating it. However, he has said that sacrificing goat to Kali (and eating it as prasad) on specific occasions was permitted as per Tantra scriptures.

Since Brahmins by nature and nurture were more satvic, they easily adopted to vegetarianism, even though Brahmins too were non-vegetarians in the distant past, as we could see in Mahabharata. When Padadvas were in exile, living in the forests, several Brahmins were staying with the Pandavas and giving them company in the forest. Pandava’s priest Dhoumya wanted to give a grand feast to these Brahmins one day and he requested Pandavas to hunt lots of animals and bring them for cooking and serving to these brahmins. It was when Pandavas went for this hunting that the King Jayatratha tried to misbehave with Draupati who was alone.

Interestingly, at a later time, there is a conversation that Yudhishtra has with his brothers. He says that he had a dream in which the animals living in that specific segment of forest came and pleaded to him that their population was fast dwindling and prayed to him to save their kith and kin! Yudhishtra, then decides to move to another forest from there. So much of eating of meat by Yudhishtra and bros along with their team of servants and the brahmins giving them company!