The word vegetarian, coined by the founders of the British Vegetarian Society in 1842, comes from the Latin word vegetus, meaning “whole, sound, fresh, or lively,” as in homo vegetus-a mentally and physically vigorous person. The original meaning of the word implies a balanced philosophical and moral sense of life, a lot more than just a diet of vegetables and fruits.
Most vegetarians are people who have understood that to contribute towards a more peaceful society we must first solve the problem of violence in our own hearts. So it’s not surprising that thousands of people from all walks of life have, in their search for truth, become vegetarian. Vegetarianism is an essential step towards a better society, and people who take the time to consider its advantages will be in the company of such thinkers as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Clement of Alexandria, Plutarch, King Asoka, Leonardo da Vinci, Montaigne, Akbar, John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Emanuel Swedenbourg, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Lamartine, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, and Albert Einstein.