Hello and welcome to episode 32 of the Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk food. Does eating non-vegetarian food stop you from seeing God?
Today’s question comes from Prata. Prata says “My friends tell me if I eat non vegetarian food, I will be incurring sin and will not be able to receive the grace of God. Is this true?”
I have one sentence for you: its bullshit!
Whoever said that to you does not know what they are talking about. It’s completely false. The type of food you eat has got nothing to do with God’s grace.
The greatest being
Firstly, Sri Ram Krishna Paramhansa, who is probably the greatest being ever recorded in the history of man used to eat meat ocassionally. He was the only person whose day to day events were record. Christ, Buddha and the others, their day to day events were not recorded. His day to day events were recorded in The Gospel of Sri Ram Krishna Paramhansa and The great Master.
Vivekananda says that Sri Ram Krishna Paramhansa was greater than Ram, Krishna and Christ. Many will not agree but this is a fact. He ate goat curry occasionally and he said something very interesting. A sparrow eats grain most of the time and will mate ten times a day whereas the lion eats meat and mates once in twelve years.
Detachment and discrimination
Vegetarian food alone does not instil the qualities of detachment from emotion and discrimination between reality and illusion. The key is discrimination between what exists and what appears real and detachment from the script. This leads to renunciation.
To facilitate this it is recommended that we eat a wide variety of food and have a balanced diet. During his trip to the United States Vivekananda ate meat and had people telling him that he was not fit to talk about God and he said that he would be happy to eat vegetarian food if someone prepared it for him. Since it wasn’t available at the time he had to eat meat.
Being a vegetarian is a choice. It’s not a requirement. By default we know that there are advantages to both a vegetarian and non-vegetarian diet. The only two things required to see God are discrimination and detachment. These are what lead to renunciation.
Krishna says “He has no yoga, he who eats too much, or does not eat at all, who sleeps too much or does not sleep at all”
This means that the key is in moderation. You should not do too much or too little of anything. He also talks about sattvic food. Food which enhances longevity, increases mental strength and is delectable and appetising is said to be sattvic.
The lion and the cow
Look at the difference between a lion and a cow. The lion is ferocious whereas the cow is docile. You don’t want to be either extreme. We need to find the right balance. In work you can’t be like a carnivore tearing through everyone in your path but you can just sit back like a cow and let everyone else do the work. We need a balance.
So it’s your choice. The only thing you need to have to receive God’s grace is detachment and discrimination. After that it doesn’t really matter what you eat as long as you have a balanced diet.
Ram Krishna says that when we approach the topic of “God” we can often get caught up in the little details and rituals like what way you should be facing or what you should be eating. These things are important but you must also be careful not to lose sight of the bigger picture.
I am a vegetarian but that’s only because that’s how I was raised. I will be the first to say that I prefer to eat this way but that doesn’t mean I am a better person or that a meat eater cannot see God.
Remember your diet is your choice. If you practice detachment and discrimination you will achieve renunciation and you will be basking in God’s graces.
I hope this answers your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.