Friday, September 06, 2013

6 - Spirituality and a Vegetarian Diet

Question: I have been on the path of spirituality for many years now and been a lacto-vegetarian for my whole life.
I have met and spoken to many people who are on the path of spirituality who suggests that vegetarianism is the way to be more spiritually evolved and of course to have compassion for all living beings.
My question is, is the level of spiritual development depends on what we eat? I have been reading books written by Torkom for many years apart from reading books by many other authors across the globe, I didn’t find any book which has details about eating ethics. Hence, I am very curious about the eating ethics that one should follow to lead a more spiritual and compassionate life.

Gita Answer: Yes, first, being a vegetarian is a good choice, but in itself, it does not make you spiritual or make you more spiritually evolved. Being spiritual and spiritually evolved is a comprehensive inner and outer approach to all of your life that includes what you eat and a whole lot more. Spirituality is a level of consciousness where you have made a steady and definite shift toward a higher level of integrity and beingness.
“When you think of spirituality think about a tree, how the tree grows….The tree puts down many, many roots….there is a balance between the roots and branches….To have a balanced consciousness, you must have spirituality in the inner world, and spirituality in the outer world….Your spirituality must be grounded or else your spirituality remains suspended in the air. On one side you must further the expansion of your consciousness, and on the other side you must show the fruits of the expansion of consciousness.” (Consciousness Vol. 1, p. 278).

What we eat has an influence on how we feel and how our physical, emotional, and mental bodies are built. What we eat attracts similar energies to us and attracts us to similar levels of consciousness in the physical and subtle worlds.

When you make dietary choices based on facts and enlightened understanding, and when your bodies are ready, you can eat simply and be very healthy and energetic. Our outer life choices depend on the level of our consciousness and the focus of our consciousness. When that shifts, so do all our outer habits, including what we eat, how we express our feelings and thoughts, and the many choices we make every day.

There is now a growing body of evidence from the medical community that supports a Vegan diet.  See for example the works of Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.  See especially the movie “Forks into Knives.” There are also advanced brain studies that show how certain foods and behaviors affect the health of our brain and nervous system. I am a fan of these studies and feel they are very good to learn about.

As you expand in consciousness, then you will naturally make the right food choices based on health needs and ethical consideration for all of life. You will grow in compassion toward all of life. Whatever you choose to eat or drink, it will be part of a comprehensive plan that is part of your striving toward perfection. This includes a “diet” for all your bodies such as removing base tendencies from the physical body; removing base tendencies from the emotional body; and removing base tendencies from the mental body. What are these? Gluttony, addictions to drugs and alcohol and risky behaviors; emotional self-centeredness and fanaticism; mental self-centeredness, illusions and glamors and an inflated sense of self-righteousness. These are all the conditions that “spiritual” people may fall into without seeing it. We have all known Vegan and Vegetarian people who do not eat meat but are addicted to so many other toxic things!

Food choices should be made through your physical brain, the emotions, and the mind all acting in concert. Once you shift your consciousness to focus on higher centers in your bodies, your choices become simple and natural toward all of life. As you set yourself on a right course in life, you will see that all you do will be in line with your true spiritual development. This includes physical disciplines as well as emotional and mental disciplines. A comprehensive approach will take you to a new level of spiritual development.

Be non-judgmental of others and their choices of foods. Do not criticize others for what they eat, even in your thoughts. We poison through our feelings, words, and thoughts too! Spirituality concerns instilling our soul’s qualities into our daily life expressions.

I personally believe a Vegetarian or Vegan diet that is healthy and well planned is the best choice. I also believe that the entire humanity and the planet will be healthier and suffer less from debilitating illnesses if people consumed less animal products as well as less sugar and salt! When we clean up what we consume, in every way, we will see a growing respect for all of life, all of resources, and a sane attitude toward all existence.

A clear and healthy body and brain allows you to study, think, meditate, and serve in the most efficient manner. Serious students need to make serious choices in life and it needs a comprehensive plan that is taken one step at a time.

With love and dedication,

Here are some wonderful quotes on the subject of diet and eating ethics from three Wise Teachers:

“No set diet could be entirely correct for a group of people on differing rays, of different temperaments and equipment and at various ages.  Individuals are every one of them unlike on some points; they require to find out what it is that they, as individuals, need, in what manner their bodily requirements can best be met, and what type of substances can enable them best to serve.  Each person must find this out for himself.  There is no group diet.  No enforced elimination of meat is required or strict vegetarian diet compulsory.  There are phases of life and sometimes entire incarnations wherein an aspirant subjects himself to a discipline of food, just as there may be other phases or an entire life wherein a strict celibacy is temporarily enforced.  But there are other life cycles and incarnations wherein the disciple's interest and his service lie in other directions.  There are later incarnations where there is no constant thought about the physical body, and a man works free of the diet complex and lives without concentration upon the form life, eating that food which is available and upon which he can best sustain his life efficiency.  In preparation for certain initiations, a vegetable diet has in the past been deemed essential.  But this may not always be the case, and many disciples prematurely regard themselves as in preparation for initiation.” (Esoteric Healing by A. A. Bailey, p. 334.)

“Refinement of the heart predicates the eschewal of a meat diet; furthermore an understanding of the Subtle World not only indicates the harm of assimilating decaying products but also reveals what neighbors decomposition attracts. Truly, it is difficult to decide where lies the greatest harm from the assimilation of meat or from attraction by meat of undesirable guests. Even the dried and smoked meats, which are relatively less harmful, nevertheless, by their odor, attract hungry ones from the Subtle World, and if they are welcomed by abominable speech, the most harmful associations result. As you have heard, many partake of food in silence, or accompany it by worthy conversation. Of course, no decay is permissible, even vegetables must not be permitted to decompose. People need little:
two fruits, some cereal, and milk. Thus one not only may be purified internally but also rid oneself of many neighbors. Is it not necessary for the physicians who study the means of fighting cancer and gallstones to pay attention to this elementary prophylaxis? People speak of burning incense and the use of perfumes. But certain poisons are aromatic and kill the consciousness! This study also should not be forgotten.” (Agni Yoga Society, Heart, paragraph 331.)

 “To function on the subtle planes, one must develop healthier bodies in each incarnation. The correct foods are very important for the astral and physical bodies. For the mental body, the best nourishment is virtues, pure thinking, strong aspiration, and devotion.
“A vegetarian diet builds the subtle body. If one eats predominantly vegetables for seven years, his entire system changes and he develops a new astral body.
“Meat damages the astral body: the influence of blood passes into it, inviting low entities which surround and impress low animalistic urges, drives, and actions into it.” (OtherWorlds by Torkom Saraydarian, pages 252-253.)

See also Torkom’s little charming book The Unusual Court. You will be surprised what animals will say about us if we could only hear them!

Gita’s Blog is intended for spiritual insights and is not intended to give medical or dietary advice. If you have diet and health issues, ask a professional for the course best suited for you.

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Anonymous said...

At last some common sense and intelligent responses on diet.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Good Wisdom re diet and Spirituality.

A great Teacher years ago told me the Mental Diet was the most important diet in your life when I was hung up on the Vegetarian physical diet! Although now I am lacto vegetarian for the most part!

I truly resonated with what you said that our true Spiritual Level is within and will dictate the right choices for the bodies and also that it is how you act and respond on every level of life on the Physical Plane that creates the balance and integration between the Inner Light and the Outer Personality Life. Ultimately we make more refined wise outer choices because of our Inner Guidance!

Thank you again! Well said!!!

Much Love,

SreeShank said...

Thanks you Gita ma'am for this wonderful article.

This explanation on how and why a person chooses a vegetarian diet is the best explanation I have come across till date.

There is so much science and depth in this article that one can clearly see and understand the logic and reason behind choosing vegetarian diet.

This understanding I believe is going to be the motivating factor for one to naturally become a Vegetarian.

Once again thank you Gita ma'am for this beautiful article.

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