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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vegetarian Diet and Following Sant Mat, the Path of the Masters

Vegetarian Diet and Following Sant Mat, the Path of the Masters

Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Diet

The following, on the reason why we advocate following the vegetarian diet, is by Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj from the book, The Harmony of All Religions, published by Maharshi Mehi Ashram:

Sant Sevi Ji: The saints have addressed the sin of violence with particular attention to the foods which are eaten. Foods which are produced by killing living beings, as well as foods which are not pure and fresh, are considered tamasic. Consumption of these is prohibited by the teachings of the saints. This includes animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs. These foods inhibit the clarity of the mind and the health of the body. There is an old saying: "Whatever kind of food we take in, its properties will also fill our mind." A parallel saying is "Whatever we eat, just so will our breath smell [indicates the visible effect of food]."

Further, Kabir Sahab says: "The kind of food and drink which we consume directly influences how our mind will become. Even the quality of water which we drink will influence our speech."

These words of Kabir Sahib are not merely rhetorical conjecture, but represent direct experience. Drink one glass of milk and observe how your mind is affected. Next, drink a glass of wine and observe how the mind is affected. Or, observe the effect of eating a sweet in comparison to the effect of taking a very small dose of opium. In this way, you can see for yourself how our mind is affected by what we ingest. These are extreme examples, with noticeable effects. But even when the effect is subtle and barely noticeable, we are nevertheless affected by the food we consume.

A great yogi named Bhupendranath Ji Sanyal has said: "It is preferable to always avoid the consumption of flesh and fish. This is because in the very cells of these animals there might be bad diseases. But even more significantly, the natural vibration of these creatures is absorbed into the blood. This can create agitation and even sickness, and will destroy the natural calmness of the mind. Also, one must not take intoxicants, as this is a great breach of the spiritual path and natural duty (dharma). [Under the influence of intoxicants people are unable to discern the right path of action]."

Therefore, we must be disciplined in what we eat and drink, and by being disciplined, our wealth and spiritual path are protected. This world becomes agreeable, and so does the next world, since we won't be incurring the karmas from killing other living beings. (Sant SeviJi)

Below is from an article I wrote in 1999, from a section on the vegetarian diet and Sant Mat

All past and present Masters of Sant Mat advocate following the vegetarian diet. In fact, being vegetarian it is a requirement in order to be initiated into the meditation practice of Sant Mat, which is called Surat Shabd Yoga, Meditation upon the inner Light and Sound of God.

Sant Mat is a vegetarian Path for mystical, spiritual, and theological reasons. The Masters teach that foods are of three kids: Satvik, Rajsik, and Tamsik. This last category of foods, which includes all flesh foods, is to be completely avoided. Satvik, the first category, includes: grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and dairy. Satvik foods are considered by Mystics to promote relaxation, meditation, and spiritual experience.

The bad karma and other negative effects of flesh-eating darkens one's vision of inner Light, interfering with meditation. It's interesting to notice that the Satvik diet of Sant Mat, of Hinduism and the Yoga Philosophy of India is also: the life-extension diet, the anti-cancer diet, the diet for antioxidants and most of the other plant-based nutrients, AND the diet of the Light & Sound mystics, East and West.

The notion that vegetarianism is "cultural" and confined mostly to India is the inaccurate assumption of some. It is true that many conventional world religions here in the West condone flesh-eating, but if you do some comparative mysticism you'll soon discover that the esoteric traditions which have practiced Light mysticism, Sound mysticism, and Ascension mysticism through higher planes of heavens are all in agreement about the need for contemplative mystics to abstain from the flesh. The list of Western vegetarian paths includes: Pythagoreans, followers of the Hermetic philosophy of Egypt, the Sethians, Theraputae, Essenes (and other Light-mystics within Judaism), the original Jewish Christians called Ebionites (see The Gospel of Jesus -- In Search of His Original Teachings , John Davidson, Element Books), the Gnostic religions, Manichaeans, some Catholic monasteries, monasteries of the Orthodox Church -- including the great mystery school atop Mount Athos in Greece, and the Sufi mystics of Islam who practice Zikar of the Spirit, Light, and Sound. Most every path that advocates a present-tense spirituality about re-entering Paradise or going Back to Eden during this life teaches vegetarianism.

Master Kirpal Singh (Sant Mat Master): "Those who take up the practices concerning the lower centers in the body, do take meat -- the Mohammedans and people of other religions also. But those who are anxious to rise above body consciousness and go into the Beyond have of necessity to eschew all that. This is the Path I have put before you. Liberation or salvation is something which starts only when you rise above body consciousness. For that reason, vegetarianism is the first essential." (The Night is a Jungle, published by Ruhani Satsang, also Sant Bani Ashram, and Science of Spirituality)

Guru Kabir says, "The man who eats meat is a demon in human form. Keep away from him -- his company will ruin your meditation." (Kabir: the Weaver of God's Name , RS Books, Radha Soami Satsang Beas) The harshest words that Kabir ever spoke were directed against the slaughter or consumption of innocent animals.

A Western Master of Sound & Light by the name of Pythagoras once said, "Our Earth has abundance of such pure and harmless foods and there is no need for us to partake of meals for which blood has to be shed and innocent life sacrificed."

Jai Guru, Naamaste',