Question: I find that when I eat meat I cannot meditate very well; I feel restless. But if I don't eat meat, I feel very weak.

Sri Chinmoy: You know very well that animals are restless, aggressive, destructive and unevolved. We have transcended the animal consciousness to some extent, and we have come out of the animal kingdom. We are only one step ahead on the ladder of evolution, but the difference between an animal and a human being is very vast. Now, when you eat something, naturally you will absorb the qualities of that thing. What you have within you will unavoidably manifest itself outwardly in some way. When you eat meat, the immediate result is restlessness, aggressive and destructive impulses and thoughts, and lowering of the consciousness.

It is not true, however, that if you do not eat meat you will lose strength, power or energy. There are millions of people on earth who do not eat meat, but who are physically very strong and healthy. You may say that your constitution is different from theirs, but I wish to say that in God's creation there is something called inner food. What is this food? It is Peace, Light, Bliss and all other divine, fulfilling qualities. When you aspire properly, concentrate properly, meditate properly, you will be able to draw this inner food into your body. It may take quite a number of years for you to attain this degree of inner proficiency, but in the meantime try to go deep within and see what actually gives you most of your strength. I have known people to claim it is meat that gives them strength, but when they go deep within, they discover that it is their own feeling and idea about meat that is giving them strength. You can change that idea and feel that it is not meat but the spiritual energy pervading your body that gives you strength. That energy comes from meditation and aspiration as well as from proper nourishment. The strength you get from aspiration and meditation is infinitely more powerful than the strength you get from meat and fish, so these things can easily be omitted from your diet.

You are practising meditation most sincerely and most devotedly. What you have to do is get rid of the idea that meat gives you strength. That idea is so deeply rooted in your mind that now you cannot separate yourself from it. But the moment you are totally freed from that idea, you will see that it is not principally meat that gives you strength; it is wholesome food in general, as well as the proper mental attitude and spiritual aspiration.