Question: How do the animal qualities that we get from meat actually affect us? What is the process?

Sri Chinmoy: Inside us there are always some negative forces. When negative forces from the outer world — restlessness, wrong thoughts and emotional urges — enter into us, immediately the unlit emotion that we already have in the lower vital comes to the fore and responds to the wrong forces that have entered into us. Then the negative forces that are inside and the wrong forces that are coming from the outside join together and we become their victim.

Restlessness, negative forces, vital forces have their root in the navel. When we concentrate on the navel for five minutes, our will becomes powerful and direct like an arrow, and the wrong forces come under our control. They see the power of our concentration: they see that we are going to cut them asunder if they create any problems. If we can keep the wrong forces that are already inside us under control, then the forces that come from eating meat will not be able to cause restlessness.

But I wish all my disciples eventually to stop eating meat. If you do, your aspiration will be better. Otherwise, what happens is that you generally do not get subtle experiences, subtle visions, subtle realisations. Of course, there were some spiritual Masters like Vivekananda and others who did eat meat. But they could do it because they were like roaring lions in the spiritual world. They were not disturbed by the forces within the meat.

I do not want to impose a strict vegetarian diet on my disciples; it is a matter of individual choice. And if a doctor advises someone that it is absolutely necessary for him to eat meat and fish for a short period of time, he has to do it. But, in general, if you want the Absolute, the Highest, Self-realisation, you should stop eating meat and fish. If you can, do it today. If it takes one year or ten years or twenty years, do it gradually. Once you are realised, you can eat meat and fish if you want. But right now I must say that the animal consciousness in meat will not allow the sincere, dedicated aspirant to enter into the highest and deepest consciousness.