Question: In connection with your meditation, do you follow any dietary rules, and if so, what are they?

Sri Chinmoy: I do follow some rules of diet in connection with my meditation. I have a few hundred students, disciples, all over the world and I tell them that they have to be vegetarian (it really is very simple — anybody can do it), because if they eat vegetables, the mild qualities of vegetables will not interfere with their meditation. In our spiritual life, when we meditate, very often we feel an inner agitation or excitement. When we eat meat, our inner vibrations become excited and this excitement we have to conquer. We eat meat; the quality, the propensity, the nature of the animal, enters into us. We see the animal right in front of us. We see how animals behave, how they quarrel and fight. The animal consciousness is aggressive, damaging and destructive. So it is advisable for the sincere aspiring seekers to be vegetarian.

Then again, some people are of the opinion that it is helpful to fast quite often in order to purify themselves. Here I say that purity does not come by constant fasting. It is impossible. You see, a snake eats only twice a year. I don’t think a snake is purer than anybody here on earth in the realm of consciousness. So we have to eat normally. If we fast once in a blue moon, it will help us to purify our outer aggressions, outer greed. But to fast quite often, or on alternate days, is foolishness.

So to come back to your question about diet, I wish to say that if you are a vegetarian, then you are helping your inner being or the aspirant in you to strengthen your own existence. Inwardly, you are praying and meditating and concentrating. Outwardly, the food that you are taking from Mother Earth can also provide tremendous energy. You will get not only energy, but also aspiration. When we look at nature, when we look at a tree, we get inspiration and aspiration. Similarly, when we see the vegetable kingdom around us, we also get inspiration and aspiration.

Most spiritual seekers have come to the conclusion that a vegetarian is in the best position to make quick progress in the spiritual life. Of course, along with a vegetarian diet, one must practise spirituality, Yoga. Only then can one make considerable progress. Otherwise, there are many people on earth who are vegetarians. In India, for example, the Hindu widows do not eat meat, fish and so forth. All Indian widows are not God-realised souls. Impossible. So, if we just abstain from eating meat and fish, we are not qualified to reach the highest truth or light. It is impossible. Along with our aspiration, our inner cry, if we have vegetarian diet, then it adds to our inner aspiration. So, whatever adds to our inner aspiration we must try to adopt in our day-to-day life.