Question: Does meditation require fasting or can you do it after eating?

Sri Chinmoy: If you want to have a deep meditation, a meditation of the highest order, you should not try to meditate just after eating a large meal. We have thousands of subtle nerves, spiritual nerves in our bodies. These nerves become heavy after a big meal and will not permit us to have the highest type of meditation. So it is always advisable to meditate on an empty stomach. If you want to have a most successful meditation, you should wait for at least an hour and a half or two hours after having a meal. But if you are really pinched with hunger when you go to meditate, your meditation will not be satisfactory. Your hunger, like a monkey, will constantly pinch you. You have to feed the monkey to quiet him for a few minutes. It is advisable at that time to have just a glass of milk or juice before meditating. This will not ruin your meditation.

And if you have meditated properly for half an hour or an hour, wait for at least fifteen minutes or an half hour before having a meal, because the result of the meditation should be assimilated before you enter into the world of food. During that half hour, you can move around or read if you like. You may take a very small quantity of milk, soup or juice, but do not immediately eat a full meal. If you want to make a choice between meditation before the meal or after the meal, I always advise the seeker to meditate before the meal. Meditate for half an hour or so, then take fifteen minutes rest, and then eat. In that way the result of the meditation will be assimilated. But if you want to meditate after eating, even if you take an hour and a half rest, sometimes a lethargic consciousness will stand in the way of your highest meditation.

But fasting, as you use the term, is not necessary for God-realisation. The Buddha tried that method. He adopted an austere life but found that it was of no use, so he embraced the middle path. By fasting we can purify ourselves to some extent. Once a week, or once a month, we can fast to purify our existence of outer aggressions and greed. But by fasting every day we approach death rather than God, who is All-Life. Fasting is not the answer. The answer is constant meditation, soulful meditation, unreserved love for God and unconditional surrender to God.