Question: You are a vegetarian. Is being a vegetarian essential in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: At the age of twelve I became a strict vegetarian. Being a vegetarian is not part of the tradition that I follow, and it is not essential for the spiritual life. However, I do feel that it can be of considerable help to us.

If we eat meat and fish, then the restless and aggressive qualities of the animal kingdom will enter into us. If our minds or other parts of our being are restless and aggressive, then we cannot have powerful and peaceful meditations. But if we eat only vegetables, then the mild qualities of the vegetable kingdom will enter into us and we will find it easier to have high and deep meditations. Therefore, being a vegetarian can be of considerable benefit to a seeker.

But I cannot say that if someone is not a strict vegetarian, he will not have high experiences or that God-realisation will always remain a far cry. No, it is not true. In the past there were great spiritual figures who ate meat and fish; even now there are spiritual figures who do so, and their lofty experiences and sublime realisations cannot be questioned. But I feel that it is good for people to adopt in their lives anything that can help them make fast, faster, fastest progress.

A vegetarian diet is of benefit to a sincere God-seeker, but it is not essential.