TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
When it comes to behaviour patterns, as far as the body is concerned, naturally, one must look after the body, for the body, as they say, is a temple of God. I say the body is also God, not only His temple, for the temple is God, and the essence of God in its finest form resides in this temple which is also God. You have the God in the grosser form and the subtler form, for they are one. For who could separate the body from the mind, or the mind from the Spirit, because it is one continuous whole.
This body, too, is holy and godly. Here, to keep the body well, one has to use the mind. Unfortunately, we people attach too much importance to the body and its needs. This should be a happy balance. There should be a happy balance for people who live as householders. Yet you would find that people that have gone beyond the body, beyond the grosser manifestation of God, do not care for the body at all—like Ramana Maharshi had cancer and leukaemia. One of the greatest sages, Ramakrishna, had cancer of the throat. Jesus was a very sickly man, and very few of you know that. He had a very, very hard life. There were no motor cars at that time, and he had to walk from village to village, from town to town, going through deserts and forests and many times without food or water, to fulfil his mission. Thanks to God, about half a dozen women around that loved him so much could support him for his meagre wants and needs. At least he could have a cloak and something to wear, something to eat. That is how he lived. But he did not care so much for the body, or else he would not have offered it up to the cross. Because he knew that the Spirit within me is immortal; my Father and I are one, eternal, forever infinite. What is this body?
All these great sages and I am more versed in the Eastern philosophies than the Western philosophies, although I have made a relatively comprehensive study of these things. And then, of course, I do not depend on what I have read in books; it is a long time already that I have burned up the books. Speaking figuratively, you do not need books. Because the books only prevail on the mind level, not on the Heart level, the level from which I function, from the Heart level. But books are necessary for people to learn. Let the mind be clarified, good reading is needed, and reading is also essential to see how others have presented the same truths that I present. Therefore, it is necessary for me too.
When it comes to the body, only those enlightened souls could neglect their bodies and not worry about the body. But for us around here, the body has to be treated with care. What is the body? What composes the body? Food. You are nothing else as you are sitting there but food. You are food; that is all that you are. Because what makes your bones, what makes your blood, what makes your muscles? Nothing but food. The shell is nothing but food, and you are replenishing the life in you with food because that very food and water and the air you breathe contain the vital force called Prana. That keeps you alive. So, the quality of food that one consumes determines the body you have.
DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF
There is one question always asked of me, must I eat meat or give up meat? I say, look, do not let that bother you. Eat meat if you want to. Eat fish if you want to. It is okay. When your body reaches the state of perhaps greater refinement, that is not the right word, though; language is so limiting for me, I could never really express through language what I would like to say. Nevertheless, through spiritual practices, as the body becomes more and more refined through spiritual practices, the need for grosser foods becomes less and less because the body does not want to take them. But do not force yourself, and cut yourself off the everyday habits because it will have a bothersome effect upon your nervous system if you just cut it off.
But one thing is sure if you would like to do something really practical about it if you eat meat foods three times a day, and I know people who do: bacon and eggs in the morning, hamburger for lunch, then in the evening stew or a roast, meat, meat, meat, meat. Some people eat meat seven times a week. So, I would suggest, and this is entirely up to you, to cut it down slowly if you wish. If you eat meat seven times a week, cut it down to six. Do meditational practices, then cut it down to five after a while, then to four, then to three. The time will come when you will not require grosser foods anymore, and there could come a time when you will not need food anymore. But that is if you live in the Himalayas. You cannot do it here, in this worldly life in this rat race and cat race that in which we are involved. The body needs that sustenance. Not many of them left today, but you would have some yogis that could live in the Himalayas and refuel themselves by just drawing in Prana, that life force, and keeping their bodies going – this is possible!
THE MIND IS CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE BODY
The other significant effect that food has upon a person is this, that the mind, as I said before, is closely connected with the body. You cannot separate the mind from the body, one exists in a grosser form, and one exists in a finer form. When food is imbibed into the system or put into the system, the very essence of the food has a greater effect upon the mind than the body. Here, too, the trinity comes in; and everything has a trinity involved, everything. Here too, in the mind, we have the gunas that we speak about: tamas, rajas, and sattva. So, if you eat predominantly tamasic food, which would include flesh food and things, then your thinking does become tamasic. If you eat rajasic food, then your thinking also assumes a rajasic quality. If you eat sattvic food, your mind also assumes a sattvic quality, a purer quality that also helps get rid of negativity. The thoughts become subtle and more refined.
WE ARE HOUSEHOLDERS
There are movements in this world, and I think it is prevalent here to some measure in America, where they have four main principles before they initiate you: one is that you must become a total vegetarian; two, you must abstain from sex; three, you must abstain from alcohol; and the fourth one is poverty. And they make it a must.
It is a movement from the East, from India, and these things must be practiced for at least six months before you can be initiated into this movement. I know some of these people from Cape Town, where I came from, who belong to this movement. They are such nervous wrecks. They have such total wrecks: total celibacy, total vegetarianism, total this, total that.
We are householders; we need these things, and anything in moderation is fine. What is wrong with it? You go out to dinner, and over dinner, with your hosts, you have a little glass of wine, nothing wrong with it, because the toxins contained in the chemicals in that glass of wine can be got rid of in one sneeze. Life must be lived in a balanced way. People must not become faddists and fanatics.
We can consciously decrease the intake of things we feel that we are partaking too much of. You see how practical it is. As I have been saying, the profound philosophies are of no use if they remain on the mind level. This must be brought down to practical day to day living, and that is how we experience the living God because there is nothing alive but God. We are all dead until we realise that this body, this mind, and the Spirit are God. Until then, we are dead. We are just functional beings, little pawns on the chess board moved around by the master, the mastermind, which is He. He knows his plan. He knows his creation. He knows his manifestation, and he knows the place of every atom in this universe. No one can move one atom from here to there without that force, without that Power, without that Grace.
MAN MUST PROGRESS BY HIMSELF
Our food definitely affects the mind. I have made a deep study of people. I have always been interested in psychology, psychiatry, and the subjects. There is quite a vast amount of study behind me. They find that people that adhere to fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and nuts and things like that are of a quieter mind. I have found this by experimenting and testing many people, and these tests have been done by me and collaborated by scientists and others. It has been so; they have a quieter mind, a cleaner mind; and if one does that backed up with spiritual practices, the progress on the path of evolution becomes faster.
I have one principle: I would never force anyone into anything against their will. Man must progress by himself. He has to walk on his own two feet. He has to; the guru can only show the way, perhaps. The guru does not shine the torch upon you; he shines the torch upon the path. You could fall in the potholes, or you could skirt them.
KEEP THE BODY FIT
To repeat, one also has to look after the body with proper exercise to keep the body well, because if you do not keep your body well, you cannot perform or do your work well. Then, of course, those spiritual beings who do not care for the body are a species of their own, a different class. Yoga asanas will give exercises more to the internal organs than to the external muscles. It is good for people to practice yoga, but a bit of running and jogging and tennis playing and cricket and football for the muscles will be fine. Nothing wrong. Keep the body fit.
KEEP THE MIND ALERT AND WELL-TUNED
But more important is the mind to keep it alert and well-tuned. For tamasic food has the effect of dulling the mind, while sattvic food makes the mind more alert, more aware. It depends upon the person entirely, depends upon one’s temperament. As one goes deeper and deeper into spiritual practices and meditation, which has an effect of developing awareness of the mind, the most crucial part is the unfolding of the Heart, the Spirit. But it also gives one greater and greater awareness. To have greater and greater awareness, meditation gives the mind greater and greater refinement to conceive and perceive the vastness, greater and greater vastness, which means expansion of awareness. See how simple it is.
With these practices, our need for grosser things becomes less and less and less. It is a gradual process. If you study animals, the more highly developed animals are vegetarians. They are, you know. That is how the body interacts. That is how the body has to be kept fit: through exercise and good food, wholesome food. If I give talks like these around at McDonald’s, they will lose all their business.
OUR VIBRATIONS AFFECT THE FOOD
It is all in our hands. Man has the free will to do the things that he wants to do. If a person is a hefty meat eater, I would recommend that he changes over to lighter meats, and it is not difficult. Instead of pork and beef, somewhat lighter meats like lamb and chicken are lighter meats until he does not need that anymore. Fish is not so bad at all. For example, in India, at all the Ramakrishna ashrams, fish is allowed. It is not heavy food – it is easily digestible, although I do not eat fish, not because I do not want to, but I just cannot. It does not agree with my system. I do not. I am so sensitive that if food is cooked for me without love, it upsets my whole system. I get gaseous and bilious and things like that. You see how much the vibrations of the person touching the food effects the food.
For example, if a wife cooks dinner for her husband with all that love, I am cooking this for my beloved; that food is excellent. Therefore, I have a habit, I mean when I am on trips and tours, you have got to eat and sustain yourself, so, this, that, and the other. But at home base, there are only two or three people or friends whose home I would eat at, and I get tons of invitations all the time.
I am very sensitive. If food is cooked for me as a chore or some labour, then it upsets my system. Therefore, I have to ask Doug to buy me some fruit salts cleanser. So even in the food you eat, the food must be cooked and filled and permeated with love because it is an offering. If I have to cook food for you, there would be more love in it than food. Because vibrations have an effect, and the vibrations of love are always most powerful. They can be felt. When food is cooked with love, you do not have the heaviness in the stomach; you feel light, you feel nice because you have eaten food, but you have eaten love. You see how beautiful it is.
THE SPIRIT IS NOT AFFECTED
I am not against meat-eating. No. The only thing is that the progress would be slower than for those that are not eating meat. Nothing wrong with it, and if a person does meditation regularly, it sheds off the toxins and things.
I was told this by a lady who lives in Durban, which is about thirteen hundred miles from Cape Town. She is the head of the vegetarian society there. She tells me, “Guruji, have you ever been to an abattoir?” I say, “Thank God, no! I do not think I would be able to stand it.”
Abattoir is where they slaughter cattle and sheep and all that. She was describing this to me so graphically. She says the cattle are herded in, or the sheep are herded in, and they are so sensitive that they could sense that they are on the verge of being killed. They could sense that; animals are very sensitive. They could sense that, and then, of course, when they approach the guillotine, she says, if you watch their faces, such fear comes upon their face, and that very fear sets off so much adrenaline into the system, which poisons the meat to a certain extent. It makes the meat more toxic and affects the human system that imbibes the meat. These are things told to me. Let me tell you that only ten per cent of India is vegetarian. Ninety percent is meatatarian.
So, carry on, lessen a little bit, slowly, gradually if you want to until you reach the stage where the body can do what it wants to do. You are apart, unaffected because the meat a person eats does not affect the Spirit, and neither the vegetables. Because the Spirit stands on its own, pure, and as the Bhagavad Gita would say, water cannot wet it, fire cannot burn it; it is indestructible, unstained, untainted.
IF TWO ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, I AM THERE
That is the region where we want to dwell. Not for the half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening only but drawing from that reservoir of energy and allowing it to permeate the other twenty-three hours of the day. Then life becomes smoother and happier, without even seeking happiness. It just becomes happier, smoother, harmonious. Then people like us gather together in that one-pointedness to follow the path of unfoldment, and I can see on people’s faces the love, the oneness, that togetherness, that family feeling that is there that generates a beautiful force.
One stick can easily be broken, as that little story goes, but a bundle of sticks is hard to break. And that is how people develop. For is it not said that if two are gathered in my name, I am there. These scriptural injunctions are very true but so little understood. How does this work: when two are gathered in my name, I am there? How does it work? Because two people are combining their Spiritual Selves – when they think of Divinity, they allow the flow within themselves to mingle with the flow with the other person they have regarded to be separate, and they find this oneness. And oneness is Divinity, without a second.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang US 1980 – 14