This Blog gives an insight into spiritual aspects of food, cooking and the vegetarian life-style in general.
It is taken from the Brochure “Vegetarian Essentials” that will be published soon.
Enjoy reading and have a wonderful week!
Question: What role does the vegetarian diet play in your teachings?
Sri Chinmoy: In my teachings the vegetarian diet plays a most important role. In order to become pure, a vegetarian diet helps us considerably. Purity is of paramount importance in our spiritual life. This purity we must establish in the physical, the vital and the mental. When we eat meat, fish and so forth, the aggressive, animal consciousness enters into us. Our nerves become agitated; we unconsciously become restless and aggressive. The mild qualities of vegetables, on the other hand, help us to establish in our inner life as well as in our outer life, the qualities of sweetness, softness, simplicity and purity.
But again, if you ask me whether by becoming a strict vegetarian you can realise God or not, then I would say “No,” a definite “No.” There are millions and millions of people on earth who are strict vegetarians, but I don’t think there are millions and millions of God-realised souls on earth. For God-realisation we need aspiration. But in answering your question, I wish to say that it is always advisable, if possible, to have a vegetarian diet in order to further one’s progress in the inner discipline, so that one can feel that even the body, with its purity, can help one’s inner aspiration to become more intense and more soulful.
Source: Sri Chinmoy, Earth’s Cry Meets Heaven’s Smile, Book I, San Juan, Puerto Rico: Aum Press, 1974, p. 115.
Question: Why should we meditate on our food before eating it?
Sri Chinmoy: Before eating, it is obligatory to meditate. Before doing anything it is advisable for a spiritual person to meditate, to think of the Inner Pilot, the Supreme. The Supreme comes before everything we do, He is in the middle of everything we do, and He is at the end of everything we do. If we meditate before we eat, then His Compassion descends on us, and His Compassion is nothing short of energising power. So, along with the material food, if we can receive energising power, then naturally we will get double benefit from the food.
Source: Sri Chinmoy, Secrets of the Inner World, New York: Agni Press, 1980, pp. 46-47.
Question: How can we always feel that food is God?
Sri Chinmoy: When you pray and meditate, you are bound to feel that you are devouring God’s peace, love and light. Again, when you are eating material food, if you feel that this food is keeping you alive and in good health, which enables you to pray and meditate, then naturally you can keep both food and God in mind. When you pray, you feel that God is coming to you in the form of peace, light and bliss, which is your real food. Again, while you are eating material food, you feel that God in the form of this food is keeping you alive. At that time, food really helps you to think of your Beloved Supreme. Therefore, both food and God can easily be seen as one.
Source: Sri Chinmoy, Secrets of the Inner World, New York: Agni Press, 1980, pp, 44-45.
Question: How does the cleanliness of the surroundings affect the food you cook?
Sri Chinmoy: The cleanliness of the surroundings does not immediately or directly affect the food. First it affects the consciousness of the cook. When the cook is affected, then naturally his product will be affected. Cleanliness is of paramount importance, purity is of paramount importance and good feelings towards the pots and pans are of paramount importance. Everything is of paramount importance from the beginning to the end when you cook. Again, while cooking it is always advisable to speak as little as possible so that you can remain in your own highest consciousness. Otherwise, your consciousness may remain high, but the person with whom you are talking may be in a very low consciousness and then your food will be affected. So, you should always try to remain in a high consciousness and, for that, silence will be a considerable help. It will also be of considerable help if you can be in a meditative consciousness. Otherwise, outwardly you may remain silent, but inwardly your mind will be thinking of the entire world. That kind of so-called silence does not make any sense. But to remain both inwardly and outwardly silent will help you to enter into a higher realm of consciousness.
Source: Sri Chinmoy, Secrets of the Inner World, New York: Agni Press, 1980, pp. 49-50.
Question: What are some ways to maintain purity in cooking?
Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways. But the main way, the most important way, is to repeat the name of the Supreme or to repeat the name of the cosmic goddess Annapurna. If one repeats her name while cooking, then one is bound to be inundated with purity.
Source: Sri Chinmoy, Secrets of the Inner World, New York: Agni Press, 1980, p. 43.
Question: Is there a special consciousness in which to cook for adults, children or other age groups?
Sri Chinmoy: While you are cooking for children, if you can maintain an innocent feeling along with your purity, then it will be of great help to the food-consciousness. While cooking for adults, if you can maintain a very dynamic quality, then it will be of great help to the food-consciousness for adults. And while cooking for the aged, you can try to maintain a very soft and tender feeling. You can try also to have a feeling that you are helping the old people to gain a new life. But especially a tender feeling and a concerned feeling will be of tremendous help if you cook for the aged.
Source: Sri Chinmoy, Secrets of the Inner World, New York: Agni Press, 1980, pp. 45-46.