Does being a vegetarian makes you more spiritual?
Are you what you eat? Will you have the characteristics of a lamb by eating a lamb?
Do you gain good karma for having a vegetarian diet?
Will you have more psychic powers by eating less meat?
Vegetarianism and Spirituality – Is it Necessary?
These widely held belief can be traced to the misinterpretations of ancient teachings.
Moreover, if we are to be enlightened, we must put past our preconceived ideas and find the truth for ourselves.
Here we will investigate these assumptions and put to rest the notions between vegetarianism and spirituality.
Does being vegetarians make you more spiritual?
Modern spiritual teachers say that eating meat makes us less spiritual.
That the body will plunge into spiritual filth, makes our mind unclear, and retards our spiritual progress.
It doesn’t take long to see that the new age gurus are spreading vegetarian diets and yoga to see how popular this idea is.
But where does it come from?!
As the mystic H. P. Blavatsky has said in a long discussion in her Key to Theosophy:
“Flesh-eaters cannot sympathize with total abstainers from meat. We Europeans are nations of civilized barbarians with but a few millenniums between ourselves and our cave-dwelling forefathers who sucked the blood and marrow from uncooked bones.
Thus, it is only natural that those who hold human life so cheaply in their frequent and often iniquitous wars, should entirely disregard the death-agonies of the brute creation, and daily sacrifice millions of innocent, harmless lives; for we are too epicurean to devour tiger steaks or crocodile cutlets, but must have tender lambs and golden feathered pheasants. …
Nor is it a matter of great wonder that the hardy European should laugh at the mild Hindu, who shudders at the bare thought of killing a cow, or that he should refuse to sympathize with the Buddhist and Jain, in their respect for the life of every sentient creature – from the elephant to the gnat.”
Although Blavatsky’s views could be seen as an absolute law for vegetarianism, there is often a reason for her views that is not apparently noticeable.
Each spiritual teacher or mystic have written their works during their own century.
Much of it is a response to the century rather than as an absolute law.
During the 19th century, the middle and upper-class in Europe and U.S.A. ate huge amounts of meat and very few vegetables.
As Senator McGovern expressed in the Senate’s committee report in 1977:
“Our diets have changed radically within the past 50 years with great and often harmful effects on our health.”
Cattle were treated with carelessness and disease.
There’s an abundance of turkey, ducks, elks, deer, and geese.
Infants were fed beef before their first teeth grew and everyone could afford fish and meat to chew.
But none has ever mentioned vegetables.
As Horowitz concluded:
“These sources do give us some confidence in suggesting an average annual consumption of 150–200 pounds of meat per person in the nineteenth century.”
Their meals contained about 3 courses to 6 large meals a day containing nothing but meat.
No wonder their mind is unclear and their body unhealthy!
It is over-indulgence that leads them to become less spiritual.
The mystics of the century wished to stop this over-indulgence, so they discouraged the act of eating meat.
Eating less meat and more vegetables will make you more spiritual.
This is true to the man who has over-indulgence of meat!
But not true to those who are already in nutritional balance and a respect for what they ate.
With over-indulgence, we lose balance as well as our mind, body, and spirit.
Are you What You Eat?
We now come to the sayings that ‘you are what you eat.’
This has been repeated for centuries.
Most of the time the meaning of wise men are not exactly what they mean.
Even this is widely believed in both modern Eastern and Western society.
So here is one of an ancient passage pertaining to attributing characteristics of animals you eat:
“If you would learn to understand the languages of birds and animals you must eat the flesh of a snake, for he is halfway between a bird and a beast, and by eating him you acquire the properties of his mind.”
On the onset, we would think that he means that you will understand animals if you eat the snake’s flesh, believing that you can attain the personality and knowledge of a snake.
However, poor tribesmen who went out to hunt for snakes will come to realize that nothing will ever happen.
Anyone who gobbles down a snake’s skin and meat, raw or cooked, will attest to it that no animal energy was transferred to them.
The meaning of this is not literal, but metaphorical and this is where harm occurs.
Students who could not understand a wise saying and who spread it around will come to lose its true meaning.
Remember that ancient societies are composed of hierarchical structures and whether its knowledge is true or superstition depends on whether the knowledge comes from the upper or lower caste of society.
Then they will come to the conclusion that by eating a lion’s meat they will become like a ferocious king of the animal!
While they wore the lion’s coat over their heads, I’m sure they did became a lion as they spent the night gathering psychedelic drugs.
It is the belief that makes one act like a lion, not the food that they eat.
However, the saying ‘you are what you eat’ is half-true.
It is a fact only on a physiological basis!
Some animals have more protein, others carbs, and some in calcium.
We know that foods have nutritional values and we get our essential nutrition by the things we consume.
Eating a high protein and carbs diet, without exercise, will manifest in a large weight.
Not enough vitamins and other essentials for the body will make it malnourished and, therefore, manifests in a weak immune system.
Your body is weak or strong depending on what you eat.
The properties of the animals does not mean that the personality of the animal will energetically transfer into your body, but that the proteins, calcium, vitamins, sugar, sodium, carbs, fats, etc. goes into your blood stream.
Vegetarianism and Non-Violence
Some spiritual traditions’ reason for being vegetarian is to show how wrong it is to kill animals since they are living and breathing sentient beings, that they have the same emotions and sufferings we do.
And that by eating them, it means supporting the cruelty of killing animals and the deaths of millions of poor animals.
Also, eating animals contributes to coarse behaviors and make us less spiritual.
But let us be clear-minded and not be driven away by our emotions.
On the surface, it sounds reasonable.
But if you were to meditate on this, you will find that this is just unreasonable demand dressed in a humanitarian cause.
Some people living across the world doesn’t have the luxury for a vegetarian diet.
So to them, I ask, “Should we not eat at all?”
Should they, too, be spiritual depleted from this exclusive right of the vegetarianism elite?
Many new age mystics taught “Mahimsa“, which is to have compassion and not to injure anything.
It is a moral justification for not eating meat.
This is a true spiritual principle, but it does not take in conditions of life.
Sometimes we have to cause harm to something in order to alleviate the suffering.
A dentist has to put a giant drill in your teeth for a couple painful minutes to end future pains.
A best friend has to tell the truth even though the truth will hurt him.
A general have to break down the soldier’s ego to build him into a strong and prepared cadet.
Killing animals isn’t the problem. It is deliberate killing that should stop!
What Mahimsa means is “not to afflict intentional cruelty to others”.
Because each one of us, humans and animals, are not an exception to pain.
We can all do our part in intentionally choosing to cause harm or create love, but sometimes choosing love do have harmful consequences or unintentional harm to others – which is unavoidable.
(Also, plants and stones has as much conscious life as animals and humans. We just regard animals as higher than plants.)
There is a difference between providing yourself food and killing with torture and pain in factories with no regard for their well-being while thinking only in profits.
Some ancient tribes capture animals, well raising them, and thought them as a sacrifice and prayed in kindness that the animal will become a part of him. They were among the most spiritual people.
It is the murdering and farming animals in cold-blooded cruelty for the sake of amusement and man’s selfish gains to satisfy their extreme meat cravings that is spiritually depleting.
That is the “barbarism” which H.P. Blavatsky has addressed in her views in vegetarianism.
Good Karma for Being Vegan?
Some people believe that we are not meant to be carnivores.
That if we do, we will gain ourselves bad karma.
But this is proven by the actions of spiritual teachers themselves.
So here it is: Jesus and Buddha were both not vegetarians.
“And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.” (Luke 24:42-43).
He was also given lamb to eat in Luke 22:8-15.
“‘Today a fat beast, killed by Siha the general, is made into a meal for the recluse Gotama (the Buddha), the recluse Gotama makes use of this meat knowing that it was killed on purpose for him, that the deed was done for his sake’…”
The Buddha’s teachings were that if the animal was not deliberately killed for selfish purposes, then it is fine.
Even accidents should have no bearing on their spirituality.
Of course, Hitler was also a vegetarian and that doesn’t make him anymore spiritual.
He would share a meal of vegetable stew in a big pot before taking the Jews to concentration camps.
Such anger, hatred, and lack of balance could not help him be more compassionate to his fellow man even if he was a vegetarian.
If vegetarianism did improve on our karma, we would find the world becoming more compassionate and loving toward each other.
But we have, yet, to find that.
Unless it is for your health, a vegan diet does not contribute to your karma.
Do You Lose Psychic Abilities by Eating Meat?
Usually spoken by Eastern gurus, the claim that having more vegetarian diet will give you psychic abilities is simply not true.
Edgar Cayce, one of the best psychics in the world, is by no means a vegetarian even though he gave a lot of advice on diet.
(Q) Should the body abstain from meats for its best spiritual development?
(A) Meats of certain characters are necessary in the body-BUILDING forces in this system, and should not be wholly abstained from in the present. Spiritualize those influences, those activities, rather than abstaining. For, as He gave, that which cometh out – rather than which goeth in – defileth the spiritual body. (Edgar Cayce, READING 295-10)
But some people’s experience says that they felt better after becoming vegetarian and that they felt a shift in consciousness!
It is more likely due to the person having changed their diet and became healthier, more balanced, that they felt better and have psychic abilities.
The Only Danger To Vegetarian
There is value to vegetarianism that should not be disregarded.
Vegetarianism is good. It is healthy. It cleanses the body.
And the average vegetarians are far healthier than their opposites because they eat healthy vegetables and avoid processed foods.
But there is also a danger to having a vegan diet.
The danger is that a vegan diet will likely have nutritional deficiencies in your body!
Previous research demonstrated that those who have strictly plant-based diet may suffer from subclinical protein malnutrition, such as Vitamin B12, Omega 3 DHA, Sulfur, Taurine, etc. and other essentials found in animals that the body needs.
By getting rid of all meat, we have risks in certain nutritional deficiencies and end up with fatigue, weak bones and joints, and anemia.
Although some religious people fast and ascetics torture their body for days, neither of these has led them toward higher spiritual enlightenment as appointed by the Buddha.
It is What Comes Out, Not What Goes In
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man;
but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” – (Matthew 15:11)
It is our intent and our deliberate actions that determine our spiritual progress.
Food is food. Food nourishes the body.
If we eat with compassion and love in our hearts, then it matters not what we eat.
People with hatred and with ill wills, and who are vegetarian, finds themselves no more spiritual than those who eat meat while thanking their family and their god.
Of course, some food is harmful to our diet.
We must not only nourish the soul but also the vehicle of the soul.
The key to spiritual progress is balance and moderation.
Those who eat too much meat should try a vegan diet.
Those who have nutritional deficiencies should eat more meat of a quality diet or get their essentials met.
There’s No Magic Pill in Spiritual Attainment
We all hope that there is an easier way to spiritual progress.
If you just stop eating meat, you will rise and become a spiritual saint!
But it’s just not that easy.
There are no magic pills in the spiritual journey and it’s not something that can be rushed.
Diet is a matter of choice and there are no universal law, spiritual law, or human law that dictates what you should or should not eat.
And neither should this post convince you of what you should or should not do.
As long as you are nutritionally balanced with the right intentions, all is well.
Just know that if you choose vegetarianism, that is fine. And if not, then it is fine, too.