The pain is good will make you very creative. It will bring out the poet from within you, or it will make you an artist. It can also bring out the sevak in you. It can bring out the warrior in you. You have so many good qualities, and longing will bring them all out.
There was one generation of Masters who were very tough. Tough in the sense, if you desire something, that will not happen. They would nip desire in the bud.
If the you would say. “I want to go to California”, then forget about it, you will never go to California. To come to a state of no-mind, they would use this tactic of crushing every desire that would arise. At some point of time you would have to give-up, and then you go to the no-mind state when you are unconditionally happy.
If you would go to them and say, “Oh, I have this problem”, they would say, ”It’s your karma, bear it. You must have done something terrible, so experience it and finish it off”. That was the attitude – no compassion. Just imagine if there is no compassion, then what do you need to do? You have to stand up.
A creeper needs a tree to stand up, but a tree doesn’t need another tree to stand up. So, they would completely destroy all that is delicate in you. If you are emotional, they would take a hammer. If you complain, they would say, ‘Let it be’. If you say, “Some people are blaming me”. They would say, “Yes, more people should blame you”. They would push all your buttons and make you so numb to everything in the world, till you realize that everything is nothing. It was a very tough journey. I don’t think anyone of you can survive for even one day, it was such a tough atmosphere.
All that you identify yourself as would be simply ripped off. It was a long and tough journey. which very few could survive. And there would be a millions chances to doubt and run away, only the very strong could survive such conditions.
In The Art of Living, we have taken a complete 180 degree turn and adopted a completely different route. Here we say, “What is your desire? Okay, let it be fulfilled”. Sometimes I wonder, “Am I making everyone weak?” But there is no option. At least this has put you on the path of knowledge.
I see you all are growing. Everyone is growing but I tell you, don’t get stuck in small little things. This world is Maya. There are always some issues that will prop up in life. You will have some excuse or some incidences to worry about. When such things come, you have to remember that this is all Maya, this is all ephemeral, this is all impermanent and stand up.
Your wants and desires are getting fulfilled. For some people it takes longer time, for some people it happens in a shorter time, and for some people it happens immediately. Many times, we only have put thought-constraints in our own mind. We put the sankalpa and we put the vikalpa as well. And to come out of this mess I don’t see any other path which is as effective as ours right now. If I find something better, I will myself ask you to do it. But the other generations of masters were very different.
The debate on ‘why is it good to be a vegetarian’ has been settled long back.
The internet is full of information on why eating meat is not good for both one’s own health or the environment. For example, according to US Department of Agriculture, 70 per cent of food poisoning is caused by meat, including exposure to arsenic. Another research says production of one kilogram of beef is responsible for as much carbon dioxide emission as by driving 250 km in a car.
There is plenty of disturbing footage also available on what treatment animals are subject to in slaughterhouses, like the documentary ‘Meet your Meat’. They are injected with hormones so that they grow faster and add more bulk. All these chemicals then end up in the bodies of people who eat this meat. But their system cannot take these chemicals and they eventually turn into cancers and other immune system disorders. The milk from these animals is also toxic and is rejected by the consumers’ biology. In fact, large number of cases of lactose intolerance and diseases among meat eaters was what gave birth to the vegan movement.
Our teeth are not pointed and our intestines are much longer than our bodies, very much like herbivores. Carnivores have short intestines through which meat passes easily. It passes through our intestines much more slowly and is very heavy to digest, sometimes taking up to 72 hours. In this time, it rots and ferments in our bodies. Vegetarian food, on the other hand, is digested within a few hours.
Ethically, environmentally and health-wise, it is a wise choice to be a vegetarian.
The only reason that people still continue to eat meat is that they are driven by cultural habit or craving for taste.
The way to overcome this craving is to make small time-bound commitments in the beginning and then gradually increasing it, like deciding not to have meat for a week, then two weeks and so on. People have also found ways to use tofu and other forms of soya to cook ‘mock meat’ which tastes identical to real meat. We have also observed that with the practice of meditation and pranayama, one’s taste changes on its own and the body begins to ask for food that is conducive to keep it light and moves away from foods that make it otherwise. Many people have become vegetarian on their own after doing our workshops.
However, today with a massive global consumer base, producing meat is a highly profitable business. So, there is a big lobby that does not want people to be educated on the harmful effects of meat and become vegetarian. In India, the issue of vegetarianism also assumes religious connotations and therefore, becomes political.
Food being an essential part of any lifestyle, people would like to have the right to exercise their freedom in making a choice; arguing or forcing anyone will not work. The right way is to make people aware and then let them choose for themselves. It may take some time but everybody realizes sooner or later that short term gratification is not worth the long term troubles it brings. Quality of life is enhanced when we make choices that are life-supporting.
Being vegetarian does not just help one’s own life flourish but also that of other beings.