Friday, May 4, 2007

An aid to the practice of Self-enquiry

In general [the Maharshi] refused to give instructions for physical discipline.

When asked about postures for sitting in meditation he replied simply: "One-pointedness of mind is the only good posture."

When asked about celibacy he would not enjoin it but said that married persons also can attain Realization.

But when asked about diet he quite emphatically prescribed vegetarianism: "Regulation of diet, restricting it to sattvic (i.e. pure and vegetarian) food taken in moderate quantities is the best of all rules of conduct and the most conducive to the development of sattvic qualities of mind. These in turn help one in the practice of Self-enquiry."

The passage quoted continues with a Western lady pleading that a concession should be made for Westerners and with Bhagavan refusing to do so. It should be added that in 'sattvic food' he included milk, though an animal product, but not eggs, which are considered too stimulating or rajasic.

It was characteristic of Bhagavan that he would never enjoin vegetarianism on any devotee unless asked, but if asked he was quite categorical about it. It often happened in his lifetime, as it still does today, that even without asking, his devotees would develop that aversion to animal food which I have mentioned as a general feature in the aspirant in modern times.

In conclusion, it can be said quite definitely that vegetarianism is beneficial to those who follow a spiritual path in the conditions of the modern world, and especially to those who aspire to follow the path of the Maharshi.

~ Arthur Osborne

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