In this series of articles on diet, you must have realised true purpose of your diet and how rajasik/ tamasik foods like meat, deep-fried, junk food, alcohol, etc. not only harm your health but can also hinder your moksha. Many argue that — if consuming meat has such serious consequences, how did some highly realised sages consume meat? And if they did, even we can.
Let me clear this serious misunderstanding. Sages, at a spiritually realised state (Jeevan Mukt), rise beyond the three gun, also known as the gunatit state. In this state, diet neither affects their spiritual state nor their mind. In some cases, such highly realised saints consumed meat or smoked to take the bad karma/sins of certain devotees under exceptional conditions. They did not relish the animals but instead intended to liberate them. Just like only a wealthy person can make you wealthy, similarly, only a liberated (Jeevan Mukt) person can liberate others.
It is clearly mentioned in Bhagavad Gita 18.17 that ‘he who is devoid of any ego and is detached from worldly desires and actions, who performs every action selflessly for the betterment of the mankind, is not bound by the karmic reactions of any deeds that may look sinful’, just like earth, water, air, fire and ether. If due to a misfortune, someone drowns in an ocean, has the ocean sinned? Till you do not attain this gunatit state that such spiritually realised sages, saints, etc. have, eating meat will result in sins and your downfall. You must be willing to voluntarily offer a part of your flesh to a carnivore before you justify consuming the meat of another animal.
By killing animals for meat, both liberation and heaven are unattainable. The entire chain right from the butcher, the seller of meat, the person who cooks and serves meat to the person who consumes it, is committing a sin.
There is a solution for those who are guilty and want to quit this habit. It is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita 9.30 that even the most sinful person can change with utmost devotion to God if he/she has made a strong resolution to change. Let me explain this with a famous tale of Valya Koli, who robbed others to support his family. Sage Narad made him realise that no one including his family would share the burden of the sins he was committing. This profound truth instantly transformed him into Valmiki, the famous sage who later composed the Ramayana. This is applicable to each one of you. Even your beloved husband/wife/close ones, will not share your sufferings that arise out of the sins you commit.
Some may quit the habit physically, but may still secretly desire to consume meat mentally. Some may follow a purely vegetarian diet only during Shravan or on auspicious occasions like Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali or on some days like Mondays, Fridays, etc. Some may not eat meat on a pilgrimage or on the premises of a temple, ashram, gurukul, etc. Some may consume meat irrespective of the day, occasion or location, but they will still not be able to consume it in the presence of a spiritually realised Jeevit Guru. Why is it so? Because deep down inside each one of you is the manifestation of the same divine Lord. You realise on some level that consuming meat is a sin which must not be committed at least on a day, occasion or location you consider auspicious. This exact realisation should be enough for you to quit the habit of consuming meat.
India is known to be an ancient spiritual country. Yet the percentage of non-vegetarians has considerably increased in the last few years. This is raising the tamo gun which results in negativity and the downfall of the country. Indians worship and treat cows as ‘gau mata’ (mother) yet we boast about being the world’s largest exporter of beef. Because meat is being supplied easily, you consume and your consumption further demands an increase in production which is adding to your sins.
Being an independent and fastest-growing economy today, the king of our country has all the resources to re-establish the gurukul system. If Vedant is taught in schools, children will not grow up into doctors who will prescribe meat as a source of protein. In Durga Saptashati, it is mentioned that Goddess Durga comes in the form of Goddess Shakambari as ‘shak’ or vegetation and not meat. King should motivate the farmers to practice yogic farming methods to increase their harvest under the guidance of competent spiritual gurus. He should promote a vegetarian diet to the masses to boost the demand for vegetables, cereals, pulses, etc. making farmers financially strong thereby arresting their suicide rate. All spiritual gurus also need to awaken the masses about the deep impact of a non-vegetarian diet. Hence it is crucial that the king as well as spiritual gurus actively work together to change this. Otherwise, it amounts to a big dosh on their account.
I hope by now you have realised the importance of following the right diet, rising above worldly desires and using your human birth for higher causes to attain ultimate liberation (moksha).