Right now, approximately 38% of India’s population are pure vegetarians. Traditionally, it’s like that. About… let’s say about 50 years ago, nearly 60% were vegetarians. But, Western educated doctors have been telling people – if you don’t eat meat, you won’t get nourishment. You have to eat some meat. So, because of that, some meat has come in. But, still in India meat eating is not like how it’s in the West. It is only a side dish. Even for non-vegetarian people, it is only a side dish.
What [food] is it that passes through the system with least amount of resistance
But why vegetarianism is – see, if your survival is under threat, your entire life is about survival. Once survival is taken care of, now you wonder what is this all about? Because, when survival is in question, it looks like – when your survival is fulfilled, everything is going to be great. But, once survival is taken care of, you realise that is not the truth. Your life is longing for something else. So, survival was very simple and easy. It was rich land, people survived well. Because of that they started looking inward, and it started developing various things. And one thing is – nearly 70% of the country’s population was nearly actively spiritual. Turning inward was an important part of life. Because of this – when they turned inward, they realised that what they eat matters. If you just want to be all beefy brawn, then you can eat lot of meat, and just grow muscles, and fight with other. But if you are looking at, how to become sensitive to life, how to become perceptive, how to be able to perceive things beyond what is considered normal perception – then what you put into the system becomes very important.
Food is not to be made into a philosophy or a kind of a religious process
So, what is it that passes through the system with least amount of resistance. With least amount of, you know, struggle in the body. So, to put this into perspective, let me put it this way. See if you eat raw meat, for example. In the human system compared to carnivorous animals – in all the carnivorous animals, the length of the elementary canal is only three times the length of its body, approximately. In all the herbivores, the length of the elementary canal is five to six times the length of the body. So in a human being it could be anywhere between 24-28, or 30 feet, which is nearly five to six times the length of our body. In this kind of elementary canal if you put meat, it will travel through this very, very slowly. Approximately, raw meat would take 70-72 hours to pass through the system. If you put cooked meat, it will take 50-52 hours to pass through the system. If you put cooked vegetable meals, it will take anywhere between 24-30 hours to pass through the system. If you put raw vegetables into the system, it will take 12-15 hours to pass through the system. If you put fruit into the system, it will take 1.5-3 hours to pass through the system.
So we started recognising, what is that food which happens in the body with least amount of residue, least amount of impurities and passes through the system very quickly. Because in yoga this is an important thing. We all manage this even now. If we eat anything, within 2.5 hours we must be hungry, or stomach must be empty. But we won’t eat. Stomach is empty, but we’re energetic so we don’t eat. So generally, here in the yoga center, everybody does only two meals. One 10 in the morning, 7 in the evening, that’s it. I do only one meal most of the days. If I’m traveling, I may do something else a little bit. But otherwise, generally if I’m home, I do only one meal. Generally for me its 4.30 – 5 in the evening. It will keep me going entire 24 hours. It’s not like a rule, it is just that, that is the need. So, suppose there is lot of physical activity on a certain day. Then, you may eat a small breakfast, or you may eat a fruit, or something like that.
You will naturally notice vegetarian, or plant-based food – body is most comfortable and is at ease
Food is not to be made into a philosophy or a kind of a religious process. Food is the requirement of the body. If we watch the body – with what sort of food the body is most happy, body is most at ease. You will naturally notice vegetarian, or plant-based food – body is most comfortable and is at ease. It is flexible. It is at ease. It has less to process on a daily basis. So naturally, those who observed the nature of their own bodies, naturally became vegetarian.
When survival was the question – hunting and eating whatever you kill, was a natural process. But, once societies settled down. They could grow what they want. As they observed themselves more and more, and life became not about survival, but about enhancing one’s life to higher levels of perception and experience – then turning vegetarian will naturally become… it’s a natural process. It’s bound to happen everywhere.