Talk at the MeVeg Congress in Dubai on 3rd December 2013
Have you thought about why we have discussed food so much today? Because something is terribly wrong with the whole thing. Something is not right. That is why we are talking about food so much. Whenever we disconnect from ourselves, we have to release the stress in some way. So we either eat a lot, or we indulge in sensory pleasures. This is exactly why we are discussing food so much. The moment you start connecting with yourself and listening to your own body, your vibrations and eating habits will completely change. You will eat only what you need to eat. Diseases are also similarly related. Whatever you trap, becomes disease.
I look at life in simple terms. Because I do not understand most of the things you have said. I feel that intellectually we can analyse so many things, yet analysis never helps you to convert it into wisdom. It is good to know and all these things are important to understand, but unless knowledge becomes wisdom, there is no change in life. Knowledge has to be converted to wisdom. Knowledge sits in the head. It only takes you up to your grave. When you die, it dies. But wisdom sustains you, it sustains the species outside on the Earth. If you look at the scriptures of any religion, all the prophets, all the great masters have spoken simple truths. We have complicated it. We have interpreted it in the wrong way. So my understanding of life is keep it simple. Eighty per cent of our vital functions are not in the control of our conscious mind. That is why we are alive here. Heartbeat, circulation, respiration, digestion and most of the other vital functions are controlled by the subconscious mind. We have nothing to do with them. So when we have nothing to do with it, we stay alive. However, the idea is to be conscious about it. The first level is be conscious about the breathing. Be conscious about the vibrations of yourself, that is from swara to nada, (nada is the beats of the body). Heartbeats, circulation, there is always a rhythm. Be aware of the rhythm. Then you start going within and you start transferring things which the subconscious usually handles, to your conscious mind. You can stop the circulation of your blood. You can eat what you like. You can digest at will. You can do everything which you call a miracle play, and which masters are performing.
I’ll tell you my experience. Many years ago I used to go to the Himalayas. Even now I go. Actually I am just returning from the Himalayas. Yesterday I was there. I was also exploring. I met a man sitting outside an ashram. The mother of the ashram was taking food outside the ashram to give to this man. I asked her, “Why are you taking the food outside? Why can’t he go inside?“ Then the mother said, “He does not eat food.“ I said, “Are you making fun of him? You are giving him food?!“ She said, “No. If you give it as an offering, he will consume it.“ Then I was curious to know whether he actually ate the food. He was a young guy. He looked like he was in his 20s, and sufficient food for four people was given to him. He consumed the whole thing. I said, “Mother, you said he doesn’t eat. He eats! I cannot eat half of what he has eaten!“ She said, “He consumes food, but he disintegrates it from the throat. It doesn’t go down. He has already stopped the secretion of juices inside. So he does not actually need food, but if somebody offers him food as a blessing, he eats it. “ And so he had disintegrated it. He had already stopped the functions, so he was safe.
This was interesting for me at that point in time because actually this is exploration. Perhaps you may have read Encounter with an Ageless Saint of Himalayas . This is a true living guy. He is more than a hundred years old. He asked, “He was chanting the mantra to avoid food. What actually happened? I can chant the mantra, and the food is still consumed. Where is the problem?“ So this mantra, chut dipasi, was chanted to disintegrate the food from the throat, and there was no appetite. But what happened is it was in the mind level. Whatever you do in the mind level cannot be converted into reality. It just happens in the mind as a routine. So it should go within. Deeper. Whatever you try to do as a method to convert yourself should be deeper. This is the point.
If you read that blog, the story is there. It might be interesting for you. I won’t talk further about it. My point is that it’s interesting to know there are so many variations.
Now the subject I’ve been asked to talk about is Passion for Compassion. This is basically because, as you have said, the population of seven billion people is growing into nine billion people. What have we consumed? We have almost consumed all the forest. We have consumed most of the animals which are in the forest. We have almost consumed all the animals which are in the forest and taken their land. One third of the total grain cultivation is used for feeding animals. To produce 1 pound of meat, you need 12 pounds of grain. If you give this 12 pounds of grain to one small family, that family will survive for a month. One pound of meat will fulfill only once. So our whole ecological calculation is wrong and we are trying to firefight now. Where is the problem? The problem is in our understanding. We have no idea how the Earth feels about it because we form and we destroy. On average (I’m not a person of statistics, please forgive me for that, this is from what I’ve read on the internet) seven billion people consume millions of other beings. You can imagine how much space is consumed, how much food is consumed, and at the end of the day, what are we producing?
And no animal in the world dies with happiness. Forget about the pictures in the advertisements. This is not true. You know, a happy cow removing its meat and giving it you. It is not so. It is killed. And further, I was not aware, until I watched programs from the USA, I never realised that the dairy industry is equally responsible. I never knew that eight million calves are slaughtered per year in the USA alone. I never realised 1.5 million pregnant cows are slaughtered in London alone. Just imagine! I feel that motherhood is one of the most beautiful things on earth. Completely unconditional. A mother feels unconditionality towards the child. And the cow cries through the night. You can see the videos on YouTube. The cow cries the whole night through looking for her calf. The calf had already been killed. It was a male calf and it was killed because the dairy industry does not need it. And then, the cow is slaughtered later.
Likewise, one of our people in Europe, made a blog based on my speech called Velocity of Violence I asked, “What changed you? What made you feel so?“ One thing I saw. A herd of cattle was taken to the slaughterhouse. One of the cows delivered a calf in the truck. The truck driver had promised to deliver the cows to the abattoir at a particular time, otherwise he would lose his job. So he put the calf outside on the road, took the cow and slaughtered the cow. The calf was rescued by the police. The pictures are in the blog too. This was very hard. The new mother was slaughtered because the world needed the meat. And the calf was fortunately taken away, otherwise it would have been taken to the slaughterhouse as well. This is one thing which touched my heart.
The second thing was some CCTV footage from the UK. A flock of sheep was coming in for slaughter. One lamb was drinking milk. First he killed the mother, then he killed the baby. You know, while the child was drinking the mother’s milk! I cannot even believe that we do this kind of things! These are a few things that really touched my heart.
And how does passion happen? When conviction is clear. When your conviction is absolute, passion is automatic. What was Jesus’s strength? He was fighting against the established systems. Dangerous. He ended up getting assassinated. But what saw him through? Conviction. Conviction leads you to passion. And especially anti-cruelty. I am not a campaigner of any food habits because I do not really know what it is all about. I have understood something from what all of you have said here. But if you ask me about any technicality, I will not be able to answer. However, I believe in non-violence. If you have to consume food, let it be non-violent. A tree produces an apple, an orange or a tomato. We do not cut the tree to pluck the tomato. It’s like the nails. It doesn’t hurt the plant. If you pluck a mango from the plant, it doesn’t hurt the plant at all. And actually the plant wants it because this is for the continuation of the species. When you throw the seed away, it grows into another plant. So, the total alignment of the whole thing should be understood clearly. Earth wants that. Earth would like to have continuation of species. Not destruction of one species for the creation of another one.
Second thing is that, some people have sent me emails asking what about forest animals. There is a programme on National Geographic Channel which provides clear guidance on that. A herd of deer are running and lions are chasing them. They all move in a particular direction, and then suddenly one particular deer takes off in another direction. It’s like an understanding amongst this clan – ok, you people escape, I will sacrifice myself today. Sacrifice and victimhood are two completely different things. What motivates a person is the sacrifice. Sacrifice motivates you. Victimhood, i.e. if you are bound, captured and destroyed, is a completely different ball game. It amounts to murder. Sacrifice is not murder. It actually gave its life away for the survival of the rest of the species. This is an understanding. And the same video shows lions being fully happy. They have eaten, they were sleeping while the deer were slowly walking in front of them. So there is an understanding going on here. Nature is always wise. It is justified. Things they do are well justified. They will never do something like what we do. We kill for pleasure. Three days ago I was recording a video because Animals Australia wanted my opinion or comment, whatever you call it. So I recorded it and sent it to them. One person asked me what was the role of humans in the preservation of nature. I said it was only destruction (laughter). We have already destroyed nature because of our non-understanding. We have no clue. That is why so many species are extinct today.
You can also watch this talk: