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Food is not just food || Acharya Prashant, on veganism (2017)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Question: Acharya Ji, do you think that bringing the focus to our diet is going to change anything?

Acharya Prashant Ji: In what sense?

Questioner: Do you see us heading in the direction towards this perfection, completion along with our diet?

Acharya Prashant Ji: I am seeing that.

You see, it is not for nothing that the Buddhas of this world have been speaking, walking, striving. On one hand is the wave of the intellect, productionism, consumerism, and on the other hand is also the entire stream of Mystics, Saints, people who respond to the call of the Heart.

You look at the last few centuries, even the declaration of rights of man came just three hundred years back. Then came the declaration of rights of slaves. And in the last century came the declaration of rights of women.

I am seeing that in the current century, we will see a very clear declaration of a new relationship between man and environment, climate change will catalyse that new relationship – the threat of climate change.

In a superficial way it will be called as ‘an acceptance of the right of animals to live’, just as last century saw man accepting the rights of women to vote. You will soon see a broad consensus emerging on the right of all species to live and survive in their own particular way, whether or not that way is agreeable to man.

That will happen. That has to happen. That has to happen for mankind’s dignity and mankind’s survival.

Mankind cannot survive even in a physical way, and I am just talking of the self-interest of mankind. Mankind cannot survive even in the physical way, if mankind does not know how to relate with stuff outside of his own body. It would be simply calamitous.

So those who will understand, will live out of understanding, and hence live in a harmonious way, in a way of Love. And those who will not understand, will be compelled because of their own self-interest to live harmoniously. Otherwise their physical survival will be threatened.

So both ways, both ways it is going to be very fresh and very new. Very fresh and very new.

If you really understand what it means to love a jungle, wonderful. And even if you do not know what it means to love a jungle, you still better respect the jungle. Otherwise you will be eliminated.

That is going to happen.

After man, slaves, women, homosexuals, transgenders, now it is the turn of animals to assert their rights in their own way. They will. They are, they are doing that already.

Questioner: Right. It does feel like in just even the past few years that it is happening. I have been doing this for ten years or so, and just in the past few years… Does it feel to you that things are happening faster now? And like you said that it is progression now…

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes of course. Things are happening faster now.

You see, when I look around even in this gathering, there are these…one, two, three, four, five, six, seven of us, males. And each one of us is carrying a beard. Do you know what the ‘beard’ implies? The ‘beard’ indicates our animal nature. So mankind is more readily accepting its animal nature. We are not as suppressive of ourselves as we used to be.

Have you not seen this?

Have you just noticed the proportion of men sporting beards these days? And it’s I hope, just not a passing fad. (Pointing at his beard) ‘This’ means that – ‘I am alright with my hair’, and ‘the hair’ indicate the animal. “I am alright with my hair. I don’t really have to shave it all off.” The razor is society, the razor is the intellect. The razor is the intellect.

Man is becoming more comfortable with his own skin, and in his own skin. Man is seeing that to be a man is to have God in the heart and the soil in the body. One has to be very comfortable with the soil, very-very comfortable. And the soil has all the animals, the soil has all the jungles. If you are not comfortable with the animals and the jungle, you will never be comfortable with yourself.

Bearded, you are likely to be less afraid of the dog. Believe me. Have you seen how most people are so suspicious even of street dogs? Those who are suspicious and afraid even of a little puppy or a cow, to them I say, “Keep beards.”

‘The beard’ is not merely facial hair, it is more than that. It is more than that. That does not mean that I am a beardist or something. It’s just that I saw all of us having this, so I found it apt to use the beard as a symbol, as an example. Nothing else.

It is changing. It is obviously changing.

You see, whatever technology had to offer, a lot of that it has already offered. You look at Physics. Physics is reaching its boundary. Man was living in hope, in utopia that the solution to the internal discomfort will come from outside – from Science, from Technology, from objects, from material. It has not arrived from there. So that hope has been shattered.

The expectations that we had from ‘the machine’ have not been answered. The machine has failed. The machine did what it could and the machine has been useful, but the machine has not given to us what we really wanted from the machine.

Knowledge and Science have not really given us what we really wanted from them. Internally, man is still hungry. Internally, man still feels an alien and dispossessed. If you look into man’s eyes, they are still searching, rootless, wandering. Man is still looking for his anchor, for his Source. So man will have to necessarily look into some other direction. Outside, all the directions have been exhausted. So now only one direction is left – inside. Man will have to look inside.

And when you will look inside, you will find that there is a little rabbit there, an elephant there, a whale there, some fish there, lots of trees there, all these birds there. It will be difficult for you then to have them for breakfast. It would be like then consuming your own liver for breakfast.

How sane is that?

Questioner: Yes. I think it is awesome.

(The interviewer Kip Anderson, especially travelled to India, to interview Acharya Ji on the cause of Veganism and preservation of environment. His question before the final parting).

Acharya Ji, would you like to say something to us before we leave?

Acharya Prashant Ji: There is no need to suffer, there is just no need to suffer.

Most of that which we do, arises out of the suffering principle – the principle that suffering is obligatory. It is the easiest thing to see, but also the most difficult thing to communicate.

It is not necessary to suffer. The moment you know that it is not necessary for you to suffer, you also stop living in a way that makes others suffer. The moment you know that your own life can be alright, is also the moment when you stop messing with others’ lives. Stop suffering, and you would also then stop being an agent of suffering. Withdraw the support that you give to your own suffering. Withdraw the support that you give to your own suffering, and you will find now there is no motivation left to make others suffer.

That must be obvious.

The more you suffer, the more you want to make others suffer. Don’t suffer. Don’t suffer. All suffering is totally needless. Suffering itself is sin. Don’t suffer.

(Pointing at a squirrel passing by) See the squirrel agrees with us . She gave us a tails-up just now. Don’t suffer. Don’t suffer. Don’t suffer. All suffering is totally foolish.

One is not born to suffer.

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