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Volume VIII - The Art of Being

The Privilege of Being Human

Chapter XXVII
A Question about Vegetarianism

Question: Is vegetarianism advisable for the sake of not killing animals?

Answer: There are two things to be considered in this connection. One is harmlessness. It is a human tendency to hurt and harm; man has inherited it from the lower creation. It is this tendency which prompts him to kill poor creatures and make his food out of them in spite of all the vegetables and cereals, fruits and nuts which are provided for him by nature. The other point is that for the purification of the blood, for the health of the muscles, and for general purity of the body the vegetable diet is far preferable to flesh food.

At the same time the training of the Sufi is a spiritual treatment and, as a physician sees in every case what is best for that particular person, so the Murshid prescribes for his mureeds what is best for them. There may be a person for whom a vegetable diet is not sufficient or not good; meat for him may be like a medicine. There is no such restriction, therefore, in Sufism; the need of every individual is according to his health. We do not make a dogma out of vegetarianism.

In connection with the same question I may make another remark. In ancient times shepherds used to clothe themselves with tiger skins in order to secure their lives from the danger of wild animals, when taking care of their herds they moved about in the forests. When a wise person who is good and kind lives in this world of different natures, it is more difficult for him to live in the gross vibrations than for others who perhaps are more or less of the same kind. Very often, therefore, one hears people say of a person who has died young that he was good – and there is some truth in it too. Many souls, fine, good and beautiful, come on earth and cannot withstand the coarseness of the ordinary human nature.

What is diet? Diet is not for the soul; it is only for the body. The body is a cover, a blanket, and if the body is covered with armor, then it can stand the struggle of life. If ever the great ones allow themselves to partake of flesh food, which in reality is meant for the average person, it is for that reason.


checked 30-nov-2015