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
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.