You were just talking about food, and now in the West food is a big cult. It’s one of the things coming in as a basis of spirituality.
You said if we’re natural, we’ll know what to eat and when to eat, but now we are out of touch with our childlike nature.
Also, many religions say that the food you eat does make a difference to one’s spiritual path.
Is there anything you can tell us about food as a guide for the West?
It is the other way round: food cannot make you spiritual, but if you are spiritual your food habits will change.
Eating anything will not make much difference. You can be a vegetarian and cruel to the extreme, and violent; you can be a non-vegetarian and kind and loving. Food will not make much difference.
In India there are communities who have lived totally with vegetarian food; many Brahmins have lived totally with vegetarian food. They are non-violent but they are not spiritual.
And Jains are the most materialistic community in India, the most attracted by possessions, accumulation; that’s why they have become the wealthiest. They are the Jews in India. But a non-vegetarian world in the West is not in any way different from these vegetarian communities in India.
Rather, on the contrary, a very important thing has to be remembered: if you are violent and your food is vegetarian, then your violence will have to find some other way of expression. It is natural, because eating non-vegetarian food gives release to your violence.
So if you know some hunters you may have come to realize that hunters are the most loving people. Their whole violence is released in hunting, they are most friendly, loving. But a businessman vegetarian has no way for his violence to be released so his whole violence becomes a search for wealth and power; it becomes narrowed down.
If you meditate long enough,
it is impossible for you
to hurt anybody for food.
It is impossible.
But it happens the other way round. It happened to Mahavira. Mahavira came from a warrior family, he was a Kshatriya. Violence must have been easy for him, and then a deep meditative effort, a twelve-year-long silence changed his inner essence. When the essence changed the expression changed; when the innermost being changed, his character changed. But that character change was not basic, it was a consequence. So I say to you, if you become more meditative you will become more and more vegetarian automatically. You need not bother about it.
And only if this happens, that through meditation vegetarian food comes into you not through mind manipulation, it is good. But manipulating by the mind, argument, reasoning that vegetarian food is good, that it will help you to gain spirituality, is not going to help anything. Your clothes, your food, your habits of life, your style, everything will change; but this change is not basic. The basic change is going to be in you and then everything else follows.
If you meditate long enough, deep enough, it is impossible for you to hurt anybody for food; it is impossible. It is not a question of argument, it is not a question of scriptures, it is not who says what, it is not a question of calculating that if you take vegetarian food you will become spiritual; it is automatic. It is not a question of cunningness, you simply become spiritual. The whole thing seems so absurd. Just for food, killing animals, birds, seems so absurd, it falls down.
Your clothes change automatically; by and by you like looser and looser clothes. The more relaxed you are inside – loose clothes. Automatically I say; there will be no decision on your part. By and by, if you use tight clothes you will feel uneasy. Tight clothes belong to a tense mind, loose clothes belong to a relaxed mind.
But the inner change is the first thing and everything else is just a consequence. If you reverse the order you will miss, then you will become a food addict.
Osho, A Bird on the Wing, Ch 6, Q 1 (excerpt)