WHY DON’T YOU ALLOW NONVEGETARIAN FOOD IN THE ASHRAM ? …OSHO
WHY DON'T YOU ALLOW NONVEGETARIAN FOOD IN THE ASHRAM?
The question is from Swami Yoga Chinmaya. There must be some idea in Chinmaya's mind to eat meat. There must be some deep hidden violence. Otherwise the question is coming from a vegetarian and there are thousands of nonvegetarians here. This looks very absurd, but this is how things are. The vegetarian is not a true vegetarian; he is just a repressed one. Desire arises.
But why I don't allow nonvegetarian food in the ashram has nothing to do with religion, it is just pure aesthetics. I am not one who thinks that if you take nonvegetarian food you will not become enlightened. Jesus became enlightened, Mohammed became enlightened, Ramakrishna became enlightened — there has been no problem about it. You can take nonvegetarian food and you can become enlightened, so there is no religious problem about it.
To me the problem is that of aesthetics. Because Jesus continued to eat meat, I have a feeling that he did not have a great aesthetic sense. Not that he is not religious — he is perfectly religious, as religious as Buddha, but something is missing in him. Ramakrishna continued to eat fish; just nonaesthetic, it looks a little ugly.
Enlightenment is not at stake, but your poetry is at stake, your sense of beauty is at stake. Your humanity is at stake, not your super-humanity. That's why it is not allowed in my ashram — and it will not be allowed. It is a question of beauty.
If you understand this many things will be clear to you. Alcohol can be allowed in this ashram but not meat, because alcohol is vegetarian — fruit juice…. fermented, but it is fruit juice. And sometimes to be a little drunk gives rise to great poetry. That is possible, that has to be allowed. In the new commune we are going to have a bar — Omar Khayyam. Omar Khayyam is a Sufi saint, one of the enlightened Sufis.
But meat cannot be allowed, that is just ugly. Just to think that you are killing an animal to eat, just the very idea, is unaesthetic. I am not against it because the animal is killed… because that which is essential in the animal will live, it cannot be killed, and that which is nonessential, whether you kill it or not, is going to die. So that is irrelevant, that is not a point for me to consider.
The question is not that you have killed the animal and killing is not good, no. The question is that you have killed the animal — you. Just to eat? While beautiful vegetarian food is available? If vegetarian food is not available, that's one thing. But the food IS available. Then why? Then why destroy a body? And if you can kill an animal, then why not be a cannibal? What is wrong with killing a man? The meat derived from a human body will be more in tune with you. Why not start eating human beings? That too is a question of aesthetics.
And the animals are brothers and sisters, because man has come from them. They are our family. To kill a man is only to kill an evolved animal, or to kill an animal is just to kill somebody who is not yet evolved but is on the way. It is the same. Whether you kill the child when he is in the first grade or whether you kill the young man when he has come to his last grade in the university, it does not make much difference. The animals are moving towards human beings, and human beings had once been animals. It is only a question of aesthetics. Why not kill your wife and eat her? She is so beautiful and so sweet….
A friend came to a cannibal and the food was prepared and the friend had never tasted anything like it. He had never even dreamed that food could be so tasty, so delicious. When he was leaving he said to the cannibal, "I loved the food. I have never loved food so much. When I come next, prepare the same dishes."
And the cannibal said, "That is difficult, because I only had one mother."
Why can't you eat your mother? Why can't you eat your husband or your child? — so delicious. The question is not religious, I would like to remind you again, it is a question of aesthetics. An aesthetic man will see that life remains beautiful it does not become ugly and nightmarish.
But the question has arisen in Chinmaya's mind, that shows something. In India people who are vegetarian are not really vegetarian; it is just because they are born in a vegetarian family, so from the very beginning the vegetarianism has been imposed on them. And naturally they are curious, naturally they want to taste other things also, and naturally the idea arises, "The whole world is nonvegetarian; people must be enjoying." The vegetarian feels that somehow he is missing much. That's why the question has arisen.
It has nothing to do with meditation. You can eat meat and you can meditate. You can eat meat and you can love. It has nothing to do with love either. But you will be showing one thing about yourself — that you are very crude, that you are very primitive, uncultured, uncivilized; that you don't have any sense of how life should be. It was out of an aesthetic sense that vegetarianism was born. It became entangled in religion and got lost. It has been taken out from the religious context.
People come to see me and they ask, a Jaina asked me, "How can you say that Jesus was enlightened? — because he was a meat-eater…." His question is relevant because he thinks that meat-eaters cannot become enlightened. Meat-eaters can become enlightened, just as people who are not poets can become enlightened. That is not a barrier. People who don't have any sense of beauty, who will not see any beauty in a rose, can become enlightened… who will not see any beauty in the moon, can become enlightened… who will not have any taste for Beethoven's music, can become enlightened. But Jesus shows something crude. Maybe it was not possible, maybe he lived amongst people who were all meat-eaters. It would have been difficult for him to be a vegetarian. It would have been almost impossible for him. But still, that trouble has to be taken.
But remember that here my whole approach is an integrated approach. Meditation is needed, so is poetry, so is aesthetics, so is religion, so is music, so is art. Man should evolve in many dimensions in an integrated way. Then comes the ultimate flowering when all your petals have opened. And you will have greater joy and greater benediction in life.
Saint Francis is far more aesthetic than Jesus. Naturally there are stories about Saint Francis that birds would come and sit on his shoulders, that fishes would jump out of the river to see him. He had a kind of affinity with the animal kingdom. He would talk to trees and would say 'sister' and with birds 'brother' and with the sun and the moon. That would not happen to Jesus, that would not happen to Mohammed. That cannot happen.
And still I say they are enlightened people, but their enlightenment misses one thing — aesthetic sensibility. Why miss it? Why not have the whole of it. Why not become enlightened in all the possible ways? in your totality?
The Diamond Sutra