We suggest that participants enjoy a vegetarian diet during the 40 day practice for several reasons. It’s a request, not a demand, and there’s no judgment if you do or don’t. For your consideration, I humbly submit these ideas:
1. You’ll feel the power more clearly. The light and power of the mantra can be more effective in purifying your own unconscious mind-field if it’s not having to work through the vibrations of the animals you’ve recently eaten. This is especially true in modern times… unfortunately a lot of the meat people eat is from animals that lived pitiful lives in factory farms. (The same vibrational issue is relevant to dairy products and eggs from factory farms, so try to find the highest quality, organic, free-range animal products available. You’ll notice the difference!)
2. It’s a nod of respect to tradition. Traditionally, only the Brahmin spiritual caste would chant Gāyatrī, partly because they were always vegetarians. They maintained a pure diet of only sāttvic food (they didn’t even eat fried foods, leftovers, or overly spicy dishes) in order for their minds to remain clear enough to chant the mantra. This physical purity, combined with subtle purity that comes from unity between thought, word, and deed (symbolized in the 3 twisted strings which Brahmins wear around their torsos), gave them ready access to the heavenly realms. They used that connection for their prayers on behalf of humanity, which was their primary duty in society.
3. It’s in integrity with core yogic values. If the core values of the yogī include non-violence, we are wise to consider the impact of our food choices on not just the animals, but the earth. If we want peace and plenty for everyone, one of the practical daily demonstrations of that wish is to choose a vegetable-based diet.
4. It’s another aspect of beneficial discipline. If avoiding meat is not natural and spontaneous for you, choosing to enjoy vegetables for 40 days can be another practical angle of your commitment to become lighter, clearer, more intuitive, and more naturally peaceful. You can always go back to eating meat after the discipline, compare your subtle feelings, and continue to experiment further until you find what works best for you.
Anandra’s “Scientific Method” Approach
Since I decided to become a vegetarian at age 11, I have gone through various phases. I’ve tried everything… vegan, raw, pescatarian, only eggs, etc. I even had a brief period where I ate everything again including cheap supermarket meat, arrogantly thinking my connection was strong enough that it wouldn’t make a difference. (It did! I was plagued by depression, feeling stuck, and wild, weird, angry and fearful thoughts during that time.)
For me, choosing to be fully vegetarian has been a long process of trial and observation of the effects on my consciousness. I can sustain deep levels of peace and unruffled bliss when I’m vegetarian. I’m more likely to make decisions based on love. When I am eating animals, I am more anxious, fearful, and negative, and more likely to make decisions based on primal lack.
Now, regardless of all that, I just can’t imagine the kind of numbness I’d have to be living in to eat my friends! I feel too intimately connected to life. (I consider this to be a great problem.)
I know all of the rationales on all sides, and I don’t intend to start a debate with this post. When I say “no judgment” I really mean it, because I’ve done it all! It’s a very personal thing. Enough said. Thanks for reading.
PS. A Note On India:
30-40% of India’s population is vegetarian, and there are whole cities where it’s illegal to eat meat. Interestingly, being a vegetarian in India usually also means that you don’t drink alcohol! If you’re a yoga practitioner and chanting mantras, it’s generally assumed that you’re automatically a vegetarian.