It was a cozy restaurant near the forest. That was the setting where the master and his disciple decided to eat lunch. The disciple asked for steak with fried onions as the main dish. The master requested for lentils and brown rice with a small salad.
The disciple said: “It is said that spirituality will lead people to become vegetarian or vegan, but I love too much the taste of meat. I don’t want to give it up yet.”
The master replied: “ Sure. I understand.”
The disciple felt awkward as he thought his master was disappointed. The master sensed that and while waiting for food to be served, he said: “ In the world of duality, pleasure without awareness will inevitably lead to addiction and the experience of pain without awareness will lead to fear. Eating meat has been traditionally a symbol of wealth and power. This strong conditioning has been installed on future generations. More people conditioned with similar traditions will cause unrestricted destruction of the natural balance of our ecosystem, for their view of life will take them to pursue pleasure at the expense of other less developed beings and Nature. However, this trend at this time is backfiring humanity, for we are part of that ecosystem as well. We are all one. That was only a nice spiritual theory a few decades back. Now, it is a reality because we experience the consequences. While people used to debate whether eating meat was good or bad for health or moral purposes, at this time it is a social responsibility to refrain from it, as the consequences are affecting humanity.”
The disciple was shocked, but he asked: “Could eating meat affect us?”
The master replied: “The inhumane treatment of sentient beings, is hardening our hearts. Humans have lost their sense of equilibrium with Nature. Eating flesh to live is part of Life for some species even for some humans, but the exploitation and indiscriminate killing beyond our human physical needs, for the sake of profit or to just satisfy our addiction for taste, is an offense against our planet. The Earth, gains nothing. Other sentient beings suffer while some gain plenty of paper with human pictures in it, which will give them power to control other men. It is a mental game of disconnection with Mother Earth.”
The master took a sip of water and continued: “The addiction of meat is so strong that even though most humans are well informed about this situation, they are powerless to do anything about it. Their wills have been broken. There was a time when families had land with animals to provide for their food. Now, it is another reality where action with social responsibility is the rational direction, that is; to avoid consuming animal products, as much as possible.”
The disciple understood the words of his master and felt a bit guilty. He wanted for his master to tell him clearly to stop eating meat. So, he pushed the issue one more time.
The disciple said: “Master, aren’t you going to ask me not to eat meat?”
The master smiled and said: “Spiritual teachings don’t use the word “No;” as in “you should not do this or that,” for Life has its own intelligence and there is a lesson at every corner of it. If we fail to see something, that is because we lack awareness; but the consequences will be felt sooner or later to shake us up and then wake up. It is in that experience how we truly understand. Mental understanding of ideas and philosophies leads to no real personal change, but only help us to follow beliefs. If you just follow what I say without being ready, great repression will be built inside you and that will be my responsibility.”
The disciple felt a big release, smiled and asked: ” Master, how do I know when I have eaten enough or when my addiction for tasty things kicks in?
The master smiled, took another sip of water and said: ” That is truly a meaningful question. Eating is an art. You need a tranquil space where you can place your attention in what you are ingesting. Eat with gratefulness. Chew your food well, taste it, salivate it, let it go to your stomach and then take a couple of breaths; talk if you need to and then go at it again. Be aware of the signals that your body sends. As you are reaching 75% of your stomach capacity, that is a good place to stop. Your body will tell you exactly if you are aware. Your mind on the other hand, will enjoy the taste and say: Get more! How delicious! repeat! Let the mind enjoy, but remember that it is what you feel and not what you think what drives the art of eating. Leave with a sense that you could have eaten more. There are some days, where you could eat a bit more or less. Life is about feeling balance and not following formulas. To learn to feel is the key. Conscious, aware eating is a fine spiritual practice. Nevertheless, there is an indicator which could tell you most of the time, if you are eating sensibly or not…. “
The master stopped talking. After a few seconds, the disciple asked: ” What is that indicator, master?”
“your belly size.” said the master while smiling.
Killing is “bad.”
The bird killed the fish to eat it.
Was that “bad”?
A human killed a fish (the “sport” of fishing) just to throw it away for he had many already with him.
Was that “bad”?
Intention before action.
Shall we put everything under the umbrella that “killing is bad”? Make a commandment for all?
That is the “black or white” world. The mentality in that world is a consequence of having ideals, moral standards that are completely incapable of changing according to time and the circumstances. That inflexibility cannot flow with the changes in Life.
That is the religious view of “good and bad” based on actions which are qualified as moral or immoral, good or bad, pure or impure, virtuous or sinner.
Trapped in that mentality we are unable to observe that Life does not work in that way.
“Your” God, “Your” morality, “Your” ideals, “Your” virtue… it is all tinted by the “black or white” mentality.
Do we see that?
Want to be a “vegetarian”?
Define it. Defend it. Make yourself look “good,” “humanitarian.”
Want more followers, more adepts? Then, you are “especial.”
“Black or White” mentality. Vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian.
Want to be a “vegan”?
Define it. Defend it. Make yourself look “good.”
Want more followers, more adepts? Then, you are “especial.”
“Black or White” mentality. Vegan vs. non-vegan.
When humans lose the sense of balance which animals in Nature have, at that point all becomes a “black or white” matter of fact.
Is a bird a vegan? A vegetarian?
Do they live their Life based on definitions and concepts?
They live according to their nature, for in Nature, they have a particular task as we are all One.
That is why, even though the bird kills to survive, that is not “bad.”
Humans on the other hand…..
First acknowledge your own nature. Then acknowledge that it will change. Then acknowledge that a definition of yourself through a label only limits your own understanding.
Of course, the above is not for everyone. Ahnanda does not share “spirituality” for the masses.
Those who are meant to understand, will.
For many, embracing a spiritual path, means to listen to someone (Guru) giving classes about a particular topic, mingling with a new group of people who are “into the same thing,” to dress similarly and help each other if needed.
This is very easy to perform. In my times as a Christian soul, going to church every Sunday was the hardest “effort” to make other than having to “confess” my sins to the priest so these “sins” could be “absolved.”
On the other hand, once I became interested in the Brahma Kumaris knowledge; there was a “surprise” waiting for me if I wanted to be “part of the club.”
That was the “code of conduct.”
In this writing I will expose the main ones with the only purpose to inform individuals about this practice. To follow these “principles” is perfectly feasible, although not for everyone. It is my experience that by following these principles, our life in general will change for the better, for a more spiritual self. It is just a matter of time and consistency to succeed in this life style.
There are 16 “maryadas” in the current list that I am aware of, but out of those there are 5 which are the pillars of spiritual “effort making life” and those are the main concern of this sharing.
1) Morning class every day. (nowadays, “hear” class every day through the phone or computer) at 6:30 AM. In my town, it is Monday through Friday at 6:30 AM and weekends at 7:30 AM with half an hour meditation before that (if possible.)
Now, this is a change from just a typical Sunday morning mass (11 AM.)
2) Lacto vegetarian life style (without eggs, garlic or onions)
This was a “big change” in my life. Fortunately I had been vegetarian for “moral reasons” (Don’t believe in killing animals to survive) back in my native Spanish country, when no one around me believed in such things, so I had to fight my way back then and eat “taste-less food” to make it. Although, “no garlic” meant that I couldn’t buy much from the store; for 99% of the food items have garlic in them.. 🙂
What is the issue with garlic? It is a well-known food item with “aphrodisiac” properties, besides the “strong” smell which most individuals believe to be “normal” to have with them.
Here a website for those who need “proof.”
3) Celibacy: Things could get a bit tougher, now!! However, take care of your diet; get away from the “normal” diet and things will start changing. Diet is the first step. The second step is if you are a Brahmin soul or not. If you are a Brahmin soul, celibacy will not be so hard, especially if a “Golden age” soul; otherwise, there may be some “inner fights.” For the rest, celibacy is a “cleansing” process.
There are some who believe that celibacy is just non sexual intimacy with someone, but still indulge in self sexuality. Sorry, that is not celibacy. There are others who will experience “nocturnal emissions,” through this process. That means that there is still room for improvement. Celibacy is “numberwise” as well. These involuntary emissions could be experienced also by women; however, as the grip on celibacy increases, these episodes will diminish. For a Brahmin soul; there is a complete life-style to follow “purity,” AND; this is not just for the “clergy” or the “upper classes closer to God,” but for everyone. Higher standards; that is all.
4) Amrit Vela: Early morning meditation at 4 AM every day until 4:45 AM.
Time to wake up: 3:30 AM approx.
This is the “backbone” of the BK life style in my perspective. The whole life style points to the experience of “Amrit Vela.” If you consistently have “good” meditations at this time, you are doing good!
This practice by itself will regulate the “myth” of the 8 hours sleep cycle. 5 to 6 hours should be enough for most.
Being awake after amrit vela is beneficial to avoid “nocturnal emissions” and it is the “best time” for spiritual uplifting.
There are some souls who would like to try “Amrit Vela” without training the self for it. For most, this will require some “training.” To do this every day will be felt as sleepiness by an unaccustomed body, so the number of times per week should be increased gradually for most, to allow the self to “get used to it.”
This is something that I encounter in many souls eager to follow all the “principles,” those souls will feel “tired” if not properly trained, then, the consistency will be lacking. (i.e: 1 week amrit vela every day and the next week nothing at all ) Training and patience are required.
5 ) Keeping a chart:
This is the equivalent of “confession” in Christianity. Here, at night we could revise our activities mentally and see where we need to concentrate for further improvement. By keeping a chart, we will be able to “process” our life so we know exactly how we reacted throughout the day. A chart gives us the opportunity to “check and change.” This is the equivalent to the “dairy” which some individuals like to keep.
As we can see, these principles will definitely change our “traditional” life style; but if we have the strength and tireless stamina to learn from this new life style, positive changes will definitely be just around the corner. It is a matter of faith in our own capacity.