Towards Greater Glory and A happier Life
The Gita puts it succinctly: “This yoga is not for him who eats too much or too little, who sleeps too much or too little.” That sums it up. While it is true that vegetarian food is indeed conducive to meditation, especially in the beginning, it is also true that vegetarian food can be made so rich and spicy as to cause lethargy—a sure obstacle to meditative states. There are also people who overeat and claim that it is all right as long as it is vegetarian food. Surely, overeating is a tamasic act, not a sattvic one.
Don’t be obsessed with what you eat and what you don’t—a trait which Swami Vivekananda called ‘the religion of the kitchen’. Eat what is nutritious, what your body needs. Take medical advice if necessary but eat in moderation. If you see somebody eating food which you do not fancy, do not imagine that he is an ignorant person or a spiritually undeveloped one. Remember that Swami Vivekanadna ate meat and the great saint Ramakrishna loved fish. Of course, this does not mean that you should eat fish or meat because they did. Use your common sense.
Vegetarianism by itself divorced from other factors may not be the sign of a saint. Hitler was a pure vegetarian. He did not even eat eggs, but was he a saint? How many thousands of Jews did he send to the gas chambers?
As far as intoxicants are concerned, one doesn’t have to be extraordinarily intelligent to understand why one is advised to abstain from them. Anything that makes one unbalanced and lose one’s sense of proportion and judgement has to be abandoned.