“Be happy to eat in constant Divine thought whatever you get with due regard to honest and pious earnings.”
This is the eighth maxim in Sahaj Marg. At this point, I’m not concerned with whether it ties into the earlier maxims because, as discussed earlier, that’s not necessary. And besides, their practice and implementation will lead to a very natural connectivity anyway. I feel very strongly, though, that this maxim is one of the most important.
Today, most people who come to Sahaj Marg or Heartfulness will have at least a minimal interest in Eastern religion / philosophy / spirituality. If nothing else, they’re wanting to learn meditation. Many times when people are learning of Eastern practices, including those who are not Westerners, they get caught up in rules. Finite and concrete and rigid rules – which isn’t what they actually are, but are instead the manner in which the Western mind interprets them. This is likely in large part due to the influence of Judaism / Christianity / Islam. Those rules are intended to help the aspirant reproduce results of someone who came before and attained a goal. At no time are they ever meant to be prohibitive of life in general or the living of it.
But, sadly, that’s exactly what’s happened with a lot of things. One area in particular is food or diet. To be clear – I do think there are “better” ways of getting nutrition. Ways that don’t involve suffering or such high levels of death. Ways that are more responsible with our planet and its available resources. Generally speaking, I also think most spiritual or philosophical people would agree that a meat-free way of eating is in line with these ideas. But that is not – in any way – to say that eating meat condemns a person to hell or to subsequent lives on the wheel of samsara.
The Sahaj Marg masters all advise us that a vegetarian mode of eating is optimal. Agreed. But it should be noted that nowhere (that I’m currently aware of) is it compulsory. Eating meat doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t doom you. It doesn’t mean you can’t be Heartful or spiritual or philosophical.
A good friend of mine recently posted to Facebook about how he’d gone somewhere to get some food (fast food-ish, I think) and after getting home he realized his order was only half complete. So he went back and got the rest of his food. Then came home and ate it … and then realized he’d consumed beef. I think he wasn’t happy about the slip (he’s vegetarian and might be vegan, or aspiring thereto), but it clearly wasn’t the end of the world to him. And it ought not to be.
There are a number of places throughout Hindu holy texts that reflect the truth and sentiment of this maxim. In all that I’ve read where this is concerned, the one’s being spoken of (the eaters) are holy people. And in every mention, the truth is that holy people have no aversion to specific foods. They eat what they are given or what is available. Not in the way a scavenger would, but in the way that someone who sees the Reality and Ultimate Truth – The Oneness – behind everything.
It’s really not that far removed from the idiocy that says the left hand is unclean while the right is clean. Ridiculous. They are attached to the same body! Be happy to eat whatever you get, the maxim says. Additionally, you’re to eat whatever you get “in constant Divine thought.” I’m here to tell you that ANYTHING – any action, thought, word – done in Divine thought, truly divine thought, is pure. Defining divine thought is a tough thing and not something for this post.
When you eat whatever you get, with regard to earnings, and do that eating with divine thought – you experience oneness and The Center and The Goal. You have no aversion. You cease adding layers of samskara which must later be peeled away. This is a part of our progression toward The Goal that is every bit as big as eating is in every day life.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti