Sadhguru: If you are looking at how to become sensitive to life, how to become perceptive; then, what you put into the system becomes very important. If we watch the body with what sort of food the body is most happy, you will naturally notice vegetarian or plant-based food… I do only one meal most of the days, it’ll keep me going entire 24 hours. Chakabars: So, could you just explain to me, why so many people in India are vegetarian, and the importance of food and fruit in your general day-to-day life? Sadhguru: (Laughs) Right now, approximately 38% of India’s population are pure vegetarians by..
. you know, traditionally, it’s like that. Let’s say about 50 years ago, nearly 60% were vegetarians but Western educated doctors have been telling people, if you don’t eat meat, you won’t get nourishment; you have to eat some meat.
So, because of that, some meat has come in, but still in India, meat-eating is not like how it’s in the West. It is only a side dish.
Even for non-vegetarian people, it’s only a side dish. But why vegetarianism is… See, if your survival is under threat, your entire life is about survival.
Once survival is taken care of, now you wonder what is this all about? Because when survival is in question, it looks like – when your survival is fulfilled, everything is going to be great.
But once survival is taken care of, you realize that is not the truth. Your life is longing for something else. So, survival was very simple and easy, it was rich land, people survived well.
Because of that they started looking inward and started developing various things. And one important thing is – nearly 70% of the country’s population was always actively spiritual. Turning inward was an important part of life. Because of this, when they turned inward, they realized that what they eat matters. If you’re just want to… be all beefy brawn, then you can eat lot of meat and just grow muscles and fight with each other.
But if you’re looking at how to become sensitive to life, how to become perceptive, how to be able to perceive things beyond what is considered normal perception, then what you put into the system becomes very important. So, what is it that passes through the system with least amount of resistance, with least amount of… you know, struggle in the body. So, to put this into perspective, let me put it this way. See, if you eat raw meat, for example, in the human system, compared to carnivorous animals – in all the carnivorous animals, the length of the alimentary canal is only three times the length of its body approximately. In all the herbivores, the length of the alimentary canal is five to six times the length of the body.
So, in a human being it could be anywhere between 24-28 or 30 feet, which is nearly five to six times the length of our body. In this kind of alimentary canal, if you put meat it will travel through this very, very slowly; approximately raw meat would take 70 to 72 hours to pass through the system. If you put cooked meat, it will take 50 to 52 hours to pass through the system. If you put cooked vegetable meals, it will take anywhere between 24 to 30 hours to pass through the system. If you put raw vegetables into the system, it will take 12 to 15 hours to pass through the system.
If you put fruit into the system, it will take one-and-a-half to three hours to pass through the system. So, we started recognizing what is that food which happens in the body with least amount of residue, least amount of impurities and passes through the system very quickly.
Because in yoga this is an important thing, we all manage this even now – if we eat anything, within two-and-a-half hours we must be hungry or stomach must be empty. But we won’t eat, stomach is empty but we are energetic, so we don’t eat. So, generally, here in the Yoga Center, everybody does only two meals… one, 10:00 in the morning, 7:00 in the evening, that’s it.
I do only one meal most of the days. If I’m traveling, I may do something else a little bit, but otherwise generally if I’m home, I do only one meal. Keri Hilson: Is that in the morning or the evening? I’m just curious. Sadhguru: Generally, for me it is 4:30 – 5:00 in the evening.
It’ll keep me going the entire 24 hours. It’s not like a rule. It is just that, that is the need. So, suppose there is lot of physical activity on a certain day, then you may eat a small breakfast or you eat a fruit or something like that.
Food is not to be made into a philosophy or a kind of a religious process.
Food is the requirement of the body. If we watch the body, with what sort of food the body is most happy, body is most at ease, you will naturally notice vegetarian or plant-based food, body is most comfortable and is at ease. It is flexible, it is at ease, it has less to process on a daily basis. So, naturally, those who observed the nature of their own bodies, naturally became vegetarian. When survival was the question, hunting and eating whatever you kill was a natural process.
But once societies settled down, they could grow what they want, as they observed themselves more and more, and life became not about survival but about enhancing one’s life to higher levels of perception and experience; then turning vegetarian will naturally become… It’s a natural process. It is bound to happen everywhere.