In our previous lectures, we talked a lot about our relationships with the Supreme Lord: that we are spiritual soul, we are not these material bodies, that we need spiritual food and that food comes in the form of transcendental sound.
In the material world, there is a law of karma, and it governs us completely. We are responsible for our actions. To every action that we perform, there will be a reaction to that. The Holly Bible says: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” There are sayings: “Everything you do, will come back on you”, “What goes around, comes around.” So, we are controlled by the law of karma.
I don’t have time to go to the whole karma thing, because it’s big as well, but if I cause some pain, suffering, hardship, death to another living entity, any life form: humans, animals, plants (it does not matter), I’m responsible for that. And so in the future I will receive in return pain, suffering, hardship. Bad actions, bad results – bad karma. But if the activity I perform affects a life of another living entity in the positive way, I make their material life a little better (I help a sick person, I’m kind to animals; even kind words, charity work, whatever), it’s good. So, good things come back – I get benefits, I get rewards. That’s good karma.
Now, how all this relates to our subject of food? Every time I eat, it means somebody dies, somebody’s died. To maintain my body, I have to kill. The biggest karma is from killing of animals. And cows are the worst. I get more karma for killing a cow than any other creature. And it’s huge. And you say: “I do not kill cows. I’d never killed a cow in my life!” But our Vedic scripture Shrimad Bhagavatam makes all this very clear: a person who kills the animal, transports the meat, cooks it, serves it, or eats it, is all equally involved in the crime.
So, I’m way down the line here. I just go to the super market. It’s all wrapped up in a nice pretty package. There are no eyes, and horns, and teeth, and leaps, and guts; it’s all back in a slaughter house. All the screaming of the animals that were slaughtered, it’s all back over there; all the blood and everything. I just see this nice package wrapped up, and I just buy it, bring home, cook it, and eat. No big drama here. But I’m equally involved in all the pain that that animals’s suffered. I’ll get the full karma as well; unavoidably so. Whether we believe in it, or we do not believe in it – it has no effect; it’s still the same. So, that’s true for all the life forms.
If one becomes a vegetarian, he reduces his karma huge. The reduction is amazing, but still there is karma, because you still have to kill the carrot (it’s the living entity, too), you still have to cut off the head of the cabbage – somebody dies. You grow sprouts, you eat them – they die. So, there is karma. Not as much, certainly not, but still there is karma.
Some guy tried to be very clever: “OK, I’m just going to eat fruits; no killing! And only the fruits that fall on the ground. And I’m even not going to pick it up from the tree, because I can hurt the tree.” Very clever! Very good! But think about all those people he stepped on as he walks over to pick up this apple. And what about all these people living on the apple? How about that long guy living inside the apple?
You can’t avoid karma. There is only one way. There is only one way to live correctly: that is following God’s instructions. His instructions are the perfect way to live. So, what is He saying about eating? He said: “Everything that you do, everything that you eat, everything that you offer, and give away, as well as all austerities that you perform, do it as an offering unto Me. All that you eat, do it as an offering unto Me”. He also says in Bhagavad Gita: “He, who offers me with love and devotion a leaf, a fruit, a flower or a little water, I’ll accept it. That means all vegetarian food stuff as we described: the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the nuts and seeds, dairy products. But He will not accept meat, He will not accept fish, He will not accept eggs. And you may say: “Why not?! Come on!” But God makes the rules; we don’t. These are His instructions. And, uniquely enough, those instructions, if followed, are the absolute best for the body and the mind. These special God’s instructions are the best for us in every way.
So, we are making our nice vegetarian meal. Do we just seat down: “Oh! What a nice vegetarian meal! This is very alkaline,” and eat it? (One thing I forgot about alkaline diet: a lot of lemons. Squeezed lemons on your meal make it very alkaline). So, we squeeze our lemon, we put our oil, we put our salt, it’s all so fresh, it’s all nice and ready to eat. And I’m thinking: “I’m so good, I’m so clean!” But the karma is still here; this plate is full of karma. It’s full of sin. Karma and sin is the same thing. So what I thought that was good is very bad, spiritually speaking.
So, what to do? Again, follow the Lord’s advice: offer it to Him. So, before we eat this beautiful arrangement of colorful vegetables, we offer it to God: “My dear Lord, please, accept it!”, knowing well it came from Him. Where did this beautiful arrangement come from? He allows us to have it to maintain our bodies. But if we want to have the correct relationship, we offer it to Him first. And, if we do this with love and devotion, we do the best as we can. You say:” I don’t know God!” But we do the best we can: “Please, accept it.” This is so purifying! And all the karma of that food is removed. God takes on that karma, he moves that karma away; no karma. And also, He spiritualizes it, now it is fully spiritually potent, not different from transcendental sound.
So now when we eat this nice beautiful alkaline meal, it nourishes the body in every way. And I, the spirit soul, was spiritually nourished, not karmically contaminated. We have to eat to live; no one can avoid that. If we eat it and do not offer our food to the Supreme Lord, all we do is incur more sin. We accumulate it: it builds up, more, and more, and more; huge. We come to the end of our life with the mountain of sin, mountain of karma. But if we do as prescribed: offer everything to the Supreme Lord, including even our water, there is no karma, and it removes previous karma. So, we do not get any karma from that food. It removes previous karma, and we get spiritually purified. We make spiritual progress by eating.
And the next best thing: if you take some of that food, and you give it to the person close to you (a husband, a wife, a child, a friend), they get spiritually purified, too. And they even do not know about it:
-Would you like some cookie?
-OK. Have a cookie.
-Oh! Thank you very much! This is a nice cookie!
And you help them grow spiritually.
But, the best of all, give it to your enemies, help them out, and they get spiritually purified. What the Lord Jesus Christ says? Love your neighbor! The world is so full of hate. Nobody cares about anybody else. When you’re entering into this dimension of consciousness, you start giving this “prasadam” (as it’s called), Lord’s mercy, to everybody. It opens the heart, purifies the soul. If you have some leftovers, give it to the dog, to the cat, to the rat; purify the rats, and everybody.
This is such a beautiful process. All of a sudden, you become the God’s agent, you are helping His children, whereas before, you were God’s enemy, you were killing His children, you violated His laws completely. All of a sudden, now you are His dearest agent. What a reverse of the whole life! And you feel it in the heart: now there is a reason to live, I can help people to come back home! This is a spiritual life, this is a yoga life, this is the teaching of the Vedas.
So, get involved! You can get involved. You are individuals. You have all kinds of individual abilities and, without a doubt, have intelligence. Many of you are probably incredible cooks. Grow the vegetables, make nice things, offer all to God, and you will be living the life of a true yogi. This is a yoga life-style, and you take it into every aspect of your daily life.
But you have to increase your awareness. You have to have that desire. So, when you buy something in the shop, you read the label, “Hmm, what it’s got in it? Oh! Some meat is here. No, thank you! OK. What it’s got in here? Oh, this is got some eggs. No, thanks!” Discriminate. Be a person of discrimination. The pigs do not discriminate; they eat anything. You just throw them anything and they: “Yum-Yum”, they just eat it up. But we are not pigs; we are humans. Humans are discriminating, and we are supposed to discriminate:”Oh, Yes!”, “No!”… And in this way, you become a true human, you live a civilized life. And, you are preparing your way to the journey back home.
So, chant mantras, eat this sanctified food called “prasadam”, and you will see: gradually you will become more and more happy in your life.
So, that’s all we have time for tonight. We can go further for a long time, but in the material world we are always fighting against time. Time waits for nobody. See, we are controlled by the law of time. There is time to be born:”Here I am!”, there is time to walk; all the same. Time to go, time to stop, time to wake up, time to go to the bed, time to eat, time to work… Time, time, time, time… So, soon there will be time to die: “Ooops! It’s time to die, we have to go!” But if you live your life like a yogi – no problem. It’s time to go home, it’s time to go back to the Supreme Lord; it’s a good time.
So, now we are going to have a good time. We are going to chant mantras. We will have sankirtan: Haribol Nitai-Gaur, Nitai-Gaur Haribol; Gopala Govinda Rama, Madana-Mohana. We are going to relax. We are going to meditate on the sound, chant out loud. After we chant, you can ask questions if you want.
Next post – 1. KARMA