Ramana Maharshi on Vegetarianism as the Correct Diet
Devotee: What diet is prescribed for a sadhak (one engaged in spiritual practices)?
Ramana Maharshi: Sattvic food in limited quantities.
D.: What is sattvic food?
Ramana Maharshi: Bread, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc.
D.: Some people take fish in North India. May it be done?
(The Maharshi made no answer.)
D.: We Europeans are accustomed to a particular diet; change of diet affects health and weakens the mind. Is it not necessary to keep up physical health?
Ramana Maharshi: Quite necessary. The weaker the body the stronger the mind grows.
D.: In the absence of our usual diet our health suffers and the mind loses strength.
Ramana Maharshi: What do you mean by strength of mind?
D.: The power to eliminate worldly attachment.
Ramana Maharshi: The quality of food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.
D.: Really! How can the Europeans adjust themselves to sattvic food only?
Ramana Maharshi: (Pointing to Mr. Evans-Wentz) You have been taking our food.
Do you feel uncomfortable on that account?
Mr. Evans-Wentz: No. Because I am accustomed to it.
D.: What about those not so accustomed?
Ramana Maharshi: Habit is only adjustment to the environment. It is the mind that matters. The fact is that the mind has been trained to think certain foods tasty and good. The food material is to be had both in vegetarian and nonvegetarian diet equally well. But the mind desires such food as it is accustomed to and considers tasty.
D.: Are there restrictions for the realised man in a similar manner?
Ramana Maharshi: No. He is steady and not influenced by the food he takes.
D.: Is it not killing life to prepare meat diet?
Ramana Maharshi: Ahimsa stands foremost in the code of discipline for the yogis.
D.: Even plants have life.
Ramana Maharshi: So too the slabs you sit on!
D.: May we gradually get ourselves accustomed to vegetarian food?
Ramana Maharshi: Yes. That is the way.
(Source: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 22)