A N I M A L S   A N D   V E G E T A B L E S
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series

Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, February 28, 2006

      How to start on the path of Agni Yoga? Primarily, one must realize the existence of psychic energy. Then it is necessary to realize that fire is the essence of the spirit. There is no doubt that abstinence from meat is beneficial. All vegetables are good as foods, but a few, such as asparagus, celery, and garlic, are mainly medicinal. Agni Yoga, 323.

      The approach to Light demands from us not only moral purity but also physical cleanliness. Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 7 December 1935.

      People do not eat corpses, yet slaughtered animals are eaten. One must ask, “Wherein is the difference—is not a slaughtered animal a corpse?” We advise not to use meat for reasons of simple goalfitness. Indeed, anyone understands that to make use of decomposing cells is harmful. But when does this decomposition begin? At the moment of cessation of the functions of life the body loses its protective radiation and decomposition sets in immediately. Therefore, worldly wisdom about not eating corpses is hypocritical. We recommend farinaceous food, dairy products and vegetables, where there is less decomposition.
      True, the life process of plants resembles that of animals, but one can see that the decomposition of plants begins much later. Vegetables are better used either fresh or dried in great heat. It is better to use unleavened bread made without fats. There are enough fatty substances in butter and vegetable oil. Your term “vegetarianism” is unfortunate; it emphasizes a division according to principle and not according to essence. In the community food must be vegetable, for the members of the community must follow the utmost goalfitness. New Era Community, 148.

      Until recently people have not understood the vital capacity of vegetable organisms and have senselessly cut clusters of heterogeneous plants, not caring about the meaning of what they were doing. A man with a bouquet is like a child with fire. Exterminators of the vegetation of the planet’s crust are like state criminals. Remember, We do not like cut flowers. New Era Community, 142.

      Think how cruel is the condition of animals; thus will you start to pity the lower. Illumination, III:III:6.

      It can be justly asked how to treat animals. Usually either cruelty is employed toward them, or they are sentimentally made into parasites, or they are used as mediums for mechanical cross-breeding. Indeed a reasonable attitude toward animals must be established in accordance with the unity of world rhythm—this attitude is everywhere the same. Since man must be a coworker of evolution, animals too must conform to this law. . . . Animals must work, they must win the right to life; hence, both cruelty and sentimentality are inapplicable. One cannot but love everything vitally laboring. Illumination, III:VI:13.

      People do not slaughter a vast number of cattle from a sense of refinement. Like troglodytes, they are ready to devour bears. One must realize that the mass slaughter of animals is carried on in full consciousness. People know that vegetables or fruit give more vital energy than a cup of blood, yet they prefer being served with bloody meat, greatly relishing this coarseness. There is no other name for the frenzy of blood consumption. People are perfectly aware that a handful of wheat or barley is sufficient to sustain life, but their animal instinct tries to drag their minds back to a bestial state. Do not beasts try to tear each other’s throats? Does not darkness impel people to the lowest actions? Let us not forget that mass killings, whether in war or in the slaughterhouse, equally pollute the atmosphere and violate the Subtle World. It must be realized that every conscious killing shakes the entire surrounding atmosphere. Moreover, these actions strengthen the forces of darkness and chaos, breaking the rhythm. One must avoid disturbing the Subtle World in any way. We can allow a diet of vegetables, farinaceous food, and milk, also eggs, the very freshest and in a liquid state. You know how repulsive the very sight of meat becomes to the organism accustomed to a vegetable diet. One should not think that people eat meat because of poverty. With the least effort one can obtain a vegetable diet; besides, many nourishing herbs and roots are not utilized. . . . Do not be concerned if the lover of blood scoffs at vegetable food; only remember him, because he is from darkness. Many are indifferent to meat and are compelled to it only by ugly home conditions. We do not mean them. We deplore the conscious vampires and necrophagi. Hence, be simpler and more refined in your diet. Fiery World I, 482.

      Refinement of the heart predicates the eschewal of a meat diet; furthermore an understanding of the Subtle World not only indicates the harm of assimilating decaying products but also reveals what neighbors decomposition attracts. Truly, it is difficult to decide where lies the greatest harm—from the assimilation of meat or from attraction by meat of undesirable guests. Even the dried and smoked meats, which are relatively less harmful, nevertheless, by their odor, attract hungry ones from the Subtle World, and if they are welcomed by abominable speech, the most harmful associations result. As you have heard, many partake of food in silence, or accompany it by worthy conversation. Of course, no decay is permissible, even vegetables must not be permitted to decompose. People need little—two fruits, some cereal, and milk. Thus one not only may be purified internally but also rid oneself of many neighbors. Heart, 331.

      It should be understood that meat is not desirable for the organism, because of the harm of ingesting dead tissue. One may permit some smoked meats, but only while traveling. But in general, I would advise abstaining from meat. It is useful to have apples on the table. The fundamental quality of this fruit is beneficial for one's breathing, as long as the fruit has not yet spoiled. Agni Yoga, 348.

      People must not keep anything rotten in their houses. The presence of fermentation, or of stagnant water attracts undesirable entities. When the photographing of entities of the Subtle World becomes more advanced, it will be possible to record on film the difference between the surroundings of a bit of cheese or meat and that of a fresh rose. Obviating logical arguments, one can actually see that the forms attracted by meat are repellent. These lovers of decomposition even accompany to the mouth itself the dish fancied by them. Also, before photographing auras one can gain experience by taking pictures of objects with their surroundings. As always, the experiment requires patience and perseverance. It should begin with indicative objects. Of the pure aromas, one must prefer the rose; it contains a very lasting oil. But it should not be forgotten that flowers should be gathered before decomposition has set in. I point out roses because they contain the greatest quantity of fiery energy. Thus, lovers of roses are near to fiery energy. The entities that feed on decomposition avoid the aromas of fiery energy. Fiery World I, 227.

      It is correct to remove from one’s home all rotting substances. But besides decomposition of meat and water, equally harmful are decaying fruit and wilting flowers. Fiery World II, 101.

      Any food containing blood is harmful for the development of subtle energy. If humanity would only refrain from devouring dead bodies, then evolution could be accelerated. Meat lovers have tried to remove the blood, but they have not been able to obtain the desired results. Meat, even with the blood removed, cannot be fully freed from the emanations of this powerful substance. The sun’s rays to a certain extent remove these emanations, but their dispersion into space also causes no small harm. Brotherhood, 21.

      Yet there are people who speak much against bloodshed but are themselves not averse to eating meat. There are many contradictions contained in man. Only the perfecting of psychic energy can promote the harmonization of life. Brotherhood, 22.

      In regard to the question of nutrition, it should be noted that it is necessary to have some raw vegetables or fruit each day; raw milk is likewise preferable if the cow is known, and also bread of a somewhat coarse flour. Thus one can obtain sufficient vitamins without increasing the obvious superfluity of food. Hence, one should not burden oneself with the thought of food . . . Fiery World I, 484.

      It has been correctly observed that in order for the organism to adapt itself to a vegetable diet after a meat diet three years are needed. But if, for purely physical conditions, such a period is necessary, no less a period is required for the transformation of consciousness, unless karmic conditions induce special possibilities. To transform the consciousness means to enter a special world; it means to acquire a special evaluation of all that occurs; it means going forward without glancing back; it means leaving behind all complaints and acquiring good will. Does it not seem strange that alongside a period for a diet one must put the ethical concept of benevolence? Fiery World I, 112.

      One should not return again to a meat diet, if the organism has already become accustomed to a vegetable one. There can be exceptions only on account of hunger; but usually a handful of maize or rice can be found. People often do not suspect how meat can constrict and disfigure the aura. But a disturbance may be felt particularly when the organism has become accustomed to the advantages of a vegetable diet. People sometimes discriminate less than animals in the matter of food and its quality. Such meditation is useful on the path to the Fiery World. Fiery World II, 408.

      When I speak of tension it must not be interpreted as fanaticism On the contrary, the tension that links one with Hierarchy may be precisely a spiritual departure from customary conditions… If formerly it was necessary to threaten people with the torments of hell in order to curtail their partaking of bloody food, nowadays the vegetable diet enters life quite naturally. Fiery World I, 656.

      Also remember that a large number of useful instructions are distorted. Let us take, for example, the question of food. We are decidedly against a meat diet. The normal progress of evolution has been retarded in part because of the eating of meat. Yet there are instances, such as a shortage of food, when dried or smoked meat may be eaten as an emergency measure. We are decidedly against the drinking of wine. As an intoxicant it is inadmissible, but it can be used in the treatment of certain illnesses. We are decidedly against all narcotics, but there may be cases of such unbearable suffering that a physician has no choice but to use them. Supermundane II, 372.

      You may ask Me what physical exercises are useful in Agni Yoga. I advise a short period of pranayama in the morning, no longer than five minutes. One should abstain from meat, except smoked meats. Vegetables, fruit, milk, and cereals are always beneficial. All alcohol is barred, except for curative purposes. Narcotics, such as opium, are inimical to Agni Yoga. Cloudy skies are burdensome for an Agni Yogi. I advise insulating one’s footwear with rubber and taking morning walks, avoiding smoky air. Agni Yoga, 166.

      One must prepare oneself not only through diet, but also by other external and internal means. Food requirements are not complicated. The chief thing is to avoid blood, since it is an element which introduces emanations unfit for the refined organism. But even in case of extreme necessity, one can avoid blood by using either dried or smoked meat. Similarly, in planning cereal or vegetable diets, one should be guided by the condition of one’s organism. Yet even without Yoga anyone can understand that any excess is harmful. And everyone knows about the vitamins in raw products… The heart will not fill itself with alien or animal blood, for the quality of the heart will not accept it. Fiery World I, 188.

      Whoever can hear the music of the spheres can also hear the wailings of space. Do not regard such wailings as abstract symbols, they are borne from both the Subtle World and Earth.... According to the intensity of the wailings one can estimate the awakening of the consciousness of humanity...It is necessary that one be prepared to listen not only to the majestic music of the spheres but also to the cry of animal terror. It is impermissible to know only one side of existence. Aum, 204.