12. Becoming Vegetarian

When we first encountered Guru’s writings on the indivisibility of man and God, on man becoming God, we were quite amazed. Brought up as we were with the classical view of the unbridgeable gulf between Creator and creation, the concept of realising God – or more startlingly, becoming God – was revolutionary, a breathtaking assertion. In Yoga and the Spiritual Life I read: “Man and God are eternally one. Like God, man is infinite; like man, God is finite. There is no yawning gulf between man and God. Man is the God of tomorrow; God, the man of yesterday and today.” I have always treasured this thought, and even on a really bad day when I can hardly bear to be myself, I find comfort in knowing and understanding that we will one day soar, one day merge with God.

Guru, of course, was the radiant example of this truth, the living embodiment of man as God, God as man, and every day he reminded us of our own God-becoming. He was for us the great personification of divinity, his teachings insisting upon the infallible truth of our own ultimately divine nature. In the first printed volume of Sri Chinmoy Answers he tells us of his supreme faith “in each and every human being because I clearly see each and every one as the real God… Sometimes when I meditate on you, my disciples, in my own highest divine consciousness, I definitely see you as my Lord Beloved Supreme. I do not see you as human beings with human imperfections. No, at that time your outer bodies disappear and your souls I see as the most perfect representatives of our Lord Beloved Supreme. That is the time when I get the utmost happiness. I swim in the sea of ecstasy.”

Subarata embraced more open-heartedly than I the steps enabling this transformation to occur, the alchemy of base human ignorance into shining spirit. She meditated, ran, read and sang, with zeal. Long before me she had known that a vegetarian diet would enable an evolutionary jump, a refinement of consciousness needed to move upwards and onwards. For her, much of the path was familiar terrain. In my case, having been brought up in a home littered with firearms, a freezer packed with venison steaks, and a gun-toting, manly father who would have had a seizure at the thought of a vegetarian son, I lagged a little behind. On our sometimes six-day mountain expeditions with a few of Subarata’s fervently vegetarian friends, I would conceal a few salami sausages in my backpack, crawling from the tent under late stars to enjoy my furtive addiction.

In our disciple-owned cafés and restaurants worldwide, the vegetarian diet and the God-becoming life of others combine. Guru’s words from The Blossoming Centre-Garden remind us: “While you are cooking, you have to feel that you are cooking for the supreme Guest, the Supreme Himself, who will eat in and through the hundreds of people who will come into the restaurant. Do not think of the people who are going to eat as human beings…. The Supreme is the supreme Guest, and as a guest He is coming to you in hundreds of human forms.”

And about ourselves, he reminds: “God is constantly taking birth at every moment inside you – in what you say, in what you do and in what you become…. With each new thought, each new idea, you can feel that a new God has dawned, a new God has taken birth.”