The blindness is such that Hindus, Jainas, Buddhists, all think that milk is the purest food. It is not. And these are the people who worship a man who simply remains on milk.
I used to live in a city where there was a big ashram. I inquired, “What is the attraction? – because I have seen the man, he looks to me like just an average idiot.”
They said, “No, he is a great saint. He lives only on milk. He is called Dundadari Baba – the milk-drinking saint.”
I said, “If he has been drinking only milk, he should be called a dangerous bull!”
And finally it was found that he was a dangerous bull – because the milk was not from a human mother, and milk is an animal product. It comes from the animal’s body, just as the blood does. Those who pretend to be vegetarians should stop all milk products. Otherwise, it is a substitute, at the cost of those animals’ small kids. That milk is for them, not for you.
The Jainas were very angry with me, but they had no argument against it.
Buddhists became meat-eaters because of a small incident. Buddha’s teaching was that one should not ask when he goes to beg. Every sannyasin has to go every day for begging – one should not ask; otherwise, sannyasins will become a burden on people. Whatever is given, accept it with thankfulness.
But one day, a monk came and said, “I am in difficulty” – because the other rule was that whatever is given to you in the begging bowl, you have to eat it all. It is not much, because you are eating once in twenty-four hours: no chewing gum, no cigarettes! And for another reason too: food is scarce, people are giving to you out of reverence. You should not throw away their food. Nothing should be thrown out from the begging bowl.
This sannyasin came with his begging bowl and he said, “I am in a dilemma. As I was coming home a bird flying over dropped a piece of meat into my begging bowl. So what do you suggest? Should I throw it out? That goes against your teaching that nothing should be thrown out or left uneaten. There should be a respect for food because it is your very life. Or should I eat this piece of meat? That too is against your teaching that we should not eat meat.”
Even Gautam Buddha had to close his eyes and to think what to say to this man. Both alternatives were dangerous. If he said, “You can throw it away,” that would become an example for others to come. Whatever they don’t like they could throw away. If he said, “Eat it,” he would be allowing the person to eat meat. He weighed all the pros and cons, and then he thought: This kind of accident is not going to happen every day. In the eighty years of my life, this is the first instance. So it is better to let him eat it.