Buddha ate only one time every day. It may suit a few people’s bodies; in fact, it cannot suit the majority – because man has come from the monkeys, that’s what scientific research proves. And you can watch the monkeys on the trees: they are all Americans, munching the whole day! To force a monkey to stick to one meal a day will destroy his life. In fact, only lions eat one time a day, because their diet is nonvegetarian. Only nonvegetarians can live on one meal a day. The vegetarian cannot survive, or even if he survives, the survival will be only at the minimum level of his energies. The vegetarian has to eat many times, at least two times and at the most five times. One meal a day is not good for vegetarians, and if you are pure vegetarians, just living on vegetables and fruits, then you will have to eat many more times because larger quantities have to be taken and absorbed. Meat is digested food; the animal has already done the work, but eating vegetables you have to do the whole work of digesting.
Now, it is very strange that Mahavira and Buddha are both in favor of vegetarianism, and still they insist on one meal a day. I think the reason is that they both came from nonvegetarian families, they both belonged to the race of the warriors. They must have become accustomed to eating meat, and so it was easy for them. But if people who have lived for centuries on vegetables try to live on one meal a day, they will be living in a state of undernourishment, malnutrition. And it not only disturbs your body, it disturbs your mental faculties too. You can see it happening all over the world: only very rarely does a vegetarian win a Nobel Prize – it affects your intelligence. You become a vegetable! If you are uneducated, you are a cabbage, or at the most a cauliflower. A cauliflower is a cabbage with a college education!
People are different, their systems are different. For example, women and men cannot belong to the same system. The women can accumulate more fat, men cannot; that is a biological difference. The woman needs it because when she becomes pregnant and a child is growing in her womb she cannot eat well. She starts vomiting, eating becomes difficult, she feels sick and nauseous. For those emergencies the body accumulates layers of fat. Man has no need to be fat because he is not going to become pregnant; hence man’s physiology is different. That’s why women can fast very easily.
This is my observation: the Jaina nuns are far more true to their religion than the Jaina monks. The Jaina nuns can fast very easily; they accumulate fat. And what is fasting in fact? When you fast you are eating your own meat; that’s why when you fast one kilo of weight disappears every day. Where does it go? You have eaten it! Fasting, in fact, is a nonvegetarian activity – I don’t believe in it! It is eating yourself! The woman can fast more easily; the man cannot – he does not accumulate so much fat.
Then in different climates, in different geographies, different kinds of things are bound to happen. You cannot have one religion around the earth. Yes, you can have one kind of religiousness, but not one religion.
You can see gathered around me here all kinds of people from all countries, all races – but we are not a new religion. I am not trying to create one religion; we are just creating a quality: religiousness, meditativeness, prayerfulness, trust, gratitude towards existence. Yes, on these things humanity can become a great brotherhood, but about details many things are bound to remain different – and they should remain different. There is no reason to destroy this variety. It will be like when you love roses, so you start growing only roses.