I said to the Jaina monks, Buddhist bhikkhus, and Hindu sages: “Now celibacy should not be given the same respect; now it is dangerous to go on praising celibacy, because the more you praise celibacy, the more women will remain unmarried. What are they going to do? What is going to happen to their biological instinct? You are forcing them to find some perverted way, something ugly, in the name of your celibacy.”
They said, “We have never thought about celibacy in this way, that it is a social condition.”
I said, “Whether you have thought about it in that way or not, all rights and all wrongs are social by-products.” For example, of all the people in the world only India, a very small minority, is vegetarian, for the simple reason that if the whole world becomes vegetarian we cannot support the existing population; it is impossible. Only very small groups can become vegetarian; the majority will remain non-vegetarian, has to remain non-vegetarian.
Even the small group that becomes vegetarian has to be given great incentives. You are not doing something great, you are just eating vegetables. So what! Eat well, enjoy. I don’t think that just by eating grass you are attaining some spiritual quality, that you will reach paradise just on that merit. That is not something great – but something great is needed to make people go on eating grass their whole life.
If you simply say that it is just an aesthetic value – that’s what I say. My people are vegetarian, but not for any religious or spiritual reason. I am absolutely existential, factual. My people are vegetarian for an aesthetic reason. I cannot conceive somebody eating meat, somebody destroying life for his taste, killing millions of animals every day.
I once met a man, an African, who himself was not a cannibal – but in Africa there are a few small tribes of cannibals still in existence. The tribes go on becoming smaller and smaller because they go on eating their own people. They will disappear.
This man was caught by a cannibal tribe and they were going to eat him. But he happened to have so much money – he told them, “I can give you much money if you spare me.” The money was so much, those poor cannibals could not resist the temptation; they said, “Okay, we can spare you, but we cannot trust you; the money has to arrive first. Our man will go with your letter. The money has to be here and then we will release you.”
So he had to stay three days with them, and while he was with them he had to eat what they were eating; he became a cannibal for three days, because that was the only food. He told me, “I have never tasted anything so delicious. Although I was feeling bad, the food was delicious.” And he inquired of those people, “You eat man – what kind of man, what age of man is most delicious?”