And one who is inimical to God’s creatures cannot be very friendly towards God either. If you destroy Picasso’s paintings, you cannot be very respectful towards Picasso – it is impossible. All the creatures belong to God. God lives in them, God breathes in them, they are his manifestation, just as you are. They are brothers and sisters.
When you see an animal if the idea of brotherhood does not arise in you, you don’t know what prayer is, you will never know what prayer is. And the very idea that just for food, just for taste, you can destroy life, is so ugly. It is impossible to believe that man goes on doing it.
Pythagoras was the first to introduce vegetarianism to the West. It is of profound depth for man to learn how to live in friendship with nature, in friendship with creatures. That becomes the foundation. And only on that foundation can you base your prayer, your meditativeness. You can watch it in yourself: when you eat meat, meditation will be found to be more and more difficult.
Buddha was born in a non-vegetarian family. He was a kshatriya – belonged to the warrior race – but the experience of meditation slowly slowly transformed him into a vegetarian. It was his inner understanding: whenever he ate meat, meditation was more difficult; whenever he avoided meat, meditation was easier. It was just a simple observation.
You will be surprised to know that the greatest vegetarians in the world have been Jainas – but all their twenty-four masters were born into families of non-vegetarians. They were all warriors; they were brought up as fighters. All the twenty-four masters of the Jainas were kshatriyas.
What happened? Why did these people who were brought up, conditioned from their very beginning to eat meat, create one day the greatest movement in the world for vegetarianism? Just because of their experiments with meditation.
It is an unavoidable fact that if you want to meditate, if you want to become thoughtless, if you want to become light – so light that the earth cannot pull you downwards, so light that you start levitating, so light that the sky becomes available to you – then you have to move from non-vegetarian conditioning to the freedom of vegetarianism.
Vegetarianism has nothing to do with religion: it is something basically scientific. It has nothing to do with morality, but it has much to do with aesthetics. It is unbelievable that a man of sensitivity, awareness, understanding, love, can eat meat. And if he can eat meat then something is missing he is still unconscious somewhere of what he is doing, unconscious of the implications of his acts.
But Pythagoras was not heard, not believed – on the contrary, he was ridiculed, persecuted. And he had brought one of the greatest treasures from the East to the West. He had brought a great experiment – if he had been heard, the West would have been a totally different world.