You are what you Eat

Osho on Food


“Survival of the fittest” appears to be true, but only to the superficial eye, because man is not the strongest animal on the earth. Why he has survived, and destroyed other animals, is not his fitness, his strength, his power, but his intelligence. So I would like to change it to survival of the conscious. Now we are facing a world crisis. If man does not prove conscious enough, then he is going to disappear from the earth. He proved more conscious than the animals; now he has to prove more intelligent and conscious than the politicians. These are the real animals now.

And if man can prove himself more conscious, more alert, more aware, then many things can disappear immediately. For example, the nations are all artificial. The earth is one. All the boundaries of the nations are fake; they are only on the map. If man is more alert and more aware, the first thing to be done is to dissolve all the nations. Let the world be one. One world is the only guarantee, that there is not going to be any more war.

If man is conscious and aware, he can see that the essential religion is one. Only rituals differ, and rituals are meaningless. Drop the rituals and save the essential religion. Then Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism — all will come to the same point: the enquiry of your interiority, the inward journey. If we can let the boundaries of nations disappear and the boundaries of religion disappear if the world can be one world and religion can be without any adjective — just a quality, religiousness — we will have survived the greatest danger that is facing us. A divided humanity — in religions — in nations is going to destroy itself. We need an undivided, one humanity. Anything that divides has to be dropped; it is against our survival.

And the second proverb, “you are what you eat,” is certainly true.

A man who is vegetarian is basically nonviolent. You can see it: the people who have been vegetarians for centuries are absolutely non — violent. They have not created any wars; they have not created any crusades, any JIHADS. The people who are meat eaters are bound to have little sensitivity, they are more hard. Even in the name of love they will kill; even in the name of peace they will go to war. In the name of freedom, in the name of democracy, they will murder.

There are cannibals also still in existence — not many: a small tribe in South Africa, of three hundred people. Nobody passes through that area, because if you pass through that area you will never reach your goal — you will become food! Because nobody passes through that area, those people have been eating their own people. In the beginning of this century their population was three thousand. Now they are only three hundred.

I am reminded of a Christian priest, a missionary, who was the first man from the West to reach to the cannibals to convert them to Christianity. They immediately got hold of him. They put him in a big pot.

He said, “What are you doing?”

They said, “Just wait a little and you will know.”

Then they started putting logs and wood under the pot. The missionary saw the situation, looked around at those people’s faces… ferocious. Trying somehow to persuade them that this was not good, he said, “Before you do anything, listen to me. Have you ever had any taste of Christianity?”

They said, “Wait, we will have. We will make soup of you and then everybody will have the first taste of Christianity.”

A cannibal cannot be called human. If he can eat living human beings, he has no heart, he has no love, he has no sensitivity. He is just a stone. But you don’t think the same way when somebody kills a lion or a deer, because you don’t think that the deer has as much life as you have. The deer may have a beloved; the deer may have children. You don’t think of the lion, when you kill him, that he may have a family. His small cubs will be orphans. He is as alive as you are — in fact more alive than you are. Destroying him only for a few taste buds on your tongue, for the taste…It seems to me that killing animals for eating is not very far away from killing human beings. They differ only in their body, in their shape, but it is the same life that you are destroying.

With new technology the earth is perfectly capable of giving you food. You can make it as tasteful as you want, and you can give it any flavor that you love. Just for taste, destroying life is simply disgusting. And destroying life, you are destroying many qualities in you. You cannot become a Gautam Buddha. You cannot have that purity of consciousness, that sensitivity. One day Gautam Buddha is passing a street with his disciple Ananda, talking to him. A fly sits on his forehead and he is so much involved in talking that just mechanically he waves his hand — the way we do — and the fly is gone. But then he suddenly stops, closes his eyes, and raises his hand very slowly, very gracefully.

Ananda said, “What are you doing? The fly is no longer there.”

Buddha said, “I misbehaved with the fly. That was not the right treatment — I should have been more graceful. I’m trying it, now I should have behaved, so that in future I don’t commit the same mistake. After all, a fly is also alive, and she was just sitting on my forehead.”

Now this man, who cannot even mistreat a fly, will certainly have a far purer consciousness than anybody else, a far deeper serenity than anybody else. Vegetarian food lacks only one thing: certain proteins, which are absolutely needed for intelligence to grow. That is the reason not a single vegetarian has been awarded the Nobel prize. Even in India three persons have been awarded the Nobel prize, but all the three persons were nonvegetarians. I have looked into the matter deeply. I have enquired from scientists, medical people, and found a substitute, the unfertilized egg. Added to vegetarian food, it makes it complete. It gives all the proteins that the old vegetarian food misses. And the nonfertilized egg is just vegetable; it has no life.

A simple change, and we can make the whole of humanity more sensitive, more artistic, more full of reverence for life. You cannot be religious if you are not full of reverence for life. God you have not seen, but life is all around you. To you, life is the only representative that proves that existence is not dead, it is alive. Eating anything by killing is irreligious, unspiritual, unaesthetic.

And once the unfertilized egg is added to the vegetarian food, the food is perfect — better than the none vegetarian food. It fulfills all your needs without any destruction. A man who lives by destruction will die by destruction. It is not a coincidence that both the world wars were fought in the West. And the third world war will also begin — if it begins — in the west. In the East — particularly the people who have been vegetarian for centuries — they have never fought a war. I have researched in India whether any vegetarian has ever been caught committing suicide or murder or theft and I was surprised that not a single vegetarian has ever been put into jail for committing murder — it is impossible.

I remember my childhood. My grandmother would not allow poor tomatoes in the house, because they look like meat.

I said, “You are mad. These poor tomatoes are not meat.”

But she said, “Even the look… As long as I am alive, please don’t bring any tomatoes into the house.” Do you think this woman can kill somebody? Can you imagine this woman can commit suicide?

Yes, it is true, you are what you eat, because what you eat makes your mind, makes your body, makes your senses, gives you qualities. In India, I have been watching — not a single vegetarian is a beggar. Where there are millions of beggars, not a single vegetarian is a beggar. I have been visiting jails, and enquiring; I have never come across a vegetarian in the jail. They simply don’t commit anything — their sensitivity prevents them. If we want a really human world, a world of loving people, respectful of each others’ lives, then we will have to think about our food and about our other habits. They should be changed. They are not so valuable.

And if you love the flavor of meat, that flavor can be given to any food. Now it is a simple matter. There is no need, just for that flavor, to kill a living, beautiful animal and destroy the ecology of the earth. They are our brothers and our sisters.

The day Saint Francis died — he used to travel on a donkey — the last thing he said is worth remembering. He addressed the donkey — the last thing — not his disciples. He said, “Brother donkey, please forgive me. I have been riding on you. I accept my guilt; it was not right to ride on a brother. Please forgive me before I die.” But he addressed the donkey as brother.

We are part of this existence: these trees, these animals, these birds, they are our brothers and our sisters. This is our whole family. Just a slight understanding, and you can change your consciousness from being polluted, from being destroyed. You can rise as high as anybody has ever been able.

For example, in the West enlightenment is not a known phenomenon, for the simple reason that nobody was sensitive and alert and aware enough to attain it. Even a man like Jesus was eating meat, drinking wine. Not only that, the Christians brag about his miracles, that he made water into wine — now that is a crime, not a miracle. If he had made water out of wine, I would call it a miracle. I cannot call this a miracle. Wine makes people unconscious; it cannot help them to become enlightened.

There have been great people in the West. I love them. Socrates could have become a Buddha, an awakened one, if he had been in the East. But there, the whole atmosphere is not supportive. He was a meat eater — not only that, he was a homosexual. Now, such a person cannot attain to the ultimate peaks of consciousness. He had the potential, he had the capacity, he had the intelligence, but just the little things missed. So is the case with Moses; so is the case with Plato, Plotinus, Heraclitus, Pythagoras… beautiful people. I love them, and yet I feel sorry for them, because they were not in the right kind of atmosphere where they could have blossomed and flowered. We don’t know how many people in the world can become pinnacles, sky-high consciousnesses, because small things are preventing them.

Food is very important. It is your body, it is your brain. And without your body and brain’s support, you cannot attain to your soul.


Listen to the complete Audio Discourse at link below… 

Discourse Series: Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries – Chapter #6

Chapter title: If you can get it, get it

22 February 1986 am in


Osho has spoken on Food, vegetarian, consciousness, awareness, sensitivity, life, ecology, non-violence, enlightenment, Buddhain many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. A Bird on the Wing
  2. Beyond Psychology
  3. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  4. The Divine Melody
  5. From Death to Deathlessness
  6. The Empty Boat
  7. From Personality to Individuality
  8. The Last Testament
  9. The Messiah
  10. The Path of the Mystic
  11. Philosophia Perennis
  12. The Sword and the Lotus
  13. Tao: The Three Treasures
  14. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
  15. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega

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