The Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society
Meditation & Vegetarianism
It is generally accepted that man is a complex being, having multiple principles, the most rudimentary classifications being body, mind and spirit. Many traditions have taught that one must firstly purify the body and the mind in order to attain high spirituality. But how does a man go about to purify his body and his mind? Starting with the physical body, it is said that we are what we eat. Clearly, then, we must be careful with our food. That, of course, also means abstention from drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances. Specifically, we must take pure food in order to have a pure body. All indications and evidence point to a vegetarian diet. Indeed, vegetarianism is a prerequisite for a pure body, we are told. Purification of the mind may well be a greater challenge for it takes a stronger will to control the mind than the body. In this respect, the prescriptions of all the sages of the ages are consistent—to control the wild mind and purify it, one has to meditate.
Meditation and vegetarianism are the twin requirements for those on a spiritual quest. Both require a fundamental change in the discipline and life style of the aspirant. The Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society offers lectures on Meditation and Vegetarianism regularly. Interestingly, meditation and vegetarianism bring about tremendous benefits even to those who are not necessarily on a spiritual quest.
Since antiquity, the practice of meditation has proven to be most efficacious for man, be it for simple relaxation, spiritual development or finding inner peace. All major religions advocate meditation as the means for spiritual growth and to control the normally wild and unruly mind so that one may be more receptive to the Eternal Truths.
Right Meditation or Right Concentration is also one of the important steps in the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Lord Buddha. Indeed, mastery of the skill of meditation is a prerequisite for occult development. Meditation is getting increasingly popular around the world, though not necessarily for the same reasons. There is still much mystery surrounding the practice of meditation. For example, is it religious? Is it dangerous? Is it a form of yoga? Has it anything to do with the development of the chakras and the arousing of the kundalini? Could one gain psychic powers through meditation? Do we need a teacher to guide us or could it be self-taught? And so on.
Some schools teach meditation for a fee, some for free, still others under a pledge of secrecy. Methods differ vastly. The earnest students of meditation who go around trying to find the right school are often confused by the differences both in technique as well as philosophy. The question that is often asked by members is “is there a prescribed method of meditation by theosophists, i.e., is there a standard method of meditation as practised by theosophists?” The answer is yes.
To be sure, theosophical teachings advocate meditation as a discipline and an integral part of one’s daily routine. Theosophical students realize that man has various vehicles and that the physical, emotional and mental bodies are but temporary vehicles. Through meditation the student could progressively realize the futility of attachment to these lower vehicles and ultimately achieve union with the Spiritual Self. This, in effect, is the practice of yoga which is the Sanskrit term for Union.
The Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society also offers periodic courses on Meditation. For more information go to our page Meditation Course.
The booklet, Meditation for Beginners, by J. I. Wedgwood is invaluable for those interested in taking up meditation.
Go to read Meditation for Beginners
Firstly, the Theosophical Society does not have any dogma and does not impose on its members any restrictions with respect to personal preferences, be it religion, method of meditation or diet. It may be therefore curious to the uninitiated why most of the leaders of the Society are vegetarians. Is there something that they know that makes them so? Another case in point are the Theravada Buddhist monks. Although this particular Buddhist tradition does not require their bhikhus to be vegetarians, you will find that the elders in the Sangha are mostly vegetarians.
As a matter of fact, there is a greater awareness of the benefits of vegetarianism resulting in a growing population of vegetarians world-wide. Consequently, these days when one travels around the world, it is not uncommon to find a vegetarian section in the menu of a regular restaurant to cater for those who observe a strict vegetarian diet. So what motivates more and more people to become vegetarians voluntarily? And why do some schools of occultism make vegetarianism mandatory for its members?
When asked, some would say they are vegetarian either because of religious or health reasons. Broadly speaking, other than those who were born in a vegetarian family and raised as one, a person becomes a vegetarian for one or both of the following reasons. Firstly, it has to do with pursuit of good health or occult development. Most, if not all, true occultists and earnest students of occultism are vegetarians. In reply to the question “Is it necessary to be a vegetarian in order to be an occultist and does vegetarianism help one on the path of occultism?”, Mr. Geoffrey Hodson, a devoted theosophist and a renowned clairvoyant answered “Yes!” on both counts. We are what we eat. Students of theosophy know that in addition to the physical body, we have several other subtle bodies, each of which is affected greatly by what we eat. Secondly, there are many who became vegetarian simply because they do not wish to take life, out of compassion, love of animals and respect for other living creatures. Hence, while the first reason might be termed selfish the second is purely altruistic.
Those considering changing to a vegetarian diet will find the booklet, Vegetarianism and Occultism, by C. W. Leadbeater, very useful.
Go to read Vegetarianism and Occultism