AHAR – Diet. What we eat goes to constitute the body and the mind. “Sound mind in a sound body” is a well known aphorism. We can neither have one nor the other with unwholesome diet. A strictly vegetarian diet consisting of vegetables and fruits, both fresh and dried, cereals, dairy products like milk, cream, butter, cheese, yoghurt etc. is essential for all aspirants for Truth. We must therefore avoid meat, meat juices, fish, fowl, eggs both fertile and unfertile, or anything containing any of these ingredients in any form or in any degree. Every action has a reaction and flesh eating involves contracting fresh karmas and thus helps to keep the inexorable karmic wheel in motion for we have to reap what we sow. We cannot have roses if we sow thistles.
The above prohibitions apply equally to all kinds of alcoholic drinks, intoxicants, opiates and narcotic drugs, as they tend to dull our consciousness and make one morbid. “The body is the temple of Living God.” And it must, therefore, be kept scrupulously clean.
Any prospective candidate for initiation should therefore try vegetarian for at least three to six months, to ensure that he or she can adhere to it, when put on the Path.
VIHAR – Livelihood. Closely associated with diet, are the means of livelihood. There are no short-cuts in Spirituality. The end here does not justify the means, as it may be construed to do so, anywhere else. The ignoble means to earn one’s living, do contaminate one’s diet, the very source of life itself. So an honest living by the sweat of one’s brow is essential in this line. The life plant has therefore to be nurtured with pure water, to make it sound and healthy, a fit instrument for the efflorescence of Spirituality.
ACHAR – Conduct. The above remarks apply equally to one’s conduct in life. Every thought, every word and every deed, good or bad, leaves an indelible imprint on the mind and has to be accounted for. Hence the necessity for right thoughts, right aspirations and right conduct, all of which constitute the hedge around the tender sapling of Spirituality. The details in this behalf have been dealt with under the five virtues discussed above.