Anjali: Does vegetarian food help meditation?
Swamiji: Even great thinkers and meditators like Jesus took only bread and water while in the desert, similarly our sages and saints. Even kings and others while living in the palace might have been taking meat but when they went for tapas or austerities and meditation in the forests they switched on to lighter food, that is, vegetarian food, especially, for our climate. The reason why it became overemphasised in the Mahabharata time was, I think, because by then India's climatic condition changed. Earlier the snow line was so near the Ganga at Haridwar or Ganganani or even at Gangotri. Then it began to recede further with the result that the climatic condition also changed. The Thar desert asserted itself because the snow line receded or the snow line receded because of the desert's onslaught. The population increased, and deforestation took place. So many reasons were there. Afforestation had been ignored therefore climatic conditions changed. Therefore, I think that it was in the time of the Bhagavatam that they advertised dairy farming and vegetarianism to the maximum. In India whenever a health order or sanitary rule was to be popularised or promulgated, they always did it riding on religious concepts.