The first question:
I see the swamis eat so well and so often, and haven’t heard you mention anything about this diet. It is said food quickens the sperm and is a sin to eat for the tongue. It should first be offered to the gods etc.
The first thing: I am not a believer in fasting, I believe in feasting. My whole approach is that of celebration. I am not against your pleasures – they are not all, one should go beyond them, but in themselves they are beautiful. A man should not deny anything, because the denied part will take revenge. The moment you start denying you go against Tao. Tao is to be natural: a feast and not a fast. A fast can be used only when it comes naturally.
Sometimes animals fast. Sometimes you may have observed your dog fasting: you put the food down and he will not eat. But he is not a Jaina, he is not a believer in fasting; he does not feel like eating. It is not a question of principle, it is not a philosophy – he is ill, his whole being is against eating – rather than eat, he would like to vomit. He will go and eat grass and vomit. He would like to relieve himself, his stomach is not in a condition to digest any more. But he is not a faster. It is natural.
So, if sometimes you feel that the fast comes naturally – not as a law, not as a principle, not as a philosophy to be followed, as a discipline to be imposed, but out of your natural feel for it – good. Then, too, remember always that your fast is in the service of feasting, so that you can eat well again. The purpose of fasting is as a means, never as an end; and that will happen rarely, once in a while. And if you are perfectly aware while you are eating, and enjoying it, you will never eat too much.
My insistence is not on dieting but on awareness. Eat well, enjoy it tremendously. Remember, the rule is: if you don’t enjoy your food you will have to eat more to compensate. If you enjoy your food you will eat less, there will be no need to compensate. If you eat slowly, tasting every bit of it, chewing well, you are completely absorbed into it. Eating should be a meditation.
I am not against taste because I am not against the senses. To be sensitive is to be intelligent, to be sensitive is to be alive. Your so-called “religions” have tried to de-sensitize you, to make you dull. They are against taste, they would like you to make your tongue absolutely dull so you don’t taste anything. But that is not a state of health; the tongue becomes dull only in illness. When you have a fever the tongue becomes dull. When you are healthy the tongue is sensitive; alive, throbbing, pulsates with energy. I am not against taste, I am for taste. Eat well, taste well; the taste is divine.