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Are there karmic consequences to eating meat?

by | Apr 2, 2023 | Advaita, Advaita, Animal, Concepts, Duality, Dvaita, Food, General Spiritual, Human, Independent Spirituality, Karma, Mind, Paths, Rumi, Uncategorized


Good afternoon. I have been raised as a pure vegetarian. I am however married to a Bengali (love marriage) who has been raised on fish and meat. I love my husband a lot and do not want him to suffer the karmic consequences of eating meat. I feel very anxious and depressed because of this. What should I do?



Karma is NOT created by action. Karma is created by intention. If your intention is pure, then you do NOT accrue karma. If you have an impure mind, then ONLY do you accrue karma.

E.g. A good & sincere surgeon operates on a patient and the patient dies. It was either due to an accident or the patient’s time karma was up. In this case, the surgeon does NOT accrue any karma. Only if the surgeon intends to harm and kill, will he accrue Karma [even if the patient lives].

E.g. 2 – A soldier uses a gun to defend his country. If someone is killed by him in his act of defending his country, he does NOT accrue Karma. But if he has the intention of harming and killing, then he definitely accrues Karma [even if someone does not die in the firing].

Similarly, if your husband does not have the intention to harm and kill, he will NOT accrue karma. If he has the intention to eat food to keep his body healthy, he will NOT accrue karma. Karma is nothing but a ‘memory’, a ‘deposit of thought’, a ‘deposit of strong craving or aversion’, if he has no such strong thoughts about his food choice, he does NOT accrue Karma. If he harbors the  intention to hunt animals and kill them for pleasure then he will definitely accrue karma.

Impure mind = Karmic impression = Future Karmic consequence.
Pure mind = No Karmic impression = No Future Karmic consequence.

Why do some people think that to accrue good karma one must avoid eating meat?

It dates back to several centuries ago, in ancient times, ‘human sacrifice’ to please Gods was common. When strict laws came into place against murder, then ‘animal sacrifice’ started being used as a measure to please Gods. In order to stop this heinous crime, they started a belief that ‘animals are the form of God’ and one must not kill them. Thus, started the belief system that if you are vegetarian then you do not accrue bad karma.

What is the right choice?

That is totally your decision dear. One must make his/her own decision as to what is required for the health of his/her physical body.

    • I am not against anyone eating meat.
    • I am not for anyone eating meat.
    • I am not against anyone eating plants,
    • I am not for anyone eating plants.

I respect everyone equally. To each, his own! Whatever you choose with a pure mind, it will not create any karma for you. ‘Pure mind’ is the ONLY right choice! You have to make your own decision, I cannot decide for you dear. You are the creator of your own universe!

In the history of mankind, there have been vegetarians that got enlightened and there have been non-vegetarians that got enlightened. 

In the history of mankind there have been vegetarians that became terror-inducing devils like Hitler and there are non-vegetarians like Jesus Christ that are the symbolism of kindness & compassion. 

I respect all. I teach ‘respect for others way of life’ and ‘non-judgement’. Only by dropping raaga-dvesha for everyone and everything, can you attain the state of no-mind. Even if you create good karma for yourself but harbor negativity in your mind for your husband or anyone else, that is a ‘bad karma’ creation on your part. You decide, girl! 



An important scientific fact to be aware of:

We are all part of the food cycle. Plants & insects are eaten by reptiles that in turn are eaten by bigger animals, some of which are eaten by humans; in the end, even humans are eaten by vultures in a graveyard or vermin in the earth’s soil, or eaten by fire.

Here is a lovely quote – Insaan ya to khaakh ban jaata hai, ya raakh ban jaata hai, ya kisiki khuraakh ban jaata hai.

One who rises higher in his understanding recognizes that there is nothing to feel righteous about ‘not eating’ another animal. There is nothing to feel sinful about ‘eating’ another animal. All concepts of right & wrong are man-made. Understand and respect everyone and everything, then life becomes a joy, devoid of dualities. Move from the conflict of dualities [Dvaita] towards the bliss of Non-duality [Advaita]. Maybe, Advaita will bring you closer to your husband and you both will be able to respect each other’s way of life.

Duality is always ONLY in the mind. The conditioning of your mind manifests as your universe. Rise to the realm beyond the mind, there is a lot of peace there.

Rumi said – Beyond the realm of right and wrong, there is a field, I will meet you there! 



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  1. mohamed nahaas


  2. Seeker

    Very enlightening article, thank you Ektaji!

  3. Amrita

    I am confused. My demand for consuming meat means animals will be slaughtered. Am I not responsible for that? Also animals go through fear & pain before they are slaughtered. When I very well know this then how can I not accrue karma? What about being kind to all sentient beings? Is it ok for me overlook this and satisfy my taste buds coz I am slave to my taste buds?

    • Gnyana Sangha

      Dear Amrita, you can live as per your understanding, let others live per theirs. Do not judge others or condemn others if you want to be happy dear. For e.g. your reactive comment suggests that you are agitated at this person for eating fish/meat. You don’t even know this person. He is happily eating his meal unaware that you are unhappy because of his choice of food. Your negativity in your mind is called a Karmic impression. This will get deposited in the form of ‘dvesha’ in your memory, not his. It will keep arising from time to time to take your happiness away and put you into an agitated state of mind again and again. It is not affecting him. This is your Karma, dear. Karma is simply a memory. It is created by raaga or dvesha in the mind. Karma is NOT created by an action devoid of raaga-dvesha dear. See it in your own experience, girl. If you feel strongly, you can spread awareness by joining an animal rights group but still remember that harboring dvesha against meat-lovers is karma-creation on your part for yourself. Secondly, there are people who eat meat on advice from their doctors, so it’s unfair to judge others. Respecting everyone and accepting them as they are is REAL COMPASSION.

      • Ramasamy Subramanian

        Great thanks

    • Ramasamy Subramanian

      It’s all God’s will that we eat or do not eat. Aa madam said the impression matters but not the action.

      God s the made various choices for us otherwise he would not have made non veg as edible

  4. Abhishek Sharma

    Going by: “I am not against anyone eating meat.
    I am not for anyone eating meat.
    I am not against anyone eating plants,
    I am not for anyone eating plants.”

    Then how does one choose to be vegetarian if we treat plants and animals equal? Also, thought of eating other animal does mean that they will be killed before one eats them so even if intention is not explicit then is a “hidden intention” to kill the animal so I am not sure if it’s completely true that they do not intend to harm the animal. It seems in our mind, we can always find some justification to convince ourselves.

    • Gnyana Sangha

      To each his own, dear Abhishek. I am not judgemental about others’ way of life. I respect all. For me, everyone is equal. It is up to others to decide how they want to live their life. I only teach how to keep a pure mind. To maintain a pure mind, one needs to ‘drop dvesha’ for others. To drop dvesha, one needs to drop judgments about others. To drop that, one needs to drop old conditioning and become free from all colors of conditioning. Then only will one experience the state of ‘No-mind’. Then only can one attain ‘real lasting peace’. Peace is the absence of all negativity and conditioning, including how others should live their lives. Let them live theirs. You live yours with a pure mind.

  5. Abhishek Sharma

    I agree Ektaji, I think I put it the wrong way but my doubts are related to oneself. I understand that the context of the post here is about not judging others (with which I completely agree), but I was trying to question my own choice.

    • May Betts

      I too am trying to question my own choice. The following (from an article about vegetarianism) is why I have been a vegetarian, as well as wanting to have a sattvic diet.

      “Killing or harming others, for our purposes, separates and disconnects us from this feeling of oneness. Ethical objections to eating animals are generally of two kinds:

      Opposition to the act of killing itself
      – Killing is, intentionally, causing the death of a living organism. This is the ultimate act of violence and diametrically opposed to the goal of reducing suffering, which is one of the basic tenets and character-building aspects of a yoga practitioner.
      – If you have ever loved an animal, you will acknowledge that they possess a range of emotions, and are capable of love. Vegetarianism honors and respects these feelings, and supports the rights of animals.

      Curiously, the main animals that are eaten are vegetarians themselves! This makes it doubly cruel to harm such harmless creatures.”

      Now having read Ektaji’s answer, I have an understanding with regard to Advaita but wonder what my choice is now.

  6. Shailaja

    Thank you Ektaji! I think I understand your point. If ‘no-mind’ is our Ultimate Goal, we have to give up our ideas of how others should behave, eat, etc. Then, Mind free of thoughts=Peace=Land beyond right and wrong.

    As you also taught in class, we ourselves projected/ created what we are seeing outside. The object that we are commending or criticizing is inside us only (past impression carried forward from our previous lives).

  7. Shailaja

    I have been pondering about this topic and understood this: There is no person, no animal, no eating, nothing going on. No ‘I’ exists either. But this illusion of the world and of an ‘I’ keeps appearing to us like a cinema or drama, because of our mind. The mind is the projector of this cinema. If we make judgments, the mind gets fuel and the illusion continues!

    If we remain as a Witness and act as per Ektaji’s words- “ Drop judgments”, “Go with the Flow” or “Just be”, then the mind will drop. When the mind (projector) stops permanently, the cinema ends and we will experience the Truth- that there is no animal, no person, no ‘I’, nobody is eating anything (either a plant or animal)! All happenings are an illusion!

    Then it will be experiential for us, that ‘the world is an illusion’, rather than intellectual knowledge as it is now. My deepest gratitude to our divine Guru Ektaji for always pointing us in the direction of Freedom from the illusion.🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

    • Gnyana Sangha

      Dear Shailaja, you have understood that well. But please allow me to correct 2 things dear:

      1st clarification] The mind will NOT stop permanently until you are in the body. It will come to a long enough pause [by being in the witness with open eyes OR by being in Samadhi with closed eyes]. In that pause, one recognizes experientially, that the reality is the existence of a blank screen. ‘I’ am the blank screen [witnessing consciousness/awareness/void]. The void does not say a word. It is the quiet silent VOID that I have been thirsting for. The first thought that comes up in this void is a product of past karmic impressions. If one simply witnesses this first thought, without reacting [without fueling it with more thoughts], then the first thought soon subsides. What remains is the VOID screen. The first thoughts arise in slow successions. If you are successfully non-reactive, the pauses will prolong. You will now start associating with the VOID instead of thoughts. The spiritualist works all his spiritual life to attain this ONE SINGLE EXPERIENCE 🙂 Once this is seen, it becomes easy to assimilate this in life. Then clarity dawns that thoughts are merely illusions that arise out of the VOID, are made up of the VOID and dissolve into the VOID. There is only 1 reality – the SCREEN OF THE VOID.

      2nd clarification] I am not your GURU. Your true Guru resides within you. That WITNESSING SCREEN is your GURU. In the scriptures, it is called AdiGuru. I am merely your GPS [Guru positioning system].

  8. JS

    Namaste didi,

    Question regarding intention – Is it as simple as not having a bad intention? For example the story – King Dasaratha went for hunting into the forest and accidentally killed Sharvan. Parents of Shravan Kumar cursed Dashrath to suffer for his son. They cursed King Dasaratha to suffer with similar putrasoka in the future.

    He accidentally killed someone instead of an animal. Purely by mistake and yet he suffered.

    • Gnyana Sangha

      The intention to hunt was an intention to harm dear, it does not matter whether an animal is harmed or a human, an intention is an intention.

  9. Mark

    Dear Ektaji,

    It seems to me that the accumulation of karma is related not to the eating of meat, but to the understanding of the suffering caused to animals through their life and death inherent in this decision, and the choice to ignore this understanding and follow the desire regardless, if this recognition exists.

    Many who eat meat have perhaps not truly made, or not fully grasped, this connection. For such individuals there is no selfish or hierarchical (ie human life being of greater value than that if an animal) motives behind their decision to eat meat, so no karmic consequences.

    Many others, perhaps like me, have reached the understanding, born of connectivity to all living beings, and have consequently decided to stop eating meat and fish. Others understand to a deeper level the consequences for climate change and our wider global eco- stability, and choose to become vegetarian for these reasons. Armed with this knowledge, a decision to continue eating meat would be subservience to the attraction to the eating experience despite the negative effects. This would seem to have karmic implications.

    In the end, my understanding, perhaps incorrect, is that the greatest karmic sequelae come from judgement and self-righteousness. I could not personally go back to eating meat again after being vegetarian now for nearly 6 years (and previously a meat eater for nearly 60!), but that does not mean it’s right for everyone, nor does it make me any better or worse than anyone else. If we truly and deeply feel non-duality, our understanding of all others and empathy towards them cannot have limits our mind chooses to impose.

  10. Gautami

    We all accrue karma. Intentionally or non intentionally for the actions that happen. Only difference is intentional actions bring karmic energies intensely based on our intentions. For example if i you you kill someone’s out of spite and anger, you will be killed with spite and anger in one of your lifetimes. But if you kill someone by accident like a doctor trying to save a life then then you will be killed by accident in a less painful way. Buddha eat mushrooms which gave him immense pain but he was enlightened. So he was able to ignore that pain. In one of his last lives Buddha was medic gave a medicine to cure someone’s diarrhea medication because that someone lied to Buddha to continue to have diarrhea to avoid paying Buddha fees. Here Buddha was not lying but he still faced the consequences of his actions. But because his intentions were clean, those consequences came back as feeble karmas. So no need to sweat in someone eating meat. As long as you don’t hate your husband or create aversion you will be fine.


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