Eskimos, Blubber & Satori

I’LL TELL YOU THE STORY FIRST.  IT’S ABOUT DIET seen from my perspective. As you know, as a Jnana yogi, I have explored the concept of universal energy from academic physics to complex spiritual energy fields, and my final awakening experience was one of such cosmic energetic proportions, I fought to stay incarnate. But I wrote a book about the concept of these fields from the yogic perspective long before I went through the vanishing point, as it were. My premise here before we start? – We all know that the visible universe is an energetic soup [1] and the human body/mind are also part of that soup. All right?

Please note this article does NOT address ethical or compassionate issues.

I have attended many lectures since that publication, and more than some were centred around the energy potential found in foods. Each lecture hallowedly verified the importance of vegetarianism for Enlightenment. This had tallied with my own thoughts as I had been a lacto-vegetarian  for many years, as I prefer light foods in my system allowing me the ability to move quickly and light-footedly, etc., – you know what I mean; but  on occasions – Christmas, for example, I used to eat poultry, and in fact, a couple of years ago I started eating fish too. I am not attached to any credo, BUT I excluded all animal fats  because of the alarm set off by the American, Ansel Keys, in the 1970s who regarded the consumption of  saturated fats as a fast track to the guillotine. Grain, fruit, yoghurt, pulses, olive oil and leafy veg were the substance of my diet, and I felt well and duly sanctimonious about the entire affair.

I was struck dumb therefore last year when a Naturopath, who was recommending a strict 100% fruit/vegan diet, solemnly told the assembled dignitaries that there is no chance for a person to find Enlightenment if he is born with no access to plant foods.

“What about an Inuit eating blubber?” I piped up.

“He would have to wait until he achieved an incarnation into an area where he could eat a diet of 100% plants,” she said without a twitch.

I managed to hold myself together somehow with enviable reserve, but shook my head in disbelief afterwards. I decided to tell another health practitioner whom I know. He is a 100% vegan on a spiritual path.

“Oh,” he said, “I’ll tell you why that is true. There is no way an Eskimo could become enlightened.” [2]


“Because plants are the only way to Enlightenment. They carry light energy and heavy, dense animal matter blocks the light.”

“What about Jesus and Mohammad?” I questioned incredulously.

“Oh, they would have had to have been vegetarians,” he replied piously. “There is no way that meat touched their lips.”

Aha, I thought, envisioning Jesus at the Marriage of Cana, and remembering His suggestions of killing of sacrificial goats. I certainly don’t recall anywhere in the Bible that Jesus refused to eat meat. Mohammad was in the deserts of Arabia during his spiritual mission which begs the question too. The Buddha, it is said, died of food poisoning from contaminated pork.  But here’s the scoop – we don’t actually know.

However, I  DO know that the idea that meat blocks the path to spiritual awakening and final liberation is a crock of crap.

Many Zen followers I know, including esteemed  Zen masters, drink wine and eat meat galore.  I am reminded immediately of Alan Watts who critiqued vegetarianism and died of alcohol-related problems. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Hindu, was a meat-eater; my own Patron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is not exclusively vegetarian owing to medical advice, and another great Tibetan lama who came to the west, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, saw no reason not to eat meat. His death at 48 was particularly dramatic with  terminal alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver. The majority of Muslims eat meat; the Sufis sometimes choose not to, but is is a choice. Most Hindus and Buddhists don’t when in India (but they can do when in the west, I am sorry to inform you).

The Hindu yogi masters as we know, purport a vegetarian grain-based diet and the Yoga Diet has become a huge industry geared towards Enlightenment. As Buddhism came from Hinduism, vegetarianism wasn’t questioned as it supported the  fundamental core tenet of compassion of the Buddhists, but the Buddha did not teach vegetarianism.

I  can inform you that I have watched a contemporary Indian Yoga master take his ‘devotees’ (what a terrible word[3] to a fish lunch so they would not become attached to vegetables, and another who delights in copious sea-food when he is travelling in the west.

I can further tell you that when the Muslims in the subcontinent send their animals to slaughter for the festivities of Eid, it is the Hindus who, although will not eat the meat, sell them the animals. I remember the stench of the blood; the mosquitoes and flies. I remember the intense shock of learning that.

The Christians do what they want merrily, and Therese Neumann, the German Catholic mystic who manifested the stigmata in the first half of the 20th Century, is said to have only eaten the Host wafer of Holy Communion. Have you got the picture? What is this optimal diet thing?

Question: What is the underlying premise that states that Enlightenment can only be reached by the denial of flesh, and instead by the sole consumption of grain and vegetables?

“To refine the energy fields of the body,” you reply.

“Why is that necessary?” I ask you.

“To reach the higher dimensions,” you reply.

Let me pause before I launch into a Zen moment. The arrival of grain in the human diet started around 13K years ago as a source of food-stuff  which replaced the nomadic herding of animals. This new food-stuff could be stored in large bulk, which led to the first trading posts etc., to formation of settlements, communities and small societies with appropriate division of labour.  (I need to keep this simple so any perceived fatuousness is misread, and I write from pure observation and personal experience.)

Here it comes: Refining the human energy field has NOTHING to do with true Enlightenment. Enlightenment has nothing to do with reaching higher dimensions. Enlightenment is the liberation from the greatest blood-sucking mosquito known to man – the human mind. When you realize the Void – the absence of mind, it is seen that the entire diet story is yet another belly-dance of ignorance.

An Eskimo is equally able to perceive his true state through a flash of satori while riding on the Arctic waves as is a meditating guru seated in the lotus position high on a rocky hillock. It has nothing to do with diet.

Attempting to reach the higher dimensions, chasing the tail of angels and cosmic beings is a mind-game to escape what is here now. The mind fires upwards like a meteor to seek out something palliative and reassuring to cope with the daily humdrum. This is absolutely human and normal, however, it is not the path to awakening,  liberation or permanent relief from suffering. Psychoactive drugs used across cultures from the Amazonians to the Far Easterners alter human perception, and should show us the truth that love is all there is. But what happens when we land back onto the carpet? What happens to the mind? It crashes back to normality.

Enlightenment occurs when the mind drops permanently, the constructed self disintegrates and what is left, the Void, is seen to be God Himself, also known as the true Self. It is HERE. This can occur to anybody, anytime, irrespective of what they eat, as is borne out by many ‘men in the street’ today. I have an observation that has bothered me for a long time. Although Hatha yoga is undoubtedly and indisputably an optimal health/body/mind practice based on Hindu philosophy and diet, why are the older Master Yogis and Yoginis in India overweight, bordering on obese? I’ve trained with them, I’ve sat with them. Before my time were the great Sivanananda and Vishnudevananda and Paramahansa Yogananda. Many current Masters also. They may sweep or have swept onto the podium with great wisdom and benevolence, but they are fat.

It is my contention today that arrival of grain into the Indus Valley which developed into a Hindu diet only informed yogic principles (which are about 10K years old). The Muslims as Moghuls did not arrive from Persia into India until the early 16th Century introducing their cultural norms including faith and diet.

Grain in any form is sugar. Vegetables and fruits break down to the same, and I completely ignore any light-giving properties here. And I know many older Yoga Masters who have diabetes and cardiovascular problems. The yogic diet does not prevent chronic disease in the majority. I believe it’s the meditation that will assist against disease, and energy released in the asanas can assist in calming the body, but I think the diets are cultural as opposed to spiritual.

Vivekananda died of multiple illnesses aged 39 and Yogananda of heart-failure before the age of 60. A famous yogi acquaintance of mine had every disease known to man with extortionate medical bills. The fact that it is of no importance to the enlightened yogi because he’s transcended death is irrelevant, nor is it relevant if he is able to transmutate. Is the diet itself healthy for seekers today?

I will explore this further in Part II. But I will tell you I ordered in meat 6 months ago and have reduced my grain intake and consume no sugar apart from fruit and veg. I also doubled my saturated fat intake as the prime energy source and promptly lost 2 kgs of visceral fat.  When I recently toured China, I was only given duck, chicken, beef and vegetables (with rice and noodles) to eat. I needed energy for a huge itinerary so I ate the meat and dropped the noodles and rice. My energy levels soared as my stamina noticeably strengthened, but when I returned to London I re-started my yogic diet and my energy stores actually slumped.

Moral of this tale? If you want to shed a few kgs, reverse Type 2, come off statins, and if you believe what the LCHF experts are now saying,  increase fat and drop the sugar – also found in grains, etc. Truly consider why you choose not to include meat – if it’s spiritual – check if the reason is valid. If it is because of your love and compassion for animals, that is, certainly for me, reason indeed to be vegetarian, but it might be, it is not the best diet for humans.

With love,



[1] Recently proven by Nassim Haramein in the The Black Whole. I won’t go into the complexities of how the manifest world appears to us – but remember my emphasis on labelling form… (we actually receive energetic impulses from ‘out there’ which the brain interprets) –  I will stop.

[2] There is no ‘becoming’ enlightened – but this is a verbatim story.

[3] I refused to be a devotee so was excluded from the fishing trip.


Selima Gurtler is a spiritual writer, philosopher, and Jnana yogi.

Her modern teachings to Self-Realization and Liberation are uniquely flavoured through the perceptive eyes of her Indian and European heritage.

Free copies of her books are available for download here:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu are patrons of her work.


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  1. Kevin

    Interesting article. I came to the conclusion that ‘food is medicine’. In this universe, yin and yang are not absolutes. Everything finds balance according to its own needs. Thus certain herbs or foods are recommended depending on the individual constitution of the patient. Study of Chinese medicine and everyday customs shows that every aspect of nature has potential to heal and people living in close connection with their immediate environment make use of this wisdom on a daily basis.
    In relation to spirituality I’d say, if you have fasted for several days, you will notice a natural meditative awareness unfolding as you lose your attachment to the survival mechanisms generated by regular intake of food. Consciousness becomes more refined, almost self sufficient in itself. Only the lightest food intake is necessary in this state. Heavier food such as meat becomes impossible to digest while maintaining detachment from material surroundings. Certain herbs such as Brahmi can give you a glimpse of these states while maintaining an ordinary lifestyle and yogis will use such herbs as appropriate medicine, helping the mind to clarify and release its attachments.
    Therefore I’d say, there are no absolutes, for if God is in all things, many things can then serve as a medium for higher consciousness. But refinement is necessary for longer term growth and conscious choice of diet may be an important part of this practice. The consciousness brought to bear may be more important than the material object itself?


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