Shirdi Sai Baba’s Philosophy About Food – Part 1

In our last post, we discussed at length Sai Baba’s philosophy about wealth. Now in this post, we shall see Sai Baba’s philosophy about food. This topic requires discussions on sub-topics such as non-vegetarian food, fasting, disregard for the offer of food, always eating by sharing with others, and food – the best charity one can give.

Non Vegetarian Food

Sai Baba’s teachings were quite revolutionary but were very true to their context and benefited society as a whole. As per Hindu/Jain/Buddha custom non-vegetarian food has been disregarded. It is the belief that one cannot attain the Supreme if he/she eats non-vegetarian food. This belief has been forwarded from past many generations. Baba, Himself had full knowledge of the Supreme Spirit or we can say that He was Supreme Spirit, but He never objected to eating non-vegetarian food nor He asked His devotees to stop consuming it. On the contrary, He Himself cooked non-vegetarian food in the early years and it was given as prasad to Mhlasapati and Tatya Kote Patil before distributing it to others after getting duly consecrated by Moulvi (Muslim Priest) – Chapter 38.

This can be seen from two standpoints: First, He wanted to bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims. His style of living gave the impression that He was a Fakir at first instance. So for a Fakir accepting non-vegetarian food seemed appropriate. Second, He wanted to spread the message that by only not eating non-vegetarian food, one cannot attain Supreme. Of course, it is an injustice on our part to kill innocent animals for the sake of our tongue which always has the urge to get tasty food. This adds to our bad karma to some extent. Also by eating non-vegetarian food, attributes of passion and ignorance act as dominating characters and this results in a hindrance in meditation. But it would not be correct to say that avoidance of non-vegetarian food opens doors of the way to Supreme. If it was so then, gems like Mohammed Paigamber and Jesus Christ would not have been born at all and never worshipped!!!

Non-vegetarian food can be avoided following the principle of non-injury to innocent and dumb animals and to avoid hindrance of attributes of passion and ignorance, but not focusing on the standpoint that Supreme can be attained ONLY by avoiding it.

People are vegetarians because it is customary in their caste and many generations have been keen to follow this custom. Due to this reason, they may have not even seen or touched non-vegetarian food and as a result, it generated disgust for the same.

Vegetarian food enriched with spices and difficult-to-digest matter, sweets, although adheres to the principle of non-injury, tend to increase attributes of passion and ignorance and the end result is obstacles in meditation.

Indeed, as a person progresses in spirituality his attraction to any type of food decreases and is lost permanently. Just because of attending bhajan sandhyas or satsang or spending hours in any temple, one does not attain Supreme. Also, these acts do not necessarily mean avoiding non-vegetarian food. More importantly if one gets emotionally upset or tempted even by rich vegetarian food, then any acts of sadhana discussed above would not have desired effects. On the contrary, it would only be a show off of your devotion or sadhana. This is easily known to the Supreme and it signifies your backward movement from the spiritual path.

Baba, being aware of these consequences, never advised His devotees to give up non-vegetarian customs. On the contrary, we have seen in Sacred text – Shri Sai Satcharitra, that asks an orthodox Brahmin to bring meat from the market. On another occasion, Dada Kelkar was asked to taste Biryani – Chapter 38.

© Shirdi Sai Baba Life Teachings and Stories
Taking another example of Kakasaheb Dixit, Baba asked him to kill a goat seeing its end near – Chapter 23. But these were orders only to test their Guru-Bhakti (devotion to their Master). Seeing them acting, Baba stopped them. It was never noted that vegetarian devotees were asked to eat non-vegetarian food.

Baba’s method of persuading His devotees to abstain from non-vegetarian food was quite different. He always used to say to His devotees that He pervades every living creature let it be you, animals, birds, or insects.

© Shirdi Sai Baba Life Teachings and Stories
This He practically showed when He said to Mrs. Tarkhad, “The dog which you saw before meals and to which you gave the piece of bread is one with Me, so also the other creatures are one with Me. I am roaming in their forms. He who sees Me in all creatures is My beloved. So abandon the sense of duality and distinction and serve Me as you did today” – Chapter 9.

When, one gets thoroughly convinced with idea of non-duality, he never dares to eat non-vegetarian food. It will be given up automatically and will thoroughly practiced without upsetting mentally or getting the feeling of sacrificing something for His cause. Thus Baba preached ‘non-violence’ in eating habits too, but in a very realistic, practical and tactful manner.


Whatever is applicable to non-vegetarian food is applicable to onions too. Baba had the habit of eating chapati with onion daily. He never liked disgust for onions because of their bad smell. When a yogi doubted Baba’s eating onion and under-estimated His yogic powers, He at once gave proof of His powers.

Also He gave hint to other people that by not eating onion and garlic, which are highly recommended in Ayurveda shastra, they are following baseless customs and beliefs.

Recently, Western Countries, after research, have declared garlic as an excellent cure for heart disease and high blood pressure.


© Shirdi Sai Baba Life Teachings and Stories
Another important teaching of Sai Baba regarding food was that of fasting. Baba never keep fast Himself, nor did he allow others to do so. Mrs. Gokhale who had determined to fast for three days was advised to cook food and eat sumptuous and delicious Puran Poli at Dada Kelkar’s house. Baba used to say,

“The mind of the faster is never at ease, then how could he attain his Paramartha (goal of life)? God is not attained on an empty stomach; first the soul has to be appeased. If there is no moisture of food in the stomach and nutrition, with what eyes should we see God, with what tongue should we describe His greatness and with what ears should we hear the same? In short, when all our organs get their proper nutrition and are sound, we can practice devotion and other sadhanas to attain God. Therefore, neither fasting nor overeating is good. Moderation in diet is really wholesome both to the body and mind – Chapter 38.

Taking another instance, we have seen how Baba made Mrs. Radhabai Deshmukh determined to fast unto death as long as Baba did not give her Updesh, to give it up by narrating His own experience with His Guru – Chapter 19.

The sanskrit word for fasting is उप + वास (उपवास) which means ‘to sit near’. Fasting is done for religious purposes and it means sitting near God. So it means that on the day of fast one must have pure mind, pure consciousness and meditate on God, but we hardly do this 🙁

On the contrary, we carry on our worldly dealings which also include telling lies, cheating others, etc. Many other methods are prescribed in religious books for fasting. But we prefer only one or all of these :

  1. To eat only fruits and milk, avoiding meals both in the daytime and at night.
  2. Accept only fruits and milk during day time and eat a meal after sunset.
  3. To eat a meal once during the daytime and accept only fruits and milk at night.

But these are also not observed correctly. It is advisable to eat in small quantities during a fast. From the scientific point of view, fasting is necessary to give rest to the digestive system. But our acts are totally opposite. Fruits we hardly eat. Other ‘permitted’ items are consumed in full and a number of times. The one-time meal is very rich and over-eaten. What is the result? Of course indigestion. So fasting rules are not at all followed by us and we are not benefited either spiritually or in terms of health. This may have been observed by Sai Baba and thus fasting in the name of religion was never recommended by Him.

Here a contradiction may arise that Sai Nav Guruvar Vrat is followed by many. It is the belief and faith in Sai Baba that matters. The vrat is a means to feel closure to Baba and at the same time being benefited spiritually and health-wise.

Not to disregard offers of food

Baba advised not to disregard offers of food.

To do any work or job, energy is needed and it is acquired by eating food. So to do any task perfectly, we need to have our food in required quantity. Offers of food when neglected, hurts somebody’s feelings, which no doubt Baba did not like.

To show us this preaching practically Baba narrated His own experience when He met His Guru in food through a poor Vanjari. His companions disregarded the offer for food, but Baba did not. So He met His Guru – Chapter 32. Also, Appa Kulkarni could not find Fakir when he started his search on empty stomach. But when he went after his lunch, Fakir Himself was seen to be coming toward him and asking for Dakshina – Chapter 33.

Other sub-topics – always eating by sharing with others and food – the best charity one can give continued in Part 2 of this post.

List of Devotees of Sai Baba of Shirdi

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Hetal Patil
Hetal Patil
Articles: 488


  1. Excellent posting! You have covered each and every teaching of Sai Baba's philosophy about food from Sai SatCharita
    Nice Purport.

  2. Jai Sai Ram…
    I really like one thing from this post… "If fasting without eating food was not recommended by Baba, Baba also did not recommend interfering His devotees' sadhana or worship done selflessly and with pure heart. Indeed Baba did not like His devotees judging others, while He knows the heart of all His devotees. Not speaking ill of others is also one kind of fast."
    & I totally agree on above wordings…
    Baba bless us All…
    Jai Sai Ram…

  3. i think eating nonveg should be avoided because the animal undergoes a lot of emotional trauma ,also most of them are concious while their legs and other parts are being cut off.if one has the heart he will not do it.moreover just go and see videos on butchering im sure once a person has seen it he will not think of ever eating is sad to see that many indians are rssorting to meat….giving up meatand respecting animals all around will save us and the planet from destruction.aa these earthquakes,volcanoes,hurricanes are natuures way of destructing us "HUMANS".mother nature is making us pay for killing other children of hers.
    om sai ram

  4. Muslims eat beef and Hindus worship cow as "Go Maatha" and see crores of GOD in it. In this nature created by GOD, every thing is for a purpose. Humans are so created that he/she is a herbivorous, his digestive system is that of a vegetarian (unlike other carnivorous animals). Baba was YOGI and whether he ate meat, or Onion , did not matter to him. But we are extremely ordinary humans. We must have some basic values and principles.

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  7. If any one can protect belief of killing animals and birds just for food..then 'uska allah maalik'……..Just one question….suppose tomorrow a new generation being discovered and it like to eat human children..can you they are wrong? absolutely NOT….they are doing same what non vagetarians are doing….instead of killing animals and birds..they are killing your son and take them as a GOOD one and respect them 🙂

  8. baba ka banaya mandir
    Sai baba ne jo mandir banaya tha wo kaha hain? ? ? ?
    Sayad he koi janta hai. Sai baba ka banaya mandir hai insaan ka sharir(human body). Aaj insaan mandir jata hai. Mandir me jaa k seva karta hai, baba ke mandir me jaa ke safai karte hain. Ghar ke mandir ko chamkata hai. Lakin kya baba ke banaye mandir ko hum saaf kar paaye hain. Is mandir se toh hamne Gandi soch, gandi niyat, gande kaam he kiye hai. Baba kahte hain jab mera banaya mandir (human body) ko tum saaf nahi kar paaye toh. Tum logo ne jo mera mandir banaya hai usko kya saaf karoge. us mandir ko saaf kar ke tumeh kuch nahi milega. Saaf karna he hai toh mere banaye mandir apne sharir ko saaf kardo, paak pavitra kardo. Jo chahoge wo tumeh main dunga.

  9. Maa he Sai hain
    bhagwan dekha hai kisi ne asliyat me???????????
    bhagwan humare ghar me he hai humari maa ke roop me hote hai. pita se pahle maa aati hai
    duniya banane wale 3 bhagwan hai Brahma , visnu , mahesh
    jab maa bache ko janam deti hai. tab ek insaan ko jivan deti hai tab "brahma" banti hai (brahma duiya banane wala,janam dene wala), fir jab bacha bhukha hota hai toh usko dudh pilaati hai tab "visnu" ban jati hai(vishnu palanhari, paalne wala), aur maa bache ko chalna sikhati hai, bolna sikhati hai tab "shiv" banti hai(shiv guru hai)
    aur maa ek aurat hai jo khud me "durga maa" hai. toh "bhagwan" toh hamare sath he hai maa ke roop me . lakin aaj kon apne mata pita ka aadar karta hai. mata-pita ka maan karte nahi aur jate hai baba ki shirdi me. baba kahte hai tu apne maa baap ka na ho saka toh tu mera kya hoga. apne maa baap ki seva kar lo wahi toh sai hai fir shirdi jane ke bhi jarurt nahi padegi , bin mange baba tujhe de denge.
    jai sai ram

  10. Baba ki Bhakti ke 9 roop
    sai baba ne laxmi ko 9 sikke diye the samadhi lene se pahle. wo sikke nahi the sikke ke roop me wo bhakti ke 9 roop the jinko kiye bina hum baba ki, ya kisi bhi ishwar ki bhakti nahi kar sakte:-
    1-Sabar – sabar jo hame andar se shaant karta hai
    2- Shardha- kisi bhi chiz me lagan banaye rakhti hai
    3-Vishwas- mann ko ek jagah rakhta hai
    4-Guru- ishwar aur insaan ke bich ki door
    5-Gyan- gyan kisi bhi kaam ko samhjne, aur karne ke tarike ko btata hai
    6- Dhyan- kisi bhi gyan ko smjhne ki shakti deta hai
    7-Karam- jo insaan ka jivan hai
    8-Anubhav- jab pahle 7 chiz karne ke baad hume anubhav milta hai toh hum ishwar aur kisi bhi chiz ke sach ko dekh paate hai
    9-9th sikka khud me sai baba hai- jinko hum duniya k alag alag roop me dekh sakte haiYe hai bhakti ke 9 roop jinko apnaye bina aap bhakti nahi kar sakte.jai sai ram
    jai sai ram

  11. 5 karam-gyan indriya
    Baba says
    Aise ankho ka kya fayda jo bas dusro ki achai nai dusro ki burai he pahle dekhe.
    Aise kaano ka kya fayda jo dusro ki burai ko sunne me he khush ho. Aur apni burai sun na sake.
    Aisi boli ka kya fayda jo bas dusro ka dil dukhaye. Aur jb bole bura bole, ganda bole.
    Aisi jeebha ka kya fayda jo apna he nahi dusre ke hisse ka bhi khana chahe.
    Aisi niyat ka kya fayda jo apni behn apni lage. Aur dusro ki behn pe gandi niyat rakhe.
    5 chizo se insaan ka sharir bana hai jo aaj bas paap se he bhara hai. Aur fir bhi kahte hain hum sai bhakat hai.
    "apni zindagi me sukh chahte ho toh in 5 indriyo ko paak aur pavitra kar lo, tabhi jesa chaoge baba wesa denge".
    jai sai ram

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