FOOD & HEALTH

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An intake of too much food is also harmful. Simply because tasty food is available and is being offered, one is tempted to overeat. We have air all around us but we do not breathe in more than we need. The lake is full but we drink only as much as the thirst craves for.

Every activity of man is dependent on the energy he derives from the intake of food. The spiritual sadhanas he ventures upon depend for their success on the quantity and quality of the food taken by the sadhak, even during the preliminary preparations recommended by Pathanjali. The most external of the five sheaths that enclose the Athmic core, namely the Annamaya kosha, has impact on all the remaining four – the Pranamaya, the Manomaya, the Vijnanamaya and the Anandhamaya. The Annamaya Kosha is the sheath, consisting of the material, flesh and bone, built by the food that is consumed by the individual. Food is generally looked down upon by ascetically minded sadhaks and seekers and treated as something which does not deserve attention. But, since the body and the mind are mightily interdependent, no one can afford to neglect it. As the food, so the mind, as the mind so the thought; as the thought, so the act. Food is an important factor which determines the alertness and sloth, the worry and calm, the brightness and dullness. The scriptures classify food as Sathwik, Rajasik and Thamasik and relate these types to the three mental modes of the same names.

Man is the only living being which dislikes raw food found in the natural state. All other animals eat things as they are – grain, grass, leaves, shoots, fruits. Man boils, fries, melts, mixes and adopts various methods of cooking in order to satisfy the cravings of the tongue, the eye and the nose. As a consequence, the food value of these articles is either reduced or destroyed. When the seeds are fried, they do not sprout; that is clear proof that the ‘life-force’ is eliminated. Therefore, uncooked raw pulses just sprouting, are to be preferred. Also nuts and fruits. The coconut, offered to the Gods, is a good Sathwik food, having good percentage of protein besides fat, starch and minerals. Food having too much salt or pepper is Rajasik and should be avoided; so also, too much fat and starch, which are Thamasik in their effects on the body, should be avoided. An intake of too much food is also harmful. Simply because tasty food is available and is being offered, one is tempted to overeat. We have air all around us but we do not breathe in more than we need. The lake is full but we drink only as much as the thirst craves for. But overeating has become a social evil, fashionable habit. The stomach cries out, ‘Enough,’ but the tongue insists on more, and man becomes the helpless target of disease. He suffers from corpulence, high blood pressure and diabetes. Moderate food is the best medicine to avoid bodily life.

The type of food that we consume decides the degree of concentration we can command; its quality and quantity decide how much our self-control is lessened or heightened. Polluted air and water are full of maleficent viruses and germs and have to be avoided at all costs. There are four pollutions against which man has to be vigilant – of the body of the mind, of reason and of the self. “VaidhyoNarayanoHarih”, the Shruthis declare. God is the Doctor. Seek Him, rely on Him, we will be free from Disease.

Man should understand two important things: the food he takes and the habits he has. We should not take whatever we like whenever we are hungry. We should always take Satvic food. The type of smoke emanating from fire will depend on the type of fuel used, the clouds will depend on the type of smoke, the water depends upon the type of clouds, the rain depends upon the type of water, the crop depends on the type of rain, the food depends upon the type of crop, the thoughts in the head depend upon the food which we have eaten. All thoughts, whether good or bad, depend upon the food we take. Therefore, we must strictly adhere to the code related to food.

We should remember that this body is the temple of God, and conduct ourselves appropriately. If we want to conquer all the sense organs we will have to practice vigorously. If we can understand the subtleties of this physical body, we can perform good actions. Without understanding the subtleties and the mysteries of this body we cannot make proper use of this body. By not knowing how to use the body properly, man is becoming a victim of stress and anxiety.

 

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