Guidelines on Dietary Habits – What, When and How to Eat Food – Part One


Part-I: Purity of Food and Its Impact on Mind
Food forms a critical part of our life not just from the point of view of mere survival. From a scientific point of view, the quality and composition of food we partake is very important as it supplies all the nutrition that our human body needs for sustaining itself and discharging the various activities on a continuous basis. This apart, even from a spiritual point of view, food plays a very significant role as the essence of the food we partake, constitutes the mind and therefore the consequent thoughts and feelings that arise there from. It is said, “As is the Food, so is the Mind”. Bhagawan Baba has spoken extensively about the role of food in our life. He defines food as not just the edible items we eat through our mouth; but all the inputs we receive through all our sense organs. Therefore, what we see, what we hear, what we smell, what we feel, and what we eat – all these collectively constitute our food. However, this posting that will appear in four parts, are all related to the edible food that we partake of, using our mouth and tongue. To present all facts and details that Bhagawan has mentioned in various Discourses about the What, Why and How of eating food; the contents have been logically categorized into four parts. Part-I deals with the purity of food and its impact on the mind. Part-II discusses the process of offering food to God before partaking of it and avoiding distractions while eating food. Part-III focuses on moderation in eating habits and very significant dietary tips. Finally, Part-IV touches upon the harmful effects of eating non-vegetarian food and of consumption of alcohol (specifically from a spiritual point of view).  
Part-I deals with the purity of food and its impact on the mind. There are 5 excerpts from Bhagawan’s Discourses on purity of food and its impact on mind, presented in this posting. These have been selected from Discourses given by Bhagawan Baba in the years 1993 and 2002. 
In Clip-1, Bhagawan explains how the Saankhya philosophy (one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy and classical Indian philosophy) stresses emphatically on the need for purity in food. In Clip-2, Bhagawan elaborates on the impact of food on our mind. He describes how the gross, subtle and subtlest parts of the food and water we partake, become various parts of our human body-mind complex. Clip-3 tells us how the food that we eat must be first offered to the five life principles – Praanaa, Apaanaa, Vyaanaa, Udaanaa and Samaanaa. Clip-4 briefly touches upon the three aspects of Annam Brahma, Raso Vishnuhu and Bhoktodevo Maheswarah (Food is Brahma, the Essence of Food is Vishnu and the Consumer of Food is Maheswarah). Finally, in Clip-5 Bhagawan explains how important it is to consume sacred and pure food so as to develop a pure heart – Chitta Shuddhi.   
Each audio clip has a name that adopts the following code: Serial number, Title appropriate to the key content, Duration of the clip, Year-Month-Date of the Clip. Below the title is the translation in English of the select excerpt of the Discourse, followed by the audio player. The post ends with a short quiz that would help you evaluate your assimilation of Bhagawan’s Message from these extracts.  
Note: Those receiving this blog by email may see words bunched together due to a technical glitch. That is beyond my control. Please click on link at the top of the email to read the blog directly. Sorry about this. If anyone has a solution to this please help me out.
01-Saankhya Philosophy stresses on the purity of food that we consume-1.49-1993 May 29
Purity of the food that we consume

Saankhya philosophy (one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy and classical Indian philosophy) stresses emphatically on the need for purity in food. Food is verily the undercurrent of the five life principles (Pancha Praanaas). The (physical) body is the very form of food. This food eats food again. Enquire clearly – the body which is the form of food once again consumes food. Our body is the essence of the food consumed by our parents. This body which is verily the form of food, partakes of the very same food. Thus food eats food. That is why Saankhya gives primary importance to the aspect of food. The sacred texts do not enable people to enquire into these subtle points. Profound meaning is embedded in very subtle and small aspects. If we neglect aspects that appear small, they will take the form of gigantic waves. We find very small termites attacking the wood. In no time, they completely destroy the wood. Thus, we must never ignore the finer details. We must nurture noble thoughts and noble feelings.  

02-Impact of Food on the Mind-2.08-1993 May 29
The type of food that you eat, decides the nature of your mind

When people who have hatred, jealousy, desire, and other such wicked feelings in their heart, eat their food, the wicked tendencies present in their digestive system will affect their mind. When these wicked tendencies reach the mind, bad thoughts emerge there from. When one does not observe discipline in food habits, all such problems arise on account of food and water. Where does the mind originate? The mind originates from food. Food decides the nature of your mind. That is why our ancestors recommended the partaking of Sathvic food.

What is Praanaa (life force)? The water that we drink is verily Praanaa. The gross part of the food we take is converted into excreta; the subtle part of it goes into the making of muscles; the subtlest part of the food becomes the mind. Similarly, the gross part of the water we drink becomes urine; the subtle part of it becomes blood. The subtlest part becomes ‘Praanaa.’ We can say for certain that water contains Praanaa. That is why when anybody faints; water is splashed on his face. Water enables the fainted man to recover as it contains Praanaain it.

03-Offer Food to the five life principles before consuming-1.01-1993 May 29
Offer food to the five life principles before consuming

We must have good feelings when we partake of our food and drink. Based on ancient traditions, before eating food, people would make an offering – Praanaaya Svaaha, Apaanaaya Svaaha, Vyaanaaya Svaaha, Udaanaaya Svaaha. They used to make such an offering to God and then consume the water. Offering the food to the five principles, partaking of it as Prasaadam, would eliminate all defects from the food. Thus Saankhya emphasizes that the food should be first offered to the five life principles – Praanaa, Apaanaa, Vyaanaa, Udaanaa and Samaanaa.    

04-Annam Brahma-Raso Vishnuhu-Bhoktodevo Maheswarah-1.02-2002 November 23
Food is God – Annam Brahma

While eating our food, we must utter the words, “Annam Brahma” (food is God); Raso Vishnuhu (the essence of food is Vishnu). Food is God. It gets into the body and provides its essence to all the parts of the body. It indeed gets transformed into blood and energy. Bhoktodevo Maheswarah (the one who consumes the food is Maheswarah). This principle teaches wisdom to the whole world. Annam Brahma, Raso Vishnuhu, Bhoktodevo Maheswarah – these three are like three attributes.   

05-Partake sacred food to attain purity of heart-2.33-2002 November 23

Partake sacred food to attain purity of heart

Embodiments of Love! What you need to focus on today is that you must strive to attain purity of heart (Chitta Shuddhi). Let this be your foremost endeavour. With purity of heart, you can achieve anything. In order to attain purity of heart, there must be unity between the food we partake, the feelings we entertain while eating, and the happiness we experience thereof.

One who cooks food should have sacred feelings. In olden days, orthodox Brahmins used to insist on partaking of food prepared by their wives only. The reason being, housewives wish for the well-being of the entire family while preparing food. On the other hand, if you employ cooks, God alone knows with what thoughts and feelings they prepare the food! The unsacred thoughts of the cook enter the food, which in turn, poison your mind. Therefore, they never entertained any outsider to cook their food.
Annam Brahma (food is God). Food assumes the sacred form of Brahma. Raso Vishnuhu (the essence is Vishnu). The essence of the food we eat is also sacred. Mere physical cleanliness will not suffice; the mind also should be pure. While cooking food, you should look into the details of the materials used for preparing the food. For example, the husband brings vegetables from the market. How does one know how he brought these vegetables? He might have misused his position of authority, threatened others and brought them or the vendors themselves might have procured the vegetables by stealing or other unfair means. These actions make the food polluted and such pollution poisons the mind of man. You do not realise that the food you eat is responsible for all the actions you perform. It leads you to commit so many mistakes.

A Short Quiz
01-What do you understand by the phrase “Food eats Food”?
02-What happens to the gross, subtle and subtlest aspects of the food we eat and the water we drink? In this context, explain how food is related to the mind and water to Praanaa(life force)?
03-What are the five life principles? What is the mantra that is chanted to offer the food to these five life principles before we consume the same?
04-What aspects of the food are represented by Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswarah?
05-In olden days, why did orthodox Brahmins insist on partaking of food prepared by their wives only?
06-What are the types of defects that can get into our food through the materials that are procured for cooking the same?
If the purity of food that we consume is so important, how do we go about ensuring the purity of the food that we consume everyday? It sounds like a herculean task. But in this world, there is no problem without a solution! And Bhagawan Baba, through His Messages, gives us all the solutions that we need for our life related problems.
To read Guidelines on Dietary Habits – What, When and How to Eat – Part Two: Offering Food to God and Avoiding Distractions while Eating, Click Here .

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