Food and mind

Srikrishna Ghadiyaram srikrishna_ghadiyaram at YAHOO.COM
Thu May 16 15:15:51 CDT 2002

Hari Om !!

This is a very useful summary of all proposals,
forwarded on the other thread to Raha. Thanks for your

Om Namo Narayanaya !!


--- "Subrahmanian, Sundararaman V [IT]"
<sundararaman.v.subrahmanian at CITIGROUP.COM> wrote:
> Dear Sri Somik Raha,
> >rajasic or tamasic vegetarian. Why this is relevant
> today - outside India -
> >is because we dont get sattvic vegetarian in
> restaurants. And we dont have
> >time to cook. These are practical problems - and if
> the road to
> spirituality
> >cannot accomodate these, then you will be
> indicating the road to be very
> >narrow. That is contrary to my perception of
> Hinduism and spirituality.
> ==============================
> I do not want to interrupt the line of the
> discussion that is taking place
> in a parallel thread where people are discussing the
> issue of vegetarian
> food with you.  I am presenting here some collected
> thoughts on the sources
> of impurities that infect the food.  If we
> understand the causes, then we
> will be automatically be able to make the right
> choices of food sources.
> Also, if we understand the spirit of such
> recommendations, then our tendency
> to make exceptions under "some" pretext will reduce.
> Any food that we consume through the process of
> digestion is composed of two
> elements:  the gross and the subtle.  The gross part
> nourishes the body
> which is inert.  This part is like the filling gas
> in the car.  At this
> level we have all details of medical science come
> into play - calories,
> vitamins, fat, proteins, metabolic rate etc.  There
> is a second component to
> food which is the subtle component.  This component
> nourishes the mind.
> Just as the gross part of the food has a direct
> impact on the body, so also
> the subtle aspect of the food has a direct impact on
> the mind.  Ofcourse a
> person exposed to scientific methods might ask as to
> how one can identify
> the subtle components of the food.  These components
> cannot be proved by
> science based on perceptual evidence, just as one
> cannot "perceive" the mind
> with the senses but only feel its
> activity/manifestation.
> It is a belief system.  Let us assume that there is
> indeed a subtle
> component.  One might ask as to how the subtle
> components get in to the
> food.  There are four means:
> 1.  Embedded in the material content of the food
> 2.  Embedded in the appparatus used for cooking
> 3.  Embedded in the cook
> 4.  Embedded in eater, during the act of eating.
> All the four should be pure for the overall subtle
> component of the food to
> be pure.  A brief discussion of each of the impurity
> is as follows:
> 1.  Embedded in the material content of the food:
> Animal foods carry with them latent tendencies of
> animals which causes
> certain kinds of emtions which are natural to
> animals - passion, fear and
> violence.  Plant foods do not have such contents in
> them.  I read your
> arguments about veggie food being not satvic.  That
> is true.  Satva is a
> quality that is not just merely lack of passion
> (rajas).  Satva indicates
> balance.  That mandates that food that one eats be
> "balanced" - in taste,
> quantity, timing and temperature.  All these also
> constitute satvic food.
> But at the same time, non-veg food is not satvic by
> its very nature.
> Another reason that our elders prefer vegetarian
> food is the ahimsa aspect
> of it.  One can often find people quoting the
> seminal work of Bose in
> proving that plants are also sensitive.  It is our
> elders view that the
> sensitivity of plants to pain is much lesser than
> that of animals.  So the
> argument is not one of "NOT causing harm", but
> causing the "LEAST harm".
> The pain that the animals go through contributes to
> the subtle part of the
> food.
> The following three are applicable irrespective of
> whether the food is veg.
> or non-veg.
> 2.  Embedded in the apparatus of cooking:
> This does not require too much of amplification as
> the logic is
> straightforward.  Cleanliness is satvic.  Food that
> has been boiled in water
> should not be stored overnight.  It acquires tamasic
> properties.  One should
> cook veg. food in the same pot that was used for
> non-veg etc.
> 3.  Embedded in the cook:
> --------------------------------------
> It is the belief in our tradition that the thoughts
> of cook "infect" the
> food.  Which is why spiritual aspirants are not
> advised to consume food
> prepared by anybody and everybody.  If the cook was
> entertaining
> lustful/hateful thoughts during the process of
> cooking, it also comes down
> to the consumer of the food through the food cooked
> by the person.  Several
> Indian habits like bathing and praying before
> lighting the stove for cooking
> (atleast during festivals) have its origin in this.
> Also, food consumed from a person with ill-gotten
> wealth is also not
> considered good for very similar reasons.
> 4.  Embedded in the eater, while eating
> The digestive fire in our beings is called
> "vaishvanara".  This is also a
> form of agni.  Just as the mantras combined with the
> offerings are accepted
> by agni and delivered to the appropriate devatA, so
> also the thoughts that
> combine the processing of eating (which is like
> offering to agni) is
> delivered to the mind again.  The point here is that
> even if it is a
> temporary thought during eating, it is delivered
> back with such potency that
> it can become a habit.  This the reason why it has
> been recommended not to
> talk while eating, pray before eating etc.  (One
> should not watch TV while
> eating).
> Based on the discussion above, one can see why
> restaurant food is bad by
> itself - veg. or non-veg.
> Can one drink poison because one does not have time
> to gather food?
> Regards,
> PS:
> [1]  I ate restaurant food for a long time.  I have
> given it up for the past
> 6 months and I see a huge difference.
> [2]  The above was told by my teacher, but only
> started following recently.

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