Food and mind

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Fri May 17 20:28:11 CDT 2002

On Fri, 17 May 2002, Shrinivas Gadkari wrote:

> On Fri, 17 May 2002 12:51:13 -0500, Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan
> <kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:
> Namaste Kartik,
> Here is a portion of my earlier message:
> >> The goal of Sadhana should be to go beyond these food habits.
> >> This not to deny the role of food habits in some stages
> >> of the sadhana.
> I had framed the last line of my post precisely to discourage
> replies like the one you posted. All your objections are already
> taken care of by the scentence: "This not to deny the role of
> food habits in some stages of the sadhana."


Your statement could also be interpreted as "there are some saadhakas (who
are at a certain stage in their saadhana) for whom restrictions in food
are not required." I disagree, and believe that saattvic food is required
for ALL saadhakas, and the only stage when it ceases to be a requirement
is in GYAna. IMHO, ONLY the GYAnI is exempt from dietary constraints.
The GYAnI, of course, has no saadhana.

This is the view that I have from reading "Talks with Ramana Maharshi".
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'd like to know exactly why with concrete
examples. In any case, even if there be a high stage below GYAna when this
requirement is invalid (I doubt this), the vast majority of us in this
list are very likely NOT in such a stage or far away from it.

The story of Kannappa is very different: as said before, he was a hunter,
and probably came under a special dharma. But for those on this list who
are interested in Shankaran Vedanta, the prescribed way is vegetarianism.
One must note that great sages like Ramana Maharshi were lifelong
vegetarians, even when they were above dietary constraints, since they
wanted to set an example to others.

Also, I was reading a book written by the Swamiji of Sringeri and His
Holiness narrated a story that went like this: a Guru and shishhya were
going their way when someone offered them alcohol. The Guru partook of the
alcohol, and the disciple, observing the Guru, also enjoyed the beverage.
Later, a blacksmith devotee offered the Guru hot molten iron, and the Guru
calmly drank it up, and then asked the disciple to follow suit. The
disciple fell at the Guru's feet and admitted his inability to do so.
Whereby the Guru instructed the disciple to perform praayaschitta for
drinking alcohol!

Maybe the shaastras should have said, "If you can gulp down molten iron,
drinking alcohol is permitted." But they simply forbid drinking alcohol
since the stage where alcohol is permitted is better left unsaid.

> So Vegetarian food, moderate eating, fasting etc has its place
> in yoga sadhana.
> Regards,
> Shrinivas
> p.s. This is for Somik: The episode I quoted is from Sai Sat
> Charitra.



PS: As an aside, there is the story of the Zen monk who asked the master,
"Is it true that from the highest point of zen, eating meat is the same as
not eating meat?" The master replied, "Yes, from the highest point, they
are the same." "In that case, why don't you eat meat?," asked the
disciple. The master replied, "If it is the same thing, why should I

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list