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Food For Thought

Seva must take the form of food for the hungry

Remove the weight from your head by transferring all burdens to the Lord, leave everything to His will and His Law. Feed your mind with sweet and wholesome food: Sathsanga, Satpravatana and Sarveswara Chinta - then you are full of joy. I am Anandaswarupa; come and take Ananda from Me and, returning to your avocations, dwell on that Ananda and be full of Shanthi

Life sustained by food is short; life sustained by the Atma is eternal. Do not lay claim to long life; but to Divine life. Do not pine for more years on earth, but for more virtues in the heart. The Buddha knew and made known to the world the Truth. Everything is grief. Everything is empty. Everything is brief. Everything is polluted. So the wise man has to do the duties cast upon him with discrimination, diligence and detachment. Play the role but keep your identity unaffected.

God appears in human form; He promotes pasture of cattle and agriculture, in order that the food must sustain the Head and render it intelligent and clear enough to realize God. The body has to be nourished for the sake of the Head, so that 'Jnana' can be attained and Liberation gained. Food-Head-God: this is the chain of events.

Everyday, when you take food, you are offering eatables to the fire that God has put in you to digest food. You have to eat in a prayerful mode, in profound gratitude. The Gita says that the fire which cooked the meal is God; the meal is God; the eater is God; the purpose of eating is to carry on the work entrusted by God, or pleasing to God; and the fruit of that work is, progress towards God.

The deer, the elephant, the cow, the horse - these live on sathwic food and behave in a sathwic manner. So they are adored and even worshipped by man. Tigers, bears, hyenas and other wild animals are feared by man and are driven by him into the dark recesses of the forests. The wonder is that the wildness, the cruelty, and the terror-inflicting attributes of these beasts are developed and exhibited by man himself! Man prides himself as the crown of creation, he declares that he has in him the spark of the Divine. But, he ignores it or suppresses it and revels in displaying the qualities of the ferocious beasts of the jungle.

I do not have any particular desire with regard to food or any other need. My 'Ananda' is My food; and to secure that food I promote happiness in others and derive delight from their joy. That is the significance of My statement: "My life is my message". To feel blissful in the enjoyment of happiness which others experience is a quality of the Divine.

Silence, cleanliness and forbearance. In silence can be heard the voice of God, not in the revelry of noise. Through cleanliness, you earn purity. By forbearance, you cultivate Love. You have come today to your own home. This is your home not Mine. My home is your heart. So, do not try to have your lunch elsewhere but in your home, where you get this day food consecrated by Me, the Prasad.

People think they live on food. Then how is it that, while the wealthy who can afford all kinds of food succumb to untimely death, the poor still live ? Man does not live by food alone. In fact he lives by the power of the Soul. Without discrimination, what is the use of physical strength ?

There are Four *F's* that you will have to fix before your attention:

Follow the Master;
Face the Devil;
Fight to the End; and
Finish at the Goal.
Follow the Master means: observe Dharma.
Face the Devil means: overcome the temptations that beset you when you try to earn Artha or wealth or the wherewithal to live in comfort.

Fight to the End means: struggle ceaselessly; wage war against the six enemies that are led by Kama or lust.

And finally, Finish at the Goal means: do not stop until the goal, Moksha or Liberation from ignorance and delusion, is reached.

The *F's* are fundamental for the pursuit of the four Purusharthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha

Just as you tend the body with food and drink at regular intervals, you must also tend to the needs of the inner Atmic body by regular Japam and Dhyanam and the cultivation of virtues. Sathsanga, Sath Pravarthana and Sath-Chinthana are all essential for the growth and the health of the inner personality. The body is the Bhavanam of the Bhavaneswara, His Bhuvanam. In so far as you are particular about coffee or tea at regular intervals, be also particular about Dhyanam and Japam at fixed times for the health and liveliness of the spirit.

Bad thoughts and habits, bad company and bad food are hostile grounds where disease thrives. 'Arogya' and 'Ananda' go hand in hand. A sense of elation and exultation keeps the body free from ill health. Evil habits, in which men indulge, are the chief cause of disease in the physical as well as the mental state. Greed affects the mind; disappointment makes man depressed. Man can justify his existence as man only by the cultivation of virtues. Then he becomes a worthy candidate for Godhood.

The Shastras warn you of false steps; they console you in times of stress; and they strengthen you in distress. They give correct interpretations of moral dilemmas. They prescribe the dress, the food, the manner of speech, the methods of social conduct, the mode of mutual behaviour and the lines of onward march. They are the conscience of society.

Food and recreational habits are the two main causes for ill-health. Great care has to be bestowed to ensure that injurious tendencies do not affect these two. At present, though drugs have multiplied and hospitals have been established in every nook and corner, ill-health is also widespread. This situation is attributable to the spread of deleterious food habits and pastimes.

You may boast that you have been visiting Puttaparthi since twenty years or that you have made the place your permanent residence; but, unless you follow the lesson I emphasise, that boast is mere empty vanity. If you develop love for all beings, in the faith that God resides in all, you may be anywhere else, but your prayers would reach Me and My Grace will reach you. While in My previous body, I told Nanashab that I am in ants, insects and animals, besides all men. When a dog ate all offerings intended for Baba, it was declared to have reached Baba, for He had eaten it in that form. "Nana says, he is giving Me food, but, when I go in the form of dog, he drives Me off."

The Gita speaks of 'Yukthahara Viharasya', habits of feeding and recreation, which are controlled and regulated. The gross part of food is discarded as feces, the subtle part is transformed into muscle, blood, etc., and the more subtle aspects are transmuted into the mind and its activities. That is why the Sages have prescribed certain limits and levels of food, in order to promote the spiritual urges and prevent country tendencies. But, nowadays, as a result of the downgraded time-spirit, food that damages the spiritual urge is being increasingly favoured.

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