The single most important strategy for individual transformation from animal nature to divine nature in human being is in paying very particular attention to food taken orally and through the five senses. The following is the heart of the teaching of the Bhagawatgita.

The body and life in it are based on food and are sustained by food or Anna. So food decides the level of our attainment high or low. However great and learned a person may be, however much he pays attention to the teaching of the Veda and takes care to spread them, if he neglects the strict code laid down for food, he cannot succeed.

How can one escape an evil consequence if the Geeta is held in one hand and hot coffee or tea or a lighted cigarette or beedi or a pinch of snuff is held in the other? Some even justify their unregulated lives by declaring that whatever is eaten, however eaten, wherever eaten, the stuff is rendered pure and acceptable on account of the raging fire of JNANA which they have. "If you cannot limit and control your feeling how can you control and limit your senses ?"

Since it is impossible to escape the Danavic and Asuric nature of man which are the result of actions and feelings of the previous birth, at least in this birth, by regulating food and activity man can overcome the Asuric tendencies that tend to prevail upon him. By a change of food habits character can be changed from one Guna to another in the anthahkarana, consciousness.

A man’s taste for a particular food is determined according to the Guna prevalent in him.

Then who is a Satwic person? One who is pure or aspiring to be pure who is doing good and is of higher consciousness, the one whose heart is full of compassion, whose words are steeped in love and body is used in the service of the fellow men.

Satwic food plays an important part in the cultivation of universal compassion and it is conducive to the progressive attainment of the four states and saalokya, samipya, sarupya and saayujya that is liberation and ultimate union with God.

We must understand the mechanics of the three gunas in relation to food, time, space, gifts, types of persons and types of work.

Eg. Time :

1. Satwic time 4 a.m. to 8a.m. and 4p.m.to8p.m.

2. Rajasic time 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (day) and

3. Tamasic time 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. (night)

Gifts given at the right time, place and to the right person are satwic.

Satwic work is selfless service. Satwic food should be capable of strengthening the mind as well as the body. It should not be too salty , too hot , too bitter, too sweet or too sour. It should not be taken while it is steaming hot. Food cooked in water should not be used the next day. It becomes harmful. Even fried articles should be consumed before they develop unpleasant odours.

Satwic Food : Nuts, fruits, fresh vegetables except onions garlic and herbs that inebriate (drugs). Also legumes cereals, lentils and integrated products like whole wheat flour etc., sprouts, milk and curds.

Rajasic Food: all disease producing foods or Satwic foods in excess. Very sour, pungent burning foods. Excessively full of spices, chillies, Stimulants like tea, coffee and chocolates.

Tamasic Foods :- Like pickles, cheese, all stale and tasteless putrid foods, all alcoholic beverages, sedatives drugs, tobacco, cocaine, meat, fish, egg and all foods that slow you down physically and mentally.

Smoking is tamasic and also destroys the spiritual vibrations in your surroundings, smoking destroys the kundalini ‘Shakti’ that you possess as power consciousness in your sushumna.

Then what is true satwic diet? Foods which increase life, purity, health joy and cheerfulness.

1) Food must be purchased from an honest source and with honestly earned money. There are three purities to be observed purity of provisions, purity of vessels in which food is prepared purity of persons who serve the prepared food.

2) Purity of vessels : The container must not add impurities to food.

3) In the process of cooking, the food should not be or overcooked. Slow cooking is safe and more nutritious. Stir fry is also better than fully cooked food.

4) Excess oil, butter, cream should be avoided.

5) The person who prepares and serves must not only be clean in dress but also in habits, character and conduct. He must be humble and full of love. There are several stories that verify the above points.

There was once a king who dreamt a terrible dream, he dreamt that he took his own mother by the hair, dragged her head off. On Awaking he summoned his chief Minister and sought an explanation. After several days of investigation, the minister brought a prisoner to the king, and said that the night before he had the terrible dream, the cook was ill and his prisoner who was a good cook was asked to prepare the meals. The king then asked him as to why he was in prison. He related that on one unfortunate day he had consumed a large quantity of alcohol and in his drunken state he became very aggressive, he grabbed hold of his mothers hair, dragged her to the entrance of his house and there he chopped her head off, and this day he regrets. The most prominent thought in the mind of the cook has a powerful effect on his environment and these mental vibrations affect all those who consume the food. So care should be taken with regard to the character of the cook. That’s why we should not eat in hotels and restaurants. If it is inevitable, better to live on fruits and fruits juices, drinks given by nature. For nature is bountiful and also full of love for all beings. Mother nature nourishes us with good will. No food material, however, rich it is, is a good substitute for love. Cooking food, while chanting divine hymns helps consecrate the food while being cooked.
by Dr. V. Dharma Rao M.D

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