The UN's theme of Think.Eat.Save to commemmorate World Environment Day, is an opportunity to acknowledge the sacred food culture of this land, says Punya Srivastava
The art of eating• Bathe, or at least wash your hands, face and feet, before you begin to eat. Sit while eating, in an isolated clean area. Face east if possible, the direction of the sun, the earth's source of heat and fire. Eat alone, or with people you know and trust. Ensure that all your sense organs are satisfied by providing your dining room with pleasant music, fresh flowers, and the like.
• Only someone who loves you should be permitted to cook for you. Cooks in India are often selected from the priestly class so that there is at least some chance that while cooking, some spiritually uplifting vibrations may be transferred into the food. Women should not cook when they are menstruating because they are undergoing a cleansing process and should be relaxing instead.
• It is best if your right nostril functions when you eat, since it increases your digestive fire. You can cause it to function by lying on your left side for a few minutes before the meal, by plugging your left nostril, by closing your left nostril with the middle finger of your right hand and breathing rhythmically through your right nostril for a few minutes, or by hooking your left arm over the back of a chair.
• Once all is in readiness, pray, give thanks to Nature for providing you with food, and thank whichever deity you worship for being alive to eat it. Approach each food item with reverence and love, even if you are served something which you dislike but must eat. Suppose you are served rutabagas (turnip like vegetable), which you hate and you eat the rutabagas under duress, those vegetables will carry your dislike and hatred deep into your system and disturb your balance. Consume your food, even if you dislike it, with respect for the sacrifice it is making for you, and it will carry the harmonizing power of your prayer inside you instead.
• Before you begin your meal, feed someone else. Traditionally in India a five-fold offering is made: to the sacred fire, a cow, a crow, a dog and another human being, who might be a child, a beggar, or anyone else outside one's own family. This is a practical thanks to Nature, a feeding of some of Her children in gratitude to Her for providing you some of Her other children as sacrifices for consumption. And, it is another way of controlling Ahamkara (egoism), an admission that the food is intended not for mere self-gratification but for the greater good of all beings. Feed anyone - a pet, a plant, a neighbour, a stranger- so you can experience a little of Nature's joy, the joy which a mother feels when she feeds her children and watches them grow and develop in consequence.
From Effects of Ahara, www.indianscriptures.com
|HOME | SUBSCRIBE | WALLPAPERS | ADVERTISING | POLICY | PRACTITIONERS | WRITERS | PEOPLE | ABOUT | CONTACT|