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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spiritual eating habits

In Vedic culture, a lot of importance is given to the act of eating. It is believed that as we eat, so is our thought process. The food that we eat becomes part of us- not only the minerals and vitamins become part of our physical body, but the subtle part of the food becomes part of our thought process. So, a lot of emphasis is given on taking pure and saatvic food. When we offer food while chanting prayers and while paying our gratitude to Mother Nature and the omnipresent God, the food gets purified and become Prasad.

One of the reasons that the modern man is facing restlessness and depression is that just for the sake of taste and time-saving, modern man gets into the habit of consuming all kinds of tamsi food while watching TV. Such common practices leads to all sort of chaos in the society as well. As per our Vedic culture, food is considered as medicine for the illness of hunger and as the sustenance of life.

When we chant holy prayers, our mind becomes pious and peaceful in the remembrance of Paramatma that has made the food available to us in nature. Eating such saatvic food with peaceful mind helps the true seeker in not only attaining physical and mental strength, but also in attaining the goal of spiritual blissfulness.

Here are a few Mantras that a true seeker chants before eating the meal.
   Harir Daatha Harir Bhoktha, Harir Annam Prajaapatih I
   Harir Vipra Shareerast, Bhoonkte Bhojayathe Harih II

  O Lord Hari, You are the food, You are the enjoyer of the food, You are the giver of food.    Therefore, I offer all that I consume at your Lotus Feet.

  Annapurna Sada Purne, Shankara Prana Vallabhe I
  Gnana Vairagya Sidhyartham , Biksham Dehi cha ParvatiII

  O Mother Parvati, you are Annapurna - the bestower of food. You are always full of     abundance...You are the lifeline of Lord Shiva. Dear Mother, through this sacred food, bless us with the boons of wisdom (jnana) and renunciation (vairagya).

  Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir, Brahmaagnau Brahmanaa Hutam I
  Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam, Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha II
  Shrimad Bhagavad Gita:4-24

This shloka has very deep meaning related to the all the holy offerings to God. While offering to God in any form we should realize that - the act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman.

  Aham Vaishvaanaro Bhutva, Praani-naam Deham-aashritha I
  Praana-apaana Samaa Yuktaha, Pachaa-myannam Chatur Vidam II
  Shrimad Bhagavad Gita:15-14

I am the omnipresent being, existing as fire God in the bodies of living beings. With the help of five prana, including ingoing (prana) and outgoing (apaana) life breaths, I will digest all the four different types of food (that we bite, masticate with tongue, gulp or swallow) and purify them."