Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Appetite for Awareness

Hari OM
'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…

All who seek a more spiritual, gentler life, understand that part of the process is to take care of health and well-being. The shlokas of the last two days posts have been specific to how the body is our instrument in spiritual process, thus despite Vedantic admonitions to realise that 'I am not this body', we do still have to deal with this thing to which we currently are so attached!

Most countries of the world have guidelines these days, such as the food pyramid, exercise minimums for an optimum condition, and even programs to limit sugar in foods and so on.

Some spiritual cultures also have guidelines, taken from a scriptural injunction. The Jewish dietary requirement is 'kosher', for the Muslim it is 'halal'… for the Hindu, it is 'sattvika'. The Jains and Buddhists also adhere to sattva as they originate out of Sanatana Dharma, but have their own adjustments to it. Pure sattva food will not contain onions, garlic, excess chilli, or indeed excess of any spicing. It is tasty but the main ingredients are not overwhelmed by the condiments added. It is light on the digestive system thus not distracting the mind with discomforts in the body. A sattvika diet is vegetarian and includes dairy product. The inclusion of eggs is accepted by some, but is debated due to the possibility of fertilisation and therefore no longer being inert protein, but a seed of life. If you wish to include eggs in your diet, it is good if you can source them from a supplier who does not have a rooster in their flock. In our modern milk-production era, it is also better to source milk from dairies which do not sacrifice the calves to boost production. An internet search on 'ethical dairies' will bring up what is available to you.

Contrary to many understandings, not all Hindus are vegetarian. Their diet is therefore not sattvik, but rajasik or tamasik, depending on the balance within it. Majority of people working in the world for a living, take a rajasik diet. Chicken and fish are often eaten, as are lamb and goat. Never beef though. The cow is revered for her provision of milk and dung for the ground in which to grow better crops. The bull is a representative of a vahana (vehicle) of the Lord (Shiva's vahana is called Nandi, and one will be found looking into his feet at any Shiva mandir), and is revered for its ability to carry or drag heavy loads, making Man's work lighter.

However, much of modern living, particularly in the "West" tends to the tamasik, which drags the body down. Convenience food, processed foods, pre-packed foods, fast food... Even our fruit and veg is rarely truly 'fresh' nowadays. Tamasik food tends to be highly flavoured and full of fat and salt.

A saadhika seeking a better meditative experience must slowly tame their diet and improve their digestive system. Appropriate exercise to keep the body systems circulating freely and activities to calm the mind, such as sitting in nature, by some water or under trees, is always a good idea. As much as anything, remembering that this body is a home for the spirit and that it ought to be respected as such is as worthwhile a contemplation as any.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post and love the cow photo!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)


Hari OM
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