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


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

NB - regarding fonts, please read this post.

Raise Praise

Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

We now explore the Sri Adi Shankara text, "SadaachaaraH". To obtain your own copy, click here.

Last week in shloka 15 we were told to keep a focus on the present and to have a rein upon our emotions. In the textbook itself, the author, Swamini Vimalananda, took the example of food to discuss the verse. There is hardly a person in the world who does not have some emotional response to food. It is the fuel which drives the machine we call body, and we have so identified with our bodies in this life that the fuel becomes a central focus for many of us. The wise will know that the quality of the fuel determines the quality of energy and therefore the output of the body.

This discussion, though, was not about the dietary elements as such, but about how we approach food. In all faiths and philosophies, there are usually elements of giving thanks for what is provided. How many of us practice this with each and every taking of food or drink, however? Today, then, read this, copy it down and add it to your saadhana. If no other saadhana is practiced without fail, this at least should.

The quantity or quality of what is to be eaten is not the focus here. Show gratitude for all that comes your way. Even if it is just a snack as far as you are concerned, offer thanks.

In the fullness of Hindu tradition, no meal is eaten directly. Some of each of the items are first offered before the murti of the Lord of choice in that home and then eaten as 'prasaada' - food of the Lord is a Holy gift. In some devout households, the mother will live only on the prasaadam. Once the food puja is executed, the family will take from the main pots, but before sitting, they will all have ensured that hands and feet have been washed. In the West, as we sit at chairs and tables, the feet may not necessarily be so urgent, but if sitting in traditional floor serving, it is a must and washing of hands is ultra important. Even if you use utensils. It is a mark of respect for the food and for the people around you who share it.

In terms of the first line of the shloka - paying attention to the task - eating of food ought to be done with a degree of reverence. Thus, not whilst standing, walking, lying down (unless one is invalided); neither while watching television, reading, arguing … the food itself ought to be respected. Spend your time actually tasting it, and with each mouthful know that you are blessed. 

Before eating, recite the meal mantra. It reminds us that we are but an extension of the fire of the Higher and by feeding the body we are feeding that fire of spirit which is nothing but the Aatman.

Therefore, in reference to the second line of shloka 15, all food which comes our way is to be accepted with gratitude and not based upon whether or not we like or dislike it. To have food at all is a blessing - so many do not. That we have so much and thus tend to pick and choose according only to our tastes tends to distract us from the spiritual purpose of this fuel. Of course, in our lives of plenty and choice, it is almost impossible not to do this picking and choosing, but we now have the impetus of environmental awareness, health awareness and also waste awareness. We actually have the choice to limit our choice and that is a powerful spiritual tool!

Make your next week of focused saadhana about your food choices, giving thanks for everything - yes EVERYTHING - which enters your mouth. Keep a record if you wish, so that you can see if there are places where you can improve your diet, your attitude and your daily gratitude.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

Please note that only members of this blog can leave comments. You are respectfully requested to refrain from entering hyperlinks to other sites. You may otherwise find your comment deleted. Thank you for your courtesy.