Ritual of Eating
Eating might be-
- To taste something
- Filling the stomach
- To get some nutrition
- A way to maintain life
These are some common expressions with the eating but eating is nevertheless than a ritual for Indian Philosophy. Whatever we are and however we are here in this world is all the result of the food we eat. So there are three different paradigms with this process.
The Food We Eat
Every food item has its own qualities. And these qualities transfers to us when we eat the food. The main quality which transfers is life/livingness. We share the life of a fruit, vegetable, grain or pulses whatever we eat and take up. Ayurveda stresses on this that once you are slaughtering the life of someone/something you should have a regard for that living being. This is the living being which is offering its life to your digestive process to nourish your life.
The direct comparison of ritual of eating is with Yagya/Yajya. The daily ritual, where we offer herbs, ghee and several other stuffs to the Agni. This is a holy process. Where we nourish the environment with aromatic qualities of these herbs. The motive of the Yagya is to nourish the nature. And we pray to the cosmic energy for the wellbeing of every creature out there.
The same is ritual of eating. We offer the food to the “agni”. Agni is a concept of life. Agni represents the fire in broad term. Because Agni is capable of disintegration of the foods. Therefore it is regarded as a the most-vital thing in the body. When you eat something. You offer the food to the Agni. And this is the discretion of the Agni to decide – what is good and what is bad for the body.
The vitality from the food extracts to the body through Agni. And further this food travels to many channels to the body. And these different channels keeps on getting their share from this food sap. When this food reaches to its final destination, it makes OJUS. You can name ojus as “nectar of food” or immune capacity of the body.
So this over all ritual is about getting the Vitality of food.
How to Eat Food: the holy ritual
You are eating the food of best quality. But you are not happy with food or surrounding. Then this “quality” food is not good.
This is like praying in the best temple/church or mosque- with too much “noise” inside. Prayers are done to connect with the energy. And once your connection is disturbed- you cannot get results from the prayers. Food is like the prayer only. You need to be pure so that your prayer will be heard properly.
If we take the food with bad thoughts the food will be giving us the same negative energies and this will degrade the “life” within us. This is the reason Ayurveda has told some special rules to take the food-
Rules of Ritual
- Don’t disregard the food
- Thanks God before eating for providing this life and food for life
- You should have in your mind that the food is for life, not life for food.
- Food has sacrificed its life for you so you should be thankful to the food for this sacrifice
- Don’t mess with some stress while eating (Researches have proven food taken under stress will be useless for the body)
- Take the food quietly (No television or newspaper or magazine in front)
- Develop the taste from your side, not from food’s side
- Never waste the food, because it is taken as a disregard to the food.
- Appreciate your food
- Keep all your senses- Eyes (with colour/presentation), Nose (with smell), Ears (with the words about food), Tongue (with taste) and Skin (with touch of the food) involved and awakened while taking food.
These are few of the principles, discussed in Ayurveda for taking the food. Follow these and you will be amazed that all the bad digestion, bad feeling after taking the food or some bad effects of the foods will be disappeared.
The final words
There are many patients who will come with a complaint that whatever fat they eat……that floats in their blood stream in form of Cholesterol and is causing the problems with health. This is true not because of the fats, this is because of the system of the body what we develop psychologically. This is something like that you irritates from a person and once the same fellow visits your place to greet and meet you- what will be your response to him. The same will be the response of the body when you have decided that something is really bad for you and your body. So before giving up with the foods, try to give up these bad thoughts about the food. This never means that every bad food is good, few people have their own interpretation styles…..