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Eating food is a holy ritual, a yajna. It should not be performed during moments of anxiety or emotional tension. Food has to be considered as medicine for the illness of hunger and as the sustenance of life.

-Baba

 

 

 

 

 

Sathwic Food- Home

Every activity of man is dependent on the energy he derives from the intake of food. The spiritual sadhanas he ventures upon depends on the quantity and quality of the food taken by the sadhak, even during the preliminary preparations recommended by Patanjali. The most external of the five sheaths that enclose the Atmic core, namely the Annamaya Kosa, has impact on all the remaining four - the Pranamaya, the Manomaya, the Vijnanamaya and the Anandamaya. The Annamaya Kosa is the sheath consisting of the material flesh and bone, built by the food that is consumed by the individual.

Food is generally looked down upon by ascetically minded sadhaks and seekers and treated as some thing which does not deserve attention. But since the body and the mind are mightily interdependent, no one can afford to neglect it. As the food, so the mind; as the mind, so the thought; as the thought, so the act. Food is an important factor which determines the alertness and sloth, the worry and calm, the brightness and dullness. The scriptures classify food as sathwic, rajasic and thamasic and relate these three types to the three mental modes (gunas) of the same names.

Man is the only living being who dislikes raw food found in the natural state. All other animals eat things as they are - grain, grass, leaves, shoots, fruits. Man boils, fries, melts, mixes and adopts various methods of cooking in order to satisfy the cravings of the tongue, the eye and the nose. As a consequence, the food value of these articles is either reduced or destroyed. When the seeds are fried, they do not sprout; that is clear proof that the 'life force' is eliminated. Therefore, uncooked raw pulse just sprouting, is to be preferred. Also nuts and fruits. The coconut, offered to the gods, is a sathwic food, having a good percentage of protein besides fat, starch and minerals. Food having too much salt or pepper is rajasic and should be avoided; so also too much fat and starch, which are thamasic in their effects on the body.

An intake of too much food is also harmful. Simply because tasty food is available and is being offered, one is tempted to over-eat. We have air all around us but we do not breathe in more than we need. The lake is full but we drink only as much as the thirst craves for. But overeating has become a social evil, a fashionable habit. The stomach cries out, 'Enough', but the tongue insists on more, and man becomes the helpless target to disease. He suffers from corpulence, high blood pressure and diabetes. Moderate food is the best medicine to avoid bodily ills. Do not rush to the hospital for every little upset. Too much drugging is also bad. Allow nature full scope to fight the disease and set you right. Adopt more and more the principles of naturopathy, and give up running around for doctors.

The type of food that you consume decides the degree of concentration you can command; its quality and quantity decide how much your self-control is lessened or heightened. Polluted air and water are full of maleficent viruses and germs and have to be avoided at all costs. There are four pollutions against which man has to be vigilant - of the body (removable by water); of the mind (removable by truthfulness), of reason (removable by correct knowledge) and of the self (removable by yearning for God). Vaidya Narayano Harih, the Sruthis declare. God is the doctor. Seek Him, rely on Him, you will be free from Dis-ease.

[Source: Sanathana Sarathi, 1979. Discourse given by Bhagavan on Hospital Day, Dasara at Prashanthi Nilayam on 21 September 1979. Discourse posted by Sai Deepak B. Daswani on SaiNet]


 

Importance of Sathwic Food  

The material making up your thoughts is extremely subtle; it arises from the food you eat. On the other hand, if you take in food that is not sanctified, dark feelings, dark actions and dark thoughts will flourish. Not only this, but because of unwholesome food you will weaken the body and lose the power of digestion, and suffer all sorts of bodily discomforts. Therefore, if you consume food that has been sanctified you will get only sacred thoughts.  

When a person is filled with sacred thoughts all his actions will be sacred. His words will also be sacred. Thoughts and the thought process constitute the very form of the mind. Immediately transform any dark thoughts into sacred ones. In the same way, see to it that you undertake only good actions, and take every opportunity to transform these actions into worship by consecrating them to the Lord. By transforming all thoughts into noble thoughts and all work into worship, you will naturally progress on the sacred path.  

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Food is God - Do not waste food.

Firstly,consider the food we consume. Eat only what you need to eat. Do not be greedy. Do not take more than you can eat and waste the rest, because wasting food is a great sin. The surplus food can feed another stomach. Do not waste food, because food is God, life is God, and man is born from food. Food is the main source of man's life, body, mind and character. The gross part of the food, which is the major portion of the food consumed by the body, is thrown out as waste matter. A minute amount of the food, which is the subtle part, is assimilated by the body and flows as blood. And a minuscule amount, which is the subtlest part of the food, makes up the mind. Therefore, the mind is the reflection of the food consumed. The reason for the present beastly and demonic tendencies in our minds is the food we consume.

A large part of the water we drink is expelled as urine. A minute part of the water consumed becomes the life force (prana). Therefore, the nature of the food and water that we take in decides our character. Only by controlling the quality of our food and water can we attain Divinity. This is why food is said to be God. Hence, to waste food is to waste God. Do not waste food. Eat only what you need, and be sure that what you eat is Sathwic. Give any surplus food to those in need.


 

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Three types of purities


According to the Bhagavad Geetha, the body and life in it are based on food and sustained by food. However great and learned a person may be, however much he pays attention to the teachings of the Vedantha and takes care to spread them, if he neglects the strict code laid down for the food, he cannot succeed spiritually. The food we eat is an important constituent of the physical and mental stuff we have to struggle with, in the spiritual field. Purity of food leads to purity of mind.


We should partake food with a Sathwic mind. Our ancestors recommended the offering of food to God before partaking. However impure the food maybe, when it is offered to God, it gets purified and nourishes us both physically and mentally as Divine prasad and Grace. Food so partaken becomes prasad (consecrated offering).


Three types of purities are said to be necessary with regard to food. These are 1. Pathra Shuddhi (purity of vessels): The vessels for cooking must be clean and pure. 2. Paka Shuddhi (purity of the process of cooking): The process of cooking should not bring impurities. The person who prepares the food and serves must not only be clean in dress, but clean in habits, character, and conduct. He should not allow his mind to dwell on wicked or vicious ideas. 3. Pachaka Shuddhi (Purity of food materials): The provisions used for cooking has to be pure and of good quality. They should have been procured by fair means.


The absence of any of the above three qualities makes the food impure. Impure food results in an impure mind. Hence it is necessary to purify the food before we eat.


Now it is not possible to ensure the purity of the cooking process, since we do not know what thoughts rage in the mind of the person who prepares the food. Similarly we cannot ensure cleanliness of the food ingredients, as we do not know whether the seller who had sold it to us acquired the food grains in a righteous way. Hence it is essential on our part to offer food to God in the form of a prayer, so that these three impurities do not afflict our mind. When we make the offering to God, all the three types of pollution are destroyed and the food is turned into Prasad, which will nourish us physically, mentally and spiritually.


Bhagavan Baba says that we should not forget this important discipline of offering food to God with a prayer. This should be done even when we eat outside our homes (it may be done mentally if required).




Source:Geetha Vahini p239-243 Divine Guidelines for Bal Vikas p170-171 Summer Showers in Brindavan 1993 p86
 

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FOOD PRAYER

Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaagnau Brahmanaa Hutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha

Meaning: [This is 24th verse from the 4th chapter of Bhagavad Geetha] 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. (As we chant this prayer we are offering the different types of food to Brahman).

Aham Vaishvaanaro Bhutva
Praaninaam Dehamaashritha
Praanaapaana Samaa Yuktaha
Pachaamyannam Chatur Vidam

Meaning: [This is 14th verse from the 15th chapter of Bhagavad Geetha] This sloka is a sort of acknowledgement and assurance to us from Brahman. "I am Vaishnavara, existing as fire God in the bodies of living beings. Being associated with ingoing (prana) and outgoing (apaana) life breaths, I will digest all the four different types of food (that which we bite and chew; that which we masticate with the tongue; those which we gulp; that which we swallow) and purify them."

Harir Daatha Harir Bhoktha
Harir Annam Prajaapatih
Harir Vipra Shareerastu
Bhoonkte Bhojayathe Harih.

Meaning: Oh 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 Thy Lotus Feet.

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As is the food, so is the mind.

The dreams that you experience are actually the reactions of your food and habits. There is an intricate and inseparable relationship between food, head and God. Food plays a vital role in the spiritual path. When we consume the right kind of food, it helps us in our effort to understand Divinity. As is the food, so is the mind. Only one with pure mind can understand Divinity. In order to cultivate purity of mind, you should partake of pure and Sathwic food. You should consider food as God. It is said, Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati (as you think so you become). If you consider food as mere Padartha (matter), it will remain so. Depending on the feeling, it undergoes change. Take for instance, the magnetic power in the body. It gets transformed into electric power. It gives rise to sound energy and develops Tejas (effulgence). Jewellery shines with added brilliance when it is polished. Likewise every man is endowed with Tejas which is known as Chaitanya Shakti (power of consciousness).

If you enquire deeply, you can visualise God in every human being and in every material. Any Padartha (matter) should not be looked upon as mere Padartha. It should be considered as Parartha (the essence of Divinity). There is a gulf of difference between Padartha and Parartha. Padartha corresponds to worldly matter, whereas Parartha is the transcendental divine principle. Since Padartha is viewed as mere matter and not as Parartha, its value is demeaned. We attach value to that which has no real value. On the other hand, we do not value that which has to be valued most. The mind is responsible for all this. Hence, we have to purify the mind and focus it on Divinity. When the mind is focused on Divinity, our Tejas also increases.
 


Today man is wasting his energy by entertaining bad thoughts and feelings. To keep bad thoughts in check, one has to develop divine thoughts. What are divine thoughts? You should consider everything as divine. Every drop of blood in your body is suffused with Divinity. Food generates blood and energy in the body. This divine energy has to be properly utilised by entertaining divine thoughts.
 

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Health tips
Excerpts from 1996 discourse by Sai Baba


" Right food must essentially contain Sathwic food. It means that the food must not contain mutton, fish, onions and the like. In your hostel, there is of course no mutton and fish! But, onions are used extensively.
This is because it does not get spoilt. It also has its advantages. It improves your digestion power.

There is a popular saying in Telugu, "the good done by the onion ( ulli) is not done by your own mother
( thalli)!'' You must also take care to avoid excess of spice, chilli and salt. May people think that Sathwic food means fruits and milk. These can also be thamasic! For example, eating two bananas is correct. If you eat four bananas, it becomes thamasic. Do not take a cup of thick milk. Comparatively, it is hence said " One cup of wine is better than a cup of milk."Thick milk contains plenty of fat and calcium. It is also liberally laced with glucose. When the blood is saturated with too much of glucose, it turns the residual glucose into acid. The result is that you develop boils. This acid and the blood combines to form stones in the gall bladder.

Ensure that you take at least seven to eight cups of water daily. Water cleanses your internals. This also ensures that stones do not form inside your kidneys because water goes to the kidneys and constantly keeps itflushed.Eat rice and vegetables well. Green leafy vegetables are the best of the lot. This is because under the skin lies a very light secondary layer, It is this layer that protects the skin. Green leaves strengthen this layer,
apart from having other benefits. It is very good for heart patients too because green vegetables are totally free of oils. Vegetables contribute to some extent to the cholesterol. What must you do when you have excess cholesterol? Cholesterol is essential to some extent. The limit prescribed is about 10%. But if it crosses 20% or 30% your nerves and veins will harden like rusted pipes. This consequently thickens the blood making the heart pump less and less blood. The heart pumps the blood and sends it to the lungs which purifies the blood and distributes it to the entire body. When the heart pumps less, more and more cholesterol accumulates there, which is dangerous for the heart. Hence it is advisable to take a white onion daily.

Garlic pills can also be taken daily, a daily intake of one pill after lunch will get rid of the cholesterol problem. Green leafy vegetables and drumsticks are very healthy for the body. Drumsticks are good for the brain. Do not take too much of potatoes. Potatoes contain 80 % starch that will only make you slightly fat, but also give you very little in terms of health.Tomatoes are also good. The seeds of the tomatoes may be removed and a
curry made of the tomato. This is because the seeds of the tomato do not get digested easily. They remain in the digestive canal and gradually become stones, when they combine with glucose. These stones go down to the stomach and remain a mass, giving frequent trouble.

We must also ensure that eating must always be in a limited quantity. You must be able to get up from your plate with the same ease and lightness with which you sat down to eat. This is the correct limit. You come quite easily to eat. But when you get up you need a support ! Many people develop a paunch like that.

Proportion is very important as it confers health to the body. Never take meat, cigarettes, or other intoxicants and drugs. Habitual cigarette smokers develop cancer. You can perform this test on smokers. Take a white cloth and put it across the mouth after the person has smoked. You will see bright red dots on the cloth. When the external cloth has itself been so noticeably spoilt, you can well imagine how much destruction
it is causing to the veins and lungs. The two fingers that hold the cigarette will develop a yellow colouration. White spots develop on the lips. The skin around the lips turn dark. You must avoid taking curds. It is better to take the two cups of buttermilk. Curds have too much of protein."

These are excerpts taken from a discourse given by Baba at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in July 1996 ( the excerpts are taken from the book Sai Prescriptions, published by the Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust, Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital Hospital in Whitefield, Bangalore).  

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Swami's advice on food

1. "It is the best to preserve one's health by good thoughts and good deeds. It is best to be vigilant about food habits. Coconut kernel, coconut water, sprouting pulses, cooked or half cooked vegetables, and greens are good for health." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.15, Chapter 21).
 
     2. "Food habits are of primary importance when health has to be secured and maintained. When these are not regulated, health suffers...Among the eight million four hundred thousand species of living beings, all except humans live on food as provided by Mother nature.... one should realise that food materials, as offered by nature, are really more beneficial." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.15, Chapter 54).
 
     3. "The mother must herself prepare food for the home; for food, that is prepared with love and served with a smile is much more sustaining and strengthening than food cooked by a hired woman and served by a disgruntled refractory kitchen boy." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.9, Chapter 13).  
 
     4. "The food consumed by man should be proper, pure and wholesome. But nowadays people eat whatever they get and wherever they get it, and thereby spoil their health. Food plays a major role in the preservation of health. Care should be taken to see that the food consumed does not have much fat content, for the fats consumed in large quantity are detrimental not only to one's physical health but also to one's mental health." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.27, Chapter 3).  
 
     5. "By regulating your diet and avoiding certain bad habits, you can preserve health. Moderate food, and food of the Saathwik type, will promote mental poise and also physical happiness... Many people consume more than necessary quantity of rich food and such have to practice moderation." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.1, Chapter 28).
 
     6. "But I hope you learn also about the distinction between the Saathwik (calmness promoting), the Raajasik (emotion producing) and the Thamaasik (sloth encouraging) types of food and of the effect of these on character. The mind is the key to health and happiness and so, food must be chosen that it does not affect the mind adversely, along with Saathwik food, the mind must also be given special diet like Dhyaana, Japa, Naamasmarana, etc. to keep it sound and steady." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.9, Chapter 13).  
 
     7. "The type of food that you consume decides the degree of concentration you can command; its quality and quantity decide how much your self-control is lessened or heightened. There are four pollutions against which man has to be vigilant - of the body (removable by water), of the mind (removable by truthfulness), of reason (removable by correct knowledge) and of the self (removable by yearning for God)...God is the doctor. Seek Him, rely on Him, you will be free from disease." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.14, Chapter 31).
 
     8. "Though men are all equally subject  to birth, life and death, though all are one kind, why they allow the Aanandha which is the right of each to slip away through hatred and conflict? Why is the demon prevailing over the Divine in man? The answer has been deluding man for ages.
    Well! Aham (ego) is the cause. The narrow limited self, the ego, is the root of the evil. Probing the problem a little deeper, I would say that the nature of the food relished is primarily responsible.  Food is of three qualities Saathwik, Raajasik, and Thaamasik (leading to purity, passion and inertia)... Since food alleviates or arouses, prevents or promotes emotions and passions, it moulds the behaviour, conduct and attitudes of men." (Sri Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol.16, Chapter 19).

 

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ACIDITY, INDIGESTION
COMMON COLD
CONSTIPATION
COUGH/ SORE THROAT
FALLING HAIR AND DANDRUFF
HEADACHES AND MIGRAINE
INSOMNIA
PIMPLES / ACNE
TOOTHACHE


The Ayurvedic Texts say that all substances found in nature have a medicinal value provided these are used appropriately. The medicines are meant to eradicate the disease itself rather than simply the symptoms. Following are some simple ayurvedic formulations that you can begin to use for simple treatments at home. Ayurveda also uses gems and metals in its formulations. However here we shall confine ourselves to the use of herbs, vegetables and fruits. Just as for medicines so these same can be used for cosmetics and fragrances, the important point to remember is that in all Ayurvedic formulations the active constituents must be able to be absorbed in the skin and ingested too.

ACIDITY, INDIGESTION
Aniseed: A teaspoon of aniseed in a cup of boiling water. Leave it overnight, Seive and take it with a little bit of honey.
Celery: celery seeds soaked in buttermilk for five to six hours and then ground in the same buttermilk relieves indigestion.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon checks nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. It stimulates digestion. A tablespoon of cinnamon water, prepared as for cold and taken half an hour after meals, relieves flatulence and indigestion.
Ginger: Chewing of ginger regularly after your meals prevents acidity and indigestion.

COMMON COLD
Ginger: The herb is an excellent remedy for coughs and colds. Extracted juice of ginger with honey is taken three or four times a day in case of coughs.
Holy Basil: A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is effective remedy for cold. They should be boiled in water and then taken.
Pepper: Six pepper seeds finely ground and mixed in a glass of warm water taken for a few nights for good results.

CONSTIPATION
Liquorice: Liquorice is used as a laxative in constipation. Its powder is taken with jaggery and water.
Tamarind: Pulp of the ripe fruit is beneficial in the treatmentof constipation and indigestion.

COUGH/ SORE THROAT
Ginger: The herb is an excellent remedy for coughs and colds. Extracted juice of ginger with honey is taken three or four times a day in case of coughs.
Holy Basil: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as a drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.
Liquorice
: The herb is a recognized home remedy for sore throat. A small piece of raw liquorice if chewed or sucked, provides relief by soothing the inflammation.
Pepper: Pepper is an effective remedy for coughs caused due to throat irritation. Three peppers sucked with a pinch of caraway seed and a crystal of common salt provides relief.

FALLING HAIR AND DANDRUFF
Curry Leaves: The leaves, bark and the root of the curry plant are used in indigenous medicine as a tonic for falling hair.
Rosemary: Shampoos and hair lotions containing the pure extract of rosemary rejuvenate the scalp and hair while preventing dandruff and premature baldness.
Sage: The herbs is useful in preventing grey hair if blended in hair tonics.

HEADACHES AND MIGRAINE
Clove: A paste of clove and salt crystals in milk is a common household remedy for headaches.

INSOMNIA
Nutmeg: The powder of nutmeg, mixed with fresh amla (green gooseberry)juice, is also an effective medicine for insomnia, irritability and depression.
Poppy Seeds: About 30 grams of milk extracted from the seeds mixed with sugar can be used for treating insomnia. A teaspoon of poppy seed oil taken every night is also very effective.

PIMPLES / ACNE
Coriander: A teaspoon of coriander juice, mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder, is an effective remedy for pimples, blackheads and dry skin.
Sandalwood: This oil mixed with twice its quantity of mustard oil is used for removing pimples.

TOOTHACHE
Asafoetida: Asafoetida is useful in alleviating toothache. After being ground in lemon juice, it is slightly heated. A cotton piece, soaked in the lotion and placed in the cavity of the tooth, relieves pain.
Margosa: Cleaning the teeth regularly with a margosa twig prevents gum it relieves toothache.

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How To Offer Food to God
 

It is helpful if one has an altar already set up somewhere in your home, apartment or dorm. On this altar should be either a sacred image or a picture of God in any of His sacred forms. In addition, you can include images of your guru, saints, or other gods or godess on your altar - Durga, Ganesha, Sarasvati, etc. Images of God, however, should be the central focal-point of any altar used for meditation.  If you donít have an altar, then placing a simple image of God somewhere special will do.

When the food is ready, take a sampling of each preparation, along with a glass or cup of water, and place them all on a special plate that is used only for offering food to God.  This plate must never be used for any other purpose than offering food in Prasada Meditation. Place the plate of food before the sacred image. Offer a little incense to God.  Then, in a meditative and devotional state of mind, sit with eyes closed in meditation and recite several sacred mantras. And request the Lord to accept your offering. After you have offered the food in this way, the food that you have cooked is now sanctified and considered to be prasada, food transformed into the grace of God. By partaking in such food, we show our devotion to God, and thus make spiritual advancement. The food on the the plate should be re-merged into the food in the pots. Having thanked the Lord for accepting your offering, the prasada can now be eaten. The food should also be eaten with meditative awareness.  While eating the prasada, please always be conscious and aware that you are partaking in the special grace of God. Eat with reverence, and enjoy!


   
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Therefore, if you consume food that has been sanctified you will get only sacred thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Give any surplus food to those in need"

 

   

 

"Impure food results in an impure mind."

 

 

 

 

"I am Vaishnavara, existing as fire God in the bodies of living beings."

 

"As is the food, so is the mind."

 
 

 

 

 

 

"We must also ensure that eating must always be in a limited quantity."

 

 

The mind is the key to health and happiness and so, food must be chosen that it does not affect the mind adversely

 

 

 
 

 

simple ayurvedic formulations