The Mother Divine
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By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Obstacles to Sadhana

True Nature of Food

  • Until the diet is purified, the restlessness of the mind does not go away which is why it is the necessary duty of those who desire health, longevity, strength, and God, to eat sattvik food.

  • Food is to be consumed in order to maintain the body. It is the duty of one and all to protect the body through food. The body cannot afford to be weak.

  • Ahara basically means the grasping of objects (sound, touch, smell etc.) through the sense organs. Once the body is purified with sattvik food, the organs turn around and the senses are able to grasp sound, touch, taste, sight and smell in the form of God.

  • Food or the dietary intake is made up of three parts – one part creates the body, the second creates the mind, and the third part is excreted and discharged. The body, which is created from consuming foods such as meat etc., makes the senses as unrestrained as in an animal; they are directed towards lust and the mind starts singing their tune. Of all the pleasures on earth, there is none like the pleasure of sexual congress; reflecting on it the senses are intoxicated and intent only on women, forgetting all concerns of virtue, duty, this world and the next, they merge in the delight of women; after that there is no possibility of checking the futile loss of virya (semen virile).

  • The body, which is created from consuming foods such as onion, garlic, carrots, hens, duck and the like, is not competent to do virtuous deeds, it is indeed disposed to undertake evil deeds, and the mind thus created is naturally inclined towards despicable ponderings, it cannot undertake sattvik thinking.

  • The essential substance of the human body is virya (semen virile). Virya is the soul stuff; to stop suicide imminent through the loss of virya is rather difficult for those of unrestrained food habits. As a consequence of it, the body is afflicted with several diseases, it is destitute of inner essence and the mind is intoxicated with sense objects. Then there is no other way than to live in a human body like an animal. Wilful indulgence in rajasik and tamasik foods destroys the basic humanness; the genuine object of one’s existence is forgotten.

  • You are feeding Him actually; He is the one who is eating. It is out of ignorance you are pandering to the tongue, killing chicken, fish and egg to fill the stomach. There is no religion in this world greater than non-violence and no irreligion greater than violence.

  • Brahma created rice, barley and gram, so that with these, the human body will be sustained. The goat and other animals were not created for human consumption.
  • Ahara Shuddhi (Purification of Diet):

  • By winning over tongue alone, one can conquer all the senses. Just as one takes medicine when one is sick, similarly food must be partaken when one is hungry. Those who wish to realize God must follow this precept in diet.

  • Ahara Shuddhi leads to dhruvasmriti (permanent memory) and faithful devotion; once this kind of unadulterated and unwavering devotion is gained, the dual knot of matter and spirit in the shape of the gross, subtle and the causal body is undone.

  • The first duty of those who aspire to get rid of the impurities of the body is to eat sattvik food and offer worship regularly in the morning and evening. Cleansing the body thus, when the defects of the mind too are dispelled, it is possible to get a vision of the soul in the form of Jyoti – there is no doubt about this.

  • Taking only sattvik food is desirable. Those who are unable to give up eating fish altogether, should at least refuse to have it on Sundays, the full moon and new moon days and on the eighth, fourteenth and eleventh days of the lunar cycle. The meat-eaters should only take the meat that has been offered to God. It is better to give it up anyway. Take food prepared and served by sattvik persons. Do not take food from anyone in an indiscrete manner.

  • When the homa is performed with pure ghee, the aroma of smoke issuing from it purifies the human body and mind. Not only is the man purified, all moveable and immoveable things are purified too. But if you cook chicken, fish, meat, onion or if onions are roasted in the same fire; the resulting stench makes it difficult to stay in the vicinity. The body becomes restless. That stench pollutes the body and mind of all animate and inanimate creatures.

  • Food Has A Direct Impact On God-Realization:

  • If the body is not pure, man cannot experience God. The body becomes pure by observing purity in food and constantly chanting Naam i.e., Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare. Those who partake of sattvik food and are of virtuous conduct, they can hear from within the melodious call of God.

  • By serving Him, having recourse to God’s Name, and by observing pure food habits, His compassion will flow and all suffering will surely end with it.

  • God resides in the human body in the form of jatharagni (gastric fire); when fish, chicken, meat, egg, onion etc. are offered to Him, by consuming these, He is obliged to digest these vicious, impure, foul-odoured and toxic food, potent for increasing the rajas and tamas guna. The samana wind nourishes the body with this food and the toxins spread all over the body and affect all the organs with its poison.

  • By partaking of impure food and by neglect of practices of worship, the substances of the body have been despoiled; through Naam and by partaking of pure food, when these substances are transformed, they will be fit to perceive the Self.

  • When those who eat rajasik and tamasik food take refuge with Naam, they don’t desire love of God; there is in it a hidden desire for worldly happiness, religious fame, acquisition of success etc. It is not in the nature of a premi (divinely inspired lover) to cause violence. A human being comes into this world to see God; a man, who eats rajasik and tamasik food is not able to recall this even in delusion, he doesn’t have the capacity to understand that he is not the body but the soul.

  • Effects of Impure Food:

  • He who is controlled and eats rajasik food can become strong – it is also possible that his mind is sharp; he can discover happiness and general prosperity, but the door of spirituality is closed to him. Sometimes one sees an exception to this in a few great souls, but that’s a different story.

  • A person consuming the flesh of an animal develops a temperament akin to the nature of that animal.

  • Foods which are extremely bitter (neem etc.), extremely hot (tea etc.), extremely pungent (chilly etc.), extremely sharp (pepper etc.), extremely inflammatory (mustard etc.), extremely sour, extremely salty, and those productive of sorrow, distress and disease, are all dear to people with rajasic tendency. Fish, meat, onion, garlic, chicken and eggs are even worse!

  • By having these harmful and prohibited foods and feeding them to your wife, child, kith and kin, you not only destroy yourself but also the dear ones. You drag them to their death! ‘Lack of restraint and death are one and the same thing!’ Nobody can observe restraint after having these aggravating foods; if you want peace, if you wish to see God, eat only sattvik food.
  • If a man is able to clearly understand the harm that lies in eating food indiscriminately from anyone’s hands, it would become easy for him to observe regulations in this regard. Poison can only kill a man, but impure food can destroy a man’s very wisdom.

  • Srimad Vishuddhananda Paramhamsa declares onion to be a very harmful thing; onion eating can be compared with eating beef (cow’s meat).

  • By consuming onion, garlic, meat, egg, chicken, the mind develops animal propensities.

  • Fish eat dead stuff, night-soil and mucus, that is its diet; it is the stuff that nourishes the fish. Fish is nothing but an aggregation of contemptible vibrations. That is why eating fish makes both the body and mind wicked. It is for this reason that those who desire a disease-free, healthy body and a stable and calm mind, must give up eating fish.

  • Do you relish fish? Do you know what the fish eats? It eats excreta, dead matter and phlegm. One can only hope to build a mind that is akin to a demon’s by consuming these.

  • Those who eat goat meat have increased sexual tendency like the goat. They are unable to guard their brahmacharya. They wear their body and mind away with perpetual contact with women.

  • Anna Nivedan/ Food/ Bhoga:

  • After the food is cooked, it should be offered to God and served with patience and care. He who serves food must think he is serving God.

  • To whichever caste you may belong, after the food is cooked, place a tulasi leaf in it and offer it to God saying: ‘Thakur, please partake of this’. Then closing the door and standing outside, you must think God is partaking of your offering. This done, offer seats for those who are going to eat. Let them please wash their hands, feet and mouth and then eat with a thought of God.

  • The Cook, Serving, Attitude:

  • Mothers! This is no food, it is service of God, and you probably do not know that the bodies of men and women are parts of God’s body. They have been perversely nourished with meat, fish, onion, egg etc. No wonder they have to suffer lust and anger, disease and sorrow. The vessel of the body has been deformed.

  • Even if you can afford it, do not engage a cook – you cannot know the nature of the cook; by eating out of the hands of a cook with impious character, the body and mind becomes evil. One has to experience lust, anger, greed, disease and sorrow. Wrong food will present obstacles in your japa and tapa as well. Husband is Narayana, the child is Gopal – how can you trust a cook to serve them? Why not cook with one’s own hands and serve God in the shape of the human body?

  • It is through this food that the gross body endowed by God is maintained. Therefore, it is important to cook food with great caution, proper procedure and remembrance of God.

  • Make sure the food is not defiled before it is offered to God; let not even a glance of anyone make it impure.

  • If the cook and those who serve the food go out of the kitchen precincts, they must wash their hands and feet before re-entering. The sanctity of the kitchen is to be guarded like the temple. One should not enter the kitchen without washing one’s feet.

  • While preparing food, the cook must not speak, he should not chew betel leaves or the like – the kitchen should not only forbid entry to other classes, but should also prevent even another Brahmin. None other than the cook, and the one who serves, should enter the kitchen.

  • On festive occasions and places of feasts, before placing food in the vessels meant for different food-items, a tulasi leaf should first be offered in the food and then only the food-items be transferred to the vessel.

  • Eat sattvik food for a few days, have havishya. You will notice within a few days of your taking to havishya diet that your body has started becoming free from disease.

  • Those who partake of havishya live long and healthy, they are free from disease. They speedily attain God’s grace and are worshipped in this world akin to Gods.

  • First of all, you will have to be cautious about food. You will have to pledge and give up harmful foods like onion, egg, fish, meat, and chicken etc. completely. Don’t worry about nourishment. Even if milk and ghee are difficult to get, peanuts and soybean will make you strong and nourish you fully. The nutritional power of pulses and rice too is unlimited. Tea, cigarette should be given up altogether.

  • It is because the raw material which contributes to the making of the body is impure and polluted, men and women are suffering from lust, anger, greed, infatuation, disease, sorrow and intense distress.

  • Fasting:

  • The Shastras decree is to eat twice a day; once in the morning, once in the night. This affords the fruit of upavasa (fasting), which directs the senses inwards. ‘Tapona-anashanaat parah’ – there is no austerity superior to anashana (fasting).

  • Everything is dependent on food. God has created men to eat once in the morning and once in the night. This way the human being obtains the fruit of upavasa (fasting), the mind becomes still speedily.

  • A healthy body is a prerequisite for a vision of God. If you have fasted yesterday, it may be difficult for you to do japa today, and perhaps impossible to even get up tomorrow. Instead, it is better to take recourse to mitahara i.e., moderation in food.

  • Nature & Power of Virya (Semen Virile):

  • Virya-brahma gives enormous joy when it leaves the body; there is no telling the amount of unworldly joy it can give if it is held back in the body itself.

  • The basic cause is ananda (bliss); the foundation of this ananda is virya (semen virile). When the man and woman unite, the same virya is released from the body resulting into tremendous joy.

  • Shukra (semen virile) is Brahma. Shukra is the soul; if it flows out of the body, how long can a man live?

  • Restraints:

  • Self-restraint is the life of this nation (India). Men and women become immortal with self-restraint. The self-controlled ones remain blissful at their last hour and are ferried across through the devayana.

  • My dear, it is possible to get direct vision of God through just three expedients — pure diet, virtuous conduct and timely worship.

  • Give up bad company, malicious gossip and addiction of any kind. Always stay pure. “Aacharahinam Na Punanti Vedaah.” i.e., even the Vedas cannot purify a person of bad conduct.

  • Whether in the spiritual domain or otherwise, he who is able to look upon the company of the people as a snake, sweetmeats as poison and women as she-demons, only he is able to gain knowledge: “I am not the body, I am the soul.”

  • Do not read drama-books, novels etc., even the newspapers distract the mind; read only the devotional texts or those books which enthuse and enhance you in chanting God’s Name. Those qualified for it must read Mahabharata, Mokshadharma-Parva and Uddhava Gita, Srimad Bhagawad, Ramayana etc.

  • In order to walk on this path, it is necessary to renounce indiscrete eating habits, evil company and excessive attachment to women. If you can’t renounce these, you will experience hardships and will take long to reach the goal.