Guiding Light of The Month

In this immense heroic struggle, in this sublime struggle of love against hatred, of justice against injustice, of obedience to Thy supreme law against revolt, may I gradually be able to make humanity worthy of a still sublimer peace in which, all internal dissensions having ceased, the whole effort of man may be united for the attainment of a more and more perfect and integral realisation of Thy divine Will and Thy progressive ideal. - The Mother

From the Editor’s Desk (Aug 2016)

On this special month of Sri Aurobindo’s 144th Birth Anniversary, we invoke His Grace upon the Earth, on all events acting as turning points in Its long history, and on all beings living these moments, whether in bewilderment, frustration, in innocent ignorance or in detachment; to arm all with a keen  vision of the purpose of every line and curve and to gift all with the unshakeable certainty of His victory over all forces that resist and oppose, so that he may reign over us all, possessor of His Kingdom.  

We continue with our series on “Integral Health” taking a closure look at physical culture, one of whose component is food. In this issue, we take a look at food in our lives. A few questions directed towards ourselves may set the stage for further inquiry into the topic of food. What does one fancy as food? What types of food draws one? Has one observed the effect of certain kinds of food and beverages on one’s body? Does one crave for certain kinds of food? Does one eat out of habit? Does one eat only when hungry or despite it? How does one eat? Does one eat, in a group or does one eat in solitude; fast or slow? Which is better? Does one eat consciously or unconsciously? What are the effects of these two attitudes on the body? What is the food that one eats made of? Do we know the details of every element that enters into our body during the consumption of food? These questions may seem far too many and unnecessary since eating is, simply, eating! Or, is it? 

It is said that the food that one eats makes one. The Taittiriya Upanishad mentions that from earth are made herbs, from herbs, food, and from food, seed and from seed, man. Man is an essence of the food he consumes. The physical sheath of the human body has been referred to as the annamayakosha for this reason, in our ancient texts. Our civilization, since yore has given food the highest status of divinity, “Annam Parabrahma Swaroopam”. Also, only that food was worth eating, that was offered as a sacrifice to the gods. It is quite easy to relate to this idea of the sacrifice of food to the human frame, as the food consumed is literally ‘burned’ in the body to release the energy needed for sustenance and carrying out worthy activities that would uplift oneself and the environment one lives in, in whatever way.  However, food and the act of consuming food, when considered as a pleasure leads to bondage, imbalance and suffering as a result of the imbalance. In the end, the being meant to gain from food, actualising his purpose of birth on earth, is indeed prevented from this. So, how do we, at our own personal levels really view food? 

We are now aware that one needs to take a certain conscious attitude towards food. First it would help to know why we eat. Next, how and how much we eat and lastly what we eat and for what purpose. It would help one to be conscious of the impact of food on the state of our mind, vital and physical beings. We can even strive harder and trace out its impact on our inner and innermost vistas. Perhaps, we could start with a glass of water regularly consumed, or the milk we drink before going to bed. If we are into the habit of consuming alcohol, even that can be consciously followed to understand its impact on one’s state of being, if at all consciousness is still left. These activities may seem too tiresome, but they can be quite interesting if one really wants to know the intimate relationship between the food one consumes and one’s state of being. Even better, if carried out with the rectitude of a true investigator out after some truth he is seeking, then, the subject of food can become even more meaningful and intimate, since it probably makes oneself or one’s being.

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