Monday, October 04, 2010

Which Food Is Good For You?


          A strong, tall and durable house is built with the best cement, steel rods, bricks and wood.  High quality glass and standard materials for its electrification are used.  There is planning to perfection in every detail.  It stands like a rock even when there is an earthquake.  It develops no creaks or crevices.  Plaster pods don’t fall from the ceiling or the walls.  Without the electrical device you can’t insert a peg in the wall.  Such a strong house remains in excellent condition for hundreds of years.  We admire the architects of such houses and look with a gasping breath at such mansions.

          But what a contrast we have when we look at the structure of the body, the temple in which our soul lives!

          Most of such human houses have anchored many diseases in their harbour of happiness.  There are at present more germs, microbes and worms in the human body than in any other living organism.  They flourish and multiply as soon as they find a favorable condition created by the follies of men, mostly, so far as their food habits are concerned.

          Disease is the result of the presence of microorganisms or their products in the body.  Microbes produce many disease and worms in the body, suck up all the energy.  They create the havoc more serious than the havoc created inside the house by flies, mosquitoes, rats, lizards and spiders.

          A strong and healthy body is an exception rather than a rule in the society.

          All the physical and mental disorders and disease are directly or indirectly associated with your food and drinks you take but you hardly realize this fact.

          Food is defined as a nutritive which provides energy etc. for maintenance of well being of the body.

          Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan Who was God upon the earth had done a lot of thinking about food.  He made innumerable experiments on Himself about food.  At times he consumed only chilies or even poisonous herbs.  He lived on leaves, flowers, fruits and roots.  Thus He found out what is the best food for all men.  He realized that half the diseases are cured by proper diet while half the diseases are caused by improper diet.

          One of the fundamental commandments of Him states :  No one shall eat food prepared by a person, taking cooked food from whose hands is prohibited in the scriptures or drink water from the vessels of such a person, even as the offering – Prasad of God. …. (SIKSHAPATRI – 19)

          The word for the soul – ATMA etymologically means one who eats (enjoys fruits of his action).  The word for food ANNA also means that which is eaten.  It refers to cooked food only and not to food grains.

          The commandment indirectly prohibits acceptance of fruits, dry fruits or any other item of food from a person whose conduct of life is doubtful or not known to us.  Food from a woman in menstruation period is prohibited and food from an angry person is also prohibited.  Food from one who uses abusive words, who consumes non-vegetarian food and alcoholic drinks and from one who begs for food is prohibited.

          The intellectual individual (Brahmin) should not eat food prepared by an individual of the warrior class, an individual of the business community or by an individual of the working class.

          An individual of the warrior class should not eat food prepared by an individual of the business community or of the working class.

          An individual of the business community should not take food prepared by the individual of the working class.

          To a man of the modern society such restrictions may appear strange but health-hazards being the greatest and the most serious for the working classes such rules were necessary as germs, microbes and worms multiply very fast in tropical countries.  The business community was vegetarian and naturally they would not accept food from the warrior class which was mostly non-vegetarians. As food also affects the mind. The intellectual class of Brahmins never took food from any of the other three classes.

          Apart from accepting or rejecting food from certain classes there are also many restrictions about the choice of food.  Any food to which garlic is added is prohibited because garlic is irritant to the kidneys causing kidney troubles later on in advanced age.  Nature warns us by bad smell of certain substances added to food or consumed as food.  Onion is bad for diabetics and it also irritates the stomach as a foetida lowers the normal blood-pressure and thus it weakens the heart.  All intoxicants and alcoholic drinks raise the temperature of the body and damages homeostasis in the body. This statement may look controversial but the devotee of God must follow this rule as it is ordain by His beloved God.  

          Just as we do not accept food served by a sick person, a dirty person, we should not accept food from people who are mentally sick or mentally dirty.  We are affected by the individuals eating with us or who are eating all around us.  Similarly, we are affected by people who at heart are our enemies but outwardly make a show of being our friends.  The food served by an angry person is never well-digested by us.  Food served with evil motive can also harm us.  The thoughts of a person have a strong influence to the food he prepares or the food he or she serves.  So the staunch followers of Swaminarayan Fellowship never accept food from strangers.  They never go to hotels where non-vegetarian food is served and they never visit bars for drinks.  Most of them do not accept food or drinks, even water during plane-journey in planes.

          Food served at most of the public places attracts people generally by appearance and particularly by the taste but little attention is given there to hygiene and sanitation.  This is particularly true in the eastern countries, tropical countries and developing countries.
          Can food affect our mind?  An American Medical Journal had quoted the case of an American Actress who was declared incurable for her complex mental disorders.  She was completely cured by a Yogi who kept her on simple Yogic food.

          Once upon a time a priest used to stay in the King’s palace.  Once the royal family was out of the town.  They had taken away their special cooks.  So the menials prepared food for the priest.

          The priest took the food and rested in the palace.  When he awoke, he saw the golden, diamond – studded necklace of the queen.  He pocketed it stealthily and went to his hermitage.  He felt happy at first but then he had a vomit and all the food was thrown out.  This also cleared his mind and he repented for the theft.

          Next day he went to the palace and confessed about the theft and handed over to him the most valuable necklace.

          The King was surprised.  He asked the priest why a holy man like him stole the necklace.

          The priest said that his intellect was defiled by the food he took because the new cooks might be having tendencies of theft.

          The King made inquiries and found that the junior cooks who had cooked the food were all thieves.

          Bhishma Pitamaha who had taken food at Duryodhana’s kitchen sided with the wicked Duryodhan.

          So Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan has stated :

          The sandal or flowers offered by a sinner are like hashish and alcoholic drinks. Even the touch of a sinner is like the touch of hashish and alcoholic drinks  (Vachanamrit G. F. 18).

          But Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan allows acceptance of offerings offered to God.  At Jagannathpuri, one of the holiest places of Hindus steaming hot rice is served to all pilgrims without any discrimination.  So our Lord allows us to accept this as it is not contaminated.

          Your behavior shows your inner qualities.  Similarly, your body reflects the quality of food you have eaten, according to Shiva Purana, Food should be first examined and only wholesome food should be accepted.  Holy food increases strength, else it destroys strength.

          In Swaminarayan Fellowship the followers prepare the first plate and offer the food to god. Such food has to be clean and holy.

          Chhandogya Upanishad says :  ANNA SHUDDHAU SATTVA SHUDDHI

          i.e. pure food makes the mind pure.

          Not to accept food from those who offer food are not worthy is the fifth great vow that every follower of Bhagwan Swaminarayan takes and observes throughout life.

Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal 

Nectar Of Divine

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Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal

Amrut Nu Achaman

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Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal 

Gyan ni Paribhasa

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Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal

The Savior of the Downfallen

 Do not complain that, the rosebush has thorns;
But rejoice that, the thorn bush bares roses.
- Arabian Proverb

Hate the sin but never the sinner, because the sinner has always a chance of all his sins to be washed off. When we bathe, our dirty body becomes clean. When we wash our clothes, they become free from dirt. When we use the vacuum-cleaner, the carpet becomes as good as new. When we use the exhaust-fan the air in the room becomes fresh. So when we repent for sins committed by us, our minds and hearts become pure and God Who resides in our hearts as Antaryami (Self-Regulator) showers His grace.

The innocent blood of women constantly drips from the history of mankind which has spared no pain in inflicting wounds of cruelty, defamation and exploitation accompanied by degradation on women. Yet women have survived and come to their own through the grace of innumerable men of God.

Mary Magdalene was a great sinner who washed the feet of Jesus, with her tears of atonement and wiped the feet with her long hair. She anointed the feet of Jesus with costly perfumes and kissed the feet.

Jesus said : 'Thy sins are forgiven' and 'Lo!' she became free from all her sins and infirmities and the seven devils left her soul.

If Jesus, the son of God can wash off the sins of a sinner, there should be no doubt about such miraculous power of Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan Who is God Supreme Himself!

Once Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan decided to perform a non-violent Vishnuyag sacrifice on an unprecedented grand scale at Jetalpur in Gujarat, as enormous supply of wheat was promised by the devotees of Kuaka, a small village nearby.

About 100,000 Brahmins, apart from an equal number of devotees were to dine here daily for 18 days. For this purpose hundreds of tons of wheat flour was required, Cartloads after cartloads of wheat-bags started arriving at Jetalpur and so did women of Jetalpur and adjoining villages.

Shri Hari used to sit on the top of a cartload and delivered the wheat-bags Himself. Once while Shree Hari was thus distributing wheat-bags a damsel wearing the most valuable dress and ornaments arrived among the women who all spat on the ground, with scorn and said among them-selves : 'How dares this harlot come among us! What has this unholy woman to do with such a holy sacrifice! Even her shadow would pollute us.'

But this proved to be a blessing to the so called unholy woman. She straightway went to Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan and said: 'My Lord, I will grind as much wheat as I can. Give me a whole wheat-bag.'

Shree Hari said: "But you look so tender! How can you carry such a heavy wheat-bag! Besides, how will you be able to grind such a big lot overnight?"

'That all depends on Your favour, my Lord' she said. A woman from the crowd shouted: 'Maharaj! she mints money and grinds men; not wheat. She is a sinner, a harlot, the dung-hill of the town! The wheat-flour ground by her will defile the food and sacrifice. Please, don't give her wheat. Drive her away!'

But Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan said: "I have come not to break but to build, to create but not to destroy. Greater the sinner, greater is the need of My grace to him or to her."

With great difficulty the harlot carried the wheat-bag on her head. She went on grinding for the whole day and for the whole night. She had big boils on her hands and the boils burst. Still she went on grinding till her palms and fingers bled!

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With bandages on both the hands, she carried the wheat-bag on her head and came to Shree Hari. She mentally washed the feet of Shree Hari, with her tears. Her bandages on the hand were red with the oozing blood. Tears soaked the eyes of the saints and devotees gathered in the assembly.

Shree Hari said: "Dear child, with every turn of the grinding wheel, I have unwound the sins from the reel of your life. From today you are not a sinner but a holy woman. Take this as your new birth and lead a holy life."

The Assembly said: "Oh! Lord, only You can do this!'

The woman said: 'My Lord, I have only one prayer to you. Before You leave Jetalpur, please come to my house.'

Shree Hari agreed. When the great sacrifice was over, Shree Hari went to her home and graced her by His visit.

And from that day she became a saintly woman devoting all her time in worship, prayers to Shreeji Maharaj and service to mankind!

Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal