Society and Religion

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Religious Food Servings

For many people, religion is one thing and day to day life is another but for me, it is all so closely connected. I would say that it is because of my religion that I am a vegetarian. It was quite interesting to read that Hinduism did not consider it wrong to eat meat while it did specify what kind of meat can be consumed. However, as Jainism and Buddhism gained popularity, it is said that Hinduism started promoting vegetarianism. I have not read the scriptures myself to ratify this but I am glad my religion made me a vegetarian. I was quite shocked to learn that carnivorous animals have a smaller intestine than humans and that forces the meat to stay in our intestine longer leading to some diseases including cancer. I realized this is not the only aspect of food that Hinduism touches upon.

According to Hinduism, one should eat to live and the purpose of life is to attain salvation i.e. to seek God. Food is generally categorized into three types: Sattvic food which is said to increase purity, longevity, health and taste; Rajasic food that is bitter, salty, sour, hot and burning and supposed to give unhappiness and diseases; Tamasic food that is supposed to be foul smelling, dry, devoid of juices and indigestible.

It is said that offering food to God before eating helps us avoid the negative effects of the type of food we eat. At this point, I would also like to mention that there is a practice, especially among Brahmins to clean the place, sprinkle some water all around the plate to cleanse the food and also drink some water and then offer the water to the five vital breath (prana, apana, vyana, udana, samanaya) and finally to Brahman seated in the heart. To be honest, this was my biggest concern when it came to finding a personal chef. While cleaning the place ensures hygiene, having some water clears the throat and doing this whole ritual while chanting mantras in my opinion, will help kerb any desire to overeat. I say so because doing these rituals after being served the food helps you avoid hogging. Imagine seeing a plateful of yummy food while your stomach is rumbling, we would quite naturally tend to stuff as much as possible into our tummy. On the other hand if you can control that desire and complete the ritual, it certainly gives you the mental power to control how much you eat.

It is not just around the food itself that there are some rules and restrictions but also around how it is prepared. I am not sure which of the Hindu scriptures have these prescribed but I was always brought up practicing a few things. Always cook food only after taking a shower, wearing washed and dried cloth, never leave hair lose while cooking (and usually otherwise too) are a few of them. Because I was raised this way, I expressed to my chef that this was how I would like to have my meals prepared. They were actually very understanding of these needs and because of that I ended up opting for a personal chef goodyear az. There, they seemed to have understood the meaning and importance of proper hygiene and cleanliness. Needless to say, my research and carefulness seemed to pay off and I was rewarded for it in the end and was left satisfied and satiated too of course thanks to my selected entrees.

In ancient times, sanyasis (people who give up material living and seek God) were expected to beg for food. I think this must have been for two reasons, first being they should not have interest in pleasures of eating and focus on God and also because by begging for food that is important for one’s survival, I think one sheds their ego and surrenders.

In essence, we eat to live and it is important that we eat healthy as it is said that the God resides in us and we should keep him happy. Eat well, live long and prosper!