(ii) Pure Food

Three kinds of knowledge are very necessary:

1) knowledge of one's physical body;
2) knowledge of religious duty or moral principles; and
3) knowledge of one's soul.

Through the upkeep of the body, we know the methods of maintaining good health. Progress of all kinds — intellectual, physical, religious, spiritual and moral — is possible only with good health. A sick man cannot engage himself in any religious activity. He will be unable to do anything for his country, to earn his own livelihood, to work for society, community or religion. He cannot even engage himself in his own spiritual upkeep. How then can he realize himself!

Guru Arjan Says: "Look to the health of your body and mind for imprinting the Lotus Feet of God within you and for recitation of His name with your tongue."

He contemplates on the feet in his heart and repeats the Lord's name. Oh Nanak, he remembers the Lord Who looks after his body.

Behagara M5, 554-1

Guru Nanak says: "Why do you forget Him, who is the very Master of your life and breath. Without His remembrance, everything that you eat is impure."

Do not forget Him who is the giver of life. Without Him all drinks and clothes are impure.

Sri Rag M1, 16-3

Food is necessary for health and bodily vigour. And only wholesome food is good, the intake of which does not cause sloth or heaviness. Food that is the cause of pain or inconvenience to the body and raises evil thoughts in the mind is not desirable. Without true Nam, this life is worthless and it is an act of folly to eat and fill the stomach.

More food and pleasures lead to disaster. They cause pain to the body and produce evil thoughts in the mind.

Sri Rag M1, 16-14

Woe to him who eats merely to swell the belly. Oh Nanak, except the Name all are enemies.

Sohi War M1, 790-18

Guru Ram Das says that such people as have no Guru (Master) eat and lead a life of ignorance. They are not freed from the cycle of birth and death.

By the Grace of Him whom he contemplates in his mind, millions take food. Those who eat and clothe without serving the Master die and are born again and again.

Gauri M4, 306-3

A spiritually-inclined person eats and sleeps little. His intellect is pure and his body is healthy. His spiritual life and conduct are both benefited.

Eat and sleep little.

Pipa, Ramkali, 10

He breaks the bondage of the world, who eats and drinks little.

Asa War 4M1, 67-1

Food is very necessary for preserving the body. Without it, the body cannot be maintained. Complete benefit can only be derived if it has been earned by right means. It should be light, easily digestible and taken in such a quantity as does not exceed our needs.

Food can be divided into three kinds:

  1. Satvik,
  2. Rajsik, and
  3. Tamsik:
  • Satvik food produces pure feelings. Butter, milk, rice, pulses (moong) and vegetables come under this category.

  • Food that is full of pungent spices, is hot and has a heating effect on the system is Rajsik.

  • Stale, raw, over-ripe food, eggs, meat, fish, wine, etc., are Tamsik foods. But, even Satvik food sometimes turns into Tamsik, if taken in excessive quantity.

One should not eat only for taste. We should see that the food which we take is neither excessive nor insufficient for our body's needs. It should also contain ingredients producing energy essential for the upkeep of the body and brain. A tasty food taken in excess is harmful.

For brain and mental work, one should eat nuts, fruits, apples, grapes, milk and almonds, etc.

For persons engaging in physical labour, butter, carbohydrates, rice, sugar, etc., are necessary. Similarly, strength-giving and bone-forming foods like wheat, pulses, lime, milk, butter, etc. should be taken.

We must have plenty of air, water and carbohydrates. Air is foremost, without which one cannot live. Water comes next. Both are free gifts of nature. Carbohydrates found in cereals are third in importance.

We should eat slightly less than the requirements of our appetite; it is not wise to eat more and then take carminative mixtures. Man is not born to eat, but food is produced for man to eat. Soul is given the status of human life in order to know and realize God. Only human beings can know Him and our body cannot subsist without food.

Even animals are better than human beings. They eat only when hungry and not for taste, and their intake is just to satisfy their appetite and no more, in a natural way.

If we eat more than is necessary, we not only deprive others of their share, but excessive intake of food is always harmful.

Eating is for living and remembering the Lord. You, however, believe that one lives to eat.