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Story From Mahabharata On The Food We Eat

Sri Ramanujacharya advises us to keep in view the following three aspects relating to the food we eat.

Nature of food - the food should be fresh and not stale; the procurement of food should not cause any harm to living creatures and the food should be bland and not exciting.

The character of the person who serves the food - It is believed that the intake of food served by criminal can lead to the emergence of criminal tendencies even in noble persons. An anecdote from Mahabharata – Sage Vyasa and Lord Krishna urged Yudhishtira to approach Bhishma Pitamaha who was lying in the bed of arrows and seek from him the knowledge of various Dharmas. Bhishma expounds in detail the duties of a king, duties of people belonging to various stages of life and means to attain salvation.

While he was advising Yudhishtira, Draupadi interferes and asks Bhishma, “Now you are talking so much about righteousness and ideal codes of behavior but what made you to remain an idle spectator in the royal court at the time when wicked Dussasana was attempting to disrobe me in public?”

Understanding her wounded feelings, Bhishma replied with a serene and smiling face.

“My dear child, my intellect was totally eclipsed at that time by the food that was served to me by cruel Duryodhana. Now, in the ten days of battle, Arjuna has removed all the bad blood from my body and my mind has become calm and clear to tell all that I know about the eternal moral law to those interested, before I breathe my last.”

Avoidance of dirty or foul food - The Chandogya Upanishad declares ‘ahara suddhou satva suddihi, satva suddou dhruva smrithi’ – pure food gives rise to pure thoughts and purity of thoughts in turn lead to ceaseless remembrance of the goal to be achieved in human life.