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May 12

Written by: Jayanthi
Monday, May 12, 2008

 Submitted by: Sudarshan Madabushi


"Anna Shuddhi" and "Atma Shuddhi"

In the 6th chapter of the Bhagavath-Gita there is a line which finally sums up the Vedantic view of "anna-shuddhi".

"nAth-yashna-tatsu yOgOsti
na chykAnta-mashnataha: I"

(Bhagavath-Gita. Ch.VI.16)

"The path taken by the Wise-Ones (Yogi) in the journey of life", says the Gita, "is not for he who eats too much or too little."

Article Continuation…


  The Three Commandments

  Anna Shuddhi

  Sattvic Food

  Rajasic Food

  Tamasic Food

  Anna Shuddhi and

     Atma Shuddhi

foodforthought.jpg Too much or too little of any type of Food -- whether "sAttvic", "rajasic" or "tAmasic" is bad. The wise human -- the "yOgi" -- is he who knows exactly what should constitute his diet. It is that diet ("aahAra") which is just right for him ("shuddhi"), that which is in absolute consonance with his inner nature ("gUNa") and which shall promote his all-round wellbeing in life.

The Gita line above is not merely a call for men to observe moderation in the consumption of Food. There is a far greater lesson implicit in it. It tells us that we can learn a great deal about what we should eat, what diet is right for us, and what food we must avoid by simply following the precept and example of the 'yOgi-s' of the world.

In the long Vedantic tradition of India, many indeed are the great Masters of past and present, "achAryA-s" and "guru-s" who in their own lifetimes observed strict rules of diet i.e. "anna shuddhi". They knew in their wisdom what balance of 'sattva', 'rajas' and 'tamas' should go into their diet. (The SriVaishnava 'AchArya', Swami Venkatanathan (13th century CE), even wrote a useful treatise on "anna shuddi", called "aahAra-niyamam", which is even today a useful manual of good dietary practices). The example of such 'yOgi-s' shows us clearly how we must carry out one of the most important responsibilities in life we have towards ourselves viz. ensuring our "atma-shuddhi" through "anna shuddi".

Human life is a rather long and hectic journey. One needs the highest and most refined form of Energy ("prANa") to undertake it. And it is Food, "annam", that is the basic fuel needed for travel. Good Food, like good fuel, determines to a large extent what the quality of the journey-experience shall be.


Read more articles submitted by: Sudarshan Madabushi

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Updated Dec. 2011.

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