The first chapter sets out to explain the basic concepts of Food Yoga and how it is both an art and a science that can be embraced by anyone regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or age.
FOOD AND SCIENCE
Referencing the latest developments in Quantum Physics, I establish the fact that food is another form of energy. Taking this concept further, and pointing to the research of Dr. Emoto and Homeopathy, I show how thoughts and emotions are also energy.
We all have a tendency to be so immersed in the physical domain that we forget the higher aspects of our being, and that the universe we live in is multidimensional. In this section, I make the case that we can learn a lot from other species.
The American Indians have a rich connection to the natural world. Their philosophy of respect for all living beings aligns perfectly with the Food Yogi lifestyle. Their reverence for nature is not exclusive, however, as we find similar expressions in other ancient cultures. In fact, the personification of nature is a common theme found just about everywhere. This personalization of life is fundamental to the path of a Food Yogi, who seeks to honor the interdependence of all living things through personal acts of service, culminating in acts of devotion to a Supreme Personality of Godhead.
For various reasons, including its ability to store memory (thought energy), water is the most important of all elements. This is particularly evident in the sacred waters of the world. That water is a conduit of intention is extremely important to the Food Yogi, for it provides a scientific basis to the belief that pure food can heal our body, mind and soul. In this section, I propose that understanding the divinity of water is an important first step in Food Yoga and God realization
WE ARE LOVED
This chapter provides some practical guidance on reconnecting to the natural world. I also aim to heighten the reader’s appreciation for Intelligent design by introducing the sacred geometry of whole foods. I propose that by becoming more aware of the loving ways in which Mother Nature serves our needs, we can learn to enjoy every moment of our lives.
This section looks at the politics of food and the disingenuous players in the food industry that seek to control everything that enters our mouths. Despite the enormity of corporate control, we do have the power to choose and change the political landscape from that of greed and exploitation to respect and abundance. The worst of these companies is Monsanto, who control 90% of all the world seed.
An important player in changing this political landscape are the many Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) organizations around the world. However, an even better way to take back control of our food is to grow our own.
The organic food industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, and yet it too is coming under the control of greedy corporate behemoths for whom profit is their only agenda. As a result, organic standards are being slackened. This chapter is a wake up call to the budding Food Yogi.
OUR TRUE NATURE
Returning to the central theme of the book, this chapter draws from various spiritual and cultural sources to establish that solid matter is an illusion and that we are all “spirits in a material world.”
This apparent contradiction is accommodated in the Chinese concept of Yin Yang, wherein all aspects of existence are the balancing of opposite energies. Unfortunately, due to association with matter, the spirit identifies more with a temporary body and forgets their eternal higher Self. I propose that the path of Food Yoga offers a way to escape the Matrix.
The Chinese notion of “Qi” (chee) is introduced as the vital energy of the body, and in fact a symptom of the soul within. The electrical meridians used by acupuncturists are practical ways to harness this inner vitality.
Another method used is breatharianism, where practitioners seek to capture the vital essence within nature and specifically in air to recharge the body’s internal “battery”. Sun gazing is another practice used to harness Nature’s Qi. These discussions are introduced to solidify the readers understanding of the Qi within food.
Yoga is a very misunderstood concept in the West, where most people think that it is simply an exercise system founded in India. In fact, Yoga is a life path of “uniting with God,” with the basic exercises of Hatha, etc, being the very beginning stage of this quest.
A true yogi is one that walks a path of unity and respect for all life. A yogi is clean internally and externally by living a pure and regulated life of eating, sleeping, working and recreation.
An important part of the yoga path is mind management and in this section I introduce some practical methods to tame the flickering mind.
Of all the senses, the tongue is the most voracious and difficult to control. However, for a yogi that conquers the tongue, liberation is assured. The tongue controls all other senses and so by learning to regulate and purify the tongue a Food Yogi can live a peaceful and productive life.
Controlling the tongue begins with acquiring a higher taste. For it is only possible to give up a lower taste by experiencing something superior.
Lessons from the Vedic medical science of Ayurveda are introduced in this section of the book, because the knowledge contained within the Ayurveda is perfectly synchronized with the yoga path.
An important lesson here is that we are all uniquely individual and therefore our bodily constitution is also unique. No diet on earth will satisfy all people, however, what is proposed in the Food Yogi diet are a set of principles that can be applied across a broad spectrum of culinary preferences.
THE POWER OF WORDS
Since the tongue has two functions, tasting and vibrating, the importance of sound vibration is introduced as an integral piece of the puzzle. Purifying the sounds we make with our tongue begins and ends with the act of gratitude.
Hindu esoterics believe letters and words have four levels of meaning: physical, internal, vibrational (transmitted telepathically through prana) and transcendental. The Hebrew letter was considered to have at least three levels of influence: the inner structure of reality, physical nature and finally, individual understanding and social communication.
Just as music is played externally and yet realized within, in the same way, words and their sounds have the power to vibrate to different parts of the body, different chakras, organs, and emotional and mental states. To a great degree, however, the efficacy of the sound is determined by the purity of the individual.
Every word we speak makes a thoughtform in the etheric and astral dimensions. Our words literally draw the energy out of the subtle dimensions, crystallizing it into some manner of expression in the physical plane. If one is constantly exposed to negative words, their electromagnetic field (aura) can become permeated with such negative thoughtforms, causing others to feel uncomfortable in their presence. Naturally, then, the vibrations we make with our tongue will affect the quality of the food we prepare for ourselves and others.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT
This chapter introduces the reader to the importance of honoring the present and appreciating the blessings we have, beginning with acknowledging our divine uniqueness. Ultimately we are not Christian, Hindu, Vaisnava, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Jewish, or Buddhist, all of which are just superficial designations; rather, we simply are. You and I are unique individuals. We are a fragment of the splendor of God – little gods and goddesses having a human experience.
It is the tapestry of individualism that makes the life experience so astonishing. In the same way that each brush stroke of a painting; each tile within a mosaic; each flower within a garden; each star in the firmament; each thread in a gorgeous gown; or each note in a symphony all work together to create something magical—each one of us is a participant in the play of life, and together, connected by the loving energy that brought us forth, we have the inherent ability to transform, uplift and create something even more wonderful for our own life and the life of others. The human experience is meant to facilitate self-discovery.
THE GIFT OF FOOD
Food is one of the universally accepted ways that we express love for one another. Whether the holiday is Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Hanukah, Janmastami, or Diwali, none of these public holidays or religious festivals would be complete without the sharing of sumptuous food in a loving atmosphere. There is no greater medium than food to unite people of conflicting natures. Just about everyone will put aside differences to come together and eat. It is on this understanding that the Vedic culture of hospitality is based.
When it comes to food selection, we all have a choice. Food, like water, carries a vibration, and a slaughtered animal’s corpse is filled with fear, anger, pain, and sadness. That same energy is absorbed into every cell of your body when you consume the rotting flesh. How, then, can we truly celebrate these festive holidays, glorified as days of light, love and hope, by passing around scorched or baked rotting flesh?
Because food is mostly water (the most powerful conduit of thought energy), all food is in one way or another impacted by how it is grown, handled, packaged, prepared, cooked and served. Every person who interacts with a food on its journey from seedling to your plate intrinsically affects the food’s energetic quality, and subsequently your physical, mental and spiritual health. Each person’s thoughts (psychic energy) add to the palette of conscious thoughts that eventually makes their way into your body.
GOING BEYOND DIET
A few years back, at the completion of a fast, Oprah Winfrey had a new appreciation for a plant-based lifestyle and, more importantly, she had discovered how to be more appreciative of food in general:
What I know for sure is I’ve reached a new level of awareness about food, eating and the whole process of how it gets to my table. I used to say thanks before a meal out of perfunctory habit. Now I consider it true grace to be able to eat anything in a world of increasing food shortages and starving people.
Evolution of the spirit is not exclusively tied to dietary preferences, although diet certainly does play a fundamental role. However, eating for health alone, without any consideration for the morality of a plant-based diet, will not awaken the full potential of the soul. Consuming food that is lower on the food chain and of a higher vibration, as well as less karmically entangling, will no doubt, over time, gradually purify one’s consciousness and provide the bedrock for higher dimensional realizations. It just may not be sufficient for one lifetime, and that is something any student of metaphysics should be concerned with.
A loving nurturer like a mother will invest all her loving intention into the meals she prepares. That sort of loving intention is not only invaluable, but also worshipable. In fact, in the Vedic tradition, the father (Pitru Devo Bhavaa) and mother (Matru Devo Bhavaa) are considered the first guru and second guru respectively and should therefore be worshipped.
Humans cannot actually manufacture food. We can manipulate ingredients, but it is impossible for us to create food from scratch. It is absurd to think that we can ever match the brilliance of Mother Nature and create like her. The beginning of true human evolution comes when we acknowledge this dependence on the Great Creator and begin to offer our food back with gratitude and love. Only when we understand our innate connection to our Creator can we begin to experience genuine happiness and contentment, just as a fish does when returned to water, its natural environment. By offering food back to our Source with loving intention, we acknowledge our dependence on a higher power, while expressing our gratitude in a practical way.
THE FOOD YOGI DIET
Because of their new heightened sensitivities, raw-food vegans often honor the Sun, nature, or some divinity as part of their dietary regimen. And as celebrity raw-food chef Chad Sarno explains:
Preparing food with a deep connection to the Earth allows our channel to open that much more. When we bring this truth and balance into the kitchen, because the kitchen is the heart of the home, it ripples throughout all we do, feel and think. Passion is fully expressing ourselves through our work. When the fire of passion ignites inside of us, work transforms now into purpose and we are ready to walk in truth.
One diet that no one can argue with is the Food Yogi diet—a diet consisting of the purest food in its most natural form that has been prepared with love, offered with love, served with love and then honored in a loving and highly appreciative consciousness. The Food Yogidiet accelerates one’s spiritual ascension by infusing the gifts of Mother Nature with an attitude of gratitude and loving intention in order to raise one’s consciousness to the absolute highest level. Such pure food is called prasadam (mercy) in the Vedic tradition.
In this chapter, I also share a powerful war story on the power of prasadam to transform a hardened heart.
EVERYTHING WE DO
The Vedas state that by offering all our actions in the service of God we become purified by the fire of devotion. The example is given of an iron rod. In its natural state iron is cold and hard, and yet when consumed by fire it takes on all the qualities of fire and becomes in essence one with fire. Similarly, although our senses are currently limited in their capacity to understand the world around us, great yogis believed that once the senses are purified true knowledge is revealed. This cleansing of the senses begins with the tongue, and specifically through the act of turning food into prasadam.
If a Food Yogi diet consists of eating only prasadam, how do we become prasadarians? Essentially, all that is required is sincerity of purpose. Anyone can take their existing pure food diet and raise it to the highest level of gastronomy through the process of adapting the 10 Prasadarian Principles.
This chapter guides the reader on what is needed to elevate their eating to the standards of a Food Yogi, and specifically what is required for making the food offerable.
THE FOOD OFFERING MEDITATION
This chapter is the essence of the entire book. The reader is presented with a meditation that they can use to offer their food. Essentially, the meditation is a summary of the lessons learned along the way, wrapped within an invocation that first puts the Food Yogi in the right frame of mind before the actual offering takes place.
Each section of the Food Offering Meditation is explained.
AFTER THE OFFERING
In just about every contemplative tradition, eating is regarded as a sacred act. How often do we stop to think about the sacrifice of the fruit, plant or vegetable we are about to consume? The lettuce, tomato and pepper gave their life for us. When we consume them they essentially become us. There is no clearer expression of the oneness of all life.
It would be an injustice to consume prasadam in a hurried and disrespectful manner. Therefore, the sincerity and devotion cultivated in preparing and offering your food should carry forth into the eating experience as well. You could call this “conscious eating,” and in contrast to the typical hasty and unconscious practices of the modern fast-food culture, the act of conscious eating has its own set of rules and guidelines, including location, attentiveness, posture, breathe, smelling, tasting, chewing and swallowing.
The first rule of a healthy eating regimen is to never eat when you’re angry, depressed, bored, or otherwise emotionally unstable. Nor should you eat immediately after any physical exertion. Another important principle learned from India’s Vedic culture is to feed someone else before you begin. In India, after food has been prepared, a five-fold offering is traditionally made to the sacred fire, a cow, a crow, a dog, and another human being, who might be a child, a beggar, or anyone else outside one’s own family. This is how one thanks Mother Nature in a practical sense—by feeding some of Her children in gratitude to Her.
INDIA’S VEDIC CULTURE OF HOSPITALITY
The religious householders of the Vedic times saw themselves as providers for all living beings, including the animals. No creature was allowed to go without food during the pinnacle of Vedic civilization. This is the fertile ground in which the seeds of Food for Life’s philosophy were sown.
To be hospitable, means to care and show respect for another being. It is a sincere expression of appreciation, love, and humility. A person whose heart is filled with gratitude, magnanimity, and spirituality is naturally hospitable. It’s important to note that spiritually-based hospitality is not the same as entertaining, which is, unfortunately, the more common approach today.
Spiritual hospitality does not distinguish based on species, race, caste, creed, or color; these differences are meaningless from a spiritual perspective. Rather, spiritual hospitality welcomes all with a loving embrace and it is at the very core of Food Yoga.
- HOLY FOOD IN THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN TRADITION
- OFFERING FOOD IN BHUDDHIST TRADITIONS
- MERCY AND CHARITY IN THE ISLAMIC TRADITION
- EATING AND CHARITY IN THE JEWISH TRADITION
- SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI
- SACRED FOODS
- ALL ABOUT FOOD FOR LIFE
 Chad Sarno http://www.rawchef.com/
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 Pronounced: Prasardam
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