1. Introduction :
Sage Uddalaka instructs his son Svetaketu: "Food when consumed, becomes threefold. The gross particles become the excrement, the middling ones flesh, and the fine ones the mind. My child, when curd is churned, its fine particles which rise upwards form butter. Thus, my child, when food is consumed, the fine particles which rise upwards form the mind. Hence, verily, the mind is food".
2. Three Kinds of Diet :
Diet is of three kinds, viz., Sattvic diet, Rajasic diet, and Tamasic diet. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: "The food which is dear to each is threefold. The food which increases vitality, energy, vigour, health, and joy and which are delicious, bland, substantial, and agreeable are dear to the pure. The passionate persons desire foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry, and burning, and which produce pain, grief, and disease. The food which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, and impure, is dear to the Tamasic".
Milk, barley, wheat, cereals, butter, cheese, tomatoes, honey, dates, fruits, almonds, and sugar-candy are all Sattvic food-stuffs. They render the mind pure and calm and play a very important part in the practices of spiritual aspirants, in the mental development of the student, and in the personality- power of the leaders of mankind. Fish, eggs, meat, salt, chillies, and asafoetida are Rajasic food-stuffs; they excite passion and make the mind restless, unsteady, and uncontrollable. Beef, wine, garlic, onions, and tobacco are Tamasic food-stuffs. They exercise a very unwholesome influence on the human mind and fill it with emotions of anger, darkness, and inertia.
3. Stress on Moral and Spiritual Values :
No doubt, animal diet may produce a strong Sandow, or a dauntless soldier, or a keen, brainy scientist. But, in the Hindu view of life, the real value is placed upon the moral and spiritual worth of the man.
Man is more than just body and mind; he is essentially an ever-perfect, ever- pure, and ever-free spirit in his true inner nature. Human birth is given as an opportunity and a means to attain this sublime knowledge of his inner spiritual nature and to regain his divinity. In this process, all grossness and animalistic tendencies have to be totally eliminated from the human personality. Non-vegetarian diet, which is gross and animal by its very nature, is a great hindrance to this process. Whereas, pure Sattvic diet is a great help to the refinement of the human nature.
The chemical components of different foods vibrate at varying rate. Each particle of food is a mass of energy. The intake of certain food-stuffs sets up discordant vibrations in the physical body which throw the mind into a state of oscillation and disequilibrium. Concentration of mind is rendered difficult and high thinking is disturbed, because elevating thoughts imply fine vibrations.
To be continued ...