6.Eat Limited Food

`What does your husband do?' Rani asked Leela. `He feels hungry, as soon as he gets up. He feels sleepy as soon as he eats.'

In one word we eat a lot and sleep a lot. As soon as we get up, we drink coffee, within half an hour we have our breakfast then step out of our house, we meet a friend on the way, go to a hotel with him and eat some tiffin again, somebody in the office has a reason to celebrate, offers sweet and hot, we gobble them without hesitation, we have our regular lunch, in the evening, on the way back home we visit our friend's house and eat samosas there and at night we have an elaborate meal again. This list does not include the 10 to 12 cups of coffee throughout. If somebody says `How can you eat so much?' we say `Don't worry, I have a separate sack for snacks!'

Should we eat so much? Did God design us eat so much? No! Most of the creatures created by God eat only once! Only man eats from early morning to late in the night and that's why we have the simile` He eats like a pig.'

God has explained in the Geetha thus "Oh Arjuna! This Dhyana Yoga can neither be attained by one who overeats nor by one who observes a complete fast; by one who sleeps too much or is ceaselessly awake."

Too much of anything is too bad. The younger generation today pulls the strings too far. One day they eat non-stop and keep awake all the 24 hours. The next day they starve totally and sleep all the 24 hours. Both are wrong! Why do our grandfathers have good health? How can they read small print without using spectacles? It is because they eat at regular intervals, they eat limited food and they slept at regular timings and woke up early. If they had a heavy lunch, they skipped their dinner or just had curd rice. That's all!

A man was eating heavily in a marriage hall. After some time, he was refusing certain items saying he was full. Then suddenly laddus were offered. He asked for half a dozen of them. His friend was surprised at his behaviour and asked how he could eat so many when he hardly had a breathing place. Then he explained. `Look! An exhibition ground is fully packed with people. There is not an inch of space to move about. Then suddenly the king lands there with his
courtiers. Won't they move at once and give him and his party place to come to the centre? The same way the stomach will clear its way for my laddus.!

naty-asnatas tu yogo `sti
a caikantam anasnatah
na cati-svapna-silasya
jagrato naiva carjuna Bhagavad Geetha 6- 16

na—never; ati—too much; asnatah—of one who eats; tu—but; yogah—linking with the Supreme; asti—there is; na—nor; ca—also; ekantam—overly; anasnatah—abstaining from eating; na—nor; ca—also; ati—too much; svapna-silasya—of one who sleeps; jagratah—or one who keeps night watch too much; na—not; eva—ever; ca—and; arjuna—O Arjuna.

There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.

Krishna says "Dhyana Yoga is not possible for those who eat more." Any yoga is a path that leads us to God. To practice yoga `samam kaya sirogreevam' - the body, the head and the neck
cannot be kept in a straight line, if we eat excess of food. We feel lethargy or sleepy. To attain the realization of soul we have to cross in meditation the boundaries of the physical body, the sense organs and the mind but we are stuck at thethreshold itself! The same rule applies when we don't eat at all! `A sound mind in a sound body'. A sound body is maintained by the proper amount of food we eat.

The same way we should follow limited sleeping hours. Too much of sleep deprives us of many useful hours in our day and too much of sleeplessness drains our energy. Thus there are two thieves closely following us - food and sleep. We need them badly but we should not be
treated badly by them. They are needed not only for Yoga but to attain any goal in our life.

Limited food is defined thus -

`Dwou Bhagau pooraye dannai toyee naikam prapoorayeth

Marutasya pracharartham chaturdamavaseshayeth !'

Half of our stomach should be filled with food, one fourth with water and another one fourth should be free for a free movement of air.

This leads us to the five dharmas of the body to be followed by us as per Natural Life Style. They are dharma of water, dharma of food, dharma of exercise, dharma of rest and dharma of excretion. Air is our first requirement and luckily God has made arrangements for that
without our effort. The second requisite is water and not food. We mistake it as food instead of water. The simple logic behind it is the world is filled with three fourths of water and one-fourth of land; the body inside is filled with three fourths of liquid and one fourth of solid matter. The same way our body requires more of water than of food. On an average we adults eat 2 kgs of solid matter and we have to drink roughly 6 litres of water. We eat a lot, but we drink hardly one
litre of water.

Ravi says `I eat sea food'. His friends ask, `I never see you eating fish.' Ravi smiles and says `you didn't understand me properly.' Whenever I see food, I eat it' Like Ravi we eat a lot, but we drink hardly one litre of water. If we look at our digestive system we understand that the food we send in through our mouth is digested in the stomach with the help of gastric juices there and the juices sent from liver and pancreas. The remaining is digested in the small intestines and the waste is thrown into the dustbin – the large intestine. In other words if we eat once, through one part, five parts of the body are involved in digesting that food, for nearly 3 hours. Isn't it unfair on our part to trouble five parts the whole day? Can't we shut our mouth? Is it so difficult? Of course we should not behave like the lady in `Luncheon' written by Somerset Maugham.

The narrator is a writer. A lady, his fan, forces herself upon him for a luncheon in a costly hotel, beyond his means. She assures him initially `I don't eat anything for luncheon.' Then she assures him, `I don't eat more than one thing for luncheon.' She orders for salmon, but eats cavarie as salmon is being cooked, she drinks champagne as her doctor asked her not to drink anything else, she gulps large mouthfuls of giant asparagus because she should not leave Paris without eating them, she takes coffee and ice-cream as dessert and finally tastes a pie as they are fresh and as she had just a snack. The worst part of it is she advises the author to follow her example and eat just one item for lunch ! When the poor man ate just a cheap mutton chop!

Let's not follow her example but let's regulate our diet. Let's not think I am not practicing yoga! "Need not necessarily! To attain anything in life, we should have regular habits. We should get up early in the morning. We should drink atleast one litre of water on an empty stomach, we should do some yoga or meditation, we should eat sprouts or drink vegetable soup for breakfast, we should eat boiled rice or phulkas with spiceless curries and curds. We should eat fruits in the evening and should have an early dinner with phulkas and spiceless curries or limited food. Should go to bed early and regularity should be maintained!

Remember this -

Too much of anything is too bad
Too much of eating or too much of sleeping!