For individuals to lead a healthy and happy life, our scriptures have recommended certain dietary norms. Everyone should consume sattvik (Sattva-predominant) Bharatiya food items prepared at home. They are fresh, easy to digest and also help maintain good physical, mental and spiritual health. The modern day diet, however, ignores these norms and propagates the Tama component. The biggest drawback of consuming fast-food or junk-food is that, the individuals who regularly consume such items that are Tama-predominant and that attract black (distressing) energies, become victim of the distress due to negative energies. If the diet is Tama-predominant, then due to the generation of Tama-predominant thoughts, the balance of the mind and the intellect is lost. Let us find out from this article, unhealthy foods and the various types of food which we need to abstain from.
1. Prohibited unhealthy foods
A. Tamasik (Tama-predominant) food
Rotten, without juice, stinking, stale, half-eaten and food inappropriate for yadnya is tamasik in nature.
B. Non-vegetarian diet
Non-vegetarian diet enhances Raja and Tama components. A seeker incurs demerit of violence upon eating a non-vegetarian diet.
C. Onion and garlic
These substances increase sexual urge and reduce prana-shakti (Vital energy) of an individual.
लशुनं गृञ्जनं चैव पलाण्डुं कवकानि च । अभक्ष्याणि द्विजातीनाम् अमेध्यप्रभवाणि च ।। – Manusmruti, Adhyaya 5, Shloka 5
Meaning : Eating garlic, carrot, onion, mushroom, and food produced in an impure place should be avoided by individuals after their thread ceremony has been performed. ‘Amedhya prabhav’ means food items produced from impure ingredients or regions. Such items should be avoided by the Brahman, the Kshatriya and the Vaishya. Garlic and onion should be avoided by men; since, a woman loses interest in a man who eats these.
D. Other examples of prohibited diet
Food which contains saliva, in which someone has spit; food offered by an ungrateful individual.
Food cooked for a deceased
Food cooked during 10 days of rites performed for a deceased and a new born child
Food from an individual who is controlled by his wife (Henpecked husband)
Food from a prostitute’s house
Food from an adulteress or a criminal
Food of a husband who tolerates adultery of his wife
Food touched by birds or by a crow
Food seen or touched by a dog
Food contaminated due to evil sight of an individual guilty of foeticide or that of a wicked individual
Underlying science – Various physical and psychological distress is caused due to the entry of Raja-Tama-predominant waves at respective levels in the body due to consumption of food touched or seen by Raja-Tama-predominant individuals. When food is seen or touched by these individuals, the subtle distressing waves are transferred to the food and with the passage of time, such food becomes susceptible to attacks of negative energies moving in the atmosphere. When such food filled with Raja-Tama components is eaten, the Raja-Tama waves enter the body and can cause various physical and psychological distress. With the spreading of these waves, gross and subtle bodies also become impure.
Eating food which has become impure due to the touch of an individual, who is responsible for Raja-Tama oriented activities, is in a way losing one’s own purity.
शौचात् स्वाङ्गजुगुप्सा परैरसंसर्गः । – Patanjal Yogasutra, Sadhanpad, Sutra 40
Meaning : By maintaining purity, an individual tends to form a dislike for his own impurity and develops an attitude of keeping away from impure people.
Hindu Dharma prohibits improper codes of conduct. In Hindu Dharma, ancient Sages have given thought to the subtle vibrations, and blessed the human race with purity by stipulating appropriate codes of conduct and restrictions.
Roots and fruits produced by contact with alcohol, non-vegetarian substances and unclean items, food items which are intoxicating, causing destruction of the intellect, and rotten items should be avoided.
Food obtained through violence, theft, betrayal, harassment and conspiracy is prohibited.
2. Stale food should be avoided
Modern medical science prohibits eating of stale food. Underlying science in not eating stale food :
Since stale food is kept for a very long time, it comes into contact with the Raja-Tama-predominant waves in the atmosphere and hence becomes impure.
Stale food loses the nutrients and vital energy and hence, is not sattvik. Attraction energy is developed in such food and it attracts black energy in the environment, which then remains stored in the food.
There is every likelihood of the individual suffering from indigestion when he/she consumes the food that was stored in a refrigerator and re-heated. It leads to reduction in the individual’s vital energy.
3. Avoid eating leftovers of others
Modern medical science claims, ‘Many diseases are caused due to consumption of impure food’. In restaurants, leftovers are served even today. In theatres, clubs etc. leftovers of others are given to customers. This is a great sin, but no one opposes it.
A. Harm caused due to intake of leftovers of others
The individual’s desires and Raja-Tama particles are emitted into the leftovers of an individual through his fingers.
The desires of the individual eating the food are impressed upon it. Hence, the proportion of attacks due to negative energies on such food is more. Similarly, a few negative energies subtly eat the food.
B. Underlying science in avoiding leftovers
By eating leftovers, the Raja-Tama vibrations from the individual’s body start functioning faster in the food through the flow of saliva in his mouth. Thus, if such a food is eaten, these Raja-Tama-predominant waves start flowing in the body with greater momentum. Hence, the distress being faced by an individual who puts away the leftovers, can get transferred to the body of another individual and can directly take root in the void of the body through the medium of food. Since it is rare to find a sattvik individual in Kaliyug (Era of strife), it is advisable that eating leftovers of each other be avoided. However, we should eat a Saint’s leftovers (which are filled with Chaitanya [Divine consciousness]) as Prasad (Holy sacrament). This food purifies the voids of the body.
When the leftovers of each other are eaten, one individual comes into direct contact with attributes charged with constitutional features of another individual through the medium of food. Thus, the principles and features of the other individual travel towards the individual eating the leftovers. Since the basic nature of every individual is different, the individual eating leftovers of another individual may experience distress. Further, since the food items are charged with elements in that individual’s body, when another individual eats them, obstacles may be created in the movement of subtle-Vayu (Absolute Air Principle) in the body of such an individual and that may ultimately cause various physical ailments to the individual. Similarly, consuming leftovers of an individual with higher spiritual level or one facing distress due to negative energies may cause distress due to Chaitanya or black energy respectively to another average individual; hence, Hindu culture prohibits consumption of each other’s leftovers.
4. Consumption of food produced with someone else’s labour should be avoided
To relish someone else’s food, attire, wealth, bed, vehicle and woman can destroy even Deity Indra’s (King of Deities) wealth. – Shankhasmruti 17
A. If an individual takes food from a third individual without paying for it, he has to suffer its consequences.
B. Effect of eating greedily, food produced with someone else’s labour : ‘A foolish individual, who eats food by visiting another individual’s house with the greed of being treated as a guest, will serve as an animal in that house in his next birth.’ – Manusmruti, Adhyaya 3, Shloka 104
C. Seekers performing satseva of propagating Spirituality visiting someone’s house on being invited for meals
Harm : If an individual who has invited seekers is facing distress due to negative energies, then seekers may also have to face similar distress. Hence, it is advisable to have meals after offering them to God.
Benefit : Increases closeness.
5. Food earned by an individual by behaving in an unrighteous manner (Impure food)
Hindu culture advises that, even if you have to eat frugally, food earned by your own labour, you should be happier rather than expecting and eating sumptuous food offered by others. If due to some extraneous reasons you are constrained to have meals offered by others, ensure that it is not earned in an unrighteous manner. The food offered by a thief, cruel people etc. are also considered as impure food.
6. Why should consumption of curd at night be avoided?
अलक्ष्मीदोषयुक्तत्वात् रात्रौ च दधि र्गिहतम् । meaning consumption of curd at night should be completely avoided, otherwise intellect of the individual will be destroyed and he will become a pauper.
Underlying science – Since curd is Raja-predominant, its consumption at night may lead to distress due to negative energies: Since night is Tama -predominant, movement of negative energies is predominant during this period. Consumption of curd at night results in charging of the body with Raja component, and thus, the body becomes oversensitive from the perspective of responding to the functioning of contact-oriented waves of negative energies moving in the atmosphere during the night time. Such an individual may face distress due to negative energies. Hence, consumption of curd in the night should be avoided.
Reference : Sanatan Sanstha’s Holy text ‘Dietary norms and deficiencies in modern diet’