Eat balanced diet
Striking the right balance of diet, thought and actions shows the way to happiness and better living.
"You are what your food is" is an old saying. This is based on a teaching from our Shastras including yoga sutras of Patanjali, Bhagwad Gita and the Upanishads. To acquire health and happiness one needs to live a balanced life. This typically comes from Bhagwad Gita chapter 6 verse 17 where Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: "Yukaharaviharasya yuktachestasya karmasu.
Yuktasvapnavabodhasya yoga bhavati duhkhaha." (For the one whose diet and movements are balanced, who does his actions in a proper manner, whose hour of sleeping and walking up is regular, that path of meditation is the destroyer of pain or unhappiness.) The message is relevant even today, validated by modern scientific research and analysis of data.
Moderation and variety is the mantra of the present day concept of dietetics. One should be moderate in his or her diet, thinking, recreating and actions.
Lord Krishna further clarifies this in chapter 6 verse 16 that eating too much food or starving, sleeping too much or remaining awake all the time is not health friendly. Such people cannot concentrate or meditate.
Food and one's personality is related (Bhagwad Gita, verse 17.7). Every person's personality depends upon three attributes called satwa, rajas and tamas. People with predominant satwa eat food which is greasy, nourishing, appealing and succulent (verse 17.8). People with predominant rajas eat food which is bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry and burning. Excess amount of these foods makes one miserable and sick (verse 17.9). People with predominant tamas in the body prefer to eat half cooked food which is dry, smelling bad, stale, defiled and impure.
Lord Krishna has also said that while eating one should concentrate on eating as the food is saved to one's consciousness (verse 9.27). He further says that even having leaves, fruits and water alone can suffice to keep us healthy.
Further more, during the last minutes of life a person’s mind remains under the influence of his/her attribute. People who die with the satwaguna, the soul is going to take birth in people who are pure in their mind (verse 14.14). On the contrary, people who die with predominant rajasguna will have their soul take re-birth in families devoted to action, and the tamasguna person’s soul is reborn as a low calibre person. Lord Krishna elaborates that there are four types of food which are consumed by human beings - the food that is eaten, sucked, drunk or licked. They all lead to the digestive fire and the functioning of this fire is dependent on one’s consciousness.
(Dr Aggarwal is President, Heart Care Foundation of India, President Elect, Delhi Medical Association, Deputy Dean of Board of Medical Education, Moolchand Hospital and Member, Delhi Medical Council.)