Here are some interesting insights I have got from the grandmom at my AirBnb in Chennai. She has been associated with the Brahmakumari path for over 36 years now. It was very interesting for me to know of her sadhana as I am also usually into all sadhana stuff. So here,
Remembrance of God while cooking
It is important that one is in remembrance of God while cooking food. For eg one way of keeping this remembrance: if you have 3 kids you can think that you have 4 kids and the first kid is God. And you are cooking for God.
So this patti (gramdma in Tamil) won’t have food cooked even by her daughter. She will cook her own food every time. And she cooks for others folks also like me – Airbnb guests. Yumm. 🙂
‘Drishti’ while eating food
When you are eating food, she suggests to give Drishti – remember God and imagine that his purity flows through you and into the food. So the food will imbibe this purity when you eat.
Sadbhavana and sadkarma – good thoughts, good intentions – with this one must eat
Sometimes if she has to eat some other food she hasn’t cooked then she will take fruits or baked stuff. As baked stuff usually has much less interaction with the person. They just mix ingredients and then leave it in the oven.
In terms of diet they follow Indian vegetarian diet – fully plant based with the exception of dairy and possibly honey. (No eggs).
Onion, garlic is also a strict no as it is considered tamasbhava – encourages negative mind attributes.
Light Fasting Weekly
Once a week she has maun or silence day. So she will only talk if needed in sign language with people. This day she also has bare minimum food with not much taste. Rice-dal with tad bit of chilli. No oil, no spices. The idea is to maintain a light fast and also overcome taste desire. One should be able to eat whatever little food one gets, if someday the usual good food is not available.
I found her sadhana and insights very interesting because it related with my thoughts regards food too. The only difference is that now for us younger folks this talk about God has become outdated and old stuff. In fact younger gen will feel very smart by saying ‘ I am an atheist’ or ‘who is God, never seen so does he exist?’ etc… And in their own right it is fair enough, because this questioning helps challenge old dogmas. But when followed correctly this sense of “God” in everything can be a very smart and intelligent tool to remain un-entangled from life and maintain spiritual focus in life.
So re-wording all her insights into a non-God version the way I see it,
1) mind set of the person cooking food is very important. The mind set should be positive and free of attachment. Vairagya besto!
2) unless the person has spiritual bent of mind, this will hardly be the case so preferably cook your own food
3) when you take food – whether cooked by yourself or by someone else – take it with a purer mind set. A bit of gratitude, humility and joy can go a long way.
And Indian traditions long tries to imbibe this in us. I remember the number of times my mom has told me that getting angry while eating food or leaving food halfway because you are upset is insult to the food.
4) once a week maintain a light fasting & also during this fast stick to bare nourishment. Hit your desire for ‘tasty’ stuffs. I think this is amazing!
I have also spent somw time where every Sunday I would go into complete silence and barely eat food. Or just eat whatever was there that day. It can be very impactful. The frequency of weekly is important to have the impact.
During these activities I find it important that people maintain a certain awareness and spiritual focus. So that the practice one is doing, does not become part of some religious dogma. This of course is as per your own understanding and insight into spirituality. This needs to be developed and reflected upon.