Episode # 112 – Why should we avoid consuming food from roadside “Fast food” restaurants? Vidura has an answer!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important aspect that Vidura is explaining to King Dhirdiraashtra – The crux of the aspect is that, if we know that we are doing something that falls under the “Adharma” category, we should be able to put a full stop to that activity immediately, rather than waiting for a “correct” time to stop it. Here is where Vidura for the first time lambasts King Dhirdiraashtra that he knows that he’s going down the path of “Adharma” and yet, he’s not taking any effort to stop himself. Thus the important point for all of us here is that, if we realize through some ways or means that what we are doing is wrong, we should stop it now, rather than waiting it to get too late. Thus we need too develop that maturity in our minds and only if we have this maturity, we would realize how good it is for a peaceful sleep at night, without any worries. Whereas if we keep putting things off constantly, it would keep haunting our mind and conscience that we are doing something wrong and that itself would deprive us of our basic peace of mind and hence the sleep too.

Now moving forward thus, as Vidura talks in detail about having a “limit” in everything in life, we’ve seen the first few aspects for which limit is important. Now we’re going to see the next important aspect wherein having a limit is extremely significant – Food. How do we develop our limit for the quantity and type of food that we consume? Of course in today’s world we live amidst a wide range of very “popular diseases” and hence automatically according to the doctor’s prescriptions, many of us have started to have a control on our diet. For instance, many of us today are suffering from “High/low Blood pressure”, wherein we are more often advised by the doctor to reduce our salt intake. Similarly many of us suffer from “Diabetes” wherein the doctors advise us to reduce the intake of sugar and sweet foods. Also, there is a wide talk about “Cholesterol”, “Good Cholesterol”, “Bad Cholesterol”, etc. and hence we somehow tend to have a control over that as well. The list goes on and on.

If we’ve to limit ourselves in various types of food items, we might wonder as to what should we eat – For instance again, we nowadays go to different doctors for different ailments. Previously we used to have one “family doctor” whom we might approach regularly for any kind of illness. Thus he knows in and out of our body and will give an overall prescription as to which food items to take and which of them to avoid. But now since we go to different doctors for different ailments, each doctor prescribes his/her own sets of medicines and food items to avoid! Thus when we collate all the food stuffs to avoid, it seems pretty alarming! We would not be able to eat any food item properly!

Thus the lesson from all these above modern day scenarios is that, we should have a strict control over our diet. We should refrain from consuming food items that are potentially harmful to our health condition. Just like our modern day doctors prescribe the food time table for us for having a better health, Our “Sanaathana Dharma” prescribes certain varieties and types of food items to consume, if our “Sathva” Guna should grow and our “Rajo Guna” and “Thaamasa Guna” should reduce. Vidura explains it beautifully in the following sloka thus:

“Bhakshothamah prathichhannam matsyo badichamaayasam!

Lobhaabibaathih grasathe na anubandham avekshate!!”

Here he says that before we consume a food item, we should analyze the after effects that we might have to face, if we consume that particular food item. This is an extremely important point and here is where all of us make blunders. For instance, all of us know that eating at fast food outlets would make us land in unwanted physical health problems, but still we continue eating in those places. All of us know that if we consume food that is extremely oily and spicy, would land us into various kinds of complications with respect to blood pressure and cholesterol, but we still keep consuming that! Just like how a fish runs towards a food particle that is tied to the fishing net, without understanding that it is going to be trapped in the net by the fisherman, we also keep running towards “tasty” foodstuffs just because our tongue craves for them, without realizing that these so called “tasty” foods are going to land us in health problems later on. Little do we know as to when those food items were prepared. Little do we know as to what ingredients were used to prepare them. Nowadays we also get something called “Instant foods” and they even advertise in the television and media that the food will be ready in just 3 minutes or so! This is even more dangerous. We never know what kind of chemicals do they use to manufacture those food items and what would be the disastrous side effects that might arise when we consume those foods! Of course we are in a world of “hurry” and many a times we do not have choices other than consuming those kinds of “packed” or “instant food” items.

Worse than all these, we many a times end up consuming food that is not offered to Bhagawan. Nothing can be more disastrous than this! If we go to any restaurant, will they serve us food that is offered to Bhagawan? Many a times, the answer is a big “No!” Why do our elders advice us not to go to roadside restaurants to have food? It is because of this reason only. And moreover, consuming such food items from such restaurants would bring down our “Sathva Guna”. This is because, the chef who is preparing the food might have so many different thoughts running within him while he cooks, since he is also doing it as a professional commitment, and not with a personal touch. Why do we feel that home cooked food is always tastier than those in restaurants? The simple reason being, home cooked food has that “extra ingredient” called “love” and “Affection” in it, whereas this cannot be seen in those foodstuffs cooked outside – Be it in any star hotel. Most importantly, we would offer the food that we cook at home to Bhagawan before we consume it and hence it becomes divine with Bhagawan’s blessings.

Hence the important message from today’s episode is that, we need to keep a check on our food habits – We should more or less consume food only that is homemade, and most importantly, only those food items that are offered to Bhagawan. We shall ponder over this for today and reflect upon our everyday food habits. Let us make a small effort to try and align our food habits as per Vidura’s advice and for sure we would find a significant change in our lifestyle. We shall take this discussion forward in the next episode as well. Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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