In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the point on why we should show restraint when it comes to destroying or vandalizing public utilities, which are open for use for all people of the society. For people who are doing so, Sage Sukhaachaarya gives them a “shocker” that these people would be given a “confirmed ticket” to “Naraka Lokha”! 😊 Hence, it is up to them to take this in the right sense or not!
Now moving on further with the narrative of Sage Sukhaachaarya on who reaches “Naraka Lokha”, he continues with the next point here. He says that if we have our close family relatives who are suffering from hunger and poverty, whereas if we’re leading a luxurious life, we’re going to surely knock the doors of the “Naraka Lokha”! In other words, if we have a decent job to make considerable money out of it, whereas if we have our close family members like our brothers, sisters, etc. who do not have that luxury in life, it is our duty to protect them and ensure that they live happily too. Whereas on the contrary, if we’re going to discard them saying, “Oh! Being in poverty is your fate! Struggling to meet the basic requirement of three meals a day is your headache!”, we should start packing our bags now itself to start our journey towards “Naraka Lokha”!
Especially when it comes to food and water, we should always ensure that our immediate people around us are happy and contended, before we consume our share of food. This should be the basic norm of our life. This is why we always say that we should first offer our food to Bhagawan and our “Athithi” (Guest, in the normal sense), before we consume it. This is of course, not restricted only to human beings, but also for all animals too. For instance, if we have “pet animals” at our home, like dogs, cats, etc. we should make it a point that we feed them first before we eat. When we have cows at our place, the same rule applies. In fact, the rule should be followed in a more strict way, as the cow is a holy animal, often referred to as “Go-Maata”. Feeding a cow to its satisfaction accounts to enormous amounts of “Punya” into our Atman and hence, we should always make it a point that we never miss an opportunity to serve our holy cows, wherever they are!
This is the reason why, the Upanishads also emphasizes that we should make sure that we cultivate surplus amounts of food grains, so that we shall serve more and more people and animals. We should make sure that all living beings are contended with food and water. Moreover, we should never waste food or criticize the food that we consume. For instance, some people have this habit – Whenever they get angry, they show their frustration on the food that they eat – Either by throwing the food into the dustbin, pushing away the whole plate with food in it in such a way that the food gets wasted, or criticizing the food by saying, “Oh! I hate this kind of food!”, etc. In fact, all of these habits have become a modern-day fashion amongst many youngsters, and this is totally deplorable. I say this because, food is an essentiality for thousands and thousands of lives that are sustaining in this world and we don’t have the rights to waste or criticize the food that we eat. No matter what the food item might be, even if we do not like consuming it, we can politely refuse it, rather than venting all our frustration on it. Food is considered to be the divine form of Mother Annapoorni and we do not have any right to criticize our holy Divine Mother!
It is for this reason we chant a Mantra when we consume food. This might be familiar to many of us:
“Brahmaarpanam brahma havir bramhaagnou brahmanaahutam!
Brahmaivatena gandarvyam brahma karma samaadhinaa!!”
This forms a part of Bhagawan Krishna’s Bhagawad Gita. The meaning of this is that, “This food that I have in my hand, is directly from the purest form of consciousness! I’m dedicating this food to the supreme creator of this whole consciousness! May the whole world, inclusive of all forms of living beings enjoy a stomach-full of healthy food!” By chanting this Mantra, we are offering the food that we consume to Bhagawan first. Thus, from this discussion, it is evident that if we play in the wrong way with the food that we consume, we better prepare ourselves to face repercussions as we enter into the “Naraka Lokha”.
As Sage Sukhaachaarya talks about the importance of food, he continues with an important corollary to this – The process of digestion of this food in our body! If we criticize the food that we consume, this is directly going to result in some flaws in our body’s digestion process. How is it going to impact? Let’s wait till the next episode to witness! Stay tuned! 😊