Episode # 139 – Why do we consume food on a banana leaf? An important accord!!!

Little Krishna


As we’re amidst the important and an interesting discussion on those who would reach the “Naraka Lokha”, in the yesterday’s episode, we had taken a slight deviation from our main path and have discussed why is Bhagawan holding human beings accountable for all the sins that are being done. This is an important question for which all of us should know the answers. To summarize in a nutshell from the previous episode, Bhagawan is holding us accountable primarily because He has blessed us with the sense of discrimination, which is supposed to be the sixth sense. All other living beings do not have this sense in them, which means that they cannot differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, what is to be done and what should be avoided, etc. However, as human beings, since we are bestowed with this important sense, Bhagawan expects us to use it in the proper way, to differentiate between what is “Punya” (Good deeds) and what is “Paapa” (Bad ones). In addition to this, Bhagawan has given us a huge “manual” called the “Sanaathana Dharma”, wherein He has explained with minute detail as to what is the “Dharma” of a human life and how do we follow it. Thus, given all of it, it is upto us to take it in the right direction, follow it and attain Moksha.

Also, we had witnessed another important aspect in yesterday’s episode that, even if we had committed innumerable bad “Karma” till date, and if we seek whole-hearted forgiveness to Bhagawan for all our misdeeds, Bhagawan, being an embodiment of compassion and love, would definitely forgive us for all of what we’ve done till date. However, the only expectation from Bhagawan is that from today and from this minute onwards, we should make sure that we do not go back to our misdeeds in any way. This is one assurance that Bhagawan would take from us. Once we give Bhagawan this assurance, it is again upto us not to revert back to our old bad ways. This is where, we need spiritual progress in the form of controlling our mind, which would otherwise run here and there like a mad monkey!

Now moving on further with Sage Sukhaachaarya’s discussion on the “Naraka Lokha”, he had previously explained how we shouldn’t harm even small insects and ants, just because they are around us and are insignificant. In fact, Sage Sukhaachaarya goes one step further and explains that it is not just that we shouldn’t harm these small insects, but we should also feed them with some food! This is another important point that we should discuss today. In fact, there is a reason why there are certain practices that we follow as part of our “Sanaathana Dharma”, with respect to food habits. For instance, most of us might be aware of the practice of consuming food on a banana leaf. This is a traditional practice that is in place for thousands of years now, particularly in South of India. It is commonly seen in all South-Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Many of us might be aware of this practice but might be having less or zero awareness as to why do we eat on a banana leaf. Let us now witness some of the enormous benefits that we accumulate by consuming food on a banana leaf.

By consuming food on a banana leaf, we have the opportunity of feeding hundreds and thousands of other living beings that live around us. How? As we finish eating, we fold the banana leaf, take it to the outdoors and put it there, isn’t it? Now what happens here? There might be some leftover food items that would still be sticking on to the banana leaf after we finish eating. These leftover food items would become food for other animals – For instance, some stray dogs, cats, etc. that would be roaming around on the streets, would come and feed on them. Moreover, these leftover foods along with the banana leaf is a good food for cows. Even beyond this, there might be tens of thousands of bacteria, viruses and other living beings that we might not be able to see with our naked eyes. This is why we would be able to see that after a day or two of disposing the banana leaf with the leftover food, the colour of the leaf and the food items would change. In addition, there would be a foul smell that comes too. Why do such changes happen? It is because there would be thousands and thousands of small microbial beings like bacteria and viruses feeding on it. Even ants, squirrels, lizards, flies, etc. would get to have some food through this. We might think that this practice is not very significant by any means, but it is not the case! By doing so, what do we gain? We gain the greatest “Punya” of serving food to all these thousands of living beings, when otherwise, we might not do so formally! Can we afford to miss this golden opportunity?

Nowadays, this practice of consuming food on a banana leaf has started reducing a lot. In the present day, usage of banana leaves for serving food is primarily seen only during marriages, some other religious functions, etc. In all other times, we have started using plates to consume food. The plates might be of silver or any other metal. By consuming food on the plate, what do we do? We generally drop off all the leftover foods into the dustbin, wash the plate with water and keep it in our kitchen racks. By doing so, we are denying food for all the thousands of living beings, which are perhaps waiting for it! Can we afford to deny food for all these poor creatures? Unfortunately, in today’s scenario, all of us are doing this! This is where in the modern day, we deviate from the principles of our “Sanaathana Dharma” and the reason behind it is lack of awareness of the significance behind each of the principles and practices. Unfortunately today, we being in a so-called “scientific and technological revolution”, we’ve forgotten the basic principles of humanity and the science behind whatever practices that our Sanaathana Dharma has prescribed. Moreover, we do not wish to take interest in knowing all this as well! In fact, sadly we even discard many traditional practices under the umbrella called “superstition”. It is to be understood that no principle explained by our Sanaathana Dharma texts is a superstition. There is an enormous level of science associated with each of them. It is only that we do not understand any of them!

This situation should change. Youngsters should come forward to understand and appreciate our traditional practices and spread it across the world. We should never give into any false propaganda that tries to demean our Sanaathana Dharma. We should understand that all the anti-Hindu propaganda that is going on currently has no base at all! If we stand up and ask tough questions to them, I’m sure that we would be able to make them run for their money! Thus, the point here is that, we should realize the significance of consuming food on a banana leaf. We should try and make it a regular practice, and in turn, we should have the noble heart to serve not only our stomach, but also thousands of other living beings which are waiting for food. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further. 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 Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, 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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