Dimension of Food - Part 1

8th Sep 2020

OM! Food Is the Form Of Ultimate Divinity

ANNAM PARABRAHMAM SWAROOPAM , we did this invocation, we read the meaning of this and as Anandi said it’s actually a sum up in these 3 letters ANNAM PARABRAHMAM SWAROOPAM. It’s the essence of this whole talk. It’s the essence of this whole series I would say. It’s the summing up of all that there is, to the food element. We will go into that in the depths.

Today, we thought let us invite all our friends from across the globe, from different continents together. And having this satsang with all of you together. This is the first time we are experimenting with this. I hope most of our Indian friends are able to understand the language.

The model, the admin will remain the same. If there is any thought or question in between, anything that you want to share will be communicated via chat box. I will take a pause in between to take up any thoughts or questions that you have.

So, ANNAM PARABRAHMAM SWAROOPAM , dimensions of the food and as Anandi said that every culture across the world, food has been very central to all the cultures. From the ancient tribal cultures where every evening when they would dine together there would be celebrations because they could hunt the food for their tribe for their family. So it was always a celebration to receive the blessing of food and to share that blessing of food with the entire tribe. Almost all the religions have celebrated food.

Especially in India I see that we celebrate food or we associate food with everything that happens here. If there is a marriage in the family, we have a feast, if there is a birthday in the family, we have a feast. If somebody dies in the family, then too we have a feast. Even when we do fasting because there are religious festivals in India, where we do continuous fasting of couple of days. Even during the fasting when we break the fast it’s a feast. We break the fast with a feast.

So food is very central. We do fasting for the devis here, during the monsoon month and the winter month. Again the same rituals, lots of food after the fasting. And in the western culture I see during the Christmas time or Easter time, there is food. Muslim culture , during the Ramadan it’s the food. So food I think is the essential or central to every culture. But I thought there are many deeper aspects of food, especially for the meditators. We need to really understand, dig deep, into these aspects of food.

Very important component of our existence. So let’s look at food. What is that we call as food. When we are born we are about 3 kgs, 6-7 pounds, we grow up, the 3 kgs become 70-80 kgs, 120 pounds or more. From where do we gather this mass, this body from? No brainer, the food. The food that we eat becomes US. Becomes this body. So which means that also when I ask you or anybody ask you, as who are you? Your first association of your strongest association when somebody ask who are you is with the body. You say this is I am! A male of a female, bald, long hair whatever the physical representation. And then the second association that most of us have when somebody ask this question who are you, is the mind. I am my thoughts. I am what I think I am. So two associations largely. Our identities so to say! The identity of our knowing that who I am is associated with this flesh and bone. This mass of 70-80 kgs. That’s our identity. Which means what? Which means food is our identity. Because whatever I am eating I am becoming that.

In the yogic tradition, we have called there are 5 bodies. Ayurveda also follows this. And this is important for all of us to really know, though lot of us know about in minds and do not know about it in here. When I say know about it here , meaning lot of us do not live in this realization constantly, we just know this as an information. Hence, it needs repetition. So that the information becomes reality.

So the first sheath we have, the first covering that the human body has or a human being has is the covering of body called Annamaya Kosha. In the English we will translate it as the Food Body. So the entire body in Yogic and ayurvedic tradition we say this is a food body because it is made up of food. Annamaya Kosha, is the first body. Behind Annamaya Kosha the second body that we have is a Pranmaya kosha – the breath body. The vital air body or we can call it the energy body also. Behind this at the third level, resides Manomaya kosha i.e. the mind, the emotion, the feeling, the sensing body. Behind that the fourth is residing the Vigyan maya kosha, the intellect body. I am trying to simplify it. There are much more deeper complicated dimensions to it but I am trying to simplify that. And then the fifth at the innermost core, is Anandmaya kosha which means the bliss body. So five sheaths, five bodies.

Behind these five bodies is the Self sitting. The Consciousness sitting there. The divinity is sitting there so to say behind the five. So for a meditator or for anybody who is interested in the inner journey of reaching to the Anandmaya, the bliss body, it’s important that we follow these steps. It’s important that we go from one sheath to another sheath.

If I try to understand spirituality just through mind I am already trying to work out the third body i.e Manomaya kosha and that’s a lot of people do. We try to understand spirituality. Or if I intellectualize about spirituality. And how do you intellectualize about spirituality? I’ll share a story with you.

There was a young boy, whose father was a sage. The name of the sage very prominent sage called Uddalaka and the young boy’s name was Shwetketu. So the sage sends his young boy to an ashram, a monastery to learn about spirituality.

Those were the days when the young boy would go to spend couple of years with one master, learns about all the processes inwardly. Goes to then another monastery / ashram, learns from another master from him / her and this journey will take 12 to 15 years and then once the young boy has become a mature youth and has realized the truth , has realised the atleast the Annadmaya kosha, the fifth body, may not be beyond that but at least the fifth body, that’s when he would come back to his father, to his family and then he will in turn become sage and he will start to teach the science of spirituality to others, that was the tradition.

So, Shwetketu spends 12 years in different ashrams leaning from various masters. And then after 12 years comes back to the father when the education process is over, the learning process is over, comes back to his father. Father himself is a sage Uddalakha. Father looks into the eyes of the son, penetrating , finds out the truth of course. And asks the son; “Son, what have you learnt?” The son starts to intellectualize all the spiritual understandings that how the breath works, how the Brahma works, how the cosmos was created, what is the soul, what is super soul, what happens after death, what happens before death, and all of that. All the spiritual sciences that he has learnt. And the boy is thinking that he has mastered everything like we all do. We read, we know little about something and we think that we have mastered it. That’s what Shwetketu thought, he felt that I have mastered it. Father says yes, for sure very well. Father says just do one thing Shwetketu be on a fast for 2 weeks and we will discuss what you know. Shwetketu is very overconfident and he says sure father, how does that matter. Fair enough!

Shwetketu is on fast: day one and no problem. Day 2 no problem. Day 3 now whatever spiritual information he has gathered, the intellectualisation he had gathered now that starts to slip away little by little. Fourth day the hunger is now attacking him badly. Fifth day Father calls him says how is he doing and the son says well I am still holding on. Seventh day they meet again and father asks him to tell him about soul. How does soul travels from one body to another body. Shwetkethu says do not talk to me Father, I am very irritated, I am very angry, do not talk to me, can’t bear this hunger anymore. Ninth day father meets Swetkethu again and asks tell me few things about meditation and Shwetketu is half asleep and says I can’t even sit up and you are asking about meditation. I can’t keep my mind off from the food and you are asking about meditating. All I am thinking of is food. All I am dreaming is of food and you are asking me about meditation Father? So, at the end of 2 weeks when they meet, Father says Swetketu so do you know the truth? And he says Father can you first give me some food before we talk about the truth.

And after that Shwetketu says all my intellectualization was of no use because I did not work well enough on the understanding of the first shell itself, the first kosha the Anandmaya kosha. I did not realize the importance of food, I did not realize the power of food or hunger. I thought the intellectualization of the gyana the knowledge, the information is enough. I did not realize and that’s when the father said Annam Brahmam. My son, annam which is food is a swaroopa of brammam. It is the manifestation of God, divinity itself. Food is no less. Your Annmaya kosha your food sheath is no less that too is divine. And without you working through it realizing the depth or the power of it you can’t move ahead. That was the message of this sage called Uddalakha to his son.

I thought I will share this story with you just to tell you that simplicity is too profound and I keep talking about it in various satsangs. We are trying to understand the workout of various other things in our spiritual journeys in our meditative process but food which is the building block of who we are at this layer of existence. Are we meditating on that? Are we aware enough about that? Have we mastered it? Have we become conscious about it? Have we become absolutely aware about it? Have we or have we not? If we have not then process forward or progress forward is going to be lopsided. That’s the reason I thought of sharing this series with all of you because the basics must not be forgotten.

Let’s look at food in another different angle. So let’s look at what is food. So in popular understanding food is consumed through mouth. The taste what we consume through mouth. But that’s not the holistic understanding of food. The holistic understanding of food is that which we consume, which we absorb through all the senses. So if I am seeing something I am consuming some data or information that is food to the eyes. If I am hearing something that is food to the hearing aid to the ears. If I am smelling something that is food for my smelling sense. Touching something that’s food for my touch senses. All that in the yogic tradition all that is considered food. So when we talk about food in the meditative tradition or in a meditative aspect we are actually talking about all of this. All of that we consume though 5 senses. But for this series I wouldn’t go into the four senses, I will only stick to the food that we eat through mouth.

Now here also when we consume food through mouth actually all the other senses are also consuming the same food in some way. So for an example when you smell something nice cooking somewhere the hunger starts. The hunger gets activated. So what has activated the hunger, you have still not tasted the food yet, just the smell has activated the hunger. Or if I look at some nice cakes in the bakery or chocolates the hunger gets activated. So which means the eyes are also eating the same food or at least giving the information and activating the hunger. The point I am trying to make is all the senses needs to come to this food that we consume. I will explain that in a bit.

But just to tell you the importance of that on your neurons on your brain functionality. We don’t just eat food through mouth; we eat through all the senses. Even though the food that we consume through mouth we are actually consuming even that food through all senses. May be unconsciously.

Lot of big corporates makes good use of that science. Let me give you an example, the potato wafers or the crisps in west when you eat crisps they create certain sound, and there is a science behind it. There is a research behind it, that is they create or bake crisps in such a way that it makes that sound. Even the packaging that is designed for crisps or potato wafers is designed in such a way that when you opened the packet it makes a crispy sound. The more crispy sound the packaging will create when you open it and the more crispy sound the content, the crisp will have, you will eat that more. That’s the behavioral science experiment which these scientists did. So in a normal way lets say if you eat 20 crisps but that crackling sound is up to the mark of opening the packet and crisps also you will eat probably 40. Again we talking about the same point that you are eating through your listening also. Now what’s the relevance of this? The relevance of this is when you actually eat food in your home do you consciously engage all your five senses in that food? Think about it. Be very honest with your own self. When you eat food are you consciously engaging all your senses to touch, feel, taste, hear, smell, see the food? Or are you not? Because, in my experience what I have seen is that many a times we are eating food just using one sense and then our eyes are watching the TV, our ears are listening to some conversation, some content. So we are not even seeing the food, we are not even listening to that food, we are not even touching the food because we are using spoon, and knives and forks to eat that food. Now the food which could have nourished us in five different ways by our five senses now this food will only nourish us through the sense of taste. Because when I see food, when I look at the food it is also nourishing me. When I am smelling the food consciously that’s also nourishing me. When I am touching my food with my own bare hands that’s also nourishing me. Not just the process of consuming food through the mouth, all these senses when they are engaged together consciously on the food content the nourishing of that food that content is of very different level.

So I’ll ask you certain questions, if you want you can keep a note of these to reflect back on them later. First, do you engage all your five senses when you eat your food? And if not then start to pay attention to that because you are only deriving then one fifth of the nutritive value of the food. Reflect on it. Second question, do you eat out of habit, out of mental conditioning that this is the time to eat? It’s lunch time, 1 O’clock and we have to eat? I am giving you these question to reflect on them because the more you have clarity on these questions the more your path will be clear to move ahead. So, do you eat out of habit? Based on certain time table? conditioning? Childhood conditioning. I meet alot of people and throughout their childhood they have eaten let’s say commercial bread, here I am talking about India. Commercial breads in India are wrapped in plastic wrappers is really dangerous, it’s really bad. But I know thousands of people , their whole childhood they just grew up eating that bread. Because that’s was the most convenient most cheaper option. So whenever they are hungry they will just take out the bread add some butter, cheese whatever on it and eat it or jam, which is sugar. And now even when they are grown up they are eating the same commercial bread, I am talking this about India because bread quality in west are very different. Here in India the Maggi, it’s the conditioning, the habit. Third question is do you eat because of the obsession of certain taste? Do you eat a certain kind of food only because of the obsession of that taste? Think about it. Fourth question is do you eat because eating is a distraction? Because I know lot of people they eat when they are stressed. Who eat when they have nothing else to do or when they are getting bored. So whenever they are getting bored they just go to the kitchen , grab a bite of something no relation with hunger or even with nutrition. It’s just distraction or stressful situation and so they would eat. Fifth question, do you eat because of you want to prolong the joy of eating? I have seen a lot of people doing that also. There is a certain joy in eating or a certain feeling of joyousness when you eat a certain taste. And then you can continue to eat that even after you are full. It’s like a self-analysis we need to do about our own self and see where are we to know our own truth because once we know our own truth we are in a better situation to create our path from there. The last question in this is do you because of the social convention? Which means you go to somebody’s house or you go to a party its a social gathering and food is served and you eat. No matter if you are hungry or not. No matter if the food is nutritional or not. So these are six questions.

I want you to reflect on these questions. And don’t feel bad if the answers to these questions is negative. Because knowing where I stand will help me to create the path forward. But if I keep ignoring where I stand how I will be able to move ahead. So acknowledgment of where I am is the first step. Are we together so far?

On looking at the chats : Pink says that after the child is born , takes his first breath the next natural instinct is to drink milk. Food is absolutely natural to us. We are in no way saying that it is not. Food is absolutely natural that is the reason we are saying Annam Para Brahamam, that’s the reason we are saying the food that we eat has the reflection of divinity, it is a reflection of God, it’s the reflection of the ultimate reality. It’s natural to us, that’s the reason of this body is called Annmaya kosha the food body. The six question that I asked and the intention is to ask to our own self and to come back to our natural state. And what is our natural state? Why should we eat? We eat food for two reasons simply as part of nature that’s is hunger, that’s the first element. The second element is when we at that food that food provides us nutrition or energy to sustain the life processes. So hunger is our connection between this knowing that food is needed to create that energy to perform action. To act in life. The hunger is natural, the nutritional requirement of the human body and mind is natural. The six questions that I asked so that we can evaluate are we in harmony, in alignment with the natural process or are we too far away from that. Because in my experience very few of us know hunger. Very few of us experience hunger on a daily basis. Because before we are hungry we feed our self. Before we feel real pangs of hunger where the mind now cannot concentrate and the body is carving for food, the fire of hunger is burning inside me, that is a beautiful experience. But how many of us do we experience that huger on daily basis. Because hunger happens to your body after every 6-8 hours depending on our body constitutions. Some could get it in 4 hours some could get in 12 hours. The body’s mechanism to feel this hunger and then the graph of this fire keeps raging, how many of us experience the beauty, the profoundity of this fire on a daily basis. Because nature is giving us this option to experience this fire 3 times a day in 24 hrs. Are we taking that opportunity is the question. In my experience especially on the meditative process on the process of inner knowing on the process of absolute alignment with nature, if you do not experience hunger then you cannot derive the full nutritional value, the full wellbeing value of the food that you eat. It is directly proportional to that. Mark this, this is an important statement for your body and mind’s well being. If you don’t experience hunger, the food that you consume, will not give you the same amount of nutrition. But if you experience hunger today, and then eat, your system will be able to derive much deeper, much greater nutritional value out of the food and maybe that’s the reason, in many cultures across the world, we have given lot of importance to something called Fasting. The period to abstain from eating. Ofcourse, it has become quite a buzzword these days. More like a modern day spiritual fashion. Fasting! Yeah? Modern day, yogic fashion to fast. Nothing wrong with that too. But it’s just that if the intention behind the act is clear and right, then that act can give you much deeper experience. That’s the only thing.

So what is the right intention for fasting or abstaining from food. The right intention to fast / to abstain from consuming food for a specific period of time is to develop the capacity of self-restrain. To develop the strength to self-restrain. To develop the will power for self-restrain. Many a times I have experienced that our will power is weak. Because the will powers are weak, the habits and conditioning takes over. So in the food process we talking about food dimensions today how do you increase your will power, your capacity to really hold. Fasting is a beautiful process for that. So you start to fast. Intermittent fasting, half day fasting, full day fasting, 2 day fasting whatever your body and mind can take and you start gradually. But the intention behind fasting is primarily to develop the capacity to restrain. To nurture the will power, we are only nurturing the body and mind through consuming food. We are nor nurturing the will power. So we use the element of food now to nurture the will power. If you do that you will see the strength in this point to hold, to abstain. The second intention when we do fasting and this is more relevant for the East than the West historically. In the East we also started to observe food fasting because there was a point when we did not have enough food. I do not know much about the West in this aspect. There was a time in the Eastern history when there was lack of food, so many people started to abstain from food. Every week they would do one day of fast or everyday instead of 3 meals they will take 2 meals so that the remaining food can be consumed by the have-nots, by the people who didn’t have the access for food. That was one of the beautiful intention to share the limited food that we have with everybody. The third intention then comes about food is the cleansing and the purification of the body. To allow the internal organs a period of rest. To regenerate, the pause that we all need our internal organs also need. And in that pause in that purification process inwardly at physical level lots of cells would start to regenerate themselves. Lots of cells would start to function properly. So primarily these 3 and then there was the fourth element also which I am not sure how relevant it is in today’s context but there was a forth element also behind fasting. That was to offer it to your deity so which means as a spiritual process we would also use to fast for a particular day and the day is attributed to Krishna or Rama or Hanuman or to any Devi the Goddess and we will fast on that day. Because the day is attributed to a particular deity and we want to be in communion in an integration in harmony / in remembrance of that particular deity which is close to my heart and hence I would say I will fast today. Because when I fast today my mind and my body is feeling light, not over burned by the processes it has to do. And in that lightness of my body I will be able to concentrate, pay all my attention meditate be in communion/ be in remembrance/ of my deity so that entire day I will abstain from lots of outgoing movement also , and I will just sit read the scriptures about that deity or meditate on that deity or just be in the remembrance. Because food is off. The preparation, the consuming the digestion all of it is off. So that I put all of that energy into this. This remembrance of that deity!

So the fasting, if you do not experience the fire of hunger in your body you can’t derive the same nutritional value out of the food. You cannot develop meditative process with the food. Food too is a dimension of meditation. Food too is a great tool to develop your meditative abilities. But without experiencing the hunger, the fire of hunger, that process cannot be initiated. And that’s the reason we have started sharing two particular days in a month which are called Ekadashi days- the 11th day of waning and waxing moon which is historically, culturally, traditionally and scientifically considered as the best day to fast. We have started sharing the information or the reminder of that to begin with the Indian Sangha friends. We initiated sharing this a month ago these notes with everybody.

There a lot to share and I will keep on doing that but it is very important topic for all of us especially the meditators and also the non-meditators because food is what makes you who you are in your body –mind! Hence I want to take up lot of your questions and thoughts because it’s very important that we ground our self in this reality.

Because I have spoken about fasting aspect in some detail, I also want to talk about the moderation aspect here. So as I said fasting is absolute abstaining from food for a specific period of time, but then there is another aspect about moderation. Because I have also seen some of the yogis and meditators who can take fasting to the extreme. And Buddha is great example of that.

Let me share a quick story about Buddha in this aspect. I think this is a very important story for all of us. So, Buddha was doing intense amount of fasting, because he thought if I can master this I can achieve Nirvana. So first what he did he started consuming one meal a day, he did that for couple of weeks or months. Then he took the second vow, saying that from today onwards I will only take uncooked food. So now cooking is also off, which means he will only survive on fruits and raw vegetables whatever can be eaten raw. He did that for a couple of weeks again. Then he took the third vow, so he is increasing the intensity, and said from today onwards I will survive on water. No hard food, only water. Fair enough, after a few weeks he said from today onwards I will only take 1 sip of water a day. He did that for I don’t know for how long and then finally he took the mother of all vows. He said from today onwards I will not eat and not drink. He gave up that too. Then the story goes, when he took that vow, of course his body-mind became extremely frail, very fragile. So as his daily ritual he was going to the river to take bath, it’s called Niranjana river, he takes the dip in the river, because his body is too frail, he is able to go inside the water but he is unable to lift his body out of the water. There’s no strength in this body. Mental strength was enormous that’s why he could take these vows.

There is a village girl saw this ascetic who was almost drowning and unable to get out of water. She comes to rescue him, pulls him out to the shore and sees that he has just dissipated totally. He has no physical energy. She pours some water in his mouth, he is unconscious, she brings in some food, offers him food and Buddha starts to eat that food. Before eating this village girl gives a lesson to Buddha. She says, “Sir, you might be a great yogi , or an ascetic, but if you just can’t take care of your body , your own Annmaya kosha, your own food body, if there is no energy in the body, what will you do? How will you meditate? How will you even sit to meditate? You will become unconscious.” Story says it really hit hard to Buddha, as if it opened something in his heart, a new dimension, a new vision. Buddha ate the food she got for him.

But looking at this entire scenario, the five followers or the friends Buddha had that time, who thought looking at this. Before this event they were looking Buddha as great being, because he was endearing all of that. But with this event of Sujata offering food to Buddha these five friend or disciples thought that Buddha is corrupted. He is too weak in his mind. He couldn’t sustain the vows he has taken. He is too fragile in his mind, not just in his body and because he is too fragile he broke his vows, hence we leave him. The five keys people of Buddha left him at one end. At another end, Buddha got a new vision. He realized what Sujata is saying, is true. You cannot take any process to extreme because he took the process to extreme. Maybe from this realization his new teachings emerged as middle path, where he said not too much of indulgence of anything, nor too much of abstaining from anything. Moderation! Moderation is the principle of life.

So when I shared about fasting don’t go to that extreme. And also don’t go to the other extreme of over indulgence. Because the life, dhyana; meditation; bliss; evolution everything is there in the moderation, in the middle path. Madhya marg as they say in Hindi or Sanskrit. So think about this or I would say if you want to take a note of this point also please take a point of this too. The point of moderation about what you eat. Remember it every time when you eat.

I was talking about earlier, how we eat through five senses. We smell food, we see food, we touch food etc. how we take that as part of meditative process. Let me give you a sutra for that. A simple practice for that which you can do every time you eat. First when the food comes in your plate, we are nor entering into the prayer domain right now, when you food is there in the plate, first thing, take a pause, may be 10 seconds may be 30 seconds. In that pause, first, just look at the food. All the components there, the green leaves, the pulse, the bread, whatever. It’s like I actually move my eyes to one element to second element to third to fourth element. For another 3-4 seconds I just take 2-3 deep breathes to smell that food. If the food is too hot there will be a sound, I try to listen to it. And to all the friends who eat with cutlery I would suggest you can continue to do that if that’s a cultural thing but as a part of the practice just take those few seconds and touch the food with you bare hands. If you can eat with hands atleast once a day nothing like it. But if not then at least touch the food , touch that bread with your hand, touch that rice or salad with you hand. This entire process might take less than a minute, but you have engaged, nourished all your senses in the process and then you start to eat.

Food is a celebration. Food is a joy. Its like a delicate process, sacred process. We will talk about the sacredness of the process in the next session but right now at least through the senses can I feel the food and then I start to eat it.

Just one scientific fact you might be interested, you know why in lot of our cultures people eat with hand, we Indians eat food with hands, that population is going down but many Indian and Eastern culture still eat with hands. The scientific benefit about that as the science has now discovered and some of you may know about it, that in your hands, in your fingers there are these biomes, micro-organisms. These microorganisms are very intelligent and they have fantastic communication system with your gut bacteria. Look at the way the nature has evolved things. So when you touch the food, it’s very interesting, the micro-organisms in the fingers within no time has conveyed the information about the food to the gut bacteria. It is told in the gut saying carbohydrates are coming, protein rich diet is coming, be ready and start to secrete those juices, which are helpful in the digestion of that kind of food. Phenomenal system. So apart from what I talked about how essential is to touch the food, there is a scientific knowing around this also.

A question is why there is cultish behavior around food with veganism, raw foods etc. The answer to this could be little sensitive, because our sensitivity and culture about food is little different. My apologies to friends who do not find this in line with what they feel about this subject, but since a friend has asked, I should talk about it. If you don’t agree with me it’s alright. But my intention to talk on this issue is to bring light on his subject. First of all in any culture, where people have traditionally looked at food in a holistic way , you will never find cultism about let’s say veganism. Veganism says no animal product. Do you know let’s say if you just eat rice, which has starch, sugar and carbs. The sugar or glucose level will suddenly rise in the body. Now as per Ayurveda if you add just a teaspoon of desi ghee on it that will not allow the spike in the sugar level. The ghee will reduce the breaking down of molecules of rice into sugar. That’s what ghee does. Traditionally in South India when they serve idlis which is made of rice, they pour ghee. As they eat a lot of rice based things in South of India, and they always use ghee in food which is an animal product. Traditionally Krishna too has been eating a lot of ghee and butter and milk and curd. Any culture which has always looked at food in a very holistic way will never go into any extreme. To me veganism is an extreme. Because your body need some animal products even as medicine. In Ayurveda we always use milk based products. For e.g. curd is used for specific doshas, or diseases. Milk is prescribed if you have to take turmeric at night. In Eastern tradition food was never looked as an industry. It’s unfortunate now, that across the world including in India food has become an industry. If the food is corrupted and has become an industry now where animals are hurt, then you have to bring up these extreme phenomena like veganism. But maybe these extreme phenomena is needed right now because the torture on animals have gone to another extreme. So we are countering that extreme with this veganism extreme, probably. But the problem of extremes are, extremes are never sustainable. The other problem with the extreme is extremes are not nurturing in a holistic way.

Extreme will always lack in something as we just shared the story of Buddha. Maybe those vows made the mind of Buddha very strong, but those vows made his body weak. The Annamayakosha became weak and Vigyanmaya kosha – the intellect body became very rich. But you devastated one kosha completely. Nature doesn’t work like that. Spiritual process is absolutely in tandem with nature. So we are picking these extremes to counter the extremes of violence on the planet.

Hence what is the way out? The way out is can we start to come to the center? What happens in the center, in the center you don’t take vows like that. In center you take very conscious decisions that if I consume let’s say a particular animal product I will make sure that I will know the route, the source of this product, to make sure that this is not an industrial product I am consuming. Which is a lot of work, effort and challenge in today’s day. But you have to do that otherwise live your life on the extremes. That’s the only way. But in extremes you will never touch Ananda – the bliss body will always be wary. So remember that the fifth kosha element, the fifth body the Ananda of the heart, the joyfulness of the heart does not exist in the extreme.

There is already time for us to come to an end and there are still lot of comments and questions. I will save that and talk about that in next session.