Thursday, September 10, 2009



The old adage 'Prevention is better than Cure' holds good more in respect of health. If prevention is built into cooking and eating habits, maintenance of health becomes a natural result.

Here are some of the time-tested centuries old Sanskrit adages culled from ancient literature. They help us in developing good healthy eating habits.

Aadau madhuram asniiyan, madhyee aamla lavan`am kat`uum (from Manusmriti): Dining should start from sweets, followed by 'sour, salt and hot' tastes.

Aahaara suddahu, satva s`uddhihi. (from: Chandogyopanishad): If the food is clean and pure, the intellect and mind will also be clean and pure.

Aapasya sarvasya Bheeshijihi (from: Rigveda): Water is the remedy for all diseases.

Aapoo agram divya aushadham (from: Atharva Veda): Water is the top divine medicine.

Aayush kaamoo na kurviita, ratree ca dadhi bhoojanam (from: Anonymous): Person desirous of longevity, should not eat curd (yoghurt) during night.

Bhinna rucihi lookaaha. (from: Raghu Vamsa): People of different countries have varying tastes.

Bhishangmaasti iti vicimtya bhakshayeet akaaraantaat hi vicakshan`oo visham? (from: Pamca Tamtram): Does anybody eat poison, simply because the Doctor is at hand?

Bhoojanee bhava maatragnoo, dhyaanayamanaayaaaya ca. (from: Soundara Namdam): Become accurately measuring while dining, so that your intellect and meditation is balanced.

Jihvee! Pramaan`am jaaniihi bhoojanee, bhaashan`ee api ca: Oh tongue! Know your limits while talking and eating.

Jiirn`a bhoojanam vyaadhir noopasarpati: Diseases do not approach a person who eats after what is inside his stomach already is completely digested.
Jiiryamti api kaasht`haani daridraan`aam (from: Maha Bharata, Udyooga Parva): Poor have the ability to digest even firewood.

Some of these verses, prima facie, do not appear to have rationale and seem superstitious.

For example, people have different habits with regard to the first item of dining and the last item of dining. In the West, disserts consisting of sweets are taken last. In India also, it is the practice. But the texts advocate opening with sweets.
Not eating curd during nights, is also not followed by majority of the people.

The Panca Tantra ironic saying about eating poison (figuratively for unhealthy foods) simply because doctors and medicines are readily available is a great piece of advice. This is happening in the entire developed world.

About Saundara Namdam advice to be accurate in dining: This is important not only for ascetics, even for common householders. There seems to be some definite link between food one eats and his/her mental alertness, peace of mind and stability.

About the limits for the tongue both in respect of talking and eating: Today's world is discusses oral sex. Tongue has become a multi purpose weapon. If people can really restrict their tongue, they can become jiteendriyas (Conquerers of Senses and Organs).

Jiirna bhoojanam advice(Eating only after all the previously eaten food is digested) is difficult to follow where there are temptations from restaurants serving exotic food and parties are common.

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