Friday, August 23, 2013

The Spiritual Aspect of Gastronomy!

By the time you are finished with reading this blog, you may have started enjoying food in a different manner. I can assure that this blog will lead to ‘Salivation’ than ‘Salvation’. I have a different take on the overall aspect of ‘enjoying food and but also come out with a guilty frame of mind, most of the people face after eating their heart out’. The friction starts there and believe it or not, it starts to get accumulated in the form of fat/calories. The more the friction the higher the calories are!

I had been reading a lot in the newspapers (or read ‘tabloids’) regarding the ill effect of certain food e.g. Cheese.  Cheese is sometimes referred as deadly as an assassin and next day, the same tabloid publishes a note on why one should eat cheese regularly to stay healthy. So you don’t know whether to blame yourself or the cheese or that sucker tabloid. Most of the time, you end up blaming yourself or the cheese or mostly..CHEESE!

And there are some research fellows who are writing a thesis on how fast food craving is almost similar to drug addiction. They have come to a conclusion that thinking about fast food activates the similar centres in brain which are generally associated with triggering the addiction of drugs. I insist that addiction for food is not caused by food but by the person consuming it. And FYI, there is an addiction of God also. They keep on chanting 24X7 and expect miracles to happen. I have also come across many people who insist that they eat to live and not live to eat.

First things first. What my experience says – Never blame your food for your ill health. You are consciously accepting what to eat. And even after this if you have nothing but to blame food, you are doing an injustice to it. From here only the unfair treatment of the food starts. Your body decides to not digest it properly. It blames it. It says the food is heavy and is hindering the digestion. This slows the metabolism. And slower metabolism rate means deposition of fat at various organs in your body. Then how food is culprit here?

In general, we see many a people seeking spirituality, trying to be as close as possible to God, seeking inner peace. Most of them attend spiritual camps to cut themselves from the mundane (and essentially ruthless) chores. That particular retreat refreshes them, charges them up so that they can survive the battle for a typical time cycle. Some go a step ahead. They accept a typical order to attain higher spiritual level, dedicate a lot of time for meditation and yet, are part of the family. Some (and almost all sages) leave everything what they have and embark a journey to find themselves which ultimately culminates into finding GOD sometimes.

In a nutshell, you have to work hard to be closer to God. I mean that is the impression we get from the so called ‘learned ’ people. However, I have never heard of God quoting “You will have to go through tough situations to see me. I will test you. I will take you to the cliff. I will torture you and if you pass the ‘examination’ then only I will appear” Is God that tough to people who wish to experience him? Will he purposely make them go through penance? I have my doubts. Perhaps, a simple and honest act can get you far closer to God than the unruly penance can take and that too in less time.

So why am I talking about being closer to God? May be, the following case makes sense for the topic. Consider any moment from the past when you were hungry. Seriously hungry! You wanted something to eat. It didn’t matter what. You were not in a position to define if you needed Italian, Chinese, French, Mediterranean, Punjabi etc . And all you got was simple bread (Roti in Indian context) and vegetable (Sabzi) and it must have tested far better than the ‘most awesome cuisine’ you had till date. Eureka! My dear friend, you had experienced God. Experience of God is the experience of fulfillment, experience of joy and experience of gratitude. It comes in many forms. And food is one of them.

Food is a basic need of any living being. It thrives on it. And it is probably the simplest way of being in touch with God everyday (if you wish to)! There could be nothing as joyful as you enjoying a morsel of food when you are hungry. The sense of fulfillment and joy certainly takes you near to God. Hunger is the penance. I am not trying to write ‘A Lazy Man’s Guide To Seek God’ but what is the problem if there are simpler ways to be happy and grateful. You don’t have to go all the way to Himalaya for that!!

Few of you may argue that many communities across the globe have the practice of saying prayer before starting lunch/dinner. Saying prayer and experiencing fulfillment are different things. Further, saying prayer has become a mechanical ritual. In my school days, I used to be so eager to finish the prayer so that I can open my tiffin and start eating the food. More or less the same case across the globe.  Few must be doing this very dedicatedly but is all right if you do that after finishing your food. It will have more element.

And finally small note on a tribe of people who call food ‘s**t’ when they don’t like it. Okay, I understand your outrage but referring food in that manner is complete disrespect and not acceptable in any terms. There are millions on this planet who don’t get to anything to eat for days and they are ready to eat anything. Think for a moment about them before you disrespect food. And yes, please finish the portions in your plate. If you can’t finish then please don’t serve yourself with that much quantity. You will be doing a lot of favour to the whole mankind!

So, in a nutshell…it’s easy!!! Love your food, love the person who cooks food for you, appreciate, say thanks and just enjoy it!!! J     


  1. Totally agree.....any food made,served,consumed with love will only enhance our spiritual capabilities. Pehle pet puja,phir kaam duja!

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