क्षुद्व्याधिश्च चिकित्स्यतां प्रतिदिनं भिक्षौषधं भुज्यतां

स्वाद्वन्नं न तु याच्यतां विधिवशात्प्राप्तेन संतुष्यताम्।

शीतोष्णादि विषह्यतां न तु वृथा वाक्यं समुच्चार्यतां

औदासीन्यमभीप्स्यतां जनकृपानैष्ठुर्यमुत्सृज्यताम्॥ ()

kṣudvyādhiśca cikitsyatāṁ pratidinaṁ bhikṣauṣadhaṁ bhujyatāṁ

svādvannaṁ na tu yācyatāṁ vidhivaśātprāptena saṁtuṣyatām |

śītoṣṇādi viṣahyatāṁ na tu vṛthā vākyaṁ samuccāryatāṁ

audāsīnyamabhīpsyatāṁ janakṛpānaiṣṭhuryamutsṛjyatām || (4)

Both hunger and disease should also be treated. Daily take food like medicine. Do not beg for tasty food. Live within what comes to you, due to Divine Grace. Endure all dyads. Do not unnecessarily speak. Remain indifferent to happenings around. Do not make your living, by depending on others.

1. Both hunger and disease should also be treated. A perfect body is essential to pursue quality sādhana. One should not practice for the sake of practicing. Sincerity, dedication and efforts are essential constituents for a quality sādhana. Due to change in weather conditions, one may get affected with various diseases. Added to this, there could be epidemics. It is important that we keep our body in a perfect condition, as it is said that body is the temple and the Self within is the sanctum sanctorum. Therefore, if a seeker falls ill, he should get his diseases cured. In ancient days, sages and saints were depending on herbal medicines. Similarly, one has to eat proper food to keep his body healthy. Rigorous fasting is not recommended for spiritual seekers. Body needs energy for proper meditation and during meditation, lot of energy will be consumed. Quality air and regular physical activities will ensure that body does not suffer. A well balanced diet, along with proper physical activities, will ensure that we maintain good health that is free from disease. Further, food also nurtures our mind. Chāndogya Upanishad says, “When we eat food, it divides into parts. One part is excreted. Second part becomes flesh and blood and the third part becomes mind. Mind is nourished by food.” Hence proper food is essential for a quality sādhana,

2. Daily take food like medicine. Food should be consumed as if it is a medicine. Taittirīya Upanishad says, “The one who knows Brahman will never speak ill about food. Life is food and the body consumes that food and the body is alive because of life.” It is always said that one should not disrespect food. Sages and saints of olden days, take food by resorting to bhikṣā, which means seeking food from others. If yogis eat, they consider it as intake of food by the Brahman. If they feel the hunger, they feel that Brahman is hungry. They do not distinguish between Brahman and themselves. If such a thought arises, the food comes in search of the yogi and the yogi need not go after food. Food should not be taken in large quantities. Food should be taken only as medicine, to nourish our body and mind. If too much is food is taken, it will lead to lethargy and loathfulness. Fresh fruits, boiled vegetables, milk and milk related products, nuts are considered as energetic food and at the same time, they will not cause lethargy and will never be an impediment, while practicing sādhana.

3. Do not beg for tasty food. Tasty food is an addiction and addiction leads to desires and when desires intensify, he loses self-control and go to any extent, including begging, to satiate his taste buds. Self-control is the most important part of sādhana and ultimate realization. We have to have effective control over taste buds and should take food only for the purpose of maintaining proper body and mind. If tasty foods are consumed, it will cause sluggishness of mind. Self is sought and realized only in a pure mind. Hence, it is said that one should avoid delicious food.

4. Live within what comes to you, due to Divine Grace. Īsha Upanishad says, “Practice renunciation and be strong in the consciousness of the Self. Do not run after others’ wealth.” Whether living comforts or the food that we eat, should be within our means. Proper income come from doing karma yoga, as propagated by Kṛṣṇa. We have to do our prescribed duties and without expecting anything in return. We have to surrender the result of all our karmas to Brahman. This way, ego is also destroyed and mind also evolves without any attachment. Living within means, is always the best way to practice spiritual path. There is no need to live beyond our means. There is no point in teaching Vedanta by charging huge sum. Higher spiritual knowledge should never be sold for a price. There is no price for spiritual knowledge. Unfortunately, nowadays spirituality has become one of the thriving businesses, which should not be the case. Brahman is always a witness and It will ensure that true seekers are always protected.

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