You should not eat too much. You eat to live and never live to eat. Eating in excess is a tamasika quality. If you take sattvika, soft, and balanced food in moderate quantity, you develop sattvika or a pious mind. However, if you eat rajasika, spicy, hot food you will have rajasika or an emotionally agitated mind, and if you have tamasika food, that is meat, alcohol, and so on, you will have tamasika or a bestial, dull, and passive mind.
You should also think of patrasuddhi, the cleanliness of the vessels and utensils used; padarthasuddhi, purity of the materials; pakasuddhi, clean method of preparation or cooking; and bhavasuddhi, purity of the thought of the person who cooks the food. You shouldn't eat food offered to you everywhere.
A few years ago, there lived a sanyasi (ascetic) who on invitation dined at the residence of a businessman. That night this sanyasi, a celibate and spiritual seeker, could not sleep. Somehow, he fell asleep very late, and had a dream in which he saw a sixteen-year-old girl shedding tears.
Then, this sanyasi went to his guru and told him about the dream. The guru meditated for some time and told him the reason behind the dream. The day on which the businessman invited him for dinner happened to be the 11th day after the death of his sixteen-year-old wife and he was performing the traditional special rites.
Since the sanyasi ate the food cooked for the occasion, the girl who had died appeared in the dream with tears in her eyes. The young girl's father was very poor and could hardly maintain his family. So, much against her wish, he gave her in marriage to this aged businessman. Out of frustration, she committed suicide by jumping into a well. This is the whole story behind the sanyasi's dream. Hence, without discrimination, you shouldn't eat any food offered to you.
A similar thing happened once to a 'disciple' of Swami Nityananda. One day, he went out of the ashram and ate food outside. While returning, he stole from a house a silver tumbler and brought it to the ashram. But soon, he felt very sad over this action of his. He cried and repented.
The next morning, he went to his guru and confessed the whole incident. Because of his spiritual power, Swami Nityananda could find out the reason. He said to his disciple, "Well, the food you had outside the ashram was prepared by a cook who at one time happened to be a thief, and as a result you developed the instinct to steal." Therefore, cooks must have purity of thought.
Further, you should feel your body as light after eating, as before eating. The best thing is to keep half of your stomach empty. The remaining half should be filled in with water and other foodstuffs.
You should not drink whole milk. You should mix some water in your milk before drinking. You should have a minimum interval of 4 hours between 2 meals. You should take food, which gives you enough calories needed for the body. You shouldn't have too much of oily and fried curries. Sleep a while after lunch, and walk a mile after dinner. You should work hard and eat well.
PS: Go straight along the path of Karma (Action) and Dharma (Virtue) towards Brahma, the Supreme Reality. This is your destiny. Action has to be performed, there is no turning away. Each has his allotted task, according to the status, taste, tendency and earned merit. Do it, with the fear of sin. Welcome pain and grief, so that you take both success and failure as hammer strokes to shape you into a sturdy Sadhaka, spiritual aspirant.
- Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 5, Ch 13, Mar 24 1965.
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