Sunday, November 11, 2012

Food for thought: Ramana Maharishi and food

I have already written how Paramahamsa used to always discuss food with his wife, asking her what was the menu for the day and stuff like that. Some devotees were aghast and asked him why food should matter to one who has real dispassion and self-realised, as he was? He would answer, with a smile, that because he was he was so detached, he had no need to hang on. But the final karma, of sharing what he experienced with his devotee, had to be met. And to stay on, he pretended an interest in stuff like that..

Here is some more on food, with another Saint, my most favorite of them all, Sri Ramana Maharishi. As an aside, I must say that a saint must look like a saint, I mean his eyes. Some powerful purity must reflect in his eyes, as it does in Sri Ramana's:) Through the ages, this photo of his talks to us all.. such clarity of thinking and simplicity -- if u read his words it comes through, this thing. This is from an article I wrote a few years ago:

Sri Ramana Maharishi was famous for being supremely indifferent to food. When he ran away from home as a teen to the temple town of Arunachalam, on the way he pledged his earrings to buy train ticket to his destination. A packet of sweets given to him by a caring lady, he chucked it away in the manner of a true renunciate who must not hoard food for the next meal.  Before his sainthood became known he lived along the temple, eating food given in charity. If no body bothered to feed him, he sunk into a faint uncaringly! In later life, when an ashram grew around him, there is a story of how he would always take a small bite of the food that was offered to the deity. Some followers were aghast at such disregard for sanctity and form. But the sage chided them, saying that when we cook food for our loved ones we take a small bite to check the taste. Only if it is good and tasty do we serve it to our loved ones.  So also, he was tasting the food to check if it is good enough for his god!  The  moral of this story? Where food is concerned, attitude is all.

Here some more from him, from quotes I got on the net: 
Why then the restrictions of food given for such? ( A question asked by a visiting devotee): 

Maharishi answers.: Your present experience is due to the influence of the atmosphere you are in. Can you have it outside this atmosphere? The experience is spasmodic. Until it becomes permanent practice is necessary. Restrictions of food are aids for such experience to be repeated. After one gets established in truth the restrictions drop away naturally. Moreover, food influences the mind and it must be kept pure. 

Maharishi:  The quality of food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.

On another question: Are there restrictions for the realised man in a similar manner?

M.: No. He is steady and not influenced by the food he takes.

1 comment:

evnathan said...

Glad to hear that Bhagvan Rmana is your favourit Saint. I have read that all food articles, sweet, sour, bitter, etc. are first served to him. When all are served, he would mix all the food on his leaf and eat it so as to avoid discrimination between one type of dish and another. If he showed any liking for one dish, he was afraid that his dvotees would pamper him with that dish.