OM…peace – peace – peace.
Disciples enquire within themselves: What is the cause of this universe? – is it Brahman? Whence do we come? Why do we live? Where shall we at last find rest? Under whose command are we bound by the law of happiness and its opposite?
Time, space, law, chance, matter, primal energy, intelligence – none of these, nor a combination of these, can be the final cause of the universe, for they are effects, and exist to serve the soul. Nor can the individual self be the cause, for, being subject to the law of happiness and misery, it is not free.
The seers, absorbed in contemplation, saw within themselves the ultimate reality, the self-luminous being, the one God, who dwells as the self-conscious power in all creatures. He is One without a second. Deep within all beings he dwells, hidden from sight by the coverings of the gunas – Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. He presides over time, space, and all apparent causes.
So, we’re biting off, chewing and digesting manageable amounts of the Bhagavad Gita.
Krishna continues his explanation of the Gunas: ‘ A man is said to have transcended the gunas when he does not hate the light of sattwa, or the activity of rajas, or even the delusion of tamas, while these prevail; and yet does not long for them after they have ceased. He is like one who sits unconcerned, and is not disturbed by the gunas. He knows that they are the doers of all action, and never loses this power of discrimination.He rests in the inner calm of the Atman, regarding happiness and suffering as one. Gold, mud and stone are of equal value to him. The pleasant and the unpleasant are alike. He has true discernment. He pays no attention to praise or blame. his behaviour is the same when he is honoured and when he is insulted.’
That’s quite a tall order, isn’t it? Yet we can see what Krishna means. I feel sure that the Dalai Lama has mastered this. To ‘pay no attention to praise or blame’ and to behave the same whether ‘honoured or insulted’ is going to take some chewing and digesting!
We’ve been following the theme of ‘Food is Medicine’, but the manner of your eating matters too. In the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, Southern India, we were required to eat in silence. If chatting occurred, a loud ‘OM’ would resound around the hall to remind us! Eating quietly and resting afterwards, having a period of quiescence, ensures that the nutritious content of the food is appreciated and that the digestive system can work efficiently.
Yoga tells us about the three gunas. These three energies form the qualities or constituents of nature. Rajas is motion, activity, passion. Tamas is darkness, inertia, heaviness. Sattva is purity, clarity, balance..Eating in the state of sattva ensures proper digestion and assimilation of food, while ‘eating on the go’ is rajasic and guarantees indigestion. Being in the tamasic state while eating, and indeed eating foods which produce this tamasic state, guarantees heaviness in all respects.
Preparation of food for others also needs consideration! If you’re angry and harassed and your quickly making a meal for the family, when they eat it they will take on that rajasic energy! That’s a recipe for everyone becoming cross! If you are in the calm state of Sattva when you prepare food, the love is baked in! The family or friends ‘enjoying’ your food will actually receive the joy from within it! Worth practising some quiescence…