Food for the Body or the Soul?

Letter from Delhi

The story of the Roman emperor who loved to eat non-stop needs to be recalled when we think about food.

This emperor was so fond of eating all the delicious dishes prepared in his kitchen that when his stomach could no longer contain what he was eating, he just irritated his throat with a special stick and vomited it all out to go back to eating again!

A German proverb conveys the right advice: Stop eating when the food tastes the best. Instead of going on gorging more food because it is so tasty, stop when it tastes the best and preserve this taste. One is then not bloated, and the food will digest easily, without discomfort.

These days, food is a major concern of everyday life, and comes in all forms: vegetarian foods, fruitarian foods, unprocessed foods, organic foods, sugar-free foods, gluten-free foods, low-calorie foods, vitamin-rich foods, protein-rich foods, Superfoods (from South America, Tibet and the Far East). In daily conversation, the list goes on and on about different types of foods. All these foods are linked to dieting for the right weight in relation to height and for looking healthy, glowing and smart. Dieting is a major industry today. People starve to ‘eat right, so that their pants are not tight!’ So many diet systems are popular and practised. People lose weight so as to get big compliments on how good they look – only to put on double the weight again! Or face a downside: reduce their immunity and fall ill.

Despite all the fasting and starving in the name of dieting, the people who thus lose weight do not look young or have a glow on their faces. Why? Because the spiritual dimension of eating food is nowhere in their lives. Because they are not natural.

This is where Osho comes in. He cautions that the body never goes to extremes, it is the mind that does so. This is why no animal goes to extremes, otherwise what would be the condition of animals! There is no one giving them guidance. Have you ever seen an animal eating too much? Go to the jungle and look carefully, do you see any animal that you can say has overeaten? Do you see any animal that is fasting?

He adds, “Food cannot make you spiritual, but if you are spiritual your food habits will change.” Once you start meditating regularly, you only eat what your body needs and no more. Most important, you eat while being aware about what you are eating and how you are eating. You select the right food that you need at the right time and enjoy it. Then you eat it slowly, relishing its taste and chewing it for over 30 times to digest it. And you eat when you need the food for energy.

Automatically, you lose or gain weight to achieve the correct balance. With this awareness from meditation, your body becomes healthy and you have a glow on your face. This has been observed with people who have stayed with Osho and meditated for many years as they become very careful about what they eat, when they eat and how they eat. Do they live to eat or eat to live? Neither. They meditate with food.

* * *

Do you go to the temple?

“Do you still worship Lakshmi during Diwali?” asked a cynic who thinks that anyone on the path of spirituality goes beyond all the rituals of traditional religion. “And do you also go to the temple?” he went on, “Of course, all this is a big NO, NO for you.”

Obviously, he was trying to provoke an Osho disciple. The simple answer to his questions is with equally pointed questions, “Why should anyone on the path of spirituality with Osho abandon rituals, festivals and celebrations? Why when Osho’s central theme is Meditate – Celebrate?”

Read Osho’s ‘Hidden Mysteries’ and you will get all the answers that provide you with the origins and the real and original purposes of temples: why their special architecture, the offerings of fruit, flowers, sweets and incense, the bowing down, the ringing of the bell just once, the significance of the mantras vibrating in our skull and many other related objects and procedures we keep on following without knowing their real meaning.

The same series of Osho discourses explains the alchemy of places of pilgrimages: why certain locations and why only certain time slots for visiting and bathing there. Osho explains why positive energies converge at certain places and why they are most powerful at certain periods when the planets are in a specific position. On knowing these secrets, you will never make fun of the Kumbh Mela or any other place of pilgrimage!

Osho then talks about the occult secret of the third eye and explains why it is an important centre for spiritual energy with extraordinary powers. If you think that praying before idols is futile, you will think again when Osho explains their divinity as they become deities from mere idols. Finally, he devoted two discourses on astrology for all those who think it is just a hocus pocus that hardly comes true. In his unique perspective, he explains the spiritual dimensions of astrology. He makes you understand and appreciate astrology not just to forecast your health, marriage, job, money, house or career, as we do normally, but how astrology can open the doors to religiousness. This is pure spirituality!

‘Hidden Mysteries’ introduces to the untold secrets of religiousness – not religion. Following Osho does not mean not following your religious practices. In fact, Osho makes you a real Hindu, a real Christian, a real Muslim, a real Sikh, a real Parsi or whatever religion you follow. He takes you to its centre and with meditation, you become one with it.

So will you worship Lakshmi on Diwali? Go to the temple? Of course, but with much more understanding – thanks to Osho!

(Editorial in Osho World Magazine November 2013)

* Published in print edition on 8 November 2013

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