You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1998

Role of Dietary Regimen in Control of mind
Date: Thu Oct 15 1998 - 17:23:54 PDT

Dear Bhagavtas:
Presented below is Part 2 on Control of mind-Role of Dietary Regimen.
Anbil Ramaswamy
"Ayurveda' prescribes that a proper dietary regimen would promote healthy
development of both body and mind and reduce, if not totally eliminate, the
need for medicines.

The interaction between the body and mind and the role of three Gunas in the
process can be recognized by careful observation. When you are depressed in
mind, your body debilitates and is unable to function with the optimum
efficiency it is normally capable of when your emotions are normal.
Conversely, when you are physically healthy, you are able to think clearly,
speak effectively and act correctly. If your body runs, your mind also runs as
fast; If you fall sick, your mind also suffers a setback. And, mind is only a
representative of your `ATMA' or soul.

So long as one does not understand the difference between the body and the
soul and does not keep the interaction under control -- one would be subject
to the sway of emotions of pleasure and pain. This difference can be
understood and this chain of interaction can be broken only by a `Sadhu'
(Saint) or `Satvik' 
(pious) a person who trains himself by a strict regimen of body -- mind
control. In other words, these Satviks are those who have achieved a state
where bodily conditions do not have any effect on the mind (and therefore the
Atma or soul) and vice versa.

Even on the death bed, even when exposed to severest heat or benumbing cold,
even while suffering from excruciating pain, even when they have gone without
food indefinitely (as in the case of our Maharishis) they can keep their
mental facilities intact and in fact, in finer fettle, more agile and clearer
than even when being physically normal. In short, these `Satviks' have
divorced the body -- mind relationship and broken the chain successfully.

While it is impossible for the average person to achieve this absolute state,
it is definitely within the competence of everyone to endeavor to achieve an
equilibrium in the interplay of the Gunas by proper discipline in habits --
the most important of which are food habits. A conscious effort will be
required to train oneself in this discipline. This will facilitate a slow but
steady advancement leading ultimately to this absolute state. That is why our
scriptures advise measures to achieve `a healthy mind in a healthy body.'

As the elimination of the effects of Rajo Guna and Tamo Guna would
automatically ensure the effects of Satva Guna, we will consider the reaction
of these Gunas on the mind of a person.

When the `Rajo' type of person goes to a birthday party his mind will yearn to
be the `birthday baby'; when he goes to a wedding, his mind would like to don
the wedding robe of the groom; when he goes to attend a funeral of `somebody'
his mind will not hesitate to be that `somebody'; when he meets one who has
achieved fame, wealth or power his mind would at once ask why he should not be
`that one.' 

Astonishingly avaricious, dubiously devious, and wonderfully wayward are the
characteristics of a Rajo type of person. He is impatient to achieve
objectives but the very impatience would cause impediments to the very
objectives he desires to achieve. 

But, one thing is clear. It is in this propensity to incessant activity of the
`Rajo' type of persons that the whole world revolves, with attendant pleasures
and pains.

When such a person reaches a stage when all his needs had been denied, when
his ways had led him to undesirable ends, and when he is immobilized having
reached his nadir, when he realizes that after all he had been running after a
mirage -- then and then only would he realize the efficacy of `Satva' and the
deception of `Rajo.'
(To Continue)