Sunday 15 March 2015


2015-11 "Sattvic, Rajasic, Tamasic" Foods [Bhagavad Gita 17.8-10]

Sattvic Food

The foods which augment longevity, intellect, strength, health, cheerfulness and appetite, which are juicy and oleaginous, wholesome and naturally agreeable, are liked by the 'sattvic'.

आयुः सत्व बल आरोग्य प्रीति विवर्द्दनाः |
रस्याः स्निग्द्धा: स्थिरा हृध्या आहाराः सात्विक प्रियाः ||               BG 17.8

rasyāḥ snigdhāḥ sthirā hṛdyā āhārāḥ sāttvika-priyāh    

āyuḥ — duration of life; sattva — intellect; bala — strength; ārogya — health; sukha — happiness; [and] prīti — satisfaction; vivardhanāḥ — increasing; rasyāḥ — juicy; snigdhāḥ — fatty; sthirāḥ — enduring; hṛdyāḥ — pleasing to the heart; āhārāḥ — food; sāttvika —to one in goodness; priyāḥ — dear.



The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning are liked by the 'Rajasic' and are productive of pain, grief and disease.

कट् म्ल लव त्युष्ण तीक्ष्ण रूक्ष विदाहिनः |
आहारा राजस स्येष्टा दुःख शोकामय प्रदाः  ||                        BG 17.9 

āhārā rājasasyeṣṭā duḥkha-śokāmaya-pradāḥ.

kaṭu — bitter; amla — sour; lavaṇa — salty; ati-uṣṇa — very hot; tīkṣṇa — pungent; rūkṣa — dry; vidāhinaḥ — burning; āhārāḥ — food; rājasasya —to one in the mode of passion; iṣṭāḥ — liked; duḥkha — distress; śoka — misery; āmaya — disease; pradāḥ — causing. 


The foods which are stale, tasteless, bad-smelling, decomposed, refuse and impure are liked by the 'tamasic'.

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यतु  |
उच्छिष्टं पि  मेध्यं भोजनं तामस प्रियम्  ||                    BG 17.10

yāta-yāmam — food cooked hours before being eaten; gata-rasam — tasteless; pūti — bad-smelling; paryuṣitam — decomposed; ca — also; yat — that which; ucchiṣṭam — remnants of food eaten by others; api — also; ca — and; amedhyam — untouchable; bhojanam — eating; tāmasa — to one in the mode of darkness; priyam — dear.

The purpose of food is to increase the duration of life, purify the mind and aid bodily strength. This is its only purpose. In the past, great authorities selected those foods that best aid health and increase life's duration, such as milk products, sugar, rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables. These foods are very dear to those in the mode of goodness. 
Some other foods, such as baked corn and molasses, while not very palatable in themselves, can be made pleasant when mixed with milk or other foods. They are then in the mode of goodness. All these foods are pure by nature. They are quite distinct from untouchable things like meat and liquor.  
Milk, butter, cheese and similar products give animal fat in a form which rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures.  Protein is amply available through split peas, dāl, whole wheat, etc.
Foods in the mode of passion, which are bitter, too salty, too hot or overly mixed with red pepper, cause misery by reducing the mucus in the stomach, leading to disease. 
Foods in the mode of darkness of ignorance, are essentially those that are not fresh. Any food cooked more than three hours before it is eaten is considered to be in the mode of darkness. Because they are decomposing, such foods give a bad odor, which often attracts people in this mode but repulses those in the mode of goodness.

1] Bhagavad Gita, Tattva Vivechani Comm. by Jayadayal Goyandka
2] Bhagavad Gita, Universal Message of: Swami Ranganathananda
3] Bhagavad Gita As It is [17.8-10] Swami Prabhupada

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