A Lesson on Eating
Beginning of June, when I met Sri Kumar in Hergiswil, he gave me a warm welcome and pointed to some cookies and chocolate on the table: “Take some”.
I answered, “I must be careful” and pointed to my stomach. He smiled and replied, “In our age it is no longer necessary.”
So I took a cookie and I saw him later take one, too. I forgot about the episode.
My body weight is an issue for me since my childhood…
When three weeks later we were in the hotel in Paris, I shared a room in the apartment, which was the “dining hall” for Sri Kumar and his close company. The rest of us had our meals in another apartment, and I used to silently slip out of my room to the other one. The last day in the morning, I saw Sri Kumar casually talking with Sabine and Anna and I had the impulse to ask if I could join. He said, “Yes, please come”.
He then smilingly remarked, “You look a bit thinner – did you lose weight?” I replied, “I’m happy when I can keep it stable.”
He continued: “Agastya, Master Jupiter (he is the eldest of the Masters of Wisdom) is always fasting though he eats great quantities of food. But he doesn’t live in the consciousness of eating. He has realised that the food he takes is Brahman and that it is Brahman who is eating the food. In this consciousness the food which is Brahman nourishes the body which is Brahman, and so Agastya is not eating. This is real fasting. Not eating keeps the mind with eating. When you realise that the whole process is only Brahman, then you won’t put on any weight. It won’t stick to the body. Just offer it to Brahman and see that it is Brahman who eats.”
He then started singing:
“Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir / Brahmagnau Brahmanaahutam / Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam / Brahmakarma Samadhina
Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva / Praninaam Dehamaashritaha / Pranapana Samayuktah / Pachaamyannam Chaturvidham”
I knew these verses from the Bhagavad Gita. I later looked them up on the web and found them on the Sathya Sai website:
“The act of offering is God, the oblation is God / By God it is offered into the Fire of God / God is That which is to be attained by him / who performs action pertaining to God.
Becoming the life-fire in the bodies of living beings / mingling with the subtle breaths, / I digest the four kinds of food.”
I remembered that a friend had recorded the melody last January in India, with Parvathi Varanasi, the sister of Sri Kumar, singing it. In traditional Indian families, it is sung before you eat a meal. I’m just learning it by heart. It reminds me to realise that it’s not me eating but the Divine, and that the food is also divine.
The sweets on the table