What Does Bhagavad Gita Says About The Food You Eat? Know How Food Habits Affect Your Nature


FEBRUARY 20, 2024

An old proverb states, “You are what you eat.” This is based on a teaching from our scriptures, which include the many Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. One must have a balanced life to achieve health and happiness. This is usually attributed to Krishna telling Pandava prince Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita chapter 6, Shloka 17 – “Yukaharaviharasya yuktachestasya karmasu. Yuktasvapnavabodhasya yoga bhavati duhkhaha”.

This simply implies, “The one who follows the path of meditation, whose food and movements are balanced, whose actions are proper, whose hours of sleeping and waking up are regular, is the destroyer of pain or unhappiness.” Even in the present, the lesson is applicable.

The Bhagavad Gita also mentions how food affects one’s nature and actions. Let us know about it further.

Three Gunas: Rajasic, Tamasic And Sattvic And Their Effects On One’s Nature

Each human being is born with an inbuilt faith that can be any of three types: Sattvic (the mode of virtue), Rajasic (the mode of passion), or Tamasic (the mode of ignorance), according to the Bhagavad Gita. (17.2). These gunas are also present in the food.

The skilled are believed to be drawn to other good things, and the evil to other terrible things. The evil draws those who are in tamo guṇa. Rajasic people are attracted to riches, power, sexual pleasure, retaliation, and fury. Individuals endowed with Sattva guṇa find themselves drawn to virtues.

According to Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and other prevalent sacred Hindu scriptures, the food we eat directly influences our mind and body. (Image Source: Canva)

Choice Of Food And Its Impact On One’s Nature As Per The Bhagavad Gita

Sattvic Food 

A person’s lifestyle and, most crucially, eating preferences reflect their personality. Foods that fall under the goodness category are pure, enlightening, and peaceful, and they provide happiness and contentment. These foods give health, virtue, pleasure, contentment, and longevity. They are juicy, mellow, naturally tasty, and healthy. These consist of cereals, legumes, beans, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and additional vegetarian meals. Therefore, developing the attributes of the mode of goodness that are favourable for spiritual life can be facilitated by following a vegetarian diet.

Rajasic Food 

Vegetarian dishes become Rajasic when they are prepared with an excessive amount of sugar, salt, chilles, etc. These meals have intense flavours – extremely hot, very pungent, very dry, highly spicy, bitter, sour, and salty, among others. They cause anxiety, depression, and poor health. Such meals are alluring to individuals in the mode of desire but repulsive to those in the form of virtue. Eating is to maintain the body robust and healthy, not to experience happiness via the senses.

Tamasic Food 

“That which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, and impure refuse, is the food liked by the Tamasic,” according to Bhagavad Gita 17:10. Foods that fall into the ignorance or darkness category are essentially unfresh foods. Except for prasadam, which is food presented to the Lord, any meal that has been prepared for more than three hours before consumption is regarded as being in the mode of darkness. Such meals give out an unpleasant stench due to their decomposition, which tends to draw individuals into this mode but drives away those in the mode of goodness. It is believed that certain foods offer sedative properties for both the body and the psyche. These meals should be avoided, as they might result in bodily and mental weakness. Meat, onion, garlic and alcohol fall under the list of tamasic food items.

(Disclaimer: This is based on general public information.)

Courtesy: Jagran English