Saturday, September 9, 2017

1087. The Pure Intake......!

The seventh chapter of Chandogya Upanishad is titled “Bhuma Vidya” (Art of Living on Earth) is a conversation between Sage Narada and Sanatkumara. In this section Sanatkumara reveals the knowledge of Self-supported, Self-sufficient, Self-complete phenomena called Brahman. In the section 26 explaining the Primacy of Self Sanathkumara says,  

“Aharasuddhau Sattvashuddhi, Sattvasuddhau Dhruva Smritihi, Smritilambhe Sarva Granthi Vipramokshah”

Meaning:  “By purity of food, the inner nature is pure. Memory is sharp for those who have pure inner nature. When memory is sharp one can think of the path to Liberation.”

When I looked into the commentary of this particular verse by Sri Sri Sankara, I was amazed to know about the explanation given. I wish to share my understanding here. One can derive different meaning from one Sanskrit word, this word “Ahara” too is such. If we stop at thinking that this word “Ahara” is referring to Food alone, we will never understand that verse from Chandogya Upanishad. If we split this Sanskrit word into two it is Ahah and Hara. Ahah is interjection (Outburst) and Hara is to “remove”.

In this sense the Gudartha (Mystical Meaning) of Ahah Hara is to “remove the outburst”. There is an outburst for anything and everything that our five senses come into contact with that which is in the outside world. Anything taken into our body through the five senses is food. It is not that the meal which passes through our mouth alone is food, Sight is food for eyes, Sound is food for ears, Smell is food for nose and Feel is food for Skin. To make it simple, if there is outburst of hunger it is removed by the meal we consume. This applies to sound, smell, sight and feel too.  

Now having understood the mystical meaning of Ahara it is time to concentrate on the verse which says one can know the path of liberation if the food (object of senses) is pure. In Sanskrit impurities are called Dosha and the food which we are considering here could have Tridosha (Three Impurities). That which removes the outburst of hunger is meal, it could be having  three impurities.   

Jati Dosha (Natural Impurity), it could be the defect due to the substandard ingredients used in the recipe. Nimitta Dosha (Occasional Impurity), it could be from the presence of external contamination fallen in the dish, such as dust, dead insects, etc. Ashraya Dosha (Depended Impurity), it could be from the food coming from immoral sources. (Note: immoral source is pertaining to stolen food or other person’s morsel)

Likewise there could be impurities in the sound, smell, sight and feel that we experience. Hence the
Upanishad warns us to be aware of the impurities and guides us to
make sure that whatever we take into our body through our senses have to be pure. In fact in reality whatever we eat is to little compare to what we consume through our eyes, ears, nose and skin. Our scriptures give more emphasis on food for eye and ear, what we see and hear in day-to-day life. It gives emphasis on whether we live in a polluted environment so that our skin and nose is taking all bad food for it.

We talk of hygiene only with respect to what we eat and seldom check on what we see, hear smell and feel. Let’s fill our body with only purity..... What say??? 

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