Mahavira's Scripture Of Health: [09.11] Food And Health - Stop Wasting Vital Energy

Published: 06.06.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

These are four preliminary ways of penance. If they are properly followed, there is no need for a physician. The Person can become his own physician. It is not as though a person who uses discretion about food or eats only beneficial food never falls ill and always remains healthy. There are many other factors that are responsible for one's illness. The outside atmosphere, the season, bacteria, virus, etc. are the factors leading to the diseases. The disease can also come because of a person's reduced power of resistance. Fasting, eating less than necessary, etc. are the unfailing remedies. Over-eating leads to expending too much of one's vital energy. Saving one's vital energy means saving one's own strength.

Several types of penances like navakarasi (feeding all Jains), paurushi, purimaddha, ekasana (having the same posture), upavasa (fasting)ten pratyakhyanas etc. are practiced in the Jain tradition. All these are the ways of preventing the over-use of one's vital energy or saving it. According to Ayurveda, it is believed that the phlegm continues to have its effect until 10 O'clock in the morning, after which there is the growing effect of the bile’s. When the phlegm is having its effect, the food that is eaten is not properly digested. The effect of the bile’s begins at 10 O'clock in the morning and wears out by 12 O'clock. That is why the instruction in the Agamas about having one meal a days has a scientific basis.

Today the dieticians advise not to have any breakfast at all. If at all, take only the liquids like milk. Do not eat any heavy food item or a sweetmeat.

Acharya Hemachandra wrote in the Yogashastra: “Astangate Divanathe” that the digestive system becomes inactive after sunset. The sun is the greatest source of energy. The systems of the vital energy, physical energy, digestion remain active only because of the sun. As the sun sets, all these systems become inactive. That is why it is not right to have a meal at such a time. The food that is eaten at that time does not get transformed into the juice. That food is not helpful for health. There is a provision for breakfast in exceptional circumstances. Ordinarily, the ascetic is to have only one meal a day. If one eats less frequently, there is no accumulation of the acidic and the toxic substances. A person remains healthy. Instead of this simple method, man takes the help of medicines. But the medicines are not very effective.

Sources
  • Mahavira's Scripture Of Health by © Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulheraj & Muni Dhananjay Kumar
  • Translated by Sarla Jag Mohan
  • Published by Adarsh Sahitya Sangh, New Dehli, India, 2000

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Hemachandra
  3. Agamas
  4. Ayurveda
  5. Ekasana
  6. Fasting
  7. Hemachandra
  8. Navakarasi
  9. Upavasa
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