Question: I’m curious about eating habits according to Ayurveda. Why do so many sadhus and strong bhajana practitioners eat only once a day? Is it good for the health and bhajana? I know that Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī Maharāja and perhaps you also take prasad once a day.
What are the benefits of such a diet? What is the best time to take that one meal during the day? In the West, intermittent fasting is becoming popular for its health benefits, but is it according to śāstra?
Answer: The best advice is given by Kṛṣṇa in Gita 6.16–17. Many advanced sadhus eat once a day, not because of some sadhana, but because they do not need more than that. So eat according to the requirement of your body. Overeating and undereating both are harmful. There is no need to follow others in this regard. Listen to your own bodily needs.
Question: What are the basic cleanliness standards suitable for the present time, which are to be followed if someone is wishing to enter into the bhakti path?
Answer: Cleanliness related to the body includes taking a daily shower, being vegetarian, not using unclean objects while dressing, and washing oneself properly after going to the toilet. Cleanliness of the mind means avoiding intoxicants and thoughts related to sense pleasure. Our Sādhana Guide can give you more specific guidance on these points.
Feeling of Loneliness
Question: Why does one feel alone? What should one do in such situations?
Answer: In reality, we are alone. Consider this: We are born alone and die alone. No one can say otherwise. Even if two or more people die simultaneously in an accident, they die alone.
There is a rule that what is not in the beginning and not in the end, is also not in the middle. Ādāvante ca yan nāsti vartamāne’pi tat tathā. That means that we are alone in the middle, i.e., between birth and death. Out of illusion, we think that we are not alone. The sense of togetherness that we feel, Śrī Kṛṣṇa calls it vyapadeśa-mātram “just in name” – na yat purastād uta yan na paścān madhye ca tan na vyapadeśamātram (SB 11.28. 21). In other words, we are not really together but have an illusion of it. At least we can experience it during our sleep. We sleep alone even if someone else is sleeping next to us.
Maybe this reality hits you sometimes and you then realize that you are alone. That is the time to meditate on the truth and realize that only God is with us. He was with us when we were born, He is with us now, and will also be with us when we die.
The modern world gives us two temporary solutions to our loneliness:
1. Dull your awareness by taking drugs, alcohol, etc.
2. Stay engaged and busy by partying, watching movies, etc.
People are afraid to be with themselves. They get bored and anxious if left alone without anything to do. This is because they are not trained to be alone. They are used to being ever engaged with something. The spiritual solution is to learn to be with God. He is already present within.
In the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad it is said that the Vedas came out on the breath of God. Just like you are breathing without thinking, for God, this Vedic knowledge is as natural. Therefore, God gave the Vedic knowledge effortlessly, just like breathing. If God wants to bring out the Vedas through breathing, He can do that. For Him every sense can do the function of any another sense because He is beyond duality. He is Absolute so His senses are also absolute.
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