Archive for December 9th, 2012

Date: * 09 April 22:42:01 -0000
From: pradiip pradiip@gal.net…
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Re Do You Eat Sentient Food



~ Part 2 ~

Note 1: This is the second letter in this series; a link to the first letter has been appended below.

Note 2: This letter has essentially been written for those very strict in adhering to a sentient diet. This letter is also very appropriate for those who want to become more diligent in following a sentient diet. Those who are lazy, lethargic, and constantly compromising by eating rajasik or tasmasik foods – and have no interest in improving their eating habits – may or may not read. However, if such persons want to improve their diet they are most welcomed and encouraged to read.

First let’s address comments and queries raised by readers about the first letter on this topic:


(A) Brother Pra’n’va inquired: “On the matter of “Do not eat (or “take food”?) in a hotel or restaurant. Even sattvic food, taken at (of “in”?) a hotel or restaurant, is to be considered tamasic.” Yet a WT stated that “You can take the food outside and eat it or just away from the hotel or restaurant.” Could someone clarify this, please.”

As long as that restaurant is positively following all do’s and don’ts of the system outlined in this series of letters then that prepared food can be taken out of the shop and it will be sentient. For instance, if a restaurant has a juice bar and it is certain that their knives and blending machines are only used for fruit, then one may buy a juice and then leave the restaurant and drink that in a park or car etc and it will be considered sentient. However, purchasing prepared food from XYZ restaurants that do not follow the do’s and don’ts of sentient food preparation, then all of their food should be considered tamasik, even if one takes the food out of that restaurant and eats it elsewhere.

(B) Brother Govinda stated: “May I add please that the nature of the minds of those who prepare food are important; Chefs minds in a restaurant are generally Tamasic or Rajasic.”

Yes, this is an excellent point and a very important consideration for every sincere sadhaka. In His guidelines for Wts, Baba has given the following:

“[One] should not touch food by a mean-minded person…” (32 Rules for Avadhutas, pt #20)

By this we can understand that the mind-set of the person preparing the food definitely affects the food itself. Sentient food can become tamasik in this manner

(C) Brother Govinda also raised the idea of various new companies that produce mock meat, fake meat, imitation meat etc. These are products made out of soy, vegetable meal or other vegetarian ingredients. As Govinda comments, these products are very good for meat-eaters who are transitioning to an all-vegetarian diet. For those who are already established in sentient eating, then it is probably best to avoid these company products as it is not 100% certain how all such foods are prepared. They may contain onion, chopped with a knife that was used for cutting garlic in a different dish etc. There are just too many unknown variables. Thus, sadhakas should avoid such items. But fake or mock meat alternatives are good for the general population; i.e. those looking to transition from meat-eating to a plant-based diet.

Many thanks for all those who contributed. Here then is brief review of the first letter followed by many new points.


Baba says, “Strict vegetarians avoid using any container which has been used to hold non-vegetarian food.” (Microvita in a Nutshell)

In this above tenet, Baba is guiding us that even sentient food becomes ta’masik if it touches a utensil, pot, or container – or any other item – that was used in conjunction with static food.”

“So we must be careful because the ramifications of Baba’s above mandate are vast.”

(1) No eating at another family’s house if they fail to keep a strict sattvika kitchen.
(2) No eating at any hotel or restaurant.
(3) No company foods”

Interesting and dynamic topic that is so crucial for living as sadhakas in this present era. Very practical.


Here are more points to add to this list:

(4) Vegan labeled foods also problematic as they may contain onion, garlic etc.

For the above reasons and more, many prepared foods labeled as being “vegan” may not be sentient. A whole wheat bread may be made using the same pans and machines as a garlic bread. Tomato sauce that claims to not have onions and garlic may be mixed on equipment used for the normal ta’masik tomato paste. Similarly a rice dish may have mushrooms in it.

Here the point is that just because something is vegan does not mean that it is sentient; philosophically and practically speaking, the vegan diet and the sentient food diet are not the same. Vegan items often contain onions, scallions (onion family), leeks (onion family), garlic, mushrooms, red lentils, white eggplant, mustard greens etc. All the aforementioned items are vegan, but tamasik – not sentient. So if you are invited to a vegan feast, it does not mean you will be able to eat everything. Rather, expect that many or most items will be tamasik as onion and garlic & other tamasik plant-based foods are popularly used in the non-margii community.

(5) Openness About Labeling.

Today, many pre-prepared vegan foods state, “Made in a facility that also produces items containing eggs.” Or such food labels may state, “Produced on machinery also used to produce items containing eggs.”

Such companies are trying to be open about what they are doing – probably to inform those who suffer from allergies like peanut, soy, dairy, gluten allergies etc. Why has this happened? Because those suffering from food allergies have been vigilant and active in protesting. That is why companies have begun labeling their food in this way. If sentient food adherents are equally active, companies will respond by clearly indicating on the label if products contain: onion, mushroom, garlic, scallion, chives, leeks, mustard seeds / greens, red lentils, white eggplant etc. So there is hope that one day this will be clearly marked.

At the same time, we should also keep in mind that so many other companies who do not have the conscience to mark their foods with the above statements may be doing a whole lot worse. They may be making veggie sandwiches on the same counter as meat sandwiches, but they never say anything about this.

Here the point is that no pre-packaged food – even it if is labeled as being vegan – can be taken on faith as being 100% sentient. Plus, in many countries, companies are still not mandated by law to label if they are using GMO’s, genetically modified organisms.


So although the world is becoming more “green”, “healthy”, and “organic”, there remain numerous points that we must be aware about when selecting our food. Because the common society and business owners are not aware about sentient food. For either financial incentives or out of plain ignorance, the food they promote and label as pure vegetarian may not be sentient for Ananda Margiis.

The best solution then is to buy unprocessed ingredients like rice, soybeans, vegetables, and all kinds of grains, fruits, and legumes and prepare those things in our own home.

In addition, wherever and whenever possible, it is probably better to buy things that are both local and organic, but that may not always be possible. At the same time, do be careful about GMO, or genetically modified organisms; this is especially relevant for corn and soy products grown in the USA, though not exclusively limited to those items. For more about this issue of GMO’s please reference this letter.



Here is the section from His discourse ‘Some examples of Microvita in Daily Life’ that reveals how eating vegetarian food from a non-veg container is ta’masik.

Baba says, “Those who consume a lot of static food also emit this sort of foul smell…Similarly, an intensely foul smell is emitted from the bodies of tigers because they are carnivorous…A hilsa fish (an Indian herring) is extremely fond of flesh – rotten flesh is its favourite food – hence it produces a kind of repulsive secretion. If a fish bowl or container which held hilsa fish is cleaned with a cloth, and the cloth is used to clean another container, a repulsive smell will be emitted from the second container unless it is properly ventilated. A vegetarian will feel uncomfortable if this container is used for eating, drinking or anything else. Strict vegetarians avoid using any container which has been used to hold non-vegetarian food.” (Microvita in a Nutshell, ‘Some Examples of Microvita in Daily Life – Section C’)

at His lotus feet,




“Static food: Food which is harmful for the mind and may or may not be good for the body is static. Onion, garlic, wine, stale and rotten food, meat of large animals such as cows and buffaloes, fish, eggs, etc., are static.

Very often people eat food without knowing its intrinsic qualities. For example, the milk of a cow which has just given birth. Or white eggplant, khesárii pulse [horse gram], red puni [Basella rubra Linn.], or mustard leaves, all of which often grew out of rotten matter.

In order to have a balanced mind and to progress spiritually, human beings will have to pay attention to the qualities of the food they eat. The idea that “I will just do my sádhaná and eat any food, proper or improper” will not do.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy In A Nutshells, Food, Cells, Physical and Mental Development)

“Támasika áhára: All kinds of foods which are harmful to either the body or mind and may or may not be harmful to the other are called támasika.

Stale and rotten food, the flesh of large animals such as cows and buffaloes, and all types of intoxicants, are categorized as támasika.

Small amounts of tea, cocoa and similar drinks which do not excite a person to the point of losing his/her senses are in the rájasika category. The milk of a newly-calved cow, white brinjals, khesárii dál, green vegetables of the type of red puni or mustard are támasika. Masúr dál cooked for one meal will become támasika by the next meal.” (Caryacarya – 3, Procedure for Eating)


“A’mi a’chi bhay kii toma’r, sukhe dukhe a’ma’ke d’eko…” (PS 2123)


Baba, You told me, ‘I (Baba) am always with you. Never be afraid. There is no question of fear. All the time – in good times and bad, & in pleasure and pain – always call Me. And when you do, you will have My presence – then and there. Because I am always with you. So you should not encourage any sort of fear complex.’

Baba, You guided me that, ‘In your life, regardless of whatever good or bad things happen, or whatever sweet or sour things occur, just make everything blissful by ideating on Me (Baba). Change all that bitterness into sweetness with divine thinking and ideation.’

You told, ‘Whenever your heart is burning and the pain is unbearable, and whenever you cannot tolerate any more negative and terrible occurrences, then by ideating on Me you will be able to change all that harshness into sweetness. Then softness and sweetness will saturate your mind– instantly. Remember I am always with you’.

Baba, You also told, ‘In the cold winter’s hail storm and in unbearable situations when suffering comes, and when the flowers of love have withered
away due to the heat of the atmosphere, then look towards Me. And even when all the vital energy is about to leave your body then that time also look
towards Me and ideate on Me. Then everything will become positive and the throbbing sensation of life will again return. Never encourage any sort of
pessimism, negativity, or any kind of complex. Because I (Baba) am always with you and I am always ready to help you in each and every circumstance’. Baba like this You lovingly guided me.

Baba, You are showering me with Your causeless grace – in all the directions always….

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