THE "LIGHT OF TRUTH"
by Swami Dayanand
Conduct - Desirable and Undesirable; Diet -Permissible and Forbidden.
"It is perfectly certain that India never saw a more learned Sanskrit scholar, a deeper metaphysician, a more wonderful orator, and a more fearless denunciator of any evil, than Dayanand, since the time of Sankarcharya."
Contents of Page:
Yamas and Niyamas
Controlling the senses.
Ancient Aryas of Europe and the Americas
Cooking and preparation of food.
Diet - permissable and forbidden.
Eating with foreigners.
Yamas and Niyamas
Now we shall treat of desirable conduct - the performance of righteous actions, refinement of (character) speech and manners, association with men of learning and piety, and love of all true knowledge, etc. - and undesirable conduct - the reverse of all these things:-
"People should always bear in mind that whatsoever is done by learned men - good and true, - who are free form inordinate affection and hatred, or whatsoever is known to be true by the testimony of the inner monitor is the true conduct of life." MANU 2: 1.
"In this world, neither inordinate desire nor its total absence is conducive to a man's happiness, because it would be impossible either to lead a virtuous life as enjoined by the Veda or to acquire true (Vedic) knowledge without desiring the same." MANU 2:2.
"It is impossible for any man to be altogether free from desire, because all our actions - philanthrophic works, truthfulness in speech, the practice of Yamas* and Niyamas,** and other duties - proceed from desire for the same.
- Yamas are five:- (1) kindness to all, (2) truthfulness in word, deed and thought, (3) honesty in dealings, (4) chastity, (5) freedom from selfishness.
- Niyamas are also five:- (1)Purity of mind and body, (2) mental tranquility, (3) strict devotion to duty, (4) study of the Vedas and other true Shaastraas and contemplation of the Deity, (5)Resignation to the Will of God. - Tr.
"Even the most insignificant action (e.g., nictitation) in this world is impossible without a desireeon the part of the doer. Therefore, whatever a man does (e.g., the movements of his hand, feet, eyes, and menta. Activity) is the outcome of his will." MANU 2: 4.
"Let a man regulatehis conduct according to what is sanctioned by the Vedas taught by Smritis and other books of the Rishis - seers of the Veda -, practiced by all men - good and true and approved by his own soul." MANU 2: 6.
In other words, let him perform such actions in the doing of which no such feelings, as fear, distrust and shame, arise in the soul. Behold, when a man desires to tell a lie or steal anything, his soul is filled with feelings of fear, shame and doubt, it is, therefore, a proof of the fact that it is wrong to do such an act.
"Let a man, therefore, carefully view all these - the Veda, the teachiigs of the Vedic seers, practices of good men and true, and the approval of his own soul - with the eyes of wisdom, and do his duty in obedience to what is sanctioned by the Veda and approved by his own soul." MANU 2: 8>
"Verily tha man, who follows rules of the righteous conduct as taught by Veda and by the Smritis in conformity with Veda, shall acquire fame in this life and the highest bliss in the next.." MANU 2: 9.
"The Veda is called the shruti and the system of conduct of life as taught by the Vedic seers and teachers is embodied in the Smriti. It is by the help of these that the true conduct of life as well as the false is ascertained. He who holds them- the Vedas and the works of true
teachers in conformity with the Veda - to contempt should be excluded from all good society, as an atheist and a slanderer of the Veda.
"Therefore, the Veda, the Smriti, the practice of good men and the approval of one's soul - these are undoubtedly the four criteria of the True conduct of life. In other words, it is by these alone that the true religion is ascertained." MANU 2: 12.
"It is only those who stand aloof from the headlong pursuit of both - wealth and carnal desires - that can ever attain a knowledge of true religion. It is the duty of everyone, who aspires to gain this object, to determine what true religion is by the help of the Veda, for, a clear and perfect ascertainment of true religion is not attained without help of the Veda." MANU 2:13.
"Therefore it behoves all men to practise all those righteous deeds that are enjoined by the Veda.
Dwijaas - Braahmans, Kshatriyaas and Vaishyaas - should perform all Sanskaars* for their own good as well as for that of their children. They lead to purity (mental and corporeal) in this life as well as in the next." MANU 2: 16.
"Let the Tonsure Sanskar be performed in the sixteenth year of a Braahman, in the twenty-second of a Kshatriya, in the twenty-fourth of a Vaishya." MANU 2: 65. (In other words, it should not be delayed beyond those periods). Thereafter they should keep a tuft of hair on the top of the head
- A sanskar is anything done to improve, refine and purify the body and the soul. Ther are altogether sixteen sanskars: the first one is the sexual intercourse with the object of producing good children, as has been described in the beginning of the second Chapter of this book. -Tr.
and always cut or shave the hair of the head, moustache and beard. That is to say, they should never grow them afterwards. In a very cold climate they can please themselves as to cutting the hair or allowing it to grow. On the other hand, in very hot climate they shold have all their hair, not even barring the tuft of hair on the top of the head, cut or shaved; because too much hair on the head is productive of heat which causes dulness of intellect. The moustache and beard cause inconvenience in eating and drinking; because the particles of food adhere to them.
Controlling the Senses
"As a skilful driver keeps his horses well under control and directs them in the right path, so should a man strive to keep his senses - that are apt to lead one's mind to the pursuit of wicked objects and temptations - under thorough control, restrain them from the path of sin and temptation, and always guide them in the path of righteousness. This alone is the true conduct of life." MANU 2:88.
"Verily that man alone can achieve his heart's who is master of his senses and directs them in the path of righteousness. But he who allows them to get engrossed in sensual gratification and sin, and thus becomes their slave, soon contracts evil habits, loses his character and suffers the evil consequences thereof." MANU 2:93.
"Sensual desires are never fully gratified if they are indulged. They are only inflamed still more fiercely like fire which blazes more vehemenly when fuel ( and butter) are added to it. Let a man, therefore, never indulge in sensual gratification." MANU 2:94.
"A man who is the slave of his passions can never succeed in acquiring knowledge of the Veda, in keeping up his vows of chastity, truthfulness and the like, nor in fulfilling his duties towards man and God, practising righteousness and doing good works. They are only attainable to the good and pious man who is the master of his senses." MANU 2: 97.
"Let a man, therefore, have thorough control over his five organs of sense and five organs of action and the eleventh organ of thought, - the mind, - protect his body by proper dieting and by observing the laws of health, and, thereby achieve the object of his life." MANU 2: 100.
"He is verily the master of his senses who rejoices not when applauded, nor grieves when censured, is neither by sensation of nice soft things (such as soft comfortable bed and clothes), nor displeased by that of hard and coarse things, neither delighted with the sight of beautiful things nor vexed with that of ugly hideous things, neither pleased with a good dinner nor angered with a bad one, neither gladdened with the smell of perfumes, nor disgusted with that of disagreeable odours." MANU 2: 98.
"Let a wise man never speak unless spoken to, nor answer a question when unjustly and hypocritically asked. Among hypocrites let him remain as if he were dumb; but to the honest truth-seeker let him preach even though unasked." MANU 2: 110.
"Wealth, nobility of blood, age, professional skill, and honesty industry (or character) and true knowledge, these are five things to be respected but the one following more than the one preceding it. In other words, a man of noble lineage or one's relation ought to command more respect than a man, who is only wealthy, and aged man should be respected more than the first two, a man possessing some professional skill or good character more than the first three; again true knowledge and wisdom ( the wealth of mind) should command more respect than professional skill or character." MANU 2:136
"An ignorant man destitute of true knowledge, four hundred years old though he be, is in truth a child; whilst a teacher of secular knowledge and of spiritual science, though he be a child, should be respected as an old man; because all the Shaatraas and wise sages have declared an ignorant man to be like a child and a learned man like unto a father." MANU 2:153.
"A man does not become old (aged) by years, nor by grey hair, nor by wealth, nor by powerful kindreds and friends. The wise and holy sages have declared, - 'He among us is old (great) who is most learned in knowledge - material and spiritual." MANU 2:154.
"A Brahman is entitled to distinction according to the extent of his knowledge; a Kshaatriya is judged by his physical power, a Vaishya by material wealth in his possession, and a Shoodraby years." MANU 2:155.
"A man is not, therefore, old (venerable), because his head is grey, but he, who has acquired wisdom though tender in years, is considered old (venerable) by the wise." MANU 2:156.
"As an elephant made of wood or as a deer made of leather, so is a man destitute of knowledge. He is a man only in name." MANU 2:157.
"Let a man therefore, gain knowledge and acquire wisdom, lead a virtuous life, bear makice to none and hsow all men the path that leads to true happiness. Let his speech be sweet and kindly." MANU 2:159.
Blessed are they who always preach the truth and thereby promote righteousness and destroy sin and wickedness.
Let a man always take bath regularly, keep his clothes clean, his food and drink clean and pure, the his house clean and tidy. The cleanliness and purity of these things lead to health and purity of mind, which in their turn increase strength and capacity for work.
Cleanliness should be sufficient to remove all traces of dirt and disagreeable odours.
"The practice of such virtues as veracity, and the doing of good works verily constitute the true conduct of life enjjoined by the Veda and taught by the Smritis." MANU 1: 108.
"The service of father, mother, tutor and atithis, i.e., the altruistic teachers of humanity, is called devapujaa or the worship of godly persons." YAJUR VEDA 14:15 -ATHARVA VEDA 11:15,17 -TAITREYA UPANISHAD 7: 11
Devotion to whatever promotes the good of the world as well as abstinence from all harmful acts are the chief duties of man. Let a man never associate with those who are atheists, and liars, nor with those who are indolent, guilty of breach of faith, hypocritical, selfish and deceitful. Let him always move in the society ofmen who are learned, truthful, pious and have public good at heart. This, in truth, constitutes good conduct.
O. Is not the character of the people of Aryavarta (India) lost by going a broad?
A.~ No, it is not; because a man can retain a good character and is not polluted, no matter wher he goes, as long as he is pure in mind and body and practises such virtues as truthfulness. Whoever is addicted to a sinful life and immoral practices, even though he lives in India, loses his character and is polluted. Had it not been so, why should the ancients have travelled abroad.
Ancient Aryas of Europe and the Americas.
Mark what is written in the Mahaabhaarat. "Once upon a time the sage Vyaasa lived in Paataala (America) with his son and pupil Shuka. The son asked his father if spiritual science was only what he had him or something more. Vyaasa intentionally did not answer that question. He had lectured on tthat subject before. So in order to have his teaching confirmed by the testimony of another man, he addressed Shuka thus, 'O my son, you go to Mithipapuri and ask this very question of King Janak. He would give you the right answer.'
Having heard what his father said, Shuka left America for Mithalpuri. He first visited the continent that lay to the North and North-West of the Himalayas and was called Harivarsha* ( now called Europe), then the countries of the Jews called Hoon (Asia Minor, etc.), thence he came to China, from China he proceeded towards the Himalayas and thence to Mithilapuri (in India). It is recorded in the same
- Hari a monkey, Varsha an abode. Hari-Varsha therefore literally means abode of monkeys, so-called because its inhabitants have red lips and brown eyes like those of monkeys.
book that Krishna and Arjuna went to America in an Ashwatari vessel (i.e., one propelled by electricity) and brought the sage Uddalaka back with them on the occasion of the Rajasuya Yajna of Emperor Yudhishthira. Again Prince Dhritraashtra was married to a princess of Gandhaar (Kandhaar). Madri, the wife of King Paandu was the daughter of the King of Iran (Persia), Prince Arjuna was married to Princess Ulopi of Paataala (America). Now how could they have done all those things if they had not gone abroad?*
Again ther is mention of a tac in the Manu Smriti which was levied on all vessels leaving Indian ports.
When Emperor Yudhishthira performed his Rajasuya Yajna (coronation), he sent his brothers, prince Bhima, prince Arjuna, prince Nakula and prince Sahadeva with invitations to all the kings of the four quarters of the globe to join the Yajna. Had they considered it debasing to one's character to travel abroad, they would not have done all those things.
The ancient Indians used to go abroad to all parts of the world for the purposes of trade, travel, or on political business. The present day bug-bear of loss of one's character and faith through travelling abroad is simply due to the false teachings of the ignorant people and the growoth of dense ignnorance. Those who do not hesitate to go abroad, and thereby associate with peoples of various foreign countries, study their customs and manners of the foreigners, and rejecting their faults and evil habits, and bad manners, O ye foolish people!
Your character and faith are not lost by having sexual intercourse with a low, despicable prostitute, but you consider it harmful and debasing to associate with good men of other countries! What is it, if not foolishness? It is true though that those who live on flesh-diet and take intoxication drinks, have their bodies, bodily organs and secretions ( as reproductive element) saturated with the fine particles of those malodorous substances. The Aryas (natives of India) should, therefore, becareful that they do not get infected with these evel habits. But there can
- Literally to different contries, peninsulas and islands. -Tr.
be no harm or sin in learniing trade, arts and other good qualities from the foreigners. When these foolish people considerit a sin even to see or touch them, they can never fight against them, as they must see and touch them in fight.
Let all good men remember that good conduct consists only in the avoidance of untruthfulness, injustice, inordinate affection or hatred and other evel habits, and in the practice of love and kindness towards all, in the cultivation of gentle disposition and in the promotion of public good, etc. Let them also understand that religion has reference to one's soul and good life. When we live righteous lives, foreign travel can do us no harm.
The evil consequences flow wonly from the commission of sins. It is right though that we should thoroughly understand what the true Vedic religion is, and also learn to refute false religions so that no onemay be able to mislead us. Can a country ever make any progress unless its people trade with or extend their rule over other countries? What can you expect but misery and poverty, when the people of acountry trade only among themselves, whilst the foreigners control their trade and rule over them?
These hypocrites - the so-called priests and other religious teachers perfectly understand that if they educate the people, and let them travel abroad, they would get enlightened, and consquently would no longer be ensnared in net of fraud and hypocrisy spread by them. They would thus lose their livelihood and respect. This is the reason that they make so much fuss in the matter of eating and drinking. Their object is to prvent people from going abroad. It is quite true though that not even by mistake should they ever use meat or drink.
Have all sensible men not ascertained that in time of war the cooking of food and its eating, or drinking (milk or water, etc.) under such absurd restrictions as those of Chaukaa* by soldiers have invariably been the cause of their defeat? The duty of a soldier - whether on foot, mounted on a horse or on an elephant, or seated in a car - consists (if necessary) in eating and drinking with one hand whilsst fighting the enemy with the other, and in winning the battle; whilwit is wrong on his part to let himself be defeated. By observing such absurd restrictions as of Caukaa is the matter of
- The kitchen should be plastered with a thin coating of mud mixed with a bit of cow-dung. The food should be cooked by no one else but a high caste and then served by the same within a marked area, etc.-Tr.
eating and drinking, and other foolish practices. These stupid people have lost all independence, happiness, wealth, political power, learning and activity, in short, everything. Now they are sitting idle with empty hands, praying for someone to come and relieve their distress, and give them something in charity wherewith they could get some food and ease the pangs of hunger. But that help is never forthcoming. They have thus completely ruined Aryavarta (India). It is quite true though that no pains should be spared in washing, plastering, sweeping, cleaning and tidying up the kitchen. It should never be allowed, to get dirty like that of the Mohammedans and Christians.*
Cooking and preparation of food.
O. What are Sakharee and Nikharee?
A.~ The food that is cooked in water is called Sakharee, while what is cooked in milk or fried in butter is called Nikharee (i.e., nice). This is another fraud invented by these rogues. The food cooked in milk and butter is always pleasing to the taste; they have originated these fraudulent practices (in the matter of food) in order to fill their stomachs with delicious, greasy articles of food, otherwise, whatever has been ripened by heat and time is called ripe (another name for nikharee) and whatever has not been cooked or ripened is called raw (another name for sakharee). Even the permissibility of all ripe or cooked food and the prohibition of raw food is not applicable to all cases, for instance, fried grams and other cereals, though un-cooked, are still eaten and their use is not forbidden.
O. Should the Dwijaas (twice-born) cook their food with their own hands or is it permissible to eat food cooked by the Shoodraas (low-casted)?
A.~ They can eat what has been cooked by the Shoodraas; because it is the duty of Dwijas - Brahmans, Khatriyas and Vaishyas both men and women) to devote themselves to the dissemination of knowledge, the service of the state, the breeding of cattle, and to agriculture, trade and arts ( and not to waste their time in cooking, etc.) But they should not eat or drink out of a < b>utensils or what has been cooked in his own house except in case
- In India the kitchens of the Mohamedans and Christians are not generally kept clean. Among the European residents in India it is chiefly due to the fact that the kitchens are entirely left in the hands of low caste Indian servants who do not possess and great sense of cleanliness.-Tr.
of emergency. Here is an authority for this statement :- " In the houses of the twice-born, Shoodraas - i.e., ignorant men and women incapable of following any higher pursuit - should do the cooking and other domestic service." APASTAMBH II.ii, 2,4. But they should keep their bodies and clothes, etc., clean. While engaged in cooking in the houses of the Aryas - the twice-born - they should have their mouths covered ( with a piece of cloth) so that their beath may not contaminate the food, and their saliva may not fall into it; they should wash before cooking. They should take their food after the Aryas have been served.
O. How can it be permissible to eat food cooked by a Shoodraa when it is held to be wrong to partake of food even touched by him?
A.~ It is a mere fabrication, and therefore, absolutely wrong. Bear you well in mind that whosoever has partaken of sugar (brown or white), butter, milk, flour, vegetables, fruits and roots has in fact eaten what has been prepared by men of all sorts and conditions, and their leavings. When the < b>, leather-workers,* scavengers, and Mohammedans, Christians and others gather sugarcanes for the fields, peel them, and press juice out of them, they handle them with their soiled hands, as they do not wash them even after micturating or defecating.
They suck one-half of a cane, and shove the remaining half into the press, fill a jug out of a vessel containing cane juice, drink as much as they can, and pour the remainder back into it. While evaporating the juice they sometimes make cakes in the same pan and never clean it afterwards. In the manufacture of white sugar, they rub the brown sugar with their shoes, the soles of which are soiled with all kinds of dirt, offal, and dust. Milkmen adulterate milk with water kept in their dirty cans, and keep butter in the same. Similarly, in the manufacture of flour they - the laborers - handle it with their dirty hands, and even their perspiration trickles sown into it.
The same kind of undesirable practices are to be seen in the careless handling of fruits, roots and tubers. Whoever has, therefore, eaten these things has in fact eaten of the hands of men of all sorts and conditions.
- Leather-workers in India are of very dirty habits. -Tr.
O. There is nothing wrong in partaking of foods and drinks that have even been prepared and handled behind your back, such as fruits, roots and tubers, etc. (by undesirable persons).
A.~ Indeed ! what else would you have eaten? Dust or ashes? Sugar is sweet, milk and butter are nourishing, you could not forego the use of these articles. No wonder, therefore, that you extremely selfish people have invented such false doctrines and practices. Well, if there be no harm in eating or drinking what ahs not been prepared before your eyes by some undesirable person, would you eat food out of the hands of a scavenger or a Mohammedan* who cooked it with his own hands in some place out of your sight. It is true that in eating and drinking out of the hands of flesh-eaters and wine-drinkers, such as the Mohammedans and the Christians, there is some danger of even the Aryas - followers of the Veda - contracting these evil habits, e.g., eating flesh and drinking intoxicants.
But ther can be no harm if the Aryas dine together. It is extremely difficult for people to make any progress as long as their religion and their interests are not the same. Again they cannot progress when they do not rejoice in each other's joys, nor sympathize in each other's afflictions. But mer dining together can never lead to any real progress. As long as they do not avoid evil things - manners, customs, etc. - and embrace good things, instead of making any progress they will go form bad to worse.
The causes of foreign rule in India are:- mutual feud, differences in religion, want of purity in life, lack of education, child-marriage, marriage in which the contracting parties have no voice in the selection of their life-partners, indulgence in carnal gratification, untruthfulness and other evil habits, the neglect of the study of the Veda, and other mal-practices.
It is only when brothers fight among themselves that an outsider poses as an arbiter. Have you people even forgotten the practices that were in vogue at the time of the Mahaabhaarat War, a little over five thousand years ago? In the war they - the soldiers - ate and drank even while riding or driving in cars. Mutual feud ruined the Kauravas, the Paandavas and the
- The Puraniks do not partake of food touched by a Mohammedan or a Christian. - Tr.
Yaadavas in the past. The same fatal disease is still clinging to us. None knows whether this dreadful fiend will ever leave us, or rob us of all our happiness and plunge us in the depths of misery. The Aryas are still treading the wicked path of the despicable low Duryodhana, the destroyer of his race and enemy of his country. May God through His mercy rid us, Aryas, of this dreadful disease.
ON DIET - PERMISSIBLE and FORBIDDEN
Permissibility or prohibition in diet is based on two factors - one determined by the Science of morals and religion, and the other by the Science of Health.
"The twice-born -Braahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas - must not eat such vegetables, fruits and roots as are raised in night soil and other kinds of refuse." MANU 5:5
"They should abstain from flesh diet and intoxicants", MANU 2: 177, such as wine, Ganja, Cannabis Indica, and opium, etc.
"Let them never use those articles that are prejudicial to the growth of the intellect." SHARANGDHAR 4:21.
They should also avoid the use of all those articles of food that are decomposed, fermented, unclean or foul smelling, etc., and those that are not properly cooked as well as those prepared and handled by such men as live on flesh - diet and intoxicating drinks whose very bodies are saturated with the fine particles of meat and alcohol.
The Aryas should neither themselves kill such useful animals as cows, nor let other do the same. One cow in one generation benefits 475,000 people through her milk, butter and offspring - male and female. Thus, some cows give thirty-two pints of milk, other not more than three pints daily, say for twelve months ( some give mild for eighteen months, other for six, hence we have taken the mean of the two). Calculating on this basis, we find that 24,960 persons can be fed at one meal with the milk given by one cow in her whole life-time. On an average a cow calves about twelve times during her whole life. Supposing two of them die, of the
remaining ten calves, say, there are five males and five females. The latter during their lives will together give enough milk to satisfy 124,800 persons at one meal. The remaining five male calves can produce at least 180 tons of corn,* and supposing we allow 11/2 lb. of corn per head, 180 tons will do on a rough estimate for 250,000 persons as food for one meal. Putting milk and corn together a cow in one generation can supply one good meal to 475,600 people.
Similarly if we go on calculating the amount of corn and milk yielded by one cow in all her generations, it will be found that they would be sufficient to feed millions upon millions of people. Besides bullocks are very useful to man for tilling the ground, riding, pulling carts and wagons, and carrying heavy loads, etc., but the chief use of cows is that they yield good milk.
Buffalo's milk is not so useful in promoting the growth of the intellect as a cow's. Therefore, it is that the Aryas have always regarded the xow as the most useful animal. Other enlightened people will do the same. One goat yields, enough milk to satisfy 25,920 people at one meal. Similarly, horses, elephants, camels, donkeys and sheep are of great service to man in various ways. Those who slaughter these animals should be looked upon as enemies of the whole human race.
When the Aryas were in power, these most useful animals were never allowed to be killed. Consequently, man and other living beings lived in great peace and happiness. Because , milk and butter, and such animals as bullocks being plentiful, there was abundance of food and drink ( as milk, etc.). But since the meat-eating, and wine-drinking foreigners - the slayers of kind and other animals - have come into this country and become the ruling power, the troubles and suffering s of the Aryas have ever been on the increase; because, it is said, "How can you get fruits and flowers of a tree when its root is cut off?" VRIDHA CHAANAKYA 10:13.
O. Were all people to live on non-flesh diet, lions and other carnivorous animals would multiply in such large number that they will kill all such useful animals as cows. Your attempt to prevent their slaughter would come to nothing.
- Bullocks ar used in India for tilling the ground and other agricultural purposes.-Tr.
A.~ It is the business of the State to punish or even kill all those men and animals that are injurious (to the community).
O. Should their flesh, i.e., (of the animals thus killed) be thrown away?
A.~ It would do no harm to the world whether it be thrown away, given to dogs or such other carnivorous animals, cremated or even eaten by some meat-eater. But if eaten by man, it will tend to change his disposition and make him cruel.
The use of all such food and drinks as are obtained through injuring or killing others or through theft, dishonesty, breach of faith, fraud or hypocrisy is forbidden, in other words they al come under the heading of forbidden articles of diet; while the acquisition of foods and drinks through righteous means without injuring or killing any living creature falls in the category of permissible articles, of diet.
This also includes all those articles that give health, and strength, destroy disease, promote intellectual power and energy and prolong life, such as rice, wheat, sugar, milk, butter, fruits, tubers and roots, when properly mixed in due proportion and cooked, and eaten in moderation at proper meal times.
Abstinence from the use of all those things that do not agree with one's constitution and are apt to produce disease or other evil effects, and the use of those that are prescribed for one (by his medical attendant) also constitute adherence to what is called the permissible diet.
O. Is there any harm in eating together, i.e., out of the same dish?
A.~ Yes, it is harmful, because people differ in their nature and constitutions, etc., from each other. Just as one is eating out of the same dish with a leper is apt to catch disease, likewise eating with other people is always liable to produce evil results. It can never do any good. Therefore it is said in the Manu Smriti:-
"Let no man give the leaving of his food to another, nor eat out of the same dish with another, nor eat too much, nor after finishing his meal leave his seat without washing his hands and rinsing out his mouth." MANU 2: 56.
O. How will you then interpret the text "Let a pupil eat Uchhistha (the leaving of ) his preceptor"?
A.~ It means that a pupil should serve his tutor first and after he ahs finished his meal, let the pupil himself eat of what is left - behind not as leavings but what has not been used by the teacher and is still kept separately. This is only implies that the teacher should have his meal before his pupil.
O. If the use of all kinds of leavings is forbidden, honey - the leaving of bees, milk - the leavings of calves, and one's own leavings - the food left after one had taken one morsel out of it - should also be forbidden.
A.~ Honey comes under this description only nominally. It is really the essence of many a medicinal plant, hence it is acceptable. The calf can only drink the milk that comes out of the teats of its mother, but not what is inside. Therefore the milk, that is obtained by milking a cow after the calf has sucked it off the teats cannot be called leavings. But it is proper that the udder and teats should be carefully washed and cleansed with pure water after the calf has had its share, before the cow is milked, and the milking vessel should also be dept perfectly clean.
One's own leavings can do no harm to oneself. Even nature clearly teaches us that it is wrong to eat another man's leavings. No one feels any great repugnance in touching the secretions from one's own nose, mouth, ears and organs of reproduction, micturition and defecation,, but one does so in the case of others. It proves, therefore, that this practice is not against the laws of nature. No one, therefore, should eat the leavings of or in the same dish with another.
O. Should not even husband and wife eat each other's leavings?
A.~ No, even their natures and constitutions differ?
O. Well, Sir! What harm is there in eating what has been prepared by any one as long as he is a man; because the bodies of all men, from a Braahman to the lowest of human beings, are made of flesh and bones? The same blood runs in the veins of all.
A.~ Yes, there is harm. A Braahman and Braahmani are fed on the very best of foods, hence their bodies are formed out of the reproductive elements, that are free from impurities and other deleteruous elements, which is not true of the bodies of the extremely
degraded men and women that are simply laden with dirt and other foul matter. It is, therefore, right that we should eat and drink with Braahmans and other higher classes and not with scavengers and workers in leather. Now what would you say if you were asked "Would you look upon all other women, such as your mother, sister, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, with the same eyes as your wife, because all of them are made of the same kind of flesh and blood?" You will simply be filled with shame and make no answer. Again, as good, clean food is eaten with hands and the mouth, so can the bad, unclean and decomposed food be eaten, would you then eat dirt, etc. ? Can this ever be right?
Q. As you plaster the kitchen floor with cow-dung (and mud), why do you not then also use human excrement for the same purpose? Why is not the kitchen polluted when the dung is used in it?
A.~ The dung is not so foul-smelling as the human excrement. The cow-dung being greasy does not so easily come off the floor, nor does it soil the dress, nor does it look dirty. Dirt does not come off the dry dung so easily as off the mud. The place that has been plastered with a thin coating of mud and dung properly mixed together looks nice. If the kitchen, wherein food is cooked and sometimes also eaten, the naturally therefore particles of food, such as bread-crumbs, sugar and butter, drop sown on the floor which being thus made dirty attracts flies, insects and other such creatures be not swept, plastered and properly cleaned every day, it would be as dirt as a privy.
The kitchen, therefore, should be properly plastered with mud and dung, swept and kept thoroughly clean. This applies to the floor that is made of bricks and mud or of the latter only. But if it is cemented, it should be kept clean by washing it thoroughly with water. The kitchen should never be allowed to get dirty and untidy like that of a Mohammedan wherein there is a pile of charcoal in one place, a heap of ashes in another, and a bundle of sticks in the third, here a broken kettle, and there an unwashed plate, here some bones there some joints, and as about flies their number is legion!!! That place is, as a rule, so dirty that if a respectable man were to go and sit there
for a little while, it would soon possibly bring up his food. It looks more like a latrine.* Well, if you think that plastering with mud and dung pollutes your kitchen, why do you plaster the walls of the rest of your house with them? Why do you burn dried cow-dung in your fire-place and use that fire to light your pipe (hubble-bubble)? Do not these things pollute you kitchen? What nonsense!
O. Should one take his meals in the Chaukaa or outside it?
A.~ One may take his meals wherever the place is clean and tidy. But in times of war and other cases of emergency it is quite proper to eat and drink in all positions and places - sitting on horse-back, driving cars, or standing.
Eating with foreigners
O. Should one eat only what has been cooked by one's own hands and not that which has been done by another?
A.~ Among the Aryas as food has been prepared in a clean manner, not matter who has done it, there is no harm in eating it in company with other Aryas. If Braahmans (men and women) and persons of other higher Classes were to devote their time to cooking, washing utensils, sweeping and dusting, and observing such embarrassing restrictions as that of the Chaukaa, who would then attend to higher pursuits, such as the advancement of science and arts.
Behold! On the occasion of the Rajasuya Yajna of Emperor Yudhishthira, kings and princes, sages and wise teachers had gathered from all parts of the world. They all ate and drank together. It is only since the Mohammedan, the Christians taken to eating beef and drinking wine that these troublesome restrictions in eating and drinking have come into vogue in this country.
The kings, princes and other Aryas of ancient India had even marriage relations with the foreigners, as we read in the Mahaabhaarata that Ghaandhaaree< Maadri, Ulopi and other princesses, of Gaandhaar (Kandhaar), Persia, America and Europe were married to some of the Indian princes. Shakuni and others dined with the Kauravas and the Paandavas. they never quarreled with each other, because then only one religion prevailed in the whole
- Which is generally kept extremely dirty especially among the poor.-Tr.
world. And that was Vedic. They all firmly believed in it. They looked upon other's sorrows and joys, gains and losses as if they were their own. It was only then that peace and happiness reigned throughout the whole world. But alas ! Now it is different. The religions are various and are their followers. Their mutual hatred and strife have greatly increased, and consequently their sufferings an sorrows have immensely multiplied.
It is the duty of all wise men to do away with all these evils and relieve their suffering. May the Omniscient Ruler of all sow the seed of true religion in all hearts, whereby all false religions and false doctrines may soon perish. Let all wise men ponder over it impartially, leave off all mutual hatred and malice, and promote the happiness of all.
We have briefly discoursed in this chapter on Conduct - desirable and undesirable, and on Diet - permissible and forbidden.
END OF CHAPTER 10
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