How Should We Eat?
Acharya Shankara has a beautiful hymn Sadhana Panchakam, in which he says:
kshyud vyadischa chikitsyatam pratidinam
bhikshausadham vyunjyatam
“Hunger and appetite is a disease that you must treat every day by taking the food you get through begging as medicine.”
Disease should be treated with medicine. If hunger is the disease and food is the medicine, medicine should be taken at regular intervals. If the medicine dose is too much or too little, it is not good.
How Much Should We Eat?
Don’t eat too much. Sloth (tandra), sleep (nidra), and laziness (aalasya) are the common features of overeating, along with a host of diseases. My Gurudev often said that if you want to live long, eat less; if you want to stay healthy, chew more.

Pray Before Meals
Remember, taking food is not just filling the belly; it is a yajna (an oblation, a sacrifice). Your food should be pure and you should take it in a pure state of mind. I lived with a master who was so disciplined and punctual with his food. He always prayed to God before eating. I never saw him overindulge in food.

Different Forms of Eating
Eating doesn’t just mean through the mouth. Whatever you take in through your sense organs is a form of eating — whether it is enjoyment through the eyes or ears. Take time to digest. For example, don’t read too much; read a little and contemplate more. If you overeat, you can’t digest. If you read too much, you won’t digest. Whatever food we get we should reflect upon, digest and assimilate it in our life.

The "Overcoming Obstacles" series is an excerpt from a transcript of
Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji speaking at the 2014 Sydney Residential Retreat.

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