Diet plays a prominent part in keeping up celibacy. Purity of food brings in purity of mind. That power which connects the body and the mind is present in the food that we take. Various kinds of food have varying effects on the mind. There are certain kinds of food that make the mind and the body very strong and steady. So, it is absolutely essential that we should take pure and vegetarian food. The body structure given to humankind is not supposed to have non-vegetarian stuff at all.
Food has a very close connection with celibacy. If proper attention is given to the purity of the food that we take, Celibacy becomes quite easy.The influence of foodstuffs on the brain cells, emotion and passion is remarkable. There are different compartments in the brain and each food produces its own effect on each compartment and on the general system. A confection of sparrow produces an aphrodisiac effect. It directly stimulates the reproductive organs. Garlic, onions, meat, fish and eggs stimulate passion. Mark how elephants and cows that live on grass are quiet and peaceful and how tigers and other carnivorous animals that live on meat are turbulent and ferocious. Instinct or the voice from within will guide you in the selection of articles of diet that are conducive to the keeping up of Celibacy. You can also consult some elderly and experienced persons.
Cheru, Havis Annam, milk, wheat, barley, bread, butter/butter oil, dried ginger, green gram, potatoes, dates, plantains, curd, almonds and fruits are all pure articles of food. Cheru is a mixture of boiled white rice, butter oil, white sugar and milk. Havis Annam is also a similar preparation. This is very useful for spiritual aspirants. Milk is a perfect food by itself, containing different nutritive constituents in a well balanced proportion. This is an ideal food for those who do yoga or wish to be celibate. Fruits are great energy producers. Bananas, grapes, sweet oranges, apples, pomegranates and mangoes are wholesome and nutritious.
Dry fruits such as grapes, raisins, dates and figs, sweet fresh fruits such as bananas, mangoes, melons, limes, pineapples, apples, wood apples and sweet pomegranates, sugar and sugar-candy, honey, sago, arrowroot, milk, butter and ghee of cows, tender coconut water, coconut, almonds, pistachio nuts, barley, maize, wheat, rice of red paddy whose bran is only partly removed and rice of good smell or sweet taste, and all preparations from any of these grains, and white pumpkin are good articles for keeping up Celibacy.
Highly seasoned dishes, hot curries, meat, fish, eggs, tobacco, liquor, sour articles, oil of all kinds, garlic, onions, bitter things, sour curd, stale food, acids, astringents, pungent stuffs, roasted things, over-ripe and unripe fruits, heavy vegetables and salt are not at all beneficial. Onions and garlic are worse than meat.
Salt is the worst enemy. Too much salt excites passion. Even if you do not take salt separately, the system will derive the necessary quantity of salt from other foodstuffs. All foodstuffs contain salt. Giving up of salt helps you in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind and all the other desires.
All kinds of peas and beans, both fresh and fried, black grain, Bengal gram, horse gram, sprouted grains, mustard, all sorts of chillies, asafoetida, lentils, brinjals, lady’s finger, cucumbers, Malabar nightshades, both white and red, bamboo shoots, papaw fruit, drumsticks, all varieties of gourd such as white gourd, snake gourd and squash gourd, radish, leeks, mushrooms of all kinds, things fried in oil or ghee, pickles of all sorts, fried rice, sesame seeds, tea, coffee, cocoa, all kinds of vegetables, leaves, roots, fruits and foodstuffs that create wind or indigestion, grief, pain or costiveness or other sickness, pastry preparations, foods that are dry and burning, foods that are bitter, sour, saline, over-hot and pungent, tobacco and its preparations, foods and drinks containing liquor or narcotic drugs such as opium, food preparations which are stale or have become cold subsequent to their removal from the hearth or which have lost their natural taste, smell, color or form, or which are remnants after being eaten away by other persons, animals, birds or insects, or which contain dust, hair, straw or other rubbish, and milk of buffalo, goat or sheep should be avoided. Lemon juice, rock salt, ginger and white pepper can be used moderately.
Be Moderate in diet
Take wholesome vegetarian food half-stomachful. Fill a quarter with pure water. Allow the remaining part free. This is moderation. Celibate should always take lesser food only. They should be very careful about their night diet. They should never overload the stomach at night. Overloading is the direct cause for nocturnal emissions.
A glutton can never dream of becoming a celibate. Control of tongue is a sine qua non if you want to control lust, if you want to observe the vow of celibacy. The tongue must be controlled first. Then, it will be easy to control the passion. There is intimate connection between the tongue and the organ of generation. Tongue is an organ of knowledge. If the tongue is stimulated with non-vegetarian or forbidden food, at once the reproductive organ also gets excited. There should be selection and restriction in diet. The food of a celibate must be simple, bland, spiceless, non-irritating and non-stimulating. Moderation in food is very necessary. Stuffing the stomach is highly deleterious. Fruits are highly beneficial. You should take food only when you are really hungry. The stomach will deceive you sometimes. You may have false hunger. When you sit for taking meals, you will have no appetite and no relish. Dietetic restrictions and fasting are very useful auxiliaries in controlling the camel mind and in the attainment of Celibacy. You should not ignore them or make light of them on any account.
Fasting—an exercise for purification
Fasting is one of the ten canons of Yoga. Fasting controls passion. Fasting destroys sexual excitement. It calms the emotions. It controls the desires also. Passionate young men and ladies should take recourse to occasional fasting. It will prove highly beneficial. It purifies the mind. It destroys a great multitude of sins. Fasting controls particularly the tongue, which is your deadly enemy. When you fast, do not allow the mind to think of delicious dishes, because then you will not derive much benefit. Fasting overhauls the respiratory, circulatory, digestive and urinary systems. It destroys all the impurities of the body and all sorts of poisons. It eliminates uric acid deposits. Just as impure gold is rendered pure by melting it in the crucible again and again, so also, the impure mind is rendered purer and purer by fasting again and again. Young, robust celibate should observe fasting whenever passion troubles them. You will have very good meditation during fasting, as the mind is calm. The chief object in fasting is to practice rigorously during that period as all the desires are calm. You will have to withdraw all the desire creating stimulants and fix the mind on God. Pray to God for guiding you and throwing a flood of light on the path. You will get purity, light, strength and knowledge.
Avoid excessive fasting. It will produce weakness. Use your commonsense. Those who are not able to observe a full fast can fast for nine or twelve hours and can take milk and fruits in the evening or at night. During fasting, the internal digestive organs such as the stomach, the liver and the pancreas take rest. Epicureans, gluttons and those who are tireless eaters do not allow rest for these organs even for a few minutes. Hence, these organs get diseased soon. Diabetes, dyspepsia and hepatitis are all due to overfeeding. After all, man wants very little on this earth. Ninety per cent of the people in this world take more food than what is absolutely necessary for the body. Overeating has become their habit. All diseases take their origin in overeating. An occasional complete fast is a great desideratum for all to keep up good health, relieve the internal organs and maintain celibacy. Diseases that are pronounced incurable by modern sciences are cured by fasting. Fasting develops will-power. It increases the power of endurance.
It is better to drink a large quantity of water, either tepid or cold, according to temperament and inclination, during fasting. It will flush out the kidneys and remove the poison and all sorts of impurities in the body. In Hatha Yoga it is termed as Gata-Suddhi or purification of the flesh-pot, the physical body. You can add half a teaspoonful of soda bicarbonate to the water. Those who fast for two or three days should not break their fast with any solid food. They should take some kind of fruit juice, either sweet orange juice or pomegranate juice. They should sip the juice slowly. You can take an enema daily during fasting.
Fast for a day to start with. Then slowly increase the number of days according to your strength and capacity. In the beginning you may feel a slight weakness. The first day may be very tiring. You will feel real bliss, on the second or the third day. The body will be very, very light. You can turn out more mental work during fasting. Those who are in the habit of fasting will rejoice. On the first day, the mind will tempt you in a variety of ways to eat something or the other. Stand firm. Be bold. Curb the mind at once when it hisses or raises its hood. Do more prayers during fasting. Fasting is more a spiritual act than a physical act from the viewpoint of health. You will have to utilize the fasting days for higher spiritual purposes and in the contemplation of God. Always entertain thoughts of God. Dive deep into the problems of life such as the why and the wherefore of the universe. Enquire: “Who am I? What is this soul or ultimate truth? What are the ways and means to attain Knowledge of God? How to approach Him?” The deeper you go in your thoughts, the more enjoyment and justification of your efforts of proper diet you will find.
Be Happy – Good Diet is important in celibacy.