A healthy body contains a healthy mind. This old saying has been in place for a really very long time and has been followed in letter and spirit in our day to day activities by most of us. But friends, it should be the other way round. Yes! The fact is that one should yearn to have a healthy mind first because it’s only a healthy mind that contains a healthy body. This is because it’s only a healthy mind that is calm and composed enough to not to react but instead act after taking well thought of decisions on each and every aspect of one’s life. It’s only a healthy mind that will choose the right things for a healthy body. Ayurveda divided mind in three categories basis its wiring and called such healthy category of minds as Satvic in nature- those possessing virtues like forgiving, loving unconditionally, not reactive, having the right mix of Intelligence and emotional quotient, having holistic approach etc… The list of their virtues is long.
But hold on. Isn’t it a fact that in today’s world such minds are becoming a rarity? Instead, today’s world is dominated by the other two states of mind called as Tamasic and Rajasic minds, when our senses are driven so much by impulse, ego, greed, possessiveness, lust, anger, violence, conditional love, ignorance that even if we know what we are making out of us, we are not able to stop ourselves to undo our wrongs, which is exactly the opposite of Satvic state of mind. Such is the force of inertia in our minds that we see it manifesting itself every now and then in the form of arguments/broken relationships/hysteria/mobism/rapes/killing in the name of sect or religion or country and so on… But then what is the reason for this exponential increase in Tamas and Rajas in today’s world? (To visualize three states of mind watch this video)
For thousands of years, Ayurveda has been postulating that there are certain foods which are capable of increasing Tamas and Rajas in our minds like onion, garlic, alcohol, tobacco. In fact, the list also includes tea, coffee, green tea, chocolate and other highly bitter foods because bitter foods dilate our blood vessels. Not just Ayurvedic texts but several other sects/civilizations weren’t using/don’t use these items in their preparations. Even pilots of air force of certain countries were banned from using garlic during world war two as they realized that it was reducing their accuracy of flying the plane due to haywire activity of the brain. But, how could foods increase Tamas/Rajas? So here is a simple explanation. Our body has a feedback mechanism (called as angiotensin feedback mechanism as per modern science) which ensures that when we lie down, the blood vessels towards the brain constrict and towards lower parts dilate so that all the blood doesn’t gush towards the brain. This feedback system is working all the time in our body whenever we change our posture. However, above mentioned bitter and highly vasodilating foods block this feedback mechanism in our body and relax the muscles of our blood vessels thus giving us a temporary feeling of relaxation (this is also the reason that not just alcohol and tobacco but even onion and garlic are addictive in nature). But what happens in the bargain is that slowly and gradually, gravity reduces the blood towards our upper body including brain due to dilated blood vessels if such foods are consumed when one is in upright position. And once the brain doesn’t get enough blood, Vata which is one of the three fundamental forces of Ayurveda increases over there (to understand three forces of Ayurveda called as vata, pitta and kapha please pick up a copy of THE ROOT CAUSE book and watch this video). The result is that brain stops getting enough nutrients and pitta (meaning current in the nervous system) starts moving haywire, which results in a dent in our ability to remain cool and calm headed for taking any decision, thus overall hitting our wisdom leading to the behavioral issues as mentioned above. Such minds are called as Rajasic in nature who get excited/impulsive on petty issues. The intake of these foods is also the reason for exponential increase in brain related diseases in the world like alzheimer’s, dementia, parkinson’s, depression, bipolar disorder, sleeplessness and other debilitating issues like dry eyes, mouth burning syndrome, mouth ulcers etc due to loss of blood from the upper body. Moreover, since these foods are likely to increase blood towards the lower parts of the body due to gravity, the lower parts become stronger as compared to the upper ones. Thus a person consuming these foods is likely to have virtues like impulsive mind and stronger craving for food and sex (as the latter virtues are driven by the lower body parts). In a way, the conscience of the person using these foods gets rooted in the lower body parts which may again lead to several diseases of the lower body like PCOD, constipation etc.
Thus Patal-loka (means underground realm as per Hindu Mythology) which is referred to as the place where Asura (antigods or devils) reside is in our body itself. If you eat these tamasic foods indiscreetly (not in line with your Ayurvedic constitution), your conscience will remain towards lower or underground realm only thereby evoking the devil inside you. Isn’t it a fact that it’s the craving of food, sex and such desires only that makes us do all the crimes from as mild as corruption to as severe as murder and rape.
On the other hand if such bitter foods are consumed before sleeping they will increase too much blood towards the core of our brain (not the peripherals of the brain) leading to unequal distribution of blood and making our mind dull by increasing Kapha (opposite of kapha). This dullness would lead to lack of intelligence, ignorance, blind following and display of animal nature in form of un-empathetic/dry/cruel attitude, which is termed as Tamasic.
This was the reason that our saints who were scientists only banned such things in the name of god during Navratra festival so that people will not have them at least fearing God. However the fact is that they should be avoided at all times. It is total double standard by avoiding them during Navratra and then feasting on them like hell post Navratra.
Yes, these foods were and are used as medicines by Ayurveda in those cases where lower body parts required more nutrition than the upper ones (if the upper ones are already more nourished than the lower ones). But today the indiscreet use of these foods is driving our civilization towards Tamas and Rajas. Remember TAMAS and RAJAS are the only reason for all the chaos in the world. They rob us of our WISDOM.
So if we wish to grow beyond our animal nature (who live primarily for food and sex) into an evolved human being, we ought to get rid of such foods from our routine. ( to understand the exact science that how different foods work on our body, please pick up a copy of THE ROOT CAUSE in hard or kindle edition from amazon and watch this video for visualization three states of mind)