One day, I saw the Legendary Yoga guru BKS Iyengar speaking on TV about his past. When he had been to the West to teach yoga in early 70’s, the Americans used to make fun of him by calling him a grass eater. After a few months of relationship with Iyengar they realized the importance of vegetarian food. The Americans were amused at the stamina and energy displayed by Dr. Iyengar during the practice of Asanas. Guys with hugely built body used to get tired in a session of an hour or two; whereas Dr. Iyengar used to practice and teach them throughout the day with same vigor and enthusiasm. According to Iyenger once they got used to yoga many of them gave up animal food and joined the grass eating club. Dr. Iyengar is still going strong at 94 eating his usual grass. I was really curious to know about the food some of the great Yogis like Tiruamalai Krishnamacharya, BKS Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois and others have had throughout their life. When I googled on internet about the type of food taken by yogis, I came across the diet recommended by Indira Devi the first foreign lady to have learned yoga. It was followed and recommended by none other than her guru Sri. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya – the father of modern yoga who happened to be the guru of Iyengar and Jois as well. Let me remind you that Sri. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya lived for 102 years and his disciples Indira Devi lived for 103 years, Pattabhi Jois lived for 94 years and BKS Iyengar is still living past 94 years by eating the so called grass. I got surprised and happy to learn what these great yogis have had all through their life been nothing but the food Dr. M.S. Raju is recommending so rigorously through his campaigns all over the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. They used to have Sprouts in the breakfast, whole grains like wheat or brown rice with vegetables especially greens at lunch and soaked dry nuts and fruits at dinner. All these findings have made a greater impact on my mind. I was virtually thinking to stop eating the non-vegetarian food but couldn’t really put an end to it due to the pressure applied by my parents.
One day, I finally decided to quit non-vegetarian food. Like any other addiction it wasn’t easy to give up either. I developed a craving for non-vegetarian food during one or two months of quitting; but once I crossed that hurdle I never bothered about it. My body doesn’t urge for such things now. I began to love eating less cooked greens and vegetables now. And I am proud to be called a grass eater because I have begun reaping the benefits of it already. Many of my friends and even my parents and in-laws feel that I did a mistake by quitting animal food. But I clearly understand and experience what it is being a vegetarian. Undoubtedly, it is safe for me and for the animals as well.
One evening on 15th of Sep’ 2010, I was sitting along with my friends and a guy approached us and said with a sad tone that his brother Manohar is no more. All of us cried, ‘whaaaaaaaaat?’ And we remained silent for a few minutes in grief. One of my friends gently raised his tone and asked, ‘how?’ He replied, Heart-Attack! All of us began to look into our faces one another in disbelief. Explaining further he said, his brother returned home from office in the afternoon with a complaint of chest pain. While climbing the stairs at home he got a heart-stroke and collapsed on the floor and rolled down the stairs. Family members immediately took him to the nearest hospital for treatment. Since the local hospital refused to admit the patient due to lack of facilities, they tried to take him to the nearest heart care center but Manohar had already taken his last breath on his way to the hospital. Ending his explanation with tearful eyes, requested all of us to attend the ritual for paying homage to his soul and left.
When Manohar’s brother left us, we been discussing throughout the day regarding his sudden demise. What might be the cause of his death? He was just 40, had no financial worries and tensions and as a matter of fact he was one of the most active person among us. We haven’t seen him ever fall sick or having any issues related to health. The only thing that might have cost his life was his habit of smoking cigars and alcohol. But, there are people who are older than him who drink more alcohol and smoke more cigars than him and still they are alive. All these and many more points were discussed during our conversations. I quietly listened to all of them speaking occasionally when it mattered.
As I discussed in my previous blog “Age old secrets of healthy Living”, the condition of health of one person cannot be compared to another. The health of a person primarily depends on 3 factors (1) the gene (2) the life style and (3) the environment. Manohar’s death might be the cause of any one, two or all the three of these factors. I am not sure about his genes but let me tell you that his lifestyle was not really healthy. I don’t know whether it’s a good idea to reveal all these here, I hope it helps others learn from such mistakes. He often used to comment and argue over my new life style of natural living. We argued on health issues couple of times in the past. He used to call me a grass eater, since I used to have sprouts in breakfast and green leafy vegetables at lunch. During one such argument I said that I am a grass eater because I am a human and human body is created to eat plant food. He argued that human body is for animal food because the humans were hunting animals since primitive period. I replied, sorry my dear friend, you are forgetting about the fact of our origin. We are the result of evolution of apes called Orangutans. And apes are always plant eaters. Humans after evolution too ate plants for millions of years. Only after the development of civilization and when they moved away from forests and starved for food, they killed animals to feed their stomach. Primitive men ate animal food out of choice for survival but we made animal food a habit of choice. Moreover, if we were animal eaters by nature then we would have had claws and teeth of Tigers, Lions, Cheetahs, Dogs and Cats etc. to tear off the flesh of animals. Our claws and teeth are made to pluck and eat the fruits and vegetables available in the nature. With this, he finally agreed to my point and ended up the discussion there.
He was always concerned about his increasing belly but never took an initiative to curb it. Many like him were never serious about their health. We all know that death is inevitable and no one knows how and when it comes; but it doesn’t mean we invite death by our own means. We need to maintain our body in order to remain longer, stronger and healthier. Maintenance of our body comes under lifestyle. Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju’s war is against this – the lifestyle change. Our body is like a vehicle – a beautiful vehicle that remains all through the journey of life. It is your vehicle and you should take care of your vehicle. Why anyone else is bothered to take care of your vehicle? It is you who had to look after it. You have to regularly repair and maintain your vehicle of life with regular exercises, you have to provide a good fuel in the form of clean, natural and nutritious vegetarian food, you have to cleanse your body by drinking right amount of clean and natural water etc. and when you do these; the other two factors like genes and environment try to assist you further in the journey of life.
When Dr. Raju was promoting his half boiled food without oil, ghee, salt, spices, sour, sugar etc., I used to think that it is not possible for a human to eat that diet. As it is said, you need to dive into the water to know the depth of the Ocean; I realized the pleasure in eating such food only after following natural way of living. I pledge all the non-vegetarian lovers to give a try at vegetarian food by keeping their favorite non-vegetarian food away for couple of months. Believe me; you are going to find a world of difference in your body. You look healthy as never before.
As discussed earlier, people ate animal food in order to survive. A question always troubled me for quite long time. Okay, it is understandable that humans ate animals for survival; but how it happened to be the main staple food for humans as there is no such scarcity thereafter. After lot of questioning and search I found that when man got civilized he started forming into groups. Some intelligent groups used to cultivate land and store their food for future needs. While other groups used to attack them and loot their stocks. In order to protect their properties each group developed sub-group called guards or soldiers. These soldiers were given animal food in order to make them stronger and aggressive. Later, they formed boundaries and this way the countries came into existence. People then began to conquer the nations to gain their Supremacy. It is believed that 75% of the nations do not know about animal food before 200 years. The rulers from Middle East Asia and South of Europe used to feed their soldiers with lots of animal food and make them strong and cruel so that they can kill their enemies brutally and win their battles. These invaders took the tradition of eating non-vegetarian food everywhere they go. Those tall and heavily built soldiers had inspired the local youths to be like them – Strong and Cruel. People slowly started believing that non-vegetarian food is for those who want to be strong and rock solid. If you look at the military people they were still given non-vegetarian food on daily basis. The idea is to make them strong and cruel. The trend moved further and spread across the sports and entertainment community. People started to follow their idols in sports and movies. This is how it all began in brief.
Nooooooooow! Doesn’t the vegetable food provide enough strength? If it is to believe that human body is made for vegetarian foods then why there is a perception that only non-vegetarian food makes you stronger and healthier? Why so much prominence is given to non-vegetarian food for soldiers across the world? These are certain questions that might strike in your mind. Let us analyze this way:
Vegetarian food definitely provides you strength equal to non-vegetarian food. The only difference is that non-vegetarian food develops the body where as vegetarian food develops both the body and mind. Serving of vegetarian food for long time with hard work not only increases the size of your body but also control your brain. It is because of this quality there is a misconception among people that one with vegetarian food doesn’t grow strong. If you look at some of the yogis, they might appear thin like a stick but they are stronger like any other body builder. Moreover, they live longer than any other counterparts. With regards to the food given to the military people, it is simply because the administrators want to make their soldiers aggressive and cruel in order to kill their enemies and win the battle for them. If the soldiers of entire nations were given vegetable food then there won’t be any wars. Then the soldiers would become the messengers of love and peace. The main characteristic of animal food is that it stimulates your nervous system and makes you aggressive and cruel. You may ask how? The animal food contains lot of fatty material in it. Our body needs 25 milligrams of fat every day in order to perform our activities. We easily get more than this much of fats from vegetables. But when you consume more meat, the excess fat is stored in our body and released into blood. Since the meat contains zero fiber it sticks into our blood stream in the form of cholesterol called triglycerides blocking the free flow of blood. And when that happens, our heart tries to pump more blood in order to supply to the required cells and tissues. This irritates the normal functioning of our body nervous system. The increase in blood flow makes a man agitated, angry and cruel. On the other hand, if you supply a vegetarian food to the body, it gives you equal strength but instead of clogging in your arteries it cleanses it because of the fiber content present in it. The fiber in your body acts as a broom stick or a mop which cleanses your body. It helps your nervous system function properly without any hurdles in a normal condition. This very nature of vegetarian food makes you calm and peaceful. Another simple example is the difference of temperament between the wild animals and domestic animals. See how violent and cruel are the animal predators like Tiger, Lion, Dogs etc. and how cool are the plant predators like cow, goat, buffalos etc. Even the wild and cruel animals can be tamed by providing vegetarian food. This shows how the vegetarian food works in soothing the nervous system of living beings.
Plant food is quite essential for the welfare of modern society. We find violence and hatred all over the world today. We have forgotten the true teachings of love, peace and non-violence taught by our ancestors. Plant food not only increases your health but also relieves you from mental stress enabling your brain to function better. Let’s not get into the scientific details and have a simple example of our Brahmin community in India. Brahmin community in India is considered to be the most intelligent and healthy community from the early days of civilization. They were believed to be the first to have gained knowledge and education. They are considered as the pioneers of education, knowledge and wisdom since the beginning of human era. They have been following the practice of eating vegetarian food uninterruptedly from the early days of civilization. The generations have changed, the world has changed but their practice of eating vegetarian food is unchanged. If you look at the history of criminal offences in the society of India, you hardly find a single person involved from a Brahmin family in the anti-social activities like murders, rapes, robbery, terrorism etc. Vegetarian food has lot to do with spirituality, wisdom and knowledge. India is not simply considered the power house of spirituality, wisdom and knowledge. Millions of enlightened yogis, saints and sages and billions of other intellectuals in India are following the path of spirituality, love, non-violence and sharing their eternal wisdom and knowledge.
According to Dr. M.S. Raju 90% of human diseases is the result of stress on human brain. By nature man is required to utilize his physical and mental capabilities equally. Due to the change in lifestyle and our working environment, we are hardly using our physical body and over using our mental strength. Thus, it creates imbalance in the functioning of our body and mind leading to all sorts of mental and physical disorders.
To Sum up I would like to say that I joined the elite club of grass eaters and proud to be a grass eater because I have realized the essence of vegetarian food. I urge all the health conscious people and the peace lovers to join this club of grass eaters and reap the benefits of being a loving, peaceful and beautiful human being.
This is it for now. Keep watching the space for more updates.