Many cultures from all around the world have developed different types of rituals based on offering food to deities.
Sacred nourishment implies natural foods, to which the priest, the shaman or another competent religious person attributes spiritual qualities by consecrating it to a Deity.
The concept of ‘charging’ the food with sacred energy or with a certain type of energy has been known for a long time in Christianity, as well as in the Jewish tradition. This concept is usually connected with the idea of blessing food.
From another perspective, any kind of healthy food should be considered sacred, as it is a gift that preserves life. Furthermore, in Tantric philosophy, the act of eating is consecrated to spiritual evolution.
The act of eating may also be a highly erotic experience, which can be associated in many respects to the sexual act itself. Always focus on extracting the essence from the food you ingest.
Eat moderately and choose the best food specific to the current season. Thus you will learn from experience what food is suitable and what is not.
According to the Yogic treaty Geranda Samhita, a beginner in the practice of yoga should not eat acid, bitter, salted or hot food excessively.
The same text specifically indicates that ” Half of the stomach should be filled with food, a quarter with water or another liquid, and the other quarter should be left empty, because this will help in the practice of breath-control .”
Yogic teachings underline the fact that the mental attitude of the person who prepares the food becomes impregnated into it on a spiritual level. For example, an advanced yogi could find out many things about the temper of the cook only by tasting the food.
Furthermore, the attitude with which we eat is also highly important, as it may have effects upon the entire digestive process; therefore, do not eat, or prepare food when you’re irritated or nervous.
While cooking, it is best to maintain a meditative, contemplative attitude, or even sing, as this helps the mind focus and will contribute to the sacred quality of the food. Also, try to pay attention to the individual qualities of each type of food that you ingest.
It is not recommended to excessively taste a lot of food, for this will deprive it of its sacred quality.
If you cannot decide how to condiment the food, take a small quantity in a spoon, taste it and then spice it if needed.
An aliment or a type of food cannot be consecrated or offered if it has already been excessively tasted.
Another important aspect is that while preparing food, one must leave aside all egotistical feelings and desires.
Considering the effects of food upon the body and mind, yogic teachings have divided food into three categories.
The first category of force is known as Sattva, which sustains the creative energy and spiritual attitude. Sattva based foods are: milk, honey, butter, lacteous products, nuts, cereal seeds, as well as many fruits and vegetables that grow underground.
All these foods are generally known for their sweet taste and are endowed with the capacity of stimulating creative and erotic feelings. It is said that the superior nature of the mind is also Sattva.
All foods included in the Sattva category stimulate ether and air in the subtle body, thus contributing to the growth and creativity of our inner being.
The foods included in this category are usually named ‘the nourishment of the gods’, or ‘milk and honey’ in the biblical tradition.
Hindu medical treaties maintain that the essence of food is successively transformed into blood, flesh, fat, bones, marrow, and finally sperm or ovules.
Thus, from their point of view, the essence of food directly influences the appearance, aspect and taste of sexual secretions. The same treaties suggest that: “sperm which has the best quality (for procreation) is sweet, non-irritating, and crystal-like in appearance.”