The importance of kitchen in a house can hardly be exaggerated nor underestimated. But, many of us may not be knowing what crucial role it plays in the healthy well-being of the members of a family. In our day to day life, we seldom ponder over the significance of the cooking place in our house. We cook something in whatever way we like and is served as a mechanical ritual. But, doing something without any knowledge and doing with complete understanding makes vast difference in its ultimate quality. In fact, the kitchen can well be defined as the ‘Centre of Energy’. The required energy for the healthy life of the members is, therefore, derived from the kitchen, where the process of preparation of food, is carried out on a regular basis. It has to be continued as long as one stays in the house because food is the basic requisite for survival on the face of earth. Now let us, analyse the various implications with a view to clearly understanding its importance so that it can be utilized to improve the quality of life and make life being lived with a positive purpose and not in a haphazard manner.
As a matter of fact, the most sacrosanct location in a temple is the sanctum-sanctorum where the presiding deity is installed in a lofty place. The area is protected against all impurities or any chance of contamination. The importance of the area is mainly because of the deity is installed there. The rays of splendour or resplendence being emitted or emanating from the idol of the deity enters the eyes of those viewing it with undistracted attention and purity of mind. This pristine flow of splendour, entering the body, gives enormous vigour and glory to the human body. Such waves of the splendour have enormous properties. We should therefore, view the idol with full attention and open eyes.In short,the visit to a temple has manifold benefits for the body as well as mind.
Similarly, the kitchen also should be viewed from the same angle. Both are of paramount importance as regards life without health hazards or hassles. Like how the splendour of the idol passes on to the viewing devotee, the food prepared in the kitchen also enters those consuming it and provides strength and sheen, besides contentment. The priest in the temple, we have seen, observes all ‘YAMA, NIYAMAS’ (mental and physical cleanliness). Similarly, the one who cooks food for the whole family should also follow some principles, keeping in mind that the health and overall welfare of the family depends upon the sublime state of mind. It is desirable or rather advisable to enter the kitchen after praying for a while in the family prayer room. Some women folk in the brahmin family after their ceremonial morning bath, take three sips of plain water, reciting or chanting the mantra” ACHUTHAYA NAMAHA, ANANTHAYA NAMAHA, GOVINDAYA NAMAHA, which purifies the individual internally. This is called the observance of YAMA, NIYAMAS, prescribed by Vedas.
The purity of the mind and sanctity of the body with which a person enters the kitchen plays a crucial role in shaping the character, temper and soundness of mind of those consuming it, especially the children. Negative thoughts always transmit negative energy that causes gradual damage to those consuming. It is advisable as one Acharya aptly mentioned during his discourse that the person, be male or female,keeps reciting some hymns or stanzas of slokas so that the sattwik waves sanctify the food and make it more nutritious and palatable. The person cooking for the whole family should always keep a serene mind and pray for bestowing good health to those consuming the food. Any negative thought, interferes with the soundness of one’s mind and distorts his/her nature and also makes the food jejune.
After preparing the food, it should be first offered to God and taken as prasad thereafter. This practice adds to the spiritual value of the food and attributes some distinct positive quality to it, according to the practice In the Hindu families.In short, food plays a very important role in the nature of every individual and the right food with the right thought always keeps one’s temperament positively. Food should, not only be nutritious, but also capable of providing a healthy mind and healthy physique to everybody.The attitude of the person serving the food also plays a very prominent role. If the attitude of the person making and serving is negative, it can vitally affect the temperament of a person gradually. An apt and instant handy example available is here. Once a Sanyasi wayfarer sought shelter in a house at night where the housewife kindly served him dinner and water and also offered him a tiny place to sleep, very reverently. He told them that he would leave the house quite early at the next dawn. Next morning, he left the house and while walking, a few yards away, he was shocked to notice he was also carrying the bowel the lady had served food. He found out with his power of Jnana drushti or clairvoyance or the quality of extrasensory perception that the bowel belonged to the housewife who gave him food and shelter, the previous night. Besides, he also discerned that it was a robber family, whose food and hands that served only influenced his nature and persuaded him to take away the bowel involuntarily or impulsively. This is only a classic example of how what we sometimes consider as trivial results in unexpected consequences later on. If onetime food can play this much havoc to one’s chaste nature, imagine how much it can affect in the long run! That’s why the positivity of the person concerned is considered, very important in our food culture.
The positive energy generated in the kitchen should permeate into everybody’s mind and thoughts and reflect in their attitude. Then only the family can enjoy everlasting soundness and emotional rhythm and synthesis. An important thing to bear in mind according to a learned ACHARYA is that we should neither criticise the food served nor point out shortcomings and hurt the sentiments of the one who took pain to prepare. God has gifted us with the instinct in the tongue to identify the different tastes. The tastes of food items can be recognised by the tongue only from the tip to two inches inside and thereafter anyfood swallowed after that, is same. God gave the power of tasting attribute to the tongue, only to decide 1)whether to consume it or not; 2) how much quantity to be consumed so that it will not be harmful to the body, 3) How much quantity will do good to our body; 4) What food will not create health hazards in future, etc. Many a time, tasty food need not necessarily be good for good health and not-so tasty food, may be very much essential for our good health. For example, bitter guard or Karela is good for health, whereas excess of sweet, pickles, salt, sour, etc., are supposed to do harm. There are food items which the Doctors advise the patients to avoid and maintain perfect VAIRAGYA(abstinence).Whatever relishablefood is available, should be consumed in reasonable quantity, without grumbling nor chiding, as Prasad (Blessed food) from God! Again, we should never consume food to the full.Some place should be left to facilitate quick digestion.
Hence the kitchen where the food is made is the most important place in a house and the food is important from the point of health and hygiene,with regard to the energy distributed among or shared by all the members in the family. If every family gives importance to this aspect, the society, the nation as a whole is benefitted in the long run which will mean the absolute eradication of all AshtaRagas(the 8 negative elements) by and by and establishment of wellness all over the earth.This writer knows many families following these age-old ethical practices in the kitchen and inculcating good habits in the whole family. Ultimately, the sanctity of the kitchen being the centre of energy, decides the positive attitude of themembers of the family and serenity in the house.
Let the concept of the ‘sanctity of the kitchen, the centre of energy’ gather momentum and everybody become conscious of this concept that decides the destiny of a happy family!
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