This article elucidates science underlying achars to be followed after the meals (for example, eating fennel or vida after the meals,taking a short nap in the afternoon) etc. Today, due to predominance of Raja-Tama components in the environment, the danger of attacks by negative energies through food is also high. Hence it is important to follow these achars so that the individual eating food is protected from attacks by negative energies.
1 Rinsing the mouth thrice after eating
While eating, through the movement of intestines, subtle waste gases are emitted by the internal body cavity. To expel these gases through the medium of water by rinsing the mouth after eating, ‘daman’, meaning, the cleansing of the mouth is performed.
2. Gargling after the meals
Odd numbers are associated with the Raja-predominant Shakti-Brahman.Beginning and ending with odd numbers symbolises the active form of Brahman that becomes sagun (Materialised) from a nirgun(Non-materialised) state. 3 x 7represents sagun active energy of resolve of Saptadevatas (Seven Superior Deities) getting activated in the form of Ichha-shakti(Energy of will),Kriya-shakti(Energy of action) and Dnyan-shakti (Energy of knowledge), each in multiples of three, resulting in the purification of the mouth and void of the throat with the help of water used for gargling.In this process, the respective functional Raja-Tama-predominant level of the waves created during the process of digestion is disintegrated with the help of waves functioning in three forms of Shakti of Saptadevatas’ (The seven Deities are -Shri Ganesh, Shiva, Shriram, Hanuman, Datta, Goddess Durgaand Shrikrushna).This accomplishes the result of the resolve, that is, ‘Eating food is a type of Yadnyakarma’. Therefore, especially by gargling 21 times, that functions at the level of three powers of Saptadevatas,the mouth as well as the void of the throat are purified and the process of digestion is made pure and sattvik (Sattva-predominant).
3. Washing the feet after eating
A. Increase in the Raja component after eating
In the act of eating, Raja-predominant energy is stored in the body for the process of digestion. Similarly, if the individual’s mind too is engaged in production of Raja-Tama-predominant thoughts, such Raja-Tama pollution is likely to assimilate in the voids of its body unknowingly.Taking advantage of the increased Raja-Tama components after eating, dissatisfied subtle-bodies attached to the food and other negative energies in the environment are likely to attack the individual.
B. By washing the feet, the Raja-Tama
components are transferred to the water
Feet should be washed to avoid being contaminated with Raja-Tama-predominant vibrations created in the body through the act of eating food and to dissolve them in water.
4. Performing achaman
Perform achaman after eating. None of the rituals bestow results if performed in an impure state. By performing achaman, we not only purify ourselves but also satisfy the world.
5. Eating fennel or vida after a meal
Thirteen ingredients are used in the preparation of a vida – betel leaf, catechu, betel nut, clove, lime,nutmeg and its skin, cardamoms, kankol (All spice or Myrtuspimenta), camphor, saffron, fennel and dry coconut.
A. Importance from the perspective of health
Kapha (Phlegm) increases after digestion of food. Pitta (Bile) increases in the process of digestion. Upon completion of the meal, vata increases. This is how the increase in doshas is associated with the meals. Therefore, a roll of two betel leaves containing pungent and astringent ingredients that have a cleansing effect on the mouth, such as betel nut, camphor, musk, clove, nutmeg, kankol, pepper, lime etc. are eaten after a meal. As a result, kapha that increases after a meal reduces.
B. Spiritual significance
- Subtle-gas emitted upon chewing of betel leaf of a vida after a meal increases the ability of the prana-deha (Vital body) and pranamaya-kosha (Vital energy sheath) of the individual to receive sattvik waves emitted by the food.
- The functioning of the Panchaprana in the body receive momentum due to the subtle-gas emitted by the vida and helps in the disintegration of the Raja-Tama containing gas emitted by the food. Therefore, food is digested well at the physical as well as the subtle level.
C. Benefits of eating a vida
- Eating a vida cures the diseases of the palate, teeth, throat and mouth.
- Vida is an excellent remedy on kapha associated diseases.
D. Harm due to some parts of a vida
- The stalk of the betel leaf can cause some ailments and hence, it should be plucked and discarded.
- The tip of the betel leaf induces sin.
- The veins of the betel leaf destroy the intellect.
E. When and how should a vida be eaten ?
A vida should contain more quantity of betel-nut in the morning, catechu in the afternoon and lime in the night. It is a custom to remove the stalk and tip of a betel leaf. A crushed betel leaf when eaten separately reduces life span. The veins of the betel leaf are a destroyer of the intellect; hence, they should also be removed.When a vida is chewed, the initial juice is similar to poison.The juice formed upon the second chewing is difficult to digest and is diuretic (Increases the urine output) in nature. The juice obtained on third and subsequent chewing is akin to nectar and hence,should be swallowed. Therefore, the juices formed upon the first and second chewing of vida should not be swallowed.
F. Who should eat a vida in particular ?
An individual who is feeling lazy or bored should eat a vida. It has a stimulating effect. Similarly, those suffering from boils, ailments of the tongue,enlargement of the neck glands and kapha-induced diseases,should eat a vida.
G. Who should not eat a vida ?
A vida should not be eaten if an individual has tendency to bleed, has wounds, eye ailments,burning sensation in the body, in case of poisoning, if suffering from tuberculosis, loose motions, asthma, hysteria and fainting.Similarly, those who drink alcohol, who are hungry and suffering from diarrhoea should also not eat a vida. According to Manusmruti, since a vida has aphrodisiac properties, it is prohibited for renunciants, unmarried men, widows and women who have renounced everything for the sake of God, Dharma and Guru.
H. Effects of eating excessive vida
Excessive eating of vida causes degeneration of the body, hair, eyes, ears, teeth,stomach enzymes, skin complexion and overall strength. Similarly,it can also cause dryness of the mouth and ailments of bloodsuch as rakta-pitta (Ulcerative colitis) and vata-rakta (Rheumatoid arthritis).
6. Having a nap after lunch
After lunch, walk a 100 steps and then rest for 24 minutes by lying on the left side.The mudra (Body posture) formed during the nap by resting on the left side activates the Suryanadi (meaning, respiration begins through the right nostril). Consequently, digestive juices are secreted inadequate amounts and the food is digested easily.
Mudra formed by a nap after lunch activates the Manipur-chakra. If chanting is done in this state, the Panchaprana around the navel get purified and their function receives a boost.
7. Meals and sleep
There should be a gap of at least 1-2 hours between a meal and sleep, since in this time at least a part of the food is digested.
Sleeping is a Tama-predominant mudra. Hence, sleeping immediately after a meal increases the Tama component in the body and hinders the digestive process in many ways.
8. Avoid these after eating
A. Do not leave utensils with
particles of leftovers in the sink at night
Negative energies are more active during the night.Subtle-bodies that have many desires get attracted to the particles of leftovers in the cooking utensils. Consequently, the activities of such desire-predominant subtle-bodies increases in the house &distressing vibrations emitted by them affect the residents of the house. These residents are likely to suffer from distresses such as nausea, indigestion, feeling like leaving a meal midway and loss of desire for food, etc.Therefore, particles of leftovers in the cooking utensils should be placed on a banana leaf and offered to the cattle outside the house or to some inferior Deities such as Asara.
B. Do not have a haircut immediately after eating food
Through the blunt end of the cut hair, Raja-Tama-predominant waves are emitted into the environment on a large scale. When hair is cut immediately after eating food, an environment of Raja-Tama-predominant waves emitted on a large scale through the hair is created around the individual. Contact of this contaminated field can adversely affect the digestive process, and the polluted gases created consequently will congregate in the body. This can make the individual vulnerable to attacks of negative energies.
C. Do not bathe immediately after eating food
- Cells of the intestinal lining are involved in the digestive process that begins after eating food and they absorb essential nutritious juices and subtle gases.
- This includes rapid imbibing of nutritious gases & expulsion of useless gases. This is a Raja-Tama-predominant process.
- Bathing immediately after eating food makes the body very sensitive to the contact of water. This makes the Vayutattva (Absolute Air Principle)-oriented Raja-predominant process (that is going on steadily during digestion) swifter.
- This unnecessary swiftness causes friction of the gases involved in the digestive process, thereby creating distressing vibrations.
- Distressing sound generated in the creation of distressing vibrations attracts many negative energies from the environment. These energies can hinder the digestive process; therefore, bathing is not advised after eating food.