Food For Thought

When we eat food offered to us by someone, our mind is affected by the good or bad conduct of that person.
Bheeshma was lying on the bed of arrows awaiting the right time to shirk his body. The Pandavas were there, listening to him expounding on various kinds of dharma.

Bheeshma said, “In a court, when the king commits an atrocity, one should not remain unconcerned or a mute witness, but should question him.”

Hearing this, Draupadi, who was also present, laughed sarcastically.

At once, Yudhishthira said to her, “Draupadi! The great Bheeshmacharya is speaking about dharma to us and so many great people have assembled here. How is it that you laugh at this time!”

Draupadi said, “Bheeshma pitamaha is today speaking of how one should question even the king when an atrocity is committed in his court; that one should not remain a mute witness. But what did he do on the day Dusshasana tried to disrobe me in the court? Did he question the king? Did he not remain a mute witness to the event!”
On hearing this Bheeshma addressed Draupadi, “Draupadi, shall I tell you why I remained a mute witness on that day? I was then eating the food offered by Duryodhana and my mind had worked in that way. Today, struck on all parts of my body by Arjuna’s arrows, the blood produced by eating the food offered by Duryodhana has bled out and new blood has flown in. Thus, today I am able to speak of dharma.”

Once, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, while on the seashore, saw a fish in the sea. At once he was reminded of the Lord taking Matsya Avatar. Lost in ecstatic remembrance of the Lord, he walked into the sea and got drowned. But since he was a yogi, the breath had been pulled in and he began to float on the water. He was in bhava samadhi.

Some fishermen who had gone into the sea to catch fish, threw their net and along with the fish, caught Mahaprabhu too! They were surprised to see a man caught in the net and brought him to the shore. They then recognized him as the man who had sat on the seashore doing Mahamantra kirtan. Some of them placed their hands on his stomach and chest, pressed hard and brought out the water that had gone into him. Mahaprabhu came down to this plane of consciousness, got up and walked away singing the Mahamantra!

That was not surprising. What was truly a miracle was that the fishermen who had touched Mahaprabhu now began to do Mahamantra kirtan!

The mere touch of Mahaprabhu’s body (brahma sparsam) had brought this great change in them.
Early next morning their wives found them doing kirtan instead of setting out to the sea to bring in the day’s catch. Frightened at what had happened to their husbands, they approached Mahaprabhu and said to him, “What have you done to our husbands? They are all doing kirtan and are not going out to the sea.” (Just as Hiranyakashipu said to Prahlad [on hearing him utter “Narayana”] that he had joined bad company and that wicked words were falling out of him!)

Mahaprabhu said to them, “Go to the house of those who have sinned, get food from them and give it to your husbands! All these will vanish and they will become as before!”

We have to be careful about where we eat because food affects the mind. It’s a subtle transformation that we may not even be aware of!

(Adapted from Sri Swamiji’s discourses at various times.)