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The Foods of the Mind and Body
by Yogi Baba Prem 

There is a popular mantra from the Taittriya Upanishad that starts:

Aham annam, aham annam, aham annam

aham annadah, Aham annadah, aham annadah

I am food, I am food, I am food.

I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food.

Taittriya Upanishad. 

The mantra is longer but the basic message is that everything is food and everything is being consumed.  It carries a very insightful and important message for all of humanity.  

From a yogic and Ayurvedic perspective this is an important message also.  While most people view food from the standpoint of vegetables and fruits, there are many other types of food that are consumed on a daily basis. Food manifests in the form of sensory impressions and mental and emotional impressions.  As an example:  The breath is literally food for the body.  The prana (life-force) and oxygen is absorbed with each breath and quickly distributed to the various organs and cells of the body.  Poor breathing habits result in poor absorption of the vital force and oxygen.  Breathing polluted air, chemicals or other environmental toxins results in consuming junk food via the breath. 

Over exposure through the senses is literally fast food, or junk food, for the mind.  If asked, most people can agree that what we see or hear can stimulate an emotional or physiological response.  As an example, who has not had a song stimulate an emotional feeling or a state of mind?  Music is food for the emotional and mental body.  Some consume lower vibration music, angry music, while others consume higher spiritual music.  “Our… [personal vitality] drinks the vitality of the sensory impressions.  This in turn feeds and vitalizes the pranas of the mind and body.  This makes sensory impressions a form of soma or food for Vayu (the vital air).  It determines the quality of prana within the mind and body.”(1) The senses literally become like a breath for the mind and the body!  

Using the visual sense many consume the food of lust for men or women.  Pornography is an example. If one were to look at pornography several times a day, eventually this would begin to shape the way they view themselves and others.  It would influence the activities of the mind.  Likewise, if one were to study spiritual books the same would occur.  It is merely a matter of what food you wish to eat.  

Within the field of touch, if the right person touches our arm we consume that feeling and various emotions are released and opened.  If the wrong person touches our arm we are offended.  It is still the consumption of food, just a different response.  

Everything is food!  The body and mind are consuming everything.  What kind of food do you eat?  

If you actually eat junk food, you most likely consume other junk foods.  This is not about morality; it is about energy and vibration.  If you surround yourself with negative people you will most likely become negative or miserable.  The effect is the same; the negative people leave you with negativity.  

If you frequently attend places filled with negativity, you will most likely become negative or miserable.  I once had a gentleman try and tell me what a great place prison was.  I find it difficult to believe that prison is a popular or positive place.  He was miserable and suffered much.  He did not understand the food he was consuming.  

I knew of another student who was a vegetarian, and condemned those who ate meat.  Eventually the student was with people of a different vibration for long periods of time.  The student began to eat meat, thinking it was a self-made decision, but in reality the behavior was a by-product of the time the student was spending with the other people.  Instead of yogic spiritual food, the student was consuming worldly activities and this led to eating meat.  This does not mean the people were of a “bad” vibration, merely a different spiritual vibration.  

Whether we realize it or not, each of us is constantly consuming food through the senses and the digestive tract.  It is important for us to consume quality food, fresh fruits and vegetables.  It is even more important for each of us to access the food we are consuming through our senses and activities.  This is such an important teaching that it appears in the Vedic teachings, Yoga teachings, Ayurvedic teachings, and Vedanta.  So I ask, “What food are you consuming?”

Sanskrit Translation and Transliteration by Yogi Baba Prem



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About the Author

AcharyaYogi Baba Prem
is one of only a few westerners to be recognized in the traditional systems from India.  In 2010, he received the title Yogacharya by Acharya Sri Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley) and also was recognized as an Acharya by his Guru Maha Avatar Babaji.  He is one of the few westerners to have received the title of Veda Kovid and then Veda Visharada in the traditional gurukual system, he has studied with renowned Vedacharya, Acharya Sri Vamadeva Shastri.   He graduated from the United Yoga Institute (under the guidance of Babaji Maharaj) with a diploma in Karma, Bhakti, Hatha, Raja and Kundalini yoga systems. He was accepted by Mahavatar Babaji as his student (shishya), after being declared a master of Shakti and Naad Yoga systems by Babaji Maharaj, whom he studied with for many years.  His Vedic teacher (Vedacharya) is Sri Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley).  He has been teaching for over 25 years and has lectured to student's from over 7 countries.  His second book entitled, "Yogic Secrets of the Veda: Exploring the roots to Yoga and Ayurveda" is under publication in India.  For more information on his work, kindly visit www.vedicpath.com

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