In Sanatan Dharma everyone is a spiritual aspirant and the last 1/4th of the lifespan is called the Sanyasashram, ie is dedicated to the Self. And this Sanyasashram can realised in the real sense only if you have been taking care of your physical body and your mind throughout your life, ie keeping yourself as Satvik as possible.
And even if you are not really interested in the Vedanta and just want to learn Jyotish, even then, do try to consciously increase the Satvagun within you. You will be better able to focus on your studies and your readings and your predictions will be accurate.
A Satvik lifestyle means basically paying attention to the food that you eat, the physical exercise that you do, the books you read, the life philosophy you cultivate and the control over your mind that you achieve in your lifetime.
Here are a few tips which you can incorporate in your daily life.
First, the physical body.
Eating satvik food helps in so many ways on the physical as well as on the energy levels. You should continue eating whatever foods you are having now, but try to add some of the following items to your diet. If you have medical issues, do consult your medical professional first. Do use your common sense, adequate food and a balanced diet is necessary, do not starve yourself.
- Barnyard millet (called jhangoora, shama, vari, mordhan etc) – there are several recipes, but the easiest is the Marathi ‘Bhagar’ preparation. Barnyard millet can also be ground and used in the flour form. Ideally try to have one dish made of barnyard millet daily. Also add the other types of millets to your diet depending on their availability in your locality.
- Tapioca sago pearls (called sabudana) – There are several recipes for these sago pearls, eg ‘khichadi’. They can also be ground and made into a flour.
- Makhana (lotus seed popcorn) – very nutritious and several recipes are possible. You can also grind it and use it as a flour.
- Amaranth seeds (called Rajgira) – these are available as a roasted ’popcorn’ which you can use in several ways or grind into a flour. Laddos of Rajgira and jaggery are an absolute favourite.
- Water chestnut (called Shingada) – it is available in the fruit and the flour form, highly nutritious and can be made into several recipes. You can eat the Shingada fruits directly after boiling them in water but they are cold in nature, so if you eat too many at once, you might actually catch a cold.
- Buckwheat (called kattu) – it is available as the seed and also as a flour and is highly nutritious. Several recipes are possible.
- (Flours of all these above mentioned items can be combined with curd and made into a preparation called ‘thalipith’ in Marathi)
- Buttermilk, from which the butter has been separated, but only before noon. If you have curd products after midday they will create mucus in the body.
- Lots of fresh fruit – most of the fruit we buy is stale, preserved in cold storage and upto a year old. So try to buy fruits from your local farmers markets. Ideally fruits should be eaten as soon as they are plucked from the trees, and this is not possible for 99% of us today.
- Coconut – dry or wet coconut is an important part of the diet. You can make chutney or at least add the ground coconut to your food preparations.
- Drink adequate water – at least 4 – 5lit/ day.
- Reduce food preparations made in refined oil. Cold pressed or unrefined oils are a better option. And ghee made of desi cow milk is the best option.
- (These above items are allowed for Upwas vrat, ie you can eat them while observing fasts. In addition, generally only two vegetables, potato and cucumber, are allowed when fasting.)
- Green gram (Moong Dal) – this is the easiest to digest protein so add it to your regular diet.
- Lots of vegetables – try to buy fresh produce rather than vegetables from the cold storage. Fresh stuff has more pran and more ability to nourish.
- You can add Jowar (summer) and Bajra (winter) to your diet but only if you can digest these grains.
Avoid the following as much as possible. Once in a while is fine but these are not advisable on a regular basis.
- Wheat and wheat products.
- Rice and rice products
- Desi cow milk – Direct milk should be consumed by children below 10yrs of age and by elderly people beyond 60yrs of age or if prescribed by a doctor or for medicinal purposes. People in the age group of 10-60yrs should avoid drinking direct milk regularly, instead should consume curd, yogurt, buttermilk etc. First buy the milk of a desi cow, make the curd at home and then consume it.
- Non vegetarian food – Only fish, ie Phylum Pisces, is acceptable in case you have to eat it for balancing your diet. Other types of animal meats are high in Tamogun and make the body and mind dull.
And never starve yourself. Always try to eat a balanced diet. You are doing two things at the same time, ie working in the society as a Gruhast/ householder as well as doing your sadhana. You need energy, so do use your common sense regarding food intake, eat as much as you need to function. Never keep your stomach so empty that you feel faint with hunger, unenthusiastic or tired. And never overeat, you should not eat so much that you feel overfull and uncomfortable.
In addition, try to eat food high in positive energy, ie it should have high levels of pran/ vital energy and must be prepared by someone who has positive intentions towards you, or you can cook your own food. If you can manage this energy part, you will feel lighter, more energetic, your body will reach its ideal weight etc. (I have written several posts on the energy of food and water, do refer to the index.)
Fasting – there is a practice where people ‘fast’ or ‘keep a upvas vrat’, ie do not eat regular food on specific days, specific tithi/lunar days, ie Chaturthi, Ashtami, Ekadashi, Trayodashi, Purnima, Amavasya etc. Or on days linked to their adored deities eg Monday for Bhagwan Shankar. Such fasts are advisable if you eat the above mentioned satvik items and drink lots of water throughout your fasting time. Do not binge on fried and fatty food on your upwas days! Generally you will see people eating oily and fried items which are heavy to digest during the ‘fast’ and after they break their fasts, they overeat and have sweets/mithai and other fatty and sugary foods, which is harmful.
(There are special fasts where people do neither eat nor drink water for upto 24hrs, but these fasts are not advisable for Gruhast people who are supposed to work, go to office, take care of the family etc.)
Now the physical ‘exercise’ part.
You have to keep your physical body healthy by doing Yogasan regularly. Even 12 reps of Suryanamaskar done daily for a lifetime will keep your body fit and charge you with Satva gun. But if you have never done Suryanamaskar even once in your life do not start with 12 reps on day one. It is not as simple as it looks. Start with the easier Asans and then slowly, over time, build your strength. If you have medical conditions then find a professional teacher and consult your medical professional before attempting this.
Remember to consciously add the mantra along with the Asan, else the activity will become Tamasic. Mantra also help you keep your mind balanced and fit.
Next is mental fitness.
This will come with time as you regularly read the Upanishad/ Vedant or the Bhagwat Gita etc. If you find these to be too complicated then read books by the Atmajnyani Mahapurush. Several Jivanmukt Gurus have taken birth in all the states of Bharat and written books in the local languages, composed Bhajans, Abhangs, Stotra etc. Choose one such book in the language you are comfortable in and keep reading, rereading, this one book for a lifetime.
And equally important is your daily practice. Choose one routine activity and do it daily, 10mins in the morning and 10mins in the evening. Take up one mantra/ shloka /stotra and recite it for a lifetime. Choose something linked to your Ishtadevata or Kuldevata so that you have an emotional connect with what you are reciting. If you cannot manage a Sanskrit stotra then choose a bhajan in your favourite language. Give Arghya to the Surya. Offer water to the Tulasi plant. Do Dhyan. Do whatever you can do easily, but stick to it for a lifetime. This routine is the single most important habit that you will cultivate in your life.
Finally you have to add Satva gun to everything you do, ie to make everything you do even more Satvik.
You convert every small action of yours into ‘Dharma’ by reciting a mantra as you do it. There are specific mantra for every action you do, but they might be difficult to learn for beginners. And spiritual practice should be easy, natural, spontaneous, never a burden. And what is the easiest activity you perform? Breathing ie the Ajapa manta, ‘Soham’. The Soham mantra is the easiest and the most natural Ajapa mantra that you are always unconsciously mentally reciting with your breath, ‘So’ as you inhale, ‘ham’ as you exhale. So now onwards as you perform any activity, eg as you wake up in the morning, as you sit down to eat, as you open your water bottle to drink, as you open your laptop to work, open your schoolbook to study, as you lie down to sleep etc, take just one deep breath consciously recite ‘Soham’ once in your mind and then start. This Soham, this one breath, converts your simple action into Dharma, into a Yajnya. Every action you take will now fuel your own personal spiritual evolution.
(There were a few questions which I have answered through this post)
Thank you Ma’am for this post. It is very insightful.
I remember reading your post about “Praana” in food and how important it is to know while eating anything.
This post gives even more insight on how our daily life can be improved (and it must be).
It is interesting how we have incorporated these food items in our diets from the very beginning but forgotten over time to keep up with the popular culture. And ironically, the West going towards the Satvik lifestyle (diet, Yoga, saadhana, etc.)
Thank You for this amazing post.
My sincere gratitude as always for this and all the recent posts. I realized that the food that I and so many of us eat is so far from being Satwik, and this post is a guiding light for all of us.
I compare this to knowledge portal to a lighthouse to all of us floundering in the dark, and each post is a light wave from the lighthouse.
Best wishes, sincere gratitude and heartfelt prayers as always,
Wonderful article as always! Thank you. I have a question about what are the markers in a chart that suggest a tamasic mindset or laziness in general. TY!
Oh my! I’ve read a billion words and more in my lifetime, but none so deeply healing and profound. Thank you so very much. This is one of those magical feasts that is meant to take a full lifetime to practice and to fully utilize.
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Thank you very much for this post. Reading it at Rishikesh (my second visit this year) and what better place to read about something that’ll help us win over our senses!
Mam, can anyone consume food cooked using sesame oil or will there be any exceptions astrologically?
i cook my food only in these,
1. sesame oil
2. coconut oil
any oil = saturn
ghee = jupiter
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Kind of scary to think that the roti sabzi daal chawal combination we all eat daily, twice a day atleast (some have it even for breakfast), is not sattvik or far from it. Milk is also not to be had daily, so that also eliminates chai and coffee!
What would be some saatvik beverage alternates? Does Ayurved say something on it?
reduce wheat and rice as much as you can. they are not good for health.
you can have black coffee/tea – but not very strong brews. you can add lemon or other spices/ herbs to the brew for taste.
buttermilk, but before noon, is a good option.
milk coffee/tea once in a while is fine.
(direct liquid milk disturbs the mind. do this experiment. do not have milk for 21days. then have one glass of milk in the morning and analyse your mind for the next 24hrs. )
drink water! that is the best ‘beverage’.
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What can be the alternative for calcium upkeep and bone/teeth health? With vegetarians milk seems the main source?
have you really read the post?
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Just to add, sesame, Ragi, moringa(drumsticks) have very high calcium content. The green leaves of cauliflower are also rich in calcium. Khaskhas has high levels of calcium. Some meal planning to incorporate the above food items will decrease the need of milk. Moreover our bodies can easily assimilate the plant origin calcium better than milk products.
do not consume the sesame seeds directly. they can be used only in the paste form where they are finely ground. and of course the oil is good.
ragi is a millet – all millets are good, i have mentioned it in the post itself.
moringa seeds/pods, leaves, flowers all are eaten and we from the coastal belts prepare delicious recipes from them. but these items are more rajasic in nature, they add heat to the body, too much will aggravate pitta. you can have them if you have no other option or are recovering from illness or are lactating etc.
if you eat too much cauliflower or other brassicas, you will suffer from Vaat imbalance.
esp avoid eating this vegetable family at night.
i have written that liquid milk should not be consumed (age 10-60yrs) but the curd and all curd products should be consumed compulsorily. and if someone likes paneer even thts fine, but make it at home. buy the desi cow milk and then process it at home.
khaskhas requires a specific way of preparation. if you do not know how to cook it you will suffer from indigestion. however you can have it esp. on sundays, its also an astrological remedy for the Sun.
this blog does not spoon feed information but expects the readers to use their common sense and show some initiative.
has anyone searched about the nutrition content/ayurvedic qualities etc of the items i have mentioned? if you had you would have not asked this question.
i do not appreciate laziness.
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Thank you Ma’am, I will tweak our family diet accordingly, many thanks.
In TN, moringa is eaten during Purattasi month…it apparently turns sweet because of the nakshatra energies. Amazing!
I read a good line about food once…”Eat real food, not products.” (meaning the crazy off-the shelf processed food culture)
What is your take on nuts?
What is your view on salt? (I’ve read your article on this..)…from the sadhana/sadhaka perspective?
moringa is the best.
people from costal areas, including Maharashtra, plant a few moringa trees in their yards. you can eat the flowers, fruit pods, leaves and the recipes are delicious.
the nuts available in the market are heavily processed, most have the essential oils extracted from them. they are difficult to digest. i do not eat them.
a gruhastashrami should have as much salt as is necessary. he has to work etc, will sweat, lose electrolytes etc. this is applicable to all of us.
medical science is quite clear on how much salt one should have daily to live a healthy life.
but for the sanyasi who is going to be studying the vedant and doing his nididhyasana etc, very minimal amounts of salt are to be taken. maybe just one pinch in a day or sour fruits like citrus fruits which compensate. salt is connected to the liquids in the body, so has the potential to stir the mind.
in fact to prepare the body for this sort of diet, there are special fasts where the sadhak has food without salt, or no food and water, etc for 24hrs at least.
this is not for householders. do not do this, you can fall ill.
also remember, a genuine sanyasi cannot touch fire, ie he cannot cook. (he already has taken the fire of his own anteysthi within him)
he has to say ‘Bhikshamdehi’ to max 3 householders in a day. it is the imperative mood, so if a sanyasi says this specific word to a householder, the householder is bound by Dharma to offer Biksha. and the salt in the offered Biksha has the potential to create karmic bindings. so the sanyasi will eat very very limited food and thus limiting his salt intake and the karmic link to the householder who has offered the Bhiksha.
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yes….I’ve heard of sadhus dipping their rotis in ganga first and then eating them…to be free from the salt/karmas.
Really amazing spiritual science of food in our culture.🌸🌼
Tejaswini ji. Pranam,
Writing after a long time… really thankful to you, for writing this beautiful post.
Me and my family started eating satvik food since 2020.
Our daily intake used to be limited to chapatis of specific flours like Kottu, Ragi, Mix of jowar and bajra, dal of specific types, curd in afternoon only, even milk intake kept under strict limits.
Results have been amazing and your post confirms that.
One question crosses my mind, I don’t know, it might be silly too.
Every Lagna or chandra kundli bhav (house) represents human organ.
Question is ,
– if a specific bhav has more planets or that bhav is aspected by many planets, then does it affect a person’s life and his living style?
If yes, then how does he / she move towards a satvik lifestyle?
And which kundli brings such effect? Lagna (Janm) or Chandra (moon) kundli.
Just curious to know this. Thanks in advance.
every planet affects a person’s lifestyle.
if the satvik planets are more powerful, dharma trikon is auspicious etc etc then the person is more satvik in nature.
chandra kundali for the emotional aspects.
but lagna kundali has the prime position.
if you are more spiritual/ doing sadhana then you can also check your surya kundali.
then you can learn to use the sudarshan chakra.
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Namaste Respected Madam,
I have learned a lot about the essence of Ayurveda from your writings. As Ma’m has pointed out for the readers looking to learn more, Textbook of Ayurveda Volume 1 by Dr. Lad has been the most useful. Whatever Ma’m mentions here if you put in the effort you will find the reason behind it in this throughly written book. If this book is too much ( it’s a college course text) any book written by the same author will be useful for your learning.
Dr Vasant Lad and his wife Mrs Usha Lad have written a book on simple recipes, most are Marathi style recipes as they is are from Maharashtra. i recommend it.
He has written several books and has several videos on youtube. a very genuine person and very knowledgeable.
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Many thanks Tejaswinima’m for this wonderful article and I wholeheartedly agree with your perspective on milk. Although grass fed organic milk is advertised as a good remedy, it also creates laziness and ambivalence of mind, that is my experience. Also indigestion as we are not wired to digest it after childhood.
With adulteration and hormone content in milk these days curd , ghee are the best ! Thank you for explaining the goodness of millets!!
Namaste Tejaswini ji,
Aapka bahot bahot aabhar is gyan vardhak post ke liye. Mera sawaal mungphali ke tel aur mungphali as a nut ke sandharb mein hain. Agar koi bhi nut uske coat ke saath to woh process nahin hoga kya woh theek hain. Aur mungphali ka tel cooking ke liye upyukt hain?
Ma’am ik aur baat aapki har post mein bahot bahot gyaan hain. Is jeevan mein yeh ik mehavpooran tijoori hain jistmein bahot rating hain.
Ma’am kya apni matrabhoomi vapas aane ke liye koi mantra hain as in kya kar sakte hai . Kaise is bandhan ko khatam karoon ki mein apne parivaar ke saath vapas apne desh aa sakoon.
groundnut seeds cause pitta. too much is not good. you can have them in reasonable limits if they are ground into a paste.
groundnut oil is fine.
but refined oils are not good.
you can analyse your 12th house and find out the planets responsible for your foreign travels.
doing daan/mantra for that planet might help.
but consult your regular astrologer.
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🙏 🙏 🙏
I saw Barley on the shelf the other day, and bought it because it was used extensively in harappan civilisation. :). More than nutritional value, is it good for satvik guna?
When I read about Soham or Hamsa in this blog..
It reminds beautiful story in Bhagavata purana..
When 2 beautiful Hamsa of Eternal bliss roams in Manas Sarovar..
1 Hamsa mislead and trapped and forgets it’s way back..
That Beautiful Hamsa becomes a Man
Mortal(Puranjana)..undergoes many sufferings..
Several terrific situations..
And Becomes a Woman and faces different type of problems…
At the End..
When she trying to suicide…that Another Hamsa Its Old Eternal friend Comes to her and asks
“Did you recognize me”..
and reminds her Everything about its original Home..
That’s hit hard to me..
And..I thinks like, this Soham or Hamsa Mantra is about that Hamsa..
It’s amazing our scritptures represents soul with Hamsa..how beautiful it is…
Thank You for suggesting great ways to progress in spirituality..
Thank you very much..🙏
there are so many more meanings of the Hamsa,
and it is represented in so many puranic stories.
do read them all and ultimately try to connect the Hamsa with the Vedic concepts , it will be a very enriching self-study.
When reading some stories in our scrpitures..
It’s like drinking divine nectar..
Never forget great Depth meanings in some stories..its suddenly hits me hard.
This puranjana story is my favourite in Bhagavata purana..
Even when we forgets Paramatma in several life times…He comes to uplift us..
I saw that Divine Mercy of Hamsa in story..
May be..becoz lack of full knowledge
I can’t understand complete essence of story..still some times I got tears when I read some stories..
Thank you Ma’am..
Is Amavasya an auspicious day? Does things and changes happening in amavasya do good? I’m noticing these days does some changes to my life but, I’m not sure whether it is for good or bad to proceed anything further..
it is a neutral and very powerful energy.
you can use it productively to strongly start new projects etc.
but to channelise the amavasya you have to do significant pujas or spiritual practice first
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