As we walk on the path towards complete spiritual development, we find that we must make many changes in our lives, some very subtle while others are extremely radical. One aspect of our lives that needs to be addressed is the proper nourishment of our physical body.
It is indispensable that each person be nourished sufficiently. When nutrition is imperfect, the blood weakens and becomes poor, this being the reason why the cells also weaken. - Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of the Golden Blossom
We must learn to eat and drink not only to feed our body, but our soul as well.
The body is the temple that will lead us to achieve the spiritual goals that we have. The work towards Self-realization requires a great deal of strength physically, emotionally and mentally. Thus, we must obviously care for the vehicle that will allow us to accomplish this work.
Success in yoga is not for him who eats too much or too little; nor for him who sleeps too much or too little..
To him who is temperate in eating and in sleep and wakefulness, yoga becomes a destroyer of misery. - Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita VI-16, 18
As aspirants on the path of Gnosis (the pursuit of knowledge of one's Self) we must learn to care for our physical temple. We must clean and prepare the temple for greater things to come. We must take care of our body by keeping it clean, by clothing it and most importantly by properly nourishing it. We must be choosy with what we put into the body. We must learn how to care for ourselves appropriately as we learn how to be true Gnostics .
The Gnostic must be temperate. He must not slander people. He should not be gluttonous or lazy.
As a rule, the Gnostic must retire to the bedroom at 10:00 p.m. daily, in order to practice internal Meditation. The Gnostic must rise at dawn in order to practice all of his esoteric exercises.
The Gnostic must be a clean, tidy, decent, honest and upright person. He should always be punctual and happy, never angry with anyone, nor should he be against anyone in any way. The devotee should shower or wash himself daily, and he should dress presentably.
The Gnostic, who never washes himself or is in great disorder, causes damage to humanity in such a way that with his bad taste may drive people away from the Gnostic studies. For example, people may say, "If this is what Gnostics are like, I don't want to enter into these studies. I don't want to degenerate, myself," etc. - Samael Aun Weor, The Yellow Book
Ingesting alcohol and drugs is clearly a terribly bad choice for the physical body. As one walks on the path, one must leave behind these bad habits by comprehending the dependence on them and thus eliminating them from within or one will become stagnant.
Some people justify the use of drugs saying that they help them achieve certain visions or conscious astral projection. The abuse of these drugs will not bring you spiritual enlightenment, but rather a false sense of mastery, not to mention dependence on the drug. Dependence in any form, to any drug (legal or illegal) is a detriment to your work on the path. We see many ‘legal' drugs being advertised on television these days. They claim to cure one thing, while infecting your organism with multiple side effects and even causing death. These substances are still drugs. This is one way the Black Lodge works in order to control this humanity, by making them dependant on unnecessary drugs. We must break away from this type of mentality. Our temple will not function properly while full of drugs.
A drug addict turns vice into religion. Being misled, he thinks he experiences what is real under the influence of drugs. Unaware that the extra-perceptions produced by marijuana, L.S.D., morphine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, cocaine, heroin, hashish, tranquilizers in excess, amphetamine, barbiturates, etc., etc., are merely hallucinations produced by the abominable kundabuffer organ (the Tail of Satan). - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Clean your temple out thoroughly for God will not reside in a dirty house.
Drugs and alcohol are obviously bad choices for the body, but what isn't so obvious are the food choices we make. There are foods that obviously nourish the body in different ways, some positively while others do it negatively.
Soda, for example is very harmful to the body. Scientific studies have shown how as few as one or two soft drinks a day can increase one's risk for numerous health problems. Some of these health problems are obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, and many neurological disorders. A common problem that is associated with consumption of a large number of soft drinks is the increased acid levels throughout the body. All soft drinks are very acidic, but dark colas such as Coke and Pepsi are much more acidic. Many doctors believe that there is a correlation between acids increasing the risk of disease.
Instead of drinking soft drinks, we should choose natural juices and water. Water is essential for the proper functioning of the organism.
Another point of great importance is the irrigation of the body: the proper use of water for the organism's benefits. The minimum amount of water required daily is two and a half liters. If water becomes scarce, then certain glands cannot function efficiently; the body does not eliminate all the wastes of the organism properly, the liver does not function well, etc. - Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of the Golden Blossom
Canned food are another example of foods detrimental, even poisonous, to our system. They are full of toxic substances that do not allow our body to absorb the nutritional value within the food. These are spiritually empty foods. In no way do they fortify our spirit; instead they have the opposite effect. It is said that the continuous use of canned foods depletes one of his/her spiritual values. Since these foods are altered by the process in which they are prepared, they cannot feed our soul. They are ‘empty foods.' The solar light that charges all food is no longer within this food. The christic energy can no longer be felt within canned foods.
The filthiest things of all (besides vegetable adulteration) are the famous fruit preserves sealed hermetically within cans that exude poison. North Americans want to preserve all foods in hermetically sealed cans. The outcome of the absurd consumption of canned foods is the famous poliomyelitis (polio). - Samael Aun Weor, The Social Transformation of Humanity
One must try to abstain from the use of canned food. The convenience of this type of food is a great inconvenience to your pursuit of inner tranquility and Self-knowledge. Choose your food wisely. Care for your temple.
Fast food is another example of ‘empty food.' The processing, canning and freezing of this food has rendered it nutritionally meaningless for the body. It is like eating cardboard. Once again, this type of food seems very fast and convenient when one lives in the fast-paced world as we do, but here is a lesson that we must learn. We need to take the time to prepare the food that will not only feed our body (or bodies), but our inner self, our soul. On this path, one must develop patience and not expect everything instantaneously. We are a society that demands immediate gratification, thus the development of fast food. Fast food will put you on the ‘fast' track to spiritual emptiness.
Part of the whole fast food trend is white bread and products made from white flour (pasta, pizza, etc.) White bread is made with refined white flour that has been stripped of its fiber and most of its nutrients; it is then re-enriched with synthetic vitamins. This is another type of ‘empty food.' We should choose whole grains (that have not been stripped of essential vitamins) in lieu of refined white flour.
Foods should be used in a balanced manner so as to obtain the best nutrition. Avoid eating white bread. White flour is harmful and does not contain any nourishment. Eat black bread, plantains, corn flour, instead of white bread and white flour. Eat many vegetables, Remember that vegetables are fountains of great nourishment. Vitamins are found in vegetables. - Samael Aun Weor, Introduction to Gnosis
Many people believe that to be spiritual you must be a vegetarian. This is not true. In order to work with the three factors: Sacrifice for humanity, birth of your inner bodies and the death of your egos, red meat and seafood are essential in order to feed the body with the proper elements so that one can transmute the sexual energy daily and annihilate the egos.
Samael Aun Weor narrates the following in regards to vegetarianism:
I was a vegetarian fanatic and in the name of the truth I tell you that I became disappointed with that system. Still I remember that time in La Sierra Nevada when I wanted to make a wretched dog become one hundred percent vegetarian. That animal learned; it became accustomed to the vegetarian system, but it died immediately after learning it. Nevertheless, I observed the symptoms of that creature, the weakness that it demonstrated before dying. So, later in time, in the neighboring Republic of El Salvador, one given day when I was returning to my home, the same symptoms appeared in me when I was walking up a long street that tended to be more vertical than horizontal, since it was very steep. I was sweating frightfully and as my weakness increased horribly with each step, I thought that I was going to die. I did not have any alternative than to call my spouse, the Master Litelantes, and to ask her to cook beef for me; she did so, and I ate it. Then the energies returned into my body, and I felt that I returned to life... Since then, I have been disillusioned with the vegetarian system. - The Common-Cosmic Trogoautoegocrat Law
Every food (that is not ‘empty') has a nutritional value according to the five elements.
"With respect to the organic subject, ether is encountered as being closely related to woman or to sexuality (Maithuna); air to wine (Madya); fire to meat (Mamsa); water to fish (Matsya) and earth to grains (Mudra).
Thus, by the intelligent enjoyment of the five 'M's" (Maithuna, Madya, Mamsa, Matsya, Mudra), that is: woman, wine, meat, fish and grains, we invoke the power (Shakti) of the elements, bringing it to the present within ourselves here and now.
The Pancatattva makes Shakti-Puja possible. In other words, this was the Gnostic Cult to the Divine Mother Kundalini Shakti.
The wonderful sparks of Maha-Kundalini are found within all the properties of Nature's five elements.
We urgently need to turn these sparks into flames within ourselves.
Unquestionably, even when the hidden Inner Divinity is not found within the intellectual animal mistakenly called human being, it consciously extends its innermost energy through the ritual Pancatattwa with the clear purpose of helping the Essence in the process of awakening...
We must know clearly that the five elements are diverse forms of one power and therefore they attempt to attract the life within the Innermost Being in order to unite it with the external life, the immanent with the transcendent, so that the Being recognizes itself in the here and now.
We need to learn to live intensely from instant to instant in the world of the five elements...
What can we say about the Vayu Tattwa, the element of air? What is its relationship with the fruit of the Vine?
Obviously, no drunkard can possibly acquire the marvelous powers of the Vayu Tattwa...
It is clearly evident that pure unfermented wine is used with success in the ritual of Pancatattwa...
By what method or manner can we acquire the miraculous igneous powers of the Tejas Tattva if we make the mistake of renouncing the carnivorous element? Unfortunately, the human multitude either becomes radically vegetarian or turns almost cannibalistic.
What can be said about the Apas Tattva and its formidable powers? It is obvious that the secret which allows us to control storms and walk on water is found in fish. Unfortunately, people either hate seafood or eat too much of it.
How can we conquer the powers of the Prithvi Tattva, the earth element, if we hate cereals, vegetables and plants or if we misuse them? - Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of the Golden Blossom
Red meat creates fire (Tejas Tattva), grapes and grape juice rouse the air (Vayu Tattva), seafood stirs the water (Apas Tattva), vegetables and whole grains are of the earth (Prithvi Tattva). All of these elements are necessary for the proper nutritional and spiritual processes to occur within. In order to transmute your sexual energy (Akasa Tattva -the element of Ether) as a married person or as a single person, on a daily basis, one needs the inner fire and water to be stimulated. Red meat (in moderation) and seafood create the effect within our temple. Too much red meat will make your body feel lazy; at most eat it only 2-3 times a week.
...meat when consumed in large quantities (for example, every day) is like poison for the body. Dr. Arnold Krumm Heller, Professor of Medicine of the University of Berlin and a great Gnostic doctor sustained that man should consume twenty percent of his food as meat. - Samael Aun Weor, Introduction to Gnosis
Seafood on the other hand can be eaten more frequently. Learn to listen to what your body is craving for, not what your mind is suggesting.
Chewing our food properly is essential for proper digestion.
One of the best ways of obtaining complete nutrition with our customary food consists in PERFECTLY MASTICATING THE DELICACIES. Food partly ingested loses a great part of its nutritive value.
When drinking wine or eating meat, fish or cereals, the Gnostic Vira pronounces the mantra Krim, intensifying his imagination in such a way that the whole universe seems to overflow with the Blessed Goddess of the World. - Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of the Golden Blossom
The meat of devolving animals should not be eaten because the inferior atoms of these animals only feed the egos that we have within. Pork, for example, comes from a pig, which is a devolving animal and one of the most prevalent food sources in the world. When one eats pork, the ego of lust is strengthened through the devolving atoms of the pig. One must abstain from eating pork in any form. Other examples of devolving animals that are used for food in various parts of the world are monkeys, rats, and most dogs.
In the past, fruits, vegetables and whole grains have always seemed to be a positive choice for the proper nutrition of our body and they were. Unfortunately, in this day and age we must now be wary of which fruits, vegetables and whole grains we choose. Scientists have come up with various ways to genetically alter or graft fruits, vegetables, grains and even animals. They call it genetically modified food (GM). According to the FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are over 40 modified plant varieties that have completed all of the federal requirements for commercialization. Some examples of these plants include tomatoes and cantaloupes that have modified ripening characteristics, soybeans and sugar beets that are resistant to herbicides, and corn and cotton plants with increased resistance to insect pests.
What this results in is food that has been tampered with. It is no longer in its ‘natural' state. To genetically alter food, is to change the food. Each food created by nature has specific nutrients and vitamins essential for the physical body. Each food conducts the solar light, the christic force according to its genetic make-up. When scientists alter this genetic structure of the plant or animal, they also alter the way the christic light is harnessed, thus producing foods that are ‘empty.' We will see more and more of these GM foods in the future because science believes they are only improving nature, when in actuality they are creating bigger, unforeseen problems.
Modern scientists are very far from even suspecting that when any plant is grafted it cannot capture the special type of cosmic vibratory waves that are fundamental and necessary for life; therefore, it is logical that within the vital depths of such fruits an adulteration is produced. - Samael Aun Weor, The Social Transformation of Humanity
And lastly, one should exercise the body regularly, not excessively but in moderation. Walking after a meal is highly recommended.
As aspirants of the Path, we need to be aware of all the above issues. It is important to choose what we put into our bodies, but also not to become fanatical. We need to learn to live balanced in an unbalanced society. The path towards Self-realization requires many sacrifices and changes within us.
Proper care and maintenance of our temple is of the utmost importance to achieve the much sought after transformation.
The Pancatattva Ritual as written in the Tantras