“One cannot think well, love well, and sleep well if one has not DINED WELL”. As this quote describes the importance of food for our body and mind, let’s understand that, what and how we eat determines our health and longevity. Right food in right quantity at the right time can be a gateway to flawless health. So, in this regard we have started a series of articles on what Indian classical scriptures had to say about “food”. As we are done with the first two chapters, of this great book, hereby peeping into the third chapter.
So, the third chapter deals mainly with the kings and his physicians, cooks. Rules of taking certain food articles etc.
1. The first verse says that the king must always have an efficient physician (called as pranacharya) reside next to his palace. Further versus describes the quality of personal doctor of a king. The doctor must be devoid of any anger, harshness, jealousy or cunningness. Author has also told that he must have good character and forbearance. Such thoughtful of these phrases. This has been relevant to the present day too. Further it has been told that doctors need to have other Qualities like say for example, He should be unhurried, spiritual, pleasant, must work for the welfare of others, must always have a stock of necessary medicines and most importantly he must work in co-ordination with the king’s cook.
2. The next verse is something interesting. He says that a king, even in his difficult times, must take good care of the physician, royal priest, minister and the astrologer – all of them who are dedicated to his service round the clock. It surprises as to how doctors were respected and their welfare was given utmost importance in medieval India.
3. Now, the next beautiful shloka describes the importance of medical science in a physician’s life. It says, Medical science is never in vain because it gives a doctor, either fame or money or friends.
4. A perfect doctor is the one who has the exact textual knowledge of diseases and is able to cure a patient of his/her suffering.
5. Here is an interesting quote. It says, if a king wants happiness and peace of mind, he must not have company of wicked men. A wicked man’s company is sweet in the beginning, sour in between, bitter and spicy at the end. But, nevertheless a person must always have food with the above qualities (Which implies that a perfect food must have all tastes in it and is preferred for better health).
6. The next verse is about when to have fruits. Interestingly here, the author tells that any fruit must be eaten only before meals (and not soon after meals). However, exemptions to this rule are banana and cucumber.
7. Next rule of food intake says, one must have only one meal in three hours and not exceed fasting for more than six hours. Author says that if a person eats within three hours again after a meal intake, it leads to impaired digestion and if fasting is done for more than six hours, it leads to lack of strength. This rule of gap between food and fasting is worth following even to this day.
8. The author seems like doesn’t recommend reheating of already cooked food. He says that Cold vegetables which are already boiled shouldn’t be reheated when consuming them with rice.
Its not shocking that there is a lot of similarities among the principles of food intake mentioned in this text and what Ayurveda says. However it’s a matter of pride that Indian authors had that fore-sightedness centuries ago about the right methods of food intake. As doctors we practically see these rules being breached by many people and landing up in disease.
Lets take health as a priority and start making these subtle changes what are told in our classical text books. However, we all agree that prevention is any day better than cure.
Would continue with the third chapter in few days to come.
Happy time !!!!!