Many cultures from all around the world have developed different types of rituals based on offering food to deities.
Sacred nourishment implies natural aliments, to which the priest, the shaman or another competent religious person attributes spiritual qualities by consecrating it to a Deity.
The concept of 'charging' the food with sacred energy or with a certain type of energy has been known for a long time in Christianity, as well as in the Jewish tradition. This concept is usually connected with the idea of blessing food.
From another perspective, any kind of healthy food should be considered sacred, as it is a gift that preserves life. Furthermore, in Tantric philosophy, the act of eating is consecrated to spiritual evolution.
The act of eating may also be a highly erotic experience, which can be associated in many respects to the sexual act itself. Always focus on extracting the essence from the food you ingest.
Eat moderately and choose the best food specific to the current season. Thus you will learn from experience what food is suitable and what is not.
According to the Yogic treaty Geranda Samhita, a beginner in the practice of yoga should not eat acid, bitter, salted or hot food excessively.
The same text specifically indicates that " Half of the stomach should be filled with food, a quarter with water or another liquid, and the other quarter should be left empty, because this will help in the practice of breath-control ."
Yogic teachings underline the fact that the mental attitude of the person who prepares the food becomes impregnated into it on a spiritual level. For example, an advanced yogi could find out many things about the temper of the cook only by tasting the food.
Furthermore, the attitude with which we eat is also highly important, as it may have effects upon the entire digestive process; therefore, do not eat, or prepare food when you're irritated or nervous.
While cooking, it is best to maintain a meditative, contemplative attitude, or even sing, as this helps the mind focus and will contribute to the sacred quality of the food. Also, try to pay attention to the individual qualities of each type of food that you ingest.
It is not recommended to excessively taste a lot of food, for this will deprive it of its sacred quality.
If you cannot decide how to condiment the food, take a small quantity in a spoon, taste it and then spice it if needed.
An aliment or a type of food cannot be consecrated or offered if it has already been excessively tasted.
Another important aspect is that while preparing food, one must leave aside all egotistical feelings and desires.
Considering the effects of food upon the body and mind, yogic teachings have divided food into three categories.
The first category of force is known as Sattva, which sustains the creative energy and spiritual attitude. Sattva based aliments are: milk, honey, butter, lacteous products, nuts, cereal seeds, as well as many fruits and vegetables that grow underground.
All these aliments are generally known for their sweet taste and are endowed with the capacity of stimulating creative and erotic feelings. It is said that the superior nature of the mind is also Sattva.
All aliments included in the Sattva category stimulate ether and air in the subtle body, thus contributing to the growth and creativity of our inner being.
The aliments included in this category are usually named 'the nourishment of the gods', or 'milk and honey' in the biblical tradition.
Hindu medical treaties maintain that the essence of food is successively transformed into blood, flesh, fat, bones, marrow, and finally sperm or ovules.
Thus, from their point of view, the essence of food directly influences the appearance, aspect and taste of sexual secretions. The same treaties suggest that: "sperm which has the best quality (for procreation) is sweet, non-irritating, and crystal-like in appearance."
“A healthy diet determines a healthy body and consequently influences spiritual progress. On the other hand, indulging in an unhealthy diet will generate diseases and other unpleasant problems.”
The second category includes Rajas aliments, which are characterized by Rajas - passion. These include all kinds of hot, stimulating food, such as cooked, spiced, and salted roots. The Rajas based aliments are usually associated with salted and hot tastes.
It is recommended that milk, milk products, and eggs only be consumed when they are fresh and carefully prepared. The Rajas based food stimulates the senses, is quite difficult to digest and usually leaves many residual products.
The effect of such food upon sexual secretions varies according to each individual's case, depending on the ability of that individual to transform the impurities within the Rajas food.
Generally, men who consume such food will have a thick, salted, and somewhat gelatinous like sperm, with an unpleasant smell, sometimes even fetid.
The same characteristics will define the sexual secretions of a woman consuming this kind of food.
Finally, the third type of food, known as Tamas, contributes to the stimulation of rage and other destructive feelings.
This category includes all aliments disturbing or soliciting to the senses, either through their aggressive taste (excessively hot, bitter or astringent), or through the fact they become putrid while they are still inside the intestines.
Food based on meat, food with too much oil, or overly fried food will in time lead to destructive feelings and behavior.
This category also includes: meat, eggs and aliments that generate strong body odors or flatulence.
Ingesting Tamas based aliments will lead to the increase and activation of the earth and water elements in the subtle anatomy of the body, elements which manifest on the physical level in the form of mucus, fat and generally speaking, as a tendency towards being overweight.
Sensitivity will be highly decreased and a particularly materialistic attitude will take over.
Sexual secretions will become unpleasant, and sexual contact will no longer be an enriching act of love, but a mere animal-like act, whose only purpose is immediate physical satisfaction.
The obvious simplicity of these food characterizations explains why it is such a useful, efficient and malleable system in determining what is and what is not suitable for each of us. Choosing one's food has to be done according to one's environment and goals in life.
For instance, a highly materialistic person will not be able to sense any taste in Sattva types of food, while a yogi will savor the wonderful taste of this food.
An athlete may well prefer animal proteins, such as roast beef, eggs, etc, as such food will make him experience a certain state of aggression useful for training and competitions.
However, for the Tantric couple, the most indicated type of food is the Sattva (or spiritual) one. To this basic diet, the lovers may add some of the Rajas-ic components, especially in times when they need more powerful stimulation.
Caution! Incorrect food combinations or 'out of date' aliments are Tamas in their effects on the body and psyche.
Try to experiment with food, combine it according to your taste and use spices moderately in order to create, in your daily diet, an infinite variety of the 'deity's food'.
"The sage, who seeks happiness in this world and in the afterworld, will pay close attention in choosing healthy and energizing food. Light aliments usually have the qualities of ether, air and fire. Heavy aliments have the qualities of earth and water. " CHARAKA SAMHITA