By Dya Singh | OPINION |
There is a saying: Choose and consume food like medicine or else medicine will become your food. So for good health it is imperative that we watch what we eat and drink.
Sikh philosophy is fairly open-ended as far as food is concerned. Other than the fact that food in gurdwaras (and also private kirtan programmes or where Guru Ji, Sri Guru Granth Sahib holds court) vegetarian food shall be served, and besides references to not consuming meat killed in a religious manner, like halal, Sikhs generally have a free reign as to what they eat. And most take liberties where ‘drink’ too is concerned!
There are, of course, those who will vehemently declare that Sikhs, or those who seek emancipation must be vegetarians like most Bhai Sahibs and Sants. Some even insist that garlic should not be used in langgar! I have seen vegetarian Bhai Sahibs and Sants and Khalsa Jis gorge themselves on samosas and jalebian with extra sweet cha when they could and then declare that it is Waheguru Ji’s Hukm that they have diabetes and/or high blood pressure and other ailments!
Baba Nanak Ji left it fairly open by firstly declaring that ‘maas maas kar murakh jhegeday…‘ which simply explained means that only fools argue about whether one should eat meat or not. Further Baba Nanak writes: Baba hor khana khushi khwar. Jit khadai tan pidiyai mun meh chelai vekar. O Baba, the pleasures of other foods are false. Eating them, the body is ruined, and wickedness and corruption enters the mind.
A little further in Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Raam Das Ji says: Jit peetai mat door hoe, baral pevai vich aye. Drinking which intelligence departs and madness enters the mind… etc . All fairly clear.
Though it is generally agreed that taking one or two lines within the Guru Granth Sahib Ji out of context could give the wrong impression, suffices to say that these lines I have quoted do give the gist of logical Sikh thought that where eating and drinking is concerned, treat food like medicine for good healthy living. I am happy with these broad guidelines! The rest is up to me.
With excesses of youth in eating and drinking I am lucky that my only ailment at almost 70 years of age is weight, besides age of course! I have not yet been reduced to consuming medicine as food! Guru Ji has been kind.
While I was on kirtan duty in south India a few years ago, a sangat (congregational) member in Kerala booked me for two weeks of ayurveda treatment at a centre. In two weeks I lost 5kgs. in weight and came away without a recurring back pain and generally rejuvenated!
So impressed was I that the following year I publicised the fact and we arrived as a jatha of over 30 from far flung places like Canada, UK, USA and even Dubai besides north India and Malaysia! Nitnem at dawn and dusk and occasional kirtan plus ayurveda massages, very good south Indian food (not overly spicy or hot) and herbal medicine for whatever ailments we had, the rest of the day.
I found that with the special massages and other treatment, herbal medicines and light vegetarian food, I lost 8kgs. The second time round … and then promptly put it all back when I returned home to Australia after a two week stopover in Malaysia. The food in Malaysia is irresistible! The nasi lemak, teh tarik, cendol, rojak, bakuteh, chi cheong fan, chicken/pork rice, dhosai, idly, etc. The mouth waters just writing these down!
After an absence of three years, I am back with my wife strictly for a good detox and weight loss besides tranquility, simran and some writing. I tipped the scales at 110kgs when I arrived! My original weight before I went to the centre the first time! I need to lose at least 10kg. I know the good clean south Indian vegetarian food, and medicated water plus expert massages and herbal medicines will play a great part in putting me back on my feet.
I shall report halfway as to how I am going as encouragement (I hope) to you the reader that good health is important and one needs to be proactive especially as the years roll by. Sadly we pay scant attention to health consciousness as part of Sikhi practices, so I shall do my bit in encouraging you.
Back pains, joint aches, high blood pressure, over-weight, diabetes, skin conditions – almost any ailments, need body pampering like good food and herbal medicine to rejuvenate the body through thorough detoxification and massaging. It is one thing to go in as an outpatient. It is another to actually stay at such a place in the hope that at least one’s eating and sleeping patterns change for the better and one can take that away from here.
Some very dear friends have come here on my advice and benefitted immensely. You can, too. Giani Sukdaiv Singh Ji of Gurpuri (Malaysia) and wife have also been here for treatment. So has shotay veer, Veer Manpreet Singh Ji, our young kirtenia.
Write in to Asia Samachar if you have any pertinent questions. I shall give more details, especially of my own and my wife’s improvements besides other details of procedures etc. which might be of interest to you. Part 2, the interim report will be in Asia Samachar in about one and a half week.
Malaysian-born Dya Singh, who now resides in Australia, is an accomplished musician and a roving Sikh preacher. The Dya Singh World Music Group performs full scale concerts on ‘music for the soul’ based on North Indian classical and semi-classical styles of music with hymns from mainly the Sikh, Hindu and Sufi ‘faiths’. He is also the author of SIKH-ING: Success and Happiness. He can be contacted at email@example.com
* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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