apare niyataahaaraaha praanaanpraaneshu juhvati |
sarvepyete yajnyavido yajnyakshapitakalmashaaha || 30 ||

Others regulate their diet, offering the life force into the life force. All these (seekers) destroy sin through sacrifice, who are the knowers of sacrifice.

apare : others
niyataahaaraaha : regulate diet
praanaan-praaneshu :  life force into the life force
juhvati: offer
sarve : all
api : also
ete : these
yajnyavidaha : knowers of sacrifice
yajnyakshapita : destroy through sacrifice
kalmashaaha : sins

In an earlier shloka, Shri Krishna spoke about the yajnya of regulating the quality of sensory intake. In this shloka, he describes a yajnya where one not only controls the quality of sensory intake but also the quantity. Although this is applicable to all senses such as smell, taste, sight and so on, let us consider one which is the simplest to understand: taste. Dieting becomes a form of yajnya.

By controlling or regulating the intake of food, we can control our mind. Our body and mind is ultimately made up of the food we consume. Later in the seventeenth chapter, Shri Krishna describes different types of food. For now, let us consider three main types. Saatvic food is that which is conducive to mind, which creates harmony in our system. Raajasic food makes us more active. It is usually spicy to taste. Taamasic food makes us dull, sleepy and sometimes intoxicated as well. It is food that has lost all its nutritional value, and is usually stale. It is also known as junk food.

On a subtler level, food also acquires the characteristics of how it has been prepared. At some level, we can always tell whether the food we eat has been mass produced, or has been made with care and attention. That is why many serious students of meditation will usually prepare their own food.

So therefore, Shri Krishna says here that we can perform yajnya by restricting our sensory intake. Now, let’s look at the deeper meaning of this shloka. By regulating the intake of our senses, we reduce our dependence on the senses and in doing so, offer them senses back to the universe. In parallel, our life forces also do not need to work hard in order to digest and process all this sensory “food” that we consume. Therefore, we also offer our life force back to the universal or cosmic life force. In other words, we say “Here, please take these senses and life force back. It is your property to begin with. It is not mine.”

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