rasyaaha snigdhaaha sthiraa hridyaa aahaaraaha saattvikapriyaahaa || 8 ||
Food that enhances longevity, mind, strength, health, happiness and joy, that which is juicy, oily, stable and pleasant, is dear to one who is saatvic.
aayuhu : longevity
sattva : mind
balaha : strength
aarogyaha : health
sukhaha : happiness
preetihi : joy
vivirdhanaahaa : enhances
rasyaaha : juicy
snigdhaaha : oily
hridyaa : pleasant
aahaaraaha : food
saattvikapriyaahaa : dear to one who is saatvic
The Chhandogya Upanishad describes the impact of food on our personality. It says that the food we eat is divided into three parts. Majority of what we eat is rejected by the body. The second part is used to build the bones, muscles, skin, organs and so on. The third part, the most subtle part goes into the antaha karana, comprising of the emotional mind, the intellectual mind, memory and senses. In other words, the food we eat impacts our personality in a multitude of ways.
Shri Krishna says that the type of food we eat can point to the texture of our faith. He lists the characteristics of food that is consumed by a saatvic person. Saatvic food promotes aayu or longevity. It improves the quality of thoughts in our mind. It improves our strength and our health, since it provides essential nutrition to the body. We have happiness while we are eating it, and joy after we have eaten it. It does not cause any regrets while eating it, or after eating it.
What does such saatvic food taste like? It is juicy, like a succulent fruit. It is not dry, it has just the right amount of fat and oil, like almonds. It is stable, it provides long term benefits to the body, long after having consumed it. It is hridyaa which means pleasant. One does not have to cultivate a special taste for it since it is agreeable to all. Another meaning of hridyaa is medicinal. Such food can be digested easily when our power of digestion is low, and can also help in the healing process.