Food/drinking habits

Someone said brilliantly:

aye kAzi peene de masjid mein baithkar
warnA aisi jagah batA jahAn khudA na ho

For all, it means the same thing, but most stick to one *side* of the meaning, while the others cross over. Well, I crossed back. Why, one may wonder. Though I have personal reasons for crossing back into tea-totalling, here's more to it...

The above shaayari justifies drinking for most in that it doesn't matter if they drink even in the presence of the Lord since the lord's everywhere! However, that means that one should not drink anywhere for some, also since the lord's everywhere! People pick their own paths for whatever conveniences; I picked the latter.

I've been with people who followed ekaadashi-s to the core. I've followed quite some myself. On ekaadashi, or other upavaasa-s for that matter, some starve, other devotees stick to eating fruits or no rice, etc. Once I asked an Iskcon swami why so and he went on to explain that raakshasas get into the dhaanya-s on that day and therefore it has to be avoided. Well, maybe he couldn't explain it well or he didn't know it well. I used to go around collecting info while there to see if I was on the right path. I wasn't, but that apart. People give up onion, garlic and stuff for some reasons on particular days!

A simple practical reason for all this is pretty neat: onion, garlic, etc are taamasic, in that they are aphrodisiacs. Upa-vaasa is basically staying-near (God). In doing so, one must try to be as near as possible. Since the mind is a monkey and jumps around, people went on to be physically around the idols of deities trying to meditate or do some religious kaarya. In doing so, the least eaten the better for reasons of time available as well as concentration. All other stories were built around this fact. Unfortunately, like all times, people tend to stick to stories than morals!

Why I went around ekaadashi narration is because here's where the drinking meets it. Giving up drinking on some days or a month of shraavaN is no better than *following* ekaadashi-s. They might bring in purity for a day, but thats that. Moreover, the idea of "I gave up" brings in more harm than it does good. Religious followings need not necessarily have to do with spiritual ones. Spirituality demands one's being absorbed in the self at all times, religion doesn't. Religion has to do with mahA- and upa-pAtakAs, spirituality doesn't. Still, to me, that I didn't drink, eat or do something on such-and-such a day or at such-and-such a place is tomfoolery since Ishwara is sarvadhi sAkshi bhutam. This means that no one can hide and sin! :)

As an aside, Ramana Maharshi said something to the effect that forgetting the self is the biggest sin! Anyone here who isn't a sinner then?
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