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Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India (Part 1)

Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India (Part 1).

Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India (Part 1)

By Kamala Das

The following are excerpts from an amazing book called Annan Brahma: Organic Food in India by Anjali Pathak.

The perspective and scope is familiar and prophetic. I have always, intuitively and as a matter of “vicara” deep discernment, understood that what we consume and how we consume energy for each body, is directly mirrored to the health and vitality of the earth as a living breathing “body” of relationships.  Naturally Intelligence works efficiently; stepping away from this free way, into a world of man-made systems ultimately impacts our body and the earth with no exception.

The writers of Act Naturally have written articles with similar sentiment shared in Anjali’s work, however this book knits together the problems and solutions in a brief and accessible way. I hope you enjoy this summary.  Annam means Mother Nature’s food, specific to the fulfillment of each of her species. And Brahma is Ishvara, ever pervasive consciousness- God. So literally, The Food of God. –KV

We re going to present this material several parts, the first, this article covering the books Preface;  second article on Ayurvedic Farming and third on Natueco farming method as taught by Professor S.A. Dabholkar.

May the universe never abuse food. Breath is food. The body eats foods. The body rests on breath. Breath rests on the body. Food is resting on food. The one who knows this becomes rich in food and great in spirit.

(Taittiriya Upanishad 11.7)

“Having served many years spreading the work of Ayurveda, it is overwhelming to witness America’s rapid movement toward impending health, economic, environmental, social, familial and individual crisis. The rampant violence, disease, and despair across the American landscape have prompted endless scientific research costing trillions of dollars, especially in the areas of food, diet and health; yet the fight against disease and the denigration of life is failing. This predicament arises in great part from the popularized killer diet that has replaced a diet consisting of wholesome foods. A fact that prompts a multitude of questions: Why is the population deliberately imbibing polluted products and poisoned foods? Obviously, billions of people the world over are now doing precisely that. Does this malady arise from personal choice of by designed addiction? Certainly, even the lease education person would realized that consuming polluted “fast foods,” commercially grown “poisoned foods,” or genetically engineered “mutated foods” would negatively impact one’s health and well being. But that appears NOT to be the case. Many seem to be unaware that these so-called “food” products create potentially lethal forms of addiction, habit-forming behaviors that do not nourish nature and heal. One of the most significant questions we can ask is: Why is there so little education that these poisonous foods are linked to disease, despair, and disharmony not only in the human population but in all species and the planet itself?” (p.5)

“India is a land crammed with manifold layers of contradictions; ancient and yet modern, at one end of the spectrum she is on the verge of massive technological and scientific growth aligned with material prosperity , and at the other extreme she teeters on the brink of devastating human poverty with progressive drought and the potential death of the land looming. Somewhere in the center of it all, she has a spirit of stoicism, which has helped her survive many waves of barbaric incursions. However too successfully ward off the killer diet, aware of a very different nature, India must reconcile her profound extremes. The issue of nutritional safety and food security must be addressed as one of the nation’s highest priorities. For this, we need to educate our people about organic, wholesome ways to care for ourselves and by extension, create health for families and communities. In so doing, we must examine the native stock of India’s vast ancestral wealth of knowledge. To promote health and inner harmony for all, we must inform our youths about the necessity for healthful, conscientious behaviors and inspire them with authentically packaged knowledge that fosters awareness and self-respect. And we must do so because of our spiritual beliefs regardless of our cultural differences.” (p.6)

“As in Mother Nature’s cosmos, there is an intricate balance between trillions of interactions with the body. This vital knowledge is conveyed in the ancient Ayurveda, yet remains virtually unknown, undiscovered by modern science. Evidently the education on how to attain wholesome physical, emotional and spiritual health is particularly lacking in at-risk communities who are largely unaware that the hidden price they are paying for convenience foods comes from the irreplaceable fold of their health, memory, fertility, spirituality and their future.” (p.7)

“Let’s examine another grotesque myth: The idea that through bioengineering transgenic foods we can produce more foods, shape them the way we want, enhance their tastes and have their shelf-lives last forever. What bio-engineers do not recognize is that by tampering with the DNA codes of a species, they are in fact plunking ones species’ unique set of memory imprints into that of another, and creating massive mutation by melding energetically dissonant memory forms together, the effects of which are far more devastating than humanity can imagine. This desacralized methodology is a harbinger for progressive havoc and disease among all life on the planet. “ (p.7)

“Perhaps because it is our primal human nature to mindlessly grasp for prosperity, and, more importantly, to want to be a part of the commonality that binds us together, we buy into illusory ideals of wealth and progress.” (p.8)

“In short, commercial food producers have largely decimated the imperative balance of nutrients carefully and cosmically designed by Mother Nature for each of her creates. The proliferation of rubbish, poisons, and empty fillers we now call “food” is not a result of individual choice alone, but shockingly a progressive trend toward communal loss of memory. In short, it is the disorientation of collective amnesia following the greediness of corporate profitability.” (p.9)

The food shopping list for the average householder in India is now glaringly similar to that of a householder in the U.S. frozen pre-cooked foods; packaged foods like pasta, cheese, noodles, biscuits, cookies; and frozen concentrate fruit juices, reinforced with an armament of additives, sugars and preservatives. The greasy burgers and pizza, lifeless breads, grains stripped of their bran layers, exported foods, transported unseasonable foods, hydrogenated and refined cooking coils, refined flours, refined white sugars, and packaged curd are now staples on the Indian householder’s shopping list. Ultimately when we lose our health, sanity, community and family to disease, poverty and violence – joining the general malaise of humanity – we are apt to discover the glaring truth: that we have been victims of prosperity, robbed of our most precious human right, the right to free will.” (p.9)”

Thousands of years ago Vedic seers advocated the cosmic education of annam – Mother Nature’s food – specific to the fulfillment of each of her species. They tell us that what grows on the earth – plant and mineral life (with the exception of some animal milk) – is annam, and that this food is the only means for nourishing the human body. Each and every physical thing in the universe is composed of the same five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. Thus we are formed from the same ingredients as the trees, sky, sun and grains of sand or drops of rain. The five elements in our food feed the five elements in our bodies. Essentially, the tanmatras (subtle energies), panchabhutas(subtle elements) and rasas (subtle tastes) of Mother Nature’s food are energetically and nutritionally designed to feed, nourish, and heal each an d every one of the dhatus (vital tissues) of the body, mind and sense complex I accord with its innate requirements, both divine and mundane. (p.10)

“…The seven stages of a fruitful plant are identical to the seven stages of a fruitful human life. The life cycle of a plant begins with a good seed, one that retains its essential nature from the ell of universal memory and has not been tampered with or genetically manipulated. The seed successively transforms to sprout, young plant, mature plant, flowering plant, fruitful plant, and then returns back to the earth as seed. At every state, the plant maybe harvested and prepared as food. After it has been ingested and a human being is physically and spiritually nourished, the waste and roughage are restored to the earth. “ (p.11)

“In Ayurveda, we learn that within the unique construction of each and every person are vital clues to the quantity, and nature of food an individual body requires; that intake must be balanced with the size, shape and gender of the human prakriti, metabolic constitution. …For instance did you know that when you cup your hands together (open in anjali mudra), you can measure the exact quantity of food that your stomach is designed to hold? And when you close your hands with palms touching (anjali or prayer mudra), you send a signal to your digestive system that you are filled and satisfied, prompting it to close out its operations.  Food is the only matter that connects you to the memory of your karmas: past, present, and future; it is the only substance that can progress your cosmic nature into discovering who you truly are. IN short, it reveals your unique package of personal karma.” (p.11)

(Above selections are audited from the Preface to Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India. Preface written by Sri Swamini Mayatitananda, Wise Earth School of Ayurveda).

Click the link to read an interview with the writer Anjali Pathak.

Next post on Ayurvedic Farming. Kamla is attending a conference at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh on Ayurveda, Yoga and Nutrition for the next eleven days. Posts will be slow in coming. If you would like to post something, or have ideas for future posts, please write us at actnaturallyworldwide@gmail.com

Ohm Shanti Ohm

Travel log 2: Ramana’s Garden

Kale brings people together and helps orphaned children! Imagine that.

In my quest for healthy organic food in Rishikesh India, I came across a small sign outside the Pundir Market that said, Ramana’s Garden and Organic food. I found a small cement path that wound through land with unfinished guest houses, and  tracks of village farmland growing onions.

Eventually after a series of gates, steps, and a few signs with arrows pointing the way, I found the location. 

Prabhavati Dwabha, is an ex Hollywood actress named Maggie O’Hara.  She is the Director and founder of Ramana’s Garden Home for Destitute Children. She began this project as a result of her spiritual practice on the banks of the River Ganga. 

Ramanas Garden (Ramana Seva Samiti) was founded in 1997 as an orphanage and cafe/resteraunt. Vegetables are grown on site on several small plots on the school property. Around the cafe are volunteer housing, multi-level school buildings, a composting facility, hen house and chicken run, and a cow stable. The orphanage is the home  to 55 children and provides an English medium education from Kindergarten to Class V for 137 students.  

Grains, pulses, and other food items not available onsite are grown at their location in the Garhwal mountains called the Ambiya Mountain Retreat and Organic Farm.   Here they grown enough  organic food to  supply their children with fresh and healthy organic fruits, vegetables, milk and eggs daily.  The farm is managed by a team of local staff as well as volunteers.

The staff at the orphanage and café location in Rishikesh are all volunteer as well. Children in the care of the project work a few hours a day in restaurant and on the grounds (Only if they want to.) The atmosphere in the restraunt is cheerful and hectic.  You can opt to eat inside in Ramana’s cozy Northern California living room atmosphere with birds chirping in a large bird house built into a brick wall, or go to the roof and sit at large round tables enjoying the view of the Ganga.

The menu changes daily but is packed full of seasonal organic vegetables that sadly you can’t find anywhere else in Rishikesh. The salad has heaps of kale, chard, spinach, beets, shredded carrots, turnips, onions and more. The chai is made from the milk of cows cared for on the grounds. The brown bread is made of organic wheat grown in the mountains. 

Ramanas Garden seems to attract many people all over the world in search of nutritious food. In my many trips to the garden, I met alot of people from Portland, OR, California, New York, Columbia, Brazil, and a few curious locals.  I have met everyone from permaculture graduates, mushroom farmers to philosophers all seeking the prakriti of the Kale plant in their travels through the lord of the senses (Rishikesh). The conversations on the rooftop terrace will inspire!

Though the food is pricier than your typical salad at a conventional restraunt, the profit goes directly back into running the orphanage. You can literally see your dollars at work with the children smiling and buzzing about  as you eat.

The organic garden is simple. Shade cloth covering the kale is made from old burlap (coffee bags?), that are spread out with rope. The chickens are busy creating nutritious compost and eggs. Everything is planted together, and what we think of as weeds, are neither pulled nor in great number. Butterflies and bugs have free reign. The beauty is that nothing is wasted. The scaps left by customers go into compost to fertilize future food. The dung from the cow provides nutrient dense fertilizer

There is a very good write up on Prabhavati Dwabha, by Sandhya Rajayer, freelance writer. Please go to Showering Warmth 

Act Naturally is constantly seeking positive examples of how working with nature creates abundance.  If you have a story you would like to submit, please post it to our blog. Thank you.