Please understand, whenever my teachers wanted to teach subtle concepts….. I should not use the word “teacher”; I should use the word “Masters”. I wanted to complete and change the word to “Masters”. Whenever my Masters wanted to teach me the subtle concepts, they will put me on herbal diet. They will give me the “Arugampull” (அருகம்புல்). I don’t know the English name for that grass. It is a unique grass which grows near the water ponds, which is used for worshipping Ganesha. So, they will give that juice. Sometimes the Bael juice, Vilwa (Aegle marmelos, commonly known as bael, golden apple, stone apple, wood apple). Sometimes Bermuda Grass. The “Arugampulls” English name is “Bermuda Grass”. They will give me the Bermuda Grass juice and Bael juice. Sometimes Neem juice. And, they will cook pineapple fruit in the night, and they will take the juice in the morning and process it with some traditional herbs and give. This kind of a juice diet they will put me. Of course, I enjoyed everything other than Neem juice. HAHAHAHAHA! They will put me on the juice diet sometimes even for one month! I used to wonder why the teaching, means learning of Vedantha, should go with this kind of herbal diet. One day, I asked them also. Then they said, ‘Alright, you eat whatever you want and come back.’ And, as usual, in those days, the big feast means that “Vadai” and “Paayasam” (Vadai = a fried snack. Paayasam = a semi-liquid sweet dish). That is the traditional feast. I went and had all the traditional feast and came back. They tried to explain some of the concepts, truths of Vedantha. I tell you honestly, I was not able to grasp! Then they gave me Gingelly Oil (Sesame Oil) and cleaned my stomach, and Haritaki Powder for two days. After two-three days, again they started teaching me the concepts. I was just like that able to grasp! Then I understood the power of that food and that sutra which says, ‘Aahaara Shuddhi….’: “Based on the purity of food, your intellect gets purified, your memory gets purified, your ability to grasp increases.”
See, when you are not able to grasp, but you have to act as if you are an intelligent person, you try to grab and mess up the whole thing. You always have the pressure that you have to show you are an intelligent person, you understand everything better than others. But, when you are not able to grasp, what you do? You grab and mess up the whole thing.
One day I asked him. The great Isakki Swamigal was sitting, and Kuppammal was sitting with the book, and Raghupathi Yogi was just cleaning his teeth. He will have all the time one small stick and be constantly cleaning his teeth and listening, and chewing that stick also once in a while. And, these other, one or two old sadhus were sitting.
I asked them, ‘Everyone who studies Upanishads and Vedantha, all these concepts, do they go through this kind of diet?’
Because, that day, it was neem juice! HAHAHAHAHA! And I also have been told I have to take the neem juice at least for the next two weeks!
And, I asked them, ‘So, everyone who goes through studying the Vedantha, do they go through this kind of a diet, herbal diet?’
Because, in Thiruvannamalai, in another one ashram, there the Vedantha Paatta goes on; means, Vedantha classes happen. I see there, people have nice good food, and feasting and enjoying and coming and sitting in the class and….
I asked, ‘Why, they all don’t follow that – आहार शुध्दौ सत्त्व शुध्दिः, सत्त्व शुध्दौ ध्रुवा स्मॄतिः (“Aharashuddhau Satthvashuddhih, Satthvashuddhau Dhruva Smrithih”)?
I asked, ‘Why, they don’t follow all that?’
Means, “When the food is pure, then the Satthwa becomes pure, when the Sattwa is pure, then the Smrithi, means, the ability to remember and connect and grasp.” Understand, the definition of “Smrithi” is: Ability to recollect the essence and connect it with the present and grasp it and assimilate it.
I asked, ‘I don’t see they all doing any herbal diet and all these preparation.’
This Isakki Swamigal, usually he will just sit in Samadhi. This Kuppammal only will read the book. I have to sit and listen. This Raghupathi Yogi is such an active being, he will be sitting and cleaning the teeth with that small stick he has. And this person (Isakki Swamigal) will be sitting in Samadhi. Rarely he will open his eyes and interfere with this whole flow and say something, and again close his eyes, be in Samadhi. Isakki Swamigal, he never wears any clothes. So, when he sits, he will just put a small towel on him. He is “Avadhootha”. And, this is the scene.
So, I asked Kuppammal when she was talking about this food and all that. I said, ‘Others don’t do all that. Only I am drinking the neem juice every day!’
She just smiled at me, didn’t answer. She was looking at Isakki Swamigal.
Then Isakki Swamigal opened his eyes and said, ‘They are all trying to understand only for themselves. Even if they make a mistake, nothing wrong. You have to teach to everyone. You can’t afford to make a mistake!’
In Tamil, I will repeat the exact words: “அவனுக்கு புரிஞ்சாலும் அவிஞ்சாலும் அவனோட அழிஞ்சு போகுமட. நீ சொல்லி உலகம் கேக்க போகுது. உனக்கு புரிஞ்சே ஆகணும்!” (“Avanukku purinjaalum avinjaalum, avanoda azhinju pogumada. Nee solli ulagam kekka pogudhu. Unakku purinje aaganum!”)
He said, ‘Whether they understand or not, whether they grasp or grab, finally, the result and responsibility goes just with them. They get destroyed with what they understood, misunderstood. Whether they understand or misunderstand, it gets destroyed along with them. But, in your case, we cannot take the risk, because, whatever you are going to say, the world is going to listen! So, you HAVE to understand properly! You HAVE to understand properly!’
I tell you, really these subtle truths, subtle concepts, especially if these concepts like “Oneness”….. I can give you very simple examples. Take Haritaki Powder in the night. Next day morning try to read the Upanishads, and see the depth and understanding you are able to have! Another one day, take McDonald’s burger. What is that? Multi-storey size! And grasp a large-size Coca Cola. Ending it with multiple topping pizza. And fill yourself and lie down. Next day morning…..HAHAHAHA….first of all, let us see whether you will wake up or not! Then, if you wake up, try to grab some Vedanthic book and try to read and understand. Then you will see the difference why the herbal diet is required! Even in Inner Awakening, why I insist on having Haritaki Powder, why I insist on having the Satthwic food, pure vegetarian food? Because, your system develops subtle intellect where you can grasp, you don’t need to grab! See, if you GRAB the word “Ekam” (एकम्), you will only understand as “One”. If you GRASP the word “Ekam” (एकम्), only then you will understand “Oneness”. The most subtle understandings happen when the subtle grooves develop in your brain, which happens by the pure satthwic food and herbal diet.