From: The Beloved, volume 1, chapter 4

Hindus say, ANAM BRAHMA: food is divine. So with deep respect you eat, and while eating you forget everything, because it is prayer. It is existential prayer. You are eating God, and God is going to give you nourishment. It is a gift to be accepted with deep love and gratitude. And you don’t stuff the body, because stuffing the body is being anti-body. It is the other pole. There are people who are obsessed with fasting, and there are people who are obsessed with stuffing themselves. Both are wrong because in both the ways the body loses balance.

A real lover of the body eats only to the point where body feels perfectly quiet, balanced, tranquil; where body feels to be neither leaning to the left nor to the right, but just in the middle. It is an art to understand the language of the body, to understand the language of your stomach, to understand what is needed, to give only that which is needed, and to give that in an artistic way, in an aesthetic way.

Animals eat, man eats. Then what is the difference? Man makes a great aesthetic experience out of eating. What is the point of having a beautiful dining table? What is the point of having candles burning there? What is the point of incense? What is the point of asking friends to come and participate? It is to make it an art, not just stuffing. But these are outward signs of the art; the inward signs are to understand the language of your body: to listen to it, to be sensitive to its needs. And then you eat, and then the whole day you will not remember food at all. Only when the body is hungry again will the remembrance come. Then it is natural.

 

From: The dhammapada: the way of the Buddha, volume 10, chapter 9 

Buddha says: WHAT YOU TASTE AND SMELL, WHAT YOU SEE, WHAT YOU HEAR — MASTER YOUR SENSES. Bring your awareness to taste. When you are eating, forget everything else; just become your tongue, just your taste buds. Exist there in your totality. Taste your food as deeply as possible, and you will be in for a great surprise — not one but many surprises.

First you will become aware that you cannot eat more than is needed. You need not diet — only foolish people diet. And you can diet for a few days, and then you jump upon the food with a vengeance, and you gain more weight than you have lost! If you are intelligent, bring your awareness to your taste. Why do you eat more? The simple reason is that you don’t taste, and your hunger for taste remains, so you go on stuffing more. If you really taste, soon you will be satisfied, contented. Soon the body will say, “Stop!” And if you are alert you will be able to listen when the body says stop.

Right now you are not there at all. You are eating, but you are not there, present. You may be in your office or you may have gone somewhere else, doing a thousand and one things. One thing is certain: that you are not at the table where you are sitting, you are always somewhere else. You are never where you are; you can’t be found where you are. If you are really there, totally absorbed in eating, you will be surprised. The first thing will be that for the first time, food becomes something divine.

The Upanishads say: ANNAM BRAHMA — food is God. Such a beautiful statement: Food is God. These people must have tasted. Without tasting you cannot see God in food. These people can’t be against food, they can’t be for fasting, they can’t teach you to starve your body. The people who have said: Annam Brahma — food is God — cannot be in favor of starving. Starvation cannot be anything spiritual.

Eat, but eat meditatively, silently. When you are eating you are talking. Don’t talk, because if you are talking you will miss the joy of absorbing God into yourself. You will miss the joy of eating, and when you miss the joy of eating, your hunger for taste goes on asking for more, so you go on stuffing. And that seems to be nonending. People are stuffing the whole day and still it seems they are not satisfied. Eating twice may be enough or at the most thrice, but people are eating the whole day — particularly Americans! If they are not eating they won’t know what else to do. Just doing something with the mouth keeps them occupied. If they are not eating they are talking, if they are not talking they are smoking, if they are not smoking they are chewing gum — as if the mouth has to remain continuously occupied.

 

From: Nowhere to go but in,  chapter 16

“Food is God” is the experience of that state when senses have surrendered to the soul within. Then you will see Rama even in bread; then bread will be only the outer shell and Rama will be the reality within it. Then bread will enter your body and later leave it, but Rama will remain within. Then all your senses will be experiencing Brahman in the world.

 

From: The first principle,  chapter 8

So on one hand you are on an ego trip, which creates trouble, makes you miserable, because you are not perfect; and on the other hand the same trip creates condemnation. You want to be superior and you know that you are inferior: both are two aspects of the same coin. You remain in hell.

Enjoy your imperfection. Enjoy the way you are.

And drop all distinctions between the holy and the unholy, sin and virtue, good and bad, God and devil. Destroy all those distinctions. Those are the traps you are caught in. Those are the traps which don’t allow you to live, don’t allow you freedom. You cannot dance: one foot is encaged in inferiority, another foot is encaged in superiority. You are chained. How can you dance? Drop all these chains.

That’s what Zen people say: “A hair’s distinction, and heaven and hell are set apart.” That’s what Tilopa says. A little distinction, a hair’s distinction, and hell and heaven are set apart, and you are caught in the duality. No distinction, and you are free. No distinction, is freedom.

The profundity of the trivial and the trivialness of the profound, that’s what I teach.

Eating is trivial if you look from the outside. If you look from the inside it is profound, it is a miracle — that you can eat bread and the bread is turned into blood, that it becomes your flesh, that it becomes your bones, that it even becomes your marrow. You eat bread, and the bread becomes your thoughts, dreams. It is a miracle. It is the profoundest thing that is happening. When you are eating, it is no ordinary thing. God is at work. It is creative. While chewing bread you are creating life, unknowingly, unconsciously. You are making a thousand and one things possible. Tomorrow you may paint: and that bread that you had eaten has become painting. Tomorrow you may sing, or right now you may do something which would not be possible if the bread was not there.

The Christian prayer is beautiful; it says, “God, give us our daily bread.” Looks very trivial! What does Jesus mean when he says, “Pray every day,’Give us our daily bread”‘? Couldn’t he think of anything more profound? Bread? You just change the word “bread” and say every day in your prayer, “Lord, give us our daily tea,” and you will see how foolish it looks. But the bread or tea or coffee — or Coca-Cola!… yes, Coca-Cola too is divine. Everything is divine — because how can it be otherwise?

The prayer says, “Give us our daily bread.” It is raising the trivial to the profound. It is a great statement. The Hindus have always been saying, “ANNAM BRAHMA” — “Food is God.” Raising the trivial to the profound. Looking into the trivial so deeply that it changes into the profound.

 

From: Death is divine,  chapter 6 

Anand Bharti! Life can only be lovely, because life is god. Life is the manifestation of that most lovely one. It is he that has manifested in these infinite unending forms. You have made temples and falsified him because his temple is in every direction. Wherever you bow down is his temple. Wherever you open your eyes it is his face. Wherever you enjoy listening, it is his sound. What you see, what you hear, what you taste it is all he.

This is why the Upanishads can say: Annam Brahma — food is god. Such an expression is not found in any scripture in the world. And when the Upanishads were translated for the first time and in English it was written, food is god, people were very surprised — eating is bhagwan? How to translate it? They were shocked, what kind of statement is this? They didn’t understand. They made a direct literal translation — food is god, annam brahma. They missed. Such great utterances have no direct translation. Such great statements have only indirect translation. Such great utterances can be explained but cannot be directly translated. It is a very significant statement.

The Upanishads are saying if you taste something it is he, there is no other. The receiver is also he — the one sitting inside tasting is he, and what is being tasted is also he. If you pick a pomegranate from a tree: it is he in the pomegranate, it is he in you, you are not different. The fruit is one way of his manifesting, you are another way of his manifesting. God is expressed in infinite forms. All of these songs are his, the singer is one. The world and life will have to be lovely!