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Develop a Discriminating Mind

If you want to gain control over the food that you take in, you should not go on feeding the tongue whatever it desires. You have to develop discrimination. In every activity of life you have to apply your discriminating faculties to determine if what you are doing will benefit you spiritually. In the area of food, you have to explore and find out whether the food you take in is pure, or if it inflames the senses and passions, or if it is of a dull, unhealthy quality that produces a sleepy slothful reaction.

According to the Gita, maintaining control over the tongue by taking in pure food in limited quantities is absolutely essential for the devotee. Use your powers of discrimination with every item of food and ask the question, "Is this food pure, or will it disturb or lower my consciousness?" If you were to examine every item of food you use in this way, and take food in judiciously, you would always remain equal-minded. You would not be affected by censure or praise.

But, if you were to indulge in food without discrimination, without trying to find out whether it was desirable or not, paying attention only to satisfying your hunger and catering to your taste buds, you would not be able to control your attachments and feelings. You would sink down into weakness. If someone were to make adverse comments about you, you would soon conclude that the whole world was against you and you would feel depressed. The moment you were criticized or blamed by anyone your happiness would go, you would become grief stricken and regard all of life as meaningless.

On the other hand, if anyone were to praise you and appreciate you, you would start bloating up with ego and pride. It would be practically impossible to hold you down. What is the reason for such instability? The single most important reason for these weaknesses is the type of food you take in. All these adverse feelings come about because of your lack of control and discrimination in the area of food. The Gita has emphasized the need for exercising extreme care in selecting the food you eat. You must constantly keep in mind the importance of pure food for helping you to maintain equanimity in all situations, so that you become neither elated when praise is showered, nor depressed when criticism is heaped upon you.