Why live foods from a spiritual point of view? The first thing we look at is what spiritual masters ate live foods. We know the ancient Rishi’s were all eating primarily live foods. They were also a minute amount of live dairy for B vitamins, but this was when there were healthy cows. Other spiritual groups include: the Taoist masters, the core groups of the Essenes, Pythagoras and his liberation school, and the Gan Eden live-food vegan diet in general. These are Torah teachings of Genesis 1:29, which is explicitly a live food vegan diet. The 25 members of the inner circle of the Mormon Church, including Joseph Smith, were also live food consumers. These spiritual aspirants all ate live food for the same reason. It wasn’t necessarily for their health but for their spiritual unfolding in order to become super conductors of the Divine. They knew it helped you to have improved clarity, increased energy, and fewer blockages of the subtle vessels or channels.
From an Ayurveda point of view, there are three kinds of diets. There are tamas foods, which is a diet of sloth, mental degeneration, drugs, and criminal thinking. This is the predominate diet in the United States today as well as in much of the world. This gives us a clue, as we look at the physical emotional and spiritual degeneration existing today. In my book Conscious Eating, as early as 1990 I specifically addressed where it looked like things were headed. In 1990, one out of 10,000 people had autism. Now the autism rate is approximately 1 out of 42 for boys, and 1 out of 60 for girls. There is an old Chinese saying “you will end up in the direction you are going.” This is a gigantic increase in terms of statistics. There are many factors going on in this degenerative process. Poor diet is one cause of this. People are simply not functioning as well (especially the younger ones) in our generation. We are seeing so many difficulties. In addition, literally millions of children are being put on anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, and hyper activity drugs. This is a big problem. We are now looking at generations that have been brought up on the junk food diet in turn has created junk food kids; hence this is responsible for exactly what we are seeing in the world today.
The second level of diet in Ayurveda is the rajas diet. This is a warrior and active diet; it being more meat-based. The third is the sattvic diet, which is a diet that helps you to turn into yourself. It is the classical vegetarian diet for spiritual life. The live food vegan diet is clearly the sattvic inward directed diet. When I first receive shaktipat in 1975, from my spiritual teacher Swami Muktananda, the energy was very strong and as it unfolded, the total spiritual anatomy of 72,000 nadis with its 3 main columns (ida, pingala, and sushumna) revealed itself. This was not just all of the chakras, the petals, and the vrittis (or tendencies of the mind), but a whole series of other things, including the three granthis. The granthis are energetic knots. The first is located at the base in the lumbar, sacral area below the base chakra called the yuktatravini and the Brahma granthi. It regulates the flow of energy. The whole granthi system is set up so that you don’t get too much energy because the knots are designed to regulate the kundalini energy. The Vishnu granthi is at the throat level. At the ajna chakra (the third eye) is the muktatrivini called the Rudra granthi. These granthis are a whole regulary system. There are also three levels of energy that are regulated by the granthis. From the base chakra the energy is called prana; from the heart it is called chit; and parakundalini at the head. It is a pretty developed system for guiding the energy.
I was not familiar with what was happening to me, and so I started to do research on this. In the 72,000 nadis, where the kundalini flows, are three main nadis. The ida, the pingala, and the shushumna. The center of the shushmna is called the brahmanadi mind. When the kundalini energy is working appropriately, it goes up this center. Within that there are three other nadis: vajra, chitrini, and brahma. Vajra is considered the solar nadi or the thunderbolt, which holds a certain amount of yang energy. Within that is the chitrini also known as water nadi, and within that you have the Brahma, a thin nadi going all the way up, which is called the hardly ever talked about. This is the nadi for liberation. The other nadis stop sooner. There is only this one nadi that continues above the rest to the crown chakra.
Above that is the ajna chakra is the ah-ka-ta triangle. This is called the soma chakra, which is between the sixth and the seventh chakras. When this opens up, is when you begin to taste the divine nectar. Within that is kamishwori, the gods and goddesses that are associated with the upper flow. This is a whole spiritual anatomy.
In the midst of that, where does the live food come in? At the end of this vision of the spiritual anatomy that I received in meditation, I was told that I should learn to eat in a way that feeds the kundalini. I had very specific directions. It was not random that I was shown this. It became a task to find out how to make this work. In addition to research, through my work with literally thousands of meditators I was able to see the optimal diet for spiritual life that truly works for people.
One of the things that I noticed during my time in India is high consumption of sugar among swamis. It took me a while to understand that the kundalini burns sugar. When anyone ever had a kundalini crisis, we gave them honey. But there is another issue with high sugar consumption. It causes hypoglycemia and diabetes; and if your blood sugar is going up and down, you do not have a steady meditation. I was able to convert a certain number of Indian swamis to be able to get off the amazing amount of white sugar being consumed in the ashram and generally in India. The rate of diabetes is 6-8% here in the United States. In India, the low estimate is 14%. That is approximately 100 million people with type 2 diabetes in India. The problem is that the kundalini energy really does need fuel. However, it doesn’t need junk fuel. It needs a steady blood sugar. It needs your chakra system, which is connected to the endocrine system, to be functioning and in alignment so that the energy flows well. A lot of white sugar disorganizes the chakra system.
Now, inside the nadis, we have three forces or doshas. There is kapha, the water-mud or water-dirt element, which is now called ojas. Then you have the pitta level, the inner level called tejas. It is the electrical power energy. There is also vatta, the inner level which is called prana. There has to be the optimal mix of these forces in order for the energy to flow well. The mistake that almost everybody in the live food movement was making with the low-fat craze is that they didn’t have enough ojas, which fortifies the lining of the nadis. If there isn’t enough ojas, then the system tends to burn up because of the fire energy of the kundalini and the air energy of the prana, which is the force behind it, creating a bigger fire force. This is why you can be meditating and doing a lot of prana yoga, and there is a lot of energy moving, if you don’t have enough ojas it is not expressed in a balanced way. There is no buffer and the fire of kundalini actually is amplified. People can actually burn through their nadis, which you don’t want to do. This creates a much more serious imbalance such as ungroundedness or even temporary mental disorders. Appropriate balance (approximately 10-15% protein, 25-45% fat, and 25-45% complex carbohydrates) in accordance with your individual constitution must be considered. A vegan live food offers a particular outstanding way of amplifying the spiritual energy.
There is one other thing that disrupts this process. A diet of meat, fish, chicken, and dairy clearly acts as a sludge to the kundalini at the nadi level. How did I find out about that? I was working with a lot of people who were in kundalini crisis and saw that they would invariably self-medicate with meat and dairy. It would slow down the kundalini, by clogging the nadis and blocking the energy. They figured out in a reverse manner why a vegan live food diet is optimal for spiritual life. Watching this happen took it beyond theory and gave me the direct insight of vegan live food for spiritual nutrition. A vegan does not have meat, fish, chicken, or dairy, and, therefore, does not have the energy of death. When you eat meat, fish, chicken, and dairy, you are taking in the pain, misery, fear, and death of that animal, which not only goes into your chakras and your nadis, but also into another layer called the koshas.
Koshas are what we call the layers of the mind. Eating meat permeates these regardless the energy of death. This is a deeper reason why eating animal products is not conducive to the spiritual evolutionary flow of the kundalini energy. For optimal support of spiritual life, a vegan diet is baseline.
What about the live food component? The less you eat, the longer you live. When you cook food, you lose 50% of the protein, 60-70% of the vitamins and minerals, and close to 96-100% of the phytonutrients. Literally, you can eat half as much. From a spiritual point of view, this is good because the less energy that you expend eating and digesting food the more energy you have for meditation. Meditation takes a lot of energy. Live foods give an additional supportive advantage.
Eating according to your individual dosha or constitution is a separate discussion, but we will look at that here is making sure that we are getting enough ojas foods in order to balance the energies. Some live food diets tend not to have as much ojas supportive foods, particularly in the Anne Wigmore tradition, where the focus is more on high prana foods (such as wheat grass and leafy greens) with a low fat intake of approximately 10%, This is good for prana but not very good for grounding.
The ojas foods include:
- Long-chain Omega-3’s. These can be found in the yellow algae based foods/supplements. Here at the Tree of Life Center US, we carry the Omega-Zen product made of yellow algae. Other edible algaes high in omega-3’s are spirulina chlorella, and blue green algae.
- Bee pollen, which is the life force or semen of the plant world.
- Nuts and seeds (particularly when soaked so there isn’t too much yang energy)
These are the main ojas-building foods. There are a variety of ojas-building herbs commonly used in the ancient Chinese tradition such as reishi mushroom, ginseng, and schizandra (which balances all 12 major meridians and all 8 minor meridians). These herbs can be helpful, but the emphasis really is the foods eaten.
These were the foods of the ancient Indian rishis. Now the dairy they ate was in the quantity of something like one tablespoon of yogurt for the B-12 and to add some ojas, but not enough to clog the system. I notice, particularly within the modern vegan approach, a lack of vitamin B-12. While the rishi’s used dairy for this, I’m not recommending dairy today because it is vastly different than it was 2,000 years ago or even 100 years ago due to the pollution and radiation and in the cruelty even in India in which cows are treated. I recommend for everyone, vegan or not, to take a B-12 and a folic acid supplement. We may think we are eating pure by eating vegan or vegetarian, but if we are not supplementing B-12 we are running a very big risk. This sneaks up on people slowly, you get weaker, your mind doesn’t work as well, your memory starts to go, and your energy goes down. For children it is even worse because it’s not necessarily repairable. For adults it is somewhat repairable. I add that as part of the discussion because it is potentially dangerous if we try to get too pure and don’t utilize B-12 supplementation. We need it for our function on many levels. After six years being vegan or live food vegan, without a B-12 supplement, 80% are B-12 deficient. In addition 40% are also deficient in B-12. This is just a little nuance that is part of understanding the practical aspect of spiritual life.
The other spiritual advantage to eating live foods is that when food is cooked it loses its electrical energy or tejas. There is a tremendous amount of electrical or bio-photon energy that remains in live food and is transferred to the consumer. This tejas further enhances the energy of the food to support the unfolding of the kundalini.
The last thought on this is subject is that you cannot eat your way to God. We want to keep that in mind while at the same time keeping a diet that supports spiritual life. We cannot eat our way to God.
May everybody be blessed with being able to find the appropriate live food vegan diet for ourselves so that we can indeed support the psycho-physio–kundalini energy in our daily lives.