Dr KK Aggarwal
As per Chandogya Upanishad, liquid in the food makes urine, blood and Prana; solid food makes stool, muscles and manas; fatty foods make bone, bone marrow and karmendriyas (elimination, procreation, movement, grasping and speech).
Manas in Upanishad means Jnanindriyas (smell, taste, seeing, touch and hearing) along with mind, intellect, ego and chitta or pure intelligence (Fourfold mind or antahkarana chatushtaya).
Ahamkara is derived from the earth tanmatras; Chitta consciousness from jala tanmatra; buddhi discriminative mind from agni tanmatra; manas finite mind from vayu tanmatras and heart from akasha tanmatra.
The Upanishad says that a person can stay without solid food only for 16 days on liquids.
There is a saying in modern medicine that a person can stay without air for 3 minutes, without water for 3 days and without food for 3 weeks.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia will start once the food is not taken. The symptoms are mainly in the mental functions and sensory organs.
Once a person is in food starvation, even a small amount of food will take care of the mental symptoms.
Let us read the dialogue between Svetaketu with his father Udlaka in Chandogya Upanishad.
6.7.1: षोडशकलः सोम्य पुरुषः पञ्चदशाहानि माशीः काममपः पिबापोमयः प्राणो नपिबतो विच्छेत्स्यत इति:
ṣoḍaśakalaḥ somya puruṣaḥ pañcadaśāhāni māśīḥ kāmamapaḥ pibāpomayaḥ prāṇo napibato vicchetsyata iti||
O Somya, a person has sixteen parts, [and all your sixteen parts are intact]. Do not eat anything for fifteen days, but drink as much water as you like. Life is dependent on water. If you do not drink water, you will lose your life.
The mind consists of food, the prana consists of water and speech consists of fire.
6.7.2: स ह पञ्चदशाहानि नशाथ हैनमुपससाद किं ब्रवीमि भो इत्यृचः सोम्य यजूंषि सामानीति स होवाच न वै मा प्रतिभान्ति भो इति:
sa ha pañcadaśāhāni naśātha hainamupasasāda kiṃ bravīmi bho ityṛcaḥ somya yajūṃṣi sāmānīti sa hovāca na vai mā pratibhānti bho iti||
Śvetaketu did not eat anything for 15 days. After that he came to his father and said, ‘O Father, what shall I recite?’ His father said, ‘Recite the Ṛk, Yajuḥ, and Sāma mantras.’ Śvetaketu replied, ‘I can’t recall any of them, sir’.
6.7.3: तं होवाच यथा सोम्य महतोऽभ्या हितस्यैकोऽङ्गारः खद्योतमात्रः परिशिष्टः स्यात्तेन ततोऽपि न बहु दहेदेवंसोम्य ते षोडशानां कलानामेका कलातिशिष्टा स्यात्तयैतर्हिवेदान्नानुभवस्यशानाथ मे विज्ञास्यसीति:
taṃ hovāca yathā somya mahato'bhyā hitasyaiko'ṅgāraḥ khadyotamātraḥ pariśiṣṭaḥ syāttena tato'pi na bahu dahedevaṃsomya te ṣoḍaśānāṃ kalānāmekā kalātiśiṣṭā syāttayaitarhi vedānnānubhavasyaśānātha me vijñāsyasīti ||
The father said to Śvetaketu: ‘O Somya, from a blazing fire, if there is but a small piece of ember left, the size of a firefly, it cannot bum anything bigger than that. Similarly, O Somya, because only one small part of your 16 parts remains, you cannot remember the Vedas. Eat something and then you will understand what I am saying’.
6.7.4: स हशाथ हैनमुपससाद तं ह यत्किंच पप्रच्छ सर्वंह प्रतिपेदे ॥
sa haśātha hainamupasasāda taṃ ha yatkiṃca papraccha sarvaṃha pratipede ||
Śvetaketu ate something and then went to his father. Whatever his father asked him, he was able to follow.
6.7.5: तं होवाच यथा सोम्य महतोऽभ्याहितस्यैकमङ्गारं खद्योतमात्रं परिशिष्टं तं तृणैरुपसमाधाय प्राज्वलयेत्तेन ततोऽपि बहु दहेत् ॥
taṃ hovāca yathā somya mahato'bhyāhitasyaikamaṅgāraṃ khadyotamātraṃ pariśiṣṭaṃ taṃ tṛṇairupasamādhāya prājvalayettena tato'pi bahu dahet ||
The father said to him: ‘O Somya, from a blazing fire, if there is but a small piece of ember left, the size of a firefly, the fire can again blaze up when you add some grass. The fire, in fact, can then blaze up even more than it did before’.
6.7.6: एवं सोम्य ते षोडशानां कलानामेका कलातिशिष्टाभूत्सान्नेनोपसमाहिता प्राज्वाली तयैतर्हि वेदाननुभवस्यन्नमयंहि सोम्य मन आपोमयः प्राणस्तेजोमयी वागिति तद्धास्य विजज्ञाविति विजज्ञाविति ॥
evaṃ somya te ṣoḍaśānāṃ kalānāmekā kalātiśiṣṭābhūtsānnenopasamāhitā prājvālī tayaitarhi vedānanubhavasyannamayaṃhi somya mana āpomayaḥ prāṇastejomayī vāgiti taddhāsya vijajñāviti vijajñāviti ||
‘In the same way, O Somya, of your sixteen parts, only one remained. But that, when nourished by food, has revived, and by that you are now able to follow the Vedas. O Somya, this is why I said that the mind was nourished by food, prāṇa was nourished by water, and speech was nourished by fire.’ Śvetaketu now understood what his father was saying.
The 16 kalas are mentioned in the Prashna Upanishad 6.4.
स प्राणमसृजत प्राणाच्छ्रद्धां खं वायुर्ज्योतिरापः पृथिवीन्द्रियं मनः अन्नमन्नाद्वीर्यं तपो मन्त्राः कर्मलोका लोकेषु च नाम च ॥ ४ ॥
sa prāṇamasṛjata prāṇācchraddhāṃ khaṃ vāyurjyotirāpaḥ pṛthivīndriyaṃ manaḥ annamannādvīryaṃ tapo mantrāḥ karmalokā lokeṣu ca nāma ca ||
He created Prâna; from Prâna faith, âkâsa, air, fire, water, earth, senses, mind and food; and from food, strength, contemplation, mantrâs, karma and worlds; and in worlds name also.
1. Prana or the life force
2. Faith or Shraddha
3- 7. The Five Elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
8. The Senses: The organs of knowledge and the organs of action.
9. Mind, the Antahkarana or thought process
10. Food – that which sustains the gross body or the “Food-sheath”.
11. Veerya, or strength, mental and physical
12. Tapas or austerity
14. Karma, the performance of actions
15. The World, the manifested world provides the field and the means to fulfill the actions undertaken.
16. The Naming of all the different items in creation.
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