Spiritual and Karmic effect of Food

By: Alexis A. Arredondo, Block 1 Student

“You are what you eat” is a common phrase that we often hear when it comes to food. This may simply mean that if you eat fatty foods you will gain weight, but it can also have an alternative meaning. In Ayurveda, we learn that everything we eat has a spiritual and karmic effect on the body, mind and soul. What are some other ways that food can have a spiritual and Karmic effect on us?

In the Aghor Yoga tradition of India, there is a strong spiritual connection to the Sun. The Sun, unlike humans and the ego, does not judge anyone. In other words, the “Sun provides light uniformly to every person, state, country or continent without discrimination”(Mandal,1991). The Sun also provides the energy needed for plants to grow. By eating fruits, vegetables and grains grown and ripened organically, we are taking in that same spiritual energy that the Sun provides to all living beings. The same can be said for meat eaters, but only if eating organically fed and free-range animals, because they eat a natural diet and receive the energy from the Sun as well.

Now what about the Karmic effect of eating an animal? We already know that in Ayurveda, meat has a negative connotation because by eating that animal we are taking the karmic effect of that animals death. Practitioners of Spiritual Nutrition also believe that by eating animals, you are increasing “the animal-like tendencies in the body and it brings into operation more animal-like tendencies such as the vibration of anger, lust, fear, aggressiveness, and murderous impulses. It communicates the energy of destruction to the cells and brings the energy of death into our auric fields, reducing the flow if higher prana into our body.”(Cousens,2009)

Think of the way most animals are treated, grown in factory farms and never seeing the sun or eating a natural diet. If we are what we eat, then we are basically eating all the karmic effects of these poor animals who never truly live.

Now if you do eat meat, and I do on occasion when my body craves it, buy organic and free range. Go to the farmers market where local farmers are more than happy to tell you about how their animals are raised and treated.

There is still the question of how the death of an animals affects our karma. Factory farmed animals have fear and suffering as they are forced through slaughter houses. Local farmers don’t always see how their animals are treated during their slaughter so I highly advise you talk to those who do or perhaps even do it themselves, more humanely than processing slaughter houses. This is important because “the lives of the creatures we’ve eaten weigh down our astral body with their negative feelings of fear and suffering at their time of death.”(Cousens,2009)

One key phrase we often hear is Prana, or life force. Every living thing has Prana, but that life force begins to fade the minute that the living entity is cut, plucked, or killed. This is why it’s important to by fresh organically grown or raised food in order to benefit from the maximum amount of Prana within it. By partaking in that Prana we will bring balance and counteract the negative spiritual and karmic effects within our bodies that we acquire through our daily thoughts and deeds.

There is one other way we can help maintain the spiritual and karmic effects of food. This is done through prayer, offerings and spiritual practice. How many times do we offer food to the Divine? In Hindu and African traditions, food is often offered to the Deities before it is ingested. This is not only a sign of reverence but a way to bring blessings from the Divine to your food, thereby relieving some of the negative karmic effects. African, Jewish and Islamic traditions perform Ritual slaughter where the animals are not only killed humanely, but are given full spiritual reverence beforehand. This is infinitely better than how most animals are slaughtered in modern day processing plants.

Lastly, praying over food is a tradition that is slowly losing its luster among current society.

By praying over our food, or praying for the animal that died in order for us to eat, you are elevating your spiritual and karmic ties to the food as well as elevating your own self spiritually.
The question boils down to this, if we are what we eat, wouldn’t we rather eat organically grown foods that have long healthy lives of sunshine, rain and exposure to all the spiritual elements? Most people would rather eat the cheaper food than the more expensive, but we have to remember this simple analogy. If you have a brand new car, are you going to give it premium oil and gasoline, or a lower cheaper grade? Treat your body like a brand new car and you will avoid the negative karmic and spiritual effects of food.



Mandal, Aghor Seva; Two World of Human Life: An Aghor Perspective,
1991, p162

Cousens MD, G; Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations for Spiritual life and Awakening of Kundalini, 2009