According to n old saying in India “eating food with your hands feeds not only the body but also the mind and the spirit”. Our ancestors used to eat like that. But in the modern world this practice seems to have changed. This is because the new found habit of use of cutlery and utensils in all households in modern India. You can very well know how it is perceived by an episode of Big Brother in which a britisher complains about an Indian eating his food with the use of hands. The contestant even exclaimed saying “you don’t know where those hands have been”. Looks like the act has an ancient wisdom hidden in it , as simple as it may seem. So our forefathers knew why exactly it was an acceptable healthy practice.
The Ancient Wisdom In Eating With Hands
It is not that uncomplicated, the habit of eating with hand comes directly from the “mudra” practice. The Mudra has been used in many facets in hinduism, and it is not confined only to Meditation, Yoga and Bharatanatyam. ( interesting ain’t it. Keep reading) The hands are considered to be as very important in the Indian culture. It is expressed in the prayer “Karagre vasate Laksmih karamule Sarasvati Karamadhye tu Govindah prabhate kara darshanam” . It means : On the tip of your fingers is Goddess Lakshmi, on the base of your fingers is Goddess Saraswati; in the middle of your fingers is Lord Govinda. The prayer is recited looking at your palms. This shloka signifies that all divinity lies in our own efforts.
The ayurvedic text also teach us that each of our fingers is an extensions symbolizing all five elements. Thumb is for space, forefingers allows air, middle finger is an outlet for fire, through ring finer water and the little finger is for earth. Now why are we telling you all this ? Each finger helps in the transformation of food before it enters our body for biological digestion. Using all your fingertips while ingesting food helps stimulate the all five elements and invites agni to bring forth all the digestive juices in our body.
In India the practice is more prevalent in South Indian region. And there is this belief, for which even our elders stick to this custom containing ancient wisdom. Also this is the reason why the wise older ones use hands to measure masala and other ingredients instead of utensils ! ( this is al makes so much sense now )
Surprisingly the ancient indian customs look bizarre at first, but in reality it is all pretty scientific and based in the roots of ancient custom. Other health benefit of it include mindful thinking, improves digestion and sensing the temperature prevents mouth from getting burnt.
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