Shri Datta Swami

Jnana Saraswati – Parabrahma Sutras


55. The soul is the product of food

जीवो नित्योऽपि पुर्वकार्यमेवोपचितो नवगुणैः।५५।
jīvo nityo'pi purvakāryamevopacito navaguṇaiḥ|55|

Even though the jiva is eternal, he was the product of food in the past. Even now jiva gets stronger by the new qualities produced with the help of the basic awareness that is generated from the food consumed in the present.


The soul taken as a group of qualities is called as jiva. The soul or jiva is eternal in the sense that he comes from the past several births. He is not generated in this birth from the present food. But still, the jiva was the product of food at some time in the past. From the present food, general awareness is generated, which is modified into qualities based on the present environment. The soul becomes stronger and stronger by the added new strong qualities. However, weak qualities produced in the present birth fade away. Hence, in spite of the eternality of jiva (soul), you cannot do away with the basic concept that the soul is the product of food.


How are the qualities formed from food?

Food is the source of awareness. In the eighteenth chapter of the Gita, three types of foods are mentioned: satvik, rajasik and tamasik foods. Stale food which was kept for a long time is tamasic food. For example fermented food produces ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol produces some drowsiness, laziness, inertness etc. When you consume some fatty food it produces some sort of ego and pride. Thus food has some influence on a person’s qualities. The association with people and environment etc. also influence the formation of qualities in a person.

Is the soul of an Advaitin also a product of food, even though all his qualities are destroyed?

Even though in an Advaitin, who is in the state of an Avadhuta, all the qualities are destroyed, some energy is needed for the body to function. So food is necessary. In him, the qualities are destroyed but awareness is maintained and is functioning. The awareness is thinking at least about space. When everything disappears in the mind, the mind becomes blank. What is this blankness? It is nothing but space. The mind is thinking about energy or space. So the process of thinking is going on. It is imagining space. The awareness is still functioning. The process of knowing is still continuing. The process of knowing is completely withdrawn only in deep sleep, where it becomes inert energy. Even then energy is necessary, for the respiratory system, heart etc. to function. All this energy comes from food. Hence food is needed.

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