When you eat with your hands you recall you divine nature. While in the West, eating with your hands usually conjures up images of a small child coated from head to toe with food, in the East, the use of hand as utensils is considered a very refined art. When you eat with your hands or feed the young and infirm them, when we use them for digging soil and planting seedlings, when embrace someone or give him a gift, when you joined hands in prayer, you are using your hands to share maternal healing energy of the universe.
Hands are considered our most precious organs of action. Our hands and feet conduct the five elements – space, air, fire, water and earth. One of the five elements is passing through each finger.
Through the thumb flows angushtha – space; the index finger – Tarjan – air; the middle finger – Madhya – fire; the ring finger – Anamika – water and the little finger – kanishtha – earth. In the Vedic tradition of eating in the hands of the five elements is beginning to transform the food and make it digestible even before it reaches the mouth. This transformation also enhances the senses, so that we can smell, taste and feel the texture of the food we eat. You can hear the sounds of feeding.
All these sensations are an important prelude to the awakening Agni – the digestive fire, to prepare for the meal to come. At the higher dimension, the act of eating is a spiritual celebration. We activate the energy Deities in line with the elements, promoting from within wave of increased awareness. This happens through the powerful game wise. The elements of nature through our hands and fingers enter the food which is then joined by Agni.
If we are aware of the awakening of spunk, we can more easily digest, not only food but also our thoughts. Gastric fire and the fire of mind – Tejas, work together.
Ayurveda says that the disease occurs in the body due to poor digestive fire and agitated mind. Most people today eat in a hurry, juggling the overcrowded calendar. We often skip breakfast, consume lunch with enough nutrients, in a hurry, we eat late in the evening, then immediately lie down in bed. How digestion in general can function normally when is so abused year after year?
Each day to remind of the sanctity of its extremities, recite the Vedic prayer:
“Karagre vasate Laksmih karamule Sarasvati Karamadhye tu Govindah prabhate karadarsanam” – which means:
“Tiptoe is the goddess Lakshmi, based of my fingers the goddess Saraswati, in the middle of my fingers is Lord Govinda. In this way I look at my hands. ” To start practicing your wise, turn Anjali Mudra. If you practice every morning it will help you to recall the holiness of your hands and your connection with the creative energies of our universe.
In Anjali wise, gather the palms of your hands in front of the heart, with the fingertips directed upwards. When we close our hands in this way, we stimulate prana or energy that circulates through the heart, which increases vitality and brings a feeling of lightness and determination.
To invoke the Deity, lift your hands in the middle of the forehead. This mudra is in itself an act of prayer and helps to heal the heart, heal wounds, not only in this life, but the wounds caused by the timeless repeated birth. The goal of practicing sadhana, I stand for, with eating is to help us reconnect with greater energy of the universe, so that we can regain our cognitive memory that stretches far back to the origin of the universe.
Using wise eating and communication with the food we eat is the most important step in connecting with cosmic energies and an important way of receiving food. By practicing these specific mudra we will open our heart to the Mother of Wisdom. Dine with hands on Her desk and you will never go hungry or angry. Food is memory. When you eat with your hands you recall you divine nature. While in the West, eating with your hands usually conjures up images of a small child coated from head to toe with food, in the East, the use of hand as utensils is considered a very refined art.
Six main ways in which the hands are used:
- Ghronikah mudra
In ghronikah mudra the five fingers form petals around lumps of plums-sized food. This is one of the two main mudras used for eating solid foods such as grains and vegetables, that is dhal with chapatti or bread.
- Annabhakshana mudra
In annabhakshana mudra, with your fingers take a small amount of food, enough to fit on the base four fingers. Use your thumb to push the food in the mouth. This is the second of the two main mudras for eating solid food. Only the right hand is used for eating.
- Kangulah mudra
In kangulah mudra, take food with your thumb, forefinger and middle finger. Use this mudra when you eat long, thin pieces of food, such as asparagus, carrots, celery, sugar cane and the like. When you bring the food in your mouth with kangulah mudra, the hand is turned toward the sky. This mudra cultivates gently respect for nature. The first mudra, Ghronikah, activates and balances the earth element in the body. Element Earth controls our sense of smell.
- Kadamba mudra
In kadamba mudra all five fingers wrap around solid food. This mudra is reserved for eating fresh fruit round shape such as apples, pears, mangoes or peaches. You can also use it for eating sweets like ladhua. Mudra is named after the famous kadamba tree. Practicing these mudra helps us to remember to be grateful for every speck of natural foods.
- Mukul mudra
In Mukul mudra all five fingers are tightly intertwined together. With this mudra is taken minimum amount of food, for example, ten grains of cooked rice. Mudra is used in annaprashanam or first feeding ceremony, one of the 16 samskaras, which is usually performed in the fifth or sixth month of age. Mukul mudra is a reminder that we are always at the root of life, constantly renewing stream of consciousness. Every morsel of food should serve to awaken the cosmic memory of the first food that we, as conscious human beings absorb from Mother’s nectar.
- Khatakamukhah mudra
In khatakamukhah mudra, food is tasted with tightly clench of the index finger, middle finger and thumb. This mudra measure is equivalent to half a teaspoon. It is used for the determination of spices in cooking. Also it can be used to measure the amount of drugs. Food is the most potent form of medicine. We need to exercise it with caution. Khatakamukhah mudra helps us to build our relationship with food.
The best policy for food intake is – to have an open heart, and half-closed hand.