From Mother Radha's recordings of Swamiji
Along with sadhana [spiritual practice] goes diet. You must try and eat a sattvic diet as far as possible, and as directed by the Bhagavad Gita. A sattvic diet gives you good health, it gives you good digestion and it gives you calmness. And you do not have to go to the gym if you are putting on weight. [laughter] Just take a sattvic diet. Some people wait until their weight has increased three times in a year and then they go in for lifting weights. But what can the weights do then? All the cells are already expanded. If you lose weight after that you will become like a sucked out orange. So have a sattvic diet.
Do not eat the leavings of others, that is the first rule. Do not eat the leavings of others unless it is left by the one that you respect as divine. With the leavings, a person's karmas come to you. When you take prasad [sacramental food] and worship a sattvic deity, you will gain sattvic qualities. If you take some fruit (or other things) and worship a rajasic deity and then eat that prasad, rajasic qualities are yours. If you take flesh and other things, worship a deity, and then eat those things, you become tamasic. It works like that with other people's leavings.
A similar thing happens when you accept gifts. You should not accept gifts at random from others. I know the ashramites [trainee monks and nuns and swamis] are very careful about this.
At one time, a person wanting to give a whole lot of saris and other clothes came to the Ashram. He came here and said to me, 'Give them to the ladies at the Saradamani Ashram [in Asherville KwaZulu Natal, South Africa] , they are so poor.' I said, 'They are not poor.' He said, 'No, please, I am bringing all these new Benares saris and other things for them.' I said, 'All right, put them down here.' After three days had gone by somebody asked me, 'Did Mr. X come here? Did he bring some clothes?' I said, 'Yes.' 'Oh,' he said, 'he did not know who to give those clothes to, his wife died nine months ago.' [laughter]
So you see the motivation? Sri Ramakrishna was very careful. He would not take anything, especially a dead man's offerings. Sri Ramakrishna would say, 'Keep it there, keep it there.' He would not want to hurt anybody's feelings but at night he would tell them to put the whole lot in the Ganges [river Ganges]. Somebody asked him, 'But why not give it to the poor people?' He said 'Why should I, who can tangibly see karma working, give them the karma of others to eat?'
Only one person was allowed to eat anything he chose and that was Swami Vivekananda. He was a veritable sin eater, he digested it into divine energy.
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