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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Third Nostril

Updates: Two anecdotes about Sādhu Bābā came to my mind this week:

On page 20, I myself narrated: “He also told me not to eat anywhere outside the āśram.” To this I added today: “Bābā then showed a remarkable higher vision. When I asked him: “Bābā, then how do I recognize sinful food?” He said, in English, ‘You can smell it…”

On page 46 I wrote earlier: “Although he was the highest class Brāhmin, Bābā would first go to the cleaning woman or any type of lower class person, including me, with folded hands to beg permission to take prasāda.” To this I now added between brackets: “(At the same time he strictly followed the Vedic rules by not eating after or in the presence of anyone else)”

All these anecdotes have been added to Sādhu Bābā’s hagiography (linktab ‘Nikunja Gopal Gosvami) on


  1. i wonder how sinful food smells.

  2. Develop the Third Eye, or rather, the Third Nostril, and smell....

    But all joking aside, I myself was also nonplussed when Sadhu Baba told me this. How can I smell if food is sinful or not? I posted this as a glorification of Baba's sUkSma dRSTi, fine vision, rather than a practical tip for conditioned souls like myself. Recently I visited an Indian family in Utrecht (central Netherlands) and my gut feeling told me that I could eat all grains and pulse they offered me (usually I dont eat grains from anyone) and I was right - no bad after-effects at all. It takes a bit of intuition, if not refined nostrils, to spot pure food.

  3. My intuituion leads me to food that has nice natural aroma. Food that is not heavily spiced, freshly cooked, possibly cooked with ghee. I rarely eat from people. I try to see the conciousness of the cook, whether there are vaisnavic leanings. Generally, for me it's much easier to refrain eating outside alltogether. I cook for myself in the morning here (in the west). When I am in India I don't cook because of the heat.I ate here and there last time I went. But I don't know what I will do this time when I go, since my eating standards are stricter these days.But the heat will stop me from being able to cook. I think I will have to prepare to starve or eat fruits. I really won't know how to manage.

  4. I know, that is very tough. Most people have little appetite during Indian summers, though, because the heat is so overwhelming. I went through summers there that I only ate melons.

  5. I think abstaining from sinful food is kind of difficult for some people on the vaisnava path, seeing how strong the addiction is to subway sandwiches, buddhist veggie cuisine, commercial ice creams, pizza etc. I mean consuming strictly pure food (prasad) is a vital principle for any vaisnava who is trying to avoid nama aparadh. One of the commandments of harinam being that one should avoid sinning on the strenght of chanting the holy names.
    The tongue is always laying wait to make one commit this aparadh.I have noticed from a distance (on line) that many persons initiated in Gaudiya vaisnavism seem to be in some type of spiritual limbo, if you may. They just do not grasp the conclusions of bhakti after decades.
    You would also find they do not have much interest in offering food to Krishna, possibly because they dont think its a prime principle of bhajan, so they would do japa or even kirtan, but won't care about offering food. But remember that Krishna says that food that is not offered to him is sinful. Thus eating of bhoga is nam aparadh.Its one of the things to be careful about. I'm not saying it's the all in all, harinam being the main practice of bhajan. But there are vaisnavs who don't care too much for the words of Krishna in the Gita. They don't have faith in the Vedas, Karma, Kali yuga or nothing of that sort.
    I think this kind of mentality gives one a distorted understanding of vaisnavism.
    I've definitely observed that continous eating of sinful food keeps one in spiritual limbo.