One thing is certain, that a simple life has never harmed anyone, while the same cannot be said for luxury and over-abundance. Most often, the things which are of no use to men are also which cause them harm.
In the reign of the famous Akbar, there lived at Agra a Jain saint name Banarasi Das. The Emperor summoned the saint to his palace and told him:
“Ask of me what you will, and because of your holy life, your wish shall be satisfied.”
“Parabrahman has given me more than I could wish for,” replied the saint.
“But ask all the same,” Akbar insisted.
“Then, Sire, I would ask that you do not call me again to your palace, for I want to devote my time to the divine work.”
“Let it be so,” said Akbar. “But I in my turn have a favour to ask you.”
“Give me some good counsel that I many bear in mind and act upon.”
Banarasi Das thought for a moment and said:
“ See that your food is pure and clean, and take good care, especially at night, over your meat and drink.”
“I will not forget your advice,” said the Emperor.
In truth the advice was good, healthy food and drink make a healthy body, fit to be the temple of a pure mind and life.
But it so happened that the very day on which the saint visited the Emperor was a fast-day. And therefore Akbar would only have his meal several hours after midnight. The palace cooks had prepared the dishes in the evening and had placed them in plates of gold and silver, until the time of fasting should be over.
It was still dark when Akbar had them brought before him. Despite his haste to take some nourishment, he suddenly remembered the words of Banarasi Das: “Take care over your meat and drink.” So he examined the plate before him carefully and found that the food was covered with brown ants. In spite of all precautions, these ants had crept in and spoiled the Emperor’s meal.
Akbar had to send away the dishes, and this incident strongly impressed on his mind the useful advice he had received.
For you will understand that Banarasi Das had not intended to warn Akbar merely against brown ants, but against anything in his diet that might not be good for the health of his body or mind.
Many diseases come from and unhealthy diet.
One who knowingly sells unwholesome products is in fact making an attack on the lives of his fellow-citizens. And unwholesome products are not only those that are adulterated or spoilt but all those that may be in any way harmful to eat.
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