I live in a region in Italy where the people work the land to grow food to eat. The local farmers often stop in front of my door, offering to me what they have grown! I am filled with gratitude for these amazing gifts of the Mother Earth. When Thanksgiving comes around each year, I am blessed with the abundance of fresh-grown vegetables and the autumn leaves.
Cornucopias of Joy
God’s Golden Soil is Blooming
Sing Gratitude Songs
New York, United States
Our house sits on a busy street, nestled in what is left of an old oak tree forest. This year, acorns began falling early and hard. As I looked out the window one day at the mass of ruddy brown nuts strewn across our driveway, I felt a sense of awe.
For more than 100 years, no matter what has happened around them, these oaks have persisted. Through snow, ice, heat, drought, teeming rain, through the loss of the forest around them, families moving in, growing old, moving out, these beautiful trees have obeyed nature, growing abundantly in summer, and shedding their bounty in fall. They are so strong and so firm, yet they are supple enough to respond without resistance to whatever occurs in their lives.
To me, these oaks exemplify humility. I am grateful for the nourishment they provide—to animals, and to my soul.
Wisconsin, United States
Back in the early 1990s, I offered seva
regularly in Amrit at Shree Muktananda Ashram, when baked goods were purchased from an outside vendor. Then one summer, a visiting sevite baked scones each morning. I saw the great delight everyone took in the Ashram-baked food, filled with the mantra and benevolent intentions. Before the baker left, I asked her to teach me to bake scones, which she kindly did.
Entering the Amrit bakery every morning, I felt uncertain about accomplishing the task. I'd never used the big mixer before, nor made large batches. I went to the puja
and prayed, inviting Gurumayi to bake with me, asking that the food be made with love, offered with love, received with love, and that it taste of nothing but love.
For many years, I prayed the same prayer. Although the seva
I offer has changed, I am often greeted by people who say, "Oh! You made those scones! Yum!"—as if the love that poured from my heart into those scones still exists as a golden thread between us.
New York, United States
The first time I heard the Annapurna Stotram
was in 2016 and I loved it. Recently I offered seva
in the Annapurna kitchen in Shree Muktananda Ashram, where I saw a beautiful murti
of Annapurna Devi, that I felt very drawn to. I have now installed a small murti
of this goddess in my own kitchen.
When I read the introduction to this webpage, it inspired me to read Gurumayi ji’s 2016 talk on “Food is God.” After reading it, I have been contemplating on how I can take responsibility to ensure that everyone in this world is fed. I decided to take the first small step: to eat moderately, consciously. and wisely myself. I also offered the heartfelt intention that everyone and everything on this planet can feel nourished in body, mind, and soul.
Making this intention makes my heart experience peace.
New Jersey, United States
When my son was just 9 months old, Gurumayi suggested that my husband and I take him to a farm so that he would begin to learn about where food comes from. We thought this was a fabulous idea and scheduled an outing! As my son crawled through the fields of cabbage, touched the soil with his little fingers, and tasted sweet tomatoes picked fresh from the vine, his eyes twinkled with great wonder and delight.
Since then, Gurumayi’s teachings about food have continued to inspire and inform our approach as parents. When we introduce new foods to our son, we make it a point to show him the entire fruit or vegetable and to let him explore it fully! At mealtimes, we offer our gratitude to the earth, and speak about the sacredness of the food we are eating. My son, now almost 2 years old, listens with rapt attention and with his entire being says, “Fooood!” He makes his great love of food crystal clear and I am immensely grateful!
New York, United States
One of the first Siddha Yoga teachings I took to heart was Baba's teaching about the sacredness of food. For many years now I have made a great effort to take only as much as I can eat. I am so thankful for Baba's teaching, and for my capacity to imbibe it. May I always respect Earth's bounty by respecting food!
Virginia, United States
I offer thanks to Mother Earth and to my own mother and father who provided me with an abundance of nourishing food as I was growing up. Dad's gardens were magical places where luscious vegetables flourished and fed us. Mom's cooking was beyond heavenly.
When I first read Gurumayi's teachings on Food is God,
I decided they would become my plan for relating to food. I let go of any extreme means of restriction, which always led to opposite extremes of over-indulgence. Now, I pray daily before a puja
Annapurna in my kitchen. We also have added to our prayers before meals: "May everyone, everywhere, who needs food, be nourished."
Thank you, Gurumayi, for teaching me to eat food with reverence, moderation, and joy!
New York, United States
Since childhood, I have had a dream to alleviate human suffering and bring peace to the world. As I grew older, I lost track of this dream while I focused on the practical realities of life.
Then when I read Gurumayi's teachings about food,
I understood that everyone receiving adequate nutrition is a crucial component to the world being at peace; my dream was reignited.
Last summer I contemplated Gurumayi’s teachings daily as I embarked on a fundraiser to provide money to feed 100 children for a year through PRASAD’s nutrition program. The goal of our group of donors is to increase this number every year.
Washington, United States
This morning, I was joyfully and slowly eating a scone with my tea. I was fully present, chewing slowly, and delighting in every bite.
I became aware that this was in contrast to a pattern I had lapsed into earlier this year, of sometimes swallowing before I had finished chewing my food!
I vowed to make an effort to be in the present when preparing and eating food.
Afterwards, when I opened the Siddha Yoga path website and read the shares in honor of Thanksgiving, I felt that my experience had not been a coincidence and that, once again, Guru's grace had been guiding me from within to reinforce the teaching that Food is God
This precious reminder gives more meaning and power to my daily prayer that everyone in the world receives the food and nourishment they need on a daily basis.
Connecticut, United States
In my tiny garden in a mountainous, stony, grassland region, I grow food. The soil I used to buy in the past turned out to be filled with pieces of shredded plastic waste. With sad feelings and through time-consuming work, I meticulously removed these ever-tinier plastic pieces. This year I found an online recommendation to feed the plants with herbal smoothies and natural food leftovers as a sort of blended pie. Fabulous! Every time I "pampered" the plants like this, I felt I was receiving smiles, laughter, and gratitude from the plants—and the worms—I was feeding. The experience gave me enthusiasm, and so I continued.
The more the year advanced, the more "pie" became available. In my garden, happiness too increased. I saw, smelled, and ate happy strawberries, happy tomatoes, happy cucumber snacks, happy grapes—and that all made me
happy. The harvest was bountiful, ineffably delicious, and nourishing to my body, soul, and mind. There was a constant giving and receiving.
Filled with gratitude, I told a friend, “Now I realize food as God.”
Gurumayi’s teachings on the sacredness of food have forever transformed my relationship to the act of eating. A huge turning point for me was studying the two chapters on discipline in eating in Gurumayi’s book, The Yoga of Discipline.
As I’ve applied these teachings, I’ve learned how to approach eating as a spiritual practice.
I’d like to share about one aspect of this practice that has been especially impactful in my sadhana
and my health––chewing!
On page 121 of The Yoga of Discipline
, Gurumayi teaches us to chew each morsel of food until it becomes “pastelike,” and to let it mix with “the fire of love, devotion, and faith in God.” When I began practicing this, I counted the number of chews so that I wouldn’t swallow the food too soon. As I stayed with it, I began discovering wonderful benefits of chewing thoroughly: the food released more flavors in my mouth, my mind and body relaxed, and the whole experience of eating became meditative. I was more attuned to how different foods affected me. I felt satisfied with less, and my energy was more even throughout the day.
Over the years it has become so natural to chew thoroughly that my body now refuses to swallow until I’ve done so. And the more I remember to focus my mind on eating as worship, as meditation, the more peaceful and joyful mealtimes become.
So today as I give thanks for Mother Nature’s bounty, I think not only of the myriad varieties of food she provides, but also of the bounty of sweet and sacred nourishment in each morsel I eat.
New York, USA
Practicing the teaching Food is God,
I recognize that food is precious and worthy of great respect. One way that I have implemented this teaching is by learning to cook and preserve food in ways that incorporate every component of that food into a nutritious meal. For example, if I make carrot ginger soup for dinner, I won't throw away the carrot tops; instead I'll save them to make a delicious pesto sauce. By striving to use every part of the plants I cook, I honor food as a sacred gift from Mother Earth.
Since I first heard the teaching Food is God,
I’ve endeavored to respect food for its life-sustaining power.
A few weeks back, as I was walking along the road near my family’s home, a neighbor rode by on her bicycle. We greeted each other, and she said, “Someone gave me some Swiss chard. It’s more than I can use. Would you like some?”
“Sure, thank you!”, I replied, and she handed me a fresh bunch of the leafy red and green vegetable. Later that day, I prepared it for my family and, before eating, we thanked our neighbor and the Earth for this delicious food.
Shortly afterward, I was looking at all the hundreds of perfectly ripened apples that had fallen off the trees in our yard. There were far too many for us to eat—and they seemed to be asking for someone to make good use of them.
I made a few phone calls and found a local farmer who was delighted to receive them for her animals. When I delivered the five boxes of apples, a feeling of contentment and gratitude arose. I realized I’d just put the teaching Food is God
Reflecting back on these interactions has reminded me of how abundant Mother Earth is and how sharing food with others—both people and our fellow creatures—magnifies my awareness of her bounty.
New York, USA
Living in New England is so magical in the autumn! The amazing display of deep, rich color and the bounty of the harvest that is celebrated at the fall festivals and farmers’ markets bring a sense of excitement about the season.
We recently had a family outing picking apples at a beautiful, organic orchard. We were greeted by an older couple who have been this orchard’s loving caretakers. Their weathered faces were aglow with robust health and the gentleness that comes from a life lived in harmony with nature.
This couple gave us our empty bags, and with anticipation we made our way up the hill to the orchard’s entrance. As we opened the gate, I could smell the fragrance of the ripe apples in the air. It was the simplest of pleasures, yet completely satisfying!
As I lost myself in the finding of apples that were ripe and ready to be picked, I tapped into the pure joy of receiving bounty straight from the source. It was intoxicating to behold the abundant generosity of Mother Nature. Very naturally, my heart filled with gratitude.
I have noticed that gratitude comes when I recognize all that I am constantly being given. And my growing ability to perceive this truth is the Guru’s gift to me. So, during this time of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you, Gurumayi, with a deeply grateful heart, for teaching me how to experience the divinity within and all around me. In giving me this, you have given me everything.
New England, USA
Through my years of Siddha Yoga practice, I have learned some practices around the rituals of preparing and eating food. Such tools as reciting mantras to invoke God’s grace and to express gratitude, pausing to repeat the mantra eleven times, and chewing each mouthful fifty times have given me an appreciation of food as God. As well, I have come to experience God as food. God is the fulfilling nourishment to all my senses. With this awareness, I have an even greater respect for food. I cultivate balance. I don’t deny my body’s needs, yet I no longer eat more than I need. I appreciate the flavors, the sensations that food brings to me. I appreciate the infinite and perfect wisdom of Mother Earth for creating this nourishment. I appreciate all the many hands that have helped bring this nourishment to me. And I appreciate how the light of awareness of Gurumayi’s grace has made me open to this transforming experience of gratitude.