Excerpt from Sri Yukteswar’s book, “The Holy Science”, written in 1894. Chapter 3 - “The Procedure”, p. 63. It really sheds some light on the Vedic approach to Diet and Disease.
What is natural food for man?
First, to select our natural food, our observation should be directed to the formation of the organs that aid in digestion and nutrition, the teeth and digestive canal.; to the natural tendency of the organs of the sense which guide animals to their food; and to the nourishment of the young.
Observation of teeth.
By observation of the teeth we find that in carnivorous animals the incisors are little developed, but the canines are of striking length, smooth and pointed, to seize the prey. The molars are also pointed; these points, however, do not meet, but fit closely side by side to separate the muscle fibers.
In herbivorous the incisors are strikingly developed, the canines are stunted (though occasionally developed into weapons, as in elephants), the molars are broad-topped and furnished with enamel on the sides only.
In the frugivorous animals all the teeth are of nearly the same height; the canines are little projected, conical and blunt (obviously not intended to seize pray, but for exertion of strength. The molars are broad-topped and furnished at the top with enamel folds to prevent waste caused by their side motion, but not pointed for chewing flesh.
In omnivorous animals, such as bears, on the other hand, the incisors resemble those of the herbivorous, the canines are like those of the carnivorous, and the molars are both pointed and broad-topped to serve a twofold purpose.
Now if we observe the formation of the teeth in man we find that they do not resemble those of the carnivorous, neither do they resemble the herbivorous or the omnivorous. They do resemble, exactly, those of the frugivorous animals. The reasonable inference, therefore, is that man is a fruit-eating animal. (publisher’s note*: (Fruit comprises any part of plant life useful to man. The fruitarian diet referred by Sri Yukteswarji includes vegetables, nuts, and grains.)
Observation of the digestive canal.
By observation of the digestive canal we find that the bowels of carnivorous animals are 3 to 5 times the length of their body, measuring from the mouth to the anus; and their stomach is almost spherical. The bowels of the herbivorous are 20 to 28 times the length of their body and their stomach is more extended and of compound built. But the bowels of the frugivorous animals are 10 to 12 times the length of their body; their stomach is somewhat broader than that of carnivorous and has a continuation in the duodenum serving the purpose of a second stomach.
This is exactly the formation we find in human beings, though anatomy says that the human bowels are 3 to 5 times the length of man’s body – making a mistake by measuring the body from the crown to the sole, instead of from mouth to anus. Thus we can again draw the inference that ma is, in all probability, a frugivorous animal.
Observation of the organs of sense.
By observation of the natural tendency of the organs of the sense – the guideposts for determining what is nutritious – by which all animals are directed to their food, we find that when the carnivorous animals finds prey, he becomes so much delighted that his eyes begin to sparkle; he boldly seizes the prey and greedily laps the jetting blood.
On the contrary, the herbivorous animals refuses even his natural food, leaving it untouched, if it is sprinkled with a little blood. His senses of smell and sight lead him to select grasses and other herbs for his food, which he tastes with delight. Similarly with the frugivorous animals, we find that their senses always direct them to fruits of the trees and field.
In men of all races we find that their senses of smell, sound, and sight never lead them to slaughter animals; on the contrary they cannot even bear the sight of such killings. Slaughterhouses are always recommended to be removed far from the towns; men often pass strict ordinances forbidding the uncovered transportations of flesh meats. Can flesh then be considered the natural food for man, when both his eyes and his nose are so much against it, unless deceived by flavors of spices, salt and sugar?
On the other hand, how delightful do we find the fragrance of fruits, the very sight of which makes the mouth water! It may also be noticed that various grains and roots possess an agreeable odor and taste, thought faint, even when unprepared. Thus, again, we are led to infer from these observations that man was intended to be a frugivorous animal*.
(*”And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearind seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” – Genesis 1:29. Publisher’s note).
Cause of disease.
Hence, from these observations the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that various grains, fruits, roots, and – for beverage – milk and pure water openly exposed to air and sun are decidedly the best natural food for man. These, being congenial to the system when taken according to the power of the digestive organs, well chewed and mixed with saliva, are always easily assimilated.
Other foods are unnatural to man and being uncongenial to the system are necessarily foreign to it; when they enter the stomach, they are not properly assimilated. Mixed with the blood, they accumulate in the excretory and other organs not properly adapted tot hem. Whey they cannot find their way out, they subside in tissues crevices by the law of gravitation; and, being fermented, produce disease, mental and physical, and ultimately lead to premature death.
About Sri Yukteswar - (1855 - 1936). Sri Yukteswar is the monastic name of Priyanath Karar, the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. Sri Yukteshwar was an educator, astronomer, a Jyotisha (Vedic astrologer), a yogi, a writer and a believer in both the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible. He was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya of Varanasi and a member of the Giri branch of the swami order. Sri Yukteswar is considered a Jnanavatar, or "Incarnation of Wisdom".
About the Holy Science - A book written by Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri in 1894 under the title Kaivalya Darsanam. Sri Yukteswar states that he wrote The Holy Science at the request of Mahavatar Babaji. The book compares parallel passages from the Bible and Upanishads in order to show the unity of all religions.