Enlightened Masters have also shown that meditation produces beneficial effects such as reduction of tension, lowering of blood pressure, relaxation of muscles, increased concentration and work efficiency, and increase of immunological resistance to diseases. As a result, some form of meditation has become an essential part of most holistic health programmes.
Service to others, music, prayer—all are forms of meditation—make the blood flow with serotonins—the happiness chemical. Hindu scriptures enjoin five types of service known as pancha-mahayajna—service to gods; service to sages; service to ancestors; service to humans, guests and the poor; and service to animals. A traditional Indian home, at dawn, feeds ants with the rice-flour rangoli drawn near the threshold, and crows and cows with leftover food.
Eating should be regarded as a sacred act. In an orthodox Hindu home, food is offered to the family deity first and is then consumed as prasad or offering with the diety’s blessing. There is a basic similarity between the rituals involved in offering food to the deity and those involved in eating oneself. In both cases, food is offered as oblations to the five pranas regarded as five fires. Even if one does not follow this ritualistic concept, one should make eating a fully conscious and peaceful act. Hurry, worry, anger, distractions and chattering should be avoided while eating.