A drunken man who falls out of a cart, though he may suffer, does not die. His bones are the same as other people's; but he meets his accident in a different way. His spirit is in a condition of security. He is not conscious of riding in the cart; neither is he conscious of falling out of it. Ideas of life, death, fear and the like cannot penetrate his breast; and so he does not suffer from contact with objective existence. If such security is to be got from wine, how much more is it to be got from God?
Then the cook enters and approaches our table. He bows low before me. He is grateful to me, he explains, because since his years as a cook in a Buddhist monastery, he has had little opportunity to cook vegetarian food for anyone who appreciates it. The wild mushrooms, he tells me, were picked in a nearby forest. The greens are from gardens known for the quality of their vegetables. . . . He bows slowly, and thanks me once again. I stumble over my own words of gratitude as he quietly disappears into the kitchen. I never see him again. I didn't sleep that night. The cook's reverence and humility sliced through years of protective hardness and caught me without warning. His food was saturated with love, and its nurturance was almost too much to bear.
A few of his disciples had decided to do a "grape cure" and eat nothing but grapes and grape juice for a while. Paramahansa Yogananda smiled when he heard about this and remarked, "Devotion is the greatest purifier." His disciple Donald Walters asked, "Is it your wish then, Sir, that we break this fast?" "Well, I don't want you to break your wills," said Yogananda, "now that you have set them in this way. But your time would be better spent if you worked on developing devotion. A pure heart is the way to God, not a pure stomach.
Upscale people are fixated with food simply because they are now able to eat so much of it without getting fat, and the reason they don't get fat is that they maintain a profligate level of calorie expenditure. The very same people whose evenings begin with melted goat cheese . . . get up at dawn to run, break for a midmorning aerobics class, and watch the evening news while racing on a stationary bicycle.