Yoga Can Be Done by Well-Fed


Surya Nath Prasad and Mira Purn – TRANSCEND Media Service

A Dialogue between Surya Nath Prasad and Mira Purn on International Day of Yoga, 21 June

Surya Nath Prasad:

But who can do yoga? The very simple answer is yoga can be done by those who are well-fed. But alas! 80 per cent of the world population out of about more than 7 billion people is not able to do yoga because it lives on less than $10 a day. Therefore let the all people be well-nourished to perform different skills of yoga for holistic health. For more details, one may refer to: Yoga: A Practical Skill in Peace Education for Nonviolence.

Also refer to a video at UCN News Channel for Peace Education by Prof. Surya Nath Prasad:


Mira Purn:

Some yogis eat almost nothing. But that is by choice, rather than poverty! Yes, we should first satisfy hunger and thirst in a human being, and then we can think of other needs.

Surya Nath Prasad:

Dear Ms Mira Purn, I was busy in my prior commitments. Hence I could not respond your comment on my post.

I would like to put here some facts to be enlightened in this regard and to enrich our knowledge and practiced to be benefited for healthy growth.

Nobody can escape food to grow physical body or even to survive. Ancient Indian Saint Kabir requested to the almighty God, “O God, give me as much food so that my family will be well-fed, I am also not to be hungry, and no needy even can go hungry without getting food.” Truly poverty is the state of being without enough food or money. Poverty is the denial of basic needs. Another ancient Indian Saint Tulsidasa said in his popular epic: Ramcharitmanas, “There is no misery in the world like poverty.” The great poet of ancient India Kalidasa in his drama-poem in Sanskrit: Kumarasambhavam has said, “Body is the instrument for all deeds.”

Now I am coming to your point that “Some yogis eat almost nothing.” Further you say, “But that is by choice rather than poverty!” However, how long can some yogis avoid eating food totally, even by choice rather than poverty?” Here I would like to cite the story of Lord Buddha before he reached to be a saint and initiator of a great religion Buddhism. His name was Siddhartha Gautama. His Six years of self-imposed harsh and extreme asceticism and fasting for forty-nine days by then came to an end when a lady named Sujata fed Siddhartha Gautama with a bowl of kheer, a milk-rice pudding. Gautama who was looking like a skeleton was offered by her rice pudding with milk. Gautama looked at Sujata with gratitude and ate all the contents of the bowl offered to him. As Gautama had the rice pudding his body refreshed. Later as Gautama regained his strength he realized that severe austerities and making body suffer was not the way to attain enlightenment. Gautama left the place as he understood that torturing body will not take him to truth. This was the beginning of his enlightenment. The gift provided him enough strength to cultivate the Middle Path and attain Bodhi, thereafter He was known as the Buddha.

Also the secret of some yogis who eat almost nothing, but only for certain period of time, is that they have been privileged for many generations, well-fed, well-cared for and well-educated. And the physical body consumes whatever conserved within during fasting, and after some time the body becomes so weak to survive.

Now I would like to tell you another story which tells us about the relationship between food and God. In Tattiriopanishad, the son Bhrigu asks his father Varun to teach him about God. The father tells him to learn at first the ways to acquire food through right means. Food is Brahama-God. The food is peace. Rishi Varun tells Son Bhrigu about other four gods also, viz. vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual. The integral manifestation of these five sheaths (koshas) in every man and woman enables him or her happy, healthy and peaceful.

The author of these lines had an opportunity to organize Second World Congress of IAEWP in 1978 on the first sheath i.e. food with the theme: Education and World Hunger (Educational Remedy of Hunger for World Peace) with the hope someone will hold dialogue on the rest four sheaths of human beings to complete the mission for t giving birth of original man (human being), who will be naturally peaceful. This author himself delivered Presidential Speech on the theme: Food for Peace through Education.

Mira Purn:

Sir – thank you for your enjoyable stories. Yes, Swami Isa teaches us too, that we cannot deny that we have a physical body and it is made of the 5 elements and also subject to decay. And we need to replenish and maintain the 5 elements inside us. He reminds us daily that providing proper water and food to any individual are the most important and primary things.

Surya Nath Prasad

Dear Ms Mira Purn, it will be more enjoyable when we practice regularly and perpetually till the end of our lives. And this is lifelong process of education to be human or ultimate God. Food is root to realize God. Education is the effort or the process to manifest the God in man. Therefore bliss is education, the perfect or complete happiness is education. A ancient Indian book Hitoupadesha defines education: “Education gives rise to self-discipline, self-discipline brings abilities, with abilities comes wealth (prosperity), wealth promotes social service and social service brings happiness and peace.” Hence there is no choice between education and food, both is essential. It is very relevant here to cite the quote of a very young Afghan Refugee girl Hina Shikhanni, who said, “No one should have to choose between education and having food to eat.” She also said, “Education is not a luxury, it is necessity.” Ms Hina Shikanni is DAFI Scholarship recipient living in Pakistan. Her quotes are tweeted by UNHCR-the UN Refugee on 30 June 2021 on Twitter.


Dr. Surya Nath Prasad, former president & currently executive vice president of International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), associate professor of education emeritus, former visiting professor, the graduate institute of peace studies, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea, founder & editor-in-chief, Peace Education: An International Journal.

Ms Mira Purn is a Coordinator, Global Energy Parliament, Isa Viswa Prajnana Trust, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 Jul 2021.

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