On a die-ate
7 October 2008

October 7 2008

It happens in middle age. The signs of decline, loss of energy, failing eyesight and hearing, inefficient metabolism, and increasing waist line even though you’re not eating more than usual.

Since my mid-50s I have been putting on a bit of weight

a little over-weight

so I have decided its time to do a bit of dieting. Not for appearance but for health. I just had my horoscope done and my astrologer told me that from my 58th year for four years I can expect poor health. That begins next month. He advised diet and exercise to help offset the adverse effects.

I am one of those people who have been fortunate enough to never really experience poor health. At least not serious bad health. I have a robust constitution and apart from some specific diseases-malaria, typhoid-I rarely get colds, headaches, or suffer much physical difficulty.

So I have never paid much attention to physical maintenance. I am generally pretty lazy and I hate exercise.  But all the signs are pointing to a new era in personal health care.

It all started when I  hit my fifties. In 2001-02 I had some problems with pronounced muscle ache and tiredness. It was like having a constant ‘flu but without the cold. Finally I went to the doctor. He was young guy and new out of college. He convinced himself I was suffering from depression and wanted to give me some magic pills to feel better. No way!

 I knew it was a physical problem and I insisted on a blood test. The results came back and showed a severe depletion of B12, commonly called pernicious anaemia (although its not technically anaemia). Normal levels should be 140 but mine was down to 41, so I had to have ten booster shots to bring it back up. I was also supposed to have a booster every three months but I haven’t bothered. (Maybe I should get a check!) 

I also started eating a couple of spoonfuls of granulated bee pollen a day which is rich in B12.

 granulated bee pollen

It seems this type of anaemia is a common problem with vegetarians because the main source of B12 is animal. Anyway the shots immediately improved things and all the aches went away and I felt my normal energy levels return.  

I also had problems due to a sluggish liver. I had a spell a few years back when I would fall asleep immediately after eating something, not even a meal, and I had to literally force myself to stay awake. It was a bit disconcerting to start nodding out even while I was in the middle of a conversation. Sometimes I would just feel like curling up on the floor and having a snooze.  I couldn’t concentrate properly, my brain responded about as fast as a dead slug and I felt tired alot of the time.

It wasn’t due to a lack of sleep. Something wasn’t working properly and finally I went to an Ayurvedic doctor in Sydney.  He gave me a liver cleanser/tonic and a specific diet. After a month I had improved about 80%.

Srila Prabhupada advised us to keep up our health so that we can keep doing our service. He set the example. He took not less than 3-4 hours a day just for maintaining his body.

Wherever he was in the world, he would always go for a one hour morning walk


and every day around noon he would have a one and half hours full body massage

November 1976 Vrindavana

and another 1/2 – 1 hour massage in the evening. Apart from that, he also regularly adjusted his diet in response to his bodily needs. Had he not done this, its very doubtful that he could have travelled all over the world for 11 years while writing, lecturing, corresponding and constantly meeting with anyone who could help with his mission.

Now with the astrologer’s warning I have decided its time to officially go on a diet. Or die-ate. Tyaga-bhoga. Its not so hard. No, really. Honestly.

My wife is expert at fasts and she’s doing it with me. We are avoiding food cooked in ghee or oils, and taking anything with sugar in it. She explained that the trick is to eat small amounts at regular intervals through the day, rather than a big meal. That way the stomach gradually shrinks and you eat less. You are supposed to feel it shrinking.

what diet!?

 For me, the big kick off was cheese. I love bread and cheese. But with incredible self-control I have managed to cut it out. I admit though that sometimes I feel a little peakish

just a little bite..

and sometimes even a little ravenous


but I am determined to stick with it.

control that tongue! 

Then the next step is exercise. I have had little bursts of doing hatha-yoga

not me 

until I tore my knee meniscus and nearly crippled myself. That one ended up with an arthroscopy and I haven’t bothered with yoga since. Walking, which is a highly recommended way to exercise, is also out. My knee is permanently damaged from a motorcycle accident when I was 18 and walking provides too much impact on the joint.

Then I read that Tiger Woods, the famous golfer, had an arthroscopy this year. He isn’t playing ’till he fully recovers and to get back in shape he bought himself a bicycle machine. So that’s my plan. Exercise on the spot, keep fit by diet and exercise and keep on preaching for a few more years.

Of course, we can take the fatalist view that whatever we do we can’t avoid our karma. But Srila Prabhupada showed by his example that we should not simply lay down and die. We should do whatever we can and leave the rest to Krsna. If we can use this lump of matter for the glorification of the Lord and His devotees for even just a few years, that is our greatest benefit and we might just be able to help a few conditioned souls on the way back to Godhead as well.

One Comment
1. Hrimati
October 7th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Hari Sauri Prabhu, that is a rather unchaste picture of yours. I would definitely suggest going on a diet.
In Srimad Bhagavatam it is recommended to live of fruits and roots to become thin.


In the province of Kulacala, there were rivers named Candravasa, Tamraparni
and Vatodaka. King Malayadhvaja used to go to those pious rivers regularly
and take his bath there. Thus he purified himself externally and
internally. He took his bath and ate bulbs, seeds, leaves, flowers, roots,
fruits and grasses and drank water. In this way he underwent severe
austerities. Eventually he became very skinny.


We can definitely see that to advance in Krsna consciousness one must
control his bodily weight. If one becomes too fat, it is to be assumed
that he is not advancing spiritually. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Thakura severely criticized his fat disciples. The idea is that one who
intends to advance in Krsna consciousness must not eat very much. Devotees
used to go to forests, high hills or mountains on pilgrimages, but such
severe austerities are not possible in these days. One should instead eat
only prasada and no more than required. According to the Vaisnava
calendar, there are many fasts, such as Ekadasi and the appearance and
disappearance days of God and His devotees. All of these are meant to
decrease the fat within the body so that one will not sleep more than
desired and will not become inactive and lazy. Overindulgence in food will
cause a man to sleep more than required. This human form of life is meant
for austerity, and austerity means controlling sex, food intake, etc. In
this way time can be saved for spiritual activity, and one can purify
himself both externally and internally. Thus both body and mind can be

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