The Self in man and in the sun are one./ Those who understand this see through the world/ And go beyond the various sheaths/ Of being to realize the unity of life./ Those who realize that all life is one/ Are at home everywhere and see themselves / In all beings. They sing in wonder:/ ‘I am the food of life, I am, I am;/ I eat the food of life, I eat, I eat./ I link food and water, I link, I link./ I am the first-born in the universe;/ Older than the gods, I am immortal./ Who shares food with the hungry protects me;/ Who shares it not with them is consumed by me./ I am this world and I consume this world./ They who understand this understand life.’ Taittreya Upanishad, 10.5, trans. Eknath Eswaren.
As one who is immersed in the joy of growing, selecting, creating, and tasting food and studying and practicing yoga, it is no suprise that the Taittreya Upanishad (which Eknath Eswaren subtitles “From Food to Joy”) is one of my favorite readings.
The Taittreya Upanishad explains the five sheaths or koshas that make up the self — the food body, the energy body, the mind body, the intuitive body, and the bliss body. What we take in with our senses and what makes us flesh and blood can, with right observance and practice, lead us to a consciousness of self as joy and spirit embodied. This is the yoga of eating and of food.
For more details on the Taittreya Upanishad, please see Jon Janaka’s article, “I am the Food!”
Upanishads, trans. Patrick Olivelle (Oxford World Classics 1996)
The Upanishads, translated for the modern reader by Eknath Eswaren (Nilgiri Press 8th Printing 2000)
The Ten Principal Upanishads, put into English by Shree Purohit Swami and Wm. Butler Yeats (Faber and Faber, London, Reprinted 1952)