Today we all have to deal with multiple (and ever-evolving kinds of) health problems. It is primarily because we are not mindful of what we eat. Apart from eating wrong foods, we’re also not eating enough natural food. Modern unhealthy food options are too many and temptations are too strong to counter. So we quite enjoy splurging.
This 'insensible eating' is something we are all a victim of- children and adults alike. And it’s time we change our eating habits.
Perhaps this little-known Khasi parable about the forbidden food will help us. This story reminds us about the importance of sticking to natural food. We not only improve our health, but also save money and are able to live better.
This happened a long time ago. When the sun and moon were still young, and beasts and humans still spoke the same language, and virtue still existed in the world.
God used to walk the earth around the foot of Lum Sohpetbneng, in Ri Bhoi country, freely conversing with all his creatures. They would discuss many issues, especially duties, responsibilities and the welfare of the world and its dwellers.
Humankind was very happy, as every creature lived with complete obedience to God and his decrees.
One day the discussions drifted to the topic of disobedience, about how it resulted in dire consequences upon a whole community.
Man couldn't understand this dichotomy. Therefore, he asked God why should one man’s transgressions bring punishment upon an entire race.
God then commanded the man to go and meditate on this matter for seven days and come back to him for further discourse. He also ordered him to go into mid-forest where the big tree grew and cut it down, warning him not to harm other trees.
Seven days later man met God again and told him that he had followed his instructions. But he still didn’t get the answer to his question. Inspecting his work, God noticed that the man had cut small trees and shrugs while cutting the big tree in the forest.
God asked man why did he do so. The man explained that the forest was so thick that he had to cut down some trees to reach the big tree. Accepting his explanation, God told the man to learn from that parable: when one man transgresses, other men suffer with him as a consequence. Still, the man could not comprehend and again asked God for enlightenment. God ordered him to ponder further on the parable of the giant tree.
The week passed and he was still puzzled. He was also crying out in pain. God asked him what did he gain from his meditation and why was he crying in pain. The man answered that he still didn’t get an answer. And he was crying in pain because an ant stung him. When God asked him what did he do with the ant, he replied that he threw a stone on the anthill and killed all ants.
God then told him that this is also a parable. For one ant’s offence, the entire nest suffers. The man was like that ant who was responsible for the suffering of all other ants.
Still, the man failed to understand the logic behind the parable. So God gave him another seven days' time to meditate upon the parables of the giant tree and the ant.
The week passed and the man returned to the appointed place. Finding God hadn’t arrived, he began loitering about in the forest. Suddenly he saw a stranger with a sling bag, like the ones villagers carry food in. He was sitting on a boulder, eating some kind of food he drew from his bag.
The stranger was, in fact, a demon in the guise of a human being. He asked him very politely where he was going, to which he replied that he was only loitering about.
The man was curious to know what the stranger was eating. The stranger said he was eating 'pu thiang' (tasty cake) and offered him some.
The man thanked him but politely declined, saying that God has forbidden for humankind to live on anything but what’s cultivated and grows in the forest.
The stranger insisted saying it surely wouldn’t hurt to taste a morsel. The temptation was too strong for the man. He took a bite of the cake and agreed that it tasted good. He enjoyed it thoroughly. Just then the wind rustled, signalling God’s arrival. The stranger disappeared.
God found the man swallowing something and demanded to know what is it. When the man told Him, God was angry. God reminded the man of His orders for him to eat only what's decreed.
Now that man had let gluttony get the better of him by eating the cake, he had enslaved himself to the demon. Because of his folly, man would always be tormented to do the demon’s bidding. To escape such torment and appease his anger, man and his entire race would henceforth always have to give in to his demands.
Because that one man disobeyed God and ate the forbidden food, to this day humankind writhes with torment from ill-health and wallows in sorrow.
This tale may be only a parable but it resounds with the wisdom of the ancients. They learnt their lessons about foods that heal and foods that kill. And passed the knowledge down to us. Cruel as God’s action may seem the story points to one thing: our freedom to choose our food determines the consequences we face about our well-being.
If we stick to the foods nature produces, we’re more likely to stay healthy and happy.
But the demon of insensible eating continues stalking and causing untold damage to people's health.
How do you fight your demon of insensible eating?