Man eats to live; He lives not to eat
Man who eats not, has no strength to work for righteousness and fight against wickedness. Man must therefore eat. A healthy and a strong body is indispensable for the soul to live strenuous life upon the earth. Wholesome food is the first essential to prevent the body from languishing and to give it the necessary strength. Fasting forms no part of the faith of Zarathushtra, and the Zoroastrian calendar has no days of fast. It is a sin to fast from food, say the sacred books.
Modern man eats more than he needs. He stocks his tables with delicious courses and sweets and delicacies and luscious wines. He makes a god of his belly and feeds him with heavy and rich offerings to satiety.
Food and drink are for bodily nourishment. Inordinate use of food and drink ruins man's health of the body and impairs the powers of his mind. It is better to leave the dinner table with an appetite not appeased to its fullness, than to overfeed oneself and surfeit the stomach with an excess of food and drink. An intemperate and gluttonous diet breeds grievous infirmities and frightful sicknesses.
Zarathushtra's religion stands not for total abstinence but for rigid temperance. It allows the temperate use of stimulants as an aid to health and for festive occasions and ceremonial purposes. Drink, not evil in itself, becomes evil when man is addicted to heavy indulgence in drinking, drinks to intoxication and loses his reason and wits in his wine cup. Drunkenness, thus, is evil and the drunkard drinks himself to destruction. A gluttonous wine-bibber is as bad as a gluttonous eater. All excess is evil.
Teach me, Ahura Mazda, to make a temperate use of the good things of life that thou hast showered in abundance upon man. Temperance in food and temperance in drink is the guardian and protector of the health of the body and the mind. I will fare on frugal meals and be temperate in what I eat and what I drink, O thou giver of food and drink.
This page was last updated on Friday, February 11, 2005.