On Gluttony

It's something really hateful


According to scriptures gluttony besides sloth, avarice, pride, envy, lust and anger constitutes one of the deadliest sins. How many times did I ask my eating self to be at ease and not to be so desirous and demanding? I keep on sermonising and making the point that one should eat to live and not live to eat. I maintain that the best way to reach god is to go on an empty stomach. I repeatedly ululate that gluttonous word is so ugly to hear and so repugnant to see.  The angels, said to be made up of fire don’t eat anything for the fear of getting humanised. The act of eating, it surfaces from above statement is far from being considered angelic. But; my other self which is fond of eating has its own arguments.
              The debate on eating between me and my appetite goes on for some time with me trying to drum into the fact that one can never realize god, religion and other spiritual things on bulging intestines. To make my point I take the help of my friend, Montaigne, who repeatedly maintained that the eating self is an altogether different entity than the intellectual self. He says that a person, while eating,   conjures up as a different person compared to the self when not eating. He further says that the act of eating should be executed as secretly as some other not so socially accepted exercises. Montaigne, if we believe his admission, produced no essays when while on a full stomach.
My eating self reasoned that eating was as essential an activity as living itself and there was no life without eating. When the taste buds are active all other things are useless, it asserted. It came up with some counter arguments and Quoted Epicurus for whom life was nothing beyond hedonism and eating constituted the principal edifice of his philosophy.It is written somewhere that the philosopher would vomit during his eating so that he could eat more. Epicurus used to say that the way to god was through one’s stomach and so believe all epicureans and hedonists. All gluttons believe that the taste zones of the tongue were made more sensitive by almighty than that part of it which deals with speech, simply for the reason that eating was more important than speaking.
        By all means gluttony is a despicable human preoccupation. Watching a glutton devouring food pitilessly    gives an impression that all the body organs of him are doing the job of mouth. His mind is like a cauldron containing heaps of pulses and vegetables boiling and waiting for some palatable spices to be added to it. His hands are an extension of his teeth while his mouth resembles a cosmic black hole ready to swallow anything that comes in its way. Its gravitational pull appears to be more intense than that of a black hole sucking smaller bodies.
I remember one of my villagers, a simpleton, who passed away a few months ago because of diabetes. He appeared to be a troglodyte, a leviathan always eating. He would work all day in farms and his mouth was never entirely shut. He gulped down whatever came his way from knolkhol bulbs to raw apples and beans. He would normally take two full plates of rice in one meal. Poor fellow, today he is no more. May god bless his csoul? He was a notorious glutton.
 One may ask for the difference between eating and gluttony, rather to be more precise, up to what level we call something eating and after what it turns out to be gluttony. There is a simple rule to differentiate between the two. When a person eats to appease his hunger or to get some energy or even eat with a sense of discovery it constitutes eating. Even when somebody eats something, regardless of the quantity, whether less or in plenty, to please somebody else  would not be termed as  gluttony but  may be described as eating by compulsion or for that matter eating for inquiry. A lot of people who are party animals normally fall in this category. Their eating actions are primarily governed by a sense of fashion or of appeasement. But when a person eats for getting that added pleasure, it makes him glutton. When he does something socially unacceptable to address his appetite, gluttony can be said to have been commited. Man is the only animal that falls prey to gluttony for animals never eat for the sake of pleasure but they eat out of instinct.
       I have seen many people who eat because they have nothing else to do.  Such behaviour causes sickness and disease and even death. They can well be classified as cases of Obsessive compulsive personality disorder. They eat simply because they are addressing a psychological urge of an obsessive compulsion of eating. They feel reckless if they don’t eat. They love, think, feel and discuss through their stomachs. Some people waste a month’s mental energy in anticipation of a delicious but uncertain Saal of a distant relative. One may be discussing some very sublime and serene thoughts with a glutton expecting and hoping for an equally intense response but gets shocked when the other person responds by asking whether Yakhni would be included in some distant relative’s marriage ceremony or not.
     The only positive thing about gluttony is that a glutton’s mind seldom thinks vice and evil except for stealing things of food, that too occasionally.  Why should one waste one’s mental energy for some serious thinking when thinking about food is more salutary and pleasure giving, reasons a glutton. Gluttons are good sitters and excellent gossipers. One of the most hilarious sights that one can witness in one’s life is a group of gluttons discussing something while devouring tonnes of groundnuts or for that matter baked cobs. They enjoy the moments in such a manner as if there is no tomorrow. Watch from a distance, and see the cumulative harmony between different organs of their bodies; here a guffaw, there chattering and gnawing while laying in a supine posture on a bank of river. Can life be more beautiful??
       Gluttony definitely is a sin in a world where millions of children sleep on pavement daily on an empty stomach and many die because of starvation. The world would altogether have been a different place had we learnt to spare something from our daily food for our starving neighbour?
When Satan in the form of serpent tried to lure Jesus promising him luxury if he gave up his commandments, the prophet replied-“man does not live for bread alone”.
(Parveez Sajad Ganai is Dy.Dir Handicrafts. Feedback at psganai@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST

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