Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Food in Ancient Indian Philosophy

  • Lenart SkofEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_491



Ancient Indian natural philosophy of the Vedas offers a unique mythico-philosophical perspective on the role of food in nature, society, and the cosmos. In early Indian philosophies, food (anna) and breath (prana) are of a vital importance for the microcosmic (the body) as well as macrocosmic (nature and life cycle) “deities” or realities. In addition to their relevance for various disciplines of the body (e.g., yoga and vegetarianism), ancient Vedic teachings on food can also substantially inform contemporary environmental philosophy and ethics of hospitality.

Food in Ancient Indian Philosophy

For the Vedic philosophers, or the tradition of Vedism/Brahmanism, there existed five originary elements of the world: earth, water, fire, air, and ether (Aitareya Upanishad III). Given the natural relation between “food” (anna) and “eater” (attr), some Vedic philosophers...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutritional Counselling – Dietetics, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of PrimorskaIzolaSlovenia