Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Food in Ancient Indian Philosophy

  • Lenart Skof
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_491-1



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...


Indian Philosophy Ethical Relevance Ancient Teaching Vital Power Hospitality Hospitality 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

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