Ok, so can we now sit down to eat? One Might wonder how this becomes a karma. Eating food is called prana agnihotram. Agni is not just the fie that we can see. It is also present in several places in various subtle forms. The stomach is one such place. The food put there is digested and assimilated and one might stretch his imagination and call it fire!
One should always clean one's hands and feet and sit for eating. Ordinarily eating twice a day is in accordance with sastras. Eating more than that – one becomes a rogi- a diseased person. Once a day is fit for yogins.
One has to eat food with happiness. Eating when angry rather than when hungry spoils the digestion. And one should also avoid any arguments at this time. I have seen as a child in several homes the time for the house wife to make complaints is the food serving session! Pity those who had to put up with such things!
Having ensured all others have eaten one does acamana and sits for food alone (esp those who eat well!). The feet must be touching the ground. As you might know one should not sit directly on the ground. The seat should not be made of earth, iron or palasa wood. It should not be a broken one.
The place where the plate will be placed must be cleaned. (if possible with cow dung). The plate can be made of gold (Yes! there were a few those days!) , silver (fairly common) or bronze. Plantain leaves are the most suitable. The house holder can use other leaves excepting purasu and lotus. (the often seen “thaiyal ilai” is of purasu). Stainless steel and earthenware like ceramic must be avoided.