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Vegetarian Cuisine

BORSCHT – A soup originating from Eastern Europe, using beets and other vegetables. It is warming and satisfying in winter and can be served cold in summer. The colour of the soup is bright jewel red, nature’s way of emphasizing the nutrient power of beets for the blood. Beets contain a compound called betaine which have good vascular properties, thereby reducing chances of clotting and plaque build up in the arteries. Beet fibre content is also good for heart health. They contain B complex vitamins in the root and potassium and other minerals such as folate (good for vegetarian diets). The beet is a complex carbohydrate vegetable and has a natural sugar content. This can give a quick energy boost. The beet leaves are rich in Vitamin C and contain beta-carotene as in Vitamin A hence best to cook leaves lightly. The leaves of the beet are so rich in nutrients that they should not be chopped off the beets and discarded. It is best to obtain organic beets. Serves 6-8.

1 tablespoon oil
1 stick celery
1 bay leaf
4 raw beets, scrubbed and chopped to bite sized pieces (tip- if sliced thinly instead, they will
cook more quickly and retain more nutritional value)
1 carrot grated
1 potato chopped in bite sized pieces
2 1⁄4 quarts of water
1 3⁄4 cups chopped beet tops, spinach or kale (optional) Chard or chopped cabbage are other options.
Juice of half lemon
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of paprika
1 teaspoon fresh dill, or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed.
Sour cream for serving, or soy cream, or plain yoghurt.
Finely chopped fresh parsley to garnish.

1. Heat the oil and sauté the chopped celery until soft.
2. Add the bay leaf, beets, carrot, potato, and water.
3. Cover and simmer about 45 min till beets are tender.
4. Add the chosen greens and cook for 10 min longer.
5. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika and dill.
6. Before serving remove the bay leaf.
7. Serve hot, topped with spoonful of sour cream, or soy cream, yoghurt on top.
8. Garnish with fresh parsley.

A recommended option is to prepare this soup with added chopped tomatoes (1 1⁄2 cups) with the greens. Omit paprika and dill. Garnish with mint instead of parsley. This recipe is an edited contribution for the Sivananda Gurugram, sourced from The Yoga Cookbook: Food for Body and Mind – Recipes from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres” 1999.

Know the Self and be free. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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RISHI – a holy Hindu sage, saint, or inspired poet. A person of Self-realization. A visionary.

The outstanding quality that identifies Swami Sivananda from other beings is that he was a visionary. A visionary is known as a rishi. In the course of spiritual development and growth, people go through different stages of becoming stable in the higher consciousness. Stability of higher consciousness is perceived as the manifestation of a character. This character identifies a person, whether one is a sadhu, a mahatma, a saint, a sannyasin, a siddha, a bhakta yogi, a jnana yogi, a hatha yogi, or whatever. A visionary, a rishi, is the highest form of illumination, because in that stage of having established an identity with the higher consciousness, one is able to foresee the events of the future. What one foresees indicates how humanity is going to develop, what track it is going to follow. Visionaries are able to ease the process, to smooth the path for future generations. Rishis have the qualities of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence, Godhood.
Human beings associate and dissociate themselves just as two pieces of wood in a flowing river. When the time ripens, everything resolves itself into One. – Sri Swami Sivananda