अन्नं वाव बलाद्भूयस्तस्माद्यद्यपि दश रात्रीर्नाश्नीयाद्यद्यु ह जीवेदथवाद्रष्टाश्रोतामन्ताबोद्धाकर्ताविज्ञाता भवत्यथान्नस्यायै द्रष्टा भवति श्रोता भवति मन्ता भवति बोद्धा भवति कर्ता भवति विज्ञाता भवत्यन्नमुपास्स्वेति ॥ ७.९.१ ॥
annaṃ vāva balādbhūyastasmādyadyapi daśa rātrīrnāśnīyādyadyu ha jīvedathavādraṣṭāśrotāmantāboddhākartāvijñātā bhavatyathānnasyāyai draṣṭā bhavati śrotā bhavati mantā bhavati boddhā bhavati kartā bhavati vijñātā bhavatyannamupāssveti || 7.9.1 ||
1. Food is certainly superior to strength. This is why if a person fasts for ten days and nights, he may survive but he will not be able to see, hear, think, understand, work, or fully grasp the meaning of what he is taught. But if he eats food, he can then see, hear, think, understand, work, and fully grasp the meaning of the teachings. Therefore worship food.
Annam vāva balāt bhūyaḥ, food is certainly superior to strength; tasmāt, that is why; yadi api, even if; daśa rātrīḥ na aśnīyāt, a person fasts for ten [days and] nights; yadi u ha jīvet, though he may live; atha vā adraṣṭā, he may not be able to see; aśrotā, or hear; amantā, think; aboddhā, understand; akartā, work; avijñātā bhavati, nor can he fully grasp [the meaning of what he is taught]; atha, but; annasya āyai, when he eats food; draṣṭā bhavati, he can see; śrotā bhavati, he can hear; mantā bhavati, he can think; boddhā bhavati, he can understand; kartā bhavati, he can work; vijñātā bhavati, he can grasp the meaning; annam upāssva iti, worship food.
Food creates strength. Suppose you fast for ten days or so. What will happen? It is possible you could die, but even if you don’t, your sense organs will not function. You won’t be able to see, hear, or think. If you went to a teacher you would not be able to learn anything from him.
But then if you resume eating, your organs and your mind would again start functioning. You could then study and serve the teacher and learn from him.