Ramanujacharya, in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras, says this in his commentary for sutra 3.1.7:

That eating the soul means no more than satisfaction with it, may also be inferred from the following scriptural passage, 'The gods in truth do not eat nor do they drink; by the mere sight of that amrita they are satisfied.'

Which scripture, meaning the Vedas in this case, contains this verse in bold?

  • 1
    But I have seen many Puranic references of Indra drinking...
    – user9969
    Oct 25, 2018 at 17:16
  • @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury I think they "drink" soma and sura simply by looking at them.
    – Ikshvaku
    Oct 25, 2018 at 17:27
  • 1
    Man is composed of 5 sheaths. The gross body is the annamayakosa. The sanskrit 'annamaya' refers to the alimentary canal -which is the canal for eating. It is referred to as such because only this kosha eats. See hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/6758/… Oct 26, 2018 at 0:36
  • 1
    Interesting question.. I have also heard from some elders that Devas use the sense of smell to imbibe the offerings given to them. Oct 26, 2018 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


The verse is actually there in the ChAndogya Upanishad (CU).

CU 3.6.1 states:

Tad yat prathamamritam tad vasava upajivantyAgninA mukhena |
na vai deva asnanti na pivantyeadevAmritam drishtvA tripyanti ||

Among them, which is the first Amrita, keeping Agni in front, is enjoyed by the Vasus. [But, in the real sense], the gods neither do eat nor drink; they are satisfied upon seeing (drishtvA tripyanti) the Amrita only.

And, the highlighted half verse repeats itself in 3.7.1, 3.8.1, 3.9.1 as well as in 3.10.1.

Now, does that imply that gods actually do not eat/drink and can enjoy the food by seeing it only?

No, IMO.

Because this is refuted in Aitareyopanishad (AU) 1.3.

It is stated that when Iswara created food (or Anna) first, he tried to eat it/accept it by various sense organs, but he was not successful.

AU 1.3.4 states:

First he tried to accept the food with sense of smell but did not succeed. If he had succeeded everyone else (thereafter) could have done the same (i.e could have enjoyed the food by smelling it only)..

And, then, in AU 1.3.5 it is said that he then tried to accept the food by vision.

He then tried to accept/enjoy the food using eyes (vision) but without success. Had he been successful then, everyone else would have been able to enjoy food by seeing it only thereafter..

Eventually, he succeeded with the help of the Apana Vayu. And, that is why we have to eat to enjoy the food.

So, the possibility of food intake (or enjoying the food) by simply seeing it is ruled out here.

  • The 5 vayus (Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, Samana) have their respective functions. Prana is upward movement, Apana is downward (causes bowel movement). I thought Samana is for digestion - see sacred-earth.typepad.com/yoga/2008/07/… , do you have the verse that says Apana is for accepting (digesting, hence enjoying) ?
    – ram
    Oct 26, 2018 at 18:29
  • Yes I also know that as it is the usual (most known) functions of the 5 Pranas. Apana basically is for excretion and Samana is related to the belly fire. But some texts mention things differently. So, is done in AU. Yes of course I hv the verse ..you can chk AU 1.3.10. tadapAnena jighrikshat tadAvayat | @ram which means he tried to accept the food with Apana Vayu and was successful.
    – Rickross
    Oct 27, 2018 at 4:53

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