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January 25, 2012

Nosh on nutritious dishes at Jyoti-Bihanga

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Written by: Marie McCarty

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Katie Foster, Staff Photographer

The Normal Heights vegetarian restaurant, Jyoti-Bihanga, may have an unusual name, but it’s one worth remembering. For students craving a more wholesome dining experience, this is the place to be. While the restaurant specializes in vegetarian cuisine, meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will relish in a mouth-watering menu of healthy and meat-free, yet satisfying options.

Translated to “bird of light,” Jyoti-Bihanga is owned by Mahiyan Savage, who operates the restaurant based on the philosophy of renowned spiritual master, Sri Chinmoy. According to the restaurant’s website, Jyoti-Bihanga “aspire(s) to create a small corner of the world that is inundated with the spirituality and philosophy of our meditation teacher.”

Sri Chinmoy and his students seek to achieve inner peace and oneness to lead a life full of true satisfaction. Additionally, Chinmoy’s philosophy is focused on physical activity and healthy living, making it an ideal restaurant choice for the health-conscious.

The website states the employees of Jyoti-Bihanga are “very attuned to Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy of sports and meditation.”

Jyoti-Bihanga involves itself with the active community by offering free meditation classes and organizing fun runs and official triathlons.

The cuisine at Jyoti-Bihanga reflects the philosophy of Chinmoy by serving solely vegetarian dishes, as eating meat is believed to hinder the process of meditation and inner peace. Employees of Jyoti-Bihanga are all students of Sri Chinmoy.

According to the restaurant’s website, “everybody at Jyoti-Bihanga takes their work as a spiritual service to humanity.”

Jyoti-Bihanga’s best-selling item is a vegetarian interpretation of meatloaf, called Neatloaf. To make this dish, brown rice, grains, eggs, ricotta cheese, tofu and spices are blended together and baked, then topped with a tangy, tomato-based sauce. The Neatloaf is served with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and toast for $12.95. It can also be modified into a vegan dish when made with no eggs or ricotta cheese. This recipe is so well-known, it is used internationally in other vegetarian restaurants connected by Sri Chinmoy’s meditation groups.

For those with a more conservative palate, Jyoti-Bihanga also offers simple classics such as the Brahma Burrito, “the ultimate vegetarian burrito,” for $7.50 or a Zen Avocado sandwich for $7.95.

Venture outside of College Area’s limited assortment of cookie-cutter restaurants and stroll down to Normal Heights to drop by Jyoti-Bihanga, or visit their website at for more information.

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Marie McCarty



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