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Onions and Garlic in relation to the practices of


Garlic & Onions are prohibited

Onion and garlic came from the dead body of a murdered cow
Puranic Encylopedia story of origin of Onions and garlic

Onion and Garlic

Why no Garlic and Onions? - Kurma dasa

Other vegetables in their family group

What about Mushrooms?

Further Reasons For Not Taking Onions & Garlic:

.... confirming the story of the murdered cow

.... a different kind of carrot, the orange carrot

Purity and origin of vegetables and food - organic non-hybrid etc

Manu-samhita as “the Law book for Mankind” - heaps of guidelines

Forbidden foods

Forbidden Foods - Harinaam Cintamani - Bhaktivinod Thakur (Ch 14



Uses of Onions in Ayurveda

The Garlic Information Centre:

Other Sources of the Rajasic and Tamasic natures of Onions and Garlic:

Sensual properties of Onions and Garlic:

“Fallen” under the influence of Western Propaganda again:

Vegetarianism and Beyond

The Glories of Krishna Prasadam

Our first and foremost hetu, statement is that it is a general rule that Vaishnavas
do not take Onions and or Garlic. Even to the point that we do not use them as
a medicinal means despite their being popular in the vi-karmi world as a great
multi anti-bacterial medicine, etc.

An example may be given to show of this from the life

of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: To eat
Garlic or not to take Garlic even as medicine is clearly
stated as being prohibited herein:

Hari-çauri: What’s the Hindi name of that drug that you were
taking the other day? That plant?
Prabhupäda: Oh. Ghåta-kumäré.
Hari-çauri: You can get some of that?
Indian man: I have not heard.
Hari-çauri: Ghåta-kumäré. Looks like a cactus. The English
name is aloe vera.
Indian man: Which has got pulp? Yes. You want it? I have got
it in my house. My wife takes them by making in the cäpäöi, or
paraöä, because of her knees. It is wonderful for this pains in
the knees. Yes.
Hari-çauri: We were told it was good for relieving high blood
pressure and clearing the...
Indian man: Relieving high blood pressure, best is garlic.
Prabhupäda: Garlic.
Indian man: Garlic, you don’t want it. (laughter)
Prabhupäda: Garlic, onions, prohibited.
Hari-çauri: But if you could get some of this Ghåta-kumäré...
Prabhupäda: It is there in his house.
Indian man: Yes, it is in my house, it is in my garden. So my
wife will prepare for your breakfast. Small cäpäöi. You will find
it very tasty and delicious. That’s called Gwaraka-pata. (Hindi)
Gwaraka-pata. Gwaraka. I will show you.
Prabhupäda: Äcchä. That’s nice. It is little bitter?
Indian man: No. It is tasteless. And it is...
Prabhupäda: You know?
Gaursundara: Yes. We have in Hawaii. It’s called aloe cactus.
Aloe vera.
Indian man: It is kneaded in the flour and little ghee and the
paraöä will be... It is wonderful for your joints. And this
arthritis, it is wonderful. I got it about a year back and put in
my garden because my wife needed and we were getting it
from somebody else’s garden. So I told my gardener, “Why
don’t you put it in our own...? We have plenty of land.”
Prabhupäda: It doesn’t require to taken care of very much. It
grows automatically.
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 9th October 1976.
Room Conversation. Aligarth)

There is no need to speculate further or argue this way

or that. Similarly His Divine Grace states his case on
onions also:

Prabhupada: The Maharastrians, they eat, even the

brähmaëas. In 1927, I came to Bombay and stayed in the
Empire Hindu Hotel. I think it is still there. Very nice hotel. So it
is under Maharastrians. Very neat and clean everything. Gave
me onions. “What is this? Onions?” I was surprised. “I don’t
Tamäla Kåñëa: He must have been surprised that you
wouldn’t eat it.
Prabhupäda: Well, they know... Mostly Hindus they do not
eat. But they are accustomed now. Just like Bengal, fish eating
is no offense.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Even the brähmaëas.
Prabhupäda: Oh, yes. Brähmaëa, gosäis, so-called gurus.
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. April 10th 1977. Room
conversation. Bombay.)
But the fact is that he did not, and as his followers, if we are to
consider ourselves his followers, then as following as disciples
or in the disciplic succession, or discipline, then nor do we eat
onion or garlic.

Onion and Garlic

palandu lasunam sigrum alambum grjanam palam

bhunkte yo vai naro brahman vratam candrayanam caret

(Padma Purana, Brahma Khanda 19.10, spoken by Suta Gosvami)

O sages, one who eats garlic, onions, sigrum (a kind of plant), turnips, bottle gourd and
meat, that person should observe a candrayana fast.

vrntakam jalisakam kusumbha smantakam tatha

palandu lasunam suklam niryasan caiva varjayet
grjanam kinsukan caiva kukundanca tathaiva ca
udumbaram alavun ca jagdhva patati vai dvijah

(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 8.158,159, from Kurma Purana)

One should not eat eggplant, banana leaves, sunflower leaves and asmantaka leaves,
onions, garlic. One should not eat sour gruel (a thin watery pouriage) or the juice of the
tree. One should also give up turnips and beetroots, carrots, kinsuka, forest figs, and
white pumpkin. If the twice born persons eat these things, they all become fallen.

(This translation of gr.n~jana seems to be questionable. Capeller dictionary says that it

refers to garlic.)

By eating garlic and onion one becomes sinful and as atonement one should perform
Candrayana. (Garuda Purana 1.97.3 (68-71))

Onion, shit-thriving pigs, Selu, garlic, Goplyusa (milk of a cow before the lapse of ten
days from calving), Tanduliya (a grain growing in faecal rubbish) and mushrooms— all
these are to be avoided. (Skanda Purana 40.9)

The householder taking the rite shall avoid heavy indigestible pulses like Nispava,
Masurika etc., stale food, defiled food, brinjals, gourds, cocoa-nuts, garlic, onion,
intoxicating beverages and all kinds of meat. (Siva Purana 7.10-12)
(But) he should avoid stalks of lotuses, safflower, gold or silver, onion, garlic, sour gruel,
a thick fluid substance; so also chatraka (a kind of mushroom), vidvaraha, greasy milk of
a cow during the first seven days of calving, vilaya (a particular product of milk) and
mushrooms. By eating the small red variety of garlic, blossoms of kimsuka, a gourd, so
also udumbara, bottle-gourd, a twice-born becomes fallen. (Padma Purana Vol. 42,
4.56.19b -24)

I shall now mention those things that should always be avoided in Sraddha. Garlic,
onions, globular radish and Karambha (groats or flour mixed with curds), and other
articles devoid of smell and with no taste should be avoided in Sraddha.The reason is also
mentioned (as follows): Formerly in the fight between devas and asuras, Bali was
defeated by suras. From his wounds drops of blood gushed out and from them these
articles grew up - hence they are avoided in the Sraddha rite. (Varaha Purana 16.11b-15)

The expiation for having eaten the prohibited food is fasting. One should do the stiuka(?)
expiation (tisucandrayana(?)) for having eaten bhustma (a kind of fragrant grass) and
garlic. (Agni Purana 173.37)

HBV-related quotes:

"According to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the regulative principles of

devotional service compiled by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami do not strictly follow our
Vaisnava principles. Actually, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami collected only a summary of the
elaborate descriptions of Vaisnava regulative principles from the Hari-bhakti-vilasa. It is
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami's opinion, however, that to follow the Hari-
bhakti-vilasa strictly is to actually follow the Vaisnava rituals in perfect order. He claims
that the smarta-samaja, which is strictly followed by caste brahmanas, has influenced
portions that Gopala Bhatta Gosvami collected from the original Hari-bhakti-vilasa. It is
therefore very difficult to find out Vaisnava directions from the book of Gopala Bhatta
Gosvami. It is better to consult the commentary made by Sanatana Gosvami himself for
the Hari-bhakti-vilasa under the name of Dig-darsini-tika. Some say that the same
commentary was compiled by Gopinatha-puja Adhikari, who was engaged in the service
of Sri Radha-ramanaji and who happened to be one of the disciples of Gopala Bhatta
Gosvami." (CC Madhya 1.35p.)

"Sanatana Gosvami wrote his Vaisnava smrti, Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which was specifically
meant for India. In those days, India was more or less following the principle of smarta-
vidhi. Srila Sanatana Gosvami had to keep pace with this, and his Hari-bhakti-vilasa was
compiled with this in mind." (CC Madhya 23.105)

"This Hari-bhakti-vilasa, also Vaisnava-smrti, that is also imitation of smartaism. It is

called smrti. So at least in Europe and America, they will never be able to take all these
things. The things should be made shortcut; at the same time, they should be successful.
So that is chanting of Hare Krsna maha-mantra, depending on..." (Room Conversation --
July 16, 1973, London)
As we know, Srila Prabhupada was more lenient than his guru and previous acaryas not
only in this but also in other cases.


5.5. Garlic, leeks and onions, mushrooms and (all plants), springing from impure
(substances), are unfit to be eaten by twice-born men.

5.19. A twice-born man who knowingly eats mushrooms, a village-pig, garlic, a village-
cock, onions, or leeks, will become an outcast.


Q: Please let me know as to the proper substitutes for onions, garlic and eggs which we
can take as practicing devotees.

A: (Vijaya-venugopala Das) Instead of onion and garlic, for taste and appearance, cut
cabbage in small pieces like onions. Fry in a shallow pan (kadai), with lots of asafetida
(hing). Tastes exactly like onion.

Egg - in cakes use curds or condensed milk instead. Gives fantastic results. Buy the
eggless cake cookbook, or there are plenty of eggless cake recipes in any ISKCON
devotee authored cookbook.

(Kurma Das, chef) - Slice fresh fennel root into thin strips and fry with asafetida like the
cabbage, it is even more like onion, with an extra lovely anise fragrance.
Or: 2 tablespoon flour + 1/2 teaspoon oil + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder + 2 tablespoons
liquid (milk, cream, buttermilk, diluted yogurt, or dairy free alternatives like coconut
milk, soy milk, etc) beaten together until smooth.
Or: 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon oil + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, beaten together
until smooth.
Or: 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoon warm water, beaten t together until

(Haripuja dd) As an egg substitute for baking, 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt can be used to
substitute 1 egg.

Ask Kurma - on onion and garlic

Onion and garlic came from the dead

body of a murdered cow and therefore
they are considered like eating meat.
As per the story below (the scriptural source is not known)
onion and garlic came from the dead body of a murdered cow
and therefore they are considered like eating meat. They break
the non-vegetarian principle from the shastric point of view.
Strict vegetarians don't eat onion nor garlic. Since meat is
tamasic, onions and garlic are also tamasic and rajasic food.
They may have some medicinal value like even wine is used in
medicines sometimes. Thus they are taboo for followers of
Vedic culture.
"Once, in Satya Yuga the rishis were performing gomedha and
asvamedha sacrifices for the welfare of the whole universe. A
cow or a horse would be cut into pieces and placed in the fire.
Afterwards the rishis would utter mantras and the same animal
would come alive in a beautiful young body.

One time the rishi who was about to perform a gomedha

sacrifice, his wife was pregnant. She had a very strong desire
to eat and she had heard that if, during pregnancy one has a
desire to eat and does not fullfill this, then the baby that will be
born will always have saliva coming from its mouth. Very
strange, she desired strongly to eat meat, thus she decided to
keep one piece of meat of the cow's body that was offered in
sacrifice. She hid it and was making a plan to eat it very soon.
At that time the rishi was finishing the sacrifice and uttered all
the mantras for the new young cow to come to life. However
when he saw the new cow, he noticed that there was a little
part missing from her left side. He went into meditation and
realized that his wife had taken away a piece of meat during
the sacrifice. Now his wife also understood what happened and
quickly threw the meat far away.
Due to the effect of the mantras uttered by the rishi there was
now life in this piece of meat. Then the blood of this meat
became red lentils, the bones became garlic and the meat
became onions. Thus these foods are never taken by any
Vaishnava situated in the mode of goodness as Vaishnavas
should be because it is not considered by us as offerable due
to its association as a non-vegetarian food. Plus it is in the
mode of ignorance."
"It is not vegetarian to eat onions and garlic. They have
discovered 21 different types (?) of slow poison in both. So
they are not so innocent." (Source unknown)
Here is another story, from Puranic
Encylopedia by Vettam Mani (under
Solar eclipse according to the Puranas. The Devas and the
asuras jointly churned Kshirabdhi wherefrom emerged
Dhanvantari with the Amrtakumbha (pot of nectar).
But an asura mayavi (magician) called Saimhikeya absconded
to Patala with the Amrtakumbha which nobody noticed as
everybody was busy with dividing other divine objects. Only
after the mayavi's disappearance was it noticed that the
Amrtakumbha was missing. At once Mahavisnu assumed the
figure of a beautiful woman, got back the Kumbha and gave it
to the devas. The devas began drinking the amrta when, at the
instance of some other devas, Saimhikeya, the mayavi,
assuming the form of an old Brahmin reached svarga, got a
share of the amrta and began to drink it. Surya and Candra
(Sun and Moon) who were on guard at the gates divined the
secret of the 'old Brahmin' and informed Mahavisnu about it.
He cut the throat of the pseudo-Brahmin with his Sudarsana
Cakra. But, half of the nectar he had drunk stayed above the
throat and the other half below it. Therefore, though the head
and the trunk were severed they remained alive. These two
parts, in course of time, evolved as Rahu and Ketu
When the throat was cut some blood dropped on the ground,
and became the red onion and the white onion (garlic)
respectively. So both onion and garlic originated from the
throat and blood of the demons or asuras, thus their
consumption brings us closer to tamo guna (mode of
ignorance) which characterizes the nature of the demons and
thus is detrimental to bhakti.
(Kamba Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda and Bhagavata, Astama
Skandha. Kamba Ramayana is a Tamil text by poet Kambar.)

Some persons also say that red carrots also fall into this
equation being associated with the above stories but the fact is
that this is incorrect as red carrots are a hybrid vegetable, they
were crossed to form the red colouration for the King of
Holland, an Orangeman in the 16th century. There are several
colours of “carrots” in their natural state, but the vegetable
that we know today as a carrot cannot be the one referred to in
the above stories as it was not in existence. (Readers Digest)

What then is to be considered Onion and Garlic Family

The Onion Family (Allium cepa): Shallots (stronger than onion,
milder than garlic), Chives (and Garlic Chives - Allium
tuberosum - Allium schoenoprasum L. Chives are perennials
belonging to the onion family*). Leaks, Ramps, Scallions, Giant
Onions, Yellow Onions, Sweet Onions, Torpedo Onions, Boller
Onions, White Onions, Green Bunching Onions, Red Onions,
Pear Onions,

Garlic: Giant Garlic, Garlic, Odourless Garlic (only to those who

have little sense of smell, or out of cheating industry that puts
so little garlic into its products that it appears initially
odourless, but later comes out in the breath, in the sweat, in
the passing of air, and in the urine, etc…), Rocambole Garlic,
Asiatic Turban Garlic, Purple Stripe Garlic, Porcelain Garlic,
Creole Garlic, Artichoke Garlic, Silverskin Garlic (to name but a
(*James M Stephens. 1999. University of Florida, Institute of
Food and Agriculture -;
WG033; )

We have discussed Garlic and Onions enough to really create a

stink already.

Mushrooms (Mycology – more than Fungi) : Common White

(cap) Mushrooms, “Button” – Sam pigginess Mushrooms, are
most common for eating.

One has to be extremely careful with Mushrooms, as they can

be highly dangerous, and I don’t mean the specific taking of
Psilocybe (baeocystis) Psilocybe Semilanceata (Liberty Caps)
and Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric) for their hallucinogenic
properties, that is the side effect, what is actually happening is
called muscimol poisoning. Similar effects can be had from a
number of Mushrooms, some are even fatal immediately in
small amounts/doses.

Mushrooms are a Fungus, that usually grows either on rotting.

Decaying vegetation, or as is common today – grown on the
stools of horses or chickens and other such animals. Thus they
although being a vegetable are considered to be in the mode
of darkness, which is also where they are grown or found, in
the dark damp tamasic places that get little or no air or sun-
There are other mushrooms that are celebrated in the shastra
that grow in the full sun-light such as the pigginess (button)

A renounced sage in the forest does not kill animals, but rather
acquires skins from animals who have suffered natural death.
According to a passage from Manu-saàhitä, quoted by Çréla
Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura, the word medhyaiù, or
“pure,” indicates that while residing in the forest a sage may
not accept honey-based liquors, animal flesh, fungus,
mushrooms, horseradish or any hallucinogenic or intoxicating
herbs, even those taken as so-called medicine. (Hridayananda
dasa Goswami. Srimad Bhagavatam 11:18:2. Purport.)

“Mushrooms are generally not offered, but there is no

prohibition, there is no harm in them.” (A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada. 1st December 1968., Letter to: Harer
Nama Los Angeles.)

“Because mushrooms grow in a filthy place, they are not

usually offered to Krishna.” (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada. 17th November 1971. Letter to: Himavati Delhi).




"One should not eat eggplant, banana leaves, sunflower leaves and asmantaka leaves,
onions, garlic. One should not eat sour gruel (a thin watery poriage) or the juice of the
tree. One should also give up turnips and beetroots, carrots, kinsuka, forest figs, and
white pumpkin. If the twice born persons eat these things, they all become fallen."

Why no Garlic and Onions?


One of the most common questions asked to me is this: "Why don't you eat garlic and

Here's my short answer: As a devotee of Krishna and a practicing Bhakti-yogi, I don't eat
garlic and onions because they cannot be offered to Krishna.

Here's my longer answer:

You may know that onions and garlic are botanical members of the alliaceous family
(alliums) - along with leeks, chives and shallots.

According to Ayurveda, India's classic medical science, foods are grouped into three
categories - sattvic, rajasic and tamasic - foods in the modes of goodness, passion and
ignorance. Onions and garlic, and the other alliaceous plants are classified as rajasic and
tamasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance.

Those that subscribe to pure brahmana-style cooking of India, including myself, and
Vaishnavas - followers of Lord Vishnu, Rama and Krishna - like to only cook with foods
from the sattvic category. These foods include fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, dairy
products, grains and legumes, and so on. Specifically, Vaisnavas do not like to cook with
rajasic or tamasic foods because they are unfit to offer to the Deity.

Rajasic and tamasic foods are also not used because they are detrimental to meditation
and devotions. "Garlic and onions are both rajasic and tamasic, and are forbidden to yogis
because they root the consciousness more firmly in the body", says well-known authority
on Ayurveda, Dr.Robert E.Svoboda.

Some branches of western medicine say that the Alliums have specific health benefits;
garlic is respected, at least in allopathic medical circles, as a natural antibiotic. In recent
years, while the apparent cardiovascular implications of vegetable Alliums has been
studied in some detail, the clinical implications of onion and garlic consumption from this
point of view are still not well understood.

Nevertheless, there are still many adverse things to say about garlic and onions. Not so
well known is the fact that garlic in the raw state can carry harmful (potentially fatal)
botulism bacteria. Perhaps it is with an awareness of this that the Roman poet Horace
wrote of garlic that it is “more harmful than hemlock".
It should be pointed out that Garlic and onion are avoided by spiritual adherents because
they stimulate the central nervous system, and can disturb vows of celibacy. Garlic is a
natural aphrodisiac. Ayurveda suggests that it is a tonic for loss of sexual power from any
cause, sexual debility, impotency from over-indulgence in sex and nervous exhaustion
from dissipating sexual habits. It is said to be especially useful to old men of high
nervous tension and diminishing sexual power.

The Taoists realized thousands of years ago that plants of the alliaceous family were
detrimental to humans in their healthy state. In his writings, one sage Tsang-Tsze
described the Alliums as the "five fragrant or spicy scented vegetables" - that each have a
detrimental effect on one of the following five organs - liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys, and
heart. Specifically, onions are harmful to the lungs, garlic to the heart, leeks to the spleen,
chives to the liver and spring onions to the kidneys.

Tsang-Tsze said that these pungent vegetables contain five different kinds of enzymes
which cause "reactions of repulsive breath, extra-foul odour from perspiration and bowel
movements, and lead to lewd indulgences, enhance agitations, anxieties and
aggressiveness," especially when eaten raw.

Similar things are described in Ayurveda. 'As well as producing offensive breath and
body odour, these (alliaceous) plants induce aggravation, agitation, anxiety and
aggression. Thus they are harmful physically, emotionally, mentally nd spiritually'.

Back in the 1980's, in his research on human brain function, Dr Robert [Bob] C. Beck,
DSc. found that garlic has a detrimental effect on the brain. He found that in fact garlic is
toxic to humans because its sulphone hydroxyl ions penetrate the blood-brain barrier and
are poisonous to brain cells.

Dr Beck explained that as far back as the 1950s it was known that garlic reduced reaction
time by two to three times when consumed by pilots taking flight tests. This is because
the toxic effects of garlic desynchronize brain waves. "The flight surgeon would come
around every month and remind all of us: "Don't you dare touch any garlic 72 hours
before you fly one of our airplanes, because it'll double or triple your reaction time.
You're three times slower than you would be if you'd [not] had a few drops of garlic."

For precisely the same reason the garlic family of plants has been widely recognized as
being harmful to dogs.

Even when garlic is used as food in Chinese culture it is considered harmful to the
stomach, liver and eyes, and a cause of dizziness and scattered energy when consumed in
immoderate amounts.

Nor is garlic always seen as having entirely beneficial properties in Western cooking and
medicine. It is widely accepted among health care professionals that, as well as killing
harmful bacteria, garlic also destroys beneficial bacteria, which are essential to the proper
functioning of the digestive system.
Reiki practitioners explain that garlic and onions are among the first substances to be
expelled from a person’s system – along with tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical
medications. This makes it apparent that alliaceous plants have a negative effect on the
human body and should be avoided for health reasons.

Homeopathic medicine comes to the same conclusion when it recognizes that red onion
produces a dry cough, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose and other familiar cold-related
symptoms when consumed.

These are just some of the reasons I avoid leeks, chives, shallots, garlic and onions.

Further Reasons For Not Taking Onions & Garlic:

Most Vaishnavas do not consume either onions or garlic. However in our research we
find it for a varied myriad of reasons.

(i) because they are of the food category of Rajas and Tamas. They cause a disturbance,
and even pain and sickness to those who eat them. Especially if you are not used to eating
them and find them slipped into a meal – painful air, diarrhea, are often side effects –
symptoms of the modes of passion and ignorance.
(ii) because they (such foods) cannot be offered to the Deity.
(iii) because they impair Deity worship by their profound and even bad smell, and their
repeating nature so as to effectively disqualify the sadhaka from performing Deity
worship as laid down in the Hari Bhakti Vilas, and Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu (even Hing
and Gingerly are mentioned, what to speak of onion and garlic) regarding making sure
that such foods that repeat upon one, and that food in general is thoroughly digested
before one performs the pujas.
(iv) Because the onion and garlic are considered to grow below the ground and thus
tamasiki in nature many chaste Vaishnavas would not partake of them.
(v) because they are not a native to devotional cooking see (I) & (ii) & (iii) being
introduced from
other countries (karma bhumi – outside of dharma-bhumi) like so many other things.
(vi) because of the references to their origin as being derived of animal sacrifice, as
evolved from the sin of steeling the offering and when caught for that by her husband
throwing that to a distant place where due to its being impregnated with life invoking
mantras took the seed form as red dahl, red onion and white onion.

To confirm the above reference we take some information from Srila BV Narayan
maharaj of the Keshava Gaudiya math:
( )
[Sanjaya dasa:] There's a story about a brahmana's wife. She ate a piece of a cow, and
some of it turned into carrot, some of it turned into garlic, some of it turned into onion,
and the blood turned into red lentils. Is that story true?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It is quite true; so we should not eat those things. What
Vyasadeva has written is true. [*See endnotes (1)] Vyasadeva knows everything past,
present, and future. He was able to see what qualities are present in each entity. For
example, Bhagavad-gita describes the sattvika, tamasika, rajasika, and nirguna natures of
various persons, plants, foodstuffs, activities, knowledge, and so on.
Vyasadeva was able to see what is favorable for bhakti and what is unfavorable. He saw
that the onion is tamasika (in the mode of ignorance). It has all the qualities present in the
meat of cows, and the same result obtained from eating cow-flesh occurs from eating
onion. One will become lusty and violent by eating it. Vyasadeva has also seen in his
meditation that garlic came from the bones of that cow. It is full with bad qualities and
puts one in the mode of ignorance. Don't eat it.
We should try to follow Vyasadeva's instrucions. If you do not follow, the same bad
qualities will come to you that comes by eating cows' flesh, bones, and so on. This has
been explained in sastra, and it is confirmed by scientific evidence.
My request is that you should know your goal, even if you are not qualified to achieve it.
Be sincere like the cataka bird (skylark). That bird is willing to die without water rather
than drink a drop of water from any tank, pond, river, or ocean, or even from the Ganges
or Yamuna. She is always looking towards the sky. She will not drink water for the whole
year if she has to wait that long, but she will only drink rain, and only during the one or
two week period of the svati constellation. A rare and fortunate sadhaka will be like that,
thinking, "I only want to serve Rupa Manjari. I only want to be a dasi of Rupa Manjari."

[* Endnotes (1) - The following was spoken by Srila Maharaja's servant, Sripad Madhava
American scientists have discovered in their laboratories that there are 21 different types
of slow poisons in both, so they are not innocent foods. In Satya-yuga, the rsis performed
gomedha (cow) and asvamedha (horse) sacrifices for the welfare of the whole universe.
[This proved the efficacy of the recitation of the Vedic mantras uttered during the
sacrifice.] A very old cow or a horse would be sacrificed by being cut into pieces and
placed in the fire. Afterwards, the rsis would utter mantras and the same animal would
come alive in a beautiful young body.

The wife of a rsi who was about to perform a gomedha sacrifice was once pregnant. She
had a very strong desire to eat, and she had heard that if, during pregnancy, one has a
desire to eat and does not fulfill it, the newly born child will always have saliva coming
from its mouth. This will be troublesome, both for the mother and the child. The rsi's wife
had a strong desire to eat meat, and thus she stealthily took one piece of meat from the
body of the cow that was offered in sacrifice. She hid it and was planing to eat it very
soon. At that time, the rsi was finishing the sacrifice and uttered all the mantras for the
cow to come to life. However, when he then saw the new cow, he noticed that there was a
small part missing from her left side. He was surprised because this had never happened
to him before. He went into meditation and realized that his wife had taken away a piece
of meat during the sacrifice.

Due to the effect of the mantras uttered by the rsi, there was now life in this small piece
of meat. The wife now also understood what happened, and she quickly threw the meat
far away. Shortly afterwards, red lentils sprouted from the blood of this meat, garlic
sprouted from the bones (both garlic and the bones of a cow are white), and onions and
carrots sprouted from the flesh. Thus, these foods are never eaten by any Vaisnava,
because they are in the mode of ignorance.
(Any devotee may rightly ask at this time, "Why would Prabhupada have allowed carrots
to be eaten, if they are so bad? The answer was kindly given by Prabhupada himself, in
Boston, in 1969. He said, "If I told you all the rules and regulations now, you would faint.
So for now, follow all the rules I've given, and make up the balance by chanting Hare
Krsna." He also often said that he is following the guidelines given by his Guru
Maharaja; that is, to induce the Westerners to first chant Hare Krsna, and as they become
more and more established in that, the rules and regulations would gradually come.)
( )

HH Jayapataka Swami mentioned once that the word for modern day carrot and the word
used in the story do not mean the same thing. This would especially appear to be
reasonable as we find that the modern day organe red coloured carrot is a concocted
crossed hybrid vegetable made by man, and certainly not around in former times quotes
in shastra.

So the story I just made reference tocould not have been referring to the modern day
carrot as we know it, as it simply didn't exist. The carrot was in those days a reddish
purple colour, which could be more likely to represent meat, as it was espcially used as a
preparation to go with meat
Accordingly the yellow carrot came about in the 12th century and was spread by traders
and eventually reached Europe from where it was hybrid to make the modern orrange
coloured carrot that we know today. This story earlier and mentioned that Readers Digest
clearly cites European history when the carrot was hybrid to become orange – red for the
King of Holland, an Orangeman in the 16th century AD.

There are other similar stories here in the History of the Carrot pages -


Originally from Middle Asia, D. carota var sativus spread east and west, being
cultivated in Europe as early as 1000 BC where it was grown as a medicinal plant, used
to treat stomach problems, wounds, ulcers, liver and kidney ailments. Production as a
food crop began in 600 AD in the region now known as Afghanistan. The first cultivated
carrots were large and woody textured with a purple color. Yellow types (perhaps
originating as anthocyanin-free mutants) were selected and cultured in Syria and Turkey
in the ninth or 10th century; then spread to China in the late 13th century and to Europe
in the 14th century.
Carrots are grown primarily for fresh consumption in salads, hors d'oeuvres, and as
snacks and meal accompaniments. They are used in the preparation of soups, stews,
curries, pies and, tender roots may be pickled. Certain varieties of carrots have been used
as feed for horses and dairy cattle.
Wild related type of carrots are found from the British Isles to NW China. Wild
carrots produce white roots with less aromatic qualities than the cultivated types. These
wild types of D. carota readily cross-pollinate with the cultivated variety D. carota var
sativus. Only one interspecific cross has been reported: D. carota with D. capillifolius.
Yellow and purple varieties of D. carota var sativus were grown in Europe until the
17th century when the orange varieties were developed in Holland. The modern Western
carrot came out of Holland in the late 18th century: ‘Long Orange,’ ‘Late Half Long,’
‘Early Half Long,’ and ‘Early Scarlet Horn.’ American settlers brought these orange
varieties with them and the orange typed replaced the yellow varieties brought to Virginia
in the 1600’s.
Breeding work with D. carota var sativus has produced plants of increased disease and
pest resistance. Selection has focused on reducing the size of the xylem and increasing
the width and sweetness of the phloem, as well as different lengths and overall
diameters. There are four primary varieties grown in the United States: Imperator, the
most common grown for commercial fresh and “cut and peel” market, are 8-10 inches
long, slender and tapered, having a small core and deep orange color; Nantes, primarily
grown for home and local markets, are 6-7 inches long, 1-2 inches in diameter,
cylindrical, and have excellent color and quality; Danvers (the “half long” carrot), used in
both the commercial fresh market and processing industry, are 6-7 inches long, 2-2 ½
inches diameter, conical, and have excellent quality but become woody as they age; and
Chantenay, used primarily for processing, are 4½ -5½ inches long, 2-2½ inches at the
shoulder tapering to a point, is lighter in color than other types, and has a coarser texture
than others, lending itself to not be preferred for fresh consumption, but rather for storage
or processing.

History of the Carrot

It’s said that we originated from wild roots that grew in Afghanistan which were red,
black or purple in colour. It’s also thought that our ancestor was a small, tough, pale-
fleshed taprooted plant which grew in the Near East and Middle Asia. Whatever the truth,
we’re definitely an ancient plant. Our seed has been found in lake dwellings in central
Switzerland dated at 2000 to 3000 BC. We were probably used for both food and
medicinal purposes in the beginning.

Little was written about us until the 16th century, when it was noted that yellow and
purple varieties were eaten in Europe. In the 17th century an orange coloured carrot was
developed in Holland and further breeding occurred throughout the 18th century. We are
derived from these 18th century varieties. We first came to Australia in 1788 with the
First Fleet and convicts planted ‘Long Orange’ carrots on Norfolk Island just two weeks
after their arrival and gathered in their first harvest in October of that year. Along with
our friends the cabbages, we became an important food for the colonists.

Now as far as purity of a food goes, it being natural as opposed to crossed, we can
consult shastra here:

Purity can mean purity as in the nature of the food, it can also mean in its origin, be it
organic or hybrid and so on:
According to the Chandogya Upanisad, when there is purity of food, the mind becomes
pure; when the mind becomes pure, it remembers the Lord and by remembrance of the
Lord, liberation is attained:
ahara suddhau sattva suddhih sattva suddhau dhruva smrtih smrti lambhe sarva
granthinam vipra moksah (quoted in BG Ch3. V.11 purport) This verse mentioned
"ahara suddhi" or purification of food as a crucial element in spiritual progress. For this
reason also the smrti shastras proclaim that greatest of purifiers is pure food. The
scriptures have therefore carefully delineated proper and improper food for the person
who desires perfection in life.

Manu-samhita as “the Law book for Mankind” in that regard. Indeed, the four regulative
principles mentioned above are directly from Manu-samhita, including the injunction to
avoid eating onion and garlic. (We do not find the injunction against eating onion and
garlic in the Gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam - it is found in Manu-samhita 5:5, and 5:19 and
other dharma-shastras.)

Manu samhita on meat, meat eating, onions, garlic and other things:
3. Righteous Bhrigu, the son of Manu, (thus) answered the great sages: 'Hear, (in
punishment) of what faults Death seeks to shorten the lives of Brahmanas!'
4. 'Through neglect of the Veda-study, through deviation from the rule of conduct,
through remissness (in the fulfilment of duties), and through faults (committed by eating
forbidden) food, Death becomes eager to shorten the lives of Brahmanas.'
5. Garlic, leeks and onions, mushrooms and (all plants), springing from impure
(substances), are unfit to be eaten by twice-born men.
6. One should carefully avoid red exudations from trees and (juices) flowing from
incisions, the Selu (fruit), and the thickened milk of a cow (which she gives after calving
- colestrum).
7. Rice boiled with sesamum, wheat mixed with butter, milk and sugar, milk-rice and
flour-cakes which are not prepared for a sacrifice, meat which has not been sprinkled
with water while sacred texts were recited, food offered to the gods and sacrificial viands.

8. The milk of a cow (or other female animal) within ten days after her calving, that of
camels, of one-hoofed animals, of sheep, of a cow in heat, or of one that has no calf with
9. (The milk) of all wild animals excepting buffalo-cows, that of women, and all
(substances turned) sour must be avoided.
10. Among (things turned) sour, sour milk, and all (food) prepared of it may be eaten,
likewise what is extracted from pure flowers, roots, and fruit.
11. Let him avoid all carnivorous birds and those living in villages, and one-hoofed
animals which are not specially permitted (to be eaten), and the Tittibha (Parra Jacana),
12. The sparrow, the Plava, the Hamsa, the Brahmani duck, the village-cock, the Sarasa
crane, the Raggudala, the woodpecker, the parrot, and the starling,
13. Those which feed striking with their beaks, web-footed birds, the Koyashti, those
which scratch with their toes, those which dive and live on fish, meat from a slaughter-
house and dried meat,
14. The Baka and the Balaka crane, the raven, the Khangaritaka, (animals) that eat fish,
village-pigs, and all kinds of fishes.
15. He who eats the flesh of any (animal) is called the eater of the flesh of that
(particular creature), he who eats fish is an eater of every (kind of) flesh; let him therefore
avoid fish.
16. (But the fish called) Pathina and (that called) Rohita may be eaten, if used for
offerings to the gods or to the manes; (one may eat) likewise Ragivas, Simhatundas, and
Sasalkas on all (occasions).
17. Let him not eat solitary or unknown beasts and birds, though they may fall under
(the categories of) eatable (creatures), nor any five-toed (animals).
18. The porcupine, the hedgehog, the iguana, the rhinoceros, the tortoise, and the hare
they declare to be eatable; likewise those (domestic animals) that have teeth in one jaw
only, excepting camels.
19. A twice-born man who knowingly eats mushrooms, a village-pig, garlic, a village-
cock, onions, or leeks, will become an outcast.
20. He who unwittingly partakes of (any of) these six, shall perform a Samtapana
(Krikkhra) or the lunar penance (Kandrayana) of ascetics; in case (he who has eaten) any
other (kind of forbidden food) he shall fast for one day (and a night ).
21. Once a year a Brahmana must perform a Krikkhra penance, in order to atone for
unintentionally eating (forbidden food) but for intentionally (eating forbidden food he
must perform the penances prescribed) specially.
22. Beasts and birds recommended (for consumption) may be slain by Brahmanas for
sacrifices, and in order to feed those whom they are bound to maintain; for Agastya did
this of old.
23. For in ancient (times) the sacrificial cakes were (made of the flesh) of eatable beasts
and birds at the sacrifices offered by Brahmanas and Kshatriyas.
24. All lawful hard or soft food may be eaten, though stale, (after having been) mixed
with fatty (substances), and so may the remains of sacrificial viands.
25. But all preparations of barley and wheat, as well as preparations of milk, may be
eaten by twice-born men without being mixed with fatty (substances), though they may
have stood for a long time.
26. Thus has the food, allowed and forbidden to twice-born men, been fully described; I
will now propound the rules for eating and avoiding meat.
27. One may eat meat when it has been sprinkled with water, while Mantras were
recited, when Brahmanas desire (one's doing it), when one is engaged (in the
performance of a rite) according to the law, and when one's life is in danger.
28. The Lord of creatures (Pragapati) created this whole (world to be) the sustenance of
the vital spirit; both the immovable and the movable (creation is) the food of the vital
29. What is destitute of motion is the food of those endowed with locomotion;
(animals) without fangs (are the food) of those with fangs, those without hands of those
who possess hands, and the timid of the bold.
30. The eater who daily even devours those destined to be his food, commits no sin; for
the creator himself created both the eaters and those who are to be eaten (for those special
31. 'The consumption of meat (is befitting) for sacrifices,' that is declared to be a rule
made by the gods; but to persist (in using it) on other (occasions) is said to be a
proceeding worthy of Rakshasas.
32. He who eats meat, when he honours the gods and manes, commits no sin, whether
he has bought it, or himself has killed (the animal), or has received it as a present from
33. A twice-born man who knows the law, must not eat meat except in conformity with
the law; for if he has eaten it unlawfully, he will, unable to save himself, be eaten after
death by his (victims).
34. After death the guilt of one who slays deer for gain is not as (great) as that of him
who eats meat for no (sacred) purpose.
35. But a man who, being duly engaged (to officiate or to dine at a sacred rite), refuses
to eat meat, becomes after death an animal during twenty-one existences.
36. A Brahmana must never eat (the flesh of animals unhallowed by Mantras; but,
obedient to the primeval law, he may eat it, consecrated with Vedic texts.
37. If he has a strong desire (for meat) he may make an animal of clarified butter or one
of flour, (and eat that); but let him never seek to destroy an animal without a (lawful)
38. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it without a
(lawful) reason suffer a violent death in future births.
39. Svayambhu (the Self-existent) himself created animals for the sake of sacrifices;
sacrifices (have been instituted) for the good of this whole (world); hence the
slaughtering (of beasts) for sacrifices is not slaughtering (in the ordinary sense of the
40. Herbs, trees, cattle, birds, and (other) animals that have been destroyed for
sacrifices, receive (being reborn) higher existences.
41. On offering the honey-mixture (to a guest), at a sacrifice and at the rites in honour
of the manes, but on these occasions only, may an animal be slain; that (rule) Manu
42. A twice-born man who, knowing the true meaning of the Veda, slays an animal for
these purposes, causes both himself and the animal to enter a most blessed state.
43. A twice-born man of virtuous disposition, whether he dwells in (his own) house,
with a teacher, or in the forest, must never, even in times of distress, cause an injury (to
any creature) which is not sanctioned by the Veda.
44. Know that the injury to moving creatures and to those destitute of motion, which
the Veda has prescribed for certain occasions, is no injury at all; for the sacred law shone
forth from the Veda.
45. He who injures innoxious beings from a wish to (give) himself pleasure, never finds
happiness, neither living nor dead.
46. He who does not seek to cause the sufferings of bonds and death to living creatures,
(but) desires the good of all (beings), obtains endless bliss.
47. He who does not injure any (creature), attains without an effort what he thinks of,
what he undertakes, and what he fixes his mind on.
48. Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient
beings is detrimental to (the attainment of) heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun (the use
of) meat.
49. Having well considered the (disgusting) origin of flesh and the (cruelty of) fettering
and slaying corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh.
50. He who, disregarding the rule (given above), does not eat meat like a Pisaka,
becomes dear to men, and will not be tormented by diseases.
51. He who permits (the slaughter of an animal), he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he
who buys or sells (meat), he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, (must
all be considered as) the slayers (of the animal).
52. There is no greater sinner than that (man) who, though not worshipping the gods or
the manes, seeks to increase (the bulk of) his own flesh by the flesh of other (beings).
53. He who during a hundred years annually offers a horse-sacrifice, and he who
entirely abstains from meat, obtain the same reward for their meritorious (conduct).
54. By subsisting on pure fruit and roots, and by eating food fit for ascetics (in the
forest), one does not gain (so great) a reward as by entirely avoiding (the use of) flesh.
55. 'Me he (mam sah)' will devour in the next (world), whose flesh I eat in this (life);
the wise declare this (to be) the real meaning of the word 'flesh' (mamsah).
56. There is no sin in eating meat, in (drinking) spirituous liquor, and in carnal
intercourse, for that is the natural way of created beings, but abstention brings great
Foods chosen by quality: Different foods, due to their composition, affect the body in
different ways when they are eaten by the human being. Foods may create sattvic, rajasic
or tamasic influences of the body and mind. Since the quality of sattvika opens the door
for spiritual realization, sattvika foods are recommended for one pursuing spiritual

Q 3.10 I would appreciate if you can elaborate on why we should not consume or eat
either onion or garlic. Is it stated in any Sastra? Please help me this question will be
helpful for my preaching purpose.
Ans: In Bhagavad Gita (17.9) Krsna states that ‘Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty,
hot, pungent, dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such foods cause
distress, misery and disease.' Onion and garlic fall in this category. They excite the baser
instincts and make it difficult for one to control the senses. The prohibition on onion,
garlic etc. is implicit, by virtue of their characteristics. ( HH Romapad Swami )

Forbidden Food:
Since meat, wine, onions and garlic are by their inherent
nature in the modes of raja and tama guna, the Vaishnava is
forbidden to eat them, or even touch them. Other untouchable
items are as follows: any form of intoxicants; milk mixed with
salt; milk from animals other than the cow; milk from a cow
without calf; milk from a cow during the ten day period after
bearing a calf (giving cholestrum); milk from a cow that has
been mated; milk mixed with buttermilk; milk in a copper
vessel; red spinach - kalambi sak; burned rice; white eggplant
(although most brahmins eat them); radish; coconut water in a
bell metal vessel; honey and yoghurt in a copper vessel;
ucchista (someone's remnants) mixed with ghee; sesame,
cornmeal, and yoghurt at night; barley during the day; burned
preparations; ones own half-eaten fruit or sweets (saved and to
be eaten later). A food product, even though it is in the mode
of goodness, may, due to the influence of time and weather,
become stale or rotten. Such food is transformed to the mode
of ignorance and is unhealthy for the body. Thus these
transformed foods are also forbidden for offering to the Lord
and for consumption.

A food product, though in the mode of goodness and yet fresh,

may, due to contact with some impure object, become
contaminated. In that state the food cannot be offered or
eaten. For some types of contamination there are remedial
measures of purification. After the food is purified again, it may
be offered and eaten. Some types of contamination have no
remedial purification method and must therefore be totally
rejected. For instance, if a dog or rat eats part of a fruit, that is
not fit for human consumption. A food product, though classed
in the mode of goodness, fresh, and uncontaminated, may be
of inferior quality, having bad taste, texture or color. The same
food product of superior taste and quality is preferable is
possible. A food product may be in the mode of goodness, may
be fresh, uncontaminated and of superior quality, but if it is
prepared by a person who is impure and sinful, that food
should not be taken. Prepared or cooked foods, particularly
grains, take on the qualities of the person who has prepared
them. If one eats such foods one will take on those sinful
qualities as well. Furthermore, a food product though in the
mode of goodness, fresh, uncontaminated, of superior quality,
and prepared by a sinless person, is filled with sin if it is not
first offered to the Lord:

yajna sistasinah santo

mucyante sarva kilbisaih
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ye pacanty atma karanat

“The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins
because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice.
Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily
eat only sin.” (Bhagavad Gita Ch.3:13.) When suitable foods
are offered to the Lord they surpass sattva guna and become
transcendental to material nature. Such food is called
prasadam, the mercy of the Lord. Therefore the Vaishnava
takes only those cooked foods which are prepared by another
Vaishnava, who has thorough knowledge of what is acceptable
for offering and consumption and what is not, who is sinless in
conduct, and who offers everything to the Lord before serving
it. The considerations of quality, impurity etc., do not apply
however to food which has been offered by bona fide devotees
to the Lord without offense (who offer it to the Lord considering
the proper standards mentioned above). That food or bhoga is
called mahaprasadam and is absolute like the Lord: “One
should eat the mahaprasada of the Lord immediately upon
receiving it, even though it is dried up, stale or brought from a
distant country. One should consider neither time nor place.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrta Madhya Vol.2.p.324.) In the Brhad
Visnu Purana it is stated that one who considers mahaprasada
to be equal to ordinary rice and dahl certainly commits a great
offense. Ordinary edibles are touchable and untouchable, but
there are no such dualistic considerations where prasadam is
concerned. Prasadam is transcendental and there are no
transformations or contaminations, just as there are no
contaminations or transformations in the body of Lord Visnu
Himself. (Chaitanya Charitamrta Madhya Vol.1, p.293.)

What to speak of trying to compare ordinary unofferable

foodstuffs such as onion, garlic, etc., to Krishna prasadam. If
we do not eat such sanctified foodstuffs then what do we eat?

yajïa-çiñöäçinaù santo
mucyante sarva-kilbiñaiù
bhuïjate te tv aghaà päpä
ye pacanty ätma-käraëät

yajïa-çiñöa—of food taken after performance of yajïa; açinaù—
eaters; santaù—the devotees; mucyante—get relief; sarva—all
kinds of; kilbiñaiù—from sins; bhuïjate—enjoy; te—they; tu—
but; agham—grievous sins; päpäù—sinners; ye—who; pacanti
—prepare food; ätma-käraëät—for sense enjoyment.
“The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins
because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice.
Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily
eat only sin.”(Bhagavad Gita 3:13.)

There is that interesting story where Sripad Ramanujacarya

was walking with some of his disciples by the temple tank in Sri
Rangam as he discussed with them the glories of taking
Krishna prasadam. To prove his point he took some sweets and
broke them into small pieces and threw them out into the lake.
As they hit the surface of the water some fish took them in
their mouths, and upon doing so immediately took four armed
Vishnu forms and began to head sky-ward to Vaikuntha.
To this all the disciples began to remove their cloth to enter
the water when Ramanujacarya told them, “It’s not the lake,
it’s the maha-prasadam.”

After some time they contemplated the fact that they had
partaken of prasadams all their lives, and so wondered why
such incidents had not happened to them.

Ramanujacarya told them that because the jivas in the fish

bodies had taken their prasadam without committing offense,
and with great eagerness and relish, rather than by being
complacent as they had taken their prasadams for so many
years just seeing it as food (meals).

If I can humbly submit one little story that happened to me in

Vrindavan when I was living there. Daily as the treasurer my
service was to go around to the different departments and
collect their collections for banking – and so daily this would
take me to the maha-prasadam table. We were living very
simple and relying on whatever came to us to live by, and we
had just had our Vrijbasi son, so with whatever moneys came it
went for extras and medicines for him.
There was one devotee who ran the maha-prasadam table who
was very kind to me and would give daily a little portion of the
left over maha-prasadam from the day before as they could not
always sell all of it, especially in summer time when only a few
people came during the day.
So I got into this habit of taking that maha-prasadam back into
my office closing the curtains and locking the door, and then
alone, seated in front of the pictures of Sri Sri Krishna and
Balaram, Gaura Nitai and Radhe Shyam on my desk and would
meditate on how fortunate I was to be in the Holy Dham, being
allowed to partake of the remnants of the Deity’s maha-
prasadam that had been directly tasted and relished on the
altar being mixed with the saliva of Their-Lordships. Sometimes
it would affect me so much that I would become quite
emotional as I took that prasadam, and although it was usually
very simple prasadam, although prepared with love by Omkara
prabhu or the elderly Vibhu-Chaitanya prabhu that prasadam
was possibly the most wonderful of all the wonderful prasadam
I’ve ever taken.

Uses of Onions - Ayurveda:

Onions and garlic are mentioned in various shastras as being in rajas and tamas gunas,
passion and ignorance; they are supposed to promote/agitate desires, so a carefully
observant Vaishnava will want to avoid. Of course, the highest principle is that we take
only what Krsna and his devotees take: Prashadam. However, both of these are
mentioned in Ayurveda, so one can take for health reasons. (but in cooking we use
hing/asafoetida for this flavor.) (Jayo Das. ACBSP. Tue, 22 Jun 1999.)

I found a few people/devotees made this modern ideal logic. Even though as stated in the
earlier message of Srila Prabhupad EVEN for medicinal reasons we do not take. I wonder
who they offer it too, or do they “eat verily only sin” as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita
3:13. ???

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supplements, garlic and cooking, for pets and other animals, festivals, synergistic effect
with other health food supplements.

Similarly for different peoples in different modes of nature there are all manner of
prescribed remedies, medicines, pujas / tantras / practices – this is inferred to in
Bhagavad Gita in the chapter that deals with the three modes of nature. As a man is
known by his association, so what we associate with, that we become. If it is the higher
modes or even Visudha Sattwa by partaking of the Lord’s remnants, but if we associate
with the lower modes we will develop the qualities of those modes, and pursue their goals
and vises. It is a s simple as that. It’s like the next section, no self respecting brahmin
would do these things, yet they are done by the common peoples.

Uses of Onions - Anthropological:

Why is an onion cold but a piece of garlic hot? This assignment of thermal values is
popular in the folk classification of the intrinsic quality of onion and garlic in many parts
of South India. At first glance, the assignment seems arbitrary and most likely based on
``myth'' and ``superstition'' perpetrated by local vaidyas (doctors) to exercise power over
the rest of the population. Consider the following method of preventing Sunburn. I learnt
of this prevention technique from an old acquaintance, Manikkam, a vegetable vendor
and part-time vaidya in Madras.
On a hot day in Madras, when I complained about becoming soft in the US and finding
myself unable to tolerate the midday sun, Manikkam advised me to take several onions
and tie them into a small necklace. He then asked me to wear this fragrant necklace while
plying the streets of Madras, and assured me that the ``coolness'' of onions would keep
any chance of contracting Sunburn remote. Being an old friend he offered this advice to
me free of charge. At the time, my only response to this friendly advice was to become
inundated by images of crowded streets filled with the pungent smell of human sweat
mixed with onions. The only consolation was that garlic (being hot) could not be a
prescribed remedy for Sunburn.

If the intrigued observer plunges deeper into the same folk classification system, he will
find a bewildering number of food items, medicinal products, diseases, individual and
class/caste dispositions (kunams), labeled as possessing heating or cooling qualities. He
may also find that far from being arbitrary, the assignment of hot and cold qualities taps
into a large body of indigenous ``knowledge'' that pertains to local adaptations of a
philosophical world view that integrates materials and power relations (dharma) into
multiple interacting strands (gunas), humors (dosas), elements (bhutas) and dispositions
(kunams). (Srini Narayanan. Tue Jun 27th 1995. The thermal qualities of substance: Hot
and Cold in South Asia. University of California at Berkeley )

Other Sources of the Rajasic and Tamasic natures of Onions and Garlic:
Onions have, almost since prehistoric time, been attributed aphrodisiacal properties. They
are mentioned in many classic Hindu texts on the art of making love, they were the most
used aphrodisiac in ancient Greece, and they are frequently included as an ingredient in
Roman and Arab recipes.

During Pharaonic times celibating Egyptian priests were prohibited to eat onions because
of the potential effects. Later on, in France, newlyweds were served onion soup on the
morning after their wedding night to restore their libido.

The Romans - Ovid, in "Ars Amatoria" book 2, suggests: "Let white onions be taken that
are sent from the Pelasgian city of Alcathous." The Romans seldom used onions alone,
and usually only after cooking. Thus Apicus in "De re coquinaria" includes onions
cooked in water and mixed with pine seeds. One exception is the recommendation of the
Roman epigrammatist Martial:

"If your wife is old and your member is exhausted, eat onions in plenty."

"The Perfumed Garden", an Arab sixteenth century erotic manual written by Sheik al-
Nefzawi, bears a testimony to onions.

"The member of Abou el Heiloukh has remained erect, for thirty days without a break
because he did eat onions."

More specifically, he ate onions cooked with meat and, for drink, had the juice pressed
out of pounded onions mixed with honey.
The same source suggests an even more powerful preparation: Take one part of the juice
pressed out of pounded onions and mix it with two parts of purified honey. Heat the
mixture until the water of the onion-juice has evaporated, and let the residue get cool, to
be used whenever required (Anne & Johan Santesson. 1999. Onions, an Aphrodisiacal
Gift of the Gods - ) – thus the intoxicating
values of the lower modes of nature affects the participants’ consciousness.

Chemical aspects:
Onion, as well as garlic, contains the amino acid alliin and the related allicin (CH2=CH-
CH2-SO-CH2-CH=CH2). Alliin, which is devoid of any odour or taste, can be
transformed into allicin by the enzyme allinase. Whenever an onion (or a garlic) is
crushed this enzyme is released from the plant tissue and starts to enact the
transformation. It is allicin which causes the "true" garlic odour.

Sensual properties of Onions and Garlic:

Mixed smell is sometimes perceived in foodstuffs prepared
from various ingredients, such as vegetables mixed with
different kinds of spices and asafetida. Bad odors are perceived
in filthy places, good smells are perceived from camphor,
menthol and similar other products, pungent smells are
perceived from garlic and onions, and acidic smells are
perceived from turmeric and similar sour substances. The
original aroma is the odor emanating from the earth, and when
it is mixed with different substances, this odor appears in
different ways” (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Srimad bhagavatam 3:26:45., purport.)

Tamäla Kåñëa: The thing..., there is always some smell of

onion or garlic here. This place, very often there is smell from
cooking of garlic or onions. It is coming from those houses.
Prabhupäda: Tenant.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Yes.
Prabhupäda: They eat.
Tamäla Kåñëa: They eat meat.
Prabhupäda: It is not meat. They are eating garlic. Those
Christian tenant, they are eating. And onion everyone eats.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Except for us. Americans are very fond of
onions. Yeah. They can eat a whole onion sometimes in one
meal. They eat raw. Especially in the salad they will put onions.

Prabhupäda: For a meat-eater, onion is very sweet.

Tamäla Kåñëa: For fish eater.
Prabhupäda: And fish eater.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Fish, meats.
Prabhupäda: Actually, meat has no taste. The onion creates
Tamäla Kåñëa: Dead flesh.
Prabhupäda: Onion is used. Onions. In India both Hindus and
Muslims eat. More than potato, it is said.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Hm. Potato is king of vegetables.
Prabhupäda: We have seen many canvassers. (calling like
street vendor:) “Bataka.”(?)
Tamäla Kåñëa: Hm.
Prabhupäda: Kada bataka.(?) Everyone has to eat. The
Maharastrians, they eat, even the brähmaëas. In 1927, I came
to Bombay and stayed in the Empire Hindu Hotel. I think it is
still there. Very nice hotel. So it is under Maharastrians. Very
neat and clean everything. Gave me onions. “What is this?
Onions?” I was surprised. “I don’t eat.”
Tamäla Kåñëa: He must have been surprised that you
wouldn’t eat it.
Prabhupäda: Well, they know... Mostly Hindus they do not
eat. But they are accustomed now. Just like Bengal, fish eating
is no offense.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Even the brähmaëas.
Prabhupäda: Oh, yes. Brähmaëa, gosäis, so-called gurus.
Tamäla Kåñëa: When has this all begun, this fish-eating in
Bengal? This was always going on?
Prabhupäda: Oh, yes. Fish, ninety-nine percent people take
fish in Bengal. Only few, they do not. When there is some, what
is called, ceremony, fish must be there. (break) And fish is
available. Now Bengal is divided. Otherwise, immense fish in
Tamäla Kåñëa: From the east side of Bengal. And rice was
coming from there too.
Prabhupäda: So their staple food is rice and fish.
Tamäla Kåñëa: East Bengal is very wealthy from that point of
view. Rice.
Prabhupäda: Pakistan was rich only on account of East
Bengal. The pän. Practically it supplies pän to all over India.
And betel nut.
Tamäla Kåñëa: That’s a place that we have not...
Prabhupäda: And milk also produced in very large quantity.
East Bengal is rich in vegetables, milk, fish. (end)(A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. April 10th 1977. Room
conversation. Bombay.)

Prabhupäda: Yes. They have already opened some factory.

One factory is there in Mathurä, in... What is? Who preserve the
fruits in cans, what they are called?
Parivräjakäcärya: Cannery.
Prabhupäda: Cannery? Anyway, so when they boil this onion,
up to ten miles the good smell spread. (laughter) You see? And
the whole atmosphere of Våndävana is spoiled. Similarly, they
are trying to refine oil, and the refuse will be thrown in the
Yamunä. So the river Yamunä will be spoiled. Nobody will go to
take bath. This is Indian government’s policy. They think that
this so-called spiritual fanaticism of India is the cause of India’s
material degradation. So this must be killed. Like the Russians.
Ambassador: Um hm. I know they think that sometimes. Even
here there are people who think that.
Prabhupäda: Oh, they are thinking like that? But I heard that
the king is very pious.
Ambassador: One of the big people here, I said to him—after I
argued about this for hours—I said, “You are Western and I am
Eastern, not the other way around.” (laughs) Thank you very
much. I shall take your leave?
Prabhupäda: So, give him prasäda. Give him the whole plate.
(laughs) You can take whole plate. So I am very glad to see
you. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 13th March 1975.
Room Conversation with Canadian Ambassador to Iran. Tehran,

“The hogs and dogs, they are also busy in sense gratification.
Then why, why you are calling yourself civilized than these cats
and dogs? They are also eating meat, just like tiger. And
because you can cook it very nicely with spices, you become
civilized? But they have taken, ‘No, we can cook very nicely.’
Because in the flesh, there is no taste. So it has to be added
with garlic, it has to be added with onion, and somehow or
other... Then it becomes little palatable. Otherwise, what is the
taste of this dead flesh? Suppose if you... But those who are
after this blood, they find taste. So that is tigers’ and dogs’ and
cats’ civilization; that is not human civilization; that is not
human civilization”.(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
9th September 1973. Srimad Bhagavatam 5:5:3. Stockholm.)

Interviewer: What do you not eat?

Prabhupäda: We don’t eat anything which is not offered to
Kåñëa. We first of all prepare foodstuff as recommended in the
scripture. They are mostly from vegetable, grains, fruits, milk.
So we have got enough food.
Interviewer: No meat of any kind.
Prabhupäda: No. No meat, no onion, no garlic, no
intoxication, no liquor, we don’t smoke even, we don’t take tea,
coffee. We simply take what is absolutely necessary for
keeping the body fit to execute Kåñëa consciousness. We don’t
indulge in luxury..., or for the satisfaction of the tongue.
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 12th March 1968.
Radio Interview on KGO. San Francisco.)

So far foodstuffs offered do the needful. Whatever is available

and also very nice, that is offerable, as long as no meat, fish,
eggs, garlic, onions, or other very objectionable foodstuffs are
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 19th February 1972.
Letter to Upendra dasa Calcutta.)

Regarding the cook-book, that is a nice proposal to divide into

two parts. There is no harm if devotees have invented recipes,
so long they are strictly vegetarian, no garlic, no onions, like
that.(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 27th October
1972. Vrindavan - Letter to Kirtanananda).

“Fallen” under the influence of Western Propaganda again:

The follwing article is written by the Sri Vaishnava followers of Ramanujacharya and
exposes that they too see that modern Hinduism has fallen under the influence of the
westerners who do not discriminate what to eat or not what to eat. He also brings out the
subtle results of such foods on the mind and consequently upon the behaviour of society
who doesn't discriminate between healthy life giving foods in the modeof goodness and
tamasik foods in the modes of ignorance.

Subject: Part 3 on Control of mind-Role of Dietary Regimen.
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 15:07:20 EDT
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Dear Bhagavtas:
Presented below is Part 3 on Control of mind-Role of Dietary Regimen.
Anbil Ramaswamy

Let us now consider the effect of Tamoguna on the mind of a person. He becomes sinful,
sluggish, stupid, sullen, dull, depraved, degenerate, devoid of any sense of
responsibilities, inert -- eating whatever and whenever he gets (even putrified food)
sleeping wherever and whenever he can, and dies when his time comes - He is so lazy
that even for putting food into his mouth, he would need someone to help. The only way
to retrieve him to normality would be force and flog him into incessant activity.

Our Sages and Seers have laid down the Do's and Dont's to help us avoid Tamoguna
completely, regulate Rajoguna on desirable lines and promote Sattvaguna. That food
habits regulate the bodyclock and insure against disease and deterioration has been
proclaimed by our ancestors but has been accepted by modern research only now:

For long, it had been fashionable for the Westernized Indians themselves to decry Indian
Vegetarian foods of grains and cereals like rice and wheat which they said were 'stupid'
and merely 'belly filling Carbo hydrates' without any nutritional value. They plumped in
for disproportionate doses of vegetables and fruits with a liberal allowance of meat,
poultry, fish, eggs.

Leading nutrition organizations and prominent food trade councils have now endorsed the
US department of Agriculture's selection of `food -- guide -- pyramid' as the graphics to
convey the types and amounts of food that should be consumed daily. JUDY DODD,
President of the American dietic association and BARBARA SHANNON, President of
the society for nutrition education advocate "consumption of grains, cereals and rice as
the staff of life followed by fruits and vegetables to make calorie intake more
manageable, putting serving sizes in perspective, reducing fats and oil while increasing
milk, yogurt and cheese group to ensure a `balanced diet' - as a valuable source of
energizing complex carbohydrates while giving a sense of fullness and satisfaction"(Vide
the 'Food Pyramid' recommended by them and accepted by the US Department of
Agriculture which is printed on the covers of bread packets.)

It will be seen therefrom that the much maligned rice group has now regained its pride of
place with over 40% of the total intake since the 'stupid and belly filling Carbohydrates'
has not at all been stupid but highly sensible, since it has been recognized as an important
source of energy with the fruits and vegetables group ranked only secondary to the rice
group while the much trumpeted meat and fat group has plummeted to a new low, if not
wholly eliminated. Now, the nutrition experts say that such a balanced diet should consist
of 'heavy breakfast, light lunch and a lighter dinner'- precisely the reverse of what most
people do in the USA.

Remedial Measures to take if one has become contaminated:

Furthermore the Smriti and Dharma shastras inform us what to do if by chance we do

partake of such unwanted, unofferable, things…

"For eating onions, garlic, mushrooms, turnips, sleshmantaka?, resin from plants
(asafoetida?) food pecked at by crows or worried by dogs, or the leavings/remnants of a
Shudra an Atikrcchra penance must be performed. (Vasishtha Dharma Sastra 14:33)

A Sisu krcchra Penance is performed over four days. The first day eat one mouthfull of
food in the morning only. Day 2 eat one mouthfull of food in the evening. Day three eat
only food that is offered without asking. Day 4 fast completely. This is done by children
women, old men and the sick.

At Atikrcchra is the same routine spread over 12 days. Each particular fast is continued
for three days. Good luck!

(Actually these Vaidika penance are not advised in Kali-yuga - only the chanting of the
holy name - chant Hare Krishna as a substitute and be happy! But better they don't eat

Sri Raam Ramanujacarya (initiating guru in Sri sampradaya - Tengalite) 16th August
1999. Via e-mail.


Part 11


Even if it does not say so explicitly, can we not draw an inference that the
CharamaslOka obliquely conveys the sense that one may indulge in ?adharma? in
order to ?give it up??

? The word ?Dharma? has to be taken in its absolute sense. The
CharamaslOka refers to Dharma in a positive sense of virtuous acts prescribed
in the Saastras, because a true vEdantin will in no case resort to ?adhrama?
(i.e) acts prohibited in the Saastras.
? When one strives to secure a wholesome life, the prerequisite is the
conscious avoidance of evil acts and performance of virtuous ones.
? In the context of CharamaslOka, it can be seen that after elaborating
on Karma, Jnaana and Bhakti yOgas (which are all Dharmas), the Lord advises
Arjuna to give THEM up, if he felt incapable of adopting THEM and surrender
unto him.
? Also, indulging in ?adharma? per se is transgressing the commands of
the Lord and no true devotee will ever dare to entertain the prospect of such
violation inviting the wrath of the Lord and self destructive of ?sEshatvam?
(service to the Lord) - the natural disposition of the Jivaatma (Atmaswaroopam)
? These are machinations of Non-vEdic philosophies which the Lord
condemned in the ?Gita Saastram? in the words of Nammaazhwar:

?piNakkara aru vagai samayamum neri uLLi uraitha KaNakkaru nalathanan

anthamil aadiyam bhagavAn?

? It is sacreligious to import such interpretations to the voice of the

Lord meant for spiritual elevation of souls. If we adopt such interpretations
that have been condemned by our seers and sages, we will be heading only
towards spiritual disaster.
? It is, therefore, clear that one should avoid consciously - spittle,
amEdhyams (i.e) those that are not conducive to ?medha? (intellect) should not
consume like onions, garlic, drumstick, mushroom etc detailed in Swami Desika?s
?Ahaara Niyamam?

If Bhagavaan is the antharyaami of all sentient beings and insentient

matter, and all of them are enjoyable (bhOghyam) to him, how could
Bhaagavatas pledging allegiance to him discard selectively such edibles like
onion, garlic, mushroom etc, mentioned in the previous question?


? We should understand as to which state of Chetanas everything becomes

enjoyable. It is only when a Bhaddha jeevaatma (embodied soul) transcends this
?Prakriti maNDalam? (mundane existence) governed by the three guNas of Sattva,
RajO and TamO and finally attains Paramapadam and becomes a ?mukta? (liberated
soul) when it acquires Suddha sattva state that everything becomes enjoyable to
it. Until then, it has to avoid certain things that Saastras identify as
triggering RajO and TamO guNas.
? Prahlaada who saw God in everything was a great Jnaani. Even poisonous
snakes and blazing fire became friendly to him. For the one who lives in God,
there is no friend and no enemy per se because that one has acquired equipoise
like ?Nityasuris?

?sarva bhootaatmanE tathaa jagannaatE jagan mayE /

Paramaatmani gOvindE mitra amitra katha: kuta: //

? Nammaazhwar saw God in everything, in all the five elements of water,

fire, air, ether and earth. ?neeraai nilanaai, teeyaai,kaalaai etc?
? But he did not make it a pretext to consume forbidden foods.
Nammaazhwar knew that everything was enjoyable; But, he refused even mother?s
milk considering it as a ?Praakrita vastu? (mundane object). For him, the food
he ate, the water he drank and the Paan to enjoy were his dear KaNNan. (uNNUm
sOrum, parugu neerum, tinnum verrilaiyum ellaam KaNNan).
? He was so disgusted with mundane things that he pleaded with God not to
keep him in this wicked world ?koDu ulagam kaaTTEl? and exclaimed ?What is this
stupid nature of the world?? (ivai enna ulaga iyarkai) and pathetically cried ?
Koovik koLLum kaalam kurugatO?? ?Will not the time to recall me to your
vaikuntam become short??
? Purity of food leads to purity of mind; purity of mind leads to real
Jnaana; Jnaana leads to the path of ?mOksha? ? say our Saastras. Therefore,
whatever is not conducive to real knowledge has to be eschewed completely.