Question: What is the rational, logical reason behind not eating Garlic, Onions, (Carrots, etc)? It seems there is not logical reason, only a reference to a myth with several versions claiming that certain vegetables sprouted for the first time in connection with the slaughter of a cow. Can you give any logical reason for this dietary stipulation? Can you say what it’s history is (I know Buddhists and Jains also observe it)?
In itself, this is not the most important question, but it becomes important by the curious fact that no one I’ve asked so far can answer it nicely or even wants to make the effort. Giving the question one last chance, I’m putting it to you. If you can’t answer this, I’ll probably just stop asking it.
Answer: There are different reasons.
1. Garlic, onion and carrot increase rajas, especially sexual desire. Not good for spiritual life.
If you are trying to concentrate your mind on a mantra, it will be harder if you ingest these items. A common person may not feel the difference, because a common person’s mind is disturbed any way. But just as a single spot is visible on a clean white sheet, a little disturbance of mind can be detected by advances sadhakas. So our Rishis felt the effect of these items and forbade them. You can also feel the difference if you have a very stable mind. It is an experimentable (falsifiable in Karl Popper’s language) principle.
2. The first two items have a bad smell. If you eat them your mouth has a foul smell, and this is also felt in the sweat.
Of all sensual impressions, the devas are very sensitive to smell. That is why in puja always fragrant items are offered, e.g. incense, flowers, scents etc. So for Vaisnavas onions and garlic are forbidden because our God is a living person and has His fancy.
3. If you have to sit in the assembly of sadhus then you do not want to disturb them with your offensive smell. Especially in India, being a hot country, sweating is common. Belching also produces an offensive smell.
4. Jains do not eat anything grown underground because it involves violence to many worms when these pants are uprooted. That is their theory. Buddhists probably have the same reason. These two groups consider non-violence as their supreme principle.
5. There are other reasons which you know – Garlic was born from Rahu’s blood, etc. These stories are for the general masses.
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Daily Bhakti Byte
People want happiness but don’t want to change themselves. Let others change. This will never work.
Jai Sri Krsna!
Please excuse this reply if you feel that i am not observing some bhakti protocol. I live in the heart of a bustling city, my entire family eats non-vegetarian food except me, and like most people from Maharashtra, there is onion and garlic in almost every preparation. And carrots are very popular too. In my daily job working in an MNC, i am surrounded by people of various religions denominations and i interact with cosmopolitan people from various countries as part of my job. I will let you know, that whatever opinions are expressed by Sri Babaji, i respect them fully. However, i would like to have my say as well, as someone who nevertheless practices sadhana-bhakti and has been doing so for a few years, and the motivation to do so, is because of the spiritual experiences i myself have had. I know there is Paramatma in my heart. I dont judge people i meet whether they are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, or anything else. I am able to channel my sexual energy into bhakti sadhana regardless of whether i eat onions and garlic or not. Being vegetarian has been easy for me, even though i ate meat till 2010. As far as the hygiene issues go, a good mouthwash and frequent showers go a long way! My point here is, i know what manasi sadhana and rupa dhyana sadhana i do, and i am guided to do it. It does not matter to Sri Bhagavan if i eat carrots or not. If i dont want to eat carrots, then i wont because i dont like it, i dont prefer it, not because of some rule from the outside. Thats just the way i am, i am being real, and if you honestly ask devotees, they will tell you the same thing. There is too much stigma in these thousands of in my opinion frivolous behaviour patterns that are simply impractical in the world that i live in. God has not abandoned this world, everyone has access to His Divine Mercy regardless of where he is situated, what his race is or what his or her eating habits are. I am not going to sit here and say that when Christians have a thanksgiving ceremony, that actually God does not accept their sincere offering and prayers because it is meat.
I, myself, dont want to hurt animals or have them hurt to provide me sustenance, so i dont eat meat. Simple. I have no problems with the Eskimo people, who in that artic climate where nothing grows, need to feed on reindeer and seals and other aquatic animals to survive. I cannot possibly judge them, because i am not in their shoes.
Now, as far as the lust for food is concerned, the gluttony for taste etc etc, sure, that is a vice. But you cant possibly go up to someone and say you are useless and fallen and heartless because you are eating meat. He can change, he can come towards the path of bhakti and give up meat later on, as so many westerner’s have done. But it happens when it happens it cant be forced. We dont live in rural india anymore, and to say that in the city life, people simply cannot adapt and successfully do bhakti that melts their hearts is disingenuous and untrue.
Thank you for your comments.
I just want to add the following.
I am not canvassing you or anyone to eat or not eat garlic, onion or meat.
I also did not say that if you or someone else eats garlic/onion/meat, then I consider him useless, fallen or heartless. I just replied to somebody’s question about the reason why I or other Vaisnavas prefer to avoid these items. My answer is not an injunction to you or anyone. You have a right to disagree with my answer, but no need to react as if I am asking to give these up or hating you for not giving them up. If you eat them, that is fine with me. You do not have to defend yourself or feel guilty about it , just as I do not have to feel superior to you.
Besides this, there is the matter of sraddha. Whether God accepts meat offerings of Christians or Hindus or others is not an issue if sastra is the authority. If sastra is not accepted, then everybody is right because everybody has a logic to support their actions. Then, of course, you know well that God is equal to all and he will accept anything you offer to him sincerely. After all, he cannot discriminate, otherwise he will lose his post as God. Millions of people would immediately denounce him.
Jai Sri Krsna!
My Dandavat Pranaam to you Sri BabaJi. Without compromising on the core of our GV teachings, you have given us breathing room in which we can still come to/aspire for coming to the ultimate goal (unnatojjvala-rasa)eventually, and i really appreciate the open minded and a more liberal outlook which you have expressed, it is like a breath of fresh air, whereas conservative external thousand-and-one do’s and dont’s are simply suffocating. So i thank you again, for being so compassionate and also having a fresh thinking on the reality of what the youth of today is exposed to and has to deal with. With too much guilt and fear, all that happens is a disconnect in which the person simply gives up the path. That is not good for anyone.