Why no onions and garlic?

Harish V Menon, 18th January 2014

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I humbly seek clarification on my following ignorance.

Why is onion and garlic forbidden from offering to Krishna. I understand that they are in the mode of ignorance and would develop the characteristics of passion and ignorance to the person consuming it. Kindly enlighten in detail about the reasons behind the same.

Are there any other vegetables generally avoided from offering to Krishna?

Are there any other vegetables which are under the mode of passion and ignorance but are still offered to Krishna and then consumed?

I find it very difficult in making my family members understand about avoiding onion/garlic and its significance. They are not accepting this opinion citing health issues which might arise later for not consuming onion/garlic and for the loss of flavour in the food prepared without those items.

Kindly advise me how to handle this situation and make them understand and follow these principles.

Please forgive me for any offenses.

Thank you.

your Servant,
Harish V

Srivatsa Das SDA, 19th January 2014

Hare Krishna Prabhuji,
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudeva

Regarding Onion/Garlic kindly read the article in the below link

why no onion/garlic

Regarding how to offer food to Krishna and what can be offered , kindly read below article

how and what to offer to Krishna

Regarding the health benefits, there are articles which says that “These natural foods are full of chemicals that can help protect a person from a variety of infections, diseases and illnesses. Garlic and onions help to protect against cardiovascular disease, respiratory concerns, diabetes, and a variety of cancers.”

By eating onion or garlic, there is no guarantee that we can avoid above diseases, since we are fully under the control of the law of nature (destiny).

Instead, if we surrender to Krishna and follow a Krishna conscious life, we are less likely to fall prey on these diseases due to healthy food habit (and healthy life too) and also our destiny is controlled by Krishna

I hope the above explanation helps.

your servant
Srivatsa Das

Rohini Devi Dasi, 22nd January 2014

Hare Krishna prabhuji,

All glories to srila Gurudev and srimati gurumataji
All glories to srila prabhupada.

Please accept my humble obeisance.

Harish prabhuji, thank you for asking, a question related to onion and garlic. Its very important to know the reason when we are avoiding certain food items.Although for devotees, when the statement cms from bonafide guru, it is accepted without any deviations and questions.
I understand its very difficult to convince family members, but pls share the two stories mentioned below and also explain the scientific reason to them. This might convince them.

Eating onions and garlic adversely affects one’s consciousness.
The modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance influence every living thing — human, animal, or plant — and we learn from the Vedic literature that onions and garlic are in the lower modes of nature: passion and ignorance. In spiritual life one should cultivate the mode of goodness and avoid the lower modes. Sin in its broadest sense is any activity that hinders our spiritual advancement. Since eating foods in the modes of ignorance and passion hampers our Krsna consciousness, Vaisnava spiritual masters teach their followers to give up onions and garlic. Most important, as aspiring devotees of Krsna we eat only what we offer Him. And His great devotees tell us He doesn’t eat onions and garlic.” The foul breathe and sweat of anyone who has consumed garlic is enough to turn many off. Not only the breathe but the whole body may reek.

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.

There are several stories about the actual appearance of onions and garlic in this world – here are a few:

(The following story was kindly provided by HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami) One ayurvedic doctor had told me that this description is there in Ayurveda: When Lord Vishnu in His Mohini form was distributing nectar to demigods two
demons named Rahu and Ketu sat down along with the line of Demigods. By mistake the Lord served them nectar into their mouths. Immediately the lord was informed by the Sun and Moon that those two were demons. As soon as the Lord came to know of this He cut off the heads of both demons. By that time nectar had not passed through their throats. It was still in their mouths. When the Lord cut of their heads , the heads were separated from their bodies. Thus nectar did not pass to the stomach but fell on the ground . (That is the reason why Rahu and Ketu’s head are still alive but their bodies were finished.) When their heads were cut off  garlic and Onions manifested from this nectar which fell on the ground from the mouth of the  two demons. Thus Garlic and Onions are regarded as nectar but not used for the Lord because these are remnants of demons having touched their mouths. Even the nectar touched the mouths of these two demons still garlic and onions act like nectar in curing the diseases. But they are not meant for Vishnu or Vaishnavas. The doctor told me that whoever will eat garlic and Onion, their body will Be very strong like demons body and at the same time their intelligence also will be contaminated like the intelligence of demons.

Here is another historical account:
“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 fulfill this, then the baby that will be born will always have saliva coming from its mouth. Very strangely, 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 tocome 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 in a field. Due to the effect of the mantras uttered by the rishi there was now life in this piece of meat. Then the bones in that piece of meat became garlic and the meat became onions in that field. Thus these foods are never taken by any Vaishnava devotee because it is not  vegetarian. Plus it is in the mode of ignorance.”

Onion and garlic are forbidden for the pregnant mother because the child’s body is too delicate and new for him to tolerate such pungent food. Restrictions and precautions to be taken by the pregnant mother, as enunciated in the smrti scriptures of Vedic literature, are very useful. Many ancient cultures recognized the aphrodisiac effects of onions and garlic and highly recommended them for those who wished to increase their sexual potency and discouraged them for those who were on the spiritual path, as they irritate the mind and senses.

There is certainly much information to indicate that onions  and garlic are beneficial in many areas of health such as the following: Antibacterial, antifungal, blood pressure, cholesterol, circulation, impotence, diabetes, as a cardioprotective, anti-oxidant, coughs and colds, stomach conditions, cancer. However for those wishing to cultivate spiritual life they should better not be taken even for those reasons.

Eating only food offered to Kṛṣṇa is the perfection of vegetarianism. In itself, being a vegetarian is not enough; after all, even pigeons and monkeys are vegetarians. But when we go beyond vegetarianism to a diet of prasādam, our eating becomes helpful in achieving the goal of human life-reawakening the soul’s original relationship with God. In the Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa says that

“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it.” From this verse it is understood that we can offer Kṛṣṇa foods prepared from milk products, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. Meat, fish, and eggs are not offerable. And a few vegetarian items are also forbidden—garlic and onions, for example, which are in the mode of darkness. (Hing, or asafetida, is a tasty substitute for them in cooking and is available at most Indian groceries or from Temple Services.) Nor can you offer to Krṣṇa coffee or tea that contain caffeine. If you like these beverages, purchase caffeine—free coffee and herbal teas.

While shopping, be aware that you may find meat, fish, and egg products mixed with other foods; so be sure to read labels carefully. For instance, some brands of yogurt and sour cream contain gelatin, a substance made from the horns, hooves, and bones of slaughtered animals. Also, make sure the cheese you buy contains no rennet, an enzyme extracted from the stomach tissues of slaughtered calves. Most hard cheese sold in America contains rennet, so be careful about any cheese you can’t verify as rennetless.

Devotees pls add to the list. I could remember only few.

Hare Krishna.

your servant,
Rohini devi dasi.
Harish V Menon, 21st January 2014

Hare Krishna Srivatsa Das Prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

Thank you for your nice clarification.

your Servant,
Harish V

Harish V Menon, 03rd February 2014

Hare Krishna Rohini Mataji,

Please accept my humble obeisance.

Thank you so much for enlightening me.
Regards,
Harish V

Sulaksana devi dasi, 29th January 2014

Hare Krishna mataji,

Please accept my humble obeisance.
All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati gurumataji
All glories to Srila prabhupada!

Thank you! Enjoyed reading the answer.

your humble servant,
Sulaksana devi dasi

Srivatsa Das SDA, 05th February 2014

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudeva

When I asked this question some time back to a senior devotee in a local ISKCON yatra, the answer I got was that “Srila Prabhupada is so merciful that he has given us such nice opportunities to serve Lord Krishna”.  So, what I understood is that there are devotees, who celebrate these opportunities of small small sacrifices.

your servant,
Srivatsa Das

Shreyas, 06th February 2014

Hare Krsna Prabhuji
Dandavat Pranam!
Jaya Srila Gurudeva!

This one is one of my favorites as I had the good fortune to attend this lecture from Srila Gurudeva personally. Srila Gurudeva read out the following question which was the same as you have asked by a sincere listener and Srila Gurudeva replied to the Why: Because they stink! They are stinky. How can you offer such a stink to Krsna? Just by eating them one gets a foul smell. If you eat them then please at least do not come near me, stay away from me! (audience is appreciating and laughing with Srila Gurudeva’s amazing and simple response)

The best way to be convinced is and be able to realize this is by hearing it from sda-archives, audio,2013: 2013.09.20/SB.5.14.10/Katwaria.Sarai.BACE/New.Delhi/India (I am unsure if we are allowed to share the link hence no link, kindly search).

So with respect to family we already have such nice explanations from above but it depends on how much are we convinced?  Theory is there but so is also realization there. And depending on that we can smartly preach to family or friends as per circumstances and people. In simple words onion and garlic promote mode of passion and mode of ignorance. It is scientifically proved that these makes one more sex conscious (Aphrodisiac food) and Krsna and sex go ill together, its the worse combination! Hence a sincere spiritualist or a devotee would reject anything that is rejected by Lord or that which makes one easily serve maya. So if one is sincere to understand God one would act sincerely by rejecting these. Sources are already mentioned by Srila Gurudeva, link to which has been shared above by Srivatsa Prabhuji.

your servant
Hare Krsna!

Shreyas

Bhakta Sunil, 08th February 2014

Hare Krishna everyone

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

I had asked similar question to His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Following is copy of the question answer :

——————————

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Please clarify about foods like onion , garlic

I agree that Lord does not like these types of food and also that these are not in mode of goodness

I myself also do not like to consume these types of foods

Even after reading your reply recently about this same topic , I have few confusions that I humbly request you to clarify :

Onions and garlic are also part of Lord’s created foods. So why such foods are created by Lord though He Himself does like to be offered such type of foods?

Are there permissions for those persons who are used to eating onion , garlic  , to consume such foods under restrictions , and that they can gradually avoid such foods?

Regards,
Sunil

Sankarshan Das Adhikari Jan 24

From: ISKCON Austin, Texas USA

My Dear Sunil,

Please accept my blessings.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Onions and garlic are there to satisfy the taste
buds of those who desire such unpalatable things.

There are no permissions.  They are forbidden
in the scriptures:

Manusmriti 5.5

laśunaṁ caiva palāṇḍu abhakṣyāṇi

“Garlic and onions are unworthy of eating.”

I hope this meets you in the best of health
and in an ecstatic mood.

Your ever well-wisher,

Description: SDA

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

kṛṣṇe matir astu (“May you become Krishna conscious”).

————————————

Regards,
Sunil

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