Onions and Garlic in relation to the practices of Vaishnavism:

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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 sevaparadhas)


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:

The Glories of Krishna Prasadam

Vegetarianism and Beyond

Vegan and medifast
Vegetarianism and medifast
Medifast coupon
Healthy weight loss

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 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.
(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 smooth.

(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 CANDRA VI.):
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 Members?
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 few)
(*James M Stephens. 1999. University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agriculture - http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/scripts/htmlgen.exe?DOCUMENT_MV048; 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-light.
 There are other mushrooms that are celebrated in the shastra that grow in the full sun-light such as the pigginess (button) variety.

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 onions?"

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: (http://gaudiya.net/portal/articles/gdlectures/Onions_to_Rati.htm ) (http://www.purebhakti.com/teachers/bhakti-discourses-mainmenu-61/21-discourses-2002/237-questions-from-onions-to-rati.html)
[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 Maharaja:]
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.)
(http://gaudiya.net/portal/articles/gdlectures/Onions_to_Rati.htm )

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 http://website.lineone.net/~stolarczyk/history2.html  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 http://website.lineone.net/~stolarczyk/history1.html  - http://website.lineone.net/~stolarczyk/history2.html

CROP HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT  http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/carrot.html
    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. http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/carrot.html

History of the Carrot  http://www.freshforkids.com.au/carrot.htm

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. http://www.freshforkids.com.au/carrot.htm

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 her.
   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 spirit.
   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 purposes).
   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 others.
   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) reason.
   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 word).
   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 proclaimed.
   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 rewards.
 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 realization.

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 http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET0105/ET05-6733.html )

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. ???

Allicin is the key component from Garlic ( http://www3.mistral.co.uk/garlic/allicin.htm )

One study, appeared a recent issue of the American Society for Microbiology's Antimicrobial Agents and
Chemotherapy, explains how allicin fights infection. This research supports the notion that garlic is an excellent, although smelly, natural antimicrobial drug that can disable an unusually wide variety of infectious organisms.

 The second study, reported in Biochimica Biophysica Acta, helps to clarify the role allicin plays in preventing heart disease and other disorders.

In the studies, the scientists revealed and characterized a molecular mechanism by which allicin blocks certain groups of enzymes. Allicin, created when garlic cloves are crushed, protects the plant from soil parasites and fungi and is also responsible for garlic's pungent smell.

A natural weapon against infection, the research reported in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy revealed allicin disables dysentery-causing amoebas by blocking two groups of enzymes, cysteine proteinases and alcohol dehydrogenases.

Cysteine proteinase enzymes are among the main culprits in infection, providing infectious organisms with the means to damage and invade tissues. Alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes play a major role in these harmful organisms' metabolism and survival. Because these groups of enzymes are found in a wide variety of infectious organisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, this research provides a scientific basis for the notion that allicin is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, capable of warding off different types of infections.

"It has long been argued that garlic can fight a wide range of infections and now we have provided biochemical evidence for this claim," the authors write.

 The role of allicin in warding off infection may be particularly valuable in light of the growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. It is unlikely that bacteria would develop resistance to allicin because this would require modifying the very enzymes that make their activity possible.

The Garlic Information Centre:
We have information on garlic and its use in the following areas: Antibacterial, antifungal, blood pressure, cholesterol, circulation, impotence, pregnancy, diabetes, as a cardioprotective, anti-oxidant, coughs and colds, stomach conditions, cancer, garlic 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 - http://santesson.com/aphrodis/aphrhome.htm ) – 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 taste.
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 Bengal.
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, Iran)

“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 there.
(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.

From: Ramanbil@aol.com
Subject: Part 3 on Control of mind-Role of Dietary Regimen.
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 15:07:20 EDT
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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 them.)"

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



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.