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Hindu view of diet items

A cyberspace devotee from Boston asks about onions and garlic and other diet issues. Gurudeva explains his view of holistic health and diet, and cautions against village superstition.

Unedited Transcript:

Acharya Palaniswami: Onions and garlic are the nails of asuras and have qualities in them that produce negative feelings when ingested. That is the reason why, I am told, a Hindu would not eat such things. I also know that some people don't eat carrots, tindolla, eggplant, masoor dal and so forth for the four months that are considered most holy in the Hindu calendar.

Gurudeva, I am confused. Please let me know what Gurudeva thinks about all of this. Does he and his mathavasis, for example, eat onions and garlic? Thank you for your guidance. I remain in search of God and spiritual ways. Rakesh.

Gurudeva: To keep the health high here at Kauai Aadheenam, our beautiful Hindu monastery where we have about thirty mathavasis, we have a practice of holistic health, which is a little bit different than running to one doctor, to another doctor, to an acupuncturist, to a chiropractor and medical doctor.

We have a nutritionist, an ayurvedic nutritionist, Dr. Sodhi in Seattle, who comes here every two years and tells us all what we should eat. He takes blood tests and analyzes the diet of each individual. If there is a health problem with one or another of us, the acupuncturist, the chiropractor, the allopathic doctor and the nutritionist all talk together. To me, this is the holistic approach. They all discuss the case from their particular point of view and education and try to solve the problem by giving very good advise. Yes, they do recommend onions and garlic.

I was told, many, many years ago in Sri Lanka, the men would take off their shirts and worship. They would be very hot and everybody would be perspiring. One of the reasons, probably the best reason, they don't eat onions and garlic is because it gives the body odor.

So, rather than relying on village superstition, it is good to go to the professional and get the solid advise.

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When heart and mind are freed of baseness, when desires have been tempered and excesses avoided, dharma is known and followed, and good conduct naturally arises.