I have learnt that the followers of ISKCON preach that onion and garlic should not be consumed as once god took Rohini awtar and beheaded someone, so from the blood of him onion originated and from bones garlic originated. So, my question is: Are onion and garlic recommended in Ayurveda?


  • onion and garlic stimulate sensual desires (rajo guna), which is a hindrance to spiritual practice, and even if you're not spiritual, it's a hindrance to leading a moral life, because it incites you to give an outlet to natural sexual desires through unnatural means (like brothels, porn, premarital sex etc.)
    – ram
    Sep 4, 2019 at 17:05
  • That someone is Rahu
    – Rickross
    Sep 5, 2019 at 5:28
  • What are your thoughts? Is it something to ponder upon ? Shall we stop consuming O&G? Sep 5, 2019 at 5:29
  • If you are asking me then onion and garlic are regarded as forbidden foods in some Hindu scriptures. But since you want an answer specifically from Ayurveda I can't answer. Also, if you don't add @myusername in your comment then I won't be notified by it
    – Rickross
    Sep 5, 2019 at 6:04
  • 1
    Story of Mohini and recommendation in Ayurveda are different topics. You are combining different topics. Your main question about food recommendation is off-topic.Questions about health and recommendations from Ayurveda are off-topic. Sep 12, 2019 at 4:48

1 Answer 1


Ayurveda does not forbid specific foods unless it creates Tridosha i.e. imbalance of Vata, Pitta or Kapha. Ayurveda mainly focuses on three pillars

Optimal health, according to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, can only be achieved when there is a proper balance of the “Three Pillars of Life.” These three “pillars” form a part of the bedrock upon which Ayurveda is built. They are so important that the Caraka Samhita, the most revered of all classical Ayurvedic texts, states that “one who manages these three pillars properly is guaranteed a full life span that will not be cut short by disease.” All Ayurvedic treatment programs begin with bringing these three areas into balance.

The Three Pillars of Life are proper digestion, proper sleep, and proper management of sexual activities. Eating, sleeping and procreating are essential to life, and when these three areas are in a healthful state of balance, the body and mind will reach its full potential of health and wellness.

Ramana Maharishi

D.: Are there any aids to (1) concentration and (2) casting off distractions?

M.: Physically the digestive and other organs are kept free from irritation. Therefore food is regulated both in quantity and quality. Non-irritants are eaten, avoiding chillies, excess of salt, onions, wine, opium, etc. Avoid constipation, drowsiness and excitement, and all foods which induce them. Mentally take interest in one thing and fix the mind on it. Let such interest be all-absorbing to the exclusion of everything else. This is dispassion (vairagya) and concentration. God or mantra may be chosen. The mind gains strength to grasp the subtle and merge into it.

Ramana Maharshi tells how garlic got its name

A devotee asked how Garlic got that name. Sri Bhagavan replied,

There is a curious story about it, and began telling the following story.

As is well known, when gods (devas) and demons (rakshasas) churned the ocean, amrit came out of it. When the rakshasas were running away with the vessel containing amrit, the devas appealed to Vishnu. Vishnu came on to the scene in the shape of Mohini (enchantress), and offered to resolve their quarrel by serving amrit to them all. They agreed. While serving it to the gods first, it appeared that there might not be enough to go round for the demons. One of the latter got into the line of the gods, unobserved by Mohini, and was swallowing the amrit,when the Sun and Moon noticed it and gave her the hint. She threw the ladle, with which the amrit was being served, at the demon in such a way as to cut off his head.The ladle became the Chakra (an invincible lethal weapon of Vishnu) and cut off his head. But as the amrit had already gone down his throat, the head became a graha (planet) and has since been taking vengeance on the Sun and Moon at the time of an eclipse. That is the story.

Now, when the head of the demon was severed, the trunk fell down, and in the process, a few drops of amrit fell on the ground. It is said that those drops became the garlic plant.

That is why it is said that garlic has some of the properties of amrit. It is very good for the body. But since it also has the touch of the demon, it has tamasic qualities too, which when eaten affect the mind. Hence, it is forbidden for sadhakas.

Forbidding Onion, Garlic, Meat, Non-violence and Celibacy are more important for spiritual aspirants i.e. Sanyassi but not Grihasta people. This view was highlighted by Swami Vivekananda and other monks of 20th century.

Swami Vivekananda

All our different sects of Hinduism admit the truth of the celebrated saying of the Shruti, (Chhândogya Upanishad, VII. xxvi. 2.) "आहारशुद्धौ सत्त्वशुद्धिः सत्त्वशुद्धौ ध्रुवा स्मृतिः — When the food is pure, then the inner-sense gets purified; on the purification of the innersense, memory (of the soul's perfection) becomes steady." Only, according to Shankarâchârya, the word Ahâra means the sense-perceptions, and Râmânuja takes the word to mean food. But what is the solution? All sects agree that both are necessary, and both ought to be taken into account. Without pure food, how can the Indriyas (organs) perform their respective functions properly? Everyone knows by experience that impure food weakens the power of receptivity of the Indriyas or makes them act in opposition to the will. It is a well-known fact that indigestion distorts the vision of things and makes one thing appeal as another, and that want of food makes the eyesight and other powers of the senses dim and weak. Similarly, it is often seen that some particular kind of food brings on some particular state of the body and the mind. This principle is at the root of those many rules which are so strictly enjoined in Hindu society — that we should take this sort and avoid that sort of food — though in many cases, forgetting their essential substance, the kernel, we are now busy only with quarrelling about the shell and keeping watch and ward over it.

Râmânujâchârya asks us to avoid three sorts at defects which, according to him, make food impure. The first defect is that of the Jâti, i.e. the very nature or the species to which the food belongs, as onion, garlic, and so on. These have an exciting tendency and, when taken, produce restlessness of the mind, or in other words perturb the intellect. The next is that of Âshraya, i.e. the nature of the person from whom the food comes. The food coming from a wicked person will make one impure and think wicked thoughts, while the food coming from a good man will elevate one's thoughts. Then the other is Nimitta-dosha, i.e. impurity in food due to such agents in it as dirt and dust, worms or hair; taking such food also makes the mind impure. Of these three defects, anyone can eschew the Jati and the Nimitta, but it is not easy for all to avoid the Ashraya. It is only to avoid this Ashraya-dosha, that we have so much of "Don't-touchism" amongst us nowadays. "Don't touch me! " "Don't touch me!"

Taking only Satvik food or getting external spiritual marks wont help a spiritual aspirant in Moksha or Brahimhood because spirituality is not external alone nor is self-restrain is of tongue alone but all the senses which can be done with perfection by a monk alone, but for a normal worldly people who restrain only one sense like tongue from Tamas but not other senses is mere a hypocrite. The real purity or Satva comes from within, that is purity of mind and thoughts which can be only achieved through Gyana of Self/Brahman. Balance of food and sleep are more important for a Sadhaka. Geeta Chapter 4

Bhagavad Gita 4.34 Learn the Truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him with reverence and render service unto him. Such an enlightened Saint can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the Truth.

Bhagavad Gita 4.35 Following this path and having achieved enlightenment from a Guru, O Arjun, you will no longer fall into delusion. In the light of that knowledge, you will see that all living beings are but parts of the Supreme, and are within me.

Bhagavad Gita 4.36 Even those who are considered the most immoral of all sinners can cross over this ocean of material existence by seating themselves in the boat of divine knowledge.

Bhagavad Gita 4.37 As a kindled fire reduces wood to ashes, O Arjun, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions from material activities.

Bhagavad Gita 4.38 In this world, there is nothing as purifying as divine knowledge. One who has attained purity of mind through prolonged practice of Yog, receives such knowledge within the heart, in due course of time.

Bhagavad Gita 4.39 Those whose faith is deep and who have practiced controlling their mind and senses attain divine knowledge. Through such transcendental knowledge, they quickly attain everlasting supreme peace.

Bhagavad Gita 4.40 But persons who possess neither faith nor knowledge, and who are of a doubting nature, suffer a downfall. For the skeptical souls, there is no happiness either in this world or the next.

Bhagavad Gita 4.41 O Arjun, actions do not bind those who have renounced karm in the fire of Yog, whose doubts have been dispelled by knowledge, and who are situated in knowledge of the self.

BG 16.21: There are three gates leading to the hell of self-destruction for the soul—lust, anger, and greed. Therefore, all should abandon these three.

BG 6.16: O Arjun, those who eat too much or eat too little, sleep too much or too little, cannot attain success in Yog.

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