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Foods are categorised into sattva, rajas and tamas based on their nature. As is stated here, tamas foods are:

Food cooked more than three hours before being eaten, which is tasteless, stale, putrid, decomposed and unclean, is food liked by people in the mode of ignorance.

Basically certain spoilt foods. Dharmashastras recommend not eating such food of Tamasic nature like onion garlic and fermented items like alcohol, bread, etc. (Ref: Manu 5.5 and Manu 5.9).

This means that even curds being fermented would be categorised as Tamasic in nature as has been stated on this site. However, the dharmashastras have carved out an exception in the case of curds by stating as follows:

Among Soured Substances, the curd is fit to be eaten, and all that is prepared out of it; as also all that is distilled from pure flowers, roots and fruits;—Manu 5.10

Question:

  1. I would like to know whether curds are categorised as tamasic as well as the reason why the dharmashastras have carved an exception for curds. That is what is the speciality of curd that despite being fermented it is recommended to be eaten.
  2. What other foods though not mentioned would qualify, following the same reason as curd.
  3. Does curd have any harmful effects for sadhana since it is fermented? (I mean obviously if it had harmful effects, Manusmriti wouldn’t carve an exception, but still a proper reference would be good).

I have asked about certain alcohols being carved out here

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  • I am wondering if the reason being its source i.e. cow's milk?
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Sep 3, 2023 at 5:02
  • @TheLittleNaruto then what about the second part I.e. things made out of fruits etc. and does dadhi apply only to cow’s milk or even buffalo etc? But well, Cow could be a reason like other rivers get polluted but Gangaji’s water is still safe to drink?
    – Adiyarkku
    Sep 3, 2023 at 6:58

2 Answers 2

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Most foods which ferment are said to spoil as they give rise to new substances which are toxic or intoxicating, exerting negative influence on a person's mind , body or digestion. The curd when properly prepared with the correct bacteria of hundreds of curd bacteria types removes lactose and converts it to lactic acid, causing the protein particles to coagulate. Removal of lactose is beneficial. Further these bacteria are useful in the gut. Observing the mind and energy levels, the ancients decided that curd is beneficial.

I attempt to have some link to scripture, though it does not reach the high standards needed. I have always felt the deity Dadhikr, or Dadhikra, Dadhikravan embodies a deeper secret. Whatever is named as a steed is a source of power like Vāja. I feel in it lies the secret of mental and physical power from thickened milk ( most probably curd). Other hints about curd may surely be found in Vagbhatta's ayurvedic book. Ayurveda’s Scholar Aacharya shri Vagbhatta ji mentioned the qualities of Curd like this—>> ” अम्लपाकरसं ग्राहि गुरु उष्णम दधि वातजित I मेदः शुक्र बल श्लेष्म पित्त रक्त अग्नि शोफ़्कृत I रोचिष्णु शस्तमरुचौ शितके विषं ज्वरे II पिनसे मूत्रकुर्छे च , रूक्षं तु ग्रहणी गदे I नैवद्यानषि नैवोष्नाम वसन्तोष्णशरत्सु न II नामुदग्सुपं नाक्षोद्रं तन्नाघृतसितोपलं I न चानंलकं नापि नित्यं नो मन्द मन्यथा II ज्वर असृक् पित विसर्प् कुष्टः पाण्डु भ्रम प्रदम् I”

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    Ayurveda recommends even onion garlic and certain types of alcohol for their properties.
    – Adiyarkku
    Sep 3, 2023 at 7:21
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    Ayurveda focuses only on health of physical body whereas veda/smriti focus on health of body + mind. Hence they have different stand on onion, garlic, alcohol, etc.
    – ekAntika
    Sep 3, 2023 at 10:27
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GREAT QUESTION

Fermentation is not applicable to edible curd. It is applicable to barley, it is applicable to mollases by which we derive alchohol.

ACID + BASE = SALT is just chemistry

CURD is Divine (from COW groups) beyond chemistry subjects

MILK + SALT = CURD (SEMISOLID BASE)

MILK + ACID = CURD (SEMISOLID ACID LACTIC)

MILK + BASE = CURD (BITTER / SOUR PRECIPITATE)

WHAT CURD YOU CONSUME determines whether you consume SATVA RAJAS OR TAMAS but CURD consumed soothens your body internally thus acting as SATVA only.

More "fermented" CURD as per your statement is just a FUNGI CURD or wormy curd that may be thrown & not edible.

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