[Advaita-l] Onion and Garlic

Srikanta Narayanaswami srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 17 01:04:16 CST 2011

The story of Ramana telling his mother regarding Onion is true.Once it seems the 
devotees who visited the Ashram brought bags and baga of onion.On a certain day 
which was auspiciously special he made fun about thyis with his mother.He 
said:Mother,today they have brought only onions.I suppose the shrubs of onion 
will not entangle to your legs thus preventing your going to Kailas or 

But,both onions and garlic are prohibited for the sathwik foods.In the olden 
days(now also)the traditionalists and orthodox refrain from taking onions.As for 
garlic,according to Ayurveda it has thraptic values.It is supposed to cure for 
gastric disorders(vayu).Asafoetida(hing) is replaced in the place of garlic to 
cure gaseous disorders.It seems this garlic was imported from Rome.In 
Sanskrit,it has the name,"Lashunam",and in latin this has the 
name,"Lasnia".There had been commerce from India to Rome during the Chola 
period.The colour of garlic,extremely white, shows that probably it was imported 
from Rome.It was used for garnishing.It has a pungent smell and used as a 
medicine,both for external and internal usage.

In the Sabara bhashya(quoted in the Padmapada's Panchapadika),we read this 
interesting couplet.
This is called "Jaradgava vakya".It reads:

"Jaradgavah kambalipadukabhyam dwaristhite gayati madrakani!
tam prcchati  Brahmanih putrakama"'Rajan,Rumayam lashunasya ko agrah"?!!

Which means ,a aged Ox wearing velvet footwear stands at the door singing songs 
of Madra desha.
A Brahmani who is desirous of progeny asks him,"Oh Rajan,in Roma what is the 
price of garlic"!

This is quoted by Padmapada,to show as long as the implication of the statement 
and its context are not clear,it will remain just like the "Jaradgava"vakya.This 
is quoted by Pamapada while explaing the "Adhyasa Bhashya"of Shankara.


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