Has Krishna said about Onion and Garlic in Bhagavad Gita?

Yes. Krishna has said. Krishna has not listed the recipes in Bhagavad Gita, but, He has listed the nature of foods to be avoided. Onion and garlic fall in His classification.


In Bhagavad Gita (17.9), Krishna states:

“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. The characteristics of Onion and Garlic match the nature of food items mentioned by Krishna above. Onion and Garlic excite the baser instincts and make it difficult for one to control the senses. The prohibition on onion, garlic etc. is recommended by virtue of their characteristics. Though they are not meat products, they too give the same effects in our gunas (modes) that are given by meat products.

How onion and garlic affect Krishna Consciousness?

If one likes to come up in Krishna Consciousness, he must avoid Onion and garlic.   Why?  Because, Faster growth in Krishna consciousness needs satva guna domination.  These onion and garlic develop  rajo and thamo gunas and hence we will be unable to achieve sense control that is the important  requisite in Krishna Consciousness.

Garlic & onion has a medically important & also a bad property! But, that medically important good property makes us think like demons. Garlic has a compound called ‘Allicin’ that prevents the Cholesterol from getting accumulated and becoming as a clot in veins.  So, it is said by doctors that Onion and garlic can prevent / delay heart attacks (Myocardial Infarction)!  The same effect is available in onion also in small quantities!  But,  if we take them for the sake of heart, we have a few side effects!

Garlic & onion makes our blood diluted and hence body’s blood circulation becomes fast! As the blood flows fast, it makes body brisk, tensed, increases & hence induces organs!  This is called “Rajo Guna”.   As blood circulates fast, the lusty desires  increase & hence one is tempted to commit offences being unable to control himself! So, we develop demon like qualities to involve in offenses through body and mind.

The doctors may not be bothered about the effect of onion and garlic on the consciousness of the persons taking them.  So, they do not speak against them and just tell that they help to delay or avoid heart and nerve related issues.

The vedic recommendations say that whoever will eat garlic and Onion, their body will Be very strong like demons body and at the same time their intelligence also will be contaminated like the intelligence of demons.

Alternatives for Onion and garlic in food to maintain the taste

(1) ASAFOETIDA:  Vedic cooks replace the tastes of onion and garlic with a spice called Hing (asafoetida), which adds a similar rich taste to cooked foods without overcoming the palate.

(2) CABBAGE:  You may also cut and add some CABBAGE leaves instead of onion & garlic.

Srila Prabhupada has said: “If anyone likes to improve in Krishna Consciousness, he should avoid Garlic & Onion & the Spicy (masala) items in our food! We should never offer the food that contains such food to Krishna!”


Srila Prabhupäda said that eating onion and garlic is as bad as eating cow’s flesh.  Onion originated from the cow’s ankle and garlic originated from cow’s hoof as said by Srila Prabhupada.

(1)  First Let us read the origin of Onions and Garlic as said by Srila Prabhupada:

Srila Prabhupada told a story about a king, a cow and a brahmana.  Let us read his words:

“This particular king , before having the cow slaughtered would call a brahmana and the brahmana would offer prayers to the effect that   “In this life these people are slaughtering you, but in the next life you will get the chance to slaughter them.”

So one time a brahmana came there but he felt lusty and he wanted to eat the cow’s flesh also. However, the system was that he was not allowed to see the slaughter going on, he was supposed to offer his prayers and then leave.  So he hid in a corner and witnessed the butchering.  After the people had all taken their share of the dead cow and departed, the brahmana came to that spot and he found an ankle of the cow. Because he was not supposed to eat any meat, he took the cow’s ankle (joint in leg)  into the forest and buried it with the plan that he would return in the night, cook it and eat it.  When he came back,  he dug out the cow’s ankle and found to his great surprise that it had turned into onion and garlic.

The cow’s hoof  (hard part of cows feet) transformed to garlic and the ankle became onion; That is why,  Garlic looks like a cow’s hoof, and just as the cow’s ankle has several layers of flesh similarly the onion has several layers and is the color of flesh. When you eat garlic it makes a bad smell come in your mouth and when you cut onion it makes tears come out of your eyes. The tears come because the cow was crying that in Kali yuga even the brahmana wants to eat onion.”

(2)  Next, let us read this following story as said by HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami Maharaj:

One ayurvedic doctor had told me that this description is there in Ayurveda: When Lord Vishnu in His Mohini form was distributing nectar to demigods two demons named Rahu and Ketu sat down along with the line of Demigods. By mistake the Lord served them nectar into their mouths. Immediately the lord was informed by the Sun and Moon that those two were demons.

As soon as the Lord came to know of this He cut off the heads of both demons. By that time nectar had not passed through their throats. It was still in their mouths. When the Lord cut of their heads , the heads were separated from their bodies. Thus nectar did not pass to the stomach but fell on the ground.

(That is the reason why Rahu and Ketu’s head are still alive but their bodies were finished.)

When their heads were cut off  garlic and Onions manifested from this nectar which fell on the ground from the mouth of the  two demons. Thus Garlic and Onions are regarded as nectar but not used for the Lord because these are remnants of demons having touched their mouths. Even the nectar touched the mouths of these two demons still garlic and onions act like nectar in curing the diseases. But they are not meant for Vishnu or Vaishnavas.


Do you like to lead a life with the aggressive demonic nature for long period or to lead a life of pure devotion for a normal life time?

It is in our interest to decide which is better! If we like to improve in Krishna Consciousness, it is better to stop garlic/onion!

So, these restrictions on Onion and Garlic are only for those who like to develop the domination of satva guna (mode of goodness) that is the better platform to come up fast in devotional life.

If one likes to be an expert in lusty acts, onion and garlic will help much. But, devotional inclination will be affected.

Stopping Onion and Garlic may be very difficult for you!  But, if you like to to cultivate Satva Guna and to come up in Krishna Consciousness, it is important to avoid onion and garlic!

Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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