Can I use medicines that contain alcohol and non vegetarian ingredients?
A devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“In this kalyug, almost everything is eother Tamsik or Rajsik. Even some medicines also contains Alcohol. Every time we consume medicine, we are actually consuming the Alcohol in it. So my question is – Is taking these medicines a Sin? If yes, what should we do?
Shall I have to do my duties for parents though I am a devotee?”
Not a sin.
In fact, taking onion, garlic, coffee, tea, alcohol, etc is not DIRECTLY a ‘SINFUL’ act because you are not killing any living beings. Consumption is not sinful, but its effects will definitely be sinful. Because, It leads to sin. So, not advised for those who like to avoid karma and further births.
Alsohol is a serious enemy for spiritual advancement and alcohol induces one to do sinful acts. And, any intoxicating agent causes addiction and hence the people become its addicts and hence are unable to perform any other duties.
So, one should not touch any intoxicating products like alcohol, Cigarettes, tobacco products, Ganja, Majuarina, abhin, etc.
Ok, yes, it is better to avoid medicines containing alcohol AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE and if there are alternatives. But, there are cases.
If it is a normal cough, cold, ordinary fever, you need not take any syrups that contain alcohol. There are certain medicines for every ailment that do not contain alcohol. Many companies have even printed on the cover like: “No Alcohol. Vegetarian” like that. If you inform the doctor to try to prescribe pure vegetarian and alcohol free drug, he will select such a product and recommend. Because, they come across many such patients who make such requests.
So, as far as ordinary ailments are concerned, we can manage like this as medicines without alcohol are available.
But, in the case of serious physical problems and hospitalization, we have to entrust ourselves to the doctor for treatment. He has to use certain standard medicines that we can’t insist. So, in case, such medicines contain alcohol, you need not bother about it. Alcohol is added just as a solvent and as an dispersing agent, in small quantities. It is also added as the patients with pains should sleep well. So, in case, you have to take alcohol through medicines in such serious cases, please don’t worry as it is an exemption.
Alcohol added products, if prescribed by the doctor (with no other alternative) is allowed for devotees as an exeptional case. This was confirmed by an 80 years old senior devotee as I asked the same question to him one day.
In Krishna Consciousness, there are rules. But, in unavoidable, extreme circumstances, it is allowed to relax.
However, you may tell the doctor to try to avoid prescribing transparent gelatin capsules because, such capsule is non-vegetarian (a sea animal). So, request him to try to prescribe in tablet form, not gelatin made capsule form, if available. If not available, this is also exception. However, you can request the doctor. That is good.
So, my reply is: If you go for English medicines, tell the doctor to TRY to avoid the drugs containing intoxicants and soft gelatin capsules. If he says that it is not possible, accept that treatment as an exemption. After completing the treatment, follow the regulative principles again strictly.
If you change your food pattern, you can live without diseases. Also try for that.
Why I have given this relaxation? Is it authentic?
Yes. It is authentic. Because, consuming prohibited foods to satisfy the tongue is condemned. Whereas, consuming as a treatment by the doctor when no other options are available, it is allowed, because, we do not enjoy that medicine. Isn’t it?
That is why, I say that even if you consumed any prohibited item accidentally, do not feel offended.
Because, you did not eat that with a plan and to satisfy your tongue. You just took it accidentally. Be careful in future that is enough.
Only willful violations when other options are available should be avoided. Unavoidable and accidental violations will be forgiven. Don’t worry.