WHAT IF QUITTING ONION AND GARLIC AFFECTS MY HEALTH? HOW TO FOLLOW DEVOTION IN OUTSTATION?!
TWO QUESTIONS ON THE SAME TOPIC:
(1) A devotee asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Prabhu ji. I just read this of your posts and found it absolutely true. I too want to lead a satvik life but there are huge problems in front of me for I live far from my family alone and have to eat in restaurants. Though I abstain from non vegetarian dishes I am not able to avoid onion,garlic,etc. When I think of avoiding such things and coming to satvik foods like fruits,raw veggies,etc.things go worse because my health weakens and blood-sugar drops down!! Pls explain if there is any way out? Krishna has done a lot of miracles for me I love him a lot..In fact He is the one because whom I’m living a happy life..but as you know this happiness is fleeting till there is no time for Him! I am not able to give him time I don’t even perform arati, etc because of my hectic schedule..All I do is one round of mahamantra chanting and read Bhagavad-Gita. Kindly help me.Regards.Hare Krishna
(2) “A Girl Devotee”asked like this:
“Hare Krishna. I have now gone abroad for my studies and I am staying at my Uncle’s place who is of another faith. I am finding it hard here because I am not being able to do my prayers as I used to back at home. I feel like I am drifting away from my Kanha. I am also having problems concerning my meals. I would be grateful if you could please advise me. Thank you.”
ALL RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE DOUBLE BENEFITS
Our scriptures recommend certain penances with double benefits.
Both spiritual and material.
Every penance recommended by them has both these benefits.
(1) Chanting brings Krishna to us. At the same time, it improves our concentration and focusing ability also.
(2) Fasting for a certain thithis like ekadasi, amavasya, etc, is recommended PRIMARILY as a show of our sacrifice for Krishna and also to keep our body digestive system healthy. Our scriptures and rishis cared both the spiritual and material health of the people. So, they recommended fasting as the penance for Lord as well as cleansing the digestive system.
(3) Offering food to Krishna is to show that we accept that it is the food offered by Krishna and we offer the food back to Him. Additionaly, offering of food clears the karma involved in that food.
(4) Similarly, they recommended to avoid onion and garlic NOT UNNECESSARILY,but, because, onion and garlic induce Rajo and thamo Gunas and hence the people who use them will find it difficult to control their sense disturbances. So,they advised to avoid them to concentrate better in devotional practices and reduce the abnormal bodily disturbances.
WHO SHOULD STOP ONION & GARLIC ONLY WITH THE CONSENT OF DOCTOR?
(1) You say that avoiding onion and garlic affects blood pressure. If you are a normal person HAVING NO B.P OR DIABETES, HEART ISSUES, ETC, it will fluctuate for some period and then settle. But, if you are already a B.P, Diabetic or heart patient, do consult your doctor before stopping onion and garlic because it may slow down the blood flow. Such stoppage can be done suddenly by normal people.
(2) Those who are in kshatriya category jobs that involves heavy physical works such as military, police, fire, railway tracks, lathes, welding, etc, they may need more energy. Such persons may stop onion and garlic after consulting a doctor.
(3) These restrictions are ONLY FOR THOSE WHO LIKE TO LEAD A BRAHMANA/ VAISHNAVA WAY OF LIFE and who like to reduce their sense inducements. That is why, I have always said that eating onion and garlic is NOT A CRIME OR OFFENSE, but, it is advised only for those who like to minimize their crimes and offenses and to come up in devotion fast.
(4) If your main target of life is going back to Krishna, and if you don’t have any diseases as mentioned above, do quit onion and garlic.
FOLLOW WHAT YOU CAN AT PRESENT
So, these are all advised in good intentions. So, it is good for you to follow them to your level best and for your own benefits. In case you are unable to follow any of the rules while residing in your relative’s house/ hostel, please do not feel guilty for that and do not lose your spirit.
My advice is that atleast keep chanting Hare Krishna while being in your relative’s house/hostel though other saadhanas may be difficult. Because, for chanting, you do not need the support of any person as it is your private activity. Just be in a room or open terrace or in a park or in college ground and keep chanting as many rounds as possible.
If you like to observe, you can also continue fasting on Ekadasis and festivals as fasting too does not require any other person’s support.
You can offer prayers within heart. If your relative’s family or hostel does not prepare the food as per rules, you have a TEMPORARY alternative TILL YOU COME BACK TO YOUR PARENT’s PLACE. Purchase half kilograms of “Dates” and keep it in your suitcase. Keep a Krishna Picture in your suitcase. Take 20 grams of DATES daily from that Dates Pack and keep it in a small plate in front of the Krishna/ Guru/ acharya’s Picture inside the suitcase. Pray them to accept it and manage till you go back to your parent’s home. As Krishna prefers only the love of devotees, He will understand your feelings.
I have also given some tips about offering from outside the home in THIS POST.
And, you will have to eat the food cooked by your relative/ hostel daily, I think. In such a case, while starting to eat that food, pray to Krishna to forgive for not taking prasadam and request Him to cleanse that food from karma and make it pure. If they had cooked with onion and garlic, try to avoid them. Take curd rice or roti with coconut chutney,like that. Or, if the side dish had been cooked with onion/ garlic, you can use even sugar or curd as side dish.
Thus, somehow manage till your studies are over., with chanting and fasting. After that, go back to your home and be strict in following all the saadhanas.
Also pray to Lord to make them understand your practices and help you. Everything will become alright soon with the mercy of Lord.
But, do not give up chanting alone for any reason. It is primary that should never be stopped in any stage.
All the best.