A devotee who wanted anonymity asked like this about why Coffee, Tea and Chocolates are prohibited for devotees:
“Hare Krsna! I request you not to disclose my name. I had a query with regard to the consumption of cocoa (and chocolate products), tea and coffee. May I know why these are discouraged by the Vedic Scriptures? My sincere request to give possible alternatives to these. Thank you very much. Haribol! Hare Krsna.”
All addictions are not of the same type.
Even if you desire to earn crores of rupees to support the preaching of Krishna Consciousness, that desire is welcome.
In a nutshell, any desire that will take you closer to Krishna is welcome. All other desires drag you away from Krishna. So, they are advised not to be followed.
Similarly, the addiction to coffee/ tea are different. Coffee came to India just 300 years ago. Before that, it was not there in India. It was used in a few countries to temporarily motivate the nerves. There is no mention in scriptures about coffee/ tea.
If you are addicted to coffee/ tea, they make you take them again and again. So, you can’t concentrate in Krishna Consciousness practices and thoughts.
If you could not drink coffee or tea even a single day, you feel as if mad and you will suffer from head ache.
Thus , it is difficult from withdrawing from coffee and tea similar to liquor.
So, this addiction is dangerous. In addition to that, there is no nutrient in coffee powder that helps our body to be healthy. It contains some additive chemicals only, like coffeine. So, those drinks are waste of money as they slowly start to control us. One should remain only under the control of Krishna. Why should you remain under the control of Coffee/ tea?
Coffee/ tea are unwanted drinks and if you retire from coffee or tea, it disturbs you. Another important aspect is, you can never offer coffee and tea to Krishna and you can’t use coffee or tea in His service; So, you can purify your studies by applying it in the service of Krishna; But, coffee/ tea can never be offered to Krishna and hence, can never be purified.
Coffee, tea and chocolates are also the intoxicants. A simple definition for INTOXICANTS is: “Anything that induces you to use it again & again & makes your mood/ mind/ body tensed if you don’t take them! You become dependent on them! They bring you totally under their control! If you don’t get them at a particular day/ time, your character will show total deviation from the normal character! They are the representatives of maya!”
H.H. Bhakthi Vikas Swami has listed many things as intoxicants here that includes coffee, tea and chocolates:
“Alcohol in any form (Added: Some will tell you that beer & wine are good! Remember, they also have alcohol), Pan Masala, Betelnuts, tobaco (both chewing & smoking), LSD, Marijuana, Abin, Arrack, Coffee & Tea, and the cool drinks that contain coffeine! Chocolates also contain coffeine and 7 other intoxicating agents!”
How, these intoxicants affect the Krishna Consciousness?
Actually, all the nerves of our body are controlled by a spot in our brain called CNS, ie, Central Nervous System! When we consume coffee or tea or chcolates, etc, this CNS is induced immediately & the body becomes brisk! This sudden increase in the activity of CNS is followed by sudden fall in its activity! This sudden rise & fall of CNS activity makes the CNS less active permanently!
This nerve weakness definitely causes the following:
(1) You always feel tired/ weak except an hour or two after taking coffee/ tea;
(2) Your memory power permanently reduced as nerves are not brisk;
(3) You become tensed as the nerves are weak;
(4) Your personal life is affected and potency decreases;
(5) As he always feel temptation to have coffee/ tea, he misses many deadlines of important assignments! So, success delayed / lost!
OTHER HARMFUL EFFECTS OF COFFEE/ TEA:
(1) EFFECTS ON G.I TRACT:
Coffee and Tea is said to slow down digestion. It impedes the action of ptyalin, a digestive ferment of saliva which acts as cooked starch. Tannin is responsible for inhibition of this condition. This effect could however disappear once milk is added as milk precipitates tannin. Tea also delays stomach digestion and could lead to gas formation (flatulent dyspepsia), nausea, vomiting heartburn, stomach ulcers, diarrhoea and at times constipation.
(2) EFFECTS ON KIDNEY FUNCTIONS:
Experiments show that 5 cups of coffee/tea increases the urine by 400 – 500% in people vulnerable to kidney related ailments. This continued stimulation of kidneys by caffeine might damage them. Tea could also promote kidney stone because of its high concentration of oxalate.
Drinking too much tea / Coffee could lead to incontinence or frequent/urgent impulse to urinate. According to a recent study conducted at St. George’s Hospital London, caffeine could exert pressure on bladder by causing muscle surrounding it to contract increasing the need to urinate.
(4) EFFECTS OF HEART:
When indulged into excess it affects the heart, vasomotor center and motor nerves causes pallor, feeble pulse and raises blood pressure.. Cardiac muscles are also stimulated by caffeine as coronary arteries get dilated resulting in the increase in the rate of blood flow.
(5) EFFECTS ON RESPIRATION:
The quickening of respiration lowers the level of carbon dioxide and increases the heat production of body by 10 – 20%.
(6) EFFECTS ON NERVOUS SYSTEM:
Strong tea/ coffee affects nervous system causing giddiness, insomnia, poor concentration, irritability, tremulousness of the limbs, supra-orbital headache, nervousness, hallucinations and nightmare, disorder of the mental faculties, which amounts nearly to insanity. It has a degenerative effect on the nervous system analogue to what follows with the moderate dose of alcohol.
(7) EFFECTS ON SKIN:
Tanin (present in tea/ coffee) affects the water content in the body, as a result of which the skin becomes brittle and rough.
(8) PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME:
Drinking tea / coffee could aggravate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. According to a research conducted under Dr Annette Rossignol, an associate professor of public health at Oregon University, women in China who drank between 1 – 4 cups of tea a day were twice as likely to have PMS then non tea drinkers. Drinking 8 cups of tea increased the PMS occurrence 10 times.
WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE?
You have asked about alternative to tea or coffee. You can take vegetarian health drinks like horlicks (Not chocolate Horlicks) added with hot milk for some period temporarily till your temptation for coffee or tea comes down. After that, you can stop horlicks also. You can take milk added with black sugar made from palm trees that smells good.
You can also get “Herbal tea” from some ISKCON centres or “Higher Taste” cafes, that does not contain coffeine, but, gives a feel of having something hot.
CLICK HERE to buy different varieties of HERBAL TEA that is delivered to your home itself and you can make payment while getting the product.
Most of the“Herbal tea” products contains some or all of following useful ingredients that enhances our total health:
Canscora decussata (Shankhapushpi); Caryophyllus aromaticus (Lavanga, Cloves); Cinnamomum tamala (Tejpatra, Indian Cassia); Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Dalchini, Chinese cassia): Cyperus scariosus (Nagarmotha, Nut grass): Elettaria cardamomum (Elaichi chhoti, Cardamom); Foeniculum vulgare (Saunf, Indian sweet fennel); Glycyrrhiza glabra (Muleti/Yashtimadhu, Liquorice, Sweet wood); Hydrcotyle asiatica(Brahmi, Indian pennywort); Mentha arvensis (Pudina, Mint); Piper longum (Pippali, Dried catkins); Piper nigrum (Kali Mirich, Black pepper); Ptercarpus santalinus (Rakta chandan, Red sandalwood); Rosa damascena (Gulab ke phool, Rose petals); Terminalia Arjuna (Arjuna chhal, Bark of Arjuna myrrobalan); Valeriana wallichii (Sungadhabala, Indian Valerian rhizome).
Try these things.
Above all, if you sincerely wish to quit them, Krishna will help you to purify yourself.