Posted in Food

Aahara Niyamam – Food Prescriptions for a Srivaishnava

1) Food that is not brought into the house legitimately through the main door has to be avoided.

Comment: Here, swami is referring to smuggled food items that are usually brought into the house through the back door.

2) Food grains mixed with varagu (millet) to be avoided. That is, millet has to be separated out before boiling rice.

Comment: This recommendation does not hold good for our times where we no longer need to separate paddy from the chaff.

3) Food that has been rendered impure by saliva emanating even from one’s own mouth is to be avoided. Also, if one has over-stuffed his mouth with food, the food that is taken out should not be consumed again.

Comment: This essentially means “எச்சில் பண்ணுதல்” is ruled out.

4) Food that has caught the eyeballs of a cruel, unworthy man should not be consumed.

Comment: This essentially means that we should consume food preferably in our home premises as much as possible.

5) Food that is contaminated by coming into contact with clothes, someone’s sneeze etc. are to be avoided.

Comment: This essentially means that the food that spills on to our clothes should not be consumed again.

6) Food that has met the eyeballs of a dog (including all animals) or is adulterated by the saliva of a dog (including all animals/birds) is to be avoided.

7) Food cooked on fasting days like that of Ekadesi has to be avoided.

Comment: Swami emphasizes that upholding Ekadesi fast is a must for a Srivaishnava. No cooking should happen on this day, save the consumption of milk and fruits that need not be cooked before consumption.

8) Food that has come in contact with people having contagious diseases like leprosy is to be avoided.

9) Food that is not served with a kind, generous intention is to be avoided.

Comment: Intention is very important in food preparation and consumption. Food consumed will fail to fulfill its primary purpose of energizing us if the intention with which it is prepared/served is not good.

10) Food that has been contaminated by the presence of flies, worms, hair, nails are to be avoided.

11) Food that is borrowed from a sanyasi and food that has come in contact with a sanyasi’s vessel is to be avoided.

12) Vegetables to be avoided: Country Fig (அத்தி), White Fig (இறலி), White Egg Plant/White Brinjal (வெள்ளை கத்தாரி), Fruit from banyan tree (ஆல்), Fruit of Peepal Tree, Onion, Garlic, Drumstick, சிறிய அவரை (A small type of beans, small avarakkai), Mushrooms (காளான்), Radish (முள்ளங்கி), Bottle Gourd (சுரைக்காய்), Ridge Gourd (பீர்கங்காய்), Celosia (பண்ணைக் கீரை), Unripe Pomegranate (மாதுளங்காய்), Lotus Stalk (தாமரைக் கிழங்கு), Pasalakkeerai (பசலைக்கீரை), Sanarkeerai (சனர்க்கீரை), Sirukkeerai (சிறுக்கீரை), Red Agathik keerai (சிவப்பு அகத்தி).

13) Vegetables that are taken from another person’s garden without the permission of the owner is to be avoided.

14) Food that is extremely salty, sour or spicy is to be avoided.

15) Food that is not offered to the Lord before consumption is to be avoided.

16) Food that was not offered to the guests and set apart for our consumption should be avoided.

17) Unwashed fruits/vegetables bought from outside shops are not to be consumed.

18) Food that is bought through money earned in illegitimate ways (not authorized by the sastras) is to be avoided.

19) Food that is cooked with disallowed items is to be avoided.

Comment: This essentially means while rice with சாத்தமுது is allowed, சாத்தமுது made out garlic is not allowed to be had with rice.

20) Food that is cooked by children/people who lack AchAram is to be avoided.

21) Food that has been offered to demigods (including Shiva) as neivedhyam is to be avoided.

22) Food that is extremely hot or extremely cold is to be avoided.

23) Food items, whose nature/sattvic quality cannot be estimated are better avoided.

24) Other than buttermilk, any other food item whose composition has been diluted is not to be consumed.

25) Do not consume any food item containing sesame (எள்ளு) during night time.

26) Do not consume puffed rice (பொரி) and wood-apple fruit (விளாம்பழம்) during the day time.

27) Do not consume food late in the night.

28) Do not consume food without bathing and performing sandhyavandhanam.

29) Do not consume food from the hands of someone else. That is இன்னொருவர் பிசைந்து கொடுத்த உணவு உண்ணத்தக்கதல்ல.

30) Food that is cooked twice should not be consumed.

31) Food prepared in another person’s kitchen should not be consumed.

32) Other than Asafoedita (பெருங்காயம்) any food item that is made out of the sap of trees is to be avoided.

33) Do not consume food which you hear someone say is not good/tasty.

34) Food that is contaminated by the saliva of one’s father, one’s acharyan and one’s first elder brother can be consumed. Wives can consume the food contaminated by the saliva of their husbands.

35) On fasting days, one is allowed to consume water, tubers (கிழங்குகள்), ghee, milk, havis (ஹவிஸ்) from yagams and medicines.

36) Food items like sugarcane juice (கரும்புச்சாறு), curd (தயிர்), milk (பால்), ghee (நெய்), betel nut (பாக்கு), pepper (மிளகு), honey (தேன்), cardamom (ஏலக்காய்) etc. are beyond dhoshams and can be consumed anytime.

37) Food items that have been cooked in heat without the addition of water, fruits that ripe naturally (and not by artificial methods), boiled rice (புழுங்கல் அரிசி*), vadaam (வடாம்), appam (அப்பம்), seedai (சீடை), thenkuzhal (தேன்குழல்), milk derivatives like thiratti paal (திரட்டிப்பால்), etc. can be consumed even if they have gone beyond their use-by date.

38) Foods that recommended for avoidance above are allowed for consumption under life-threatening circumstances.

* – The boiled rice mentioned here is not the one that is bought from outside. In earlier days, people used to boil rice themselves at home.

Also, cooked rice from the previous night, when stored in clean water (பழையது/பழைய சாதம்) can be consumed.

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