Forbidden Delights: The Scientific and Spiritual Reasons Behind the Prohibition of Onion and Garlic in Indian Sanatan Dharma

Forbidden Delights: The Scientific and Spiritual Reasons Behind the Prohibition of Onion and Garlic in Indian Sanatan Dharma

Table of Contents:
  1. Introduction
  2. Historical and Cultural Significance
  3. Ayurvedic Perspective
  4. The Spiritual Significance
  5. Meditation and Yogic Practices
  6. Modern Scientific Insights
  7. Conclusion
  8. References


Indian cuisine is renowned for its rich and diverse flavors, with an array of herbs and spices that tantalize the taste buds. However, there are some ingredients, notably onion and garlic, that are conspicuously absent from certain culinary traditions within Indian Sanatan Dharma, the eternal religion. This exclusion isn’t arbitrary but has deep-rooted historical, cultural, spiritual, and even scientific reasons. In this blog, we’ll explore why onion and garlic are prohibited in some aspects of Indian Sanatan Dharma, delving into the Ayurvedic perspective, spiritual significance, meditation and yogic practices, and modern scientific insights.

Historical and Cultural Significance

To understand the prohibition of onion and garlic in Indian Sanatan Dharma, we must consider the historical and cultural significance of these ingredients. This prohibition finds its roots in the ancient Indian texts, including the Puranas and the Manusmriti, which are revered as guiding principles for daily life. These texts discuss various aspects of living a righteous and wholesome life, including dietary choices.

One of the main reasons behind this prohibition lies in the belief that foods can influence an individual’s mental state and behavior. Onion and garlic are considered “Rajasic” and “Tamasic” foods in Ayurveda, which are thought to increase passion and ignorance, respectively. Avoiding these foods is believed to promote Sattva, the quality of purity and goodness.

Ayurvedic Perspective

Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in India, plays a significant role in the prohibition of onion and garlic. These pungent ingredients are believed to disrupt the balance of doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in the body. They can increase the Pitta dosha, leading to increased heat and aggression in the body. Avoiding these foods is thought to maintain physical and mental equilibrium.

Furthermore, Ayurveda teaches that foods have various effects on the mind and body. Onion and garlic, due to their strong flavors and properties, can overstimulate the senses, making them unsuitable for individuals seeking spiritual growth and a calm mind. In the context of Ayurveda, the prohibition of onion and garlic is a step toward holistic health and well-being.

The Spiritual Significance

In the realm of spirituality, the prohibition of onion and garlic is deeply symbolic. It signifies a detachment from worldly desires and sensory pleasures. By avoiding pungent foods, individuals practicing Sanatan Dharma aim to purify the body and mind, allowing for a deeper connection with the divine.

Additionally, these ingredients are considered impure, often associated with negative energies. By abstaining from them, individuals believe they can maintain spiritual purity and avoid negative influences on their spiritual path.

Meditation and Yogic Practices

Meditation and yogic practices are central to many spiritual traditions within Indian Sanatan Dharma. The consumption of onion and garlic is believed to disturb the tranquility required for successful meditation. Their strong flavors can lead to restlessness and distraction, hindering one’s ability to attain deep states of concentration and self-realization.

Practitioners of yoga and meditation often follow Sattvic diets, which emphasize purity and simplicity. These diets exclude pungent foods like onion and garlic to help individuals maintain inner peace and mindfulness during their practice.

Modern Scientific Insights

In recent years, modern science has begun to shed light on the health implications of consuming onion and garlic. While these ingredients offer numerous health benefits, they can also have adverse effects on some individuals. For example, they may exacerbate digestive issues and cause discomfort in some people.

Moreover, the pungent compounds in onion and garlic, such as allicin and various sulfur compounds, can lead to strong body odors. This physical aspect aligns with the spiritual belief that these ingredients introduce impurity into the body.


The prohibition of onion and garlic in Indian Sanatan Dharma is rooted in a profound understanding of historical, cultural, spiritual, and scientific factors. These ingredients are perceived as disruptors of balance in the body, mind, and spirit, making them unsuitable for those seeking a life of purity, balance, and spiritual growth.

Understanding these prohibitions offers valuable insights into the holistic approach to well-being in Indian culture and the interplay between dietary choices and spirituality. It’s essential to respect these traditions while also appreciating the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine, which offers a wide array of flavors and tastes that cater to various preferences and beliefs.

In conclusion, the exclusion of onion and garlic from certain Indian culinary traditions is a reflection of the intricate relationship between food, health, and spirituality, demonstrating the profound wisdom that has been passed down through generations in the Sanatan Dharma.



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