Onions and Garlic are not eaten in a yogic diet

According to Ayurveda, foods are grouped into three categories – sattvic, rajasic and tamasic – foods in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Onions and garlic, and the other alliaceous plants are classified as rajasic and tamasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance. Rajasic and tamasic foods are also not used because they are detrimental to meditation and devotions. Garlic and onions are both rajasic and tamasic, and are forbidden to yogis because they root the consciousness more firmly in the body. They stimulate the central nervous system, and can disturb vows of celibacy. Garlic is a natural aphrodisiac. Ayurveda suggests that it is a tonic for loss of sexual power from any cause, sexual debility, impotency from over-indulgence in sex and nervous exhaustion from dissipating sexual habits. It is said to be especially useful to old men of high nervous tension and diminishing sexual power. Onions are harmful to the lungs, garlic to the heart, and spring onions to the kidneys. They induce aggravation, agitation, anxiety and aggression so they are harmful physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.



Palandu lasunam sigrum alambum grjanam palam

bhunkte yo vai naro brahman vratam candrayanam caret

(Padma Purana, Brahma Khanda 19.10)

O sages, one who eats garlic, onions, drum stick, turnips, bottle gourd and meat, that person should observe a candrayana fast.


Chandrayana vrata is observed for a whole month. It consists in reducing the amount of food which totals fifteen mouthfuls on Full Moon, by one mouthful daily until New Moon when the fast becomes complete and then increasing it in the same manner from the day after New Moon to Full Moon. Complete abstinence from food is also observed for one, three, six, nine or twelve days according to each person’s capacity and inclination.

Among the most auspicious times for fasting are the days of Full and New Moon as well as the eighth and the twenty-third of each month (counting from the first day after New Moon). New Moon Day (Amavasya) is that day of the lunar month which begins when the last crescent of the Moon becomes invisible at dawn – for which reason it may accurately be called No Moon Day. The night before this, that is, New Moon’s Eve, is the Sacred Night of Shiva (Shiva Ratri) which is also known as The Fourteenth Day of Shiva (Shiva-Chaturdashi) and The Dark Night of Shiva (Shiva Kalaratri). Fasting during the day and night on this auspicious occasion is particularly meritorious, and is observed for the expiation of sins as well as for acquiring religious merit.

“O Sages! on the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month, one meal only shall be taken (by the devotee). But on the fourteenth, complete fast shall be observed. The fourteenth of the dark half is sure to bring about the propitiation of Lord Shiva”. Shiva Purana

And by the way, Lord Shiva is the lord of yoga…




vrntakam jalisakam kusumbha smantakam tatha
palandu lasunam suklam niryasan caiva varjayet
gRJjanam kinsukan caiva kukundanca tathaiva ca
udumbaram alavun ca jagdhva patati vai dvijah

(Kurma Purana)

One should not eat eggplant, banana leaves, sunflower leaves and asmantaka leaves, onions, garlic. One should not eat sour gruel (a thin watery porridge) or the juice of the tree. One should also give up turnips and beetroots, carrots, kinsuka, forest figs, and white pumpkin. If the twice born persons (twice born mean one that has taken up a spiritual life with proper initiation into it) eat these things, they all become fallen.




palandulasunadini jagddhva candrayanam caret
sraddhe devanpitrnprarcya khadanmamsah na dosabhak

By eating garlic and onion one becomes sinful and as atonement one should perform Candrayana. (Garuda Purana 1.96.72)




Onion, feces-thriving pigs, Selu, garlic, Goplyusa (milk of a cow before the lapse of ten days from calving), Tanduliya (a grain growing in fecal rubbish) and mushrooms— all these are to be avoided. (Skanda Purana 40.9)




The householder taking the rite shall avoid heavy indigestible pulses like Nispava, Masurika etc., stale food, defiled food, brinjals, gourds, cocoa-nuts, garlic, onion, intoxicating beverages and all kinds of meat. (Siva Purana 7.10-12)




He should avoid stalks of lotus, safflower, gold or silver, onion, garlic, sour gruel; so also chatraka (a kind of mushroom), vidvaraha (pork), greasy milk of a cow during the first seven days of calving, vilaya (a particular product of milk) and mushrooms. By eating the small red variety of garlic, blossoms of kimsuka (flame of the forest), so also udumbara (cluster fig), bottle-gourd, a twice-born becomes fallen. (Padma Purana Vol. 42, 4.56.19b -24)




I shall now mention those things that should always be avoided in Sraddha (spiritual rites & ritual). Garlic, onions, globular radish and Karambha (groats or flour mixed with curds), and other articles devoid of smell and with no taste should be avoided in Sraddha. The reason is also mentioned (as follows): Formerly in the fight between devas and asuras, Bali was defeated by suras. From his wounds drops of blood gushed out and from them these articles grew up – hence they are avoided in the Sraddha rite. (Varaha Purana 16.11b-15)





5.5. Garlic, leeks and onions, mushrooms and (all plants), springing from impure (substances), are unfit to be eaten by twice-born men.

5.19. A twice-born man who knowingly eats mushrooms, a village-pig, garlic, a village-cock, onions, or leeks, will become an outcast.



10 thoughts on “Onions and Garlic are not eaten in a yogic diet

  1. Just to be clear, based on what you have written- fasting is especially recommended on Shukla/Krishna paksha Ashtami, Purnima, and Amavasya. One meal is to be taken on Krishna Paksha Trayodashi. Then a complete fast on Krishna Chaturdashi?

    If one is not observing Chandrayana vrata, is the prescription to continue fast into Amavasya?

    • Gia, Thanks for your interest and question. Normal amount of food can be had at the start of the Full Moon phase, the quantity is gradually reduced till the New Moon phase when there is a complete fast. This is the 15th day. From there, the food is gradually increased each day till the Full Moon. It follows the phases of the moon. Pretty easy. Well, not really. Easy to understand, not to follow for most people. The mind is in control for most people, their tongue as well. All is based upon desires. Fasting requires a strong “mind” as well as it is a way to strengthen the control over the mind.

      For fasting in general, the most auspicious days are Full and New Moon, and the eighth, and the twenty-third days or phases of the entire cycle of the moon from Full moon.
      Shiva Ratri, the 14th phase or chaturdashi and of course the main Shiva Ratri (Maha Shivratri falls on a moonless February night in the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the moon) on the 13th night or 14th day of Maagha or Phalguna (February or March)) are also for fasting for the spiritual.

      Ekadashi fasting is also common. This fast is to counter the malefic planetary influences of Mars and also connected to the worship of Hari or Vishnu.

      Why fast? That would be the important question here. If one is hindu, yes, of course. If one has remedies for their astrological chart with fasting on certain days, yes of course. If one is just Westerner and wants to misappropriate another cultures spirituality then no. I would tell them to become a Hindu following the correct initiations and thru the correct channels and to read the proper texts as well as joining a Hindu temple or organization near them and not piece meal anything together like we do in this culture. It is more disrespectful to take pieces of another culture and bastardize them by doing things blindly as well as it disrespects the dieties, not a good thing whether someone believes in them or not.

      There are also special regulations or rules to follow during these fasts and rituals to be performed but in general the main thing to say that if one starts a fast, they must complete it. A vrata is a vow or a promise and is considered to be to oneself as well as god. There are several ways this is done, fasting is just one. Water fast is followed and sometimes even no water even. Others make fruit and water okay to have but i would personally state that this is due to the lack of strength of people to actually follow things complete in this day and age without making their own bias/bendage/breaking of the rules important to satisfy their desires. The rules are normally bent for Westerners at all ashrams and temples or they are just not expected to follow the correct ways. Kinda funny huh that this is expected.

      Hope this clears up things.

  2. Why are some vegetables not used in a “yogic diet”?You have quoted about drumsticks,gourds,brinjals,carrots and beetroots.Can you please explain this?

    • First off, you need to question the standard diet and generally accepted without question dietary knowledge that we have today.
      Who says that vegetables are healthy?
      Qualities, everything comes down to qualities.
      For your answer to your question, go to any of the main three texts of ayurveda and look at the apathya and pathy for each disease. You will see foods to be eaten and foods to be avoided for each disease. This starts to give a person with intellect an idea of the different different qualities and resutls of different foods. You also need to understand each disease for what it is, its qualities and the details. Then you will understand about different foods and what they do and why.
      Understand, this is how ayurveda is taught. It is not listed out in bright neon lights the way everything is in modern era texts. This makes the person actually study and it makes the student learn as well as it make a real doctor that understands the depth of Ayurveda.
      Everything is dynamic and has many levels of depth. There is no constant. Understand the foundations of this and you’ll be able to swim in the dynacism. Almost always, i experience people/patients/students looking for a black and white answer and a list to follow. It does not work this way.
      First off, i would say it is so highly doubtful you are a yogi or even know what that is much less understand the lifestyle. So why would you want to follow a yogi’s diet? Do you have a job? Are you a student running around a college all day? Thats not a yogi. So how does a yogic diet have much to do with anything of what modern world bhogi life has? Does it occur to you that following the diet of a yogi does not actually work in the modern world?
      The vegetables named are because of the qualities of them. For example mustard greens are not to be eaten by a yogi. You explain to me why.

    • You are assuming a lot of things.I was never going to follow a yogi diet.You have written stuff,that I wanted to understand better,that’s all.I have never considered taking lots of vegetables as healthy.Sweet is nourishing so its got to be the predominant taste and everything else in moderation.I assume,yogis take mainly sweet taste as its nourishing and reduces vata and pitta.Bitter and astringent tastes increase vata which disturbs the mind and hence a yogi doesn’t take such foods?So much easier if you simply answered instead of making me speculate based on my limited understanding.

    • Ankit, I wonder, when you contemplate and bang it around in your head, and stir it and crush it, and then come up with what you may, and then present it as a question…. verses asking for a straight answer in which you really does not give you any sort of depth of knowledge on anything…. what you think you get out of each?

    • And further, what does it matter to understand this stuff if you are not applying it? Scholarship? The knowledge is in the application. I reread what I wrote, no assumptions there. Just presenting information to further lead you to understand a larger picture. But I guess that is really not appreciated or wanted in our modern world.

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