Jain vegetarianism

Jain vegetarianism is practiced by the followers of Jain culture and philosophy. It is one of the most rigorous forms of spiritually motivated diet on the Indian subcontinent and beyond. The Jain cuisine is completely vegetarian and also excludes underground vegetables such as potato, garlic, onion etc, to prevent injuring small insects and microorganisms; and also to prevent the entire plant getting uprooted and killed. It is practised by Jain ascetics and lay Jains.[1][2]

Jain objections to the eating of meat, fish and eggs are based on the principle of non-violence (ahimsa, figuratively "non-injuring"). Every act by which a person directly or indirectly supports killing or injury is seen as act of violence (himsa), which creates harmful reaction karma. The aim of ahimsa is to prevent the accumulation of such karma.[3][4] The extent to which this intention is put into effect varies greatly among Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Jains believe nonviolence is the most essential religious duty for everyone (ahinsā paramo dharmaḥ, a statement often inscribed on Jain temples).[5][6][7] It is an indispensable condition for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation,[8] which is the ultimate goal of all Jain activities. Jains share this goal with Hindus and Buddhists, but their approach is particularly rigorous and comprehensive. Their scrupulous and thorough way of applying nonviolence to everyday activities, and especially to food, shapes their entire lives and is the most significant hallmark of Jain identity.[9][10][11][12] A side effect of this strict discipline is the exercise of asceticism, which is strongly encouraged in Jainism for lay people as well as for monks and nuns.[13][14][15] Out of the five types of living beings, a householder is forbidden to kill, or destroy, intentionally, all except the lowest (the one sensed, such as vegetables, herbs, cereals, etc., which are endowed with only the sense of touch).[16]

Jain Vegetarianism Illustration
The food choices of Jains are based on the value of Ahimsa (non-violence), and this makes the Jains to prefer food that inflict the least amount of violence

Practice

  • For Jains, lacto-vegetarianism is mandatory. Food is restricted to that originating from plants, since plants have only one sense ('ekindriya') and are the least developed form of life, and dairy products. Food that contains even the smallest particles of the bodies of dead animals or eggs is unacceptable.[17][18] Some Jain scholars and activists support veganism, as the modern commercialised production of dairy products involves violence against farm animals. In ancient times, dairy animals were well cared for and not killed.[19] According to Jain texts, a śrāvaka (householder) shouldn't consume the four maha-vigai (the four perversions) - wine, flesh, butter and honey; and the five udumbara fruits (the five udumbara trees are Gular, Anjeera, Banyan, Peepal, and Pakar, all belonging to the fig class).[20][21]
  • Jains go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other tiny animals,[22][23][24][25] because they believe that harm caused by carelessness is as reprehensible as harm caused by deliberate action.[26][27][28][29][30] Hence they take great pains to make sure that no minuscule animals are injured by the preparation of their meals and in the process of eating and drinking.[31][32]
  • Traditionally Jains have been prohibited from drinking unfiltered water. In the past, when stepwells were used for the water source, the cloth used for filtering was reversed, and some filtered water poured over it to return the organisms to the original body of water. This practice of jivani or bilchavani is no longer possible because of the use of pipes for water supply. Modern Jains may also filter tap water in the traditional fashion and a few continue to follow the filtering process even with commercial mineral or bottled drinking water.
  • Jains make considerable efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible. Jains only accept such violence in as much as it is indispensable for human survival, and there are special instructions for preventing unnecessary violence against plants.[33][34][35] Strict Jains don’t eat root vegetables such as potatoes, onions, roots and tubers, because such root vegetables are considered ananthkay.[21] Ananthkay means one body, but containing infinite lives. A root vegetable such as potato, though from the looks of it is one article, is said to contain infinite lives in it. Also, tiny life forms are injured when the plant is pulled up and because the bulb is seen as a living being, as it is able to sprout.[36][37][38] Also, consumption of most root vegetables involves uprooting and killing the entire plant, whereas consumption of most terrestrial vegetables doesn't kill the plant (it lives on after plucking the vegetables or it was seasonally supposed to wither away anyway). Green vegetables and fruits contain uncountable, but not infinite, lives. Dry beans, lentils, cereals, nuts and seeds contain a countable number of lives and their consumption results in the least destruction of life.
  • Mushrooms, fungus and yeasts are forbidden because they grow in non-hygienic environments and may harbour other life forms.
  • Honey is forbidden, as its collection would amount to violence against the bees.[39][40][32]
  • Jain texts declare that a śrāvaka (householder) shouldn't cook or eat at night. According to Acharya Amritchandra's Purushartha Siddhyupaya:

And, how can one who eats food without the light of the sun, albeit a lamp may have been lighted, avoid hiṃsā of minute beings which get into food?

— Puruşārthasiddhyupāya (133)[41]
  • Strict Jains do not consume food that has been stored overnight, as it possesses a higher concentration of micro-organisms (for example, bacteria, yeast etc.) as compared to food prepared and consumed the same day. Hence, they do not consume yoghurt or dhokla and idli batter unless they have been freshly set on the same day.
  • During certain days of the month and on important religious days such as Paryushana and 'Ayambil', strict Jains avoid eating green leafy vegetables along with the usual restrictions on root vegetables. Even with these restrictions, Jains have developed a wide-ranging cuisine. Apart from the regular vegetables, plain yeastless fresh bread, lentils and rice (dal chawal - roti), Jains prepare various delicacies.[42]
  • Jains do not consume fermented foods (beer, wine and other alcohols) to avoid killing of a large number of microorganisms associated with the fermenting process.[43] According to Puruṣārthasiddhyupāya:

Wine deludes the mind and a deluded person tends to forget piety; the person who forgets piety commits hiṃsā without hesitation.

Influence on vegetarian cuisines in India

The vegetarian cuisines of some regions of the Indian subcontinent have been strongly influenced by Jainism. These include

In India, vegetarian food is considered appropriate for everyone for all occasions. This makes vegetarian restaurants quite popular. Many vegetarian restaurants and Mishtanna sweet-shops – for example, the legendary Ghantewala sweets of Delhi[46] and Jamna Mithya in Sagar – are run by Jains.

Some restaurants in India serve Jain versions of vegetarian dishes that leave out carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic. A few airlines serve Jain vegetarian dishes[47] upon prior request. Strict Jain cuisine excludes other root vegetables like carrots, beetroot, potatoes.[48]

Historical background

When Mahavira revived and reorganized the Jain community in the 6th century BCE, ahimsa was already an established, strictly observed rule.[49][50] Parshvanatha, a tirthankara whom modern Western historians consider a historical figure,[51][52] lived in about the 8th century BCE[53][54] and founded a community to which Mahavira’s parents belonged.[55][56] Parshvanatha’s followers vowed to observe ahimsa; this obligation was part of their caujjama dhamma (Fourfold Restraint).[57][58][59][52]

In the times of Mahavira and in the following centuries, Jains criticized Buddhists and followers of the Vedic religion or Hindus for negligence and inconsistency in the implementation of ahimsa. In particular, they strongly objected to the Vedic tradition of animal sacrifice with subsequent meat-eating, and to hunting.[5][60][61][62][63][64]

According to the famous Tamil classic, Tirukkuṛaḷ, which is also considered a Jain work by some scholars:

If the world did not purchase and consume meat, no one would slaughter and offer meat for sale. (Kural 256)[65]

Some Brahmins—Kashmiri Pandits, Bengali Brahmins and Saraswat Brahmins—have traditionally eaten meat (primarily seafood). However, in regions with strong Jain influence such as Rajasthan and Gujarat, or strong Jain influence in the past such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Brahmins are strict vegetarians. Bal Gangadhar Tilak has described Jainism as the originator of ahimsa. He wrote in a letter:

In ancient times, innumerable animals were butchered in sacrifices. Evidence in support of this is found in various poetic compositions such as the Meghaduta. But the credit for the disappearance of this terrible massacre from the Brahminical religion goes to Jainism.[66]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ "An eggplant (aubergine) dish that's fit for a king!".
  2. ^ Natubhai Shah 2004, p. 249.
  3. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 26-30.
  4. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 191-195.
  5. ^ a b Dundas 2002, p. 160.
  6. ^ Wiley 2006, p. 438.
  7. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 153-154.
  8. ^ Hemacandra, Yogashastra 2.31.
  9. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 154-160.
  10. ^ Jindal 1988, p. 74-90.
  11. ^ Tähtinen 1976, p. 110.
  12. ^ Dundas 2002, pp. 176-177.
  13. ^ Dundas 2002, pp. 187-192.
  14. ^ Dundas 2002, pp. 199-200.
  15. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 153-159.
  16. ^ Champat Rai Jain 1917, p. 79.
  17. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 166-169.
  18. ^ Tähtinen 1976, p. 37.
  19. ^ The Routledge handbook of religion and animal ethics. Linzey, Andrew,. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN 9780429489846. OCLC 1056109566.CS1 maint: others (link)
  20. ^ Vijay K. Jain 2012, p. 44.
  21. ^ a b "Mahavir Jayanti 2017: A beginner's a guide to Jain food", NDTV, 9 April 2017
  22. ^ Jindal 1988, p. 89.
  23. ^ Laidlaw 1995, p. 54.
  24. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 154-155.
  25. ^ Laidlaw 1995, p. 180.
  26. ^ Sutrakrtangasutram 1.8.3
  27. ^ Uttaradhyayanasutra 10
  28. ^ Tattvarthasutra 7.8
  29. ^ Dundas 2002, pp. 161-162.
  30. ^ Granoff 1992, pp. 32-35.
  31. ^ Sangave 1980, pp. 260-261.
  32. ^ a b Tähtinen 1976, p. 109.
  33. ^ Lodha 1990, pp. 137-141.
  34. ^ Tähtinen 1976, p. 105.
  35. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 106.
  36. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 156-157.
  37. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 167-170.
  38. ^ Sangave 1980, p. 260.
  39. ^ Hemacandra: Yogashastra 3.37
  40. ^ Laidlaw 1995, pp. 166-167.
  41. ^ Vijay K. Jain 2012, p. 86.
  42. ^ "The Ultimate Guide to Jain Recipes for Paryushan - Your Veg Recipe". yourvegrecipe.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  43. ^ "Mahavir Jayanti 2015: The importance of a Satvik meal", NDTV, 2 April 2015, archived from the original on 4 April 2016
  44. ^ Vijay K. Jain 2012, p. 45.
  45. ^ "Catering to Jain palate". The Hindu. 30 June 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  46. ^ "A royal treat in Chandni Chowk", Hinduonnet.com, 7 November 2002
  47. ^ "Air Travel Vegetarian Style". Happycow.net. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  48. ^ "Jain recipes". Tarladalal.com.
  49. ^ Goyal 1987, pp. 83-85.
  50. ^ Chatterjee 2000, p. 14.
  51. ^ Dundas 2002, pp. 19, 30.
  52. ^ a b Tähtinen 1976, p. 132.
  53. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 30.
  54. ^ Chatterjee 2000, p. 15.
  55. ^ Acaranga Sutra 2.15
  56. ^ Chatterjee 2000, pp. 20-21.
  57. ^ Sthananga Sutra 266
  58. ^ Goyal 1987, pp. 83-84.
  59. ^ Goyal 1987, p. 103.
  60. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 234.
  61. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 241.
  62. ^ Wiley 2006, p. 448.
  63. ^ Granoff 1992, pp. 1-43.
  64. ^ Tähtinen 1976, pp. 8-9.
  65. ^ Tiruvaḷḷuvar 2000.
  66. ^ Bombay Samachar, Mumbai:10 Dec, 1904

Sources

Buddhism and Jainism

Jainism and Buddhism are two ancient Indian religions that developed in Magadha (Bihar region) and continue to thrive in the modern times. Mahavira and Gautama Buddha are generally accepted as contemporaries (circa 5th century BCE). Jainism and Buddhism share many features, terminology and ethical principles, but emphasize them differently. Both are śramaṇa ascetic traditions that believe it is possible to attain liberation from the cycle of rebirths and deaths (samsara) through spiritual and ethical disciplines. They differ in some core doctrines such as those on asceticism, Middle Way versus Anekantavada, and self versus no-self (jiva, atta, anatta).

Buddhist vegetarianism

Buddhist vegetarianism is the belief that following a vegetarian diet is implied in the Buddha's teaching. In Buddhism, however, the views on vegetarianism vary between different schools of thought. According to Theravada, the Buddha allowed his monks to eat pork, chicken and fish if the monk was aware that the animal was not killed on their behalf. The Mahayana schools generally recommend a vegetarian diet; according to some sutras the Buddha himself insisted that his followers should not eat the flesh of any sentient being. Monks of the Mahayana traditions that follow the Brahma Net Sutra are forbidden by their vows from eating flesh of any kind.

Fasting in Jainism

Fasting is very common among Jains and as a part of festivals. Most Jains fast at special times, during festivals, and on holy days. Paryushan is the most prominent festival, lasting eight days in Svetambara Jain tradition and ten days in Digambar Jain tradition during the monsoon. The monsoon is a time of fasting. However, a Jain may fast at any time, especially if he or she feels some error has been committed. Variations in fasts encourage Jains to do whatever they can to maintain whatever self control is possible for the individual. According to Jain texts, abstaining from the pleasures of the five senses such as sounds and dwelling in the self in deep concentration is fasting (upavāsa).

Fruitarianism

Fruitarianism () is a subset of dietary veganism that consists entirely or primarily of fruits in the botanical sense, and possibly nuts and seeds, but without animal products. A fruitarian diet attracts criticisms and health concerns for those that follow the lifestyle.

Fruitarianism may be adopted for different reasons, including ethical, religious, environmental, cultural, economic, and health. There are several varieties of the diet. Some people with a diet consisting of 75% or more fruit consider themselves fruitarians.

Gujarati cuisine

Gujarati cuisine is that of the state of Gujarat, in western India.

The typical Gujarati thali consists of rotli, dal or kadhi, rice, and shaak/sabzi (a dish made up of several different combinations of vegetables and spices, which may be either spicy or sweet). The thali will also include preparations made from pulses or whole beans (called kathor in Gujarati) such as mung, black eyed beans etc., a snack item (farsaan) like dhokla, pathra, samosa etc. and a sweet (mishthaan) like mohanthal, jalebi, doodh pak etc. Gujarati cuisine varies widely in flavour and heat, depending on a family's tastes as well as the region of Gujarat to which they belong. North Gujarat, Kathiawad, Kachchh, Central Gujarat and South Gujarat are the five major regions of Gujarat that contribute their unique touch to Gujarati cuisine. Many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy simultaneously.

Despite having an extensive coastline providing wholesome seafood, Gujarat is primarily a vegetarian state due to the influence of Jain vegetarianism. Many communities, however, do include seafood, chicken and mutton in their diet.

History of Indian cuisine

The history of Indian cuisine consists of cuisine from the Indian subcontinent, which is rich and diverse. As a land that has experienced extensive immigration and intermingling through many millennia, the Indian subcontinent has benefited from numerous food influences. The diverse climate in the region, ranging from deep tropical to alpine, has also helped considerably broaden the set of ingredients readily available to the many schools of cookery in India. In many cases, food has become a marker of religious and social identity, with varying taboos and preferences (for instance, a segment of the Jain population consume no roots or subterranean vegetable; see Jain vegetarianism) which has also driven these groups to innovate extensively with the food sources that are deemed acceptable.

One strong influence over Indian foods is the longstanding vegetarianism within sections of India's Hindu and Jain communities. At 31%, slightly less than a third of Indians are vegetarians.

History of vegetarianism

The earliest records of vegetarianism as a concept and practice amongst a significant number of people are from ancient India and the ancient Greek civilizations in southern Italy and Greece. In both instances, the diet was closely connected with the idea of nonviolence toward animals (called ahimsa in India), and was promoted by religious groups and philosophers.Following the Christianization of the Roman Empire in late antiquity (4th–6th centuries), vegetarianism nearly disappeared from Europe. Several orders of monks in medieval Europe restricted or banned the consumption of meat for ascetic reasons, but none of them abstained from the consumption of fish; these monks were not vegetarians, but some were pescetarians. Vegetarianism was to reemerge somewhat in Europe during the Renaissance and became a more widespread practice during the 19th and 20th centuries. The figures for the percentage of the Western world which is vegetarian varies between 0.5% and 4% per Mintel data in September 2006.

Index of Sri Lanka-related articles (J)

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Indian cuisine

Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religion, in particular Hindu, cultural choices and traditions. The cuisine is also influenced by centuries of Islamic rule, particularly the Mughal rule. Samosas and pilafs can be regarded as examples.Historical events such as foreign invasions, trade relations, and colonialism have played a role in introducing certain foods to this country. The Columbian discovery of the New World brought a number of new vegetables and fruit to India. A number of these such as the potato, tomatoes, chillies, peanuts, and Guava have become staples in many regions of India. Indian cuisine has shaped the history of international relations; the spice trade between India and Europe was the primary catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia. Indian cuisine has influenced other cuisines across the world, especially those from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, the British Isles, Fiji, and the Caribbean.

Jain temple, Alleppey

The Jain Temple in Alleppey is a place of worship for Jains in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It was important in the growth of Jainism in South India. It is situated at the Northeast side of the Muppalam at the famous Gujarati Street in Alleppey town.

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animals processed for food.Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, as well as animal rights advocacy. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference. There are variations of the diet as well: an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs. A strict vegetarian diet – referred to as vegan – excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy. Avoidance of animal products may require dietary supplements to prevent deficiencies such as vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to pernicious anemia.Packaged and processed foods, such as cakes, cookies, candies, chocolate, yogurt, and marshmallows, often contain unfamiliar animal ingredients, and so may be a special concern for vegetarians due to the likelihood of such additives. Feelings among vegetarians may vary concerning these ingredients. Some vegetarians scrutinize product labels for animal-derived ingredients while others do not object to consuming cheese made with animal-derived rennet. Some vegetarians are unaware of animal-derived rennet being used in the production of cheese.Semi-vegetarian diets consist largely of vegetarian foods but may include fish or poultry, or sometimes other meats, on an infrequent basis. Those with diets containing fish or poultry may define meat only as mammalian flesh and may identify with vegetarianism. A pescetarian diet has been described as "fish but no other meat". The common-use association between such diets and vegetarianism has led vegetarian groups such as the Vegetarian Society to state that diets containing these ingredients are not vegetarian, because fish and birds are also animals.

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