The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes do’s and don’t’s in eating which is chapter 56 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the fifty-sixth chapter of the Svarga-khanda (section on the heavens) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 56 - Do’s and Don’t’s in Eating

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:

1-3. A twice-born should not eat the food of a śūdra through infatuation or longing. He who eats it when it is not a time of distress, is reborn as a śūdra. That twice-born who eats the condemned food of a śūdra for six months, becomes a śūdra even when alive, and after death is born as a dog. O best sages, a man who dies with the food of a brāhmaṇa, or a kṣatriya or a vaiśya or a śūdra in his belly, would get his birth (i. e. would be born as a brāhmaṇa etc.).

4-15. He should avoid the six (kinds of) food: the food of a king, the food of a dancer, the food of a eunuch, the food of shoe-makers, the food prepared for a number of persons in common, the food of a courtesan. He should avoid the food of an oilman, a washerman, a thief, a distiller, so also the food of a singer, a blacksmith, and food (impure due to) a dead person. (He should avoid) the food of a potter or a painter, and of a usurer, or a fallen person, so also of the son of a remarried widow, of the bearer of an umbrella, so also of one who is cursed, so also of a goldsmith, an actor, a hunter, a barren woman and of one who is afflicted; so also (he should avoid) the food of a physician, an unchaste woman and a staff-bearer. (He should avoid) the food of a thief, an atheist, of one who censures deities, of a seller of water, and especially of a cāṇḍāla. (He should avoid) the food of him who is subdued by his wife, or of him whose (wife’s) paramour lives in his house; so also (the food) of him who is abandoned, who is a raiser, so also of him who eats the remains of the food (eaten by others). (He should avoid) the food of a sinner, the food prepared for a number of people living together, and also the food of a professional soldier. (He should avoid) the food of a frightened person, of a person who is weeping, and food which is inferior and wasted. (He should avoid) the food of him who hates brāhmaṇas (or the Vedas), who takes delight in (committing) sins, so also the food prepared for a śrāddha ceremony, or (for a rite in honour) of the dead, or food that is prepared without any need, so also food (that is impure) due to a corpse or the food of an afflicted person. (He should avoid) the food of women having no children, so also of an ungrateful man; (he should) especially (avoid) the food of an artisan and also of a dealer in arms. (He should avoid) the food of him who is addicted to liquor, a bell-ringer, so also of physicians; the food of the offspring of a learned man, so also that of the younger brother who has married before his elder brother. (He should) especially (avoid) the food of a widow who is remarried, so also of the husband of a woman who is married twice. (He should avoid) the food that is despised, rejected and (that is prepared) through anger or doubt. He should not even eat his preceptor’s food which is not purified. All the wicked deeds of a man are settled in his food.

16-19a. He who eats the food of him (i.e. of a man), eats his sin. A friend who is a half-caste man, or of a low family, a cowherd, a porter, a barber, should be given food among (i.e. along with) śūdras; so also the person who declares himself. A bard, a potter, a peasant should be fed with the śūdras by a wise man noticing (their) little merit. Rice boiled in milk, so also (food) cooked in oil, curds (or butter-milk), barley-meal, oil-cakes, and oil should be accepted by the twice-born from śūdras.

19b-24. (But) he should avoid egg-plant, stalks of lotuses, safflower, gold or silver, onion, garlic, sour gruel, a thick fluid substance; so also chatraka (a kind of mushroom), vidvarāha, 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 kiṃśuka, a gourd, so also udumbara, bottle-gourd, a twice-born becomes fallen. He should also avoid kṛsara, cakes of wheat flour, and milky cakes, flesh (of a beast) not killed at a sacrifice, so also food prepared for deities and oblations, sour gruel, citron fruit, so also fish not killed at a rite; so also he should carefully avoid kadamba-flowers, wood-apple, figs; so also oil-cakes with oil taken out, and the grains offered to gods.

25-29a. At night he should carefully avoid curds with sesamum. He should not eat butter-milk with milk; he should not use prohibited food. He should avoid food impaired by worms, by thoughts, and having contact with earth; he should always avoid food spoiled by worms and insects and (prepared) by a friend with suffering. He should avoid food smelt by a dog, recooked food and food seen by a cāṇḍāla; so also smelt by a woman in her menses, by the fallen ones or by a cow. He should always avoid the food that is not (properly) collected, stale and scattered; so also food that is touched by crows and cocks and containing worms; so also the food that is smelt even by human beings and touched by a leper.

29b-31a. He should not accept food given by a woman during the menses, an unchaste or a diseased woman, or by one who has put on a dirty garment. He should also avoid (using) another person’s garment. Manu has said that the milk of a cow with no calf or a she-goat with a kid not more than ten days old, or of a sheep or a cow who has just taken the bull is not fit for drinking.

31b-46. He should not eat (the flesh of) a crane, a swan, a gallinule, a sparrow, a parrot, so also an osprey, a patridge, a goose, a cuckoo, crows, wagtails, a hawk, a vulture, so also an owl, a ruddy goose, a vulture (or a cock), a pigeon, a dove, a ṭiṭṭibha bird, a domestic cock, a lion, a tiger, a cat, a dog, a pig, a fox, a monkey and a donkey. He should not eat (the flesh of) serpents, deer, peacocks, aquatic animals, land-going animals. This is a settled rule. O best ones, Prajāpati Manu has said that these animals with five claws may be always eaten: alligator, tortoise, hare, rhinoceros, porcupine. He may also eat fish with scales, and the flesh of (the deer called) ruru after having presented them to deities and brāhmaṇas, and not otherwise. O best brāhmaṇas, so also (the flesh of) a peacock, a patridge, a pigeon, a cātaka, rhinoceros, a crane, a swan. Thus said Prajāpati (Manu). These fish, viz. (the glittering fish) śapharī, siṃhatuṇḍa, paṭhīna and rohita are directed as fit to be eaten. With a desire (to retain the status) as a twice-born he should eat the flesh of these after it is sprinkled over; even if he is about to lose his life he should duly use it. He should not at all eat flesh. He who eats what remains, is not smeared (with sin). If he is weak, he should eat flesh as medicine, or by an order or for sacrificial purposes. He, who would give up flesh when invited at a śrāddha or a rite in honour of a deity, goes to (i.e. lives) in hell for as many years as the number of hair of the beast. The settled (rule) is that the twice-born should not give or drink or touch or see liquor. Therefore with all efforts he should always avoid liquor. Having drunk it he falls from his rites and would be unfit to be talked to. As long as a twice-born eats and drinks what is prohibited for eating or drinking and does not cast them down, he does not become entitled (to respect etc.). Therefore, a twice-born should, with effort, always avoid articles prohibited for eating and drinking. If he does (persist in eating or drinking) them, he goes to Raurava (hell).

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