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Health, travel, environment and other related topics. Tips and tricks for keeping your body in shape for spiritual life. Taking care of your health while traveling in India.

On different kinds of carrots - What's what?

Madhava - Mon, 30 Aug 2004 22:03:14 +0530
As you know, carrots are frequently listed among the veggies not to be used, along with onions and so forth. The list in Hari-bhakti-vilasa lists several very specifig vegs, such as some brands of pumpkin, while allowing other brands of pumpkin.

I cannot help but notice that the carrots I've seen in India are of a rather different shape (more sharp, pointed end, a bit more triangular shape) and color (more bloody red than orange), which leaves me wondering if the orange carrots we get are in fact the same thing. So, a bit of research is in place.

According to Wikipedia, carrots come in three varieties, namely purple, orange and white. Here's a picture with some different brands, the middle variety looks like the color I see in Vraja, while the carrots on the right side are the ones we commonly get in the West.

Also, quoting:

1. Eastern/Asiatic carrots - These are often called anthocyanin carrots because of their purple roots, although some have yellow roots. They have pubescent leaves giving them a grey-green colour and bolt easily. They have slightly dissected leaves, with branched roots and are an annual plant.The greatest diversity of these carrots is found in Afghanistan, Russia, Iran and India. These are the possible centres of domestication which took place around the 10th century. These types of carrot are still under cultivation in Asia, but are being rapidly replaced by orange rooted Western varieties. (Purple carrots are making a comeback.)

They are identified as purple carrots, as separate from:

2. Western or Carotene Carrots - These have orange, red or white roots. It is most likely these carrots derived from the first group by selection among hybrid progenies of yellow Eastern carrots, white carrots and wild subspecies grown in the Mediterranean. the first two originated by mutation. These have strongly dissected leaves, the roots are unbranched and they have a bright green, sparsely hairy foliage and are biennial. These carrots may have originated in Turkey.

That aside, I am also wondering the origin of the carrot restriction. It is not in fact listed in Hari-bhakti-vilasa. HBV 8.159 mentions gR˝ja, but dictionary does not consider it synonymous with gajar, the common word for a carrot. Monier-Williams translates gR˝ja as "name of a plant", while gR˝jana is "a kind of onion or garlic or a small red variety of it (prohibited as food)".

There is supposedly a story in some Purana about the origin of carrots, onions, garlic, fish and red lentils. The story about a a sage and his wife runs as follows:

The sage was about to perform a gomedha-yajna, and in the morning, a cow was slain, which was to be rejuvenated in the evening time. However, the wife of the sage, weak as she was, since the couple lived in the forest on fruits and roots, cut a piece from the cow and cooked it. However, she was unable to eat it, and threw the flesh away.

In the evening, as the cow was given a new life, different parts of the flesh also turned back to life. A part of the flesh that landed on the ground became garlic, the second part that landed in the water became fish, the blood that fell on the ground became red lentils (masura), the skin became onions and the bone became carrots. Therefore all of them are considered unfit for eating.

However I have no idea where the story is from.

Does anyone have any further insights into the matter?
Madhava - Mon, 30 Aug 2004 22:16:12 +0530
I should add that the Indian variety looks creepy. smile.gif

A fellow Vaishnava once commented it looks like one of those things you use for stabbing the heart of a vampire...
Satyabhama - Mon, 30 Aug 2004 22:55:56 +0530
I should add that the Indian variety looks creepy.

That is absolutely right! It looks a bit, well... meaty.
Madan Gopal - Mon, 30 Aug 2004 23:02:52 +0530
Once while travelling with Lokanath Swami on the road from Vraja to Delhi we stopped and bought "gajar-masala" from a street vendor. It was a raw carrot (the big vampire stake variety) cut with a wedge down the middle. Sprinkled inside was a type of masala mix - black salt, maybe some amchur, black pepper, cumin powder. It was quite tasty and very refreshing. I like carrots. It's a bummer they get a bad rap in HBV.

What is/why the restriction on eggplant? I can't stand it anyway, but was wondering. Garlic and onions seem like the most understandable food restriction.
Keshava - Tue, 31 Aug 2004 14:01:17 +0530
What is/why the restriction on eggplant?

Eggplant is called Baigun. Someone suggested that this word comes from the Sanskrit Vai Guna or without qualties, ie useless. Eggplant is baically a sponge, if you fry it and fill it with ghee it becomes tasty but try boiling or steaming it, YUCK, it has no flavor of its own. Useless.

The only way I like eggplant is fried or mixed with lots of spices (baigun bharta). In either case ti is not the eggplant that tastes good but what it is mixed with (ghee and spices).

It is useful for thinkening things like wet subjis and dhal, soups.
Madhava - Tue, 31 Aug 2004 18:18:47 +0530
QUOTE (Madan Gopal @ Aug 30 2004, 07:32 PM)
What is/why the restriction on eggplant?á I can't stand it anyway, but was wondering.á Garlic and onions seem like the most understandable food restriction.

HBV frequently calls it vRnta. From the eight chapter:

athAbhakSyANi -

kaurme -
vRntAkaM jAlikA-zAkaM kusumbhAzmantakaM tathA |
palANDuM lazunaM zuklam niryAsaM caiva varjayet ||158||

Now, the inedible:

In the Kurma-purana: "One should avoid eggplant, plantain, safflower, azmantaka (a kind of grass), onion, garlic, sour cereal and the sap of trees."

na bhakSayati vRntAkaM tasya dUrataro hariH ||161||

"Eat not the eggplant, lest Hari stay far away from you!"

A draft I have from ISKCON features the following as 162, replacing the verse in the GGM edition:

vArtAkuM bRhatIM caiva dagdham annaM masUrakam |
yasyodare pravarteta tasya dUrataro hariH ||162||

"Hari is far removed from the one who holds in his stomach eggplant, bRhatI (?), burned grains or masura-dal."

And on we go:

yatra madyaM tathA mAMsam tathA vRntAka-mUlake |
nivedayen naiva tatra harer aikAntikI ratiH ||164||

"Only he, who lacks focused love for Hari, will offer wine, meat or eggplant to him."

The other restricted items are:

gRJjanaM kiMzukaM caiva kukuNDaM ca tathaiva ca |
uDumbaram alAbuM ca jagdhvA patati vai dvijaH ||159||

"The twice-born, who eat small red onions, kimzuka-fruits, kukuNDa (a kind of fish?) ficus-fruits and gourd pumpkin, will become fallen.

bhuJjItoddhRta-sArANi na kadAcin narezvara ||160||

"O king, one should never eat udhRta-sAra (?)."

The next verse, like 162, isn't there in the GGM edition:

alAvuM bhakSayed yas tu dagdham annaM kalambikAm |
sa nirlajjaH kathaM brUte pUjayAmi janArdanam ||163||

"How can a shameless person, who eats, alAvu (?), burnt grains and lady's nightcap (the plant!), proclaim: 'I worship Janardana.'?"

That's the list there. Some of the plants are a bit hard to decipher. If Keshava or others can help me out, you're most welcome. Eggplant seems by far to be the best represented plant there.

Here's some interesting information about the toxin qualities in eggplant.
Madhava - Tue, 31 Aug 2004 18:23:03 +0530
8.162-163 in the GGM edition read:

kiM cAnyatra-
dorbhyAM pAdbhyAM ca jAnubhyAm urasA zirasA dRzA |
manasA vacasA ceti praNAmo'STAGga IritaH || 162 ||
jAnubhyAm caiva bAhubhyAM zirasA vacasA dhiyA |
paJcAGgakaH praNAmaH syAt pUjAsu pravarAv imau || 163 ||

They seem a bit out of context there, as far as I can see. They are also repeated verbatim as 8.360-361 - a place where they seem to fit better. Would you look this up, Jagat?
Jagat - Tue, 31 Aug 2004 18:55:40 +0530
Correct text here is as follows--

vArtAkuM bRhatIM caiva dagdham annaM masUrakam |
yasyodare pravarteta sasya dUrataro hariH ||163||

kiM caŚ
alAvuM bhakSayed yas tu dagdham annaM kalambikAm |
sa nirlajjaH kathaM dhrUte pUjayAmi janArdanam ||164||

Probably the result of numbering differences in different editions. One of these days I am going to have to probably overhaul the entire GGM. Probably half the files have been updated or corrected to some degree or another.

Currently, in the time I put into it, I am working on Bhagavata, which means that the Sandarbhas are being revised and corrected. But it will be a while before that project is completed. I forget my estimate for the size of the Bhagavatam, somewhere around 40 MB.
Talasiga - Tue, 31 Aug 2004 19:55:59 +0530
There is a greater rot than the one in a carrot. It is the rot of superstition. Carrots, particularly raw carrots are a healing food. Sweet, juicy, sattwic. This is my experience and that of many including professional healers. Thousands of people are assisted in the healing of cancers and other diseases by eating carrots and drinking its rasa.

Of course, from a socio-anthropological view, it would be interesting to ascertain whether the Puranas do, in fact, condemn the carrot. Materially healthy but spiritually perilous? I hardly think so. Do you think Hari is frightened by carrots?

There is no good reason why Christian vegetarians should have an easier time than devotees of Braj Krishna. Or is there?

Study the Puranas but read from Life.

Yours truly.
Lower than a Carrot,

Madhava - Tue, 31 Aug 2004 20:09:35 +0530
Jagat, the verse numbers should be 162-163 I believe.

Does anyone know instances in the Puranas where carrot would be mentioned? As I said, it is in fact not mentioned in HBV, though one file being circulated translates gri˝jana as carrots.

The restriction on carrots is there also in most Gaudiya Maths. I mentioned the restriction on carrots to one Ayurvedic doctor, Vishnu Gupta at the crossroads of Bhankandi Mahadev I believe (the sign says Narottam Lal Gupta), and was surprised to note how surprised he was at hearing this. Of course he then eulogized the health benefits of carrots.
Madhava - Tue, 31 Aug 2004 20:12:02 +0530
All things considered, it would be interesting to drill down to the bottom of all these injunctions and figure out the reason for each no-no. And I don't just mean an it's tamasic prabhu.
Talasiga - Mon, 20 Sep 2004 06:36:21 +0530
QUOTE (Madhava @ Aug 31 2004, 02:42 PM)
All things considered, it would be interesting to drill down to the bottom of all these injunctions and figure out the reason for each no-no. And I don't just mean an it's tamasic prabhu.

There is another approach to investigation:-

1. Eat raw juicy fruits and vegetables for 3 days, drink lots of carrot juice.
2. Follow with 24 hour water and carrot juice fast
3. Break fast on grated carrot, with coriander and lemon juice and eat raw juicy fruits and vegetables for next 3 days. Drink lots of carrot juice.

Perform your usual bhajan/sadhana during this time. Keep a diary. tell us what happens.

1. Juicy fruits does not include bananas, dates and other dried fruits.
2. Do not take lots of carrot juice if your liver is cirrhotic unless guided by a therapist.
3. lots of carrot juice means at least 2 litres in divided doses. Use only organically grown produce. Any variety of carrot is acceptable..
4. A little beetroot and celery juice may be added.
5. Nothing else to be taken. This includes mineral salt, sea, rock or therwise. No mineral salt during this period.

Good luck and bon sante .......

nabadip - Sun, 24 Oct 2004 20:12:01 +0530
Did you all get the answer to this burning question?

I met once a Jain person who told me that Jains do not take any root-plants because of the involved killing and eating of many beings living in them. In fact, carrots are infested by little worms, which is especially true with organic carrots. I wonder which other roots were eaten in the past when Hari-bhakti-vilas was compiled (potato was certainly not present yet) What about Yam? Carrot is also heavily pitta.

Bengalis eat a lot of the white, long radhish, a delicacy to them... any injunctions against that?
Madhava - Sun, 24 Oct 2004 22:06:10 +0530
QUOTE(nabadip @ Oct 24 2004, 03:42 PM)
Did you all get the answer to this burning question?

I'm afraid not.

Bengalis eat a lot of the white,á long radhish, a delicacy to them... any injunctions against that?

What's the local name for it?
Advitiya - Mon, 25 Oct 2004 20:22:01 +0530
mUlI in Hindi; mUlA (Bengali, sAdhu bhASA) or mUlo in (Bengali, calit(a) bhASA or calti bhASA).
JD33 - Tue, 26 Oct 2004 00:15:43 +0530
Eggplant is from a toxic night-shade family of plants I believe. I always get real tired after eating eggplant and I do not like the tiredness i feel. some people believe that eating night-shade plants (potatoes included) are toxic and kill you slowly - over many years. Interesting!