Influence of Jain Food on India

Jainisim is governed with the idea of non-violence or ahimsa. This high ideal has had a tremendous influence on India's cuisine resulting in India's glorious vegetarian culture

Jainism is a very evolved philosophy and a very gentle religion. Many Jains have very soft and peaceful souls and very simple lives and they command respect wherever they go. This philosophy was also seen as having many good ideals by ancient India and many of its principles have been naturally incorporated into Hinduism and India's culinary culture.

Jainism takes non violence to a very strict level and respect life at any level including plant life. They make sure that there lifestyle does not cause injury to anyone. Gandhiji has been influenced greatly by this philosophy and in turn influencing Martin Luther King to resort to non violence.

As a result of this the Jain diet consists of grains like wheat, rice, lentils or pulses and beans, oil-seeds are recommended as they fall under the category of non-injurious food. They are yielded only when their plants get dried of their own after their age ends. Fruits and vegetables that become ripe on the plants or branches of trees or those that fall on their own after becoming ripe, are used for food.

Jains are strict vegetarians and many also avoid root vegetables as it is violent to plants. They also avoid any liquor so they can live a mindful life. Other aspects of their food philosophy is that they regularly offer food to poor people, fast on certain days, do not waste any food, drink filtered water and eat after sunrise and before sunset.

In Jain conduct, uneatables are stated to be of five kinds:
Articles involving injury or death of mobile-beings e.g. Meat.
Articles involving injury or death to many creatures
E.g. Root vegetables as they involve destruction of countless one-sensed beings.
Intoxicants e.g. Wine etc.
Articles not worthy of use e.g. Saliva, Stool, and Urine.
DespicableArticles causing harm to the health are uneatables of the fifth category.

Jain ideas can be traced back to the seventh century B.C. in India, though it was Mahavir Jain who formalized the philosophy of what was to be known as Jainism in the sixth century. Mahavira, most likely born around 540 BC, was a Kshatriya of high Licchavi tribal birth. At the age of 30, he renounced family life and proceed to live, for the next 12 years, as an ascetic.

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