The Spiritual Significance of Garlic and Onion in Hindu and Sikh Practices

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The Role of Garlic and Onion in Hinduism

Garlic and onion hold a unique position in Hindu dietary customs, especially concerning religious observances and pooja (worship). These vegetables are often excluded from offerings and meals prepared for deities. The rationale behind this restriction is rooted in the principles outlined in Hindu scriptures and the teachings of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

Scriptural References and Teachings

According to a part of Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 3, Verse 14, it says, “Annad bhavanti bhutani “ which means food that we eat becomes us. This means all living creatures originate from food.

The mind the controlling agent of life, is strongly affected by the condition of the body. Spiritual people have to be very careful of the food they eat.

Now according to Ayurveda, onion and garlic are considered tamasic and rajasic and are pungent in taste. they can cause aggression, anxiety, overstimulation of senses, etc. Thus in Ayurveda, it is believed to live a healthy and nourished life by avoiding such tamasic and rajasic food items.

Sattvic food is the purest diet, the most suitable one for any serious yogi, or spirituals. That is why it has religious values.

Ayurveda considers onions and garlic as medicines after recognizing their benefits mainly as blood purifiers.

Garlic and onion are classified as tamasic (impure) foods, believed to increase passion and ignorance. Their pungent nature is thought to disturb the mind’s tranquility, making them unsuitable for worship and meditation. Other Hindu texts and guidelines also echo similar sentiments, advising followers to avoid these foods to maintain spiritual discipline.

Garlic and Onion in Sikhism

In Sikhism, dietary restrictions are not as stringent as in Hinduism. Sikh teachings, as outlined in the Guru Granth Sahib, focus more on the moral and ethical aspects of life rather than specific food prohibitions. However, some Sikh communities might choose to avoid garlic and onion for personal or cultural reasons, but there is no explicit religious directive mandating their exclusion.


The exclusion of garlic and onion in certain Hindu practices is deeply intertwined with the quest for spiritual purity and mental clarity, as taught by Hindu scriptures. In contrast, Sikhism does not impose strict dietary restrictions, allowing for a more flexible approach to food choices. Understanding these nuances helps us appreciate the diverse ways in which different religious traditions approach dietary practices.

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