Vegetarian Food and Jain Conduct - Minimise Suffering Even Amongst One-Sensed Beings
MINIMISE SUFFERING EVEN AMONGST ONE-SENSED BEINGS
The basic foundation of the science of Jain food is non-violence. First of all we
should take only such food which is fully non-injurious. If living is not possible
by taking fully non-injurious food or we may not be able to adopt it, then we
should take such food which involves least possible injury. The question of killing
five-sensed beings for food does not arise at all; we should avoid even injury to
all mobile-beings also. It is necessary to avoid destruction of even one-sensed beings
as far as possible. Jain-food-conduct has been determined keeping all these things
First of all the use of cereals like wheat, rice etc., pulses like gram etc. and
oil-seeds etc. has been advised, because these are fully non-injurious food. Amongst
the one-sensed beings, particularly bodies of Jivas having vegetative-body only
are being used in food. Cereals, oil-seeds and pulses are produced only when their
plants get dried of their own after their age ends. If green plants are cut, then the
cereals too will not be produced in right state. Their drying in the standing form in
the fields is necessary. Therefore, cereals, pulses and oil-seeds are fully
Although wheat etc. are fully inanimate even then they grow on being sown, but rice
is better than these; because if the husk is removed it will not grow even after sowing
also. This is the reason it is used in the worship of God also.
Non-germinated cereals, rice, pulses and oil-seeds, devoid of ants and worms, is
the best vegetarian-food. These include dry-fruits also. After these, in sequence,
the fruits which become ripe on the branches of trees or those fallen from trees of
their own after becoming ripe, are to be considered, because in taking them also as
food no anguish is caused to any creatures or insects.
Here one question is possible and it is that fruits are as harmless as are wheat
etc. why then their order comes after cereals ?
The reason is that ripen fruits are wet being juicy. Therefore, there remains the
possibility of fast germination of mobile-beings in them. This is the reason why
these are not accepted as harmless as are cereals. After these, in sequence,
vegetables are considered, because vegetables are definitely in green form only.
(See * NOTE * Below)
These are plucked from trees and plants in living (sa-chet) state only and by plucking these that tree or plant is definitely anguished.
The roots of trees or plants which are known as tuber-roots (vegetables grown
underground) are totally forbidden as uneatables, because the up-rooting of the roots
definitely results in the de-struction of plants and trees. Vegetables growing
underground are the depository of countless very small creatures. Due to this reason
also these are uneatables.
In Jain-conduct, uneatables are stated to be of five kinds :-
Those articles which involve destruction of mobile-beings, such meat, etc. are
uneatables of the first kind. Articles which involve destruction of many
one-sensed beings, such tuber-rooted vege-tables are uneatables of the second
kind. Those articles which intoxicate the users such wine, etc. are uneatables of
the third kind. Articles whose use is censurable in society and which are unworthy of
use by good people, for example, salvia, stool, urine, etc. are uneatables of the
fourth type. Articles causing harm to the health are uneatables of the fifth category,
for example, sugar, etc., sweet articles for people suffering from the diabetes.
- Articles involving injury or death of mobile-beings
- Articles involving death or injury to many creatures
- Articles not worthy of use and
The reality of Jain-food becomes very clear by the above categorisation of uneatables
and this too becomes well known that the basis of Jain-food is non-injury.
Here a possible question to be raised is about the relationship between deprecable
uneatables and injury - non-injury, because in the case of a sugar patient, such
sweet articles too are uneatables in which not the least injury is involved.
The answer is that the use of such articles which are harmful for health is not
possible in the absence of intense passion. It is very well known to all that in Jain
scriptures passionate disposition is termed as dispositional injury. Therefore, in
the uneatables of the depreciable type physical injury may not even be involved,
but assuredly dispositional injury is there. From one angle it involves even
physical injury because though it may not involve destruction of material vitalities
of other creature, but being harmful to health, ones own material vitalities are
invariably destroyed. Causing of agony too is partial destruction.
* NOTE *:- Original book says "These are plucked from trees and plants in living (sa-chet) state only. Being crooke (appratishthit) vegetables, these may not contain living-beings, but by plucking these that tree or plant is definitely anguished.". However the Gujarati version has "These are plucked from trees and plants in living (sa-chet) state only and by plucking these that tree or plant is definitely anguished.". Therefore the English version has been corrected in accordance with the Gujarati Version.