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Re: Educate Adeyan on Food to be consumed by Sri Vaishnavas

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Tue Jul 17 2001 - 16:34:11 PDT

Malolan Cadambi writes:
> Dear Anand,
> 
> 1.) Ahara Niyamam of Swami Desikan is *the best source* describing
> the food to be consumed by Sri Vaishnavas.
> 

This is no doubt a most authoritative source, being the
very words of Swami Desika. It is however misleading to
call it "the best source" in this day and age, in my
opinion, since the rules laid down therein apply to the India 
of the 13th century, making many of them virtually 
impossible to put into practice today.  I respectfully submit 
that 99.9% of Sri Vaishnavas (including the very orthodox) will 
violate one or the other rules laid done by Swami Desika. In 
addition, the culinary challenges faced by the modern eater pose 
problems that Swami Desika never had to face on his banana
leaf. The reason I say this is that Swami Desika did not have at 
his disposal the vast array of new world vegetables we have today 
which form a standard part of the diet of even punctilious South
Indian brahmins.  He does not discuss whether one can eat
bell peppers (capsicum), the various squashes, red and green 
chili peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, or carrots,
just to take a few items as examples.  He also mentions nothing
about coffee, tea, cheeses made from animal rennet, yogurt made 
with gelatin, cookies made with eggs or lard, etc. 

What I'm saying is that we have to understand the reasons behind
Swami Desika's rules, as well as other principles we have in our
religion, and carefully apply them to see how they would work 
today.  There is no easy textbook from which we can learn 
everything.

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
Mani

 

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