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Re: Food For Thought

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_best.com)
Date: Mon Nov 30 1998 - 13:18:57 PST

The discussions over coffee consumption are interesting.
While I am no big fan of coffee -- I am not in the habit
of consuming it and there is no doubt that caffeine can
be an addictive habit -- I wonder whether there is any
tradition in our sampradAya of prohibiting coffee. No doubt
it is "videsi" -- not indigenous to India, and is therefore
not mentioned in AhAra-niyamam and other texts, but if 
this were the only consideration, then chili peppers,
apples, and most of the vegetables eaten even by the orthodox
would be forbidden!

It goes without saying that drinking coffee is part and
parcel of the South Indian lifestyle, including that of most
Sri Vaishnavas.  When I visited the Araiyar of Melkote 
recently, the first thing he and his wife offered us were
hot cups of coffee.  And as Dileepan mentioned to me a 
couple of years back, on the Sri Vaishnava busses that
tour divya desams, the first thing given in the morning
is coffee.  

Now, I don't think drinking coffee is a good habit; it is
no doubt a drug, but it doesn't seem to fall into the same
category as alcohol, which is expressly forbidden, and has
all sorts of obvious negative social consequences.  But I 
wonder if coffee is simply one of those items that, while
not the most desirable of things ideally, is simply and
implicitly accepted as part of life, like wearing silk
or using kastUri (musk).

I would like to know if any acharya has specifically 
commented on this issue.

aDiyEn tirukacci nambigaL daasan,
Mani