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Why Some Hindus Do not eat Onions?

A small section of Hindus do not eat onion – especially those following the Vaishnava tradition. Majority of ISKCON followers (Krishna Consciousness) do not eat onions. As per Hindu Scriptures, onions originated from Amrut or Ambrosia that came up during the Samudra Manthan or Churning of Ocean.

Vishnu took the Mohini Avatar and retrieved the Amrut which was stolen by Demons and agreed to serve it equally. Two demons had doubt about the intention of Mohini and took the form of Devas and sat among them. Mohini did give them their share of Ambrosia but they were identified by Surya and Chandra.

They alerted Mohini who cut off the head of the demons and they became Rahu and Ketu. The demons could not swallow the ambrosia and fell on the ground and it later became onions.

Thus onions are remnants of demons and therefore it is not eaten.

Another story suggests that Onions were born from the meat of a cow which was sacrificed during a yajna in the Satya Yuga. The cow was brought to back to life but a small piece of meat was stolen. This piece later became onion and thus onions are non-vegetarian.

Some communities especially ISKCON devotees are of the view that eating onions tempers with one’s consciousness. Onions promote passion – which in turn creates anger, desire and ignorance.

Bhagvan Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 17, Verse 9) states – The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning are liked by the rajasic (passion), and are productive of pain, grief and disease. Onion falls in this category.