For one thing, asafoetida is a sulfurous gum resin that is usable as a spice in tiny amounts and only after it has been browned. Otherwise, it has a fetid and rather disgusting smell, much like a huge trove of rancid gym room sneakers festering in a hot locker room. This was the stuff we used to season much of our soups and vegetables, which only goes to show what lengths people will go to when deprived of their garlic and onions.
However, that's not the worst of it: the sad truth is that no other plant ingredient has a longer history in the preparation of black magic potions than asafoetida (which is one reason it is also known as the "devil's herb"). It also has medicinal properties, though nothing to compare with the health benefits of onions and garlic. The idea that these foods are non-Sattvic is derived from the conception of the three gunas (sattva, rajas, and tamas, representing goodness, passion, and darkness, respectively). These were originally representative of innate qualities and linked to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in their capacities as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer (Maitrayaniya Upanishad). Furthermore, the Bhagavad Gita (17:2) treats the three gunas as innate qualities of individuals, which is treated by some commentators--Swami Dayananda Saraswati is a famous example--as proof that the spiritual preceptor, ignoring the caste of the parents, should assign a caste to a student upon completion of gurukula training based on his knowledge of the child's innate qualities.
The link to diet came much later with the concept of the Ayurvedic diet, which advocates foods considered to promote Sattvic qualities and proscribes foods that are considered to encourage lower tendencies. Here we enter into the realm of folklore and magic. It is understandable, given the great antiquity of Vedic culture, but personal experience and reason should step in at this point and assert themselves, for who else can attest to these qualities affecting a person but the man or woman ingesting the food in question? We know for example, that onions are ubiquitous in Indian cooking and that India is the world's leading exporter of onions. If onions and garlic had such debilitating effects on the Indian people, they would have run riot years ago and destroyed themselves in a vast onion and garlic precipitated holocaust.
So much for forsaking garlic and onions; instead of eating these healthful foods, we spent years eating a spice whose use is almost universally regarded as an important part of black magic potions and smells abominable into the bargain. Better eat with your health in mind and judge for yourself what is in your best interests.
Still undecided? Please see: https://iskconcultunveiled.blogspot.com/2016/11/iskcon-and-indignities-rational-look-at.html.
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