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 in view.
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 non-injurious food.
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
Here one question is possible and it is that fruits are as
harmless as are wheat etc. why then their order comes after
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. 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.
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 destruction 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
1. Articles involving injury or death of
2. Articles involving death or injury to many
4. Articles not worthy of use and
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 vegetables 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, saliva, 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.
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
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