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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dying at Radhakund, chillies and carrots


In November, 1992 I translated Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī's Sva Niyam Daśakam, and only now, 20 years later, I saw that I forgot to translate a very important phrase in verse 9, in the line mariṣye tu preṣṭhe sarasi khalu jīvādi purataḥ

- I wrote back then:
"Certainly I will leave my body in front of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī and others."

While it should have been:
"Certainly I will leave my body near my beloved lake in front of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī and others."
The verse can be found in volume 3 of my translation of the Stavāvalī-collection.


Bhakta: “Are chillies mentioned in the śāstra?”

Advaitadas: “The red and green mirch [Hindi] or lanka [Bengali] that are eaten nowadays in India were imported by the British, but the word mirch does have a Sanskrit source in the word marica. This is also still in use in India as the small black pepper-balls.”

Bhakta: “Does it have any role in the emotions in Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Līlā?”

Advaitadas: Yes in fact it does. In Govinda Līlāmṛta (11.86) it is said:

premājya-narmāli-sitā-rasāvalī mādhvīka-manda-smita-candra-samyutā |
asyā mṛṣerṣyā maricānvitādbhutā vāṇī rasālollasatīśa-tṛptidā ||

"Śrī Rādhā satisfies Her Lord with Her amazing words, that are like a beverage named Rasālā, flavoured with the ghee of love, the sugar of humor, the honey of Her rasika talks, the camphor of Her smile and/or the black pepper of Her false jealousy."

No commentator has said exactly what is meant with mṛṣerṣyā, or false jealousy, but I suppose that Her jealousy is not real as She can never be really angry with Kṛṣṇa.

Bhakta: “Speaking of food, I heard Vaiṣṇavas are not supposed to eat carrots?”

Advaitadas: “Carrots are not eaten in any Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava group anywhere, not even in the Gauḍīya Math. Unlike marica, carrots are not mentioned anywhere in the lengthy descriptions of preparations made for either Śrī Kṛṣṇa (see Govinda Līlāmṛta, chapter 3) or Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu (see many places in Caitanya Caritāmṛta). Haribhakti Vilāsa does not mention carrots, the edition of Bhūmipati dās mentions it as a forbidden food (17.48-49), but it is an incorrect translation of the word gṛñjana, which means turnips or onions.


  1. Prabhuji,So, what is the final result, can we take carrots or not?

  2. Is the verdict unclear? Carrots are not seen in any shastra as an offering to either Lord Krishna or to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, nor or they taken by any Vaishnava group (except one) - so they should not be taken. For me personally, Guru has the last word and Sadhu Baba never served carrots in his ashram. I will not quote all kinds of superstitious reasons, but shastra does not mention carrots as offering anywhere, and 100s of dishes have been prescribed for Krishna in shastra, all without carrots.

  3. Advaitaji, if the following translation is correct, then carrots are mentioned as unwanted food:

    "vrntakam jalisakam kusumbha smantakam tatha palandu lasunam suklam niryasan caiva varjayet
    grjanam kinsukan caiva kukundanca tathaiva ca udumbaram alavun ca jagdhva patati vai dvijah"

    (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 8.158,159, from Kurma Purana)

    One should not eat egg plant, banana leaves, sunflower leaves and asmantaka leaves, onions, garlic. One should not eat sour gruel (a thin watery pouriage) or the juice of the tree. One should also give up turnips and beetroots, carrots, kinsuka, forest figs, and white pumpkin. If the twice born persons eat these things, they all become fallen.

  4. No Malati it is not correct. You know Iskcon translations are very unreliable.

    Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon: Search Results

    1 gRJjana m. (n. L.) a kind of onion or garlic or a small red variety of it (prohibited as food) Mn. v , 5 Ya1jn5. i , 176 Bhpr. ; Nya1yam &c. ; a turnip W. ; the tops of hemp chewed to produce an inebriating effect (the Ga1n5ja) W. ; n. poisoned flesh (meat of an animal destroyed by a poisoned arrow) L.

  5. Having said that, my argument remains that carrots are not to be eaten because, despite the fact that 100s of dishes have been described that were offered to Krishna and Mahaprabhu, carrots are never mentioned among them.