Tuesday 10 July 2007
The Garlic Plant
AS IS WELL known, when gods (devas) and demons (rakshasas) churned the ocean, amrit came out of it. When the rakshasas were running away with the vessel containing amrit, the devas appealed to Vishnu. Vishnu came on to the scene in the shape of Mohini (enchantress), and offered to resolve their quarrel by serving amrit to them all. They agreed. While serving it to the gods first, it appeared that there might not be enough to go round for the demons. One of the latter got into the line of the gods, unobserved by Mohini, and was swallowing the amrit, when the Sun and Moon noticed it and gave her the hint. She threw the ladle, with which the amrit was being served, at the demon in such a way as to cut off his head. The ladle became the Chakra (an invincible lethal weapon of Vishnu) and cut off his head. But as the amrit had already gone down his throat, the head became a graha (planet) and has since been taking vengeance on the Sun and Moon at the time of an eclipse. That is the story. Now, when the head of the demon was severed, the trunk fell down, and in the process, a few drops of amrit fell on the ground. It is said that those drops became the garlic plant. That is why it is said that garlic has some of the properties of amrit. It is very good for the body. But since it also has the touch of the demon, it has tamasic qualities too, which when eaten affect the mind. Hence, it is forbidden for sadhakas.