Jainism is a very evolved
philosophy and a very gentle religion. Many Jains have very soft and peaceful souls
and very simple lives and they command respect wherever they go. This philosophy was
also seen as having many good ideals by ancient India and many of its principles have been
naturally incorporated into Hinduism and India's culinary culture.
Jainism takes non
violence to a very strict level and respect life at any level including plant life.
They make sure that there lifestyle does not cause injury to anyone. Gandhiji has
been influenced greatly by this philosophy and in turn influencing Martin Luther King to
resort to non violence.
As a result of this
the Jain diet consists of grains like wheat, rice, lentils or pulses and beans, oil-seeds
are recommended as they fall under the category of non-injurious food. They are yielded
only when their plants get dried of their own after their age ends. Fruits and
vegetables that become ripe on the plants or branches of trees or those that fall on their
own after becoming ripe, are used for food.
Jains are strict
vegetarians and many also avoid root vegetables as it is violent to plants. They also
avoid any liquor so they can live a mindful life.
Other aspects of
their food philosophy is that they regularly offer food to poor people, fast on certain
days, do not waste any food, drink filtered water and eat after sunrise and before sunset.
Jain ideas can be
traced back to the seventh century B>C> in India, though it was Mahavir Jain who
formalized the philosophy of what was to be known as Jainism in the sixth century.
Mahavira, most likely born around 540 BC, was a Kshatriya of high Licchavi tribal birth.
At the age of 30, he renounced family life and proceed to live, for the next 12 years, as
The Consecration of Mahavira. Gujatat, 1404. Miniature from Jaina manuscript, the
Kalpasutra. 7x10 cms. Collection: British Museum, London.