Why Jains don’t Eat After Sunset?
Jainism, a strict religion to follow I would say, advocates the importance of eating vegetarian diet, as they believe in Ahimsa i.e non-violence and not harming any living beings. Science too has established the health benefits of eating vegetarian food.
Jains are not suppose to eat food after sunset. This principle, introduced over 2000 years ago by several gurus called ‘Tirthankars’, has its origins in the Jain reverence for all forms of life.
The reason for not eating after sunset is because it carries the risk of accidentally ingesting insects that come out after dark.
During the day sunlight kills pathogens, which helps in reducing problems of ulcers, acidity etc. Since Jains believe in Ahimsa, they’re not suppose to eat after sunset to avoid killing germs and insects.
Being a Jain myself, I find it rather difficult to follow this principle due to the fast-paced life we live, am sure many would agree on that. However, I have seen many people, mostly elderly, who eat before sunset everyday. They follow it with such dedication, that its just amazing.
How would it benefit our health? It improves digestion of food, which eliminates acidity, and stomach problems, and less food gets stored as fat reserves, so you stay in shape too.
Since the topic is about vegetarian food, many questions have been raised that if Jains believe in not killing any form of living being, then why eat plants, they have life too. Human beings, animals have five senses – touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste – while other lifeforms like plants have only one sense, touch, and since food is needed for human survival, vegetables are eaten.
Not all kinds of vegetables, Jains are prohibited from eating plants and plant parts that grow underground, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, etc., because micro-organisms growing around the roots are killed when the plant is pulled out, destroying an entire life cycle.
The Jains dietary regulations sound radical and as I mentioned earlier is difficult to follow in modern times, but with the world facing climate crisis and the need of the hour is to save the environment, learning a tip or two won’t be that radical!
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