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AS A TEETOTALLER
instance can be cited with palpable evidence that Asoka deviated
from the self-imposed austerity, or convictions, formed. On
occasions he preferred severe suffering to any deviation from the
well-defined tenet of Buddhism. He even hesitated eating onions as a
medicine under dire necessity on health grounds.
is any illustration. Onions and garlics were the prohibited stuff to
the civilised in those days; and were considered as dangerous
aphrodisiacs. High caste people perceived in them a fanciful
resemblance to meat. Almost all castes except chandalas expressed
and developed prejudice against them. Moreover, they being pungent
are capable of rousing passions dormant easily, they argued.
Evidently they enkindle and nourish the lustful instincts and so
make people emotional and sensational. Hence the taboo.