The Drastic Chili Story
Somehow or other the morning's Bhagavatam class facilitated by myself swung over to the topic of red hot chili peppers. The two monks from India sitting there to listen amongst the rest of us looked at me with amazement as if fire came out of their mouths when I said "Chillis" did not come from India. They were introduced." Like the tea drinking the British crazed over is now custom in India, so is the use of chilies and the ground up version cayenne powder.
The boys were startled. Perhaps someone can now research further on Google, but it is the curry leaves, yogurt, chic pea flour, ginger, tumeric and cumin that is India's culinary contribution and not the red hot 'sharks' as some of us in the ashram called it.
While our actual topic was "sense control" we landed at the point of the over use of the passionate pods for cooking. Some of our visitors of the previous night bit into a hot pakora(veggie fritter) and had the dragon-mouth experience of their life. It was then and there at the tail end of class that we declared that all chilli peppers and cayenne make an exodus from the building. Subuddhi, president approved and co-president Madhavendra Puri, happily disposed of the little devils, with sneezes of course.
Why the reason for the drastic injuction? Well, those little guys shaped like the country Chile itself make you overly rajasic (hyper). It is intolerant to children because of the large doses used in the temple cooking and not that a small amount hurts). Many of our cooks just can't help themselves. They over do it. That's the actual problem. I guess our two topics tied in together-control chillis.
Not only the kids but most people who come find it not newcomer friendly. They won't eat with us again, and may never return. Even though by night-time the little sharks were chucked the little asurae (demons) will make their way back (by well intentioned donors) and a rerun will then occur. The toss-out leela (pastime) repeat itself.
As a compromise the temple ashram is usually stocked with fresh green ones. Maybe we can call them "green hornets". They can be a side-dish for those wanting them but we certainly don't need flames shooting off everyone's tongue as a result of an en masse curry cooked for hundreds.
To me chillies are like cigarettes. Use them outside and keep temple food nutrition healthy, colorful, and in the mode of goodness. Today I trekked a good seven kilometers all in one sweep, despite the hernia, and I didn't need one red hot shark to fuel me.