Episode # 254 – Items that should NEVER be purchased or sold for money – Vidura’s “exhaustive” list!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed the significance of “Dhaanam” and we had discussed how “Dhaanam” needs to be given to the deserving people in a completely selfless manner. We had also invoked the example of King Dasharata and witnessed how we should never have the attitude of “I” or “My” while giving “Dhaanam” to someone. It is a traditional practice that if we give a “Dhaanam” with a selfish attitude by claiming ownership of that object after giving it, elderly people would never accept such an offering! Hence when we’re donating something to elderly people and those people with a high spiritual stature, it is important that we give the “Dhaanam” with a complete selfless attitude and also without claiming ownership of that object that we’re giving them as a “Dhaanam”!

Now moving on further, Vidura explains a very important and an interesting point here – There are certain items that we should never do any sorts of business with. Here, business meaning, buying and selling of these goods or products in exchange of money! If we happen to look at those items that Vidura is going to mention, perhaps in today’s world, we need to stop eating altogether! 🙂 Let us now look at what Vidura has to say in this regard:

“Avikriyam lavanam pakkuvamannam dadhi ksheeram madhuhu!

Thailam gritham thilaa maamsam phala moolaani saakham rattham vaasaha!!”

Here Vidura jots down a huge list of items that we should never buy or sell in our life! That is, Vidura explains that the following items should not be bought or sold in exchange for money! Of course in today’s world I’m not sure how this would be applicable! Nevertheless we shall have a look at these items one by one in detail now:

He begins with “Avikriyam lavanam” – We should never buy or sell salt in exchange with money! Of course nowadays we have huge salt producing and processing firms all across the world and we’re now in the modern day forced to buy salt from these companies for money!

Next, Vidura explains, “Pakkuvamannam” – We should never buy or sell food that is cooked! If this has to be followed in today’s world, all hotels and restaurants should be closed down forever! 🙂 Of course this is not going to be possible and hence I do not want to comment anything more on this!

Now Vidura continues with the third item, “Dadhi” – This means curd or yogurt! This too is available nowadays commercially in grocery stores. In olden days and even today in some houses, curd is not a commodity that is purchased. We might purchase milk, and it is normally from the milk we make curd via fermentation!

But now Vidura is going to keep a “check” on this too – The fourth item that he says is going to be “Milk” itself – “Ksheeram”! He says that we should also not buy milk for money!

The next item – “Madhu” – This means Honey! Vidura says that even honey shouldn’t be bought for money!

Next item that Vidura says here is “Thailam” – This means “Oil”. It can be any kind of oil for that matter. Nowadays we are again forced to “buy” oil for various purposes in our daily routine lives. Every time we purchase oil with money only! Hence this is also gone for a toss in today’s world! 🙂

Next, Vidura mentions “Gritham” – This means “Ghee”. According to Vidura, even ghee shouldn’t be purchased for money!

Furthermore he adds on – “Thila” – This means “Ellu” in Tamil and few other south Indian languages. This is one of the main components of the “Shraadham” and other pujas that we offer to our “Pithru Devatas” (Ancestors). Even this “Thila” shouldn’t be commercially bought, according to Vidura!

Furthermore, Vidura adds on many more items – “Maamsam” (Flesh), “Phala moolaani” (Fruits & vegetables), “Saakham” (Green leafy vegetables) and finally “Ratham vaasaha” (The clothes that we wear)!

I guess with this exhaustive list, Vidura has covered all those items that are needed for our day-to-day survival in today’s world! 🙂 One may ask a question – If we’re not purchasing these items today, how do we even live? How was this practised during those times of Vidura and Mahabharata? The answer to this question is that, in those days, “Barter trade” was the only popular method of trading. That is, trade used to be done with exchange of goods and services! For instance if I have excess of rice, I trade this excess rice with someone, in return of any other item that he/she has an excess with him/her! Trade in those days was never carried out with exchange of money!

Of course now things have changed a lot, but what we can understand from such unique slokas in our ancient scriptures is that, we’ve continuously degenerated generation after generation into this Kali Yuga in such a way that in today’s world, everything is measured in terms of money – Including human life! This is the pathetic situation that we’re pushed to in today’s world! Anyways, we shall continue this discussion a little bit forward in the next episode tomorrow, before we move into the next point that Vidura explains! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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