Should a Yogi Avoid Alcohol, Even in Cooking?


Yogananda said we should not drink any alcohol while on the spiritual path. Some recipes call for an alcoholic beverage as one of the ingredients, but the alcohol is burned off or evaporated in the cooking process. It is just to add flavor to the recipe. Is the use of alcohol in these recipes consistent with Yogananda's teachings? Or should it be avoided completely?

—H.W., USA


As we know Yogananda often spoke about the three biggest delusions being money, sex and alcohol. All of these He said impaired one’s judgement in way that lowered or contracted consciousness. We also know that given the low boiling point of alcohol by in large with any degree of heat added for a time it does cook off and in fact there will be no intoxicating effects.

In “Does Satan Exist” Swami Kriyananda says, “Alcohol is not, in itself, an evil. The sensory numbness it produces can even, in its proper place, be a good thing: for example, when used medically in an operation. Drunkenness itself, however, is evil, since it dulls a person’s awareness, and decreases his ability to function with mental clarity.”

Given this I believe that if you are certain all alcohol is evaporated all will be well. On the other hand why not look for all of those delicious recipes that are completely alcohol free?!