For orthodox Jains, eating after night is a sin. The logic behind it is that after sunset, there are lot of insects and invisible creatures everywhere, and if you eat after sunset, these insect and creature can fall in your food. Thus you will eat them unknowingly with your food, and you will be a cause of killing them. Obviously, for the orthodox Jains, the night eaters become great sinners.
Many Jain monks always like to speak against night eating in their discourses. For them, bashing night eaters has become a top priority thing.
Now, let us see what were the facts behind banning night eating, and is it practical to eat before sunset in modern days.
Just before one hundred years, there was no electricity in India. Soon after sunset, there was a blackout like situation everywhere. Not only Jains, but also people of all communities used to eat before sunset. There was no difference between human beings and animals on this front. It was a natural thing for all of them to eat before sunset and go to sleep after it. Sleeping at 7 to 8 P.M. and to wake up at about 4 A.M. was a routine thing for most of the people. Literary references confirm these facts. Even today, there are many villages in remote areas in India, where electricity has not reached yet. The routine life of people there is similar to the abovementioned situation.
Entry of electricity in India changed the lifestyle of people rapidly. This process was boosted by industrialization and the entry of radio and television. Today the timings of going to sleep and waking up are very different from the timings mentioned above. Generally people go to sleep after 10 to 11 P.M. and wake up at 6 to 7 A.M. Note that in both the situations, the sleeping period is 8 hours, which is ideal for human beings.
Now coming to the point, it is very practical for most of the people to take a dinner at 8 PM to 9.30 P.M. They eat at bright light and there is no question of falling insects in the food plates. Everybody knows it. Realizing this, the bashers of night eating are saying now that eating before sunset is better for health as it allows a gap between eating and sleeping. If you eat at night and soon go to sleep, it would create health problems etc.
Now, some questions arise. Was the practice of eating before sunset for health reasons? The answer is: No! No Jain texts say that one should eat before sunset for his/her health. The only reason they give is the falling of the insects and creatures in the food plate.
Well, now coming to the so-called health benefits of eating before sunset. In prior times, the people used to eat before sunset, say at 6.00 P.M., they were going to sleep at 7.00 to 7.30 P.M. Now people eat at around 9 P.M. and go to sleep at 10 to 10.30 P.M. In both the situations, the time gap between eating and sleeping is about 1 to 1.30 hours. This proves that the health reason is a new ‘invention’, invented just to force the out of dated practice on people.
The truth is that orthodox people do not want to leave most of such outdated practices even if they have become just madness. Although they do not know ABC of Science, they try to find ‘science’ in such practices. But they are very confused people, as eventually they like to bash science also, and at the other times they have to take support of science. It is just ridiculous!
Jains should stop to follow and promote such out of dated and stupid practices and work on awaken the people on bigger sins like frauds, thefts, lies and hatred etc. It is a very shameful thing for Jain community that they are on forefront in economic crimes and offences. Shameful thing is that most of the Gutkha manufacturers belong to Jain community. They are responsible to spread cancer like diseases in Indian youth. But the Jain monks like to invite these Gutkha kings in their so-called religious functions. After all, Jainism is running on bad money!
Jains should remember that any religion is measured on what the follower community does and not on what is written in its scripture.