A Case for Cow-Protection without Whitewashing the Past

From the standpoint of Dharma, there is no legitimacy for either the slaughter of cow or its consumption today.

“Cow” is called “aghnya”- the inviolable, the one which should not be harmed or killed. Hindus perceive her as the mother who nourishes everyone, as the abode of all goodness, and the very embodiment of Sattva, where all deities manifest themselves. Rig-Veda (6.28.1-8) calls her the bringer of fortunes, while Puranas describe her as Kamadenu- the wish fulfilling cow. In other words, cow is a sacred animal for the Hindus, which should be nourished, protected, and cherished very dearly.

In the last many decades, with illegal cow smuggling becoming rampant and slaughterhouses cropping up at every nook and corner, cow-protection has become a very critical political issue. While some Hindu organizations have repeatedly appealed for blanket ban on cow-slaughter and beef consumption, the left-liberals, including those in academia and media have become self-appointed guardians of people’s eating habits.

These left-liberals have accused Hindus of hypocrisy and have alleged how their Vedic ancestors slaughtered hordes and hordes of cows and bulls every other day and consumed beef extensively in the typical leftist fashion of “suppresio veri, suggestion falsi”, all the while conveniently ignoring the fact that the cows were only to be sacrificed in the context of certain specific rituals and that too never for taste, or the fact that there is a Hindu prescription for Kaliyuga, which prohibits any slaughter of cows in this age. Unfortunately, the Hindu response from some quarters have also completely ignored these tenets and they have instead indulged in equally faulty assertions, with memes like “Myth of beef in Vedas” doing the rounds on the internet.

While the hypocrisy of the left is well known and I have also dealt about it in the context of beef parties elsewhere, in the present article I will concentrate on why there is no need for Hindus to distort and whitewash our past in order to build a case for cow-protection in the present.

Whitewashing of the past: An unnecessary and misleading distraction

Swami Vivekananda once said: “Even if truth destroys the whole universe, still it is truth; stand by it.” The emphasis on truth can be considered one of the defining traits of Sanatana Dharma. As the Upanishads say, “Satyam vada, Dharmam Chara”, Dharma in speech is Truth, Truth in action is Dharma. Yet, unfortunately, owing to preconceived notions, as well as in an attempt to counter the anti-Hindu narrative, which has been continuously built, first by the British and now by the Leftist academia and media, a certain section of Hindu scholars and activists have popularized the view that “cow-sacrifice” and “beef” is absolutely nowhere mentioned in the Hindu scriptures and any citations that go against this contention are either ignored or are branded as interpolations.

We can categorize these whitewashing attempts into three broad categories. Though a detailed elaboration of the issue is beyond the scope of the article, I would cite just one example in each case to illustrate the point.

  1. Selective quoting from scriptures: While Hindu responders countering the left narrative rightly highlight numerous references from Hindu scriptures including the Vedas to display the sacredness of the cow and its inviolable nature in Hinduism, they conveniently ignore numerous references to the sacrifice of cows mentioned in texts like Grihyasutras. Paraskara Grihyasutra (3.8), for example, speaks about go-yajna, wherein a cow is sacrificed and its various parts are offered to different deities. Similarly, Apastamba Grihyasutra (1.3.9) explicitly lists occasions where cow-sacrifice can be carried out (without violating Dharmic tenets): madhuparka (in honor of certain guests), as sacrifice for the pitrs, and in marriage.
  2. Rejecting contrarian verses as interpolations:  An important verse in Manu Smriti states that animals can be sacrificed only during madhuparka, yajnas, and during rites in honor of ancestors (Verse 5.41). Since, the primary animal, which was supposed to be offered to specific kinds of guests during madhuparka, who would then make a choice whether to sacrifice it or let it go free, was the cow, the verse from Manu Smriti acts as an important evidence that shows how cow sacrifice and consumption of beef as “Prasada” was permitted during certain ceremonies. Yet, because this goes against the convenient rhetoric that there is no reference to cow-sacrifice or beef in Hinduism, some Hindu scholars brand this verse as “interpolated” simply because the verse contains a phrase towards the end saying “as stated by Manu.” The argument of these scholars is that since entire Manu Smriti constitutes the message of Manu, there was no need to specify “as stated by Manu” and this shows that the verse is later-day interpolation. But, this argument has no standing in reality. If one turns back to the very first chapter, Manu himself says that his student Bhrigu will explain to them the teachings on Dharma, which he had himself imparted to Bhrigu. That is, from the end of first chapter, it Rishi Bhrigu and not Manu, who is the narrator and hence the phrase “as stated by Manu” makes perfect sense. Another argument made by upholders of interpolation argument is that since, Manu Smriti 5.51 says that those who involve in slaying of animals, as well as those who consume it are all guilty of slaying, the verse 5.41 quoted before must be an interpolation. This again does great injustice to Manu Smriti by reducing its nuanced treatment of the issue of food, meat and ahimsa into an axiomatic injunction. Interested people may further study chapter 5 in depth to understand how Manu makes space for everybody all the while enunciating clearly the final ideal. Thus, this argument of interpolation is too convenient to be true and in reality, it has no standing in many of the cases.
  3. Discarding primary meaning of the words for their secondary and tertiary meanings, since the primary meaning goes contrary to preconceived notions: In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (Verse 6.4.18), it is said that the couple who wish for a son well versed in all the four Vedas and have a full term of life, they should have rice cooked with “mamsa” of either “uksha” or “rishabha” by mixing it with clarified butter. Now, the primary meaning of “mamsa” is meat, “uksha” is a vigorous bull with a capacity to breed and “rishabha” is the bull more advanced in years. But, since, this verse directly speaks about consumption of bull’s meat for sake of a certain kind of progeny and goes against the meme that no beef in Vedic literature, these Hindu scholars have dropped in the primary meanings of all the three words and have instead argued that “mamsa” means “fruit pulp”, while “uksha” and “rishabha” are references to medicinal plants having properties to strengthen virility. Now, it is indeed true that Ayurvedic texts attest to the presence of medicinal plants named rishabha and uksha. In fact, uksha refers to the famous Soma. Though, because of its property to increase virility, the reference at the first glance may indeed appear to be related to these medicinal plants, a closer look at the context points otherwise. Studying verses from 6.4.14 to 6.4.18, it is clear that the Upanishad prescribes different recipes to beget children of different competencies in the said verses. It prescribes a combination of rice, milk and ghee in case a couples wants a son who would grow up to master one Veda. Similarly, a mixture of rice, curd and ghee is prescribed for a son who would learn two Vedas; a mixture of rice, water, and ghee for a son who would learn 3 Vedas; and a mixture of rice, sesame, and ghee for a daughter who would grow into a scholar. Now, if the purpose of the recipes was to suggest medicinal preparations to increase virility alone, why would they prescribe water, milk, curd, or sesame, none of which have any special character of inducing virility? Instead, the purpose of the verses clearly appears to ensure that the couples would be able to beget children of different temperaments and competencies. Also, all the items mentioned in the recipe be it ghee or sesame or water are easily available at home, including bulls. But, the medicinal plants, especially one like Soma is difficult to procure. Thus, it is plain that the reference of the verse 18 is not medicinal plant but the meat of the bull. Moreover, if the primary meaning was to be discarded and a secondary meaning were to be taken, Adi Shankaracharya in his commentary on the verse would have highlighted the same. But, he has not done. He has commented on the verse taking primary meaning itself. This serves as an example about how certain Hindu scholars are trying to discard primary meanings of the words simply because it goes against their pre-conceived notions and instead are force-fitting secondary and tertiary meanings into the scriptural statements.

Such whitewashing of the past are not only a distraction because it impedes genuine discussion on the topic, it also does great injustice to the tradition we have inherited from the wise Rishis, who were always nuanced in their discourse, and were very accommodative of the needs and capacities of all people. More importantly, such whitewashing is a travesty of truth, the same truth, which is the hallmark of Sanatana Dharma. We do not need to whitewash the past to build a case for cow protection in the present. All we need is only a proper understanding of our texts and tradition.

A genuine case for cow protection based on Hindu tradition

A genuine case for cow protection can only be made based on a correct understanding of Hindu tradition. Just like Truth, Ahimsa is one of the hallmark of Hinduism. It is a Samanya Dharma, a duty common to all humans. Mahabharata Anushasana parva (117.37-41), for example, says “Non-Violence is the highest duty (dharma), non-violence is the highest self-control (damaH), non-violence is the highest gift (dAnam) and non-violence is the highest penance (tapaH)….The gifts given in all sacrifices, the ablutions made in all sacred waters, the merits acquired from all kinds of gifts (mentioned in the scriptures), all these do not come equal ahiMsA (i.e. they do not equal the merits attained by the practice of ahiMsA).” Yet, this glorification of Ahimsa is not a propagation of pacifism. Instead, Manu Smriti (8.349) says that the violence used for self-defence or when someone is forcibly stealing or when protecting women and Brahmanas does not cause violation of dharma. Kurma Purana (Uttara-bhaga 11.15) goes a step further and enunciates that the violence committed according to rules of scriptures (eg: in yajna’s etc.) is considered as ahimsa itself. In other words, though Ahimsa is the ideal, its application involves use of Himsa for the sake of Dharma as per the tenets of Shastras.

This same criteria is applicable with respect to inviolability of the cow as well. While cow is a sacred animal and hence it cannot be and should not be harmed in any manner for selfish reasons, including for the sake of taste, it can be sacrificed in certain rituals and ceremonies like Yajnas, Madhuparka, Shraddha, etc. as enunciated in the scriptures (Apastamba Grihyasutra 1.3.9)  without violating the dictum of cow being “inviolable”. This is so because, the purpose of these rituals is not the fulfilment of selfish craving for cow-meat. Instead, the purpose is religious and spiritual and results in welfare of whole society and only a little quantity of the remnant meat from the offering is consumed as a “Prasada”. As a result, these animals also attain heaven and a higher next birth (Manu Smriti 5.40-42) That is, even the animals thus sacrificed are benefited. But, this is not the case with consuming beef or any meat only for the sake of taste. Those who consume beef or any other meat only for the sake of taste, do so to satisfy their inner cravings. There is neither spiritual merit for oneself, nor welfare of the others. No merit is acquired even by the animal which has been consumed. It is for this reason, the Manu Smriti (5.51) says that he who kills the animal, who buys and sells the meat, and who consumes it all are considered killers of that animal i.e. all share the Karmic burden of causing the death of the animal. Hence, Manu Smriti concludes that animals should only be killed during Madhuparka, Yajna, and in rituals dedicated to deities and pitrs (5.41), and adds that those who kill animals for one’s pleasure will never find happiness (5.45).

On the one hand, we have assertions from the Left academics about how Hindu ancestors killed and consumed hordes and hordes of cows and bulls for the sake of taste. And on the other hand, we have some right scholars arguing that there is absolutely no mention of cow sacrifice and partaking of beef in Hindu scriptures. But, contrary to both assertions, the reality was that while Hindus did sacrifice cows in certain situations and consumed their meat in a small quantity as prasada, it was not in hordes and was never for the sake of taste. Instead, cows were inviolable, which were never killed for selfish purposes, be it for money, as business, or for purely consumption. The only occasions when the cows were predominantly sacrificed were certain specific religious and spiritual rituals and ceremonies conducted sporadically and these sacrifices imparted spiritual merit and a higher birth even on the animals thus sacrificed. Even the example of partaking beef in the context of progeny as mentioned in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad must be seen in the context of how having children is an very important Dharmic action, one that is supposed to help the parents pay their debts to ancestors and save them from falling into suffering. The same applies to the reported medical usage of beef in certain situations according to Ayurveda. The gist is, in none of the cases where cows were sacrificed, the purpose was taste or appetite. Instead, a small quantity of beef was either consumed as “Prasada” or for medicinal purpose (A detailed account of the issue of beef in Ancient India and their origin in history can be read here).

This understanding, not whitewashing, should be the basis of our cow-protection narrative. While our ancestors killed cows and bulls only for Dharmic purposes and consumed a small quantity of beef as “Prasada”, today, cows are smuggled and slaughtered solely for the purpose of satisfying the craving for beef. While our ancestors called the cow “inviolable” and considered it sin to harm her in any way for selfish reason, today we have completely abandoned our cows and bulls, who end up either in diaries or in slaughterhouses, where no love, no compassion is showed to the animal. While our ancestors not only protected and cherished the cows, they also ensured the spiritual evolution and a better life for them by occasionally sacrificing them in yajnas and rituals, today we are not even able to ensure cows are fed well and have a proper shelter to sleep. It is also worth noting in the passing that though cow-sacrifices in the occasions mentioned earlier was considered as a Dharmic action in the previous yugas, we have Puranic recommendation from Brahma-vaivarta Purana (Krsna-jnama Khanda 185.180) that this should no longer be practiced in Kali yuga, since, people are more attached to desires and may even misuse these rituals for satisfying the craving for beef and the way a section of Indians today celebrate beef parties has only reinforced this wisdom embedded in the Puranas!

The gist is, from the standpoint of Dharma, there is no legitimacy for either the slaughter of cow or its consumption today. Killing of cows purely for taste and appetite was Adharma in the past and remains so even in the present. As to the sacrifice of cows for ritualistic purpose, as seen above, though practiced in previous yugas, it is to be given up in Kaliyuga and we already see this as having materialized on the ground for many centuries now, since Hindus no longer sacrifice cows in rituals like madhuparka, shraddha, or vivaha.

The love and care for the cows embedded in Hinduism stems from the Hindu view of ecology, which perceives the entire cosmos as one integral whole pervaded by divinity and promotes harmony. The reason for the special place given to cow among all animals is that it is the most Sattvic of all animals. Most animals be it those in the wild or those domesticated as pets, have varying degree of tamas and rajas in them. But, cow is one of the very few animals, which is full of Sattva. It is this innate Sattva, which makes the cow defenseless, but it also makes her compassionate and loving, as can be seen by one who regularly interacts with the animal.

In some sense, in the Hindu worldview, cow has become a symbol of all animals. A society which at least cherishes and protects its cows, has some goodness and compassion left in it, though it may already be fast falling down the ladder of Adharma. On the other hand, a society, which projects cow-slaughter, that too for a selfish reason as “taste”, as a virtue has fallen down to irredeemable levels of Adharma.

It is high time that Hindu society as a whole rise and recognize cow as a symbol of Dharma that frees one from the depths of Adharma and make this a new mantra for cow-protection movement.

The author wishes to thank Dr. Sammod Acharya and Nagaraja Gundappa for their inputs on some technical points.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
With a degree in civil engineering, and having worked in construction field, Nithin Sridhar passionately writes about various issues from development, politics, and social issues, to religion, spirituality and ecology. He is based in Mysore, India. His latest book “Musings On Hinduism” provides an overview of various aspects of Hindu philosophy and society. Tweets at @nkgrock
  • keval

    Even modern day militant atheists like Dawkins, Peter Singer, Sam Harris; who are trying to develop secular ethics are coming to the conclusion that killing of animal for food is worse than slavery. I agree with the author that HIndus should not indulge in cow slaughter at all regardless of what is written in the ancient texts, though as pointed out by earlier commenters, there is scope for disagreement from author’s thesis that the ancient text permitted (he has not used ‘required”) such sacrifice.
    Ever rebellious Osho used to say that cow should not be killed, even if they are economically burdensome, though he rejected most of Hinduism! He said while human bodies evolved from monkeys, human souls evolved from cow-souls, and that is why they are our real mothers.
    RSS/BJP arguements about not killing cow for its uses and for economic purposes are ridiculous and counter productive. WE are required to cows, even if they are inconvenient to us.

  • Chakrapani Shashidharan

    I disagree with writer’s claim that we are whitewashing our past. It appears so because of wrong translations by westerners and some indian leftist scholars who had hidden political & religious motives. The allegations said here are things which communists are saying for a long time. Earlier we had to defend against wrong arguments by communist fake-intellectuals alone… but now we have to defend against fake-intellectuals from hindu-organizations also. Because everybody thinks that, by quoting some corrupt translation of our religious texts and by criticizing it, they can appear as highly intelligent and learnt persons before poor commoner hindus…They are trying to get a reformer image, which was exact same idea, that communists were doing for a long time…

    Many other people who write such articles quoting manu smriti, dharma sutras, gruhya sutras, vedas, mahabharatha etc may not have ever read the actual sanskrit texts even for once… What they do is, they simply copy relavant quotes from works by western-historians and commie-historians… By this, hey hope that they will appear as very learnt persons and authorities on hindu-religion, before the readers. But its far from truth… they may not have even read childrens edition of Ramayana fully…But a normal hindu who is presented with lots of quotes from various holyTexts will be wonderstruck and might think he has met a very learnt guru who knows our holy texts inside out… Communists and leftists usually find some strange minute facts to criticize our rituals.. Recently fake-intellectuals from hindu-organizations are also doing the same trick. Certainly they are trying to pretend like Reformers!… I hope such jokers realize that, a commoner hindu devotee view them in the same level as commies.

    We need to assume that lot of communists and atheists have sneaked into many of these so called hindu-organizations… That shows why many such organizations are so indifferent towards the suffering of commoner hindus…

  • Madhu Lakshman

    Hello website owners,
    At first you published an article which misguides Hindus.. and when the mistake was pointed out you deleted my comment multiple times, instead of correcting that mistake… Seriously, this does not appear like the activity of any website which wants the welfare of hindu-community… infact this appears very suspicious..So that makes one doubt, what have you got to hide by deleting criticism? What is the actual agenda here?

    Dear Hindus, dont be confused by this article. There are some serious problems with this article.The author(?) has quoted two Gruhya Sutras here alleging that they talk about slaughter of cow. And he is quickly concluding that, in ancient India, Hindus slaughtered cows for religious purposes! This makes me doubt that, the author is merely reaching for a pre-determined conclusion, in the pretense of an open-minded quest. Let me present some reasons why we should doubt so.

    1. Are these two, the only two Gruhya Sutras in HIndu-religion?
    NO… a BIG NO… We can list another 19 gruhya sutras!
    Paraskara Gruhya Sutra is associated with shukla yajur veda, and Apastamba gruhya sutra is associated with krishna yajurveda… Please remember that Rig Veda is considered the oldest holy text.

    Now comes the question… the author mentioned only two gruhya sutras….Can author show any verse in other 19 Gruhya sutras which demands slaughter of cow? He hasnt said anything about other gruhya sutras… Just citing these two gruhya sutras only he has concluded that, ancient hindus did cow-slaughter for religious purposes!… Isnt it strange that,he never mentioned the other 19 gruhya sutras does not talk about slaughter of cow or sacrifice??

    2. Now lets check, if actually even these two Gruhya Sutras contain any verse related to cow-slaughter or sacrifice. I have checked the original sanskrit texts of these gruhya sutras, but i couldnt find where it is said that cows should be offered as sacrifice. Lets request this author to point out in which page of the original sanskrit text of these two Gruhya sutras, comes his allegations? I am posting the link below.. Please show where it is said that, cows need to be sacrificed?

    I request the author and the Indiafacts to properly check the original sanskrit texts (not some corrupt translation by some westerner) and to verify that the allegations he made are indeed present in these two Gruhya sutras… Otherwise we will have to assume that in their attempt to prove their knowledge and superiority, they have misguided a lot of poor hindus. If they cant find those allegations in the original Gruhya sutras, i hope that both the author and the indiafacts will show the decency to tender an apology and publish an article explaining that there was error in their article and that there is no such things in those two grihya sutras. Lets hope they will not fall to their egos and will give preference to the hundreds of hindus who read their article.. If an error has occurred, please make a correction so that those hindus who were made to believe that false-allegation can be told about the truth.

    3. The author talks about primary meaning of word… in which Sanskrit Kosha or dictionary, are words marked with primary meaning, secondary meaning, tertiary meaning etc?
    No sanskrit Kosha lists words in that way, as far as i know… They list words with many synonyms…
    So, We have to assume that, what the author calls here as “primary meaning” of a word simply refers to the meaning of that sanskrit word in the present day… He must be talking about the meaning that we use today as primary meaning..

    The problem is that, how can the author be sure that, the same word had same meaning 10 centuries ago?
    what he consider now as the tertiary meaning, could very well be the primary meaning a thousand years ago!
    We have many examples in other languages too… Lets consider the word MYRIAD for exmpale..
    Today when we say “i have a myriad of problems” it means “i have a lot of problems”
    but if i said that same thing 600 years ago, it would mean “i have exactly 10,000 problems!”

    If 600 years can bring such big change, Why the author fails to admit that, much larger changes might have occurred over a period of 2000 years for sanskrit words too..?.. Thats where we have to sadly assume that, author is following a pre-determined conclusion…

    These are stuff which communist historians always talk of… So if there was any GENIUS-STATUS to be achieved, it has already been taken by communists…No GENIUS-Badge is left, its already been taken.. I guess author should know that….

    A note to my fellow hindu brothers and sisters
    ————————————-
    Many important positions of many of the so called hindu-organizations are hijacked by communists and atheists, who read and believe history by marxist historians, and read bad translations by westerners, and are ashamed of our heritage…. we dont need such leaders to lead us… we need proper hindu devotees who are proud of our religion to lead us.. so please make sure that true hindu devotees who are god-believer, and proud of our religion and heritage gets selected to important positions in the so called hindu-organizations.

    Link to original sanskrit text. Can IndiaFacts and the author show us where in the original sanskrit text, the things he allege appears???

    Paraskaracharya’s gruhya sutra
    https://archive.org/stream/GrihyaSutras/paraskara%20grihya%20sutra%20%28harihara%29#page/n199/mode/2up

    apastamba gurhya sutra
    https://archive.org/stream/ApastambaGRhyasUtraHaradattaAnukUlaSudarshanaAchAryaTAtparyadarshanaChinnasvAmI1926/Apastamba-gRhyasUtra-sudarshana-Acharya-tAtparyadarshana-mahAdeva-shAstrI#page/n74/mode/1up

    • keval

      Thanks for your comments. They are very valuable. I hope they are not deleted.
      But we can all unite with the author in conclusion that it should not be permitted in Kaliyuga, even if we differ from him about its occurrence in earlier text.

  • मोहित भारद्वाज

    While we already had two different / conflicting views about pashu yaagaas since very old times, the one where pashus are actually sacrificed dominated for most part of our history is beyond doubt.

  • Nagaraja

    While I appreciate the intent of the author to establish the case for stopping cow-slaughter in spite of some references indicating that cow slaughter existed in the distant past albeit rarely, I disagree with the theme of the article that some authors have tried to whitewash the past. Just because the author is unable to appreciate the stand of these authors, the effort of such astounding scholars cannot be frivolously dismissed as white washing.

    Expressing an interpretation contrary to the literary meaning is not necessarily whitewashing at all. It is simply exercising their right to interpret the Vedas in accordance with the tradition of interpretation.

    It is well known that the Vedic literature family that includes, the Vedas, Upa Vedas, Vedangas, Itihasa-Purana and Dharma Shasthras, contains a huge number of verses that have indirect meanings, metaphors and allegories. It is said that
    the Vedic literature is inspired by Devathas and Devathas are well known for being Paroksha Priya (Devathas love to be indirect) and hence there is so much of indirectness in the literature family.

    If not for this indirectness, there would have been no need for an entire Darshana called Poorva Mimamsa (one among the 6 Astika Darshanas) at all!! Poorva Mimamsa contains a system to exclusively establish the meaning of Vedas. Hence, there is no rule that the interpretation of any Verse from the Vedas defaults to its literary meaning. When somebody tries to establish the meaning of a verse from Vedas, even if that person asserts the literary meaning of that verse, he should still establish it and not simply assume it to be true by default.

    As Mahabharatha says,

    itihāsa purānabhyām vedām samupabrahmayet.

    Bhibhetyalpa śrutadvedo mamayam prahariśyati

    – Mahabharata, 1-1-267 [17]

    Translation: Vedas fear that interpretations of Vedas by somebody who doesn’t know the Itihasa and Puranas will turn out to be an assault on Vedas.

    This verse can be extended to include the Shasthras as well as there are other verses that stress that a person has to be knowledgeable in the complete Vedic literature family to be able to interpret Vedas.

    Hence, when one quotes from Upa Vedas, other Upanishats, and Shasthras to establish an interpretation different from the literary meaning, it is only a valid exercise being carried out for centuries and does not amount to whitewashing.

    Specifically, following are the major flaws in the whitewashing argument in the article:

    1. Selective quoting – When an author tries to establish a view point, that author cannot quote everything under the sun and they will make use of those quotes that will counter the propaganda of the opponents and establish their own view point. This is what everybody does including this article which doesn’t quote everything under the sun. This cannot be dismissed as white washing.

    2. Interpolrations – Interpolation or Prakshipta has been a wide epidemic in all ancient literature and likewise Vedic literature too. ORI has spent hundreds of man years of research to sieve out some of the most obvious Prakshiptas and have published largely authentic versions of so many works. In spite of this effort, Prakshiptas still remain in many books as only the obvious ones have been removed and debatable ones still remain in these works. So, it is no surprise if Prakshiptas are there in texts including Manu Smriti. If an author points out a verse as Prakshipta, it cannot simply be dismissed as white washing just because the author thinks it is so. One has to argue with facts and references as to why it is not a Prakshipta. According to the article, the white washers consider 5.41 as Prakshipta because of verse 5.51. And this author does not provide any counter argument to prove otherwise, but resorts to rhetorics such as “This again does great injustice to Manu Smriti by reducing its nuanced treatment of the issue of food, meat and ahimsa into an axiomatic injunction” and leaves the counter argument for readers to deduce by reading that chapter from Manu Smriti. Thus the author provides no substantial argument to accuse the scholars that he is targeting as white washers.
    Secondly if Manu says that his disciple Bhrigu will explain the teachings of Dharma, does it necessarily mean that rest of the text is authored by Bhrighu? Not at all. Why did Bhrigu create Bhrigu Samhite then to complement Manu Smriti? The authors argument to prove the originality of verse 5.41 is very hollow.

    3. Discarding primary meanings with secondary / tertiary meanings: The very classification of primary v/s secondary meaning doesn’t make sense in Vedic literature because of its indirect nature. The right classification would be literary meaning v/s implied meaning.
    If we were to always favour literary meaning, how are we to consider the meaning of Godanti, Gojihwa, Gokshura, Ajakarna, Aja etc.? Do we consider these to be animal parts or names of herbs? Or how are we to consider the meanings of Gomamasam Bhakshayennityam of Hamsa Vliasa Mantra (Hamsamitmukrithaha)?
    In this specific context, the author again fails to provide a counter to the argument that Uksha and Rishabhaka are names of herbs. The author deduces automatically that since milk, water and sesame don’t have properties of increasing virility, the ingredient in contention (beef v/s herbs) also need not have virility increasing properties. This is a very loose argument especially when we don’t know how the said combination promotes the said qualities in offsprings, The effect of individual ingredients and their combination is a matter of cause and effect and hence science and not a matter of logic and extrapolation. That we don’t know how the combinations such as milk-rice-ghee works cannot be extrapolated to conclude that the ingredient in contention need not have virility increasing properties. In the ideal case, if somebody can explain the effect of each ingredient in all the combinations and hence establish the meaning of Uksha and Rishabhaka, it can be considered as conclusive. However, in the absence of such conclusive analysis, interpretation that Uksha and Rishabhaka are names of herbs holds the strongest water, though not conclusive. The author provides no argument to support the interpretation that the ingredient is in deed beef except to say that beef is the literary meaning of these terms. But, in Vedic literature, justifying an interpretation (especially when there is contention) simply based on literary sense holds no water at all.

    In summary, the author trashes great scholars as white washers simply based on his personal understanding and opinion and doesn’t provide any reasonable justification to his accusation. If the theme of the article had been “Case against cow slaughter in spite of rare allowance in the past”, then it would have perhaps made more sense, but simply being dismissive of weighty scholarly works as white washing diminishes the credibility of this article.

    • Rama

      Thank you sir for a great, scholarly rebuttal. The author needs to address the issues raised here.You cannot trash great scholars and get away scot free and hiding behind excuses like lack of space. BTW, Purva Mimmasa people are astik ? My understanding is that they are ritualistic and are atheists. I would appreciate your comments.

      • Nagaraja

        @aussieindianatheart:disqus and @chakrapanishashidharan:disqusThanks for your kind words. @Nithin Sridhar is a learned author who has written many articles on rare subjects defending Hindu religious practices. In that sense, he is an internet Dharmic warrior.

        In this article also, his intent is good as he is trying to establish that in spite of existence of some parts of Vedic literature that suggests that cows were being sacrificed, such literature parts don’t in any way justify cow slaughter today. His argument as I understand is that cow slaughter is strictly prohibited among Hindus irrespective of some parts of the ancient literature that the left liberals quote. I strongly support his argument.

        However, there is a small area of disagreement which pertains to dealing with certain contentious verses from the ancient literature as follows:

        The left liberals and others who are for cow slaughter quote these contentious verses from ancient literature and argue that when your ancestors didn’t have problem with beef why do you have a problem? And there are two ways to counter this argument of beef supporters:
        1. Offer alternate explanation for these contentious verses and establish that there was no cow slaughter at any time among HIndus.
        2. Accept the contentious verses as true but argue that in spite of these contentious verses, cow slaughter can still not be practiced today for various reasons (mentioned in the article). For instance, the rules have changed for Kaliyuga and there is a famous saying – Ashwalambham, Gavalambham, Devarena Sutotpaththihi, Phala paitrukam <> Kalau Pancha Vivarjayeth.
        The spirit of this traditional verse is that in Kaliyuga, slaughter of horses, cows, performing Shraadhdha using meat and two other practices are to be discontinued.

        The author’s line of argument is the second one and my small disagreement with him is limited to this area where he criticizes the approach of some authors who have taken on the first line of argument. Otherwise I am fully appreciative of all his work. .

      • Nagaraja

        Purva Mimamsa people are not pure atheists but they believe in the verbal form of Devathas. They say that there are no separate unique entities called Devathas. Otherwise, if they were unique beings, if Yajnyas are being performed in 100s of places, how can they be present simultaneously in all 100 places? So, the Vedic verses themselves are the Devathas and simple completion of the Karma / ritual leads to the results promised by that ritual. This is their line of argument as far as Devathas ar concerned. I am not sure what they think about Pramatman.

        This is countered by others who provide a counter argument that Devathas in the external universe are unique entities but they also manifest and operate within each being and there is no limit to these number of manifestations. Hence, there can be 100s of manifestations in 100s of Yajnyas.

    • Chakrapani Shashidharan

      Very good counter arguments… But the original author seems to have formed his opinions from corrupt english translations of our holy books by westerners, with out verifying it first from original sanskrit texts. Since our priority should be our religion and hindu-samaj, i am not finding any reason to defend the faulty articles by a single person. As far as i can see, his quotes about Gruhya sutras are wrong.

    • keval

      Thanks for your comments. Excellent arguments. Understanding and interpretation of vedas require qualifications which are difficult to match; and even if by some miracle someone has those, there is influence of age and environment to corrupt it.

  • Dr M

    All governments around the world prohibit killing Humans strictly but will deliver on death sentences!
    Why not use allegories such as above to drive the point that animal slaughter during the said vedic period was a very rare exception rather than the norm? BTW, how many such occasions had arisen where these sacrifices were done? Statistical estimates of such events as compared to the population size and spread might help get the perspective right and understand such things better! This is very much like the libtard meme that if some folks fought & got lynched (in UP) the Modi govt has to be sacked!

    Of course grihyasutras are not vedas by themselves. Nor should we be semitic nuts to literally interpret & justify every word of what goes in our Ancient Indian Scriptures!

    I would rather very productively use Sri Adi Shankara’s advise on these matters – vedaaranyam mahajalam chit bramana kaaranam… to judiciously be a hamsa to take what is relevant for my everyday Sanatana Dharma practise & living rather than be carried away countering sickular left-libtard garbage! Without shame I shall say, so be it and am very proud that my scriptures reflect the wisdom of the times and I shall discern the best for the times that am in – that is what my viveka nurturing is all about & am very glad that I had progressed so much instead of getting guilt tripped!