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The Hindu View on Food and Drink

Co-authored by Hari Ravikumar In 2007, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations…

Co-authored by Hari Ravikumar

In 2007, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations conducted a survey of meat consumption per person in every country. India came last.

Food: Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian

Further, there are more vegetarians in India than the rest of the world combined (we can get a sense from this list). There is a widespread notion that such a high level of vegetarianism is due to Hinduism. While it is true that many Hindus are vegetarians, it is incorrect to say that Hinduism forbids meat-eating.

In the large body of the fundamental works of Hinduism, there are several rules and prescriptions (quite often contradictory in letter though not in spirit) with respect to food and drink. We can find quite a few of these rules in the four Vedas but most of them are found in the Smṛti texts (like Manusmṛti), the Dharmasūtras (like Āpastamba Dharmasūtra), and the Gṛhyasūtras (like Āśvalāyāna Gṛhyasūtra).We can glean several interesting details from our traditional works.

For example, we learn that food was eaten while being seated (Rigveda Saṃhitā 4.30.3), food was eaten only twice a day (Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa 1.4.9), and that talking was kept to a minimum while eating (Baudhayana Dharmasūtra 2.7.2). In times of emergencies, there were absolutely no restrictions on food (Brahma Sūtra 3.4.29-31). We are asked to greet our food, honour it, rejoice upon seeing it, and pray that we may always obtain it (Manusmṛti 2.54-55).

There are many references to meat-eating in our scriptures. In the oldest composition of them all, the Rigveda Saṃhitā, we see that our ancients cooked the flesh of oxen and offered it to the gods, especially Indra (see RVS 10.86.14 or 10.27.2, for example). Horses, bulls, oxen, barren cows, and rams were sacrificed for Agni (RVS 10.91.14). Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa says that sage Yājñavalkya would eat the meat of cows and oxen, provided it was tender. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 6.4.18 says that if a couple wants to beget a son who will grow up to be a great scholar, they have to eat rice cooked with beef, along with ghee. Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa goes on to say that meat is the best kind of food!

Sage Vasistha

Sage Vasistha

But even in the early texts, we can see the compassion of our ancient people. In RVS 8.43.11, Agni is hailed as one whose food is the ox and the barren cow. Often in the Rigveda Saṃhitā (see 1.164.27, 1.164.40, 4.1.6, and 5.83.8, for example), the cow is called aghnyā, ‘one who doesn’t deserve to be killed.’ Therefore, it seems that only barren cows were killed. How else do we account for the lavish praise showered on cows (RVS 6.23.1-8 and 8.101.15-16)? One verse (RVS 8.101.16), which hails the cow as devī, ‘goddess.’

Although animal sacrifices were prevalent in the Vedic period, there were already some attempts to reduce this. They came up with the idea that instead of killing an animal, one could offer heartfelt praise to the gods or a fuel-stick or cooked food (see RVS 8.19.5 and 8.24.20 for example).

In later times, they even developed an ingenious theory that a person who eats meat will—in his next birth—become the meat eaten by that animal (Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa

In the Mahābhārata (Droṇa Parva / Book 3, Chapter 199), sage Mārkāṇḍeya tells Yudhiṣṭhira the story of a hunter and a priest. When the priest accuses the hunter of violence, the latter narrates the story of King Rantideva: “In Rantideva’s kitchen, two thousand animals were killed every day as were two thousand cows. Rantideva became famous because he fed meat to all his people.”

Kālidāsa (5th century CE) says in Meghadūta 1.45 that River Charmanvati (modern-day Chambal) arose from the glory of King Rantideva who sacrificed thousands of cows. Mallinātha (13th century CE) says in his commentary on the Meghadūta that Charmanvati originated with the constant washing of cow hide and the flowing of the blood of cows.

But over the years, meat-eating reduced in India. This was due to a combination of socio-religious, geographical, and cultural factors. However, we observe that meat (including beef) was still consumed as part of rituals and special occasions. For example, during śrāddha, a ritual in memory of dead parents and other ancestors (Āpastamba Dharmasūtra; while preparing a meal for a distinguished guest as part of madhuparka (Āśvalāyāna Gṛhyasūtra 1.24.22-26, Vasiṣṭha Dharmasūtra 4.8); or in the śūlagava ritual in which a bull is killed (Āśvalāyāna Gṛhyasūtra 4.9.10).

In fact, to put to rest arguments of those days, a text no less than the Brahma Sūtra (3.1.25) says that the scriptures don’t have a problem with killing animals for a specified ritual. Even the Manusmṛti, a text that is rather partial to vegetarianism, says that meat-eating is fine under specific circumstances like during a calamity or as part of a ritual (MS 5.27, 5.32). 

Madhuparka is the practice of offering honey to honour a distinguished guest. According to Yājñavalkyasmṛti 1.110, six kinds of people are offered madhuparkaa priest (ṛtvik), a teacher (ācārya), bridegroom, king, graduate (snātaka), and someone dear to the host.

The Baudhāyana Gṛhyasūtra 1.2.65 adds ‘guest’ (atithi) to this list. As part of madhuparka, honey, curds, ghee, water, and grains were offered while meat was optional (See Āśvalāyāna Gṛhyasūtra 1.22.5-26 for more details).

Ramayana (Pic Courtesy: Google Image Search)

Ramayana (Pic Courtesy: Google Image Search)

In the prelude to Act IV of Bhavabhūti’s play, Uttararāmacarita (8th century CE), there is a delightful dialogue between two ascetics, Saudhātaki and Daṇḍāyana. Saudhātaki is curious about the guest who is visiting their āśrama and learns that it is Vasiṣṭha. He tells Daṇḍāyana, “I thought it was a tiger or a wolf. My poor calf was terrified since his arrival.”

“When a great scholar visits us, we should offer the madhuparka with beef or mutton, as it is said in the dharmasūtras!”

Saudhātaki says, “You contradict yourself. A calf was sacrificed for Vasiṣṭha but when King Janaka came, he was offered just milk and curds. The calf was set free.”

“What the dharmasūtras say in this matter applies to those who have not given up meat. King Janaka is a vegetarian.

All these examples – of Kālidāsa, Bhavabhūti, and Mallinātha – serve to shed light on how meat-eating was perceived in the first millennium CE in India.

Jainism was the first (and perhaps only) religion whose adherents were strictly vegetarian. Buddhism did not forbid meat-eating per se but they were against animal sacrifice. People were weaned away from eating meat due to the influence of these two religions and also with the rise of the Vaiṣṇava faith, which used Bhāgavata Purāṇa 7.15.7-8 as their reference for wholly avoiding meat.


As for consuming alcohol, many texts prescribe abstinence while some others prohibit consumption for some groups of people. However, in the Vedas, we find many instances of the consumption of the juice from the soma creeper (possibly Cannabis sativa) as an immediate reward after conducting yajña and the consumption of surā (alcohol made from fermented barley or wild paddy) for pleasure (for example, see RVS 1.116.7, 8.2.12, or 10.131.4-5).

While the drinking of soma was commended, drinking surā was condemned. Kāṭhaka Saṃhitā 12.12 puts it eloquently when it says that one should keep away from alcohol in order that a person may avoid committing a sinful act, in speech or in deed.

There is a verse in the Rigveda Saṃhitā (10.5.6) that lists the seven rules of conduct for men; anyone who violates even one of these is a sinner. We know from Yāska’s Nirukta (6.27) that drinking alcohol is one of the seven transgressions.

Manusmṛti 11.55 lists the five terrible sins (pañcamahāpātaka) among which we find alcohol consumption. According to Manu, it is especially forbidden for a brāhmaṇa to drink alcohol and he even prescribes a harsh punishment for it (MS 11.91).

It is interesting to note that there are references for both Rāma and Kṛṣṇa partaking alcohol and/or meat. Rāma offers meat to Sītā and coaxes her to try it out since it is well-cooked (Ayodhyākāṇḍa / Book 2, 96.1-2). When Hanuman meets Sītā in the Aśoka-vātikā, he tells her that Rāma has been pining for her, and afflicted by sorrow, he has turned vegetarian and a teetotaller (Sundarakāṇḍa / Book 5, 36.41). Later, there is another section where Rāma feeds Sītā with wine, meat, and fruits (Uttarakāṇḍa / Book 7, 42.18-20).

Similarly, there is a segment where Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna get totally drunk in a party along with Draupadi and Satyabhāma (Udyoga Parva / Book 5, 58.5).

That said, there is no need for devout Hindus to get upset by this or for Hindu critics to get take their usual perverse delight. These incidents don’t affect the personalities of great heroes like Rāma and Kṛṣṇa; at any rate, one need not judge others by their personal habits.


The texts of Āyurveda tell us that in terms of health and wellness, a purely vegetarian diet is not superior to a healthy mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. In fact, some kinds of meat have been recommended for staple use.

Further, Āyurveda does not emphasise vegetarianism even in its code of ethics; it is not a prerequisite for high culture. This is in sharp contrast to its take on alcoholic drinks, which though regarded healthy in moderation, has been despised in the code.

To get an overall picture about food and drink, we need to look no further than the Bhagavad-Gītā, the greatest summary of Hindu thought. Krishna (BG 3.13) gives us an idea of how we should approach food and drink in general:

The wise ones eat the food that remains

after being offered to yajña;

thus, they are released from all evils.

The wicked ones prepare food for their own sake

and indeed live on sin alone.

In the act of obtaining food, we cause some harm to the natural environment. So we should eat our food with a sense of gratitude, which is what Krishna refers to as ‘offering to yajña.’ We should never feel entitled to our food; ‘living on sin’ refers to this.

Later, in Bhagavad-Gītā 17.7-10, Krishna speaks about the nature of people and the food that they enjoy but he never prescribes a particular type of food that one should eat.

It is impossible for us to survive without inflicting some degree of violence to the world around us. Manusmṛti (3.68-71) mentions the five places in a house (pañcasūnā) where living beings may be accidentally killed – the fire-place, grinding slab, pestle and mortar, places swept with a broom, and the water pot.

To absolve themselves of this sin, householders are expected to perform the five great worships (pañcamahāyajña) every day: prayers to the gods, homage to ancestors, respect to the wise and the pursuit of knowledge, service to fellow beings, and worship of forces of nature.

Attitude Towards Food and Drink

We cannot altogether be non-violent but to the extent possible we should avoid violence. It is noteworthy that Manu prohibits any form of killing for pleasure (MS 5.45) and declares that a person who does not injure any living being attains the highest bliss (MS 5.46-47).

Therefore, when it comes to food habits, being a vegetarian is preferred – with sustainability in view – but not imposed. Keeping this in mind, it will be better if meat-eaters respect their vegetarian (and vegan) brethren rather than look upon them with disdain. On the other hand, the vegetarians (and vegans) need not look at meat-eaters with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude because it is only natural for humans to eat meat.

A commonly used word for food in Sanskrit and other Indian languages is āhāra. The etymology of the word – āhriyate iti āhāraḥ, ‘āhāra is that which is taken in’ – suggests that it refers to anything that we consume, not just food.

Ayurveda (Pic Courtesy: Google Image search)

Ayurveda (Pic Courtesy: Google Image search)

If we truly want sustainability of the planet and all the living beings in it, then we have to look at our intake not just from the point of view of food

Just as a start, think about how our food is produced, processed, and shipped. If we learn more about food procurement, then we can make more informed choices of what foods to avoid and how we can help sustainability in the large sense.

Whatever positive ecological effects one might have by being vegetarian might be cancelled out by a bad choice in what kind of foods we pick (heavily processed food, genetically modified food, etc.) Similarly, the negative effects of meat-eating can be tempered by making better choices in how the meat is procured.

Finally, there can be no universal dictum about the food that we can eat or should not eat. Let us try our best to behave in a way that is sustainable for the world. Let us develop the right attitude towards our food – that of gratitude and joy. And let us remember the wise words of Manu (MS 5.56) lest we beat ourselves about it:

Meat-eating, drinking, and sex –

can you call these faults?

It is but natural for people to engage in it,

however, it’s a great thing if one stays away from it!

(Additional input thanks: Dr. G. L. Krishna and Dr. Koti Sreekrishna)



  • Aṣṭāṅga Hṛdayam by Vāgbhaṭa, Sūtrasthānam, Chapters 2, 5, 6 and 8
  • Bhavabhūti’s Uttararāmacarita. Bombay: Nirṇayasāgara Press, 1949. pp. 103-5 
  • Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta. Bombay: Nirṇayasāgara Press, 1915. pp. 37
  • Kane, Pandurang Vaman. History of Dharmaśātra. Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1941. Vol. II, Part II. pp. 542-49 (Chapter X. Madhuparka and Other Usages) and pp. 757-800 (Chapter XXII. Bhojana)
  • Mahabharata, Book 3, Chapter 199 <>
  • Mahābhārata: Text as Constituted in its Critical Edition. Vol. 2. Udyoga-, Bhīṣma- and Droṇa-Parvans. Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1972
  • Prakash, Om. Food and Drink in Ancient India. New Delhi: Munshi Ram Manohar Lal, 1961
  • Sreekrishna, Koti and Ravikumar, Hari. Tastarians. 1 Jul. 2015 <>
  • Sreekrishna, Koti and Ravikumar, Hari. The New Bhagavad-Gita. Mason: W.I.S.E. Words Inc., 2011. pp. 84, 243
  • Śrīmadvālmīkirāmāyaṇam (Mūlamantram). Gorakhpur: Gita Press, 1963
  • Swamy, B. G. L. The Rg Vedic Soma Plant. Indian Journal of History of Science (1976)
Dr. Ganesh is a Shatavadhani, a multi-faceted scholar, linguist, and poet and polyglot and author of numerous books on philosophy, Hinduism, art, music, dance, and culture.
  • Kannan

    This article is about the past and at some point in our past, our ancestors may have eaten meat and beef. They might have put it in the Upanishads and other documents. It does not mean that we have to continue in their footsteps. They might have done other things which we today perceive as immoral and unjust, we have to do away with those too.

    If a Kshatriya like MahaVira can give up meat and advocate living on equal terms with animals, millions of other Hindus can also feel the same way. A true hero does not kill meek and the innocent. That is why though there were many Rishis, there is only one MahaVira. The light of compassion he has shown is still a beaconlight for many of us and we will continue to follow that even though we are Hindus.

    • vinsin

      If you dont want to kill then be ready to get killed. By your logic Hindus should kill Muslims then as they are not innocent? Then why Hindus join army?

      Gita warned about Jainism and their principles, when you put Karma above Dharma?

  • Ganesh

    How sadly the article of R Ganesh and Harikumar doent even analyze the survey results , tries to interpret vedas?? .. A befitting reply will be elaborate and hence in form of another article post in

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  • proudhindu81

    Its worthless debating over what was food practice 3000 years ago , what are the views of Hindus now , cow is worshipped all over india and considered sacred ,and this is one big uniting factor , except some hindu communities like keralites or certain dalits , so this prevailing view should be respected , because this has been the view for atleast 2000 years and probably much earlier and still , so cow slaughter should be banned .

  • Ganesh

    Regarding Shatavadhani Ganesh quoting Srimad Bhagvad Gita about
    eating remnants of Yajna, Lord Krishna says that four kinds of things
    can be offered to Him (Lord Krishna):

    patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
    yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
    tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
    aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

    “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit a water, I will accept it.” — Srimad Bhagvad Gita 9.26

    statement, then, is the basis of what can be offered in Yajna. This is
    also the conclusion of all the Acharyas (right from Adi Shankaracharya
    to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.)

    vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam
    paricaryātmakaṁ karma
    śūdrasyāpi svabhāva-jam

    cattle raising and business are the qualities of work for the vaiśyas,
    and for the śūdras there is labor and service to others.” — Srimad
    Bhagvad Gita 18.44

    Yajnavalkya muni is not the expounder of
    Sanatana Dharma. He is not a self-realized soul. By following him one
    cannot get moksha (liberation from cycle of birth-death). Moksha is the
    ultimate goal of human life. There is no
    doubt about this as this is
    the conclusion of all self-realized souls. Indulgence in meat eating
    will not advance a human being toward moksha.

    Also, as some of the readers have rightly pointed out, meat eating is not recommended in Kali yuga:

    aśvamedhaṁ gavālambhaṁ
    sannyāsaṁ pala-paitṛkam
    devareṇa sutotpattiṁ
    kalau pañca vivarjayet
    ” ‘In this Age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the
    of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the order of sannyāsa, the
    offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man’s begetting
    children in his brother’s wife.’ ” — Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa
    (Kṛṣṇa-janma-khaṇḍa 185.180)

  • Sharan Sharma

    I have the highest regard for the authors but:

    1) You say “they even developed an ingenious theory that a person who eats meat will—in his next birth—become the meat eaten by that animal”.

    So śruti vākya-s are now just ‘ingenious theories’ for Hindus?

    2) Dismayed to find the mention of soma in the section on sura. And you yourself acknowledge that we cannot confirm what soma really is – but certain not sura as you yourself say. So why club it with sura? This is as good as a
    well-known Western Indologist who was confident that our ancients partied hard after a yagnya by ingesting soma.

    3) You provide a number of quotes from śruti supporting beef eating but there is no explicit acknowledgement that these were intended primarily for kāmya karmas or, secondarily, naimittika karmas and certainly not for daily āhāra (which is the real issue).

    4) In your conclusion you say: “being a vegetarian is preferred – with sustainability in view”. But sustainability is not the same as compassion. Man may come up with clever sustainable ways of slaughtering a lot of animals for food but the big issue will still be that of himsā. This has been true historically too; śri p.v. kāṇe in his ‘history of dharmashastras” (XXII, p. 775-776) says “foremost (cause of giving up flesh for food) was that all life was one”.

    5) Finally, I think there is a need to separate beef-eating from general meat-eating. Mainstream media has tried to confound the two issues but the average Hindu mind over centuries has maintained a very strong distinction between the two. Incidentally, Manu (IX. 79) says “sacrifice of one’s life to save the cow frees one from the papa of brahmahatya”

  • ~rAGU

    Thank you for this great article. Facts should never offend us. If we listened to our honest elders, they have always said our ancestors until recently consumed meat during Sharadda and some Yajnas. Also insisted on silence and minimum talk while eating.

  • One deficiency of the article is that it fails to mention that in later days, cow slaughter came to be looked down upon (and added to the kalivarjya list), and that it came to be a prime duty of the king to protect cows from slaughter in his domain. Furthermore, it ignores the context of hindu-muslim conflict (with the latter using cow slaughter to stick it to the hindus). I suspect that this is because the authors thought that these facts are common knowledge, but it should have been brought out more clearly.

  • Bhartiya Agnostic

    This was not expected from IndiaFacts team. Very disappointing.

    The author has lifted arguments and monier-keith-griffith references from the 70s work “Beef in Ancient
    India” to wax eloquent about beef-eating in Hindu Scriptures.

    India facts Team is advised to peruse this work ‘ Review of “Beef in Ancient India”’
    which point by point demolishes all the arguments (using the same reference books, authors and material which the work in question cites)

    My two cents to the India Facts Team:

    Before publishing such articles do a basic counter argument search on the internet.

    When any tom dick and harry waxes eloquent on the veda mantras ..ask him to clarifiy his/her understanding of rishi , devata and chhanda and why their omission is juvinile while interpreting any veda mantra.

    IF you dare to take vedic terms like vrishabha, gau literally, you would again be proved an idiot in doing so. Because some mantras, even when taken literally lend themselves only to metaphors and not literalism.

    For example ..take the case of vrishabha which is translated as bull or ox by idiots.
    But these idiots turn speechless when encountered with mantras like Rig Veda 4:58:3

    catvāri śṛṅgā trayo asya pādā dve śīrṣe sapta hastāso asya |
    tridhā baddho vṛṣabho roravīti maho devo martyām̐ ā viveśa ||

    which bull has 4 horns, 3 feet, 2 heads , 7 hands !!?? none !

    If these idiots can find a bull like that, they can go ahead an eat its beef.

    ( BTW, the mantra has two meanings , both related to vyakarna and
    other to adhyatma darshana and none related to bull as such ..go figure! )

    Vedas are too complex for copy paste artists to dabble in. Keep off if you can , is my humble advise.

    [Apologies for the harsh words …but this was a horribly irresponsible job from India Facts team and warranted
    such a response]

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  • Mani Iyer

    If a monkey is referred to as Hanuman or a bear as Jambuvant, it doesn’t mean that monkeys and bears are vegetarians. One has to regularly watch TV channels like discovery or animal planet to see how voraciously monkeys and bears consume flesh and fish. Did Ram & Lakshman or the five pandavas cultivate land to grow grains and pulses? By simply avoiding to make a mention of the food habits of these mythological characters does not make them vegetarians. Be it mythology or history, we Indians rejoice in making a distorted presentation,

  • Radha Rajan

    It gives me great pleasure to point readers to Vigil Online where the extraordinary book Beef in Ancient India A Review by Gita Press, Gorakhpur is uploaded today under E Books. This book deals with Rantideva, Yagnayavalka and all cow killers and beef eaters in this article.

  • Radha Rajan

    Readers are invited to read my critique of this article on Vigilonline. Hindu view on Food and Sacrifice: Animal slaughter and meat eating is violence against Creation.

    • Anfauglir

      Concerning this statement:

      “BR^ihadaranyaka UpaniShad 6.4.18 says that if a couple wants to beget a
      son who will grow up to be a great scholar, they have to eat rice
      cooked with beef, along with ghee. Satapatha BrahmaNa goes on
      to say that meat is the best kind of food!”

      I looked up the shloka in the BrihadAranyaka Upanishad referred to, just to see. My book of the Upanishad has translations and clarifying notes by the translator, a native Hindu (a Swami).

      The preceding shloka (6.4.17) says that if parents wish for a long-lived paNDitA daughter, they would eat “rice cooked with sesamum” (spelling as in original) and that they “should eat it with clarified butter”.

      Then the translation for 6.4.18–the shloka in consideration–says that to acquire a much reputed paNDita son also of full life-span, the parents would “eat rice cooked with the meat of a vigorous bull or one more advanced in years” and that they “should eat it with clarified butter”.

      The notes on shloka 6.4.18 include a note referring back to the prescription as follows: “Rice cooked together with meat. The meat is restricted to that of a vigorous bull, able to breed, or one more advanced in years.” (emphasis as in original)

      So, going by the translation as well as the note, while a bull is mentioned, no cow is mentioned. This is just in case anyone else had–like me–taken the generalisation to “beef” in the quoted extract to include cow too. The pedantry in highlighting this may matter to some Hindus, though perhaps not those who had provided the extract.

      On that subject. In another comment here, you had reasonably wondered:

      “Am i to understand that a cow is sacred only so long as she yoe;ds milk and if she is aged and cannot be milked she can be sacrificed and we can eat the male progeny ofn the cow which we deceive ourselves into believing is not cow.”

      The following won’t really answer your question, but perhaps it is relevant:
      As to why a non-barren cow (female) gets special treatment over less fortunate barren cows or their male counterparts (bulls), I figure it may be related to how, in Hinduism, cutting down a flowering tree is described as akin in extreme severity to the slaying of a pregnant woman and is thus considered an even greater crime than the more general cases. Of course, it is but my assumption that the cow case is treated as a parallel. I wouldn’t actually know.

      • Anfauglir

        Correction to: “My book of the Upanishad has translations and clarifying notes by the translator, a native Hindu (a Swami).”

        All the translations are indeed by the native Hindu Swami, however the notes themselves are by Adi Shankaracharya (also provided in translation).

        As Adi Shankaracharya is factually more authoritative on matters of Vedic rites, the Vedas and the Upanishads than the authors of this article, it can be assumed that the article’s choice of translation of “beef” for the meat referred to in BR^ihadaranyaka UpaniShad 6.4.18 was carelessly loose–or suspiciously loose considering especially the context–for what specifically does not include the cow.

  • koushik.varaghur

    Dear Mr. Know all
    Please read the above. I will really be interested to know your comments.
    Koushik Varaghur

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  • Sthanunathan Ramakrishnan

    Sri Viswasji,

    You are trashing the interpretations of Swami Dayananda and Aurobindo and upholding Sayana. But the notion of using flour-animals was there even in earlier times. Sri Madhwa argues for such a position and as far as I know, Madhwas do not offer animals in a yajna but only use the pista-pasu.

    Also shouldnt the differences in desha and kala be taken into account. I am sure a strong case is made out for vegetarianism as well in the smritis. This article does not give such view points explicitly from the shastras. Instead it just reads as a list of where all non-vegetarianism is allowed. In this current day and age, I think a stronger pitch for vegetarianism while still not deploring meat-eating as unacceptable, would have been the right approach

  • Ankur Goyal

    meat is only restricted in kali yuga age due to lost knowledge of sacrifice .. meat along with alcohol, gambling, illicit sex are houses of darkness (kalipurush) and should be abstained from .. this is sole view of hinduism on meat .. rest all scriptural reference is waste of time ..

  • Ravi Bagri

    I do not question the thought that Sanatanis (called as Hindus) never ever ate meat of various animals as Kshatriyas are known to kill animals in hunting and then ate their flesh as booty and used animals hide for showcasing their valour…… I would question the knowledge and ability to interpret sanskrit language (as it is a language easy to learn and difficult to interpret with same words having different meanings) by authors + reference to any literature apart from Vedas even that of Kalidas should be treated as imagination given their expertise in imaginative literature than factual story or history writing……. its my personal view where one can difference of opinion… so be it and thats what author has done….he has provided his view with references to various sources written in Sanskrit to shore up his credibility which an indian (who does not understand sanskrit) will never understand or be able to corroborate but get influenced by authors of these kind of articles thinking such authors to be intellectuals, which they may be not but a propogation ot matketing system only…

  • Thoughtfulness..

    besides the scriptures, it is important to recognize the civilizing aspect of the ‘Cow’…pre-agricultural societies were mostly hunter gatherers..once the primordial man discovered agriculture and reared cows, his nutrition needs were satiated..and that allowed the humans of that era to settle down…the cow milk, milk products and agricultural produce provided a reliable source of nutrition..once food concerns were taken of, humans could then progress to more intellectual the cow’s impact on our human history has special importance..and particularly Indian history and culture owes a lot to this dumb animal..our ancestors recognized this fact and hence the respect…scriptures cannot be taken at face value..Hindus are not the followers of abrahamic religions..we need to understand that biases may have crept into these scriptures over time..deeper insight is required..

  • Gaurang Bhatt

    From alk the comments below it seems that we are all obsessed souls and cant unite…keep it up..i dont see intellectual honesty anywherr which was prevalent during vedic times.


    There is no book 7 in Valmiki Ramayana I wonder which Ramadan reference are you using here

  • SuchindranathAiyer

    Diet is a personal preference and privilege. It is time India became civilized and made a constitution and laws, thus influencing the thought processes, that everybody’s freedom ends where anybody else’s senses begin. By all means be a vegetarian if you wish. Don’t if you do not wish. Just do not impose your choice on others. Above all, do not take recourse to “religion” to do so. “Hinduism” has already been turned into a tawaif that dances to the tune of India’s Atheist-Dalit-Dravid-Nehru-Gandhi-Secular-Christian-Moslem-Communist Courts and Governance following the abolition of the traditional, hereditary priesthood in British India in 1921 and in the Indian Republic in 1959.

    It is well known that beef eating was prevalent in the Rig Vedic and Shukla Yajur Vedic Periods as the Aryans, Brahmin by religion, were pastoralists without agriculture and depended principally on their live stock (cattle) for their nutrition. It began to drop off in the Krishna Yajur Veda Period as it was found that a live Cow is more valuable than a dead cow over life of ownership and alternate sources of nutrition became available with the exacting of tribute from the agricultural Druids. The notion of “Ahimsa” was introduced by Jainism during the Atharva Veda Period(after the Mahabharatha War, when the notion of Ahimsa was widely popular in reaction to the brutality of war) that followed the Sama Veda period. It was carried forward by the Budhists who never really practiced it themselves as their recruits were principally from beef eating back grounds. Budhists, world wide are non vegetarians. Brahmins became vegetarians to camouflage themselves as Budhists or Jains to escape persecution by Ashoka. It was during the freedom movement that eschewal of beef gained great currency. Particularly with Khilafat Gandjhi’s agonies of a guilt conscience trying to balance his encouragement of Moslem tyranny and butchery with an attempt to manifest piety. It is telling that the sole Hindu Nation (Nepal) in the World that escaped the turmoil of India’s Nehru-Gandhi-Ambedkar “Freedom Movement” not only practices animal sacrifice but consumes beef. The Druid deities (Vishnu, Shiva and Lalitha) were Sanskritized and adopted into the Brahmin system during the Atharva Veda Period (chronologically the Last of the Five Vedas) after the Great Civil War described in Vyasa’ Mahabharatha when Aryan hegemony was broken and the Dasyus (Druids) entered the Gurukula System as the fourth Varna (Shudras) with full caste mobility thereafter (until the Vedic system was brought to an end by Ashoka). The Thraithreya Upanishad was a compdium prepared at this time for the use of all the arlier Vedas and the Druid agriculture, temple worship, and archtiecture entered the Vedas through the Aagama Shastra. It was Adi Shankara who integrated Kali and Ganapathi into the Sanskrit Sysytem through his Panchayathana that amalgamated the Aryan, Druid and Tribal-Negroid deities. and propagated vegetarianism. At this time, the use of Dhal preparations in Yajnas in place of the originally prescribed meat became popular. Yajnas like the Raja Suya (sacrificing the heads of the defeated Kings) was brought to an end by Bharatha commencing the Krishna Yajur Veda Period and was replaced with the Ashwa Medha until Ashoka violated the treaty of Bharatah and revived the Raja Sooya one last time. Today, the Chandi Homa is performed in South India with Jangiri (Jehangiri Imrithi) as the Havis for its colour, protein and sugar content instead of red meat.

  • Vivek

    Who originally translated these works from Sanskrit?

    Maybe some European. And how can we doubt European’s knowledge of ancient native language and its fine nuances?

    How dare we?

    Basterd slave.

  • Night Rider

    Excellent article by Dr. Ganesh. This is balanced and is to be welcomed. Thank you India Facts for publishing this. I appreciated the excellent advise rooted in Hindu orthodoxy.

  • A very well written and balanced article. It nicely outlines the Hindu scriptural position on meat eating,
    Vegetarianism and alcohol, without resorting to distortions, suppressing or apologetic overtures. The nice selection of quotes and references from Vedas, Epics and Kavyas make it eminently readable.

    Thank you.

  • Non-partisan

    Thank you all for the article and the discussion. After reading through the various views, I felt that I should take refuge in the following gem from the Mahaabhaaratam (with apologies to those who do not like that act of quoting PRamaaNa-s) :

    तर्कोऽप्रतिष्ठः श्रुतयॊ विभिन्नाः

    नैको मुनिर्यस्य वचः प्रमाणम् ।

    धर्मस्य तत्वं निहितं गुहायाम्

    महाजनो येन गतः स पन्थाः ॥

    tarkō’pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ

    naikō muniryasya vacaḥ pramāṇam |

    dharmasya tatvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām

    mahājanō yēna gataḥ sa panthāḥ ||

    Using the idea in the SlOkam, I think the best path for me to take is the path taken by those who I think are the MahA-janam or the SishTa-s (borrowing from the VyaakaraNa tradition) most of whom happen to be lacto-vegetarians. What is ethically correct is a determination that the erudite author of the article has shown to be very complex. Who can enter that cave — the Cavern of Dharma — and come out with the answer?

    There are MahA-janam from our literary tradition as well — characters such as KaaLidaasa’s SakuntaLaa, who will not pluck a tender leaf for decorating herself for fear of hurting the plants and Bhavabhooti’s SRee-seetA, who remembers a tree that she had seen in the forest during the exile and had given the loving name SyAma. DKM Kartha

  • Akash Ravianandan

    Dharma is that which enables the growth of the sum total of all beings and creatures and hence involves no harm and when the case calls for it, the minimization of harm. This is righteousness.
    First of all Hinduism is an evolving tradition not perpetually stuck in the past like the Abrahamic. With 70% of the world’s vegetarians being Hindus, we must carry this momentum forward as this is what is Dharmic. Dharma religions are the only ones which do not have a mere anthropomoprhic view where all creatures and beings are respected equally and not for the exploitation by Humans. Dharma encourages original thinking. So does this mean that we turn a blind eye to the immensity of suffering around us caused due to the vicious slaughtering of innocent beings just because some of our ancestors ate meat? Vegetarianism is being the latest U-turn where the rest of the world is adopting it and we are abandoning it. Tomorrow some 5 star activist will come and teach Indians animal rights and we will have no ground to stand on. We have all the sanction in our scriptures to avoid meat eating and the cruelty it perpetuates. Why should we turn our lens to those part of the epics and smritis which show that meat eating was fine? By not having the wisdom of even to choose which part of the scriptures we adopt and which we are to discard we are displaying a very low level of intellectual development. We are not a one book religion. Hence scriptures were made for us to think. Not blindly follow. Every great master of our tradition disagreed in quite fundamental ways and displayed great original thinking.
    Where is our moral compass if we perpetuate a slaughter of this scale as we are doing today. If all this is fine, then why is not colonialism and genocide fine? If power is how the world operates, then what was morally wrong in colonialism of the British? How can we maintain a moral compass with such views? We talk of the slaughter our ancestors faced at the hands of the Islamic invaders. Yet we pay no moment of thought when we slaughter in the millions everyday. Vegetarianism is an Indian Intellectual gift to the world. Let us keep that in mind so that it does not become another U-Turn like all the other Indian contributions. Hinduism is a major force of vegetarianism in the world and hence the well beings of the creatures that are part of this large family. At this juncture we must strengthen the force for more peace not weaken it. What we eat is no more a mere personal opinion. It is killing the planet. “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” was not meant to include only human beings. It includes the animals, plants and every creature in this world. Let us be more Dharmic. Please see and like to contribute and help usher in change.

  • Ashish

    It seems author is heavily inspired from notorious Max Muller & Griffith’s vedic translations. Translation of vedas require indepth & profound knowledge of nirukt, nighantu etc which Mullers & Griffiths lacked. Just the knowledge of sanskrit wont help you. I am afraid author is only helping beef/meat lovers & cow killers. Let me provide the translations of few mantra from the fourth para of the article. Readers can decide if we can take authors intepretaion of these mantras literally.

    Let me provide the translation of RgVeda 10.27.2

    yadidham yudhaye samnayanyadevyuntanva sushujaanaan, ama te tumram vrushbham treevam sutam panchdasham ni shincham

    meaning: If i were to collect forces to fight out the selfish, ungenerous & audacious who are such by their sheer physical prowess & brute force in this house of yours. O divine ruler of existence, i would train a mighty(vrushubham), generous, enlightend leader, warrior & protector, feed him on distilled essencess of fourteen branches of knowledge, application & practice being the fifteenth & thus perfect the ruler.

    Translation of RgVeda 10.86.14.

    ukshano hi me panchdash sakam pachanti vinshtim, peev idubha kukshi prnanti me vishwasmadvindra uttarah.

    Meaning: natural powers of creative mother prakrti ripen, mature & give up fifteen evolutionary forms of matter, energy & mind with twenty parts of the biological systems which i swallow at the completion of the existential cycle & i feel satisfied with the involutionary consumption of the rtam & satyam modes of existence. Indra(Ishwar) is supreme of all.

    Yes, there is no reference of Vrushbha(bull/ox) in the above mantra at all as the author stated in the fourth para of the article.

    Translation of RgVeda 10.91.14.

    yasminnashwas rushbhas ukshano vasha mesha avsrushttas ahutaha, keelalape somprushthay vedhse hruda matim janiye charumagnye
    meaning: With live & devotion at heart I create this song of thoughful praise for the kind & gracious Agni under whose order & dispensation horses, virile bulls, cows, sheep & goats are created & range around freely & then are called back to stalls.

    On contrary, I can provide 100’s of references from Vedas on cow & animal protection, forget about killing them for taste.

    • premas

      Thank you for providing cogent and concrete examples with the original mantra(s) followed by the translation. Articles should do the same to be considered authentic and scholarly.

      • premas

        Wanted to add a request – please write an article including the references in vEdas on cow and animal protection that you’ve mentioned in your comment, either here if IndiaFacts will publish it or on a blog if they won’t. This will be extremely didactic and a useful resource to those who want to be aware of such information but do not have the necessary knowledge to do so.

        • Ashish

          Namaste Premas,

          Thanks for the appreciation. I am not a scholar but just an avid reader of vedas & a truth seeker. I can provide the translations of any of the 20000+ mantras(you wont find animal killing in any of these mantras for sure) but I am not skilled enough to write rebuttals.

          Besides, there are lot of articles already in the web & even videos which expose the communist propaganda of beef eating in vedas. You are free to eat meat & drink alchohol but dont justify it by saying Vedas also sanctions it.

          I wouldnt have cared to reply to this article if it has not published in Indiafacts as I have huge repect for the work Sandeep Sir is doing. Just imagine if this kind of article would have published in some communist rag like scroll.inetc we would have started calling names instead of discussion & debate.

  • India and Hinduism has been too big always for petty issues. Thanks IF and the author for pointing that out again.

  • premas

    This article seems to follow many of the erroneous translations of Griffith et al. Griffith in his rg vEda translation linearly translates ‘gau’ to mean cow alone. Yaskacharya’s nighantu has many meanings for ‘gau’ including but not limited to sun, earth, sun rays and so on depending on the context. Otherwise verses in the vEda referring to the earths distance from the sun would be nonsensical babble when viewed with the narrow translation gau = cow. It’s very interesting to note that the cabal of authors of comments in vehement support of this article are so disdainful of any dissension – calling the dissenters ‘idiots’ and ‘fools’ while trying to show off their own self proclaimed samskrta ‘pAnditya’. They are using the same arguments used by colonialists and hinduphobhic scholars and evangelists. A true pandit would not resort to such obloquy. Irony just died laughing.

  • IndiaFacts editorial policy does NOT in any manner endorse personal attacks against the authors of this piece as being done by Jishnu, Nabha Garjana, Radha Rajan, et al.

    IndiaFacts provides a free and open platform to discuss issues and articles published here as long as such discussions are focused only on the piece/issue in question, and not to take personal potshots at our columnists. If any commentator here feels offended by or disagrees with our columnists, IndiaFacts is more than glad to offer its platform for a factual, considered rebuttal, which will be published.

    IndiaFacts does not wish to take a severe stand in the comments section, but after repeated and overwhelming feedback about the personal-attack nature of some comments on this piece, restraint is urged on the part of people posting comments here. Not everybody agrees on everything but questioning the authors purely on the points that they have raised in a particular piece constitutes civil discourse. Making rude personal remarks on the credibility and/or learning of ANY IndiaFacts author is considered uncivil on this platform. IndiaFacts operates by the credo that instead of such remarks, a factual, considered and/or insightful, polite rebuttal contributes a long way in building a positive Dharmic discourse.

    Comments for this article are closed.

    • Jishnu

      Dear Moderator,

      “IndiaFacts editorial policy does NOT in any manner endorse personal
      attacks against the authors of this piece as being done by Jishnu”

      I have expressed disagreement, where exactly does my comment have any personal attack on the author? Even a single sly word against the authors or their knowledge? My comments are very specific to the article and its message. On the contrary I had argued with Radha Rajan that authors’ wisdom cannot be questioned. I do not agree with your assessment that I made a personal attack.

      • Radha Rajan

        Pl dont explain yourself Jishnu. There are far worse and insolent comments on this page. Unfortunately IF has failed to make the distinction between critique and attack. This article insults Hindu sensibilities pretending to speak the truth. First, there is a vast difference between fact and truth. This is not truth. This is pretentiousness masquerading as scholarship and there is no wisdom in the article. If anything it is a foolish exercise which provides ammunition to our enemies. Serious issues are not discussed in open bazar. They are discussed in the presence of our religious leaders with a clear end objective in mind.

  • shreesha

    If people are feared and shocked by this article, they will break down if they see the historical realities by going through the details of smritis and other texts. First, try to face the facts. Dont make it an emotional thing. What we pursue as value or a viable life style might not be the one practiced from time immemorial. Facts remain facts. take your time to digest it…..but dont close the mouth, but swallow it now…

    Scolding the author may give your temporary relief….but the verses and history which haunts you day in and day out has only one solution….accept the facts and digest it….then check your practices and make it sustainable thats all….


    Ganeshji, you provided a ready reckoner to Zakir Naik n commie liberals, to spew more venom on us.

    I am not vegan but never even heard Beef offered during Pitru karya, ever. I think we are far better without reading such scriptures and so I doubt such references are indeed truely understood by Mcaulay Putras.

    • Nabha Garjana

      all this stuff is already Available in the works of Max Muller,Julius Eggeling which the author here quotes originally from the works of sayan , there is nothing new.the British proved that Hindus were nothing but savage barbarians and needed to be civilized and now the Copy Paste “scholars” are doing it again

  • Shivashankar Rao

    We know that the quality of food that we partake affects the mind.

    This was known to our ancestors long back. Please see Chandogya

    Upanishad (7.26.2) wherein it is said that the purity of food affects

    the the quality of mind. We also know that there is a close relationship between body and

    mind. It is the mind which creates the future body as it is the

    repository of karmas till one attains moksha.

    Food is classified into three groups-Saatvika, Rajasika and

    Tamasika.(vide 17th chapter of Bh.Gita). There are references in

    scriptural works on the list of foods coming under the three

    categories. There are three types of DOSHAS affecting the foods-



    Garlic etc., come under jaatidosha (species)

    Nimittadosha is because of external impurities like dust, hairs or

    insatory handling.

    Foods cooked or handled by persons of bad character get affected

    because of evil psychic vibrations and this is called Aashrayadosha.

    The solution is to offer the food to God before taking it.

    About Vegetarianism:

    Fa-hsien has noted that all respectable people in India were vegetarians during his visit ( early 5th century). The consumption of meat was confined to low castes. The doctrine of non violence which was known during the upanishadic period itself and was elaborated by Jainism and Buddhism. This had been accepted by the Hindu society in toto and Brahmins had become pure vegetarians.

    But ARTHASHASTRA accepts meat eating and lays down rules for slaughter houses.

    I furnish below some of the authorities to show that Vegetarianism alone was practiced by our ancestors. This is against the concept that vegetarianism was the result of the influence of Jainism and Buddhism.

    It is alleged that during the Yajnas, animal sacrifice was made an essential part.
    Ashvamedha, Gomedha, Ajamedha were supposed to be with the sacrifice of the concerned animal. It should be remembered that ADHVARA is an equivalent word for YAJNA.
    The meaning of this word is AHIMSAAMAYA.

    RIGVEDA.1.1.4. says,
    yajnamadhvaram vishvataha paribhoorasi, sa iddEvEshu gacchati”. (The
    Yajna which is devoid of Himsaa leads to devinity. or, it will gain
    respect from scholars).

    Yajamaanasya pashoon paahi.(Yaj.Veda 1.1.)- (safeguard the animals of the yajnakarta).

    Ashvam maa himseehi (Yaj.Veda13-42). don’t trouble horses.

    Gaam maa himseehi ( Y.V-13-43) –do—cows

    Avim maa himseehi Y V-13-44 …do… goats

    imam maa himseerdvipaadam pashum (YV-13-47 …do…two legged animals.

    Oornaayum maa himseehi (YV-23-50) dont harm sheep

    etc., There are several other directions of similar nature.
    anaagO hatyaa vy bheemaa (A V.10.1.29) – (It is a great sin to kill innocent animals).

    Why then this practice came into existence ? It is obviously because of the influence of Greeks, Romans etc. Some
    half knowledged scholars who were basically against the vedic culture
    interpreted the yajnas like ashvamedha as sacrificing horse etc. Ashvamedha, Gomedha, Ajamedha actually means Raashtravardhana, Indriyavardhana and Aatmavardhana. These are yajnas without any violence.

    • Nabha Garjana

      the so called Sanskrit scholars here who have no “scholarship” of their own but to quote sayan will not listen to you they will say gau means cow , virishab mein ox and there vedic sanskrit is same is colloquial sanskrit . So Ishtika mean a brick and Soma means Alcohol. So essentially the rihis who got the vedas were Meat eating drunkards but who ate meat and drank in a particular fashion after reciting mantras. Do you have a reason not to believe why the vedic culture so quickly declined in india post the works of sayan? do you think any sane mind would like to believe that “copulating with a dead horse ” is ashwamade and decapitation while reciting purush sukata is nar meda. the So called Scholars here are nothing but people who have no Spiritual or yogic initiation to even understand and do aatmaSaath of the Vedic scriputres let aside be scholars.

  • Excellent article. Glad that IndiaFacts had the openness to publish this, though some of its readers seem to have been offended.
    Complete with quotations from various scriptures, it provides an excellent reference. I love the lack of ambiguity in accepting our traditions as they were though they seem to be in variance with current practices.
    I also recollect a purANic story of sage agastya eating vAtApi who was in the form of an animal.
    Being a vegetarian and a cow lover oneself, I cannot thank the authors enough for saying what had to be said. There is no need to be scared of looking into the mirror.

  • NK Sarma

    Your article on freedom of expressions was of so high quality and this one seems so low in comparison. All references are fine, but somehow they all look like just thrown around just to showcase your knowledge on the scriptures. I am not sure what this article wants to convey. Every single quote thrown has a context and explanation. Rama offering sita meat should be seen as a kshatriya in exile in forest feeding his family with some livestock protein. Nothing more. Krishna and Arjuna celebrating drinks should be seen as two kshatriya friends in a get together. All these scriptures have 1000s of verses that tell us not to kill animals and not to consume drinks, like the manu smriti and the sutras that you acknowledged. You are not following your own advise from your ‘freedom of expression’ article. May be you can rewrite this one after some more contemplation and research; and produce a real hindu view on food and drink. Or you can seperate the topics into vedic view on food and post-vedic view on food, if you find that easier.

  • Radha Rajan

    “At any rate, one need not judge others by their personal habits”. What a queer thing to say after regaling us all with a piece of meaningless gossip that Srikrishna and Arjuna were totally drunk at a party – this sounds like a review of a junk film and not a narrative in our ithihasa. And if you dont judge a person by his personal habits, then what on earth do you judge him or her by? Unless you are saying there is a total disjunct between habits and conduct.

    • Vishwas Rao

      Its not some meaningless gossip. Clearly you haven’t read enough of our itihaasa and have jumped to conclusion that all the kshatriyas are saints and they were waging wars and even winning them just by eating rice rasam and curd rice :-). Probably you also think that soldiers could be enthused into war just by giving them fruit juice 🙂

      If you think that’s a meaningless piece of gossip, for your convenience I give the concerned verses from the critical text.

      धृतराष्ट्र उवाच

      यदब्रूतां महात्मानौ वासुदेवधनंजयौ

      तन्मे ब्रूहि महाप्राज्ञ शुश्रूषे वचनं तव |4.58.1|

      संजय उवाच

      शृणु राजन्यथा दृष्टौ मया कृष्णधनंजयौ |

      ऊचुतश्चापि यद्वीरौ तत्ते वक्ष्यामि भारत |4.58.2|

      पादाङ्गुलीरभिप्रेक्षन्प्रयतोहं कृताञ्जलिः|

      शुद्धान्तं प्राविशं राजन्नाख्यातुं नरदेवयोः |4.58.3|

      नैवाभिमन्युर्न यमौ तं देशमभियान्ति वै |

      यत्र कृष्णौ च कृष्णा च सत्यभामा च भामिनी | 4.58.4|

      उभौ मध्वासवक्षीबावुभौ चन्दनरुषितौ |

      स्रग्विणौ वरवस्त्रौ तौ दिव्याभरणभूषितौ |4.58.5|

      Look at verse 4.58.5 .. thats the one which talks about their drunken state! 🙂 Read Enjoy! 🙂

  • Jishnu

    It is not difficult to see the need for directed rajoguNa that is wanting in Hindus today.

    The simple fact of history is that the meat-rite bond is broken. Over time, for various reasons meat eating kshatriya left vedic learning & yajna while the rite retaining brAmana left meat. Two of the four varNas, one of them involved even in overseas traveling, have turned predominantly vegetarian. If deSa-kAla is any factor, I only see the need to bring back the rite among meat eaters (including consecration of food) and not any need to de-emphasize existing level of vegetarianism.

    • Nabha Garjana

      meat is Tamas not Rajas

  • Radha Rajan

    Since we are speaking of what the Vedas contain, I know we have the Karma Kanda and the Gnana Kanda. If I have understood correctly, the knowledge and wisdom contained in the Gnana Kanda is eternal and does not change with time, place or context. The Karma Kanda evolves. Whatever was sought to be achieved thru sacrifices is today sought to be achieved without entailing the sacrifice of a living creature, human or animal. Where once we broke our heads we break the coconut or a pumpkin. Ground black urad dal placed as ‘parihara’ at cross roads has replaced bali meat. I repeat, do not quote ancient texts to justify what people do today. That is classic anachronism, pun intended. And the quote from Sayana that Hindu women copulated with the dead horse after aswamedha, (this comment may be found down below) is the most debased of them all. MF Hussein when he painted Parvati copulating with a Bull was probably fed the information by someone like Vishwaso.

    • sbangarp

      The idea is to know the issue in totality. The author is not promoting meat-eating. And there are many like you including me who are against beef-eating for the reasons you mentioned elsewhere.
      But building a case on Ahimsa is different. There are many practices in KArma Kanda that are perceived as ‘wrong’. Stating that about Ashwamedha is not an insult. Information is information. Its how you evolve from there that matters.
      Ashwamedha is not prevalent in Kaliyuga. It just cant be done. The same effect can be obtained by doing dahana samskara to a ‘anaatha pretha'(destitute corpse).

      • Radha Rajan

        This exactly the point I made. Karma Kanda evolves and substitutes are now part of customs and tradition. That is why I find this article resting on their own twisted interpretation of the texts, so abhorrent.

        • sbangarp

          Why would u call that remark about ashwamedha n women insulting then.

          I don’t find the article abhorrent. It’s factual. You are interpreting more than the author in my pov. And his interpretation is not twisted.

  • Jishnu

    Radha Rajan is very accurate is noting that “Hindus are the worst at seeking intellectual fig leafs for their debasement.”

    Of course, we know of the aswamedha, gomedha, naramedha. Of course we know we can, just like the commies do to prick Hindu sanctimony, search for uncomfortable detail from Veda and Itihasa. Of course we know of Vatapi and srAddha. We also know that food cycle inherently involves consumption of life and there is no escape from it. We also know how this cosmic yajna involves that cycle as a component rite. That is already amply told to us, I simply do not see any need for Hindus to be enlightened on this.

    But we also know of vasordhAra and pishTa paSu which were introduced to minimize animal killing. We also know of cAturmAsya of Sri Rama which stand as examples and not the ones listed above.

    Food primarily comes from crop & cattle is a necessity. Beef eating is an exception and NOT a norm, and it makes no strategic thinking on the part of learned Hindus to say it is “acceptable but not great” when the prevalent condition is that

    1. you have hundreds of thousands of cows butchered for beef smuggling and the government and society are struggling to fight these mafia
    2. Indian cows are depleting in numbers and varieties and we are reduced from being one of the largest diary producers to importing cows

    A discourse on diet without Eco-awareness is empty. I am afraid this article does not convey the right message at all.

    • Radha Rajan

      Bless you and thank you for providing the right context.

  • @colonelgerard

    Sirs, thank you for this brilliant & enlightening piece. The final conclusion on sustainability is a wonderful new angle, rather than looking at this from the perspective of cruelty, animal rights etc, which are often not based on biological realities. Food habits are indeed diverse & as you very rightly point out, there can no universal dictum. Hence, it is not a matter for debate on which is better, rather an attitude of mutual respect, as you said, will be preferable – whatever our personal preferences may be.

    It is not surprising if some peoples feelings may have been inadvertently hurt by some parts of the article. Yet, this in no way justifies their harsh criticism & condemnation of the authors. Some of these criticisms are purely based on an emotional response and not based on what India’s historical approach to food consumption was. Historians & scholars rise above personal sentiment in their analysis & rely on logical reasoning bases on primary sources. The reason why these erudite authors have quoted so many texts is to point out that diverse food habits existed over the centuries. How else do you scientifically reconstruct cultural aspects of ancient societies? It is very childish to criticize this or imagine that this in any way belittles our heritage.

    In fact, the learned authors have been very objective, adducing pertinent examples with appropriate textual citations, and free from any passion or agenda. Contrary to what the detractors say, the authors have strived to present a very balanced view. Hindus should laud this approach and welcome such scholarship.

    Finally, my impassioned appeal to IF readers is that – we should never fear that objective studies of Hindu culture by our genuine scholars & historians – which may, at times, unearth facts unpalatable to our current tastes/sentiments (like animal sacrifice or beef eating) – would somehow strengthen the case of those involved in distortion in public with ulterior motives. The two are as different as chalk & cheese and most people can distinguish an appreciative scholar from from an agenda-driven distorter of facts.

  • Nabha Garjana

    Just to point out the BLATANT lying and manipulation of the author, i have attached the image for the verses Rik ved 10.27.2 and 10.86.14 (just these two due to shortage of time ), which the lying author his quoted . Anyone with an iota of knowledge about how to translate Vedas after the scholarship of Nirukta, & nighantu would know what “pakhand” treachery this author is up to. Mistranslated the scriptures and dissemination of falsehood used to invoke highest of punishments as per manusmiriti, which the author seems to quote.

    • LOL! That’s what you get from modern bowdlerized commentaries. Here is sAyaNa, one of the great stalwarts of the vijayanagara empire – (10.27.2) and 10.86.14 .

      Before insinuating such ignorance, go check what the ancients say (if you can manage a word or two of sanskrit) directly. Here is the entire sAyaNa-bhAShya for the maNDala – .

      • Radha Rajan

        Vishwaso, you shld be more worried and reserve your sarcasm for secularists and abrahamics who bowdlerise the Quran and the Bible. And also perform sadhana to be blessed with the wisdom to know which truths are best left unsaid even when you think you know it all.

      • krishnakumar

        sadara praNamaH viSvaso vasukijaH.

        The matter of fact is……. in this discussion……… I have not seen a single comment which found fault with vegetarianism. But to view meat eating is mahapaapa is utterly foolish and ill informed.

        Thank you Shriman.VV for your intervention and enlightening.

        I very much respect the services of Smt.RR whether militant or not……… for animal welfare. But that does not give her the right to tamper with the views expressed in scriptures.

        What has been said in scriptures are what they are. Its another thing you agree with them disagree with them. dissect interpolations et al et al. But to just throw away everything lock stock and barrel which do not meet with one’s pet theories……… is extremely illogical.

        It is extremely unfortunate that Ganesh MahaSayah was called names and his scholarship was ridiculed………. and that too not with reasons but by group shouting………very bad. when someone says sayana is nobody and there is hip hip hurray and still we indulge in chest thumping that we are great Hindus……… I do not understand where we are going.

        Just for the purpose of injecting her world view Smt.RR is invoking Srivaishnava and Jaina sampradayas.

        Then why not invoke Baudha sampradaya and madya, mamsa, matsya, mudra, maithunadi panchamakarayukta vamachara tantra. Is it because they do not meet her world view or that they are not part of the vatavruksha, i.e Hinduism.

        To fight Adharmika Abrahamic Semitc religions one requires as much emotion as knowledge and intelligence ………… and not the least solid logic. And Sh.VV, I find that in your writings. Other than this illogical vegetarianism blah blah of Smt.RR, I always admired her articles exposing the Adharmic white church.

        Sh.VV, I request you to articulate your views in respect of this topic in a separate article which gives a veiw of samanvaya.

        Smt.RR, sorry this is not your cuppa tea. I am saying this for the second time.

        From the angle of jivakarunya, vegetarianism is good. very good.

        But please do not demonise meat eating and brand my nonveg eating Hindu Brethern as sinners. Thats not simply acceptable and not as per the spirit of ………although not all……… but a good number of Hindu Scriptures.

        • Radha Rajan

          Pl dont patronise me Krishnakumar. And if you have something to say, then say it instead of giving a running commentary on other peoples comments. The author was not insulted at all. His article for critiqued. If anything this man Vishwaso has been totally insulting. He even called me a fool. Krishnakumar I suggest you read all comments and then air your opinions. And for the last time, dont patronise me with your silly compliments. And animal welfare is not the only thing I do. I also write, I am a political analyst and an author. And if by dismissing me as animal welfare activist you think you are diminishing me, think again.

          • krishnakumar

            \ As I said, pl spare me the bogus scholarship which is selective. \

            \ The author was not insulted at all. His article for critiqued.\

            if this is not insult, what else is?

            You say scholarship of Ganesh MahasayaH is bogus. And throughout your blah blah which you call as comment, show me a single line where you proved the interpretation of Shatavadhani as wrong by quoting a contrary interpretation from bhashya.

            And selective. who is selective. Tell the readers as to whether budhism and Vamachara Tantra are sampradayas of Hinduism or any Adharmic Abrahamic Cult.

            \ If anything this man Vishwaso has been totally insulting. He even called me a fool.\

            When you belittled shatavadhani and trashed his scholarship without knowing abcd of this topic, did you ever think that you may be paid back. seeshe ke mahal me rahne wale pathar nahin phankte. People living in glass houses should not throw stones.

            \ And if by dismissing me as animal welfare activist you think you are diminishing me, think again. \ And for the last time, dont patronise me with your silly compliments. \

            I dont know whether you could ever be consistent. If somebody agrees with your view points you have a problem and if somebody disagrees with your view point, then also you have a problem. if this is not silly, what else is?

            And mind you, your articles are read for the worth in it. And if you are a writer worth the name, try to accept compliments as well as pinpointing of your flaws with dignity.

            And spare the readers by portraying your blah blah vegetarianism aka Radharajanism as Hinduism. Hinduism is so vast having vivida sampradayas which have so many things in common and as many different approaches to living. I completely agree with VV on what he said about you when you say meat eaters are doing mahapaapa when even a person like Dharmavyada is held in high esteem in vaidika sanatana dharma. Dont patronise your ignorance as Dharma.

            What you are trying is to kill the plurality of Hinduism and trying to make it look like another version of SINGULAR Adharmic Abrahamic Cult.

            There is no reason for any reader to consider RR to be more intelligent than Sayana or Jaimini. Still I remember the way you trashed PM suthras on what is Dharma for all your blah blah on dharma.

            You would like to trash vedas, bhashyas, bhashyakarthas, puranas………. belittle a scholar without knowing abcd of the topic…….have the privilege to include and exclude a sampradaya with in Hindu fold ….. and still would like to portray yourself as a proud Hindu. so Silly.

          • Radha Rajan

            Krishnakumar since you are prone to writing bhashyas to other peoples comments I am surprised you have nothing to say about Hindu women copulating with a dead horse. Bogus bhashyas on bogus scholarship. Scholarship is bogus when it is selective, it is bogus when references are incomplete. I do not have to cite other sampradayas, I am not the author.It is the author’s responsibility to look at meat eating, cow eating and killing animals in all major sampradayas instead of citing what Yagnavalka liked and what kind of cow Vishwamitra asked for besides having eaten dog meat. A website is a public domain where you get all kinds of visitors, not all of them scholars, not all of them Hindu. I thought commonsense, not wisdom would suffice about how a Hindu depicts Hinduism in the public domain. So before you write bhashyas on my writings try writing a bhashya on Hindu women copulating with a dead horse. And compare your freind Vushwaso’s prose with MF Hussein’s painting where Parvati is copulating with a live bull. There must be some limit even to your foolishness.

          • Radha Rajan

            People like you Krishnakumar and articles like this and men like Vishwaso who like to show off their samskrit without the wisdom of to make the right choices about the target audience, provide ammunition to the enemy.

          • krishnakumar

            \ Hindu women copulating with a dead horse. \

            Smt.RR, to enter into meaningless fights on topics about which one do not know abcd is the exclusive domain of Smt.RR. If I do not know abcd of something, what I am supposed to do is to get clarification and not to get into meaningless fights.

            Honestly, I do not know anything about this topic of copulation with a dead horse. he said ***SYMBOLIC***. And why are you misinterpretting what he has said? Instead of abusing Sh.VV why don’t you try to get first hand information from some other vedic scholar if you do not want to engage in a discussion with Sh.VV

            \ I do not have to cite other sampradayas, I am not the author.\

            comon, having eaten the crow do not double cross. Its you who abused the author of this article for being selective. When it is pointed out that you are selective to include sampradayas which meet your pet theory and exclude sampradayas which do not, you say that you are not the author. Mind you there are sampradayas in Hindu fold which allow as a matter of dharma meat eating.

            \ A website is a public domain where you get all kinds of visitors, not all of them scholars, not all of them Hindu. I thought commonsense, not wisdom would suffice about how a Hindu depicts Hinduism in the public domain.\

            The scriptures of vivida sampradayas of Hinduism are today in the public domain. I do agree that there are nuances in interpretting them. Many Misinterpretations are there in the public domain already. Leave the job of correct interpretations to scholars. Anybody can look at them and quote. What you need is a correct perspective and I sincerely believe that this forum gives sufficient opportunity to scholars to enlighten us.

            Instead of trying to get a correct perspective of what has been said in scriptures and why it is said and what is the position as on date………the discussion has been badly distracted.

            In not a single argument of Sh.VV…. I have seen him promoting meat eating. But having read the bhashyas, you can not expect him to say something which is not the actual content.

            To portray vegetarianism as Hinduism is nonsense and not commonsense.

            Among the vivida sampradayas of Hindu fold there is sanction for vegetarianism as well as meat eating. I requested Sh.VV to present another article to articulate his views on this topic with samanvaya.

            Adharmic Abrahamic Cults indulge in cheating concealing altaqiya et al. I expect a honest discourse from Hindu perspective. Not pet theories.

          • Rama

            how on earth a woman can “symbolically ” copulate with a dead horse? please be descriptive and enlighten us! mind boggles on this.

          • krishnakumar

            \ Honestly, I do not know anything about this topic of copulation with a dead horse. he said ***SYMBOLIC***. And why are you misinterpretting what he has said? \
            Dear Rama, Hope you had not read my comment. you raised a question but addressed it to a person who honestly do not know anything about this topic. And you also go and read the comment of Sh.VV.

          • sbangarp

            That is not a statement he made. He is quoting a fact. You are attributing it to him? There by twisting the argument.

        • Well put. Hinduism is a non-prescriptive religion like the Abrahamic faiths are. And that is what should tell us about its greatness.

  • Echoing a statement by friend Raghavendra:
    “Excellent article by Shataavadhaani Dr. R Ganesh and Hari Ravikumar. Congratulations to India Facts for being bold enough to state this. Even though the article is painstakingly nuanced, a whole bunch of idiots in Hindu society just don’t get it as is evident from the comments on the article. Touchy Hindus, get this – meat eating was a reality. It doesn’t mean however that we should all start slaughtering animals. We as a society have evolved and stopped eating meat. How can all these ignoramuses without an iota of Sanskrit knowledge and therefore ancient Indian culture just wish away all of those references in the Veda and the kAvyas? Sanskrit text in the article would have helped – especially the nivRuttistu mahAphalA verse. Ignorant and stubborn Hindus are their own worst enemies.

    This brings me to an important role of the ego in reading all these articles. What we like and appreciate is normally something that maintains or furthers our world view, which yields ego satisfaction. Anything contrarian will be seen as destroying our world view and pet theories and hence met with intense opposition – because of messing up with a person’s ego. The same folk who lauded Dr. G for other articles suddenly became critical because of an injury to their world view. This bogus argument of “giving fodder to Abrahamic forces” will not hold. sanAtana dharma holds that “satyameva jayate nAnRtam”. These militant activists would do well to understand that.”

    • Nabha Garjana

      if you had an iota of scholarship w.r.t the vedic scriptures , and what it entails to transliterate the same,you would not be going ga ga over a trash article !! and for people like you who like to agree with people rather than the point being stated, it would be difficult to comprehend what it means to stand by the facts .

      • भोः नभोगर्जन, वृथा मा गर्जीः। नाहं वेदेषु शून्यः। सायणभाष्यस्य नैके ऽप्यंशा अधीता एव मया। गवालम्भस् तु शास्त्रेषु प्रसिद्ध एव विषयः। न पुनर् मूर्खैर् लक्षितश् चेद् भवादृशैः कश् शतावधानिनो दोषः?

        • Nabha Garjana

          by making a mockery of a screen name dosen’t add any value besides correct the spelling of vyarth :). just because sayana ( for which there is proof that the commentary was written by his students not by himself except a part of it ). dosent mean it has to be taken at face value just like Max muller did and u do. similar people are of the view that RV 10/85/13 states on occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.
          where as in fact
          the mantra states that in winter, the rays of sun get weakened and then get strong again in spring. word used for sun-rays is ‘Go’ which also means cow and hence the mantra can also be translated by making ‘cow’ and not ‘sun-rays’ as the subject. The word used for ‘weakened’ is ‘Hanyate’ which can also mean killing. But if that be so, why would the mantra go further and state in next line that in spring, they start regaining their original form.

          There are Mantras that use the words “Sita” and “krishan” also in Vedas so the vedas talk about them 🙂 The commonality remains that people who were not versed in Vedic samskrit (includnig sayana) but translated vedas as per classical samskrit have caused this damaged. and for a matter of Fact calling the likes of sayana ancient you have to know the antiquity of the veda themselves in contrast. besides then vedas should also talk of Nar meda (human sacrifice) gau medha ( cow sacrifice ) aj medha ( ram sacrifice ) and then when we go to yajurved we must also believe that women used to symbolically copulate with dead horses in the ashwa medha ( post its slaughter). I just don’t have time to engage in this time intensive debated right now. But i would be obliged if you give me the word by word commentary supported by Nirurkta and Nighatu of the Mantras and why that particular word meaning was chosen in the bhashya of Sayana.!

          • You are indeed a brilliant person, O Nabhogarjana, who cannot even speak two sentences in sanskrit, mistakes the word vRthA for vyartha, and then says that sAyaNa does not know the vaidika language. If you think I can be a research assistant to such brilliance and find Nirurkta and Nighatu support, dream on. I am but an ant compared to you who are very much like Indra’s mount.

            Indeed, I bow to the effulgence of you and your gurus – why – they have problems with vigraha pUja don’t they? Well people ought to know where your “vedism” diarrhea comes from.

            (PS: Just in case someone doesn’t catch it, I am being sarcastic in this post.)

          • Nabha Garjana

            both words are synonyms and i did not have the vocabulary for that till now, and if you are of the understanding that vocabulary is the knowledge of the language them i am sure where you are coming from.Besides would you enlighten on the points that are being posted rather then being sarcastic so that everyone can benefit and come to know that vedic people where just barbarians. and besides i have no issues with murti puja and i am not arya samaji so drop that. and as far as the reference to Shatpath are given there are in no coherence to the actual scripture, that can be related to Shathpath, it has two Khandas, and each khanda has adhyas and Brahmans and then mantras
            so it should be Khanda:Adhya:brahman:mantra so when the auhor says Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa says meat is the best kind of food means that there are 11 Khandas in essence there are only two. so its a blatant lie or sheer copy past ignorance.i am sure now that you know sanskrit you can enlighten all here on the same. Else please give a Screen shot of your favorite Bhaysya so that i can see where you and the author come from.

          • “i am not arya samaji so drop that” -> Well then! In that case, you sir, would do well to drop that dayAnanda-sarasvatI/ aurobindo line of interpretation to the nearest bin (especially if you do not have the wisdom to deal with it in the right plane of thought).

            Since you now appear reasonable and are more interested in the “points”: Of course, “women used to symbolically copulate with dead horses in the ashwa medha”. Of course, there are pashu-yAga-s conducted even now. And, there were puruSha-medha-s conducted by our heroic kings ( read more here: ). Our people were not akin to neutered pets – they were tigers.

            What?! Did you say “so its a blatant lie of ignorance.”. LOL! So, I was wrong after all. You still make noises like an empty vessel. The verse exists, and here is its translation –

          • Since I pity your ignorance, let me dispel it. Do you have any idea what the avadhAna art form is? What an aShTAvadhAna is? A shatAvadhAna? A sahasrAvadhAna? Can you even begin to imagine the kind of scholarship and mastery required? Go educate yourself before making a fool of yourself.

          • Nabha Garjana

            you quote Max muller and sayan as much as you like the facts is both of them were far from the reality of what vedas really contain.Below are the verses that are quoted by the author. now that you quoted max muller/julius eggeling i can know where u come from .
            as you say which ideally is partham Khanda : satpamo adhyaa: partham brahman:tritiya mantra from Shath path of the great sage Yagnavalka.
            (PS the upload is pages 1 3 and 2 , happened as i am in a hurry so catch you later)

          • What an idiot you are, “ether sound”! Can’t even locate a text given the number? This is what it should read like:
            sa yatpaśubandhena yajate ātmānamevaitanniṣkrīṇīte vīreṇa vīraṃ vīro hi
            paśurvīro yajamāna etadu ha vai paramannādyaṃ yanmāṃsaṃ sa
            paramasyaivānnādyasyāttā bhavati taṃ vai saṃvatsaro nānījanamatīyādāyurvai
            saṃvatsara āyurevaitadamṛtamātmandhatte

            Let us see what fanciful interpretation your joke book has for it and the preceeding two verses. Or did they make them disappear?

          • Radha Rajan

            I knew a dashavadhani personally. You have a long long way to go to achieve the beauty of his soul. As I said paanditya glows with beauty only when it strips itself of the arrogance of knowing.

          • Jishnu

            Now I realize why KS Venkataraghavan on another thread called him a kid. Academic learning can fructify only with experience of life, which is why we respect elders for their age and experience regardless of their SAstra learning. Nevertheless it is encouraging to see young ones coming up along with due training in SAstra.

          • Radha Rajan

            Now do you see how MF Hussein was emboldened to paint what he did? He painted Parvati copulating with a bull. India Facts you have erred and erred dangerously by giving these lunatics space to air such views.

          • Sambasivam

            Come on Radha, he is only quoting from your holy scriptures. Why don’t you ask your political masters to rewrite the scriptures just as they are doing with the recent political history of India!!

          • Anjali George

            But Madam Rajan,
            Your fanatic zeal for imposing vegetarianism and puritanist spirit to reform Hindus into the way you consider right, has turned you into a mere tool of Foriegn Hinduphobes. That reduced you to a person who can only deserve pity.
            Sorry to say this. But What a fall.

          • Radha Rajan

            Dear Anjali for a person born into the fictional cult of Jesus your pity s misplaced. It is totally impossible in Hindu Dharma to impose anything n anybody. We don’t have a megalomaniac church which expanded across continents thru genocide, slavery and colonialism. And as for puritan that’s your cult, not in my worldview. And the concept of ‘fall’ too is intrinsic to the Jesus cult – from fall of man, Lucifer’s fall, to decline and fall of Rome old and new. So keep the pity; you need it.

          • Anjali George

            Oh really!! Is that why you impose your crazy vegetarian spirit on poor farmers and Kerala temples? Why are you joining hands with PETA and other Christian Americans to kill local traditions and culture which forms the Hindu identity of my place? Walk the talk madam. Then go and quarrel with wise Hindus. your acting and tears after watching a propaganda movie by a Canadian missionary cannot be justified by any hatefull speech against christianity here. Be straight and honest to the Hindus, rather than behaving like a double agent…

          • Radha Rajan

            Tsk tsk. Don’t blow a fuse. You are from Kerala? That explains your apoplexy. And as for local customs and traditions Hindu Dharma is not ossified like your cult. We can shed our outdated practices which are contretemps and still be traditional Hindu. Coming back to Kerala, it is not just elephants. Kerala’s record with dogs, cattle should also cause you alarm if you are sensitive person. But I don’t expect much from meat eaters. Of all perver. sions, meat eating is the worst. I cannot force you to become vegetarian but I can certainly refuse to sit at the same table as a meat eating pervert. As for Canadian missionary, dearie I will work with anyone if I can save one animal, one bird, one insect. And it is a brilliant movie.

          • Anjali George

            Pathetic! Sangita Iyer define Your idea of Kerala temple culture? Shame on you lady, once I had listened to your speech. Now you are the enemy of Hindu dharma, the heritage of a land. Working with American missionaries to destroy Hindu practices of Thrissur and evangelise the city. Shame on you. One can be a lunatic. But you are beyond that. Your hatred and ego have reduced you to a puppet of missionaries. Your patronage for exaggeration by missionaries proved you to be a lesser Hindu than me. Because you work to destroy native civilisation with all the knowledge you have about the activities of your new found friends. You will reap the results of your karma. You are cursed by the land of Adi Shankara for the help you give to Americans and church to destroy the cultural heritage of my land.

            Vanaprastha was prescribed for people like you. Age can make someone lose their mind. Better retire.

          • Radha Rajan

            You know George, if you are do concerned about Hindu customs, why not go the full walk and bring all Kerala Christians back to the Hindu fold. Leave the animals to me. This life is committed to their well being. But because you are exercised over Kerala’s local hindu customs dying, you should begin to start work to preserving them by first becoming a Hindu and then bringing back others. As for vansprastha, not for me. And as for hate speech, have you heard of sauce for the goose? I am not just animal activist, I am also Hindu nationalist. And I keep these two worlds apart. You made them converge here dear Anjali. When you push disrespectfully, expect to be pushed back with greater force. Anjali did you know the renowned Paxhavangady temple in Kerala, the Pejswara Maham in Udipi, and the Ahobila Matham in TN have all surrendered their elephants? Their sanctity is still intact. If anything, multiplied many times.

          • Radha Rajan

            And dearie I find engaging with immature minds very tiring at my age. I have had my say. Won’t reply to more uninformed diatribe. Bye.

          • Anjali George

            You are not a nationalist. If so you would have had the humility to listen to the people of the land than joining with American missionaries. You failed your role as a Hindu nationalist. Now, you are just an FCRA NGO Stooge.
            Just wanted to tell this to you at least once. To show the mirror.
            Don’t make a fool of yourself before you die. At least learn to be humble and introspect.

          • Anjali George

            Because, Whatever you told now about elephants in Kerala temples are same songs american missionary NGOs sing. Pazhavangadi Temple in Thiruvananthapurm never had its own elephant. they just decided not to get one in future. As far as I know, Udupi Krishna Mutt’s elephant, subhadre was sent to forest for treatment in December, and she must be back after that. And malolan is still with ahobila mutt. So, Madam, don’t lie like American missionary friends of yours.

          • Anjali George

            Madam, Your association with missionaries cannot be covered up by dictating what I must do. You have no business in interfering into the traditions of MY PEOPLE. you are just a crazy woman crying with some crazy dollar makers to destroy the heritage of MY ANCESTORS.
            If you have no idea about elephant mangement traditions and evolved knowledge system and expertise deviced by the learned Hindus of Adi Sankara’s land, just stay away from the affairs of another culture. You have no adhikara, to interfere in the temple & cultural practices of a different community. Our festivals and hasti chikitsa techniques are not for some crazy westerners and their stooge women to distort and destroy.

          • Radha Rajan
          • Radha Rajan

            I request every right thinking man and woman to express your protest at this grotesque statement that women copulated with horses and with dead horses. This dangerous lunatic with this comment has dragged all Hindu women to despicable depths. It diesnt mater of they copulated with dead horses really or symbolically. The idea that Hindu women copulated with animals is the stuff that provides content to evengelists and jihadis like MF Hussein and Owaisi.

          • Nabha Garjana

            sayan allegedly used the works of Ravana as the basis of his work, who also was allegedly a prakand Pandit of the vedas called the dash anana . Bother Ram and Ravan were the educated of the vedas.its what one knows & believe that forges his/her identity and history knows how are Rama and Ravana remembered.

          • Radha Rajan

            So, that our people were not neutered pets (humans also get neutered; doesnt make them less man or less woman or less human) and were tigers is to be seen from the fact that we sacrificed animals and humans and women copulated with dead horses. And you are taking pride in disseminating this information?

          • Sree Charan R

            Sorry for the interruption.
            Regarding Asvamedha, Dr.Subhash Kak has written an excellent,but unfortunately not well known book: “Asvamedha: The rite and its Logic”.Hope this helps.
            {May be,the situation would be better,Archaeologists or Scientists writing history, than any “scholar” or “historian”.}

          • Nabha Garjana

            i have heard about it .will try to get my hands on it. thanks for the suggestion.

          • Radha Rajan

            My association with Dr. MD Srinivas of the Center for Policy Studies educated me about the critical distinction between vedic samskrit and samskrit of our classical texts. Perhaps Vishwaso shld now sit down and re-assess what he thinks he knows. Tes dearie I can read devnagri.

          • Nabha Garjana

            Dear friend, there have been and are (as is see) a lot of such people who extrapolate all this junk based on the transliteration of Mahidhar, uvvat and Sayan and then try to shake the entire foundation of this civilization and thats what the british tried to do and liberati and communists are still trying. if one just reads what sayans bhashya has in its transliteration ,one gets shivers to the spine and so vivid, you just have to read the vivid description of ashwameda in which a women copulates with a dead horse, may be the gentle man here vishwaso can put an elaboration of that as well here from the sayan commentary

        • Radha Rajan

          Is your tuft ornamental or does it mean something. It would be a real pity if you wore a tuft as symbol of your arrogance.

          • I pity the ladies who, having nothing valuable to say, talk about looks. Rather shallow, I’d say.

          • Radha Rajan

            Sauce for the goose. You made mockery of a man’s name. It was as much a self description as your tuft and your vasukijah.

          • Radha Rajan

            Tsk tsk sexist too.

    • Radha Rajan

      No dearie, I may not have an iota of knowledge of samskrit but you have no vinaya. I couldnt care less if Yagnyavalka ate cow and oxen as long as it was tender, and you think samskrt and yagnyavalka is sanction to kill and indulge your palate for flesh and blood and bones of what once was a living being, I still think he saw the world and all creation with humans at the center. And if there is one thing I know without knowing samskrit it is that humans are just one very tiny very small part of all creation and the most debased. Meat was not created; it had to be made by killing. And I will stand by this view with all the tapasya that I have accrued over 22 years – meat eating which means killing a defenceless voiceless creature when alternatives are available is mahapaapa. Now i cant reconcile this with paritranaya sadunam or is the bhagwad gita like the bible excluding animals?

      • See, “dearie”, several points:

        * old age does not automatically entitle you to vinaya – especially if it is combined with nonsense and incoherence (which I will get to).

        * You don’t want people to eat and kill animals? I, Dr. Ganesh and Manu would feel the same. No issue with that. It is just that. All gaNesha did was to say is that IF one wants to eat meat anyway, then: “The negative effects of meat-eating can be tempered by making better choices in how the meat is procured.” No idea why you would take issue with that. “Finally, there can be no universal dictum about the food that we can eat or should not eat”.” is indeed sensible. Or do the jains rule the world in your universe? prakRti and saMskRti cannot be too far apart. Try insisting that all your extended family members wake up at brahmamuhUrta, and see how far that goes.

        * You say: ” I may not have an iota of knowledge of samskrit”. Then an admitted ignoramus ( you “dearie”) have the gall to accuse Dr Ganesh of poor scholarship and selective quotation contradicting the spirit of the ancient views he is presenting. This “dearie” is what I find most ridiculous.

        • Radha Rajan

          No dearie it is your ignorance and arrogance which arrogates to itself the right to proclaim – the effects of killing a living being to indulge your aasuric desire for flesh and blood can be tempered by how you procure the meat. Now where in the world of dharma did you get that? All killing is filled with the fear and pain of that which is killed. So while you may choose to look at dharma thru the human prism I choose to see it thru the prism of all things in creation – the sentient and non-sentient. And that i do not know samskrut does not make me an ignoramus just as knowing samskrit dies not make you a wise man, not even an intelligent man. You dearie best exemplify the kind of brahmin who gave Periyarites the stick to beat us with. Vidya dadhathi vinayam. This much samskrit I do know.

        • Jishnu

          No, that is not “All gaNesha did”. That is the problem. First of all Hindus generally have the sense to distinguish “meat” from “cow meat”. Something that has come along as a known-yet-inarticulate aspect of culture. Texts cannot and should not be used to cloud these things but to bring more articulation and contrast in those matters so that people’s ability to defend their practices is improved. At the most general level “everything is part of nature”. We know it all. Say it for a social practice, you are only harming.

          • Radha Rajan

            Thank you Jishnu. As we live through life we do cause pain, we explot, we deny some creature its innate sanctity in creation. But at the very heart of Hindu wisdom is to understand, realize the nature of our lives and to minimise pain, exploitation, and to totally understand that every creature in creation, every thing in creation, sentient and the non-sentient is sacred. This article fails abjectly to reflect Hindu wisdom. It is a mere regurgitation of our texts. The danger of knowledge without wisdom.

          • Jishnu

            Radha ji I cannot attribute lack of wisdom to Sri Ganesh but this looks more like a “this is what” kind article than having a specific purpose and target audience. Conceptually not much to find fault with, but as a reader one doesn’t know what to make of it.

          • Radha Rajan

            Wisdom is the ability to distinguish what must be said, what is best left unsaid, and to know why it must be said or unsaid. As you have pointed out, one doesnt know what to make of it – that nails it. Why was this article written at all and even more important, what purpose was IF serving when it published this article. If IF has a raison d’etre, is this article serving that purpose. Citing our classical texts and quoting selectively from the vedas without a context or purpose presents a distorted framework for discussion.

          • Jishnu

            Seen as a standalone article Chaya’s comment judged it well earlier:

            “” there can be no universal dictum about the food that we can eat or
            should not eat. ” this is what the younger generation is already
            following. they don’t need any justification from Vedas/smritis for that
            matter. So who/what is this article trying to address? In today’s
            anything goes world, what younger generation need is a guidance on why
            they should buy their meat from a Hindu butcher & not from others
            🙂 ”

            Except if, this is developed as some background to build a narrative and bigger argument/discourse. In their ongoing series if this is all they have to say on food and vegetarianism and are moving on, then the critical view is valid. If not, then the criticism is probably hasty 🙂 Which is why I am not saying it strongly yet.

          • The article gave me clarity as opposed to ambiguity, understanding as opposed to clouding. It doesn’t change my views on cattle nor will it change my dietary habits away from vegetarianism.

            This is a bookmarkable article in my opinion.

            Regarding the quotes being selective, they have to be so. If the entire vedas are quoted no one would have the stamina to read through.

            If one feels that the quotes selective so as to present only one side, then one should provide other conflicting verses to articulate the other side, is such is not already attributed by the article.

          • You say – “Texts cannot and should not be used to cloud these things but to bring more articulation and contrast in those matters so that people’s ability to defend their practices is improved”
            Does that mean that one should keep things hush hush when inconvenient and only highlight those portions that help one’s case?
            If so, that would be the job of a lawyer, not that of a scholar.

          • Jishnu

            How does that follow from what I said?

          • It appeared that the central thing here is “ability to defend their practices”. It seemed that these abilities have to be improved. From the comment, in the context of the other comments, I gathered that the practices here meant “Not eating beef”.
            By “these things” and “those matters”, I understood as alluding to such practices as “not eating beef” and maybe also the faith and belief of people in such practices.
            Hence, to me, when I read it, it followed that you were discouraging using texts to cloud the faith and beliefs and encouraging more articulation and contrast to help defend the practices.

          • Jishnu

            Practices come from tradition and tradition is documented in scriptures. So evidently exploring scriptures with reference to any practice should result in not adding to common man’s confusion in defending is practices but help his ability in doing so. After all those texts belong to those traditions and those practices belong to those people of those traditions. Reading contrary meanings into scriptures (as the libtards and white western xtians keep doing) defeats the purpose of scholarship.

            This is to answer your question specifically. Hardly means I am accusing the author of misreading.

      • There is no sanction required. Sanction is a very Abrahamic terminology. Hinduism is Dharmic. The desire to promote vegetarianism may be laudable. But to sanction it is not Hinduisms way of doing things.

      • Sambasivam

        I truly hope you don’t wear leather shoes or sandals and your vanity bag is made of vegetable fibre

    • Radha Rajan

      And as for your silly observation that meat eating was a reality – my objection was not to the reality but to the fact that it is a reality. And so is rape, sadism, sodomy, incest also reality. Reality dearie is not just what is found in samskrit texts but what is seen in the real world. Welcome to a world outside of selective quotes from our texts which you use to insult those less well read. My grandmother who couldnt read best exemplified the dharma and culture by which i live. The last thing she would do everyday before she locked the doors of her house for the night was to place food for the dogs and this was Srirangam in the 1950s. That dearie is dharma – not quoting some text which says Yagnyavalka liked to eat cows as long as it was tender. No wonder Christians and Muslims have a cake walk in trampling us under their feet. With scholars like you and the author, their objective to undermine and mock the beliefs of ordinary Hindus that we worship the cow, cow is sacred, killing animals is cruel – is achieved without a battle.

      • Sambasivam

        Radha, not all castes in Hindu religion worship cow. Maybe in North India, but not in South India. There are several socially and economically backward communities who eat beef unless you wish to disown them from Hindu religion, But the right wing political leaders are trying hard to keep them within Hindu fold, notwithstanding their food habits. So beef eating doesn’t matter so long as it serves to increase the number in the right wing political base. Don’t try to impose your upper caste views on all sections in Hindu religion and don’t project your views as the only, universal and sacrosanct views of all Hindus.

        • Indian Voter

          By rebuking what Radha Rajan has said. Just because some “socially & economically backward communities ate beef” does not mean that we hindus disown our reverence to Gau mata. Both Lord Shiva & Lord Vishnu (Krishna) are associated with Gau mata. Mr. Sambasivam, the content & the language that you use shows you are biased against hindus & hinduism & nothing else. You are just exposing yourself of being a mean bigot. Shame on you.

          • Sambasivam

            You are not answering my question about some sections of Hindu religion eating beef you moron. Certainly I am against some high priests and some upper castes acting as if they own the Hindu religion and its ethos


            Sambasivam – you want to be equal to the high priests when it comes to rights, education, opportunity and marriage. Then you have to be like them when it comes to culture. There was a reason that Brahmins were regarded highly for millenia even by kings (ksatriyas) who were more powerful. Beef eating is regarded as “low culture” – doesn’t matter if some “Hindus” did it in the past – most scriptures recommend against cow killing. Also Dharma evolves with time. We evolved from being hunters and barbarians into what we are today. The goal of Hinduism is about conscious evolution into a spiritual realm. In any case, scientific and environmental facts will force us away from beef in the future.

    • Radha Rajan

      I am standing here right in front of you on the battle field. So you dont have to address me thru descriptions like militant activist and some folk who lauded. I lauded the authors in another article and the appreciation is genuine. I am ripping them and you apart here because I sense arrogance – that you just have package self-indulgence and debasement in Samskrit and I will laud that too. And I dont really know what you mean by militant activist. Care to explain? All readers are invited to pl watch the documentary which SV Badri BR Haran and I made on cattle trafficking which kills cows, pregnant cows, tender days old calves for meat which is as tender as Yagnyavalka liked. Just so you know what militant activism is all about. This documentary has had a salutary effect on the nation’s conscience. I suppose we have to live on this bhumi with all our senses wide open to know what we are becoming as a nation. And I also believe the nation has a soul and this soul is a troubled soul now. If this doesnt trouble all the selective quoters of samskrit then there really is no hope for the hindu nation. If we allow the cow to be killed then we will be unmoved about what we kill in human interest. All killing of animals is only in human self interest.

      • Sorry for butting into your fight. But “I am standing here right in front of you on the battle field”, “I am ripping them and you apart here” doesn’t sound like non violence or dharmic 🙂

        • Krispy K

          That would be the consequence of your misunderstanding that being dharmic necessarily means being non-violent. Context is everything.

        • Suresh

          perhaps you wish to understand the full sentence ? Ahimsa paramo dharma, dharma himsa tathaiva cha..

      • Kavya Ravindranath

        Hello ma’am. Some things I’d like to point out-
        1) This nation is certainly NOT a Hindu nation
        2) While cattle trafficking is certainly a horrible reality, this is true with poultry, fishes and any other form of meat too. They are all ill treated, confined in tiny spaces, injected with antibiotics and steroids etc. Would you then suggest that we ban all sorts of meat and become a vegetarian nation? Apart from all the other implications of such an action, we will also face a steep and grave financial crisis.
        3) While I don’t have much knowledge of Sanskrit or the Hindu texts, one thing everyone seems to forget that meat has largely and historically the staple diet of many lower caste Hindus, because it is cheap and nutritious. Even now most people from tribal and economically backward areas consume beef because it is the cheapest form of meat and has been consumed by their ancestors for long. Forcing them to turn vegetarian, is simply cruel. In a parallel universe that would be like you being forced to consume meat.

        I am a vegetarian and will continue to be so, however that does not give me the right to dictate what someone else eats. Tolerance is what is necessary for this nation ma’am.

        • Akhaand Bharat



          Kavya – your ignorant comment deserves a reply. 1) Beef is not the cheapest form of meat (it is perhaps the most expensive for India) 2) Beef causes the greatest environmental damage 3) Cow is scared for us Hindus who are in the majority. So there are many other meat to choose from without offending the culture. Name another religion which considers an animal sacred and we will happily give up that meat. 4) You being vegetarian (probably raised that way) is good but not enough. You need to stop injustice to animals. Their right to live is more important than another human beings right to kill them. Oh or are you a “liberal humanist” who has no regard to animal rights.


          All please watch this video –

      • Ajith

        If you’ve ever taken antibiotics in your life, you’ve contributed to killing calves. I’m a biologist and to develop drugs, we use beef extract, fetal calf serum, fetal bovine serum, bovine serum albumin and the like in large quantities during the course of our experiments. Many branches of medical research uses these basic ingredients. If you’ve ever taken any pill in your life, or if you continue to take medication, which at some point, definitely made use of these ingredients, then you have no right to point fingers at people who eat meat – beef or otherwise. Stop imposing your communal pseudo moral code on our secular nation.


          Only people of low intelligence fail to discriminate between various levels of wrongdoing. In modern society inadvertent consumption of animal products is an unfortunate reality. The point is to NOT do it consciously or to animals with HIGH levels of consciousness. Killing a human, a cow, a plant or an ant are not the same thing ! Some people don’t even eat garlic and ginger because it takes the life of a plant – it depends on where one is on the spiritual plane. That said, modern medicine should be avoided and Ayurveda should be favored for the reasons you mentioned and beyond. Don’t fudge this discussion by suggesting one injustice to prevent another. Killing animals for their meat, leather or experimentation is wrong – it is not a moral code – it is Hindu intelligence.

          • Ajith

            This elitist reply reeks with double standards. If Hindu intelligence = mob justice for supposed consumption of beef? I’d rather not acquire such ‘intelligence’. No, thank you.
            I hope eventually ‘Hindu intelligence’ reaches a state where all those who are enlightened enough, stop drinking cow’s milk as well. Why? In case you intelligent beings don’t already know of the common practises in milk production. Here you go,


            “no thank you” – you doing Hinduism a favor, you think ? No one said that murder is justified, so stick to the points of the debate. Every karma (action) has an impact on the world. Every fruit you pick, every tree you cut for wood, every animal you domesticate. The point is to minimize your foot print. Of all animals consumed by man – cows and beef have the biggest footprint. If you can survive without milk great – if you need it then follow the Hindu rules on how and when to milk a cow. In any case, milking is better than killing. Do you have the intelligence to discriminate ? Its called buddhi.

          • Ajith

            ‘Every karma (action) has an impact on the world.’ That is your view of the world. The point here is to not impose this on the rest of us, Indians.
            Also, if you truly believe that the point is to minimize our footprint and reduce our impact on the environment, then you should be protesting this as well:

            ‘if you need it then follow the Hindu rules on how and when to milk a cow.’ First, please bring about reforms in milking practises in India before you go about banning beef production/consumption.


            Human activity (karma) having an impact on the planet is “my view” ? Ok i rest my case there. moron.

          • Ajith

            You’re probably right; I am a moron. But at least one without projection bias.


            Since I am elite, it is my duty to educate you. Let us start with a detailed scientific analysis of the subject –

        • Sambasivam

          Well said Ajit. These upper caste communities project themselves as the pillars and guardians of Hindu religion. If they don’t want eat beef, okay don’t eat. They cannot force others not to eat by quoting some sanatana dharmas. That is why the author has rightly quoted from ancient texts that beef and meat were very much part of ancient Hindu diet. But people like Radha find the truth uncomfortable because it doesn’t suit their agenda. They always read the vedas and ancient scripts through their own selective caste-coloured prism

    • Jishnu

      ” The same folk who lauded Dr. G for other articles suddenly became critical because of an injury to their world view”

      No it does not injure their “worldview”. It injures the cause *on ground* much contrary to the “final message” the author is trying to convey. It is not ignoramuses who are getting “touchy”. A goldmine of knowledge, the Manusmriti is now a stigmatized text for what reason? Hindu scholars not being strategic enough in positioning their arguments.

      • Radha Rajan

        Jishnu thank you again for echoing my view that the Manusmriti is one of the finest compilation of code of conduct. Instead of reading it as it is with full awareness of the times it was codified like we shld all our classical texts we look at them through the incorrect prism of contemporary time and social mores.

    • Shankar

      Well said sir. This has been the problem with our folk for thousands of years. We are self deprecating to the maximum. That is why so may foreigners found it easy to rule us. It is time we stopped looking inwards so much and open our minds a little to the reality of life. It is life cycle where we are part of a food chain as nature intended. That does not mean that we go around slaughtering animals willy nilly. What the article is trying to say is that it is a misconceptions that all Hindus are vegetarians and and Hinduism is against non-vegetarian food! We have evolved since the days of the vedic scriptures and several sampradayas have evolved who prescribe vegetarianism. Best of luck to them There is a school of thought that says even the plants have sensation! Does that mean one day we have to stop eating? Westerners have used our own gullibility to divide and rule us – going back t the time of max Muller and the Aryan Invasion Theory
      Kudos Shatavadani Ganesh!! Well done sir. Excellent article.

    • Sai aravindh

      Excellent comment worthy of an exceptional article. Full marks to Indiafacts too for choosing intellectual honesty over popularity.

  • Mamdhata

    An excellent article. For those interested, please read Brihadaryanaka Upanishad which says meat of different deer, when fed to a pregnant woman, will produce a son who can remember 1,2,3 Vedas

    Navagraha shanti as laid down by Baudhayana specifies rice cooked with meat is to be offered for Rahu Shanti. Baudhayana further says meat, when offered by sraddha karta to a sannyasi as bhishka, must be eaten by him else sannyasi incurs sin.

    Many says offering go mamsa to Pitr will keep them well fed for a year. In fact right from fish to rhinoceros meat to wild boar several kinds of meat have been specified for sraddha.

    Vishwamitra, after he achieved siddhi of Gayatri, asked for and received meat of an anDhva calf. Vishwamitra further had eaten dog’s meat (a meat eschewed upon) because of family

    Ayurveda recommends eating if jAngala meat i.e. jungle meat.

    I wish Hindus of today do read their past more dispassionately. Of course, if an individual feels meat eating is bad that is his choice. And for those Hindu critics who think past practice justifies your stance now, remember you cannit be selective about it. There are many past practises which, over a period of time, have given way to new norms,,ethics & ethos. So if you quote past text for meat eating, someone might ask you to justify polygyny by same text

    • Nabha Garjana

      i wish you could Quote the scripture directly in the original format rather than talking without praman and then whining. any sub scripture that goes against the shruti (veda) i.e shabda pramat is to be out rightly rejected

  • froginthewell

    1. It is impossible to be a Hindu without differing with some scriptural guidelines or the other. (Fortunately or unfortunately our religion allowed people with all kinds of view points to flourish).

    2. We also have no option but to accept that great Acharyas disagree with each other on vegetarianism (e.g., Sri Ramakrishna/Ramana Maharshi).

    3. Unless you have considerable faith, it is hard to find a lot of correlation between spiritual upliftment and rationality in worldly views.

    4. As someone pointed out, it is difficult to reconcile every single thing that Rama, Krishna etc. did was just with today’s morality.

    So the only honest Hindu approach seems to me to be to follow scriptures and saints for their spiritual light, but use one’s own good sense in everything else. Some of the commentators below who try to insist on logical sense in each and every bit of shabda pramANa, and this author too, scare the bejesus out of me.

  • _chAyA_

    ” there can be no universal dictum about the food that we can eat or should not eat. ” this is what the younger generation is already following. they don’t need any justification from Vedas/smritis for that matter. So who/what is this article trying to address? In today’s anything goes world, what younger generation need is a guidance on why they should buy their meat from a Hindu butcher & not from others 🙂

  • krishnakumar

    \ That said, there is no need for devout Hindus to get upset by this or for Hindu critics to get take their usual perverse delight. These incidents don’t affect the personalities of great heroes like Rāma and Kṛṣṇa; at any rate, one need not judge others by their personal habits. \

    Well articulated Dr.Ganesh Shatavadhani.

    Thanks for finely compiled and articulated article.

    Myself, a vegetarian and we do not take onion and garlic.

    To advocate vegetarianism or veganism out of jivakarunya is good. very good.

    But to demonise meat eating on the basis of vaidika scriptures is the most foolish thing.

    Why just Rama and Krishna. I have My best Hindu friends from Mithilanchal and Kashmir. They eat meat. And I never judged their personalities on the basis of what they eat. I have learnt and shared from their study of Shrimad Ramayana and Bhagavatha.

  • JagatguruDas

    Here are the words of Paramacarya of Kanci in Deivathin Kural:

    “In our own Kali age we do not have such men who are desireless in their actions, who can subdue their minds and give up all works to become ascetics and who will remain chaste at heart even in the company of women. So it is contended that the following are to be eschewed in the Kali age: horse and cow sacrifices, meat in the sraddha ceremony, sannyasa, begetting a son by the husband’s brother. As authority we have the following verse:

    Asvalambham gavalambham sanyasam palapatrikam

    Devarena sutotpattim kalau panca vivarjayet”

    For further details, refer:

  • Pingback: The Hindu View on Food and Drink | featuresgalleried()

  • Radha Rajan

    Readers who care about “Truth be told” are invited to read my article “The hidden costs of beef eating” under “Plainspeak” which carries all my articles on And to underscore how Ganesh has quoted even Manu selectively on sex, Manu also says that to avoid sex from becoming gratification of the senses, husband and wife should smear neem oil on their bodies before uniting.

  • Radha Rajan

    I dont know where India Facts is going with such articles. To cloak self-indulgence in Samskrit is to insult my intelligence. “Hindu view” is larger, deeper and more evolved than selective and motivated quotes from some texts. Had the author or India Facts really wanted to present readers with honest discussion on meat-eating then both should have presented how other sampradayas deal with meat-eating – say Srivaishnavism or Jainism. Shatavadhani Ganesh shld spare intelligent readers with gratuitous, untenable advice. “The negative effects of meat-eating can be tempered by making better choices in how the meat is procured.Finally, there can be no universal dictum about the food that we can eat or should not eat”. How the leat is procured? Ganesh, meat is prcured from a living creature who also knows the same fear of death and hunger as evolved writers like you. There is no fearless or painless way of procuring meat. If the animal had the choice it would run away – which means it is afraid to die. As I said, pl spare me the bogus scholarship which is selective. Meat eating drinking and sex are not of the same category. Manu also says the end purpose of physical unity of man and woman is child. Drinking and meat eating serve no noble objective. And pl allow me to make this point as harshly as I can. Such articles undermine the Hindu war against the Abrahamics. India Facts is abandoning this Kurukshetra for such articles which serve no real purpose except give our adversaries a handle to weaken our arguments. Anachronist articles do great harm and disservice to the battles here and now. And in case I have not said it in words of one syllable – meat eating rests on fear and pain of the animal that is killed. When there are alternatives I see no reason to kill. Hindu dharma is all about context, time and place. This article makes so-called liberalism a universal diktat – that Hindus must not see issues in black and white. Wrong. Some issues must be seen as black or white if we have to fight the war. The male progeny of the cow does not become another species. Cow is cow male or female. And it is uplakshana. If we begin to eat the cow or the male progeny of the cow because there is something in some Samskrit text which says we ate cow, then we will eat anything.

    • Rama

      I totally agree Radha Ji. I am not sure why this article is even published in IF. To what purpose, one may ask? As you rightly said, these sort of rubbish articles give fodder to the Abrahamic forces. On a plate.
      I sometime wonder whether these intellectual Hindus are the worst enemies of Hinduism.

      • This article actually makes the Hindus more powerful. It is the Abrahamic faiths which are small minded. Hinduism is complex and wonderful. Think of it as a mix of philosophy and mythology.

    • MahaVakyas

      Really great comment! I agree with you wholeheartedly!

      This article shows the trap that even well-meaning Hindus fall into – setup by the Western Universalist paradigm as so brilliantly described by Rajiv Malhotra.

      Another problem with this article, or type of article is the constant ‘verse-quoting’ or ‘name-dropping’ – this is a singularly western epistemology that has crept into our Dharmic mindset as well. Acharyas were never required to ‘quote’ from the Veda or any other text – once they had anubhava, their knowledge was unshakable and accepted by all as genuine.

      Dropping quotes from ancient scriptures – Rama did this, Krishna did that, is not of much use to Hindus today.

      Krishna had two wives. Does that mean we should be bigamists today?

      This is another western epistemology that is highly irritating that well-read Hindus fall into. Just because something is stated in our scriptures, it does not mean “that is the way it should be done” or it doesn’t even mean that it is recommended unless the statement is in the imperative.

      Ahimsa is one of the most important principles in Hindu Dharma – while meat-eating was never ‘banned’, it was always looked down-upon – precisely why there was self-segregation among the different varnas.

      Hindus today lack any smriti relevant for our times in this modern world to guide youngsters – what are the acharyas doing in the mutts? The Shankaracharyas and others should be guiding Hindu society. If they don’t, people will start interpreting the Shastras as they please – hinted at in this article by just quoting selectively.

      Shatavadhani Ganesh is a great asset to India Facts and Hindus, but I highly recommend avoiding these kinds of topics – it serves no net positive for Hindus and instead gives ammunition, as Smt. Radha Rajan has aptly stated above, to our enemies (Abrahamics and other anti-Hindus).

      • BvB09

        Well, first you say that “Acharyas were never required to quote from the veda” and then you complain that there are no “smritis relevant for our modern times …”. Be that as it may, the Acāryas have talked about this issue at length. To give you just one example (relevant to this discussion), the most revered Candraśekhara Bhārati Mahāsvāminaḥ used the following verse in the Bhāgavata to expound upon this issue:

        loke vyavāyāmiṣamadyasevā
        nityāstu jantornahi tatra codana |
        vyavastithistatra vivāhayajña
        surāgṛhairāśu nivṛttiriṣṭā ||

        p.s. By the way, may I also note that an Acharya’s “anubhava” is considered a valid pramāṇa only as long as it does not violate śabda pramāna. Let us not throw the baby away with the proverbial bath water in our urge to celebrate Rajiv Malhotra.

      • Is it wrong even for an Acharya to quote verses? This actually makes the Hindus more powerful. It is the Abrahamic faiths which are small minded. Hinduism is complex and wonderful.

    • bharatpremi

      Author ends with this

      Meat-eating, drinking, and sex –
      can you call these faults?
      It is but natural for people to engage in it,
      however, it’s a great thing if one stays away from it!

      where is the beef ( sorry, english has this phrase)..

      • Radha Rajan

        “We see that our ancients cooked the flesh of oxen and offered it to the gods, especially Indra (see RVS 10.86.14 or 10.27.2, for example). Horses, bulls, oxen, barren cows, and rams were sacrificed for Agni (RVS 10.91.14). Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa says that sage Yājñavalkya would eat the meat of cows and oxen, provided it was tender”. Am i to understand that a cow is sacred only so long as she yoe;ds milk and if she is aged and cannot be milked she can be sacrificed and we can eat the male progeny ofn the cow which we deceive ourselves into believing is not cow. Hindus are the worst at seeking intellectual fig leafs for their debasement. At least Muslims dont make a intellectual distinction between male pig, female pig and old pig.

        • NK Sarma

          Very well said “Hindus are the worst at seeking intellectual fig leafs for their debasement.”

        • subodhkumar

          Who was Indra?

    • Addressing this fool who calls a shatAvadhAnin a bogus scholar in this comment:

      • Radha Rajan

        Doesnt matter how many things you can do dearie. Without a corresponding evolution of the soul you are just a multi-tasker.

    • Hariharan B.

      I fully agree with you Mam. I wish to state 2 points here. First, we cannot depend on scriptures too much as we do not know what kind of distortion/interpolations have taken place over the centuries and it has also been tampered by the britishers who translated most of these literatures for their colonial purpose. Moreover anything and everything goes by the name vedas which is also not correct. Historical and other narratives cannot be considered as Vedas. Even some vedanta acharyas openly agree that the original Ramayana/Mahabharata has been totally lost to us. Second, the 2,000 yr old Tamil marai- ‘Tirukurral’ specifically states against killing of animals and eating their flesh to fatten oneself. Since this also follows the vedic tradition the original/older vedic tradition would have been more refined but corrupted in the later days, but when and how we don’t know.

    • And as long as its not poisonous why is it wrong to eat anything? Hinduism always allowed that latitude. This actually makes the Hindus more powerful. It is the Abrahamic faiths which are small minded. Hinduism is complex and wonderful.

    • Sambasivam

      Radha, you are a religious fanatic whose burning desire is to fight Christians and Muslims, nothing else

  • Nabha Garjana

    then coming to the fact whether one should eat meat or not . is a different debate altogether. but to use false interpretation of the scriptures to validate a personal choice is nothing short of treachery and “Pakhand”

    • sbangarp

      Its never got confined to the realm of personal choice. Scriptures spoke for vegetarianism and against some kinds of meat. There is no falsification here. Vegetarianism has as much scriptural sanction as meat-eating and not more or less.

  • Nabha Garjana

    besides to take conversation between two people as a “shabd praman” to decide and what dharma is nothing more than plain stupid if not malignant . if Vedas themselves dont approve of Meat or alcohol consumption then all the ASSUMPTIONS or deductions that the author has made base on half baked understanding of what he has read in a hurry are thus falsified and to be rejected outright

    • Shashi Kumar

      Those who are arguing against the content of and scholar ship of Dr Ganesh, I have a simple question, it will be interesting to know how much of vedic samskrutha these chest thumping group know ? wonder what kind of maturity and knowledge these people have when they criticize sayanacharya , have they made any attempt to study the source and understand instead of depending on translation?. If these self proclaimed scholars are ready let’s have an open debate with R.Ganesh , only condition is debate should be in samskrutha

      • Nabha Garjana

        the people who translated gau to cow and vrishub to ox in every sentence of the veda certainly have understanding Samskrit

  • Nabha Garjana

    anyone who translates Soma as Alcohol is nothing less than a “fool”; sorry for the harsh words, but this article is of such mediocre and low level scholarship that it deserves nothing but ridicule

  • Nabha Garjana

    a Very low caliber and ignoramus article especially with reference to the vedas. I wonder has Indiafacts stoppped chececking the credibility/Scholarship of the authors.Same Max muller translations of mahidhar . such pity. this article is just an “Opinon” that too ill formed based on half cooked knowledge borrowed from western translations and interpretations not indic way of life or thought. I wonder what kind of scholar would rely on 3rd hand translation for his research . This is what is called research

    • That is called bowdlerization. I have addressed this Arya Samaj whitewashing under this comment –

    • sbangarp

      That article selectively picks verses that denounce killing animals esp. cow. But ignores the ones that say at there existed instances of mention. And you call that scholarship. Scholarship is to be able to view all sides of the issue in totality. And churn it and take it forward and evolve. You have no idea of the scholarship of Sri Ganesh and yet make the same kind of sweeping statements.

      • Nabha Garjana

        i am not making any sweeping statements, all this “scholarship” is based on Sayan’s transliterations not the authors own ,so at most its quoting and paraphrasing not scholarship. what is being questioned in Sayan’s works not in totality but specifics.

  • Brabantian

    Thank you, very beautiful & important article, with gems worth quoting, “consumption of surā (alcohol made from fermented barley” – ancient Hindu whisky! – & “Krishna & Arjuna get totally drunk”(!)

    We see above from Hinduism the roots of what took a harsher Islamic form, Islam’s ‘five times daily’ prayer order, clearly rooted in how Hindu “householders are expected to perform the five great worships (pañcamahāyajña) every day: Prayers to the gods, homage to ancestors, respect to the wise and the pursuit of knowledge, service to fellow beings, and worship of forces of nature”. (Muhammed had a devilish time crushing the Arabic love for their three female (Hinduistic) goddesses, and the revered ‘black stone’ of the Muslim Ka’aba in Makkah, Islam’s ‘ultimate object’ is clearly a Shiva-stone.)

  • LakshmanPST

    I agree with most of the article. But I have to disagree with consumption of cow meat/ calf meat.
    I have even checked the references of the clauses provided above online, and there seems to be disagreement by a lot of people over the said clauses. The interpretation seems to be wrong/debatable.

    As far as I know, killing cow is a very big sin as per Vedas. Atleast that is what I have learnt from people who are well-versed in Vedas and Shastras.
    I agree with the remaining article though.

  • Piyush K

    Now a days, more and more USA people attracting toward vegetarian because of low calories. Mind gets in control because of vegetarian.

  • Dharma Youdha

    Great Article!! Excellent analysis of our ancient food culture!! But however in today’s times most of the meat eating is done for pleasure and out of ignorance. Our Vedas and the teachings of Manu clearly say that we should avoid unnecessary violence. So in today’s time when we have sufficient technology and modern means of agriculture which can produce more than enough food for the entire population, it only logical that we try and reduce meat consumption.

    In the west (especially in U.S.A) thousands of animals are brutally slaughtered every day. They have no need to do it. So people today engage in unnecessary killing for the sake of pleasure, making it fall under the category of ‘hinsa’. By improving our own agriculture and further reducing meat consumption in our society we can become an example for the rest of the world.

    It is a harsh fact that today meat consumption is on the rise even in Hindustan. Thanks to the new anti-Beef laws the rate has gone down considerably.

    • Nabha Garjana

      giving interpretation to scriptures based on ones own whims is the bane of hinduism. like this article , causing further confusion

  • Dharma Youdha

    The fiend who smears himself with flesh of cattle, with flesh of horses and of human bodies,
    Who steals the milch-cow’s milk away, O Agni,—tear off the heads of such with fiery fury.

    The cow gives milk each year, O Man-regarder let not the Yātudhāna ever taste it.
    If one would glut him with the biesting, Agni, pierce with thy flame his vitals as he meets thee.

    Let the fiends drink the poison of the cattle; may Aditi cast off the evildoers.
    May the God Savitar give them up to ruin, and be their share of plants and herbs denied them.

    Agni, from days of old thou slayest demons never shall Rākṣasas in fight o’ercome thee.
    Burn up the foolish ones, the flesh-devourers let none of them escape thine heavenly arrow.

    — Rig Veda (10.87.16-19)