Myth of Vegetarianism in Ancient india

Virendra

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Hindus and Hinduism are very broad terms.
Vedas prohibit beef eating, that much is certain. Because there are dozens if not hundreds of references in Vedas that prohibit beef eating.
But how much it was observed in practice outside the people who made these rules, we'll probably never know.
Unless a time travel alternative becomes available some day. Till then this bickering will go on.

Strangely, they also worship Vivekananda who was a champion of beef-eating.
Lets see what the so called champion said about meat eating (not just beef).

...my Master was a vegetarian; but if he was given meat offered to the Goddess, he used to hold it up to his head. The taking of life is undoubtedly sinful; but so long as vegetable food is not made suitable to the human system through progress in chemistry, there is no other alternative but meat-eating...
...All liking for fish and meat disappears when pure Sattva is highly developed, and these are the signs of its manifestation in a soul: sacrifice of everything for others, perfect non-attachment to lust and wealth, want of pride and egotism. The desire for animal food goes when these things are seen in a man. And where such indications are absent, and yet you find men siding with the non--killing party, know it for a certainty that here there is either hypocrisy or a show of religion...
Vivekananda was a magnificent personality, debater, great orator and intellectual. But he is not an undisputed authority on Vedas. He also held Muller in high esteem. Great or not, one cannot agree with a person on everything. That is ok.
Here's what Gandhi said upon hearing these views of Vivekananda:
...blind worship of authority is a sign of weakness of mind...
As for the brahmins eating meat. It has no bearing on the Vedas whatsoever. Those are brahmins by birth. Not the brahmins per Vedas anyway.
All this meat BS is like saying "So many Hindus use abusive language when they're angry. Therefore abuse must be a Hindu practice".

It is suffice to know the meaning of Pisacha I'm sure many of us know the term and the creatures/vibes it is associate with.
Pisita (Meat) + Acha (Eat) = Pisacha .. the meat eater.

Regards,
Virendra
 

LalTopi

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OK I can see Sakal quoting various Vedas where meat eating is supposedly forbidden. I am not an expert on the Vedas but I would be interested in specific references in the Vedas, Mahabharata or Ramayan that refers to the practice or acceptability of meat eating and hence provides an opposing view to Sakal. Lets leave out Manusmriti, I am referring to earlier texts.
 

LalTopi

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nirranj

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Even Rama, Sita and Lakshmana ate meat during their Vanavasa.

I read this in Ramayana written by Rajaji.

Eating meat of the sacrificed animals is predominant in TN, People here sacrifice, cocks, Goats, Pigs and even at times Bulls for their deities and feast on the meat.
 

nirranj

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Changes in the Indian menu over the ages

IT WAS two years ago that we lost the eminent food scientist Dr. K.T. Achaya. His books — Indian Food, A Historical Companion, The Food Industries of British India, and A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food (all published by Oxford University Press, India) — are a scholarly fund of the history and development of India cuisine.

Occasional shock


They educate as they enlighten and entertain, and occasionally shock us. For example, he points out authoritatively that while Dosai and Vadai have a hoary two-thousand-year history in Tamil country, Idli is a foreign import. The earliest reference to something of a precursor to Idli occurs in the Kannada writing of Sivakotyacharya in 920 AD, and in the subsequent Sanskrit Manasollasa (1130 AD). But the three elements of modern Idli making are missing in these references: use of rice grits along with urad dal, the long fermentation of the mix, and steaming the batter to fluffiness.

Indeed, the Chinese chronicler Xuang Zang (7th century AD) categorically stated that there were no steaming vessels in India. Achaya writes that the cooks who accompanied the Hindu Kings of Indonesia between 800-1200 AD, brought fermentation and steaming methods and their dish Kedli to South India (Thirai Kadal Odiyum Tinpandam Thedu!)

Happily enough, ancient Indian literature left a lot of information on extant vegetables, pulses, meat, spices, fruits, cooking methods, and even an occasional recipe or two. The history of Indian cuisine can be divided into several stages or periods. The earliest period is before 1500 BC or the Vedic period.

The Harappan civilization was known to have rice, barley, wheat, oat, amaranths, jowar, sesame, mustard, chickpeas, masoor, mung and horsegram (kulti, ulavulu), dates, pomegranates, and perhaps bananas.
Bones of numerous animals attest to meat (and fish) eating.
The large granaries of Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Lothal attest to a sophisticated, aerated, rodent-free storage practice. But, as of date, no recipe has been discovered so that we do not know what a typical Indus valley supper menu contained.

Vedic period


We are more fortunate when we turn to the Vedic period (approximately 1700 BC). The Rig Veda mentions rice, cereals and pulses (masha (urad), mudga (moong) and masura (masoor)) green leafy vegetables (spinach), melons, pumpkins and gourds and in particular lotus stem, cucumber, bottle-gourd, water chestnut, bitter gourd (karavella), radish, brinjal, some aquatic plants (avaka, andika), and fruits such as mangoes, oranges and grapes. Spices such as coriander, turmeric, pepper, cumin, asafoetida, cloves, sesame and mustard were well known, and at least the first four ones are thought to be Indian in origin.
Meat eating was prevalent. Pigs, boar, deer, bovines and peacocks were eaten, though chicken (which, though originated in India) was not that desirable. They seem to have been forbidden or discouraged from eating eggs of any kind and in any manner.
As we move further down to the period of the Ramayana and Mahabharata (probably around 1400 BC, though Valmiki and Vyasa are regarded to have written them around 400 BC), we find a far richer fare. Lords Rama, Lakshmana and Devi Sita ate a vast menu that contained fruits, leafy vegetables, rice and meat. Achaya quotes a book stating that Rama and Lakshmana, while in exile at Dandakaranya, hunted animals for the pot, and that a favourite of Sita was rice cooked with venison, vegetables and spices (the dish called Mamsabhutadana). Of course, Lord Rama enjoyed eating the fruit ber (zizyphus) that Sabari tasted and gave him.
Turning to Mahabharata, a graphic description of cooking at a picnic has been provided on roasting large pieces of meat on spits, cooked with tamarind, pomegranates and spices with ghee and fragrant leaves. King Yudishtira is said to have fed 10,000 scholars with pork and venison, besides preparation of rice and milk in ghee and honey with fruits and roots (Payasam).
It was after this time that a change in our food habits occurred. The Dharma Sutras, Manusmriti and related texts of 500-300 BC began forbidding and proscribing food items based on their `temper' (sattvik — peaceful and ascetic, rajasik medium, energetic that can be either positive or negative, and tamasic or coarse, rough and not all that nice), and prohibiting as many as 54 items (in particular a variety of animals) from the `proper' kitchen.

The teachings of Buddhism and Jainism against meat eating had taken hold by this time, and a turn towards preferential vegetarianism began to be expressed in Hindu texts as well.

These, plus the diktats on satvik, rajasic, and tamasic practices changed the face of Indian gastronomy already around 300 BC.

Ancient Tamil food


The earliest Tamil writings are traced to about 300 BC, but references to edibles and food habits abound in literature between 100 BC and 300 AD (Idaicchangam). Dosai and Vadai, as said above, were popular. Tamils ate meats of all kinds, as well as fish.
Condiments, spices, vegetables and pulses mentioned here are the same as those in contemporary `northern' literature. The three great Tamil fruits were of course, mango, jackfruit and bananas. Tamarind rice figures extensively, as also a drink made with tamarind and nellikai (gooseberry).

Leafy greens (keerai), gourds, drumsticks and the three pulses were widely used. So were rice and curd, and vadai soaked in curds — no wonder we are still known as Thayirvadais.
It was only when immigrants entered Tamil country (ca. 700 AD) that vegetarianism seems to have taken hold here.
Not mostly vegetarian


Contrary to popular belief, India is not a predominantly vegetarian country. But a quarter of the population is reckoned, based on census data, to be vegetarian. 69 per cent of Gujarat is vegetarian, 60 per cent of Rajasthan, 54 per cent of Punjab-Haryana, 50 per cent of Uttar Pradesh, 45 per cent of Madhya Pradesh, 34 per cent of Karnataka, 30 per cent of Maharashtra, 21per cent of Tamil Nadu, 16 per cent of Andhra Pradesh, 15 per cent of Assam, while but 6 per cent in Kerala, Orissa and West Bengal are veggies. While part of this vegetarianism is economic, a more compelling force is ethical and even religious. Jains avoid meat totally while many Buddhists in India are vegetarians.
Brahmins, Saivite non-Brahmins of South India and several Vaishnavite sects across the country avoid meat. Interestingly though Brahmins of East India, Kashmir and the Saraswats of the Southwest are allowed fish and some meat.
Even among meat-eaters, beef was and is taboo. This practice seems to be at least 2000 years old (Achaya quotes DD Kosambi, who quotes the Vedic sage Yagnavalkya as preferring it. Vasishta, Gautama, Apasthamba and Baudhayana, in their Sutras (ca. 300 BC) prohibit killing cows and oxen and eating beef. It had become prevalent by 1100 AD across India, since Al-Biruni wrote that while beef eating was prevalent earlier, it was not allowed later.
He gives economic, ethical and respect for its use as reasons. Emperor Humayun (16th century) is quoted as saying "beef is not a food fit for the devout" and avoided it. Akbar too was similarly respectful.
And while Tamils of the Sangam period relished beef (Perumpanooru describes it), it became taboo or discouraged after the advent of people from elsewhere. As a result, much of India and certainly many Hindu communities avoid beef eating.
Debate meaningless


To my mind, debate about this issue today is meaningless and only inflammatory. We respect people and adore gods not for what they eat but what they stand for and teach us. To think and act otherwise is immature and infantile.

The Hindu : Sci Tech / Speaking Of Science : Changes in the Indian menu over the ages
 

drkrn

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This has been claimed many times, and will be claimed many more times. Vedas do not prohibit beef consumption.
i still doubt it
i am a brahmin.i will check this with my elders.
 

drkrn

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Even Rama, Sita and Lakshmana ate meat during their Vanavasa.

I read this in Ramayana written by Rajaji.

Eating meat of the sacrificed animals is predominant in TN, People here sacrifice, cocks, Goats, Pigs and even at times Bulls for their deities and feast on the meat.
true,rama is a king.meat is not forbidden.
 

pmaitra

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i still doubt it
i am a brahmin.i will check this with my elders.
If you are really a Brahmin, then why would you need to ask your elders? Is it because you are "Brahmin Jata," and not really a "Brahmin?"

What is or what are your Ved(s)? Which way do you wear your holy string? Does your holy string hang up to you waist, or your knees?
 

parijataka

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i still doubt it
i am a brahmin.i will check this with my elders.
@drkrn, @pmaitra - killing of cows and cattle is considered one of the greatest sins so how is eating the flesh of cows allowed ?

Meat eating is different from eating beef.

Being Brahmin does not mean one is conversant with all the holy books, especially in these days when caste is not a marker of one's profession.
 
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pmaitra

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@drkrn, @pmaitra - killing of cows and cattle is considered one of the greatest sins so how is eating the flesh of cows allowed ?
In which Veda is eating beef prohibited? Just show me that. How come Chandogya Upanishad clearly states that all animals and all plants are provided for our consumption by Lord Vishnu, without exception? Sure, protecting animals is mentioned, but it has been quoted out of context by the militant-vegetarian-brigade, which is hell bent on subverting the religion. Even the Indian Constitution guarantees Right to Life. Does that mean there is no death penalty?

Over a period of time, the invading or migrating Aryans, gradually gave up their nomadic lifestyle, and adopted a more agrarian and sedentary lifestyle. Due to this, the importance of animal husbandry gained importance, and new customs came into being. This is how cattle became as important as real estate today is. However, the metamorphosis that Indian society underwent, does not mean, at the beginning of Bronze Age, the customs and prohibitions were the same as those that came into existence in the later Iron Age. Hindutwavadis don't even acknowledge that Aryans came into India, where overwhelming evidence exists as to their original source being eastern Iran and western Afghanistan.

Regional customs are regional customs. Practice what you want, but please don't do it in the name of Vedas.

Meat eating is different from eating beef.
One is subset of the other. Show me a prohibition on eating beef, not from the Puranas and Smritis, but the Vedas.

Being Brahmin does not mean one is conversant with all the holy books, especially in these days when caste is not a marker of one's profession.
Being a Brahmin means being conversant with the Vedas, at least one of them. This is the fundamental of receiving a holy thread. Hence my questions. Otherwise, why claim to be a Brahmin? Just because of heredity? What religion is that? Surely not Hinduism. Also, your mention of caste is irrelevant. Caste has nothing to do with Hinduism, or being a Brahmin.
 
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parijataka

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In which Veda is eating beef prohibited? Just show me that. How come Chandogya Upanishad clearly states that all animals and all plants are provided for our consumption by Lord Vishnu, without exception? Sure, protecting animals is mentioned, but it has been quoted out of context by the militant-vegetarian-brigade, which is hell bent on subverting the religion. Even the Indian Constitution guarantees Right to Life. Does that mean there is no death penalty?

Over a period of time, the invading or migrating Aryans, gradually gave up their nomadic lifestyle, and adopted a more agrarian and sedentary lifestyle. Due to this, the importance of animal husbandry gained importance, and new customs came into being. This is how cattle became as important as real estate today is. However, the metamorphosis that Indian society underwent, does not mean, at the beginning of Bronze Age, the customs and prohibitions were the same as those that came into existence in the later Iron Age. Hindutwavadis don't even acknowledge that Aryans came into India, where overwhelming evidence exists as to their original source being eastern Iran and western Afghanistan.

Regional customs are regional customs. Practice what you want, but please don't do it in the name of Vedas.


One is subset of the other. Show me a prohibition on eating beef, not from the Puranas and Smritis, but the Vedas.


Being a Brahmin means being conversant with the Vedas, at least one of them. This is the fundamental of receiving a holy thread. Hence my questions. Otherwise, why claim to be a Brahmin? Just because of heredity? What religion is that? Surely not Hinduism. Also, your mention of caste is irrelevant. Caste has nothing to do with Hinduism, or being a Brahmin.
Reply to your last question only - yes as in modern times caste has become hereditary and nought to do with one's profession as you know very well So a person can claim to be a Brahmin engineer , Shudra professor, Baniya architect or Kshatriya doctor !

GTG, bye !
 

drkrn

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@drkrn, @pmaitra - killing of cows and cattle is considered one of the greatest sins so how is eating the flesh of cows allowed ?

Meat eating is different from eating beef.

Being Brahmin does not mean one is conversant with all the holy books, especially in these days when caste is not a marker of one's profession.
i said i will ask my elders,not one who is well versed with vedas.if you need to find one such you should go to kasi or tirupathi.asking elders is nothing wrong

afaik beef means meat from cows too
 
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drkrn

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If you are really a Brahmin, then why would you need to ask your elders? Is it because you are "Brahmin Jata," and not really a "Brahmin?"

What is or what are your Ved(s)? Which way do you wear your holy string? Does your holy string hang up to you waist, or your knees?
because i dont know what is what.am not a follower of stringent religious principles.i will ask these questions to those who follow them.
i am a "brahmin jata", just a brahmin by caste.
i dont know which is the veda of my family.but now i will ask.
holy string is below the waist,never heard or saw that it is up to the knees.
 

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