This article provides a detailed philosophical, historical, archaeological and citations from Sanskrit, Buddhist and vachana literature. Food in the eyes of Vedic citations is provided [Rig-Veda C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 Soma Aniaml Sacrifice] and post Vedic citations from [C7 – C15]. Shastras like Manushastra, Kautilya artha shastra etc speak about meat consumption and regulation of meat as in when it should be consumed, when it should not etc. are mentioned. In addition Symbolic and metaphorical analysis is touched upon [Rig Veda Rescued] which talks about hidden meaning in Vedas. Nevertheless solid words of Vivekananda, Buddha and Basavanna outweigh the symbolic interpretation. Final conclusion is left to the reader. I am satisfied with logical arguments of Buddha, history, Vivekananda rather than the hypothetical metaphorical argument of certain sectional interests who argue in vain to safeguard their personal pride. Appreciate the history, the thought process that has gone.
Rig-Veda C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 FOOD- DRINK Gambling Soma Animal Sacrifice Rig Veda Rescued Yaska Aurobindo on Rig-Veda Pali Text d C8t d Manushastra d C9 d Brhaspati C10 d Mallinatha C11 minister of a Tanjore ruler C12 d\sb100\sa100 C13 similes and metaphor C14 Archaeological evidences C15 Basavanna Cry Cry , O goat Ahimsa paramodharma Rise of new Religions \cf0\ulnone\i0 Ashoka the great 5th Pillar Inscription \cf0\ulnone\i0 Haraprasad Shastri d\sb100\sa100 R S Sharma Kautilya artha shastra d\sb100\sa100 rational behind ahimsa Decline of Buddhism Was Vivekananda wrong Ahara Shuddi Ahara Shuddi : Ramanuja Ahara Shuddi : Shankara Satvika ahara a Myth Obesity is the truth Gandhi Sri Ramana Maharshi Mercy Futile Argument References Why I Wrote Why did the Brahmins become vegetarian - By Ambedkar Exclusive citations by Ambedkar
Food – Drink – Kitchen - Rise and fall of kingdoms [with detailed citations]
I have quoted references and page numbers of the books from where I have mentioned the excerpts. From this article it seems that early Hindus did not believe in total Ahimsa until Buddha was born. Later it took different turns and food became a debate between purity and impurity. We witness how Satvika ahara [food] was misinterpreted. The modern pioneers chiefly Gandhi came resounded the true principles in Food - Non violence and Mitha ahara [Right amount of food].
Food – Drink – Kitchen - Rise and Fall of kingdoms-I
Ancient India and food
Rig-Veda is the earliest and primitive document available to us. This age is said to be some time 1500 BC by most of the historians/Indologists who go by factual data. Some differ and say it could be anywhere between 8000 BC to 3000 BC owing to Aryan migration theory, astronomical positions, arctic position etc.
AIT / AMT [ invasion/migration theory] it is not with in the scope of this article. Every theory about roots of Aryans has flaws and it is immaterial for us.
Rig-Veda is a collection of hymns for use at the sacrifices of the Aryan cult. Some of its verses are still recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other occasions, putting these among the world's oldest religious texts in continued use.
Some people prefer to call it Aristocratic Aryan cult. Rig-Veda has majorly two interpretations Ritualistic and Non ritualistic.
Mostly it is ritualistic interpretation that was followed by Vedic age Aryans and hence in India even now we witness it. Unfortunately true meaning of Rig-Veda got lost in the sea of time long long ago, i have covered it in the same article.
Please go on reading the CITATIONS [1….13]
During the Vedic period we shall understand that eating beef was a common practice when we read this below passage from Vivekananda’s complete works.
There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed; how in time it was found that as we were an agricultural race, killing the best bulls meant annihilation of the race. Therefore the practice was stopped, and a voice was raised against the killing of cows [ 1 ]
In addition its documented in several shastras and puranas the way to perform yaga or yajna etc. Especially in Mahabharata and Ramayana you get various citations on the food and drink habits when they were happy they used to have meat and alcohol.
In one place the Shastra dictates, "Kill animals in Yajnas", and again, in another place it says, "Never take away life”. The Hindus hold that it is a sin to kill animals except in sacrifices, but one can with Impunity enjoys the pleasure of eating meat after the animal is sacrificed in a Yajna. [Vivekananda, complete works of Swami Vivekananda]
Here swami Vivekananda cites examples in Ramayana and mahabharatha.
Instances are found in the Râmâyana and the Mahâbhârata of the drinking of wine and the taking of meat by Rama and Krishna, whom they worship as God. Sita Devi vows meat, rice, and a thousand jars of wine to the river-goddess, Gangâ!
Below are the translations of the shlokas
1. Embracing Sitâ with both his arms, Kâkutstha (Râma) made her drink pure Maireya wine, even as Indra makes Shachi partake of nectar. Servants quickly served flesh-meat variously dressed, and fruits of various kinds for the use of Rama
2. "(I saw) both of them (Krishna and Arjuna) drunk with Madhvâsava (sweet spirituous liquor made from honey), both adorned with sandal paste, garlanded, and wearing costly garments and beautiful ornaments." (Udyoga, LVIII. 5).
- "Be merciful to us, O goddess, and I shall, on my return home, worship thee with a thousand jars of arrack (spirituous liquor) and rice well-dressed with flesh-meat" (Ramayana).
Shastras and Taittiriya Brahmana also mention the meat consumption details. They explain in detail how meat must be consumed as by Yajnavalkya‘s who insists on eating the tender (amusable) flesh of the cow. Gandhi greatest ambassador of Hindu culture by his way of living also himself has told that Sanskrit texts reveal that Brahmins of old used to eat beef.
I would like to cite some examples for the same. I have pasted few links to comprehend the food culture and sacrificial nature of the Aryans.
Brahmins & Beef Hinduism and Islam: A Comparative Study, however, says that the cow used to be Slaughtered by the ancient Hindus for beef as well as sacrifice. "There are clear evidences in the Rig Veda, the most sacred Hindu scripture that the cow used to be Sacrificed by Hindus for religious purposes." Gandhi in his Hindu Dharma writes about "a sentence in our Sanskrit text-book to the effect that Brahmins of old used to eat beef".
The Taittiriya Brahmana categorically tells us: Verily the cow is food (atho annam vai gauh) and Yajnavalkya‘s insistence on eating the tender (amusable) flesh of the cow is well known. Although there is reason to believe that a brahmana’s cow may not have been killed, that is no index of its inherent sanctity in the Vedic period or even later.
Let’s witness FOOD- DRINK in Ancient India:
[So one should not get averse or get attached to this argument and conclude Rig-Veda as so and so and determine the over all behavioral picture of the Aryans. This is minor extraction pertaining or limited to Food - drink aspect of it. Otherwise there are many beautiful passages that can easily elevate you to a higher level].
The Aryans were a wild, turbulent people and had few of taboos of later India. They were much addicted to inebriating drinks, of which at least two soma and sura. Soma was drunk at sacrifices, infact they made it mandatory to take soma on the day of yaga. There are various instances of gambling and drinking instances found across Vedas.
I have taken a note of the same and mentioned below.
In the remains of the Indus cities, numerous dice have been found, and the Aryans have Left their Gambling propensities in the beautiful “Gamsters Lament" found in secular poems of Rig-Veda. [p 37, Wonder that was India]
“ The dangling nuts born where the wind blows the lofty tree Delight with their rolling on the board.
The cheering vibhidaka has brought me joy like a draught of soma from Mount Mujavant”
This Lament further says that how the man of the house could not resist gambling...... [p 38, Wonder that was India]
This means gambling and some sort of alcoholic drink usage were common, no doubt we see how Dharmaraya pledges his wife Draupadi in the age of Mahabharata.
What is Soma , is it an alcoholic drink?
Soma is a sacred drink; soma was a divinity of a special character. Soma was originally a plant, not certainly identified, which was drunk only at the sacrifices, and which Caused the most invigorating effects as seen in below extract of Rig-Veda
“Like wild winds, the draughts have raised me up, have i been drinking soma...?
The draughts have born me up, have i been drinking soma..?
This passage is seen as quoted by Indra in Rig-Veda..., So the passage need not be interpreted as Indra was drunk, there could be many other theories around it. Let’s not worry about it. But essentially symbolism justifies that drinking was common in society.
The Zoroastrians of Persia had a similar drink, which they called "Haoma" the same word as soma in its Iranian form. [Identified as a bitter herb by Modern Parsis].
Drink prepared from plant can scarcely have been alcoholic, for it was made and drunk on the same day.
Soma may well have been hemp, which grows in wild in many parts of India, central Asia and South Russia, and from which modern Indians produce a narcotic drink called Bhang. [236, 237 Wonder that was India]
The centre of Aryan cult was sacrifice. Rig-Veda is concerned with great sacrifices, paid for by chiefs and wealthier tribesman. They were already complex rites involving much preparation, the slaughter of numerous animals, and the participation of several well trained priests.
Purpose of sacrifice was Gratification of Gods in order to obtain boons from them.
Priest alone knew the rituals and formulae where by Gods were brought to the sacrifice [aahvahane] were the masters of the great mystery. [241, Wonder that was India]
A new attitude to the sacrifice had developed, and the rite had become a supernal mystery without regular sacrifices all cosmic process would cease, and chaos would come again. Thus order of nature was an ultimate analysis not dependant on the Gods at all, but on the Brahmins, who by magic of sacrifice maintained and compelled them. [243, Wonder that was India].
Centuries succeeding composition of Rig Veda, however, speculation was mainly concerned with the symbolism of sacrifice.
"Dawn - Head of Horse, Sun - Its eye
Wind - Its breath, Fire - Its Mouth, Year - Body of the horse etc...
Ah what a pleasant way to represent the nature, alas an unfortunate way to offer it to the Gods in the form of sacrifice.
Execution of rituals daily, daily prayers in the form of rituals [even if not by the means of animal sacrifice as claimed by orthodox ritualistic hindus] is ok, but stating that God, planet etc will be unhappy and will cause problem is the most foolish belief that the priestly class has induced among hindus.
World was fine without homas, yagas, world is fine with homas and yagas. Let me say you in the words of Vivekananda, "It is good to remain atheist rather becomes a ritualistic fool. Did the Greeks, do the Europeans perform yagas and homas; they are in better state than us. You may say their spiritual development is zero and their path is wrong. Then i will remind you the words of Vivekananda " Can you teach dharma to a hungry person, please feed the poor". For 5000 years 80% of the society is suppressed and how can we boast of our country. Now i will ask you show me the spirituality in my country. Its only rituals, rituals, vastu etc. But nobody talks about the crux of Hindu philosophy the Upanishads.
Rig Veda Rescued
Yaska [ 5th century BC] and Aurobindo come to rescue the Great Indian Vedas, the Rig Veda....
This argument is the only respite for people who argue in vain that Rig-Veda is misinterpreted even by Vivekananda. Also other than orthodox Brahmins nobody can interpret Rig-Veda. The same people accept interpretations of Upanishads by Vivekananda and even the European MaxMuller.
Explanation for symbolism...
What is symbolism....?
Poetry most of the time is cryptic, what ever you read, may not be the exact thing the poet wants to convey. To give an example, i cooked up a simple poetry.... although i never visited Himalayas; i always got elevated/exalted when i saw it in pictures.
When i saw the Himalayas
I felt intoxicated, I drank
and drank until my eyes got tired
Such was thy beauty instilled in thyself [ Srikant G N ]
Here first read will make one feel, he drank something may be alcoholic drink. But inner meaning could be “He drank the beauty of the Himalayas...". Since Himalayas is White, it could mean he drank the knowledge and not the wine. Since unknown days Light is referred to as white.
Comments of Yaska of 5th BC
Yaska says that Early Aryans had forgotten the true meaning and understood the plain meaning. This is one of the primary reasons for them becoming ritualistic; they could not Understand the beauty hidden inside the Rig Veda. One should read “Secret of Vedas” by Aurobindo to understand Rig-Veda.
Much of the Rig-Veda is imperfectly understood. The oldest exegetical [An explanation or critical interpretation] work on it, the Nirukta of yaska, dating from 5th BC shows that, a very early period of the Brahman's had forgotten true meaning of many obsolete words.
But the broad outline of the religion of the Rig Veda is clear enough. The chief objects of worship were the devas, a word cognate with the latin deus. The root from which this word is derived 'div' is connected with brightness and radiance, and the devas by connotation were 'the shining ones". [P 35, "Wonder that was India”]
Reason: Why Rig-Veda can be misinterpreted easily...
Symbolic interpretation allows the scholars to assign a hundred different meanings to the same word in different contexts depending on the exigencies of the verse and the Whims of the translator. [P 408, Rig-Veda, a historical analysis]
For example in Rig-Veda, word ‘saraswati’ is mentioned. Spiritual interpretation is "speech", but a historian will interpret it has a river [ P 409, Rig-Veda a historical analysis ]. Hence he will happily conclude, when this verse was being composed, the rishi was bathing on the banks of River Saraswati.
Aurobindo on Rig-Veda
Aurobindo on Rig-Veda Aurobindo on Rig-Veda [ Resounds Yaska ]
The one considerable document that remains to us from early period of human thought. When the spiritual and psychological knowledge of the race was concealed, the symbols protected the same from the profane, and revealed it to the initiated.
But Aurobindo, it appears was willing to allow other systems of interpretation recognized by Sayana may in its externalities stand.
So aurobindo is of the opinion that there is always the true and still hidden secret of the veda, but he is willing to allow both ritualistic and non ritualistic interpretations, he is less liberal towards the historical interpretations of the hymns.
Further he says “The orthodox forgot that Shankara and Sayana are themselves modern separated from ourselves by some 100s of years only, but vedas are 1000s of years old. The orthodox are indignant that a mere modern should presume to differ from shankara in interpreting the Vedanta or from sayana.
POST VEDIC citations
Despite the Buddha’s opposition to the killing of animals for sacrifice & food the early Pali texts provide numerous references to cow slaughter.
Story of wealthy Brahmana, uggatasavira who made preparations for a sacrifice in which numerous animals were to be killed. He released them however on the advice of Buddha
At the time of Buddhas visit to sravasti, prasenajit, the king of kosala had started a great sacrifice of 500 oxens, 500 male calves, 500 female calves and 500 sheep, but abandoned it on advice of Buddha.
Manushastra: documents mentions meat
Manu tells us eating meet on several occasion is divine rule [daivo vidhh smrtah) but doing so on other occasions is demonic [raksasovidhirucyac]
Manu says a twice born men[ dvija] who knows the true meaning of the Veda and injures animals for these purposes [ hospitality, sacrifice to Gods and ancestor spirits] makes himself and the animal go to the highest state of existence. If however he refuses to eat meat he will be reborn as a beast for 21 existences. [Historian D N Jha]
Manu recalls the legendary examples of the most virtuous Brahmanas of olden days who ate oxen and dogs to escape starvation.
“Madhyam , mamsam, maithunam ca bhuktanam lalanam smrtam ta deva vidhina karvan svarga-mapnan manavah”
[AD 300-500] too recommends liquor [madya], flesh and sexual intercourse only if they are lawfully ordained.
Chandupandita from Gujrat, Narahari from AP and Mallinatha who is associated with Kind devaraya – II of Vijayanagara clearly indicate that in earlier times, the cow was done to death for rituals and hence for food. [Historian D N Jha]
As late as 18th century Ghanashyama a minister of a Tanjore ruler states that the killing of cow in honour of a guest was the ancient rule. [Historian D N Jha]
Religious digests from 19th century onwards keep alive the memory of the archaic practice of beef eating and some of them even go so far as to permit beef in specific stances. [Historian D N Jha]
Medhatithi, a Kashmiri Brahman says that a bull or ox was killed in honor of a ruler or anyone deserving to be honored and unambiguously allows eating of flesh of cow [ govyaja mamsama] on ritual occasion. [Historian D N Jha]
I read Vivekananda quoting that until 18th century some place in south India Goat was slain as a part of ritual.
“It is however pertinent to point out that cow being symbol of riches, the vedas liken it with aditi [mother of gods, but literally boundness heaven]. The cosmic waters whose release by Indra after slaying of vrtra established the cosmic law [rta]. Most important to poetry, speech [vac] which was monopoly of brahmanas. Of all the animals cow is used most frequently in similes and metaphor and these came to be taken as literal in course of time”. [Historian D N jha]
C14) Archaeological evidences
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS [Neolithic culture in India can be dated between 2500-700 BC]
The careful interment of the skeletal remains of the dead and the red ochre coating on the bones noticed at Burzahom suggest that these people had some belief in magico religious resurrection. Sacrificial killing and burying of pet animals of the deceased and ceremonial feast of animal meat is suggestive of involvement of the family or community in the ceremonies. The association of tools and weapons with the skeletal remains also suggest their belief in life after death. The presence of separate burials for dog and wolf probably suggest their belief in totems.
[ H.D. Sankalia, Prehistory and Protohistory of India and Pakistan;]
But archaeological excavations have revealed charred and cut cattle bones
from virtually all parts of the Subcontinent, suggesting that the consumption
Of beef, along with mutton, goat, ox and various fowls and fish, was fairly
Common place. At Hastinapura—the ancient capital of the Mahabharata,
north of Delhi—bone fragments of sheep, buffalo, goat, pig, elephant and
short-horned cattle have been found, many of them cut or charred, and
dating from the eleventh to the third century bc. The social universe of
the sprawling epic—its original nucleus generated around 800 bc—is exuberantly
non-vegetarian. [ D N Jha ]
One of the most important citations which proves to be an almost doubtless evidence is Basavanna of 12th century AD.
Just like Buddha, Basavanna also revolted against vedas and selfish practices of Brahmans in his time and fought for social Equality and justice.
Basaveshwara had finished his study of the vedas and the vedantas at a very early age. For such a phenomenal accomplishment on the part of Basavanna, his learned father’s own teaching must be the main cause.
But soon basavanna was caught by the social inequality during his times; he knew intuitively that not only Manusmriti but also the vedas that preach violence, the Agamas and the puranas that spread superstition by spinning fictious tales in the name of religion are responsible for social inequality. [P 19 “Basaveswar- Ambedkar”, D jawaregowda, C R yaravinteli Math].
Basavanna was a Brahmin himself initially before abandoning. It is very candid that some priests at the time of Basavanna were doing animal sacrifice rituals when we read his below vachanas.
Cry Cry , O goat
He says in his vachana numbered 572 thus
“Cry Cry , O goat
That you ‘re slain ,
In accordance with the vedas!
Cry, Cry, before them
That hear the shastras” [ V.B., V.572]
Basavanna’s deep disrespect for the sacred books is unmistakably clear
“Shall I say Shastras is great?
It only exalts karma!
Shall I say Veda is great?
It tells of animal sacrifice!
Shall I say smrti is great?
It seeks in the future!
As he is none of these
Lord kudala sangama is seen
In Triple dedication “ [ V.B., V.208]
Food – Drink – Kitchen - Rise and Fall of kingdoms-II
In the Vedic period Animal sacrifices were very common; killing of the best bulls/cows would mean the annihilation of the entire race (no bulls -> no farming -> no food). The farming community got frustrated with it and this was one of the primary reasons why people liked Buddhism, infact for the birth of Buddhism and hence rise of great King Ashoka- Mauryan kingdom. No doubt Buddha stressed on ahimsa who went through pain seeing the ritualistic Aryans
Light of Asia:
6th BC [ Important period in history, and from here history becomes more and more clear ]
Here Comes the Light of Asia, Buddha, he gives a jolt to the vedas and sends shocks across the ritualistic sacrificial ceremonies, he then extracts a beautiful theory from Upanishads and contributes to the world via Tipitikas. He gives to the world the concept of Ahimsa by saying Ahimsa Paramodharma.
Buddha declared: "Ahimsa Paramodharma" to mean “Non Violence is the supreme religion”
Rise of new Religions
Reasons for the Rise of new Religions like Buddhism and Jainism
-) Upanishads questioned the vedic rituals and practices. Upanishads gave rise to new religions by claiming Jnana marga as the best marga.
[ Some ritualistic hindus contest this and try to establish link between Rig Veda and Upanishads. But any sound person who reads Upanishad shlokas will understand it. Except couple of modern not so famous interpreters like Kapalashastri and R L kashyap try to bring a link, with 3 mantras in chandogya Upanishad which talk about Fire and Madhu vidya. This has not much significance , as they are highly irrational. Rig-Veda is a outward form of seeking knowledge, where as Upanishads are the inward form of seeking knowledge, so we find “Thou art that” in the Upanishads and not in Rig-Veda, with couple of random citations they cannot prove and wind back the time, composition of Rig veda and Upanishads were in different time, even noble laureate Tagore interpret and say initially man seeked external perfection only later he seek’d internal perfections.]
-) Many theories and philosophies were formed pertaining to soul and its binding with birth and death.
-) Vivekananda calls birth of Buddhism as a kshatriya revolt against the Aryan- brahmin and atrocity. Similar argument is documented by Many Historians who quote primarily people were frustrated with animal sacrifice and yagas were becoming costly. [p 122, Bharatada itihasa ]
Buddha’s birth was justified when Ashoka embraced the principles of Buddhism. We all know the story of Kalinga war. How Ashoka transformed. Below paragraph explains the conditions observed in Mauryan dynasty.
Period of Ashoka [ 273- 232 BC] [ p 120, Bharatada itihasa ]
Ashoka damma has 3 tatvas
b) Non Violence
c) Welfare of subjects
Ashoka abolished the killing of thousands of animals in the pakashala[kitchen].But he could not do it completely owing to resistance he restricted it to 2 peacocks, 1 deer. Further he abolished the festival feasts by tribals which involved violent practices.
5th Pillar Inscription of Ashoka has below order written in it
He sent out a sugrivagne i.e. an essential order was passed hence forth parrot,
python, thorn pig, Rhino [ kadgamruga] and other animals are prohibited
from killing. [p 243, Bharatada ithihasa]
To begin with Asoka. The edicts of Asoka which have reference to this matter are Rock Edict No.I and Pillar Edict Nos.II and V. Rock Edict No.l reads as follows:
“This pious Edict has been written by command of His Sacred and Gracious Majesty) the King. Here (in the capital) no animal may be slaughtered for sacrifice, nor may the holiday feast be held, because His Sacred and Gracious Majesty, the king sees much offence in the holiday feasts, although in certain places holiday feasts arc excellent in the sight of His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the king”
Below quotes from various Historians confirms that downfall of mauryan as they had to face the wrath of Brahmins.
Historian Haraprasad Shastri says one of the chief reasons for the downfall of Mauryan kingdom is Ashokan inscriptions, which prohibited animal sacrifice and had to face the wrath of Brahmins.
Another historian RS Sharma says because Ashoka prohibited beast like rituals and ceremonies, Brahmins got frustrated as their income reduced, although Ashoka gave importance to all dharmas because he strongly believed in the principle of Sarvadharma sahishnute, infact Ashoka through his inscriptions had ordered people to respect Brahmins. [p142, Bharatada itihasa]
#this above information helps us deduce that people were frustrated with 3rd BC Brahmins who were mere ritualistic and carried sacrificial ceremonies for income #
In the Mauryan period people were both vegetarians and non vegetarians. Vegetarians used rice. Non vegetarians preferred peacock, deer and other meat. On the day of yaga and yajna priests drank Alcohol.
What ever could be Soma of Rig Veda, but during Mauryan period it becomes alcohol, unfortunately as Yaska puts it priest had lost the meaning of Rig Vedic words.
Food consumed In the Eyes of Kautilya’s Artha Shastra
Food consumed In the Eyes of Kautilya’s Artha Shastra
We all know the famous Chanakya, Master mind behind the mauryan empire, his Artha shastra reflects the Mauryan conditions which says like this
Arthashastra accepts meat eating as quite normal and lays down for the management of slaughter houses and the maintenance of purity of meat. It was only with the rise of Mahayana Buddhist sect, vegetarianism spread across the respectable people.
Medical texts even of late period, go far as to recommend the use of both meat and alcohol in moderation and do not forbid eating of beef. [P 215, The Wonder that was India].
Arthashastra advises the manufacture of liquor in government controlled breweries and gives several brief and cryptic recepies.
Medaka [Rice beer] Prasanna [spiced beer]
Apple wine [asava] Maireya [Raw sugar beer].
Artha shastra reflects the Mauryan conditions. [p 216, The wonder that was India].
Very Logical explanation, a rational behind ahimsa...
This explanation is also given by Vivekananda.
Agriculture was the main block and people were frustrated with Brahmin rituals of Bullock and cow sacrifice. Hence people of 5th century BC received readily and happily the principles of Buddha and mahaveera.
Vedic culture was very simple and straight forward but once rituals started dominating by the means of yaga and yajna it went through pain and hence whole country went through pain.
They made sure that every ritual had to be performed by a purohit , also ensured and created rituals for a person for whole of his lifetime from birth to death for income purpose. This godman like purohit caused lot of trouble to people; hence this frustration gave rise to Buddhism and Jainism.
But I should mention there are instances in history which shows that Buddha was also a meat eater who ate pork and beef. It’s obvious before he became a Monk he lived a life as that of any one. History says one of the reasons for Buddha becoming a monk is the inhuman practices of sacrificial ceremonies; he took severe stand against it. He was a wandering Monk so he had to eat what ever was offered. But after some point he ordered that no monk should eat meat. [Read more details in the detailed link mentioned at the last].
Earliest Indication of this prohibition is seen in the Mahayanist remodeling of the Mahaparinibbatasutta in its Sanskrit version the Buddha is stated to have said “I order disciples from today that they cannot any more part take of meat”
Decline of Buddhism
Buddhism left India with a positive note, let’s read what Fa-hein has to say When Fa-hein visited India in the early 5th century AD he reported that no respectable person ate meat, the consumption of which was confined to lower castes. Although many historians feel that Fa-hein is exaggerating but from him we can conclude that reign of Ashoka is a Land Mark in the development of vegetarianism.
By 5th century AD, the Buddhism declined because of following reasons
a) Attack from Hoons/ Huns and in 10th century by Turks
b) Mahayana sect of Buddhism incorporated almost all vedic rituals.
c) Buddhist monks started living a luxury life and forgot prime duties.
d) Shankaracharya of 7th century AD gave a new life to vedic religion hence gave a death blow to the already dying Buddhism.
An insight to Guputa period
Harshavardha [Gupta period, 606-646 BC]
-: he turned from a believer of Shiva to become a follower of Buddha
-: But still he ensured sarvadharma, he formed a religious assembly every 5 years at prayag and made sure
a) 1st day prayed Buddha idol
b) 2nd day Shiva idol
c) 3rd day Surya Idol.
Thus he also on the foot steps of Ashoka, prohibited the meat use and animal sacrifice.
a) One argument is “gau = white= light = knowledge” and not the cow.
Yes agreed there are 21 meanings for “Gau” shown by indologist.
b) But from Aurobindos and Yaska [5th BC] it’s evident that true meaning of Vedas were lost, Aryans just followed the ritual aspects of it. That means they took the plain meaning of Gau as cow and not as Light as explained in point..
c) The explanation of Gau as light and not cow may hold good incase of Rig-Veda because its interpreted as
A story of forces of darkness vs. forces of light. Forces of darkness steal the cows by dusk. Forces of Light rescue the stolen rays of knowledge again by dawn and gives back to humanity.
Same explanation cannot hold good in case of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Manushastra, Buddhist scriptures and kautilyas Artha shastra which mentions about offerings of meat, wine. How and when meat can be consumed etc are detailed in these Post Vedic scriptures.
d) There is a story in Rig Veda in which below passage appears “In the night a hungry Viswamitra goes and steals beef from vasista’s ashram and eats hurriedly. How this should be interpreted here.
e) Irrespective of what we deduce from Rig-Veda. We have to believe the solid rock inscriptions of Ashoka rather than interpretations of philosophers. But candid outburst of Revolutionary Buddha, Basavanna and solid words of Vivekananda regarding rampant animal sacrifices in Ancient India cannot be ignored.
f) Most importantly Aurobindo never subjected Rig-veda to historical analysis unlike others. There are archaeological evidences.
g) An archaeological, historical analysis, considering Ashokan inscriptions, words of YASKA etc.
h) Considering Genius work of Ambedkar who studies history, Hindu scriptures in original, Buddhist scriptures in detail gives a scientific explanation of how Brahmins of Ancient India transformed themselves from Meat eaters to being strict vegetarians we can understand history better.
Thus Mauryan period , post vedic documents, historical analysis, archaeological evidences helps us deduce that unfortunately for unknown reasons Ancient India believed in inhuman practices like animal sacrifices.
Why did the Brahmins become vegetarian?
Brahmanism was on the wane and if not on the wane, it was certainly on the defensive. As a result of the spread of Buddhism, the Brahmins had lost all power and prestige at the Royal Court and among the people. They were smarting under the defeat they had suffered at the hands of Buddhism and were making all possible efforts to regain their power and prestige. Buddhism had made so deep an impression on the minds of the masses and had taken such a hold of them that it was absolutely impossible for the Brahmins to fight the Buddhists except by accepting their ways and means and practicing the Buddhist creed in its extreme form. After the death of Buddha his followers started setting up the images of the Buddha and building stupas. The Brahmins followed it. They, in their turn, built temples and installed in them images of Shiva, Vishnu and Ram and Krishna etc - all with the object of drawing away the crowd that was attracted by the image worship of Buddha. That is how temples and images which had no place in Brahmanism came into Hinduism. The Buddhists rejected the Brahmanic religion which consisted of Yajna and animal sacrifice, particularly of the cow. The objection to the sacrifice of the cow had taken a strong hold of the minds of the masses especially as they were an agricultural population and the cow was a very useful animal. The Brahmins in all probability had come to be hated as the killer of cows in the same way as the guest had come to be hated as Gognha, the killer of the cow by the householder, because whenever he came a cow had to be killed in his honour. That being the case, the Brahmins could do nothing to improve their position against the Buddhists except by giving up the Yajna as a form of worship and the sacrifice of the cow.
That the object of the Brahmins in giving up beef-eating was to snatch away from the Buddhist Bhikshus the supremacy they had acquired is evidenced by the adoption of vegetarianism by Brahmins. Why did the Brahmins become vegetarian? The answer is that without becoming vegetarian the Brahmins could not have recovered the ground they had lost to their rival namely Buddhism. [Excerpts From Ambedkar ]
Food – Drink – Kitchen - Rise and Fall of kingdoms-III
Revival of Hinduism
Rise of Acharyas who were great in temperament, deeds and philosophy. As usual it seems history repeats, yes again history repeated, their follower’s blind attitude and rigidity laid the final giant slab decorated with ever alive vedic ornaments namely `Rituals` and `ceremonies` under which got buried the 4th caste Shudra and 5th incipient caste, i.e. the untouchables still underneath.
It took 3000 years for them [shudras] to see the world as they wanted i.e. the modern India.
I would not like to deviate... Let’s see the situation in 5th century as the Indologists hints
[To get an Idea, signs of this were already documented in history in 5th century AD]
“DOg was allowed to drink the water from a lake, but not the shudra”. [p 191, Baharatiya ithihasa]
Acharyas revived the Vedic cult. Key Acharya and first is Shankaracharya [788 - 820]
Vivekananda says that, Shankara was aware of the situation and did his best to retain the best of Buddhism and thus he gave a new [new until then but existed in vedas] interpretation and the greatest interpretation the world ever witnessed, the idea of Advaita and Maya Siddhartha.
Shankaraharya traveled around India 3 times till Nepal for revival, dharma shuddi i.e. purification of dharma. Jawaharlal Nehru an atheist himself declares that the Mutts established by Shankaracharya are the symbol of cultural unity.
On hearing about ill health of his mother Aryamba, Sri Shankara returns to Kaladi where her mother spent her last days. Unfortunately Shankara was not allowed to perform the last rights of his mother by the rigid Brahmins around him. Probably due to the reason he went around and spoke with or mingled with other people religion. Such was the rigidity thriving at that time.
Rigidity got fuelled by this the below thought of `Ahara shuddi`
What is it all about `Aharaha shuddi`
'Aharaha shuddi` an Upanishad phrase and hence present in bhagawad geetha is the keyword which had two different interpretations and decided the future of India, fate of shudras and untouchables.
We need to have a background of how sankhya philosophy classifies the body. The body is composed of three sorts of materials — not qualities. It is the general idea that Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas are qualities. Not at all, not qualities but the materials of this universe [ Vivekananda, CWOS, you google the above words , you will be taken to the link J]
Ahara Shuddi : Ramanuja
Under this light let’s see what another Acharya sri Ramanujacharya [ 1017 - 1137 ] interpreted `Ahara shuddi as
Blind following of the below interpretation, gave a death blow to shudras
Sri ramanuja took the literal meaning and says intake of a man should be pure in the sense it should not have mainly 3 doshas
a) Jati dosha [ Defect in the class of food, onion, garlic, meat funda]
b) Ashraya dosha [ Defect in who brings the food]
c) Nimitta dosha [ impure things coming in contact of another]
Now one can understand why some orthodox Hindus, especially ritualistic hindus
a) Eat separately b) Throw the food brouht by a shudra. c) Throw the food away, if a shudra watches them eating, so on and so forth,,,, too disgusting to talk on this
Religion has gone to kitchen [ says Swami Vivekananda ]
Ahara Shuddi : Shankara
The wonder Interpretation by Sri Shankara [ but not followed much ]
But the great acharya Shankara interpreted it differently, he says Ahara means thought collected in mind, when that becomes pure, the satva becomes pure.
If food alone would purify the satva, then feed the monkey with milk and rice all its life Would it become yogi. So once your mind is pure, you may eat what you like.
Vivekananda says, both are necessary, but Shankaras is the primary Idea. Pure food no doubt helps pure thoughts. Defect is Modern India has forgotten the advice of Shankaracharya and taken only the pure food meaning.
That is why people get Mad at me when i say, religion has gone to kitchen. In Madras people will throw away food if you look at it [ p 275, Lectures of swami Vivekananda, From Colombo to Almora]
Satvika ahara a Myth
Obesity is the truth
Satvika ahara a Myth, Obesity is the truth, Mitha ahara is the Latest truth
If one claims mitha ahara [right amount of intake] is a new interpretation, one would be foolish. Only thing is, primary aspects of Upanishads never got circulated by Vedic cult or followers. The reason is all along history we followed things blindly.
Orthodox Hindus think that avoiding garlic, onion and meat is all about Satvika ahara. But it’s unfortunate every 2 out 3 priests who boasts to be a satvika man is obese.
So Satvika ahara is all about
a) Consuming just the right amount of food. Mitha ahara in addition
b) To shankaras purity in thoughts.
Gandhi Sri Ramana Maharshi
Pioneers in propagating Mitha ahara in addition to vegetarianism are
b) Sri Ramana Maharshi
They just did it in a simple manner. simple living high thinking.
No doubt you see, in just less than 50 years, Millions of Shudras have stopped eating meat and turned to vegetarianism.
For centuries we discussed what is pure and impure, to use left hand or right hand but never respected our own people amidst all these.
To summarize the philosophy and history.
a) Vedic cult never believed in ahimsa [and hence early Hindus], it believed in animal sacrifice to bring the gods [Aahwahane].
b) In between as Yaska of 5th century BC and Aurobindo say `True meaning of vedas was lost long back, and only the ritual sacrificial meaning remained.
c) But fortunately the Light of Asia, Buddha’s arrival changed the picture. Animal sacrifice and meat consumption was drastically reduced in the period of Ashoka.
d) Decline of Buddhism was followed by revival of Hinduism.
e) Blind follow of Ahara shuddi, leaving behind the true meaning again caused a detrimental effect on 80% of Hindus which comprised Shudras and so called untouchables.
Also As Vivekananda puts it...the Idea of Ramanuja was taken and orthodox hindus, especially ritualistic hindus importance to the purity of food.
For centuries we discussed what is pure and impure. We never gave importance to ahimsa and purity in thoughts.
i.e. why you see even now the fellow orthodox hindus[ 80-90% of them], make faces, and make sounds `Thu`, `Chi`, `Kya` when they see Alien food or meat.i.e why every gobi manchurian looks to them as a pieces of chicken.
In history as far as I know , I have come across “mercy” to mean “karuna” or “daya” bhava at 4 instances taken to great heights
a) When Buddha said “Ahimsa parmodharma” in 6th Century BC
b) When Basavanna of 12th AD, gave the call “Dayave dharmada moolavayya”
To mean “Mercy is the root of religion”
c) Next comes Shakespeare when he says
The quality of mercy is not strain'd
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
d) By Gandhiji who taught to the world yet again “ Non Violence”, in humble manner he says, I do not have anything to give new to the world, it all Exists In Sanathana dharma.
Instead of uttering words of mercy In India unfortunately it was always the debate of purity and impurity rather than mercy and educates the shudras when it came to food.
When the king and priest nexus could ensure “Shudras did not touch the water in the lake”. Could not they make laws and punish a shudra who ate meat. Only logical answer for not doing this is
a) Priests until 19th century felt they are superior and wanted to differentiate and thus encouraged them to eat meat.
b) Priests were very intelligent; they knew that for the kind of jobs executed by shudras, meat eating was necessary to be fit.
So I conclude
oh Non- Meat eater, please educate the Meat Eater and respect any food instead of passing obnoxious comments.
Oh Meat Eater, kindly reduce the frequency of meat intake, so that future generations quits it completely.
Those who argue that Aryans were completely vegetarian and never consumed meat provide loads and loads of proof. Yes what are these, mere re-interpretations? Bhagath sing in his last article “Why I am atheist” puts a question “how can you Hindus justify theory of God, for what purpose he created the world, do not tell me for his “Leela” i.e. pleasure. Nero and ghengez khan burnt and looted for their pleasure…. Further he says “Now Hindus might prepare themselves to come out with a new theory to answer this.” This is what I call Re-interpretation, an interpretation that has nothing to do with history. An interpretation for mere justification which does not help anyone but their self pride. Proof provided by them is completely imaginary.
They say “Gau” is not cow, it means knowledge /light, Ashwa is not horse, hence ashwamedha yaga does not signify sacrifice of horse, vrishaba is not bull etc... Yes as a poetry lover I completely accept this interpretation because similes and metaphors usage in poetry often misleads a reader. It has been upheld by Aurobindo also. But Aurobindo and also Yaska say “that, a very early period of the Brahman's had forgotten true meaning of many obsolete words. For some reason Aryans lost the true meaning hence they became ritualistic. With little knowledge of poetry I can say that Gau=white cannot be applied through out the scriptures. It does mean Cow in most of the post Vedic Hindu scriptures. I am not questioning the sacred nature of the cow. But it means they took the literal meaning of Gau and became ritualistic resulting in misleading the whole of Ancient India because of which Krishna had to come and preach the importance of Upanishads which said jnana yajna is the best.
Lets for a moment assume Vivekananda [C1 C2], Buddha and Basavanna [ Basavanna ] misread Vedas [because of lack of Sanskrit skills, which is hard to believe, they were supposed to be highly qualified in Sanskrit in their time ahead of all. Vivekananda was supposed to be an inspiration for Aurobindo. This is said by Aurobindo himself] when they said Aryans consumed meat and carried inhuman practices like animal sacrifice. Irony is the same people who say Vivekananda misread accept and praise him for other vedantic explanations. Then for a moment let’s assume Rock inscriptions [5th Pillar Inscription ]of Ahoska [Ashoka the great] and Archaeological evidences [Archaeological evidences] are also false. Let’s assume for a moment the call “Ahimsa paramodharma” given by Buddha in 6th century BC was for some other reason other than to urge to stop inhuman animal practices by Aryans of his time as documented in Buddhist literature and Ahokan inscriptions. Let’s assume various citations Manushastra, Arthashastra which talk about meat, cow, how animal should be slaughtered in detail etc are also not pacifying. Can any one explain me why they treated the 70-80% of the fellow human beings like animals? When they held animals with such high respect could not they at least treat fellow human beings them like animals?
One point to be noted is, history becomes more and clearer from time of Buddha. Especially during period of Asoka. Almost all historians are in consensus and do not propose varying opinions unlike the Vedic period
I would like to end by quoting Franz Boas [Some problems of methodology in social sciences] who says If we know the whole biological, geographical and cultural setting of a society completely, and if we understood in detail the ways of reacting of the members f the society as a whole to these conditions, we should not need historical knowledge of the origin of the society to understand its behavior. Thus it’s more easy to conclude Aryans were inhuman, it was always a question of purity or impurity, it was a always a question to touch something in left hand or right hand. It was always the question of auspicious sense rather than emergency or criticality of time and work.
Why I Wrote:
In India a section of people are completely vegetarians. When we compare it to the food practices across the world it’s no less than a revolution. I respect them for achieving this. But the trouble is some people with sectional interest want to prove there was never meat consumption. This rigid reconstruction of history is detrimental to the future. They say we learn from history, a country which has no history has no future. If Past mistakes are covered up like this, then other mistakes also get clean chit. These are the same people who justify untouchable’ty and say there was Godly reason for the Aryans to do it. These are the Hindu fanatics who want the priestly class rule again. Worst these are the same people who use the name of Swami Vivekananda to talk about Hinduism, they quote him selectively. I was taken aback by their online invasion and their vain attempts to re correct history, instead they are increasing instability in the Name of false Hinduism and false Hindu supremacy. I will bet Orthodox ritualistic Hindu will surely paste lots of link in his support for this blog. I would not care for it, because for years such people have not allowed others to breath. Please keep the rituals for yourselves and allow the Indian mass to breath.
I referred many books from where i have extracted passages, I am thankful to their authors chiefly
a] Lectures of Swami Vivekananda from Colombo to Almora.
b] Aurobindo, secret of Vedas couple of chapters, couple of editions of books related to him Published by Aurobindo ashram.
c] Rig-Veda a historical analysis, [by SHRIKANT G. TALAGERI]
d] Early India, Romila Tapar.[ few chapters ]
e] History of India, till 1500 AD [ by T G Chandrashekarappa who has referred in turn great historians like R S Sharma, Sri Neelakanta shastri, Romila Tapar etc... ]
f] Wonder that was India [Unbiased book i felt, i loved the passages of Upanishads and vedas mentioned in this book]
g] Couple of chapters of Shankaras bhashya on bhagwadgeetha where he defines 'ahara shuddi'.
H] “Basaveswar- Ambedkar”, D jawaregowda, C R yaravinteli Math.
Vivekananda is not a Brahmin by birth. I think none of us can uproot his thought process using any wit and wisdom, his knowledge on vedas and Sanskrit Grammar hence Sanskrit authority, knowledge gained via his world tours of unimaginable length and breadth. His extreme grip on Hindu philosophy, western philosophy, science and great insight to History along with scientific approach is unmatchable and remains unparalleled feat till today. A rear kind of a person born in 5000 years once, provided the world a wonderful mix of scientific thinking and metaphysical theories, it seems his birth was so essential to pour the right amount of oil to the swaying and fading Lamp of knowledge that is still driving the whole world with its light. Upanishads was the oil he found which he called Vedanta.
If it was not for him, his voice, his authority, his vast knowledge, Hindu philosophy would have been questioned and targeted by the so called Hindu progressive geniuses and Europeans to whose tune were dancing the 19th century modern Hindus.
He is loved even in the Land of China, Europe and modern USA.
Basham author [indologist - western author] of “Wonder that was India" could not but praise Ancient India. Some of his passages clearly show that he is unbiased for example he defends Aryans by saying Soma is not alcoholic...