Meat-eating (Was Re: Some Vedic sacrifices...)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 21 09:54:51 CST 1999

On Mon, 20 Dec 1999 20:05:02 -0600, Sankaran Jayanarayanan
<kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:

>On Sun, 19 Dec 1999, Anand Hudli wrote:
>>  The trouble is that people on both sides of the "vegetarian/ahiMsA
>>  vs. non-vegetarian" issue do not fully understand what the shAstra says
>>  and doesn't.  If one does perform a soma yajna, animal(s) must be
>>  sacrificed. There is no excuse for not sacrificing animal(s) in such
>>  yajnas. But at the same time, if one does NOT perform such yajnas,
>>  one must NOT kill animals or eat meat simply as part of one's diet.
>>  Outside the context of such yajnas, meat-eating must be avoided.
>>  Manu and other authors of smR^iti are quite clear on this.
>This is quite incorrect. I have read several smR^iti quotes which advocate
>meat-eating, and not just the "prasaadaM" from a yaGYa.
>Apastamba dharma suutra (ADS) 1.5.17
>14. He shall not eat food which has been bought or obtained ready-prepared
>in the market.
>15. Nor (shall he eat) flavoured food (bought in the market) excepting raw
>meat, honey, and salt.
>Gautama dharma suutra 17.38
>"Let him eat (the flesh of animals) killed by beasts of prey, after having
>washed it, if no blemish is visible, and if it is declared to be fit for
>use by the word (of a BrAhmaNa)."
>ADS (virtually identical with GDS 17.27)
>"Five-footed animals (ought not to be eaten) with the exception of the
>iguana, the tortoise, the boar called savaatit, the porcupine, the
>rhinocerous, the hare, and the Puutikhasha."
>There must be several other quotes all over the place in other smR^itis
>too like the PurANas.

 The trouble with quotes taken in isolation and without properly
 considering all views is that they present a distorted picture of
 the issue in question!

 Manu discusses meat-eating in his smR^iti and then goes on to
 present his concluding remarks on the subject. These concluding
 remarks or rules (Manu 5.26 to 5.56) are to be taken as the final
 verdict of Manu who surely must have considered a greater number
 of texts than either you or I can possibly quote.

 For example, Manu says:
 yaGYaaya jagdhirmaa.nsasyetyeshha daivo vidhiH smR^itaH |
 ato.anyathaa pravR^ittistu raakshhaso vidhiruchyate || 5.31 ||

 Eating meat as part of a yaGYa is said to be a divine rule.
 Therefore, (eating meat) in other circumstances is becoming of

 And, he says (5.32)
 devaan.h pitR^I.nshchaarchayitvaa khaadan.h maa.nsaM na dushhyati
 By eating meat in the course of worshipping Gods (in YaGYa's) and
 the pitR^i's (manes), there is no sin.

  In fact, Manu goes even further to prescribe the consumption
  of meat in rites such as yaGYa's:

  niyuktastu yathaanyaayaM yo maa.nsaM naatti maanavaH |
  sa pretya pashutaaM yaati saMbhavaanekavi.nshatim.h || 5.35 ||

  The man who, although engaged in a rite (such as certain yaGYa's)
  does not eat meat (which should be eaten) according to the rules,
  becomes an animal for 21 lives after death.

 Manu makes an unambiguous and conclusive statement in 5.52:

  svamaa.nsaM paramaa.nsena yo vardhayitumichchhati |
  anabhyarchya pitR^In.h devaa.nstato.anyo naastyapuNyakR^it.h ||

  There is no greater sinner than one who desires to increase his own
  flesh by (eating) the flesh of other (animals) without worshipping
  the Gods and manes.

  Manu even quotes a pithy definition of the word "mAMsa" (meat)
  in order to prove his point:

 maaM sa bhakshayitaa.amutra yasya maa.nsamihaad.h myaham.h |
 etatmaa.nsasya maa.nsatvaM pravadanti maniishhiNaH || 5.55 ||

 "He (saH) will eat me(mAm.h) in the next world whom I eat
  here in this world." This is the definition of "mAMsa" (meat)
  according to the wise.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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