[Advaita-l] more on food habits

vadhula at yahoo.com vadhula at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 3 08:04:40 CST 2011

Dear Sunil,

Thank you. No specific problem. I wanted to know nuances of dharma. Also being a 2nd generation in USA, I wanted to know how to give explanations to my children when they are older.

FYI, I am a Braahmana and a lacto-veg and so are my children.

Ravi Chandrasekhara

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 3, 2011, at 12:48 AM, Sunil Bhattacharjya <sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear  Ravi Chandrsekharaji,

To get these answers one really need not be an expert in Hindu scriptures. Just a bit of common sense will give the answers. Since want some shastric input here it goes.

Q1)  .Meat as food is different than animal used in yagna.

Ans. How can meat be different as food whther it is from the butcher's shop or from the remnants of the animal offered in the sacrifice. Both will taste the same and will have the same nutritional value. Bhishma tells in the Mahabharata that it was only the clever people who sacrificed meat and it was a ruse for eating meat. There are however some tantric rituals, wher animal is sacrificed and only the non-vegetarians follow this practice and not the vegetarians have to eat meat. Tantra does not believe in forcing people to give up their addictions forcibly. One who is advanced eventually gives up the addictions.

Q2)  There are passages in Manu Smriti 5:48-51 that admonish against meat
eating and 5:15 that mentions buying, eating meat,etc is as sinful as
killing the animal. I think there is a similar passage in Mahabharata.
How do these statements reconcile with the contradictory statements of
Dharmashastras allowing some jaathis in some varnas to eat meat ?

Ans. Please read Manu Smriti carefully. Manu says meat-eating is not sin.. however he says that it is better not to eat meat. He also recommends eating of Rahu fish (Grass-Carp) among others. About the statement in the Mahabharata I mentioned above. All the Varnas are related to people's guna and Karma suited to that. Evidently the people of a varna will have to eat the food suitable for the type f work one does. For example, one who does hard physical work will require different type of food that a professor who does teaching and a lot of sedentray work. If the Kshatriyas are told not to kill even an animal how do you think they will be able to shoot at their enemy (man) in front of them. The ancient rishis had that much of common sense definitely. that is how ksatriyas hunted and took the meat and if any emaciated  rishi came to them after long tapasya they offered meat to the rishi even. Rishi took the meat at that time for the sake of health as the
animal is already killed and that is now just food. But the rishi will not tell anybody to kill an animal for his own consumption. Naturally if one gets used to taking meat one may like to continue to do that later in his life even if one changes the profession as it is not easy to change food habits and the body also gets used to certain types of food..

Q3).  Shri Satish Arigela mentioned that Dharmashastras allow meat eating
based on jaathi/varna regardelss of locale or profession that may have
changed for the individual born in that jaathi.

Ans. The answer is given above.

Q4 (a, (b), (c) ) Examples for #3: 
a. A Bengali Braahmana (commonly considered
allowed to eat fish as Ganga nadi floods that area often reducing
ability to grow crops) working as a physician,IT professional etc and
residing in Bengaluru or Western urban area would still be allowed to
eat fish despite availability of veg food and not being affected by

Ans.  Given above

Q5) What specific shastric reference is there that allows/or not
allows meat eating despite change in locale of residence or change in
occupation ?

Ans, Shastra has left itto allow us to apply common sense as above. Continue to eat food which you are taking from before unless you are advised by your Doctor or nutritionist to change it.

BTW what is your varna so that we can know if any Varna-specific food problem you have.


Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Sun, 1/2/11, ravi chandrasekhara <vadhula at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: ravi chandrasekhara <vadhula at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] more on food habits
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Sunday, January 2, 2011, 8:50 PM

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