[Advaita-l] Animal Sacrifice

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 22:52:16 CDT 2011

On 6 July 2011 02:33, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> << Did we become vegetarians due to the influence of buddhists and
> bhagavatas?>>

To which the counter question would be "Under whose influence did the
bauddha-s and bhAgavata-s become vegetarian?"

For that matter, who said that the bauddha-s were/are vegetarian? In fact,
the bauddha bhikShu-s are allowed to eat meat as long as they know that the
animal has not been specifically killed for them.

A careful look suggests that vegetarianism evolved first as a temporary
spiritual discipline (i.e. people observed it as a vrata for a certain
duration), and over time, some people adopted it as a permanent lifestyle.
Even today, it is common among non-vegetarian Hindus to observe
vegetarianism as a vrata for a specific period.

This was of course aided by the fact that the ecology of the Indian
subcontinent permits a vegetarian diet, and even for non-vegetarians meat is
a relatively small portion of their overall diet. Even so, in areas where
fish is abundant (coastal areas + Bengal), only a small portion of the
population practises complete vegetarianism.

So it is not that vegetarianism spread under the influence of any particular
group. Rather, it was the more general idea of temporary abstinence from
certain activities as a ritual discipline that gradually gave rise to
complete vegetarianism. Such ritual discipline involved (as it still
involves today) abstinence from one or more of the following: mAMsa,
maithuna, madya, "tAmasika foods" such as onion/garlic, etc

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