beef eating in the Veda

Max Langley mlangley at
Tue Feb 11 14:44:00 UTC 1997

Swami Asitananda of the Vedanta Society of Northern California in San
Francisco once pointed out to me that one must put such questions in a
proper perspective. The Sugata, Siddharta Gotama, marked the end of the
Vedic period. It is clear from the Upanishads that recluses forwent meat.
It was only in the struggle for religious, and eventually political,
domination of the Indian subcontinent after the passing of the Buddha by
his disciples and their successors that many reforms were compelled in
line with the teaching of the Buddha and sangha. Among the reforms was the
institution of vegetarianism outside of renunciate circles, Brahmans
having previously eaten meat, probably beef also in some areas. I suspect
that the beef-taboo in conjunction with cow veneration is not altogether
primeval in India.

Max Langley

> From: Robert J. Zydenbos <zydenbos at>
> To: Members of the list <indology at>
> Subject: beef eating in the Veda
> Date: Monday, February 10, 1997 4:39 PM
> Recently I read Agehananda Bharati's _Great Tradition - Little
> Traditions_, in which he refers to Vedic passages which prove that
> beef was a common foodstuff among the Vedic people. Not being a Veda
> specialist myself, I want to ask: has anyone here on the list seen any
> such clear, unambiguous passages? (Please give references.)
> RZ.-

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