beef eating in the Veda

Srinivasan Pichumani srini at
Thu Feb 13 22:23:12 UTC 1997

        gt> Perhaps I have misunderstood RZ's request here: are you looking for
        gt> references to secondary literature, or to *Vedic passages* where
        gt> beef eating is "unambiguously" referred to? 
        gt> I assumed that you meant the latter.
        Correct, I meant the latter, although references to good secondary
        literature which gives references to such Vedic passages are also
        welcome (my big problem is, however, that I cannot look at such
        literature until I am in Europe again, this spring, since such
        literature is hardly available here in Mysore).
George mentioned the statement of YAjJavalkya at Zatapatha 
BrAhmaNa about beef-eating.  I believe Apastamba 
refers precisely to this statement of the "vAjasaneyaka", 
in support of beef-eating.
Also, Frits Staal in his article "Vedic Mantras" in the book 
"Understanding Mantras" (SUNY Press... ed. Harvey Alper) says 
that as a prelude to the garbhAdAna samskAra that uses hymns 
such as RV 10.184, the couple should eat a meal containing 
veal or beef... to beget a meritorious son, well-versed in 
the Vedas, no less ! However, I have not read any clear 
confirmation of this prerequisite ;-)
        Apart from arousing my historical curiosity, Bharati's remarks reminded
        me of statements made by a Jaina author in polemical writings in Kannada
        (in as late as the 12th century) that the Jainas have a lifestyle which
        he considers superior to that of the Vaidikas because the latter are not
        vegetarians, and that if non-Jainas insist on being vegetarians, it is
        due to Jaina ideological influence. This seems to be a recurring theme in
        southern Jaina literature (as well as in contemporary Jaina conversation)
        and it is spoken about as a matter of common knowledge that needs no
        explicit proof. Hence I was interested in evidence which could be
        adduced in support of this Jaina claim.
I mentioned the case of Tiruvalluvar in an earlier post... 
however, we don't know incontrovertibly if he was a Jaina. 
        Secondly, Bharati's remarks are part of his general attack on the
        majority of modern Hindu religious leaders, who in his view are not
        only anti-historical in their outlook, but also anti-Sanskritic and / or
        intellectually dishonest, as they lack the ability to go through the
        texts in name of which they preach and / or withhold historical truths
        from the public because they think that the truth is not good for the
        people. This is a serious matter, and I was curious about to what extent
                                                                     ^^^^^^^^^^^                                           -
        and in what detail Bh.'s arguments hold good. His basic attitude seems
        correct, but I wanted to check the details.
One should not read too much from Bharati's petulant remarks,
I am afraid, on this issue of beef-eating... such remarks are 
strewn all over his writings, starting from his autobiography 
"The Ochre robe", and other books like "Functional Analysis of 
Indian Thought...", his book on mysticism, etc.
He sounds irritatingly like a recent convert and an original 
intent fanatic ... insisting on beef-eating in the Vedas and 
insisting that modern Indians should accept it as "valid" in 
modern times... wifully suspending all historical developments 
in between.

Now, this may be OK in traditional Indian dialectic ;-) 
and has always been a very useful didactic device... s'abda
pramANa, Aptavacana, and all that.

But Bharati had these critical/modern compulsions too, you see.  
Hence, somehow, it doesn't jive.

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