beef eating in the Veda

keulrich at keulrich at
Fri Feb 14 06:10:21 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).
Some of the references cited by Kane are:

on killing cows for guests:
Ap. Dh.Sastra II.7.16.25; II.3.7.4 I.24.22-26
Vas. Dh.S. IV.8 II.15.1 II.11.51
Vaik. IV.3
Asv. gr. IV.9.10

On prohibitions of certain types of meat/occasions for eating or abstaining:
Gaut. 17.27-31, 34-35
Ap.Dh.S. I.5.17.29-35; II.2.5.15; I.3.7.4
Vas.Dh.S.14.39-40, 48
Visnu Dh.S. 51.6, 51.29-31
Ram., Kiskindha 17.39
Markandeya Pur. 35.3-4
Manu V.27-44
Yaj. I. 258-60

Offering meat to the gods/gods eating meat:
Rg Veda X.86.14; X.27.2; X.91.14; VIII.43.11; X.79.6

The term 'aghnyaa':
Rg Veda I.164.27 and 40; IV.1.6; V.83.8; VIII.69.21; X.87.16

Kane also mentions the Asokan rock edicts (1, 2 and 4), although it always
struck me that the animals Asoka decided to protect were the more exotic
ones (how many people were eating porcupines anyway?); someone on the list
undoubtedly is more familiar with the edicts and can say whether Asoka
banned beef.

>      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
       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.

The Tamil Jain work Niilakeeci includes several lengthy attacks on Buddhist
meat-eaters.  There is also the Sanskrit Mattavilaasaprahasanam, attributed
to Mahendravarman (c. 7th century CE), which involves a fight between a
KapaaLin and a Buddhist monk -- the KapaaLin accuses the monk of stealing
an alms bowl full of meat. I would be interested in hearing more about the
Kannada works.

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