RV 8.43.11 and beef-eating

thompson at jlc.net thompson at jlc.net
Thu Feb 20 11:36:36 UTC 1997

>Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 11:48:24 -0600 (CST)
>From: Narahari Achar <NACHAR at MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU>
>Subject: Re: RV 8.43.11 and beef-eating
>To: indology at liverpool.ac.uk
>Cc: thompson at jlc.net
>MIME-version: 1.0

This is forwarded at the request of Narahari Achar.  Sorry for the slight
delay [I've been kept away from my desk by other responsibilities].  I hope
to send a reply shortly. Regards, GT
>Dear Thompson and Members, I have had problems with my posting on this topic
>which had bounced because of a changed e-mail address. I am sending Thompson
>also a copy of this and request him to forward it to the list in case it
>bounces again. Thanks in advance-Narahari Achar.
>Thompson wrote on Feb 11:
>>There are numerous passages in the RV that imply the eating of beef, but they
>>can be interpreted variously i.e.,ambiguously. For example, we know that Agni
>>was a beef-eater at RV 8.43.11. Is this "unambiguous evidence" of Vedic beef
>Reusch raised some interesting questions, but Thompson did not think  that
>"beef-eater " would be controversial.
>When Reusch again pointed out some inconsistencies in this interpretation,
>Thompson replied:
>>so I take this passage to be a little ambiguous (i.e., metaphorical),
>>admittedly, but about "beef-eating" in some sense.
>In fact, one can give an alternate interpretation of this Rk, which is quite
>consistent, agrees with what Reusch says and does not involve beef-eating at
>all. This is based on the rule of "luptataddhita prakriya", according to which
>one uses the whole to denote a part. This is quite common in veda, Mcdonnel and
>Keith who were probably the first to give the oft-quoted beef-eating
>interpretation of the above Rk, also accept this rule. They say, for example,
>in the "Vedic Index","The term GO is often applied to express products of the
>cow. It frequently means milk, but rarely the flesh of an animal. In many
>passages it designates leather used as material of various objects, as a
>bowstring, or a sling....."
>In this Rk, both ukSAnnaya and vaZAnnaya should be interpreted using this rule
>so that ukSA would refer to the produce from farming etc. using a bull and vaZa
>would refer to milk and products of milk. The Rk would then refer to the fire
>that consumes the grains produced through agriculture by a bullock and the fire
>that consumes milk-rice pudding (pAyasam) etc. This would agree completely with
>what Reusch referred to including Ghee.
>A different interpretation,in some sense a better one , would consider another
>meaning of ukSA:soma. The root meaning of the word ukSA is one which
>sprinkles,(see Monnier Williams) Drops of juice drip from soma, hence it is
>called ukSA. Soma is the food of fire, ukSAnna. There is no bull here(no pun
>-Narahari Achar

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