ashvamedha--to eat or not to eat?

Jan E.M. Houben jhouben at RULLET.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Sun Feb 6 21:53:03 UTC 2000

In the Rgvedic horse sacrifice as it appears in RV 1.162 the horse was
killed with an axe (1.162.9), parts of it are explicitly eaten (cf. RV
1.162.12: y/e c/Arvato mAMsabhikS/Am upAsat/e; ). In the azvamedha of the
zrauta-sUtras the horse is suffocated, and much attention is paid to the
burning of parts (offering to the gods) after the ceremonies with the queen.
Eating is not prominent (cf. Dumont's Asvamedha 1927, consommation of iDA).
In the description of the azvamedha in the mahAbhArata mention is made of
the smelling of horse meat by the sacrificer (yudhiSThira) (Dumont p. 387).
For some reflections on a gradual receding in importance of actual eating in
Vedic ritual in general (not specifically the horse sacrifice) cf.
Heesterman, The Broken World of Sacrifice, Chicago Univ. Press p. 189ff.
Jan E.M. Houben,
Kern Institute, Leiden University,
P.O. Box 9515, NL-2300 RA   Leiden
jhouben at RULLET.LeidenUniv.NL
-----Original Message-----
From: Haridas C <haridasc at YAHOO.COM>
Date: Sunday, February 06, 2000 5:35 PM
Subject: ashvamedha--to eat or not to eat?

>Dear listmembers,
>Was the flesh of the sacrificed horse eaten or not?
>Thanks in advance.
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