ashvamedha--to eat or not to eat?

Himanshu Dave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Tue Feb 8 08:40:20 UTC 2000

Jan E.M. Houben wrote:

> 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.
> JH
> 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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> >Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.
> >

I would like to ask a few questions to Scholars in this list.
1. Most of the traditions in India and eating habits are alive even today right
from Vedic times. How is it that eating flesh of the so called "Sacrificial
Horse" is not there?

2. Apart from text of Vedas and some Puranas (which derive from Vedas) are
there any prper indications that Horse flesh was eaten by Indo-Aryans?

I am constrained to ask these questions because, at least in RigVeda and
YajurVeda, the meaning of the word Ashva is not "Horse" that is an animal. It
has entirely different meaning. Without access to that meaning any discussion
that we notice in this list is futile.

Sorry if I sound arrogant. All of you are great schoalrs, but I find you are
going astray.
Prof. H.B. Dave
 Professor & Head of Department
Computer Engineering
Dharmsinh Desai Institute of Technology
College Road
NADIAD   387001 (Gujarat) India
e-mail : hbd at

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