ashvamedha--to eat or not to eat?

Robert P. Goldman sseas at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Feb 9 18:35:46 UTC 2000

Well, just on the anecdotal side then, we should perhaps note that the
reasonably posh and very non-veg restaurant in the Blue Diamond Hotel in
Pune is (or at least was a few years back) named "Ashwamedha" which struck
me as an odd name for an eatery.  Having dined there more than once I am
now, however, relieved by Madhav's information that it was merely "brain
food" they were serving me.  Bon appetit.

>The current discussion about Azvamedha sacrifice reminds me of an incident
>a few years ago.  Someone from Chicago called me asking me to contribute
>money for a performance of Azvamedha they were going to conduct in
>Chicago.  I was shocked and thrilled at the same time, and I asked the
>person how they were going to deal with sacrificing the horse.  The person
>was outraged at my question.  He said there was no reason to kill a horse.
>The swamy who had organized this Azvamedha explained to his followers that
>this sacrifice was to be performed so that the medhaa "intelligence" of
>the children of the community will be as swift as an azva "horse".  They
>were going to recite the holy Gaayatrii mantra several thousand times and
>make offerings of ghee into the fire.  This was the true Azvamedha.
>Suffice it to say that this interpretation had saved the life of a horse.
>                                Madhav Deshpande

Dr. R. P.  Goldman
Sarah Kailath Professor in India Studies
Professor of Sanskrit and
Center for  South Asia Studies
7303 Dwinelle Hall MC #2540
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-2540
email: sseas at
Phone: (510) 642-4089
Fax:     (510) 643-2959

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