Beef and the Hindus – Shri Kedar makes some interesting comments

Readers can access the older posts here.

Shri Kedar responds – My own comments are inserted when relevant.

1) Along with indulging in hard-core logic and verbal gymnastics, please also provide a reference from any Indian text of your choice to show that beef was an ingredient in our diet at any point in the History. Please. (Pala S – Here and here are references for you in the form of a discussion of a book by Shri Jaidayal Dalmia and a site-link. I have obviously avoided Marxist historians (DN Jha et al) – There are references to Madhuparka and more interestingly on Sri Aurobindo’s view on the Vedic Cow)

2) You said:
“I don’t think it is necessary to prove that Cow-slaughter was allowed in our past in order to argue that Cow-slaughter or beef-eating is not against our Dharma. And that’s the entire basis of my argument – to say that beef-eating per se is not against Hindu Dharma.”

My response:
No. Thats was not my point. I said I will bring a strong and clear reference against cow-killing, and I did. I took liberty and changed the subject from “beef-eating is not allowed in Hinduism” to “Cow-slaughter is not allowed in Hinduism”, only because they are synonymous. If not, please prove (with a reference rather than logic, for a change). (Pala S – Well, it’s easy to prove that Cow slaughter is not the same as beef -eating. There are many Hindus who eat beef without killing the Cow; meaning, without being the cause of it’s death. I notice you did not consider these people part of our society, (at least historically). More on this when we get there)

3) You said:
“The referenced verse does not make clear if this injunction against slaughter is valid for everybody and for all time.”

My response:
Weak argument. If it was indeed meant for a particular kind of people, the mantra would have said so. The emphasis is not on who shall/shall not kill/eat the Cow, but on the Cow herself– “she shall not be killed”. It is simple, complete, comprehensible, and has no special cases in its application. (Pala S – I don’t think it’s that simple. If you want to pursue this line of argument, you will have to prove that all sections of this society shared the same kind of relationship with the Cow. Obviously, there were differences)

4)You said:
” I have a query and this may sound frivolous – but which animal is not innocent in itself? How is the innocence of the Cow more valid than the innocence of say, the goat or the camel?”

My response:
Irrelevant sentences. The word “innocent” or “Aditi” were translated only because they are present in the original samskrta text. They are not indispensable for the discussion. The intended meaning was “Let not the Cow …. be killed”. Please refrain from such redundant wordplay. (Pala S – I don’t think we can meddle with referenced sources so easily. If the word “innocent” is used then there should be meaning attached to it. My query is plain. What animal is not innocent?)

5) You said:
“Were there pointed injunctions against Cow slaughter (we haven’t seen anything against consuming beef yet) because there was too much Cow slaughter? Any society that valued the Cow so much would be worried if its cattle wealth began to dwindle or if there was some imbalance in the supply chain. Were these injunctions against too much consumption of beef?”

“Else why would such strict guidelines be necessary at all? Imagine a society insisting Cows be spared when none were harming it in any case. Something does not fit.”

My response:
Baseless Assumption (or rather, reverie) about “too much” Cow Slaughter. Proof/reference not provided (as usual). (Pala S – Circumstantial. *Conditions were different then. Supply-chain worked much more slowly. Lack of produce was felt and could not be reinforced speedily. Therefore it was felt that an injunction against Cow slaughter might help regain balance*)

Also, from the very link you have referred to, your “Shri Anil Chawla” argues for exactly the opposite:

“The misguided orthodox zealots who oppose all mechanized slaughter houses and meat exports often argue that continuous slaughtering of progeny of cows will lead to elimination of cows and bulls from the country causing a milk famine. The fact is just opposite – the countries that consume cow-meat have substantially higher milk availability.”

Hence, “too much” Cow-slaughtering would then mean “too many more Cows”, at least according to your “Shri Anil Chawla” (go figure the math in that!:) ). So no need to bring in any injunction against Cow slaughter! (Pala S – Are you saying Shri Chawla is wrong on facts?)

6) You said:
“The manner we grade diets, our stages of Ashramas, our Purusharthas – all of these and more take into account obligations and duties. For instance the spirituality of the Brahmana and the Kshatriya are not similar.”

My response:
Fallacy. Please explain how the spirituality (what?) of the Brahmana and the Kshatriya has anything to do with Cow-slaughter. Slaughtering a Cow is a mahA-pAtakam (as I already mentioned once). You just do NOT do it. It is a fully understood subject. So where is the question of VarnAshrama and spirituality (what?) here. (Pala S – I’m interested. Is there a list of Mahapatakams? I browsed and could not come up with a list that had the Cow on it)

7) You said:
“The relation to the Cow’s sacredness is obviously different wrt the Brahmana and the Shudra who tans its leather”

My response:
Wrong assertion.  pre=””>shudras do NOT tan its leather. shUdrAs are engineers, technicians and the labour force of the nation. They have pride in their varna and are respected in the society. Skinning and tanning of dead animals was done only by ChAnDAlAs, the panchamas. It is exactly for this reason that they are shunned by the society. (Pala S – I knew this because this is so elementary. I could not get myself to face one of the causes of untouchability. Therefore my question to you – if the handling of Cow-hide/dead animals would earn such opprobrium in society, why would any group of people take to this trade? Who were their customers? Who made their implements? Did they have no connection with the larger society? Implicit in my set of queries is the observation that such isolation could not have been willingly and voluntarily chosen. If this is true, then who chose it for them? When did this change occur? Our society would have to be devotedly vegetarian to isolate a group working with animal skin. We know we retained other meat and (I say) gave up beef. I really don’t think it was animal-hide per-se. It was specifically the “sin” of cattle/Cow-hide that brought about this isolation. I would still stick with the after-math of Buddhist “reform” as cause of much of this topsy-turvy hypocrisy in Hindu society)

You said:
“I don’t think one can relate beef-eating to something that would destroy the family”

My response:
Well your thought is wrong. Not just eating beef, accepting a gift from someone who eats beef (from a muslim sultAn) got one very famous musical family banished from Hinduism (not an isolated incident). After extreme hardships, they had to convert to Islam. The family in question is the DAgar family–the dhrupad gAyaki mAsters.

Hence, beef eating is as destructive to the family, if not more, as killing one’s own mother. (Pala S – Far-fetched indeed. There are plenty of Hindus eating beef, yours truly included; who cannot be banished from Hinduism. Moreover, there are too many examples of Hindus and Temples accepting grants/gifts from beef-eating Sultans. These were never banished. What about Tipu Sultan’s grants to Temples in Mysore? What about Hindu warriors fighting in Muslim armies?)

9) You said:
“This will mean all those that work to tan Cow leather indulge in the horrible act of tanning their mother’s skin”

My response:
Answered above. All those who do work on skinning and tanning were indeed ostracised and not accepted in society as they WERE committing that horrible sin. (Pala S – Why then would they do that kind of work? It’s not making sense)

10) You said:
“I’m unable to comprehend your point here”

My response:
I agree. (Pala S – ??)

21st Oct ’09

Shri Kedar responds with profuse arguments – My responses are after each argument.

1) You said:

“Here and here are references for you in the form of a discussion of a book by Shri Jaidayal Dalmia and a site-link. I have obviously avoided Marxist historians (DN Jha et al) – There are references to Madhuparka and more interestingly on Sri Aurobindo’s view on the Vedic Cow.”

My response:

Finally, some ammo for me. Thankfully, neither of the two references have anything to say about the core issue of our debate. Let me explain why.

A: About reference-I:

Aurobindo says the word “go” actually means something else, not Cow. I know about that one, and I quite like the idea. But I fail to see how it supports cow-slaughter or beef-eating. Now, regarding the Madhuparka link, unless you give me the reference verse/passage from a pre-buddhist text instead of indulging in believing the hearsay, it is uesless. Also, Aurobindo’s view is just a view. It is not THE view. Dont get too carried away. Aurobindo frequently critices SAyana SAyana “>bhAshyam, though there are many equally qualified as Aurobindo (but not equally famous) who would swear their lives on SAyana bhAshyam. (Pala S – Well, if Sri Aurobindo was indeed correct then the “Cow” becomes notional and not material. The pro and anti Sayana quarrel seems to be a stale-mate per your allusion to it, not a win for the “pro” camp. What are we left with? Btw, why is Madhuparka such a threat?)

B: About reference-II:

i) Since you just sent me links instead of taking the effort (Pala S – You seem to have missed the “pop-up” I rigged on the link. Sorry.)to quote the actual verses or passages from the texts, I had to search for “beef” and “cow” in the ahimsa article to see how it is relevant here. The only portion relevant to this discussion is really this: “Sushruta Samhita written in the 3rd or 4th century CE … recommends beef for certain patients and for pregnant women”. This is against one of your own statements about post-Buddhist “topsy-turvy” regarding beef, since this book was written about 800 years after Buddha (who is thought to have lived in 5th c. BCE), and is not a pre-Buddist era text. (Pala S – I don’t see how my “Buddhist – topsy-turvy”  theory is effected by the Samhita’s references to beef. I hope your not disputing the references themselves)

Hence, this reference does not have anything to do with pre-Buddhist Indians eating beef.

ii) It also says: “Several highly authoritative scriptures bar violence against domestic animals except in the case of ritual sacrifice. This view is clearly expressed in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana(11.5.13-14), and the Chandogya Upanishad (8.15.1).” This neatly correlates with what I said earlier– no violence except for ritual sacrifice (yup, there is your “net net” argument for which you will not accept any other analogy. See general comment at the end). (Pala S – Now your saying other “domestic” animals were not slaughtered for meat? Not making sense at all. Worse, not making Hindu sense. A better way to read “ritual sacrifice/violence” would be in the manner of “action”. I.e. violence or meat eating is justified when there is need)

iii) It says: “The Manu Smriti (10.63), Kautilya’s Arthashastra(1.3.13) and the Vasishtha Dharmasutra (4.4) point out that ahimsa is a duty for all the four classes (Varnas) of society.” This is not regarding consumption of beef in particular, but it successfully strikes down your argument about different “spiritualities”(what?) for different varnas. The point: There are some common codes of conduct to be followed regardless of the varna. (Pala S – I’m appalled! This interpretation would suit a Gandhian better, rather than a Hindu. For a Hindu view of Ahimsa I would much rather look to Sri Aurobindo’s dissection of non-discriminating non-violence and what it does to the human psyche. Btw, this is also my point made about “different spiritualities”)

C: If you’d like to give a reference where beef was a part of diet, quote directly from the primary source instead of directing me to someone else who has read a book written by someone else who thought some passage in some ancient text meant something. Just tell me which passage or verse of which text says beef was an ingredient of the diet of pre-Buddhist era Indians (of all varnas). So,

i) Quote the actual samskrta verse or passage from any pre-buddhist text

ii) Translate it wherever necessary (just for your readers’ sake) and

iii) If there are any words with multiple meanings, explain the assignment of a particular meaning to that word in this context, showing why a particular word means something, and not something else.

It is not as tough as it looks. Why should we depend upon someone else’s interpretation of original texts in this matter? The texts are available online and

there are many samskrtam-english dictionaries available as well. Let us dig deep and look for ourselves what is true and what is not!

bottomline: You still need to give me unimpeachable reference(s) from primary sources to show beef was part of pre-Buddhist era Indians’ diet. (Pala S – The Maduparka link)

2) You said:

“Well, it’s easy to prove that Cow slaughter is not the same as beef-eating. There are many Hindus who eat beef without killing the Cow; meaning, without being the cause of it’s death.”

My response:

Ah! I understand your statement now. I am sorry I did not know that you particularly look for cows that died naturally, and then eat only that Cow’s meat. (Pala S – The chandalas did)

How does that work? How do you go about looking for dead Cows? By the way, how do you make sure the cow you eat has not died of some microbial disease? (Pala S – You don’t. You cannot) I dont suppose you google for all this

On the other hand, if you are eating cows that have been slaughtered, then, we are back on track: The definition of the issue is indeed “The Cow shall not be slaughtered”. And if you are arguing about the chAnDAlas, not about yourself, see point 3. (Pala S – I have already shown the Cow was indeed slaughtered for meat)

3) You said:

“Pala S – I don’t think it’s that simple. If you want to pursue this line of argument, you will have to prove that all sections of this society shared the same kind of relationship with the Cow. Obviously, there were differences”

My response:

Now, you provide one reference where Cow is not considered sacred in the same manner to any other varna as it is to, say, BrahmanAs. Please avoid chAnDAlas in this debate, as we are only talking about general public within the chAtur-varNa. Yes, chAnDAlas lived a really miserable life, and they were not accepted in the society. But if they used to eat beef, then all you end up proving is that– (Pala S – There is no record I know of of an exception for chandalas. Moreover, why would the other Varnas consider the Cow different from how the Brahmana viewed it? According to you they all adhered to non-killing of animals per-se? From anti-Cow slaughter your moving into vegetarianism. Btw, please refer to the “Madhuparka” link)

a) “there was harsh discrimination in India during vedic age” and/or

b) “a particular minority of people (yes, chAnDAlAs were a tiny minority) used to eat beef in pre-buddhist era India”.

I agree to both of these but these are not central to our debate. So my reference holds.

4) You said:

“I don’t think we can meddle with referenced sources so easily. If the word “innocent” is used then there should be meaning attached to it. My query is plain. What animal is not innocent?”

My response:

I sense mischief in this statement. If you are concocting another of those theories about how previously too many cows were killed, and hence dIrghatamA is making an emotional appeal for the cow, to say “please! Dont kill the Cow, she is innocent! She is Aditi herself!”, then it is laughable because;

a) you never provided any reference for your theory about too much cow-slaughter some time in our past. Any reference at all. (Pala S – I wonder what kind of evidence you would expect. I’ve already said it’s circumstantial)

b) Rigveda itself was composed over a period of thousand years. Now you need to prove, based on when the first mandala was composed– whether too much Cow slaughter was going on before that time? Are there any mandalas before the first mandala? Is there any reference to cow slaughter being done present in those earlier mandalas?

It would be nice to talk in references (truths) than logic and wild theories. (Pala S – Where are the “wild” theories?)

5)
A.You said:

“Circumstantial. *Conditions were different then. Supply-chain worked much more slowly. Lack of produce was felt and could not be reinforced speedily. Therefore it was felt that an injunction against Cow slaughter might help regain balance*”

My response:

Oh wise one! Give me some reference for this. (Pala S – I’m sure you understand the term “circumstantial”)

B. You said:
“Are you saying Shri Chawla is wrong on facts?”

My response:
Now wait a minute. Lets go back.. you said your guy’s name was “Shri Anil Chawla”, and now you refer to him as “Shri Chawla”. What IS your guy’s name? And regarding what he wrote, YOU tell me if he is wrong. I showed that your statement and his statement are contradicting each other (rather successfully, since you did not deny it). By the way, did you actually talk to him about this? Do you even know this guy? (Pala S – Completely irrelevant chatter. I agree with Shri (Anil) Chawla’s assessment. I’m asking you if you disagree and if yes, why?)

6) You said:

“Is there a list of Mahapatakams? I browsed and could not come up with a list that had the Cow on it”

My response:

I do not know if there is a list. But I am glad I dont have to debate with you for long now. You seem to have difficulty in even breathing without google. Google is not the best, in fact, its not even a reasonable source for searching Indic literature. Now, I am NOT against googling. But you need to understand that there is NO ongoing project to upload every single ancient Indic text to the web. So the best way is to talk to the knowledgeable, see what they say, get proper references from them and then search a library or the web for that particular verse from that particular text to see if it confirms to what the wise said. If there are differences, go back to the learned and question.

Nevertheless, let me teach you how to google:–

1) open http://www.google.com (dont panic if http://www.google.co.in opens up)

2) In the large text box provided right in the centre, left-click the mouse exactly once (its tough I know, but you can do it).

3) then type “gohatya sin” using your key board (its right below your monitor, well most of the times… dont sue me you find its elsewhere). (Pala S – I don’t believe this. I suggest you don’t stoop to cheap insults)

7)
A:You said:
“Therefore my question to you – if the handling of Cow-hide/dead animals would earn such opprobrium in society, why would any group of people take to this trade?”

My response:
No group of people actually took to this trade. All those who were bahishkRtas (banished), were left with no other choice, but to clean up the carcasses of dead animals. And what was the reason? When any rule in dharma-shAstras was violated, appropriate punishment was prescribed. Some violations incurred banishment. And who were banished? People from any varna really. No varNa was spared. In fact more brAhmaNas were banished than any other varNa due to strictness of the rules. (Pala S – What about penances to alleviate sin? There were penances that could be performed)

B: You said:
Who were their customers?

My response:
Probably others like them from a neighbouring village. This is an educated guess based on what I would do in that situation. If you are bent upon an answer, I need some time to ask some people.

C: You said:
Who made their implements?

My response:
They might have run a parallel society, and there were additions from the larger society every now and then.. so they might have had some implements. Now, these are at best guesses, but they are no worse than your own theories about too much beef consumption. If I was banished, I would definitely take my implements with me. (Pala S – Precisely. Now you understand what circumstantial means. However, why would people agree to be banished for sins when there was the option of remedial penance offered? Unless, beef-eating had become such a great sin as could not be remedied by any kind of penance? I’m suggesting that the influence of Buddhism on a Vedic “Sacred Cow” belief elevated it to a status that it never had enjoyed before. All other “meat” animals were merely “saved”. When Buddhism waned, this (Cow) belief was retained while other meats were tolerated – depending)

D: You said:

“Did they have no connection with the larger society? Implicit in my set of queries is the observation that such isolation could not have been willingly and voluntarily chosen. If this is true, then who chose it for them? When did this change occur?”

My response:

No connection with larger society except for the job they were supposed to do. Yes, as told above, this was imposed, not voluntary.

You said:

“Far-fetched indeed. There are plenty of Hindus eating beef, yours truly included; who cannot be banished from Hinduism. Moreover, there are too many examples of Hindus and Temples accepting grants/gifts from beef-eating Sultans. These were never banished. What about Tipu Sultan’s grants to Temples in Mysore? What about Hindu warriors fighting in Muslim armies?”

My response:

If there are many Hindus eating beef today, it is because  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”because “>brAhmanAs have failed to teach the dharma, and ksatrIyas have failed to protect the dharma. It is definitely NOT because it is allowed. Dont you realise? Nobody cares a damn about what you eat these days.

Regarding my example, I told you what “actually happened”, not a theory. And a theory can be far-fetched, but I dont know how a fact can be far-fetched. Agreed, you provided very good counter examples to mine, but by the time of your examples (or even mine), hindus had changed drastically to cope with Islam. This is related to Apaddharma.(Pala S – A better way to look at this would be that “severity” of a reprimand was not uniform. Or, it is possible that Hindus in general understood better, the essence of the “Cow is sacred” tenet? I have spoken of how the Cow is sacred in spite of beef )

9) You said:

“Why then would they do that kind of work? It’s not making sense.”

My response:
Explained above.

10) You said:
“??”

My response:
Yes.

A general comment:

Your “net net” logic is not native to India. We always look for dharma with reference to context. Examples:

–Draupadi is not a vershyA (prostitute) and she does not stand for polyandry. (Pala S – Not her obviously. But polyandry is still a fact in certain tribes of Hindusthan)

–bhagvAn Rama is not a coward to shoot an arrow at vAli from behind and he doesnt support adhArmic warfare against a dhArmic enemy. (Pala S – In other words he used adharmic warfare against an adharmic enemy. I agree with that)

–bhagvAn Krishna was not a voyeur to run away with the clothes of ladies far elder to him. (Pala S – I think too much is made of these incidents in Sri Krishna’s life)

–Vishvamitra did not lose his status as a brAhmaNa just because he had to eat the rotting meat of a dead dog once out of extreme hunger (Gosh! Am I supporting eating Dog-meat here ?- (Pala S – No. Your merely agitating against eating rotten dog meat :)). This is probably the best example of Apaddharma.

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One Response

  1. 1) You said:
    “Here and here are references for you in the form of a discussion of a book by Shri Jaidayal Dalmia and a site-link. I have obviously avoided Marxist historians (DN Jha et al) – There are references to Madhuparka and more interestingly on Sri Aurobindo’s view on the Vedic Cow.”

    My response:
    Finally, some ammo for me. Thankfully, neither of the two references have anything to say about the core issue of our debate. Let me explain why.

    A: About reference-I:

    Aurobindo says the word “go” actually means something else, not Cow. I know about that one, and I quite like the idea. But I fail to see how it supports cow-slaughter or beef-eating. Now, regarding the Madhuparka link, unless you give me the reference verse/passage from a pre-buddhist text instead of indulging in believing the hearsay, it is uesless. Also, Aurobindo’s view is just a view. It is not THE view. Dont get too carried away. Aurobindo frequently critices SAyana bhAshyam, though there are many equally qualified as Aurobindo (but not equally famous) who would swear their lives on SAyana bhAshyam.

    B: About reference-II:

    i) Since you just sent me links instead of taking the effort to quote the actual verses or passages from the texts, I had to search for “beef” and “cow” in the ahimsa article to see how it is relevant here. The only portion relevant to this discussion is really this: “Sushruta Samhita written in the 3rd or 4th century CE … recommends beef for certain patients and for pregnant women”. This is against one of your own statements about post-Buddhist “topsy-turvy” regarding beef, since this book was written about 800 years after Buddha (who is thought to have lived in 5th c. BCE), and is not a pre-Buddist era text.

    Hence, this reference does not have anything to do with pre-Buddhist Indians eating beef.

    ii) It also says: “Several highly authoritative scriptures bar violence against domestic animals except in the case of ritual sacrifice. This view is clearly
    expressed in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana(11.5.13-14), and the Chandogya Upanishad (8.15.1).” This neatly correlates with what I said earlier– no violence except for ritual sacrifice (yup, there is your “net net” argument for which you will not accept any other analogy. See general comment at the end).

    iii) It says: “The Manu Smriti (10.63), Kautilya’s Arthashastra(1.3.13) and the Vasishtha Dharmasutra (4.4) point out that ahimsa is a duty for all the four classes (Varnas) of society.” This is not regarding consumption of beef in particular, but it successfully strikes down your argument about different “spiritualities”(what?) for different varnas. The point: There are some common codes of conduct to be followed regardless of the varna.

    C: If you’d like to give a reference where beef was a part of diet, quote directly from the primary source instead of directing me to someone else who has read a book written by someone else who thought some passage in some ancient text meant something. Just tell me which passage or verse of which text says beef was an ingredient of the diet of pre-Buddhist era Indians (of all varnas). So,
    i) Quote the actual samskrta verse or passage from any pre-buddhist text
    ii) Translate it wherever necessary (just for your readers’ sake) and
    iii) If there are any words with multiple meanings, explain the assignment of a particular meaning to that word in this context, showing why a particular word means something, and not something else.

    It is not as tough as it looks. Why should we depend upon someone else’s interpretation of original texts in this matter? The texts are available online and

    there are many samskrtam-english dictionaries available as well. Let us dig deep and look for ourselves what is true and what is not!

    bottomline: You still need to give me unimpeachable reference(s) from primary sources to show beef was part of pre-Buddhist era Indians’ diet.

    2) You said:
    “Well, it’s easy to prove that Cow slaughter is not the same as beef-eating. There are many Hindus who eat beef without killing the Cow; meaning, without being the cause of it’s death.”

    My response:
    Ah! I understand your statement now. I am sorry I did not know that you particularly look for cows that died naturally, and then eat only that Cow’s meat.

    How does that work? How do you go about looking for dead Cows? By the way, how do you make sure the cow you eat has not died of some microbial disease? I dont suppose you google for all this 🙂

    On the other hand, if you are eating cows that have been slaughtered, then, we are back on track: The definition of the issue is indeed “The Cow shall not be slaughtered”. And if you are arguing about the chAnDAlas, not about yourself, see point 3.

    3) You said:
    “Pala S – I don’t think it’s that simple. If you want to pursue this line of argument, you will have to prove that all sections of this society shared the same kind of relationship with the Cow. Obviously, there were differences”

    My response:
    Now, you provide one reference where Cow is not considered sacred in the same manner to any other varna as it is to, say, BrahmanAs. Please avoid chAnDAlas in this debate, as we are only talking about general public within the chAtur-varNa. Yes, chAnDAlas lived a really miserable life, and they were not accepted in the society. But if they used to eat beef, then all you end up proving is that–
    a) “there was harsh discrimination in India during vedic age” and/or
    b) “a particular minority of people (yes, chAnDAlAs were a tiny minority) used to eat beef in pre-buddhist era India”.

    I agree to both of these but these are not central to our debate. So my reference holds.

    4) You said:
    “I don’t think we can meddle with referenced sources so easily. If the word “innocent” is used then there should be meaning attached to it. My query is plain. What animal is not innocent?”

    My response:
    I sense mischief in this statement. If you are concocting another of those theories about how previously too many cows were killed, and hence dIrghatamA is making an emotional appeal for the cow, to say “please! Dont kill the Cow, she is innocent! She is Aditi herself!”, then it is laughable because
    a) you never provided any reference for your theory about too much cow-slaughter some time in our past. Any reference at all.
    b) Rigveda itself was composed over a period of thousand years. Now you need to prove, based on when the first mandala was composed– whether too much Cow slaughter was going on before that time? Are there any mandalas before the first mandala? Is there any reference to cow slaughter being done present in those earlier mandalas?

    It would be nice to talk in references (truths) than logic and wild theories.

    5)
    A.You said:
    “Circumstantial. *Conditions were different then. Supply-chain worked much more slowly. Lack of produce was felt and could not be reinforced speedily. Therefore it was felt that an injunction against Cow slaughter might help regain balance*”

    My response:
    Oh wise one! Give me some reference for this.

    B. You said:
    “Are you saying Shri Chawla is wrong on facts?”

    My response:
    Now wait a minute. Lets go back.. you said your guy’s name was “Shri Anil Chawla”, and now you refer to him as “Shri Chawla”. What IS your guy’s name? And regarding what he wrote, YOU tell me if he is wrong. I showed that your statement and his statement are contradicting each other (rather successfully, since you did not deny it). By the way, did you actually talk to him about this? Do you even know this guy?

    6) You said:
    “Is there a list of Mahapatakams? I browsed and could not come up with a list that had the Cow on it”

    My response:
    I do not know if there is a list. But I am glad I dont have to debate with you for long now. You seem to have difficulty in even breathing without google. Google is not the best, in fact, its not even a reasonable source for searching Indic literature. Now, I am NOT against googling. But you need to understand that there is NO ongoing project to upload every single ancient Indic text to the web. So the best way is to talk to the knowledgeable, see what they say, get proper references from them and then search a library or the web for that particular verse from that particular text to see if it confirms to what the wise said. If there are differences, go back to the learned and question.

    Nevertheless, let me teach you how to google:–
    1) open http://www.google.com (dont panic if http://www.google.co.in opens up)
    2) In the large text box provided right in the centre, left-click the mouse exactly once (its tough I know, but you can do it).
    3) then type “gohatya sin” using your key board (its right below your monitor, well most of the times… dont sue me you find its elsewhere).

    7)
    A:You said:
    “Therefore my question to you – if the handling of Cow-hide/dead animals would earn such opprobrium in society, why would any group of people take to this trade?”

    My response:
    No group of people actually took to this trade. All those who were bahishkRtas (banished), were left with no other choice, but to clean up the carcasses of dead animals. And what was the reason? When any rule in dharma-shAstras was violated, appropriate punishment was prescribed. Some violations incurred banishment. And who were banished? People from any varna really. No varNa was spared. In fact more brAhmaNas were banished than any other varNa due to strictness of the rules.

    B: You said:
    Who were their customers?

    My response:
    Probably others like them from a neighbouring village. This is an educated guess based on what I would do in that situation. If you are bent upon an answer,
    I need some time to ask some people.

    C: You said:
    Who made their implements?

    My response:
    They might have run a parallel society, and there were additions from the larger society every now and then.. so they might have had some implements. Now, these are at best guesses, but they are no worse than your own theories about too much beef consumption. If I was banished, I would definitely take my implements with me.

    D: You said:
    “Did they have no connection with the larger society? Implicit in my set of queries is the observation that such isolation could not have been willingly and
    voluntarily chosen. If this is true, then who chose it for them? When did this change occur?”

    My response:
    No connection wiht larger society except for the job they were supposed to do. Yes, as told above, this was imposed, not voluntary.

    8) You said:
    “Far-fetched indeed. There are plenty of Hindus eating beef, yours truly included; who cannot be banished from Hinduism. Moreover, there are too many examples of Hindus and Temples accepting grants/gifts from beef-eating Sultans. These were never banished. What about Tipu Sultan’s grants to Temples in Mysore? What about Hindu warriors fighting in Muslim armies?”

    My response:
    If there are many Hindus eating beef today, it is because brAhmanAs have failed to teach the dharma, and ksatrIyas have failed to protect the dharma. It is definitely NOT because it is allowed. Dont you realise? Nobody cares a damn about what you eat these days.

    Regarding my example, I told you what “actually happened”, not a theory. And a theory can be far-fetched, but I dont know how a fact can be far-fetched. Agreed, you provided very good counter examples to mine, but by the time of your examples (or even mine), hindus had changed drastically to cope with Islam. This is related to Apaddharma.

    9) You said:
    “Why then would they do that kind of work? It’s not making sense.”

    My response:
    Explained above.

    10) You said:
    “??”

    My response:
    Yes.

    A general comment:
    Your “net net” logic is not native to India. We always look for dharma with reference to context. Examples:
    –Draupadi is not a vershyA (prostitute) and she does not stand for poly-andry.
    –bhagvAn Rama is not a coward to shoot an arrow at vAli from behind and he doesnt support adhArmic warfare against a dhArmic enemy.
    –bhagvAn Krishna was not a voyeur to run away with the clothes of ladies far elder to him.
    –Vishvamitra did not lose his status as a brAhmaNa just because he had to eat the rotting meat of a dead dog once out of extreme hunger (Gosh! Am I supporting eating Dog-meat here ?). This is probably the best example of Apaddharma.

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