Beef and Hindus – the debate is still on

The story so far.

Shri Kedar replied to my response – My notes are alongside –

I am right now in the process of searching and compiling shAstra-sammata vyAkhyAnas for every single vedic reference (Both from rigveda and brahmaNAs) you have provided till now. It will probably take a few days time.

Regarding *origins of untouchability*

i) Are you saying the Manusmriti reference is not right? (Pala S – I’m aware that the Manusmriti contains injunctions against certain behaviors of Shudras but there are none wrt “untouchables”)

ii) And even by Dr.Ambedkar’s own theory, 400 CE is like 900 years after Buddha’s time–too long to attribute the origin of untouchability to the rise of Buddhism. (Pala S – These are historical processes and effects need not have been automatically evident, let’s say, from the moment the Buddha achieved Nirvana. Even if Shri Ambedkar is not accurate about the time when untouchability commenced, he is at least clear that it was not Vedic in origin, certainly after the Buddha)

iii) I had a brief glance at the Ambedkar link you provided, and I saw words like ‘aryan tribes’ and ‘dasas’ and ‘invasions’– First the Dravidian invasion of India, then Aryan invasion of Dravidians! Tch! Tch! He was just another victim of the contemporary theories peddled by the Eurocentric west regarding the vedas. He can be forgiven if he thinks something of this sort, but we know better now. No need to give creed to these theories any longer. (Pala S – If there was one Hindu scholar of the time who explicitly rejected the Aryan = race theory, it was Shri Ambedkar. This is what he says in the same page I referred earlier –

“Starting with the Aryans it is beyond dispute that they were not a single homogeneous people. That they were divided into two sections is beyond dispute. It is also beyond dispute that the two had different cultures. One of them may becalled Rig Vedic Aryans and the other the Atharva Vedic Aryans. Their cultural cleavage appears to be complete. The Rig Vedic Aryans believed in Yajna. The Atharva Vedic Aryans believed the Magis. Their mythologies were different. The Rig Vedic Aryans believed in the Deluge and the creation of their race from Manu. The Atharva Vedic Aryans did not believe in Deluge but believed in the creation of their race from Brahma or Prajapati. Their literary developments also lay along different paths. The Rig Vedic Aryans produced Brahmanas, Sutras and Aranyakas. The Atharva Vedic Aryans produced the Upanishads. Their cultural conflict was so great that the Rig Vedic Aryans would not for a long time admit the sanctity of the Atharva Veda nor of the Upanishads and when they did recognize it they called it Vedanta which contrary to the current meaning of the word—namely, essence of the Vedas—originally meant something outside the boundary of the Vedas and, therefore, not so sacred as the Vedas and regarded its study as Anuloma. Whether these two sections of Aryans were two different races we do not know. We do not know whether the word Aryan is a term indicative of race. Historians have therefore made a mistake in proceeding on the assumption that the Aryans were a separate race.”(End Quote)

And Oh! I nearly forgot to congratulate you on your progress:

Regarding Mahabharata link:

Does that mean Cow shall not be slaughtered for everyday meal? (Pala S – Perhaps)

“Perhaps”? Nice! Thats progress. It’s not a “No” at the least.

And that was exactly my central argument: cows were not slaughtered for daily meals purposes. Perhaps for ritual, or medicinal purposes, but not for beef-biryani when somebody feels like eating it. (Pala S – Still I don’t see cause for any celebration of the point. At least in the tropics it is known that people are less prone to meat-eating on a daily basis. Therefore an interpretation of the verse to say it forbids daily slaughter is in itself far-fetched. But if that is accepted then the only reasonable response can be “perhaps true” because it is seen to be making an obvious point. On the other hand, your own usage of “perhaps” for sacrifice and “perhaps” for medicine, makes a mockery of scripture including the Sushruta Samhita)

27th Oct ’09

Shri Kedar responds – my replies alongside

ooh!Nice! Let me pass some more time till I prepare some notes on your references (good fun actually)…

1) Since you took some effort to explain how important is the non-existence of Aryan invasion to you, does it also follow that if someone does indeed make an argument for aryan invasion, you would suspect the motives/knowledge of that person? (Pala S – I hope I don’t have to doubt your capacity for sustained argument and debate. It was you who doubted Shri Ambedkar’s scholarship based on your own (wrong) assumption that he supported the Aryan race and invasion theory. I think you should be consistent about the positions you take henceforth)

2) Also, whatever I said till now regarding sacrifice or medicine, my core contention was always that beef was not used as a daily-food item– something you can buy from a local slaughter-house to cook that nice beef-biryani you love, as and when you like. Do you agree or not? (Pala S – Speaking of lack of consistency, here’s another example – You started off disputing ANY use of beef by ancient Hindus. When faced with incontrovertible facts and references, you now turn around and claim it was all about “biryani” 🙂 It is not material to me if the Hindus ate beef with relish on a daily basis or not. However, it’s a fact (you admit to however covertly), that they slaughtered Cows for medicine and/or sacrificial purposes. Of course the meat was eaten as prasada after the sacrifice)

3) Now lets focus a bit on pre-Buddhist cow-maintenance:

You must have come across the life of Lord Krishna (why was he called gOpAla.. and not gO-rakshaka ?) while he was in Nanda-grAm (not nandigram for Cow’s sake!). Even a child can tell you (well atleast they used to, a decade ago) 2 things:

1) The people of the village used to sell milk, curd, ghee, and butter (of course!), but not beef.

2) Lord Krishna and his playmates used to take the cows to the grasslands outside the village for grazing. All day long, the cows had no other work but to graze and the kids had no other work but to play and occasionally glance at the cows. And when the evening came, they brought the cows home. The next morning, they again used to take the cows to the forest…(Pala S – This is getting childish. Do you mean to say folks who eat beef cannot sell milk, curd, ghee and butter?? I must now take it that Shri Krishna was also a pure vegetarian since there is no mention that he ate meat at all, let alone beef. At least not in the stories we tell our children :)))

illi kharchenide guru? (I hope it is correct!)

What is the expense to maintain a cow here? And this was the case before and after Buddha, Christ, Mohammad, Sri Adi Shankara, rAmAnuja, madhvAchArya, nimbArka, chaintanya mahAprabhu, and even rAmakrishna paramahamsa. (Pala S – It is not my case that ancient Hindus ate beef because they could not maintain the Cow into it’s old age. This is a modern argument based on sound economic reality and the actual fact of watching Cows suffer daily – ironically because some Hindus are too kind towards it)

And why is maintaing cows difficult today?

1)We have encroached the grazing areas of the cattle,

2)repeated failure of/less-than expected monsoons due to global warming,

3)lack of alternate irrigation facilities in villages, and lastly,

4)the well known anti-grAmasvarAj policies of kaangress.

(Pala S – That’s a long and hard list. Is it your position that until all of these are rectified (and how?), the Cows must eat plastic in our streets? Or be sold to non-Hindu butchers? I would much rather have them given over to Hindu butchers who will be more considerate in the process and feed Hindus with it’s meat. A sacrifice that would feed hungry Hindus) 
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2 Responses

  1. ooh!Nice! Let me pass some more time till I prepare some notes on your references (good fun actually)…

    1)Since you took some effort to explain how important is the non-existence of Aryan invasion to you, does it also follow that if someone does indeed make an argument for aryan invasion, you would suspect the motives/knowledge of that person?

    2) Also, whatever I said till now regarding sacrifice or medicine, my core contention was always that beef was not used as a daily-food item– something you can buy from a local slaughter-house to cook that nice beef-biryani you love, as and when you like. Do you agree or not?

    3) Now lets focus a bit on pre-Buddhist cow-maintenance:
    You must have come across the life of Lord Krishna (why was he called gOpAla.. and not gO-rakshaka ?) while he was in Nanda-grAm (not nandigram for Cow’s sake!). Even a child can tell you (well atleast they used to, a decade ago) 2 things:
    1) The people of the village used to sell milk, curd, ghee, and butter (of course!), but not beef.
    2) Lord Krishna and his playmates used to take the cows to the grasslands outside the village for grazing. All day long, the cows had no other work but to graze and the kids had no other work but to play and occasionally glance at the cows. And when the evening came, they brought the cows home. The next morning, they again used to take the cows to the forest…

    illi kharchenide guru? (I hope it is correct!)
    What is the expense to maintain a cow here? And this was the case before and after Buddha, Christ, Mohammad, Sri Adi Shankara, rAmAnuja, madhvAchArya, nimbArka, chaintanya mahAprabhu, and even rAmakrishna paramahamsa.

    And why is maintaing cows difficult today? 1)We have encroached the grazing areas of the cattle,
    2)repeated failure of/less-than expected monsoons due to global warming,
    3)lack of alternate irrigation facilities in villages, and lastly,
    4)the well known anti-grAmasvarAj policies of kaangress.

  2. One more pre-buddhist chAnDAla (untouchables) as well as cow-slaughter refernce:

    From Brahma-vaivarta purANa:

    9.9 Trishanku
    From Dridashva was descended a king named Trayaruni. Trayaruni was a righteous king and followed all the religious dictates. But Trayarun’s son Satyavrata was quite the opposite and refused to follow the righteous path. King Trayaruni’s chief priest was the great sage Vashishtha. Vashishtha advised the king that his evil son should be banished from the kingdom. Trayaruni accepted the sage’s advice. Consequently, Satyavrata started to live with outcasts (chandalas) outside the kingdom.

    After some time, Trayaruni relinquished his kingship and went away to the forest. The kingdom had no king and degenerated into anarchy. The absence of a king is also frowned upon by the gods and for twelve years there was a terrible drought.

    Vishvamitra was another great sage. While all this was going on, Vishvamitra was not present in the kingdom. He had gone away to perform tapasya on the shores of the ocean, having left his wife and children in a hermitage (ashrama) that was in the kingdom. But because there was such a long spell of drought, there was also famine in the kingdom. People started to starve. Vishvamitra’s wife decided to sell her son so that she might have some food to eat. She tied a rope round the son’s neck and took him to the market-place. There, she sold him in exchange for a thousand cows. Since a rope had been tied around the son’s neck (gala), he came to be known as Galava.

    But Satyavrata discovered what terrible straits Vishvamitra’s family was in. He freed Galava and started to take care of Vishvamitra’s wife and children.

    Satyavrata had not been terribly fond of Vashishtha. He blamed the sage for his banishment. When thee was famine everywhere, Satyavrata stole Vashishtha’s cow. He killed the cow and served the meat to Vishvamitra’s sons, apart from eating it himself.

    Vashishtha was in a terrible rage when he got to know about this incident. He cursed Satyavrata.

    “You have committed three sins (shanku),” Vashishtha told Satyavrata. “Firstly, you have angered your father Trayaruni. Secondly, you have stolen and killed a cow. Thirdly, you have eaten beef, a forbidden meat. Because of these three sins, you will henceforth be known as Trishanku and be eternally cursed.” (The word tri means three.)

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