Beef and the Hindus – Closing arguments

The debate so far – here

Palahalli S writes –

Let me start by quoting Shri Kedar’s last post:

A final word:

I want you to look at an original samskrta edition and compare with them MUM’s pdf since you were not convinced about the authenticity of MUM’s samskram pdf, and thats where we stopped.

Even though the original is in samskrtam, it is just one small paragraph and should not take long to compare syllable by syllable, letter by letter.

A hint by the way: The learned that I speak of, have their own original samskrta hardcopies with them, and I already compared the MUM pdf with their hardcopies and confirmed that paragraph I-24 is 100% accurate.

But you wouldnt want to believe me, so its best if you confirm on your own.(End Quote)

The material Shri Kedar refers to is wholly in Sanskrit; unattested in itself. (Shri Kedar himself did not provide any reference pointing to an “original source” or reliable translator for me to verify, except to cite some “learned” folks)

However, there is another .pdf that consolidates within  it’s body all the Grhyasutras including the Asvalayana and additionally provides references wherefrom MUM has borrowed for it’s own text.

Given below on page 843 of this consolidated text are the references:

Asvalayana Grhyasutra

I would like readers to please note the last reference i.e. Shri N.N. Sharma. His book contains both the Sanskrit as well as it’s English translation.

I have scanned relevant copies and placed them in a folder named “Asvalayana Grhyasutra_Debate Evidence”. The same unfortunately cannot be linked but these may be accessed from Kone Nakshatra’s “Box” library.

Shortly, Shri N.N. Sharma the author of one of the three books MUM has referred to and as the enclosed evidence shows; agrees with the view that has been cited by me in support of Cow sacrifice as found in the Grhyasutras. Additionally, this is in line with Shri Hermann Oldenberg’s translation of the text.

Interestingly, Shri N.N. Sharma, in his preface to the book tells us that he has relied on the “Sacred Books of the East” – SBE (Shri Oldenberg) series in some areas while differing with it (the series) in others.

As evidenced, he has not differed from the SBE when it comes to I – 24 at all!

Whilst resting my case and while awaiting Shri Kedar’s own closing arguments in this prolonged debate, I would like to reiterate some important points I made during the course – These may be seen as Religious, Economic and Social pointers:

1. The fact of Cow sacrifice and consequent “beef-eating” amongst Hindus did not and does not diminish the sacredness of the Cow wrt the Hindus. Therefore the taboo against beef-eating should be broken.

2. As shown earlier, through the arguments of Shri Anil Chawla, there are serious socio-economic repercussions arising out of the ban on beef in Hindusthan.

3. The taboo against beef amongst Hindus is not intrinsic and relevant to their tradition. It has in fact had a wholly perverse effect wrt the notions of untouchability that came about as a consequence of it. Therefore to banish this taboo is a very important element in the Hindu battle against untouchability.

Thank you

Shri Kedar responds with what I presume is his closing argument –

“As evidenced, he has not differed from the SBE when it comes to I – 24 at all!”

Please find me the single samskrtam word that means “immolate” from chapter 1, kandika 24 from your source.

Since I have already closed my part of the debate, I can only say in rejoinder –

Shri Bhandharkar uses “immolate”

Shri Oldenberg uses “killed”

Shri Sharma uses “slain”

Yes, all three of these authors/scholars seem to have understood this verse of the Asvalayana Grhyasutra differently.

A reader (Swayamsevak) who is following this debate writes –

This is a very good and very relevant debate. I have been following it very diligently. Keep it up.

If you are looking for another source of the Ashvalayana Grhya Sutra, here is one that I had. The document shows the title and publisher pages and the other pages relevant to this debate. Please let me know if you need any other excerpts from the same book. I will be happy to upload.

View/Download it here.

2nd Nov ’09

Shri Kedar has raised a point of order –

“Since I have already closed my part of the debate, I can only say in rejoinder…”

Yes. You can only say that. Especially because you didnt even have the courtesy to inform me (like to you used to when you thought you were winning) that you closed the debate. Your blog is not world famous, you know.

The book you are following is not exactly Asvalayana Gruhya sutram. A person by name Gargya Gargya Narayana has written a commentary on the book. All these translations are based on Gargya Narayana’s version.

Asvalayana’s original, appearing in bold in your reference, has NO word that says kill/immolate/slay etc.

Gargya Narayana himself acknowledges that his bhashya is based on the bhashya of an earlier commentator by name Devasvami. The Devasvami bhashya (provided to you by svayamsevak) also has NO reference to killing of a Cow.

Even Gargya Narayana openly says that if he understands a word (which you still need to find) as something else, then perhaps it “might mean” killing. He is honest enough to declare that he is not sure.

My point:

Both Asvalayana gruhya sutram, and the very first commentary on it, did not mention killing/immolating/slaying a cow.

Palahalli S replies –

I believe Shri Kedar has confused Gargya Narayana of the Asvalayana Srauta Sutra with Naidhruva Narayana of Asvalayana Grhya Sutra.

In his forward to Shri N.N. Sharma’s book, Shri Satya Vrat Shastri acknowledges the early contribution of  Devatrata Devasvamin but tells us that this work received practical utility only with Naidhruva Narayana’s commentary, Narayana Vritti. It is this text that Shri N.N. Sharma reproduces in his book. There is no mention of Gargya Narayana.

Looking at how much Shri Kedar depends on the possible absence of The Word (Immolate etc), it is reasonable for him to explain what he understands by references to apportioning of meat (and references to cattle including Cows – Not goats, chicken or fish) during the sacrifice. I don’t believe he can say there are no references to meat itself! And if there is meat, there must be killing too.

Shri Kedar responds – (My responses are alongside)

“I believe Shri Kedar has confused Gargya Narayana of the Asvalayana Asvalayana Srauta Sutra with Naidhruva Narayana of Asvalayana Grhya Sutra.”

You are correct. The book is indeed Narayana Vrtti.

“this work received practical utility only with Naidhruva Narayana’s commentary, Narayana Vritti.”

It is only an opinion of N.N.Sharma. (Pala S – No, actually it’s the opinion of Shri Satya Vrat Shastri, a Hindu and a professor of Sanskrit with Delhi University; in his forward to Shri N.N. Sharma’s book, btw, another Hindu)

“I don’t believe he can say there are no references to meat itself! And if there is meat, there must be killing too.”

Allow me to present my case:

1) Asvalayana has unambiguously said in the preceding khandika (23rd one), sutra 20:

namaamsamashneeyuh… (na + maamsam + ashneeyuh)
[The participants] Shall not have meat (during the ceremony)

(Pala S – There is also the stipulation that there should be no copulation with a woman until the sacrifice ends. This does not mean the yajamana and his priest were bachelors. More likely this was the discipline)

2) Further, Devasvami has categorically said: “tatra uchyate kim madhuparke maamsam deyam iti?”
>>Does it say there that meat must be given in madhuparka (either the bowl, or the procedure)?

netyutchyate (na + iti + uchyate)
>> does NOT say that.

(Pala S – So meat is not supposed to be given in madhuparka. Alright. How does this translate into “there is no meat”? In all likelihood what is being discussed is the manner of serving madhuparka – with or without meat. Btw, even your translation is acknowledging the presence of meat)

iha madhuparke bhojanam amaamsam na bhavati iti arthah.
>> here, the meal that is accompanied after madhuparka ritual, “is not without” without meat.

(Pala S – Again, same deduction. This does not amount to “no meat”)

This is NOT a directive. A directive is, at all times accompanied by imperative verbs like “bhavet” (must be this way), or “deyam” (must be given). The presence of the word “bhavati” clearly says that this is an observation made by Asvalayana that people who do eat meat generally tend to have their favourite meat dish after the ceremony. There is nothing here that links this meat to the cow.

(Pala S – I think you are trying to read Asvalayana’s mind with this analysis; forgetting what is quite simply there for all to see. I’d like to know what other animal is mentioned – goats, chicken, fish?)

But unfortunately, every single english translation says “Let madhuparka not be without meat!” Thats what happens when those who translate are unaware of our maryadas.

(Pala S – This is the reason I pointed out to the two Hindus involved with the book being discussed. I find it impossible to believe that Shri Shastri and Shri Sharma, in all probability, strict vegetarian Brahmins would wilfully ignore a truth and accept something so “shameful” as Cow sacrifice if there was no case for it in the scripture they were translating. Unless of course you can prove to me they were communists)

3) Now since you have shirked off the responsibility of finding the actual word, let me go ahead, for the purposes of the readers:

There are two other references to ritual slaughter in Asvalayana Gruhya Sutra:

adhyaya-1, kandika 11:
… pratyakshirasam vodakpaadam samjnaapya…

adhyaya-2, kandika 4:
pashu pashu kalpena pashu samjnaapya…

As you can see, the common word is “samjnaapya”, a verb form of “samjnaapana”. It means reaching an agreement with the pashu that is being offered as bali. It effectively means that the pashu has agreed to be offered for the devata of the yajna. (Pala S – That’s the ritual. It does not necessarily mean the pashu had to agree to being sacrificed)

The word samjnaapya, does NOT occur in Asvalayana gruhya sutra I-24. Nor does any other word that means kill/immolate/slaughter etc. Devasvami bhashya is also innocent- it doesnt know anything about killing a cow. It mostly talks about giving the cow as a gift (utsarga) to the person in whose honour the madhuparka ceremony is being performed. (Pala S – Please explain the meanings of “utsarga”. Also, how many different ways can a gift be made)

Observations –

1. I do not think Shri Kedar is denying animal sacrifice

2. I do not think Shri Kedar can say there was no meat to be consumed with or without madhuparka

3. Shri Kedar might deny that the Cow was not sacrificed but gifted nee utsarga; however, it is more likely that the term utsarga can mean “gifting” in many ways.

Since I am not familiar with Sanskrit I will only try to logically understand Shri Kedar’s interpretations. This is only natural because even Hindu Sanskrit scholars have failed to convince Shri Kedar.

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5 Responses

  1. “As evidenced, he has not differed from the SBE when it comes to I – 24 at all!”

    Please find me the single samskrtam word that means “immolate” from chapter 1, kandika 24 from your source.

  2. “Since I have already closed my part of the debate, I can only say in rejoinder…”
    Yes. You can only say that. Especially because you didnt even have the courtesy to inform me (like to you used to when you thought you were winning) that you closed the debate. Your blog is not world famous, you know.

    The book you are following is not exactly Asvalayana Gruhya sutram. A person by name Gargya Narayana has written a commentary on the book. All these translations are based on Gargya Narayana’s version.

    Asvalayana’s original, appearing in bold in your reference, has NO word that says kill/immolate/slay etc.

    Gargya Narayana himself acknowledges that his bhashya is based on the bhashya of an earlier commentator by name Devasvami. The Devasvami bhashya (provided to you by svayamsevak) also has NO reference to killing of a Cow.

    Even Gargya Narayana openly says that if he understands a word (which you still need to find) as something else, then perhaps it “might mean” killing. He is honest enough to declare that he is not sure.

    My point:
    Both Asvalayana gruhya sutram, and the very first commentary on it, did not mention killing/immolating/slaying a cow.

  3. “I believe Shri Kedar has confused Gargya Narayana of the Asvalayana Srauta Sutra with Naidhruva Narayana of Asvalayana Grhya Sutra.”

    You are correct. The book is indeed Narayana Vrtti.

    “this work received practical utility only with Naidhruva Narayana’s commentary, Narayana Vritti.”

    It is only an opinion of N.N.Sharma.

    “I don’t believe he can say there are no references to meat itself! And if there is meat, there must be killing too.”

    Allow me to present my case:

    1) Asvalayana has unambiguously said in the preceding khandika (23rd one), sutra 20:

    namaamsamashneeyuh… (na + maamsam + ashneeyuh)
    [The participants] Shall not have meat (during the ceremony).

    2) Further, Devasvami has categorically said:
    tatra uchyate kim madhuparke maamsam deyam iti?
    >>Does it say there that meat must be given in madhuparka (either the bowl, or the procedure)?

    netyutchyate (na + iti + uchyate)
    >> does NOT say that.

    iha madhuparke bhojanam amaamsam na bhavati iti arthah.
    >> here, the meal that is accompanied after madhuparka ritual, “is not without” without meat.

    This is NOT a directive. A directive is, at all times accompanied by imperative verbs like “bhavet” (must be this way), or “deyam” (must be given). The presence of the word “bhavati” clearly says that this is an observation made by Asvalayana that people who do eat meat generally tend to have their favourite meat dish after the ceremony. There is nothing here that links this meat to the cow.

    But unfortunately, every single english translation says “Let madhuparka not be without meat!” Thats what happens when those who translate are unaware of our maryadas.

    3) Now since you have shirked off the responsibility of finding the actual word, let me go ahead, for the purposes of the readers:

    There are two other references to ritual slaughter in Asvalayana Gruhya Sutra:

    adhyaya-1, kandika 11:
    … pratyakshirasam vodakpaadam samjnaapya…

    adhyaya-2, kandika 4:
    pashu kalpena pashu samjnaapya…

    As you can see, the common word is “samjnaapya”, a verb form of “samjnaapana”. It means reaching an agreement with the pashu that is being offered as bali. It effectively means that the pashu has agreed to be offered for the devata of the yajna.

    The word samjnaapya, does NOT occur in Asvalayana gruhya sutra I-24. Nor does any other word that means kill/immolate/slaughter etc. Devasvami bhashya is also innocent- it doesnt know anything about killing a cow. It mostly talks about giving the cow as a gift (utsarga) to the person in whose honour the madhuparka ceremony is being performed.

  4. 1) “There is also the stipulation that there should be no copulation with a woman until the sacrifice ends. This does not mean the yajamana and his priest were bachelors. More likely this was the discipline.”

    If it means there should be no copulation until the sacrifice ends, it means exactly that. People can hold their urge for a few hours (or even a few days), you know. In the same manner, if it says na maamsam ashneeyuh, it means exactly that– No meat until the ritual ends.

    2) Regarding madhuparka, I proved that there is no word in either Asvalayana gruhya sutra or its very first bhashya that says kill/immolate the cow. If Asvalayana wanted to say immolate/kill, he would have said it directly as in other instances. If cow sacrifice was so common in those days, where was the need to hide it using another word?

    2) “however, it is more likely that the term utsarga can mean “gifting” in many ways.”
    utsarga = setting free, causing to go, liberate, presenting, giving daana to a brahmana.

    I will say this: Our vedic rishis have never lied or hid behind euphemisms.

    3) “That’s the ritual. It does not necessarily mean the pashu had to agree to being sacrificed”

    I am a Hindu. To me, the vedas are apourusheyas–eternal truths revealved to tapasvi rishis after ardent japa, tapa, yama, niyama, indriya parigraha, etc. When they say that a samjnaapana is made with an animal, to me, it suggests more than just a euphemism by dishonest priests wanting to sink their teeth into the animal’s innards.

    You are questioning a core belief of my faith. If you do not believe that there was an agreement between the pashu and the priest, then please end this debate and claim victory. It is your blog and you have your compulsions of not daring to lose ever. I understand that. I am happy in believing that the rishis that gave our country the vedas were capable of certain siddhis. On any given day, shraddha, aasthaa, and bhakti carry more importance for a Hindu like me.

  5. Hi Palahalli

    With all due regards to your vast knowledge and references, if you do not understand samskrit or cannot yourself translate the verses yourself, then at least be open to listen to what Shri Kedar is saying.

    In the Devaswamin bhashya I have provided, which is the basis for the Narayana Vritti bhashya, it explicitly states in simple samskrit (as Shri Kedar has clearly put it) above – “na ityuchyatE”.

    Do you think there is any specific reason that a commentator should emphatically deny any ‘misinterpretation’? Yes, when there is a ‘possibility’ of misinterpretation. This is exactly what has happened when “nAmAmsa” was conveniently substituted with “namAmsa” omitting one negation out of a double negation!
    —-
    Also, if you could explain your thought train that took you from:
    “reference of meat is present in this text (Grhya Sutra) and its properties are discussed (like in the Susruta Samhita reference)”

    to

    “cow meat was surely a part of hindu DAILY DIET”

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