Hindu scripture speaks clearly and forcefully on nonkilling and vegetarianism. In the ancient Rig Veda, we read: "O vegetable, be succulent, wholesome, strengthening; and thus, body, be fully grown." The Yajur Veda summarily dictates: "Do not injure the beings living on the earth, in the air and in the water." The beautiful Tirukural, a widely-read 2,000-year-old masterpiece of ethics, speaks of conscience: "When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh of another creature, he must abstain from eating it." The Manu Samhita advises: "Having well considered the origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying of corporeal beings, let one entirely abstain from eating flesh." In the yoga-infused verses of the Tirumantiram, warning is given of how meat-eating holds the mind in gross, adharmic states: "The ignoble ones who eat flesh, death's agents bind them fast and push them quick into the fiery jaws of hell (Naraka, lower consciousness)." The roots of noninjury, nonkilling and nonconsumption of meat are found in the Vedas, agamas, Upanishads, Dharma Shastras, Tirumurai, Yoga Sutras and dozens of other sacred texts of Hinduism. Here is a select collection.
Vedas and agamas, Hinduism's Revealed Scriptures
LET YOUR AIMS BE COMMON, and your hearts be of one accord, and all of you be of one mind, so you may live well together.
Rig Veda Samhita 10.191
Protect both our species, two-legged and four-legged.
Both food and water for their needs supply. May they with us increase in
stature and strength. Save us from hurt all our days, O Powers!
Rig Veda Samhita 10.37.11. VE, 319
One who partakes of human flesh, the flesh of a horse
or of another animal, and deprives others of milk by slaughtering cows,
O King, if such a fiend does not desist by other means, then you should
not hesitate to cut off his head.
Rig Veda Samhita, 10.87.16, FS 90
Peaceful be the earth, peaceful the ether, peaceful heaven,
peaceful the waters, peaceful the herbs, peaceful the trees. May all Gods
bring me peace. May there be peace through these invocations of peace.
With these invocations of peace which appease everything, I render peaceful
whatever here is terrible, whatever here is cruel, whatever here is sinful.
Let it become auspicious, let everything be beneficial to us.
Atharva Veda Samhita 10. 191. 4
Those noble souls who practice meditation and other yogic
ways, who are ever careful about all beings, who protect all animals, are
the ones who are actually serious about spiritual practices.
Atharva Veda Samhita 19.48.5. FS, 90
If we have injured space, the earth or heaven, or if we
have offended mother or father, from that may Agni, fire of the house,
absolve us and guide us safely to the world of goodness.
Atharva Veda Samhita 6.120.1. VE, 636
You must not use your God-given body for killing God's
creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever.
Yajur Veda Samhita 12.32. FS, 90May all beings look at me with a friendly eye. May I do likewise, and may we all look on each other with the eyes of a friend.
Yajur Veda 36.18.
Nonviolence is all the offerings. Renunciation is the
priestly honorarium. The final purification is death. Thus all the Divinities
are established in this body.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Prana Upanishad 46-8. VE, 413-14
To the heavens be peace, to the sky and the earth; to
the waters be peace, to plants and all trees; to the Gods be peace, to
Brahman be peace, to all men be peace, again and again-peace also to me!
O earthen vessel, strengthen me. May all beings regard me with friendly
eyes! May I look upon all creatures with friendly eyes! With a friend's
eye may we regard each other!
Shukla Yajur Veda Samhita 36.17-18. VE, 306; 342
No pain should be caused to any created being or thing.
Devikalottara agama, JAV 69-79. RM, 116
The Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita, Epic History
The very name of the cows is aghnya, indicating that they should never be slaughtered. Who, then could slay them? Surely, one who kills a cow or a bull commits the most heinous crime.
Mahabharata, Shantiparva 262.47. FS,pg. 94
The purchaser of flesh performs himsa (violence) by his
wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does
himsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms
of killing: he who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs
of an animal, and he who purchases, sells or cooks flesh and eats it -all
of these are to be considered meat-eaters.
Mahabharata, Anu. 115.40. FS, pg 90
He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the
flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take
Mahabharata, Anu. 115.47. FS, pg. 90
One should never do that to another which one regards
as injurious to one's own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma.
Yielding to desire and acting differently, one becomes guilty of adharma.
Those high-souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness
of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength and memory
should abstain from acts of injury.
Ahimsa is the highest dharma. Ahimsa is the best tapas.
Ahimsa is the greatest gift. Ahimsa is the highest self-control. Ahimsa
is the highest sacrifice. Ahimsa is the highest power. Ahimsa is the highest
friend. Ahimsa is the highest truth. Ahimsa is the highest teaching.
He who sees that the Lord of all is ever the same in all
that is-immortal in the field of mortality-he sees the truth. And when
a man sees that the God in himself is the same God in all that is, he hurts
not himself by hurting others. Then he goes, indeed, to the highest path.
Bhagavad Gita 13. 27-28. BgM, pg. 101
Nonviolence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation,
serenity, aversion to fault-finding, sympathy for all beings, peace from
greedy cravings, gentleness, modesty, steadiness, energy, forgiveness,
fortitude, purity, a good will, freedom from pride-these belong to a man
who is born for heaven.
Bhagavad Gita 16.2-3. BGM, pg. 109
Tirumantiram and other Scriptures
Many are the lovely flowers of worship offered to the Guru, but none lovelier than non-killing. Respect for life is the highest worship, the bright lamp, the sweet garland and unwavering devotion.
SPIRITUAL MERIT and sin are our own making. The killer
of other lives is an outcast. Match your words with your conduct. Steal
not, kill not, indulge not in self-praise, condemn not others to their
AHIMSA IS NOT CAUSING pain to any living being at any
time through the actions of one's mind, speech or body. Sandilya UpanishadWhen
mindstuff is firmly based in waves of ahimsa, all living beings cease their
enmity in the presence of such a person.
Yoga Sutras 2.35. YP, pg. 205
Those who are ignorant of real dharma and, though wicked
and haughty, account themselves virtuous, kill animals without any feeling
of remorse or fear of punishment. Further, in their next lives, such sinful
persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world.
Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.5.4. FS, pg, 90
The Tirukural, Preeminent Ethical Scripture
Perhaps nowhere is the principle of nonmeat-eating so fully and eloquently expressed as in the Tirukural, written in the Tamil language by a simple weaver saint in a village near Madras over 2,000 years ago. Considered the world's greatest ethical scripture, it is sworn on in South Indian courts of law.It is the principle of the pure in heart never to injure others, even when they themselves have been hatefully injured. What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life, for killing leads to every other sin.
312; 321, TW
Harming others, even enemies who harmed you unprovoked,
assures incessant sorrow. The supreme principle is this: never knowingly
harm any one at any time in any way.
313; 317, TW
What is the good way? It is the path that reflects on
how it may avoid killing any living creature. Refrain from taking precious
life from any living being, even to save your own life.
324; 327, TW
How can he practice true compassion Who eats the flesh
of an animal to fatten his own flesh?
TK 251, TW
Riches cannot be found in the hands of the thriftless.
Nor can compassion be found in the hearts of those who eat meat.
TK 252, TW
Goodness is never one with the minds of these two: one
who wields a weapon and one who feasts on a creature's flesh.
TK 253, TW
If you ask, "What is kindness and what is unkind?" it
is not killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous.
TK 254, TW
Life is perpetuated by not eating meat.The clenched jaws
of hell hold those who do.
TK 255, TW
If the world did not purchase and consume meat, there
would be none to slaughter and offer meat for sale.
TK 256, TW
When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh of
another creature, he must abstain from eating it.
TK 257, TW
Perceptive souls who have abandoned passion will not feed
on flesh abandoned by life.
TK 258, TW
Greater than a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial
fires is to not sacrifice and consume any living creature.
TK 259, TW
All that lives will press palms together in prayerful
adoration of those who refuse to slaughter and savor meat.
TK 260, TW
The Hinduscriptures from the oldest Vedic to all the later layers in time all advocate vegetarianism and not killing animals and certainly never offer animals in their Yajnas!
The Vedic word frequantly mentioned is Aghnya = not to be killed. This word was in particular used for cows.
Aahavaniiye maamsapratishedha (Katyayana Sutra)
That which is used in Yajna (aahavaniiya) must be vegetarian
Maa himsyaat sarvabhuutaani. (RigVeda)
No creature/animal should be killed.
Yah paurusheyena kravishaa samankte yo ashvyena pashunaa yaatudhaanah,
Yo aghyaayaa bharati kshiiramagne teshaam shirshaani harasaapi vrshcha. (RV 10.87.16)
The evil person who kills or eats the meat of a horse or cow deserves to be terminated.
Dhaanaa dhenurabhavad, vatso’syaastilo’bhavat. (AtharvaVeda 18.4.32)
Rice is named as ‘cow’ and sesame as ‘calf’.
[Just like someone saying ‘I want the meat of hazel = I want the nut of hazel]
Maamsapaakapratishedhashcha tadvat. (MiimaamsaSuutra 10.3.65)
Killing and eating meat is totally prohibited.
Dhenuvachcha ashvadakshinaa. (MS 10.3.65)
Like a cow is given (in charity) so also a horse.
Suraam matsyaan madhu maamsamaasavam krsaraudanam,
Dhuurttaih pravartitam hyetannaitad vedeshu kalpitam. (Mahabharata, ShaantiParvan 265.9)
It is only the evil-minded hypocrites who started telling that Vedic Yajnas involve intoxicants and meat eating. It is not in the Vedas.
[This comment must have been around the time, far beyond the Bharata Battle and in post-Vedic times, when many customs arrived in the Vedic Heartland, which were totally foreign to its culture]
The full Anushaasana Parvan of the Mahaabhaaratam discusses the evils of meat eating:
Akhaadannanumodamshcha bhaavadoshena maanavah,
Yo’numodati hanyantam so’pi doshena lipyate. (MB, AnushaasanaParvan 115.39)
The one who himself doesn’t eat meat but even if he gives his consent to eat meat or to kill an animal, he becomes equally sinful as them.
Hanyaajjantuun maamsagrdhnuh sa vai narakabhaangnarah. (MB, AP 115.43)
The meateater who kills an animal in the name of Vedic Yajna or tells that it is a requirement of the Yajna is a sinner and he will be a person who will dwell in hell.
Aahartaa chaanumantaa cha vishastaa krayavikrayii,
Samskartaa chopabhoktaa cha khaadakaah sarva eva te. (MB, AP 115.45)
The one who brings an animal to be killed, the one who buys an animal to be killed, the one who sells, buys, cooks and eats the meat are all sinners.
Na dadyaadaamisham shraaddhe na chaadyaad dharmatattvavit,
Munyannaih, syaatparaa priitiryathaa na pashuhimsayaa. (Bhaagavatam 7.15.7)
It is Dharma that in the Shraaddha feast he should never offer meat
nor should eat meat. Only vegetarian food must be offered because meat
is obtained by killing.
[One can understand that in the days of this particular verse, the mainstream Hindus were confronted with people starting to eat meat]
Naitaadrshah paro dharmo nrnaam saddharmaamichchhataam,
Nyaaso dandasya bhuuteshu manovaakkaayajasya yah. (Bhaagavatam 7.15.8)
This is the best Dharma to observe for everyone that one should not hurt other beings even in his thoughts.
ManuSmriti or ManavaDharmaShastra
Manu strongly admonishes that one should never drink and should never even smell any intoxicant like wine. (MS. 11.146-149)
Manu asserts that selling, buying, cooking and eating meat is a sin which is as great as killing an animal itself. (MS 5.15)
Gaudii Paishtii cha Maadhvii cha Vijneyaa trividhaa suraa.
Yathaivaika tathaa sarvaa na paatavyaa dvijottamaih. (MS 11.94)
Yaksharakshah pishaachaannam madyam maamsam suraasavam.
Tad braahmena naattavyam devaanaamashnataa havih. (MS 11.95)
Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas should never drink wine, liquor or intoxicants of any kinds, because intoxicants, wine, liquor and meat of animals are the food of Yakshas, Rakshasas and Pishachas (all kind of non-Vedic people or even demons). So they mustn’t consumed.
Naakrtvaa praaninaam himsaam maamsamutpadyate kvachit.
Na cha praanivadhah svargyastamaanmaamsam vivarjayet. (MS 5.48)
Anumantaa vishasitaa nihantaa krayavikrayii.
Samskartaa chopahartaa cha khaadakashchetighaatakaah (MS 5.51)
Flesh of animals is obtained only after killing him, which is a sin,
and the killer of animals never enters the celestial abode.
All those involved in killing, consenting the killing, helping the killing, carrying, selling, buying, cooking and eating the meat of an animal are equally sinful as the killing of that animal.
Incorrect view of Hindus (Shraaddha ritual)
Annam tu saadhikshiiram goghrtam sharkaraanvitam. (Maasam) priinaati
vai sarvaanpitrnityaaha keshavah. (Matsya Purana 17.30)
Vegetarian food prepared with pure butter, milk, sugar and curd, etc. are most pleasing to the
Dvau maasau matsyamaamsaena triinmaasaanhaarine tu.
Aurashnenaatha chaturah shaakunenaatha pancha vai. (MP 17.31)
Shanmaasam chhaagamaamsena trnyanti pitarastathaa.
Sapta paarshatamaamsena tathaashtavenajena tu. (MP 17.32)
Dasa maasaamstu trnyanti varaahamahishamishaih.
Shashakuurmajamaamsena maasaanekaadeshaiva. (MP 17.33)
Samvatsaram tu gavyena payasaa paayasena cha.
Rauravena cha trpyanti maasaanpanchadashaiya tu. (MP 17.34)
Vaardhranisasya maamsena trptirdvaadashavarshikii.
Kaalashaakena chaanantaa khadgamaamsena chaiva hi. (MP 17.35)
Verses 31 to 35 describe the acts of cooking and offering of all kinds of meat (fish, gazelle, sheep, special birds, goat, deer, black deer, pig, buffalo, rabbit, turtle, special deer, rhino) to Pitr, which is totally out of place and out of context, and it appears to have been deliberately interpolated. The 36th verse again goes like this:
Yatkimchinmadhusammishram gokshiiram ghrtapaayasam,
Dattamakshayamityaahuh pitarah puurvadevataah. (MP 17.36)
Apart from the cow’s milk, honey and the sweet pudding made of milk and rice and sugar with dry nuts satifies Pitr forever.
Interpolation in Aashvalayana GrhyaSutra 5 (Shraaddha)
In the end of this chapter there are 45 sutras on Shuulagava which is
a ceremony to sacrifice a bull/ox for Shiva to appease him.
Everybody familiar with Shiva and Nandinii, knows that that is impossible. If Ashvalayana was a gotra of Vasishtha, as stated in the Sutras, then that is equally impossible, because Vasishtha owned Nandinii, and was famous for his protection of cows. And he was a Shaiva.
It is very significant that most of the interpolated verses on eating of animal flesh is in relation to the Shraaddha ritual. The rest are in other Samskara ceremonies.
The Harivamsha an appendix to the Mahabharata describes in the Giri Utsava Varnana the sacrifice of bulls and buffaloes in the Govardhana worships. One familiar with the Krshna worship does understand the ridiculous statement.
In the Paraskara GrhyaSutra one comes across the description of a 6 month old baby who has to be fed with meat in the Annapraashana Samskara ceremony. How disgustful and obviously a horrid interpolation.
Swami Prakshananda: The True History and Religion of India
2001, Delhi. Motilal Banarsidass.
(additional remarks, changes and new order done by me)
Edited by Ishwa (09/20/02 04:15 PM)
Ashvamedha and Purushamedha are not sacrifices in the sense of killings
of Ashva and Purusha, as wrongly translated by the first generations of
indologists (who were missionaries), but is a ritual in which Ashva ad
Purusha play the central role in establishing or knowing/understanding
how the balance of power respectively the division in society is. Would
the Rajasuya then mean the pressing=killing of the Raja?
Medha is a word which has a cognate in Medha=Wisdom or Medhira, which means the same. (Medha comes from older obsolete mazdha, which is attested in Avestan (Ahura) Mazda, the Varuna of the ancient Iranis. No Varuna is associated with killing of animals.
The only time people are sacrificed is in the Antyeshti Yajna, or cremation ceremony.
Besides this, the understanding that the potency of the brahmanas was
very much different in previous times, they were much stronger and more
pure. The brahmanas would recite Vedic mantras and lead an animal to the
sacrificial fire, however the animal wasn't just thrown into the fire and
its body then eaten as the Christian missionaries presented "animal sacrifice
of the pagan savages" to be. Rather prior to the Kali yuga an old animal
was lead to the fire, and by the perfect recitation of sacred Vedic mantras
when the animal was lead into the fire it's old body was rejuvenated by
the flames rather than consumed and a young healthy body inherited.
Due to the lack of potency of the brahmanas in the Kali yuga, it is condemned that one even try to perform such a sacrifice in this age. There were several advocates of Ahimsa in this regard; Lord Buddha and His doctrine of Ahimsa, the saint Madhwacharya (circa 13th centuary) who stopped animal sacrifice again in India and had Vedic brahmanas offer grain balis into the fire with the mantra idam krsnaya idan na mama, Chaitanya mahaprabhu is mentioned in the Pratisagar parva 19th Chapter of Kaliyuga khanda of Bhavishya purana as being the instigator for this.
Gomedha doesn't mean the killing of Go=cow, but it means agriculture. It is known in old Iran-Afghanistan as Gomez, which is only used in the sense of agriculture. Both cultures are cognate, so are their customs. Go-medha then is the proper sacrifice of the animals strength in using it in agriculture within the daivi varnashram system, that dedicates all of men's natural attributes and actions, as well as that of those animals in their care into the blissful service of Govinda (pleaser of the cows and the senses) - Gopala (He who looks after the cows).
You mean it says that in the Bible - about not eating meat :
More Quotes on Vegetarianism
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Western Indologists: A Study
by Purohit Bhagavan Dutt (with minor additions by authors of "Review of Beef in Ancient India")