Animal Slaughtering And Eating In Hinduism

1. Introduction



75% of Indians are not vegetarian, according to the Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS 2005–06). According to the 2015–16 NFHS survey, the number is 78% for women and 70 for men.

Reference : Non-vegetarian food in India

While according to BBC report, just 20% of Indians are vegetarians,
“But new research by US-based anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and India-based economist Suraj Jacob, points to a heap of evidence that even these are inflated estimations because of “cultural and political pressures”. So people under-report eating meat – particularly beef – and over-report eating vegetarian food.
Taking all this into account, say the researchers, only about 20% of Indians are actually vegetarian – much lower than common claims and stereotypes suggest.
Hindus, who make up 80% of the Indian population, are major meat-eaters. Even only a third of the privileged, upper-caste Indians are vegetarian.”

Reference : The myth of the Indian vegetarian nation



As per National Family Health Survey (NHFS-5) 2019-21, 52.5% Hindu men and 40.7% Hindu women are non vegetarians.

India is also the world’s largest exporter of beef.

Despite the facts presented, it is unfortunate that some Hindus view non-vegetarians, particularly Muslims, with a negative perception, equating them to demons or cannibals. It is essential to remember that such views do not represent the beliefs of all Hindus and are the result of misunderstandings or misconceptions.

Hindu apologists often argue that a vegetarian diet is healthier compared to a non-vegetarian diet. However, it’s important to acknowledge that a balanced vegetarian diet may not always provide all the necessary nutrients, leading to potential deficiencies. One such crucial nutrient is Vitamin B12, which is primarily found in non-vegetarian foods, with eggs being a significant source of this essential vitamin. For those interested in further exploring this topic, here are some suggested links:

Hindus relishes meat throughout the year but becomes animal rights activist during Muslim festival Eid ul Azha (Bakrid) but they find no problem slaughtering animals to please their gods,

2018 Over 900 sheep, 2 buffaloes massacred to appease goddess Dyamavva in Karnataka village

2017 Hundreds of animals sacrificed on Day 1 of Yellamma Fair in Belagavi

2017 Hindu devotees sacrifice animals in ritual during Deodhani festival

2016 Villagers in Erode sacrifice 3000 goats to placate the rain gods

2016 50,000 animals sacrificed in a day in Odisha to appease Goddess

2016 Brahmins hold yaga, sacrifice goats

Nepal’s killing fields: FIVE THOUSAND buffalo lie slaughtered at the beginning of Hindu ceremony which sees up to 300,000 animals killed to bring worshippers good luck

Animal sacrifice still in vogue

2015 10,000 Animals slaughtered at Chhattar Yatra in Bhawanipatna

2012 50000 animals sacrificed for Chhattar

2010 Mass animal sacrifice in Uttarakhand village

2016 At Kamakhya, there’s no stopping animal sacrifice

2011 100,000 turtles sacrificed in ritual slaughter to celebrate Hindu festival

Hindu Scholars on Meat Consumption

Swami Vivekananda writes that Aryans used to relish beef,

“There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3

Adishankaracharya writes,

“Odan’ (rice) mixed with meat is called ‘Mansodan’. On being asked whose meat it should be, he answers ‘Uksha’. ‘Uksha’ is used for an ox, which is capable to produce semen. Or the meat should be of a ‘Rishabh’. ‘Rishabh’ is a bull more advanced in years than an ‘Uksha’.” Adishankaracharya in his commentary on Brihadaranyak Upanishad 6/4/18

Ramanujacharya writes,

“In the Agnisomiya sacrifice no real harm is caused to the animal victim; for according to the Vedic Texts, the victim —a goat, after abandoning an inferior body, will attain a higher rebirth, with a beautiful body. The Text pertaining to immolation declares: — ‘O animal, by this (immolation) you never die, you are not destroyed. You will pass through happy paths to the realm of the gods, where the virtuous, not the sinful reach. May the god Savitar give you a suitable place.’ (Yajñ,; Taitt. Br. iii 7.2). Likewise the attainment of more beautiful bodies by those who die here in this war [which is like a sacrifice] has been declared in the Gita (2.22). Hence, just as a surgeon makes an incision and performs other surgical procedures for the purpose of curing a patient, the immolation of the sacrificial animal in the Agnisomiya and other sacrifices contributes to its welfare.” Ramanujaacharya in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita 2.32

Researchers have found evidence suggesting that even plants can exhibit responses akin to pain,

Researchers Have Found That Plants Know That They Are Being Eaten

Bad news for vegetarians! Plants can ‘hear’ themselves being eaten – and become defensive when attacked

Indian scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose was one of the first scientist to discover that plants feel pain.

2. Influence of Buddhism and Jainism

It is true that animal sacrifice and slaughter were practiced in ancient Hindu rituals and traditions. The Vedic period, which predates the emergence of Buddhism and Jainism, saw the offering of animals in various religious ceremonies.

The influence of Buddhism and Jainism, which emphasized non-violence and compassion towards all living beings, played a significant role in shaping the ethical and moral values within Hindu society. As these religions gained prominence, their teachings and emphasis on non-violence influenced the Hindu worldview as well.

Over time, Hinduism underwent transformations, incorporating the principles of non-violence and respect for all life. As a result, animal sacrifice and slaughter became less prevalent and eventually frowned upon in mainstream Hindu society. The concept of “ahimsa” (non-violence) became an essential aspect of Hindu ethics and philosophy, contributing to the shift away from practices that involved harm to animals.


Swami Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON writes in the commentary of Shrimad Bhagavatam Purana 1.3.24,

“…Lord Buddha superficially denied the authority of the Vedas. This rejection of the Vedas by Lord Buddha was adopted in order to save people from the vice of animal-killing as well as to save the poor animals from the slaughtering process of their big brothers who clamor for universal brotherhood, peace, justice and equity. There is no justice when there is animal-killing. Lord Buddha wanted to stop it completely, and therefore his cult of ahimsa was propagated not only in India but also outside the country…” Swami Prabhupada on Bhagwad Purana 1.3.24  (source)

Buddha rejected the authority of the Vedas because the Vedas sanctioned animal slaughter, and the Hindus of his time sacrificed animals, prompting him to encourage them to discontinue this Vedic practice.

Swami Vivekananda is of the same view. He writes,

“In what way do you see this importance of Buddhism in India today?”

“It is obvious and overwhelming. You see India never loses anything; only she takes time to turn everything into bone and muscle. Buddha dealt a blow at animal sacrifice from which India has never recovered; and Buddha said, ‘Kill no cows’, and cow-killing is an impossibility with us.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 5

Reference : The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Interviews/Reawakening Of Hinduism On A National Basis

Some scholars also suggest that during Buddha’s time, people misinterpreted the Vedas and began slaughtering animals in Vedic Yajnas. To stop animal slaughter, Buddha completely rejected the Vedas and established an anti-Vedic philosophy called Buddhism. My question is, if the Vedas do not sanction animal slaughter and people only misinterpreted them, then why wasn’t Buddha, the avatar of Vishnu (as per Hinduism), born as a revivalist who could correctly interpret the meaning of the Vedas?

Buddhism and Jainism faced challenges in India from Hindu kings and scholars, likely due to their growing influence and clashes with Hinduism. The topic of animal slaughter in Vedic sacrifices and rituals was a frequent point of contention during debates between Buddhists/Jains and Brahmins. Those who converted to Buddhism or Jainism raised valid points against Brahmin beliefs, as mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, where demons who embraced these faiths began to criticize the practice of animal slaughter sanctioned by the Vedas. One of the main points raised by Buddhist/Jain converts was their opposition to this aspect of Vedic rituals,

📚Vishnu Purana 3.18.21-30📚
’The delusions of the false teacher paused not with the conversion of the Daityas to the Jaina and Bauddha heresies, but with various erroneous tenets he prevailed upon others to apostatize, until the whole were led astray, and deserted the doctrines and observances inculcated by the three Vedas. Some then spake evil of the sacred books; some blasphemed the gods; some treated sacrifices and other devotional ceremonies with scorn; and others calumniated the Brahmans. “The precepts,” they cried, “that lead to the injury of animal life (as in sacrifices) are highly reprehensible. To say that casting butter into flame is productive of reward, is mere childishness. If Indra, after having obtained godhead by multiplied rites, is fed upon the wood used as fuel in holy fire, he is lower than a brute, which feeds at least upon leaves. If an animal slaughtered in religious worship is thereby raised to heaven, would it not be expedient for a man who institutes a sacrifice to kill his own father for a victim? If that which is eaten by one at a Śráddha gives satisfaction to another, it must be unnecessary for one who resides at a distance to bring food for presentation in person.”  (source)

3. Animal Sacrifices

3.1 For Deities

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
Now when they spread (and perform) the sacrifice, they kill it; and when they press out king Soma, they kill him; and when they quire and cut up the victim, they kill it,-it is by means of the mortar and pestle, and by the two mill-stones that they kill the Haviryajña (grain-offering). And having killed the sacrifice, he pours it, as seed, into the fire as its womb, for, indeed, the fire is the womb of the sacrifice, from out of it it is produced: let him therefore perform those ten oblations for which the Vaşat is uttered. And, indeed, this sacrifice is the blowing (wind): he blows here, as it were, as a single one, but when he has entered into man, he is divided into ten parts-with the vital airs thus distributed, it (the sacrifice) is born from out of its womb, the fire: this is that Viraj of ten syllables, this is that perfection, the sacrifice. There may, however, be nine (oblations)”-he thus forms a defective (lesser, lower) Viraj with a view to production; for from the lesser indeed, creatures are produced here: this is that perfection, the sacrifice.”  (source)

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
He performs the animal sacrifice. Now the animal sacrifice means cattle: thus, when he performs the animal sacrifice (pasubandha, the binding of the animal), it is in order that he may be possessed of cattle…And when he performs the animal sacrifice, he renews his fires, and so, along with the renewal of his fires, does the Sacrificer (renew himself), and along with the Sacrificer his house and cattle. And beneficial to life, indeed, is that redemption of his own self; for whilst he is offering the Sacrificer’s fires long for flesh; they set their minds on the Sacrificer and harbour designs on him. In other fires people do indeed cook any kind of meat, but these (sacrificial fires) have no desire for any other flesh but this (sacrificial animal), and for him to whom they belong.”  (source)

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
Verily, then, for him who, knowing this, offers both the Agnihotra and the Full and New-moon sacrifices, they slaughter the sacrificial horse month by month; and month by month the Asvamedha is offered for him, and his Agnihotra and Full and New-moon sacrifices come to pass into the Asvamedha.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 10.91.11📚
The mortal, Agni, who presents to you, the immortal, fuel at the offering of the oblation- you are his Hotà, you go on his errant (to the gods), you direct (the ceremonial), you offer the sacrifice, you act as the officiating priest.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 10.91.14-15📚
He [Agni/Fire] in whom horses, bulls, oxen, and barren cows, and rams, when duly set apart, are offered up,- To Agni, Soma-sprinkled, drinker of sweet juice, Disposer, with my heart I bring a fair hymn forth. Into thy [Agni’s] mouth is poured the offering, Agni, as Soma into cup, oil into ladle…”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 1.162.2-3📚
What time they bear before the Courser, covered with trappings and with wealth, the grasped oblation, the dappled goat goeth straightforward, bleating, to the place dear to Indra and to Pusan. Dear to all Gods, this goat, the share of Püşan, is first led forward with the vigorous Courser, while Tvastar sends him forward with the Charger, acceptable for sacrifice, to glory.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 1.162.9-10📚
Whatever the flies may eat of the raw flesh of the horse; whatever (grease) is smeared upon the brush or upon the axe ; (what is smeared) upon the hands or the nails of the immolator, may all this be with thee, (horse), among the gods. Whatever undigested grass fall from his belly ; whatever particle” of raw flesh may remain let the immolators make the whole free from defect, and so cook the pure (offering) that it may be perfectly dressed.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 104.137📚
After performing these tasks Rama the most excellent among the virtuous performed ten horse-sacrifices where flesh was offered to the deities.”  (source)

📚Krishna Yajur Veda 5.3.12📚
The eye of Prajapati swelled, that fell away, that became a horse; because it swelled (áçvayat), that is the reason why the horse (áçva) has its name. By the horse sacrifice the gods replaced it. He who sacrifices with the horse sacrifice makes Prajapati whole; verily he becomes whole; this is the atonement for everything, and the cure for everything. All evil by it the gods overcame; by it also the gods overcame (the sins of) Brahman- slaying; all evil [1] he overcomes, he overcomes Brahman-slaying who sacrifices with the horse sacrifice, and he who knows it thus. It was the left eye of Prajapati that swelled; therefore they cut off from the horse on the left side, on the right from other animals. The mat is of reeds; the horse has its birthplace in the waters, the reed is born in the waters; verily he establishes it in its own birthplace. The Stoma is the fourfold one; the bee tore the thigh of the horse, the gods made it whole with the fourfold Stoma; in that there is the fourfold Stoma, (it is) to make whole the horse.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 1.162.18📚
The axe penetrates the thirty-four ribs of the swift horse : the beloved of the gods, (the immolators), cut up (the horse) with skill, so that the limbs may be unperforated, and recapitulating joint by joint.”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.19.11📚
When Pṛthu Mahārāja was performing the last horse sacrifice [aśvamedha-yajña], King Indra, invisible to everyone, stole the horse intended for sacrifice. He did this because of his great envy of King Pṛthu.”  (source)

Commentary: “King Indra is known as śata-kratu, which indicates that he has performed one hundred horse sacrifices (aśvamedha-yajña). We should know, however, that the animals sacrificed in the yajña were not killed. If the Vedic mantras were properly pronounced during the sacrifice, the animal sacrificed would come out again with a new life.” Swami Prabhupada on Shrimad Bhagavatam Purana 4.19.11 (source)

📚Yajur Veda 20.79📚
Within thy mouth is poured the offering, as Soma into cup, ghee into ladle…”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 84.1-2📚
The God said:- Then early in the morning, the preceptor should bathe and perform his daily rites of prayer and worship. Dreams of curd, ginger, meat and wine in the night preceding the day of ceremony, should be held as the most auspicious ones…”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 93.22-32📚
A plateful of meat-offering should be given to the god of mountains Dharadhara, who would be considered as occupying six chambers of the diagram…”  (source)


📚Brahma Purana 72.52📚
Lord Hari said to her: Worshipped by means of wine, meat and other presents and various items of foodstuffs you will become delighted and fulfil all desires of men.”  (source)

📚Krishna Yajur Veda📚
It is the twenty onefold day, on which the horse is slain, there are twelve months, five seasons; these worlds are three”  (source)


📚Brahmanda Purana 3.17.2-4📚
The three Astaka Sraddhas are performed for the welfare of sons and wives…The first one is the most excellent one with Akhandala (Indra) for its deity. The second one is Prajapatya (with Prajapati for its deity) The third one is Vaisvadevika (with Visve Devas as deities) The first one is always to be performed with sweet rice peas. The second one should always be performed with meat…”  (source)


📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.36.26📚
Commence the bow sacrifice on the Caturdaśī day in accordance with the relevant Vedic injunctions. In ritual slaughter offer the appropriate kinds of animals to the magnanimous Lord Śiva.”  (source)


📚Rig Veda 2.1.13-14📚
Thee, Agni, the A’dityas have made thee, Agni, their mouth; the pure (deities) have made thee, Kavi, their tongue: the (gods), the givers of wealth, depend upon thee at sacrifices; they eat the offered oblation through thee [Agni]. All the benignant immortal gods eat the offered oblation through thee, as their mouth: mortals taste the flavour (of all viands) through thee: thou art born pure, the embryo of plants of earth.”  (source)


📚Vayu Purana 2.19.3-4📚
The second Astaka, shall be Prajapatya (with Prajapati as its deity) and the third one (is) Vaisvadeviki. The first Astaka shall always be performed with flour cakes. The second should always be performed with meat…”  (source)


📚Vayu Purana 2.18.51📚
The flesh of the rhinoceros is the best Havis in the rites for Visvedevas and Soma. But the best horn of the rhinoceros should be avoided to mitigate the malice (of deities)”  (source)


📚Narada Purana 3.84.27-28📚
At midnight, on Bhutastami (the eighth day in the dark fortnight of Karttika month) the devotee shall offer unto the goddess the flesh of cats and rams along with bones, hairs and hide or the oblation of a camel or a buffalo. All the creatures will become subservient to him. He shall enjoy happiness for a long time with sons, fame, fortune and learning.”  (source)


📚Brahmanda Purana 3.14.5📚
In Vaisvadeva and Soma sacrifices, the flesh of a rhinoceros (or a buffalo) is the greatest offering. It is not through rivalry that we feed with the flesh of a rhinoceros (buffalo) excluding the horns.”  (source)


📚Varaha Purana 119.12-18📚
[Varaha said:] All this I accept if devoutly offered; also the flesh of deer, goat and hare. All these are dear to me in the worship to attain me. When the goat is offered in sacrifice by the Vaidic Brahmin, a part of it comes to me as my share…The birds that are to be used also in my worship, I shall tell you now. The flesh of the birds Iavaka, vartika and kapinjala are used in my temples.”  (source)


📚Narada Purana 3.90.28📚
The devotee with the previously mentioned form should worship the deities of the above mentioned forms. He should worship them in the proper sequence with the offering of wine, fish and meat duly consecrated.”  (source)


📚Agni Purana 185.11-15📚
After having repeated (the name) Kāli (twice) (a form of consort of Śiva), the animal (that is to be offered to her) should be killed with a sword. “O Kāli! Kāli! Vajreśvari (the goddess with the thunderbolt)! Obeisance to the one having the metal rod!” (is the formula). The blood and flesh got from that (killing) (should be offered) to Pūtanā (a demonness) on the south-west, to Pāparākṣasī (the demoness representing sin) on the north-west, to Caraki (a form of the goddess) on the north-east, to Vidārikā on the south-east and Mahākauśika (should be worshipped) for the fire. ”  (source)


📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
And, verily, even on this occasion, they slaughter the sacrificial horse (Asvamedha) as a sacrifice to the gods…”  (source)


📚Krishna Yajur Veda📚
the form of man, its lack of horns that of horses, the possession of one set of incisors only that of cows, the sheep-like hooves that of sheep, that it is a goat, that is the form of goats. The wind is the abode dear to cattle; in that it is offered to Vayu, in accord cattle wait upon him. ‘Should an animal be offered to Vayu, or to Prajapati?’ they say; if he were to offer it to Vayu, he would depart from Prajapati; if he were to offer it to Prajapati, he would depart from Vayu; in that the animal is offered to Vayu, therefore he does not depart…”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 5.34.13-31📚
In the bright fortnight of the month of Âsvin or Chaitra, is to be observed the fasting of the Navarâtra by those who desire for their own welfare. Homas are to be offered, many in number, and Mantrams are to be recited, the same as in one’s own Mantram, good Pâyasam with sugar, ghee, and honey mixed is to be offered in this ceremony. Goat meat, or holy leaves of the Bel tree, or red Karavîr flowers or til (sesamum seed) mixed with honey can be used instead in the Homa ceremony. The special days for the worship of the Devî are the eighth, ninth, or fourteenth day (tithi) of the half month…”  (source)


📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
Pragâpati assigned the sacrifices to the gods; the Asvamedha he kept for himself. The gods said to him, ‘Surely, this–to wit, the Asvamedha–is a sacrifice: let us have a share in that also.’ He contrived these Anna-homas (food-oblations) for them: thus when he performs the Annahomas, it is the gods he thereby gratifies. With ghee he makes offering, for ghee is fiery mettle: by means of fiery mettle he thus lays fiery mettle into him (the horse and Sacrificer). With ghee he offers; for that–to wit, ghee–is the gods’ favourite resource: it is thus with their favourite resource he supplies them.”  (source)


📚Rig Veda 1.161.10📚
One pours the red water (the blood) upon the ground; one cuts the flesh, divided into fragments by the chopper; and a third seperates the excrement from the other parts; in what manner may the parents (of the sacrifice) render assistance to their sons?”  (source)


📚Rig Veda 1.75.1📚
ACCEPT our loudest-sounding hymn, food most delightful to the Gods, Pouring our offerings in thy [Agni’s] mouth.”  (source)


📚Asvalayana Grihya Sutra 4.8.25📚
The husks and chaff (of the rice), the tail, the skin, the head, the feet (of the sacrificial animal) he should throw into the fire.”  (source)


📚Agni Purana 40.6📚
Worship and propitiate the god Dharmesh in the two chambers with meat and rice form boiled paddy, and the Gandharva occupying two such rectangular divisions, with perfume and bird’s tongue.”  (source)


📚Matsya Purana 239.27-33📚
and for the satisfaction of the gods animal sacrifice should also be made…”  (source)


📚Matsya Purana 232.12-14📚
Then Lord Shiva should be worshipped and an animal should be sacrificed near the tree.”  (source)


📚Agni Purana 93.23📚
A plateful of meat- offering should be given to the god of mountains Dharadhara, who would be considered as occupying six chambers of the diagram…”  (source)


📚Krishna Yajur Veda📚
if he were to let them go after circumambulation with fire, he would disturb the sacrifice; if he were to keep them until the conclusion, the heads would be exhausted; in that he offers the animals, he wins thereby animals; in that he lets them go after circumambulation with fire, (it serves) to prevent the exhaustion of the heads; he concludes (the rite) with (an animal) for Prajapati; Prajapati is the sacrifice; verily he concludes the sacrifice in the sacrifice…”  (source)


📚Chandogya Upanishad 8.15.1📚
never giving pain to any creature, except at the tirthas (sacrifices, &c.), he who behaves thus all his life, reaches the world of Brahman, and does not return, yea, he does not return…”  (source)


📚Brahma Purana 63.17-19📚
By visiting lord Visnu a man or woman devotee attains whatever pleasure he or she wishes for. By witnessing Gundika-procession with great concentration, O excellent brahmins, and by visiting lord Krsna, Rama and Subhadra in the bright half of the month of Asadha, the man or woman derives the benefit of fifteen horse sacrifices or even more.”  (source)

3.2 For Ancestors

📚Vishnu Purana 3.10.3-7📚
When a son is born, let his father perform for him the ceremonies proper on the birth of a child, and all other initiatory rites, as well as a Śráddha, which is a source of prosperity. Let him feed a couple of Brahmans, seated with their faces to the east; and according to his means offer sacrifices to the gods and progenitors. Let him present to the manes balls of meat mixed with curds, barley, and jujubes, with the part of his hand sacred to the gods, or with that sacred to Prajápati. Let a Brahman perform such a Śráddha, with all its offerings and circumambulations, on every occasion of good fortune.”  (source)


📚Mahabharata 13.88📚
Manu has said that if a Sraddha is performed with a copious measure of sesame, such Sraddha becomes inexhaustible. Of all kinds of food, sesame seeds are regarded as the best. With fishes offered at Sraddhas, the Pitris remain gratified for a period of two months. With mutton they remain gratified for three months and with the flesh of the hare for four. With the flesh of the goat, O king, they remain gratified for five months, with bacon for six months, and with the flesh of birds for seven. With venison obtained from those deer that are called Prishata, they remain gratified for eight months, and with that obtained from the Ruru for nine months, and with the meat of the Gavaya for ten months. With the meat of the buffalo their gratification lasts for eleven months. With beef presented at the Sraddha, their gratification, it is said, lasts for a full year. Payasa mixed with ghee is as much acceptable to the Pitris as beef. With the meat of the Vadhrinasa the gratification of the Pitris lasts for twelve years. The flesh of the rhinoceros, offered to the Pitris on the anniversaries of the lunar days on which they died, becomes inexhaustible. The potherb called Kalasaka, the petals of the Kanchana flower, and meat of the goat also, thus offered, prove inexhaustible.”  (source)


📚Matsya Purana 20.4-9📚
After the death of their father the land was visited with a terrible famine when a large number of people were ruined owing to the cessation of rain and many died of starvation. In those days the seven sons of Kaudika used to look after the cow of Garga and were residing in a forest. One day not getting anything to eat they felt fearfully oppressed with the pangs of hunger. In those circumstances they resolved saying we shall eat the cow to appease our hunger. At that stage the youngest of them all, said to his brothers If this cow must be killed, let us sacrifice her to our pitris in Sraddha for the cow sacrificed, with that view would decidedly save us from all sin.” Do so said the other brothers to Pitrivarti. The cow was sacrificed and Pitrivarti performed the Sraddha with great devotion. Two brothers officiated for the Brahmanas invited to Vasudeva with the rest three similarly officiated for the Brahmanas, invited to take part in the Pitri-karma and the seventh one represented the Atithi. In this way, they all after performing the Sraddha with due Mantras and Meditating Pitris feasted on the sacrificed cow.”  (source)


📚Apastamba Dharmasutra📚
(If) rhinoceros’ meat (is given to Brahmanas seated) on (seats covered with) the skin of a rhinoceros, (the Manes are satisfied) for a very long time. (The same effect is obtained) by (offering the) flesh (of the fish called) Satabali, And by (offering the) meat of the (crane called) Vārdhrāṇasa.”  (source)


📚Gautama Dharmasutra 15.15📚
The Manes are satisfied for a month by gifts of sesamum, Masha-beans, rice, barley, and water, For (three) years by fish and the flesh of common deer, spotted deer, hares, turtles, boars, and sheep,For twelve years by cow’s milk and messes made of milk, For a very long time by the flesh of (the crane called) Vardhrinasa, by Ocyrnurn sanctum (sacred Basil), and by the flesh of goats, (especially) of a red (he-goat), and of a rhinoceros, (if these dishes are) mixed with honey.”  (source)


📚Manusmriti 3.266-272📚
I will now fully declare what kind of sacrificial food, given to the manes according to the rule, will serve for a long time or for eternity. The ancestors of men are satisfied for one month with sesamum grains, rice, barley, masha beans, water, roots, and fruits, which have been given according to the prescribed rule, Two months with fish, three months with the meat of gazelles, four with mutton, and five indeed with the flesh of birds, Six months with the flesh of kids, seven with that of spotted deer, eight with that of the black antelope, but nine with that of the (deer called) Ruru, Ten months they are satisfied with the meat of boars and buffaloes, but eleven months indeed with that of hares and tortoises, One year with cow-milk and milk-rice; from the flesh of a long-eared white he-goat their satisfaction endures twelve years. The (vegetable called) Kalasaka, (the fish called) Mahasalka, the flesh of a rhinoceros and that of a red goat, and all kinds of food eaten by hermits in the forest serve for an endless time.”  (source)

📚Vayu Purana 2.16.5📚
During the sacrifice to Visvadevas and Saumyas, the Havis can contain plenty of meat. But one should avoid the horn of the rhinoceros to mitigate the malice (of Pitrs) (?).”  (source)

📚Vishnu Purana 2.16.1-3📚
AURVA continued.–”Ancestors are satisfied for a month with offerings of rice or other grain, with clarified butter, with fish, or the flesh of the hare, of birds, of the hog, the goat, the antelope, the deer, the gayal, or the sheep, or with the milk of the cow, and its products. They are for ever satisfied with flesh (in general), and with that of the long-eared white goat in particular. The flesh of the rhinoceros, the Kálaśáka potherb, and honey, are also especial sources of satisfaction to those worshipped at ancestral ceremonies.”  (source)

📚Yajnavalkya Smriti Verse 258-259📚
The departed manes become gratified with the proferred [oblations of] Haviskya for one month; with Payasa (sweetened boiled milk, and rice) for one year; with fish, venison, mutton, meat of birds, goat, spotted. antelope, Ena (deer), Ruru (deer), boar (pork), and hare,—successively for one month more.”  (source)

📚Markandeya Purana 32.2-8📚
By living on rice mixed with clarified butter one gratifies the paternal manes for a month and by living on meat and fish gratifies. them for a couple of months. Deer’s flesh brings about the gratification of paternal manes for three months; hare’s flesh nourishes them for four months. Bird’s flesh (nourishes) them for five months and boar’s flesh for six months; goat’s flesh for seven months; Ena’s flesh for eight months. Ruru’s flesh certainly gratifies them for nine months and Gavaya’st flesh for ten months. Mutton gratifies the paternal manes for eleven months and cow’s milk or Payaca for twelve months. My son, the flesh of the rhinoceros, black hares, honey, flesh offered by a daugliter or any descended from the same line, Gaurisutat or Sraddha performed at Gay–these undoubtedly encompass the eternal gratification of paternal manes.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 3.20.40-43📚
Manes are satisfied with the meat of fish for two months; with Venison for three months; with the meat of the ram for four months; with the meat of birds for five months; with the meat of goats for six months and with the meat of the spotted antelope for seven months. The Pitrs are propitiated for eight months, if Sraddha is offered with the meat of Ena (deer) and for nine months with the meat of Ruru deer. With the meat of the boar and the buffalo they are propitiated for ten months. With the flesh of rabbit and tortoise, he should propitiate them for eleven months. With the cow’s milk and milk pudding he shall propitiate them for a year. The satisfaction due to the Sraddha with the meat of Vardhrinasa (rhinoceros or old white goat) extends to twelve years. The Kalasaka, (?) the Mahasalka (sea-crab), the meat of rhinoceros and the red goat and the honey, —the food-stuffs of the sages are capable of being beneficent endlessly.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana Uttarabhaga 44.51📚
The following things should be offered by the sons; milk puddings and the meat of rhinoceros when offered take Pitrs to their abode. The black and red ewe or ram shall be conducive to the infinite results. ”  (source)

📚Vayu Purana 2.21-4-9📚
They are pleased for two months if fishes are offered ; for three months if venison is offered ; for four months if the meat of hare is offered; and for five months if the meat of birds is offered. They are delighted for six months with the flesh of boars, for seven months with goats* flesh and for eight months with the flesh of a spotted doe. The manes are delighted for nine months with the meat of the Ruru deer. They will have contentment lasting for ten months with the meat of Gamy a ( a kind of ox) . They arc propitiated for eleven months with the meat of a tortoise. Know that Sraddha with (products of) cow’s milk lasts for a year. So also in the case of milk-pudding along with milk products, honey and ghee. The satisfaction with the meat of a Vadhrinasa (a rhino-like animal ?) lasts for twelve years. With the meat of Khadga (rhinoceros) during the rites of Pitrs, the pleasure is everlasting. So also with the meat of a black goat and an alligator provides endless pleasure.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 117.38-49📚
They would get satisfied with the roots and fruits of the forest for a month, with the fish for two months, with the ominous bird for three months, with the deer for four (months), with the goat for five or six, with the tortoise for seven or eight, with the boar for nine (months), with the meat of the ram, (meat) of the buffalo and the spotted antelope for ten months, with the milk of a cow and pāyasa (sweat gruel) for one year. They would be satisfied for twelve years with the meat of a sacrificial goat. The meat of a rhinoceros, the kālaśāka (a kind of vegetable), (meat) of a red goat, honey and sea crabs offered in the rainy season and śrāddha (done) in the (asterism) of maghā (tenth in the cycle) (yields) undiminishing benefits.”  (source)

📚Padma Purana 1.9.153-157📚
They are pleased for two months with the flesh of fish, for three months with the flesh of deer, for four months with the flesh of ram and for five months with bird’s flesh. They get excellent satisfaction for six months by pig’s flesh, for seven months by red goat’s flesh, for eight months by a lamb’s flesh. The flesh of a spotted antelope gives (them) satisfaction for nine months. They are satisfied for ten months with the flesh of boar and buffalo. (They are satisfied) for eleven months with the flesh of hare and tortoise; for a year with cow’s milk or sweetened milk. They are satisfied for fifteen months with hog’s flesh and satisfaction for twelve years is brought about by the flesh of rhinoceros. Eternal satisfaction comes by the potherb ocimum sanctum and also by the flesh of a rhinoceros.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 163.28-39📚
A Shraddha ceremony performed with oblations of sun-dried rice, meat, porridge, fish, venison, Kourabhra, game, and goat’s meat keeps one’s ancestors pleased and happy for a year. Similarly The souls of one’s forefathers should be propitiated by offering them oblations of the meat of Ena, Ruru, Boar, and Hare in succession. By offering at Gaya, to the souls of his departed ancestors, the oblations composed of the sword of a rhinoceros, fish having large scales, and the flesh of an old goat and Kalashaka, etc., a man makes them happy and careless for eternal time.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 111.15-33📚
If in the Śrāddha, the sacrificial food is offered to the Brahmins, the Pitṛs are fed for a month. If the flesh of a fish is offered, the Grandfathers are fed for two months. If a goat’s flesh is offered, the Pitṛs are fed for three months. If a hare’s flesh is offered, the Pitṛs are fed for four months. If a bird’s flesh is offered, the Pitṛs are fed for five months. If a hog’s flesh is offered, the Pitṛs are fed for six months. If a ram’s flesh is offered the Pitṛs are fed for seven months. If black deer’s flesh is offered the Pitṛs are fed for eight months. If ruru deer’s nine months; if cow’s for ten months; if ram’s for eleven months. If cow’s milk or rice cooked in cow’s milk for one year; if of rhinoceros or of rohita fish for endless period of time.”  (source)

📚Brahmanda Purana 3.19.2-11📚
Listen from me to all those offerings which those who are conversant with the ritualistic details of Śrāddha know. Listen to their due benefits as well. If gingelly seeds, grains of rice, barleys, pulses, water libations, roots and fruits were offered in Śrāddha the grandfathers are pleased for the period of a month. They are satisfied for two months, if Śrāddha is offered with different kinds of fish. They are satisfied for three months, if the Śrāddha is offered with venison (deer’s flesh). They are contented for four months, if rabbit’s flesh is offered in the Śrāddha. They are pleased for five months, if bird’s flesh is offered in the Śrāddha. They are pleased for six months if Śrāddha is performed with boar’s flesh. The flesh of a goat yields satisfaction to Pitṛs for seven months. The flesh of a mountain goat is said to yield satisfaction for eight months. The grandfathers are delighted For nine months with the flesh of Ruru variety of deer. The satisfaction of the Pitṛs lasts for ten months if Śrāddha is offered with the flesh of Gavaya (a type of ox). The satisfaction lasts for eleven months if sheep’s flesh is offered in the Śrāddha. O Brāhmaṇas, cow’s milk offered in the Śrāddha, yields satisfaction (to the Pitṛs) for a year. The flesh of the rhinoceros shall be conducive to infinite bliss in the abode of the Pitṛs. Milk pudding offered along with honey and ghee at the time of Gajacchāyā yields perpetual satisfaction. There is perpetual satisfaction if the flesh of a black goat is offered. In this connection there are certain gāthās (traditional verses) sung by the Pitṛs as recounted by those conversant with the ancient lore. I shall mention them to you factually; understand them from me: “Will there not be such a one (descendant coming to our family as would offer Śrāddha on the thirteenth day? Will there not be such a one in our family as would offer Śrāddha during the rainy season or under Maghā constellation with the flesh of a goat wholly reddish in colour? Many sons should be sought so that at least one would go to Gayā, one shall marry a girl of the Gaurī type (i.e. of eight years or one who is a virgin) or one shall discharge a Nala (? lean like a red) bull.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.99.37-38📚
In that annual Sraddha in the first month let him offer Havisyanna (rice cooked with vegetables and soaked in ghee) s in the second month milk pudding and in the succeeding month he should offer fish, or the flesh of deer, goats, bird, Ram, Prjata, Ena, Ruru, boar or rabbit. The grandfathers shall be satisfied with this offer with increasing relish every month.”  (source)

📚Matsya Purana 15.34-35📚
At the time of making offerings, one should put his sacred thread on his right shoulder and offer, water, sesamum, kusa grass, flesh, Pathina, cow’s milk, sweet things, the flesh of rhinoceros, honey, Syamaka, rice, barley, wild rice, kidney-bean, sugarcane, white flowers, clarified butter.”  (source)

📚Matsya Purana 204.6-9📚
Who would also offer us the flesh of the rhinoceros or black herb according to the prescribed rites even for one day ?’ The pittris say that the offerings of kala-saka, maha-saka, honey, etc., and the appeasing grains used by the sages, the flesh of the rhinoceros that had had not developed its horns keep them satisfied as long as sun exists. One who appeases as by making offerings of the rhinoceros flesh and feasting the yogis at Gayd during the solar and lunar eclipse or who will perform Sraddhn and offer gifts during the Gajachchaya yoga so that we would be satisfied till the end of a kalpa, and the one who performs Sraddha and make gifts will no doubt enjoy all pleasures in all the Lokas till the end of a kalpa and can go anywhere free at his will.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 2.51.142b-145a📚
If a person staying at Gaya (or at any highly sacred place like Prayaga, Naimisa,- Mit) gives i.e. performs Sraddha with the flesh of a rhinoceros, a kind of fish called Mahasalka, honey, food suitable to sages, flesh of a red-coloured goat, Mahäsaka (i.e. Käläsäka or Narca in Hindi), white goat, he attains eternal benefit (or bliss). That is particularly so, if it is performed on the 13th day of the dark half of Bhadrapada when the constellation Magha is on that day.”  (source)

📚Padma Purana 1.9.62-63📚
The flesh of rhinoceros, food, śyāmāka and śāli-grains, barley, nīvāra grains, kidney-beans, sugar-cane and white flowers and fruits are always dear to and commended for the manes, and also, Darbhas, beans, Ṣaṣṭikā-rice, sweetened milk, honey and ghee.”  (source)

📚Markandeya Purana 35.2-3📚
The flesh of a hare, tortoise, iguana, hedgehog, and rhinoceros may be taken, my son ; but that of domesticated boar or of a domesticated hen should always be avoided. There is no harm of a eating the emnants of a sacrifice to the paternal names and the deities, Nor is there any harm of eating flesh that has been desired by the Brahmanas at a Sradha and which has been purified with water being sprinkled over it, as well as by the recitation of mantras, as also what has been prescribed for medicine.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 30.34-37📚
Now he who studies the hymns of the Rig-veda (regularly), feeds the manes with clarified butter. He who studies the Yagus texts, (feeds them) with honey. He who studies the Sâman melodies, (feeds them) with milk. He who studies the Atharva-veda, (feeds them) with meat.”  (source)

📚Markandeya Purana 32.33📚
In offering food in the Vaishwadeva and Saumya ceremonies the flesh of the rhinoceros is considered as the best Havi. When we get the flesh of a rhinoceros having no horns we feed on it so long as the sun is in the sky.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 80.1-14📚
Sesamum, rice, barley, beans, water, roots, fruits, vegetables, Syamaka grain, millet, wild rice, kidneybeans, and wheat satisfy (the manes) for a month; The flesh of fishes (excepting those species that are forbidden), for two months; The flesh of the common deer, for three months; The flesh of sheep, for four months; The flesh of birds (of those kinds that may be eaten), for five months; The flesh of goats, for six months; The flesh of the spotted deer, for seven months; The flesh of the spotted antelope, for eight months; Beef, for nine months; Buffalo’s meat, for ten months; The meat of a hornless goat, for eleven months; The milk of a cow, or preparations from it, for a year. On this subject there exists a stanza, which the manes utter: ‘(The pot-herb) Kalasaka (sacred basil), (the prawn) Mahasalka, and the flesh of the (crane called) Vardhrinasal!], (and of) a rhinoceros having no horn, is food which we always accept.”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 3.137-141📚
One should, with care, give at a Sraddha, deer, lamb and tortoise. With fish and meat, [the Manes attain to gratification for] two months; and [for] three months, with the meat of deer. With mutton, [they are gratified for] four months; with the meat of birds, [for] five months; with the meat of goat, [for] six months; and with the meat of Ruru deer, [for] nine months. With the meat of buffalo and pork, [they] are gratified for ten months; and with the meat of hare and tortoise, for eleven months. With cow’s milk and Payasa (milk and boiled-rice), [they attain to gratification for] one year. With the meat of rhinoceros, [they attain to] gratification for twelve years. Black pot herbs, sea-scrabs, meat of rhinoceros and black goat, honey and all other roots leads to their everlasting gratification.”  (source)

📚Grihya Sutra of Hiranyakesin📚
On the following day he sacrifices a cow to the Fathers…When it has been sprinkled and fire has been carried round it, they kill it to the west of the fire, its head being turned to the west, its feet to the south. After it has been killed, he silently ‘strengthens’ its sense-organs (by touching them) with water, and silently takes out the omentum, the heart, and the kidneys.…He sacrifices the omentum entirely. The other parts (Sutra 5) he should offer to the Brahmanas and should feed them (with those parts of the cow). When the food (for the Brahmanas) is ready, he cuts off (the Avadanas) together from the mess of boiled rice, and form the pieces of meat, and mixing them with clarified butter he makes oblations thereof with the verses, ‘Behold the Ekashtaka, the giver of food with meat and ghee, (which is offered) with (the word) svadha. By the Brahmanas that food is purified. May it be an imperishable (blessings to me! Svadha! Adoration!”  (source)

📚Grihya Sutra of Apastamba 8.22.3-5📚
On the following day he touches a cow with a Darbha blade, with the words, ‘I touch thee agreeable to the Fathers.’ having silently offered five Agya oblations, and having cooked the omentum of the (cow), and performed the ‘spreading under’ and the sprinkling over (of Agya), he sacrifices (the omentun) with the next (verse, II, 20, 28) with a Palasa leaf from the middle or the end (of the stalk). (He sacrifices) boiled rice together with the meat (of the cow) with the next (verses, II, 20, 29-35).”  (source)

📚Asvalayana Grihya Sutra 1.11.1-10📚
Now (follows) the ritual of the animal sacrifice…To the west of the Samitra (fire) he (the Samitri) kills (the animal), the head of which is turned to the east or to the west, the feet to the north; and having placed a grass-blade on his side of the (animal’s) navel, (the ‘performer’) draws out the omentum, cuts off the omentum, seizes it with the two Agnisrapanis, sprinkles it with water, warms it at the Samitra (fire), takes it before that fire, roasts it, being seated to the south, goes round (the two fires), and sacrifices it.”  (source)

📚Asvalayana Grihya Sutra 2.4.13📚
Having killed the animal according to the ritual of the animal sacrifice, omitting the sprinkling (with water) and the touching of the animal with a fresh branch, he should draw out the omentum and sacrifice it with (the verse), ‘Carry the omentum, Gâtavedas, to the Fathers, where thou knowest them resting afar. May streams of fat flow to them; may all these wishes be fulfilled. Svâhâ!”’  (source)

📚Asvalayana Grihya Sutra 4.8.16-18📚
The sprinkling with water and what follows is the same as at the animal sacrifice. We shall state what is different. Let him sacrifice the omentum with the Pâtrî or with a leaf—thus it is understood (in the Sruti)”  (source)

📚Gutama Dharmasutra 17.37-38📚
And (animals) that must be slain for (the fulfilment of) the sacred law. Let him eat (the flesh of animals) killed by beasts of prey, after having washed it, if no blemish is visible, and if it is declared to be fit for use by the word (of a Brāhmaṇa).”  (source)

📚Padma Purana 1.33.80📚
O you of a good vow, satisfy the brahmanas with musk, and flesh and various kinds of grains, and by offering a Sraddha.”  (source)

All the animals sacrificed to gods and manes are intended to be consumed by the Brahmin priest. Some Aryas may argue that this practice has nothing to do with Hinduism, suggesting that these are interpolated texts. However, it is important to note that interpolation can occur in only one text and not consistently across several texts such as Manu Smriti, Yajnvalkya Smriti, Mahabharata, Vishnu, Markandeya, Matsya Puranas, Dharma Shastras, and others. The widespread occurrence of the Shraddha for Pitrs in multiple Smritis and Puranas indicates that the sages who authored these books were in agreement with this practice. Therefore, do Hindus mean to say that they know more about Hinduism than their sages?

4. Meat Eating

📚Rig Veda 10.27.17📚
The sages cooked a fat ram, they followed in succession like dice thrown in gambling…”  (source)

📚Atharva Veda 6.71.1📚
What food I eat of varied form and nature, food whether horse, sheep, goat, or bullock…”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 4.18.13📚
In deep distress I cooked a dog’s intestines. Among the Gods I found not one to comfort. My consort I beheld in degradation. The Falcon then brought me the pleasant Soma.”  (source)

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
Now when he slaughters those animals, he prepares a home for Agni; for nowhere but in his home does one enjoy himself. But the home means food: it is that he lays down in, front, and when Agni sees that, he turns unto him.”  (source)

📚Aitareya Brahmana 7.1📚
Now follows the division of the different parts of the sacrificial animal (among the priests). We shall describe it. The two jawbones with the tongue are to be given to the Prastotar; the breast in the form of an eagle to the Udgatar; the throat with the palate to the Pratihartar; the lower part of the right loins to the Hotar; the left to the Braham; the right thigh to the Maitravaruna; the left to the Brahmanacchamsi; the right side with the shoulder to the Adhvaryu; the left side to those who accompany the chants; the left shoulder to the Pratipasthatar; the lower part of the right arm to the Neshtar; the lower part of the left arm to the Potar…the other half of the fleshy part on the neck and the left lobe (kloma) to the slaughterer…Those who divide the sacrificial animal in the way mentioned, it becomes the guide to heaven. But those who make the division otherwise are like scoundrels and miscreants who kill an animal merely (for gratifying their lust after flesh. This division of the sacrificial animal was invented by the Rishi Devabhaga, a son of Sruta. When he was departing from this life, he did not entrust (the secret to any one). But a supernatural being communicated it to Girija, the son of Babhru. Since his time men study it.”  (source)

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
The Karakas slaughter (a he-goat) for Pragâpati, saying, ‘Pragâpati, having built up the fire-altar (agni), became Agni. When he slaughters that [goat] one, then indeed he reaches the end of Agni (the fire-altar).”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 5.30📚
The eater incurs no sin by eating, even daily, such animals as are eatable: since the eater as well as the eaten animals have been created by the creator himself.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 5.39📚
Animals have been created by the Self- born God himself for the purpose of sacrifice: sacrifice is conducive to the well-being of all this would; hence killing at a sacrifice is no ‘killing’ at all.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 5.32📚
Having bought it, or having obtained it himself, or having it presented by others, if one eats meat after having worshipped the Gods and the Pitrs, he does not incur sin.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 11.34📚
But an ascetic who, invited to dine at a sacrifice of the manes or of the gods, rejects meat, shall go to hell for as many years as the slaughtered beast has hairs.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.17.40📚
If a person invited for the Sraddha or the worship of a deity eschews meat he may have to be in the hell as many years as there are hairs on the body of the animal.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.22.74-75📚
An excellent Brahmana engaged in the Sraddha should not avoid anything served. He should not refuse even the meat offered. One should not look at the food served to another person. If the Brahmanas who engaged in the Pitr rite, does not partake of the meat served, he is reborn as an animal for twenty-one births.”  (source)

📚Vyasa Samhita 3.56-57📚
A Brahmana, engaged in the celebration of a religious sacrifice, becomes degraded by not taking meat. A Kshatriya should eat the cooked flesh of a quarry after having propitiated therewith the gods and his departed manes. A Vaishya can take meat, lawfully obtained for money, after having worshipped therewith his departed manes.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 3.90.147📚
By performing homa with the meat of ram smeared with trimadha one shall attain gold. If the meat of ram is smeared with milk and homa is performed, one shall attain a very fertile land abounding in plants within forty days.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.162📚
One does not incur any fault or stain by eating the meat of animals slain in sacrifices with the aid of Tantras from the Yajur Veda…”  (source)

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
There are both an animal and a sacrificial stake, for never do they immolate an animal without a stake. And as to why this is so:–well, animals did not at first submit thereto that they should become food, as they are now become food; for just as man here walks two-footed and erect, so did they walk two-footed and erect. Then the gods perceived that thunderbolt, to wit, the sacrificial stake; they raised it, and from fear thereof they (the animals) shrunk together and thus became four-footed, and thus became food, as they are now become food, for they submitted thereto: wherefore they immolate the animal only at a stake and never without a stake.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 5.41-42📚
At the Madhuparka offering, at sacrifices, and at the rites in honour of the Pitrs, at these alone should animals be killed, and nowhere else: thus has Manu declared. The twice-born person, knowing the real import of the Veda, killing animals on these occasions, carries himself and the animal to the most excellent state.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 5.35📚
But when invited according to law, if a man does not eat meat, he becomes, after death, a beast, during twenty-one births.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 1.163.12-13📚
The strong Steed hath come forward to the slaughter, pondering with a mind directed God-ward. The goat who is his kin is led before him the sages and the singers follow after. The Steed is come unto the noblest mansion, is come unto his Father and his Mother. This day shall he approach the Gods, most welcome: then he declares good gifts to him who offers.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 3.272📚
The “Kalasaka,” the porcupine, the meat of the rhinoceros and the red goat, and honey serve for endless time; as also all kinds ok her mit’s food.”  (source)

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
Now as to why it is called ‘guest-offering: He, the purchased Soma, truly comes as his (the sacrificer’s) guest,-to him (is offered) that (hospitable reception): even as for a king or a Brahman one would cook a large ox or a large he-goat-for that is human (fare offered to a guest), and the oblation is that of the gods-so he prepares for him that guest-offering.”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.5.11📚
In this material world the conditioned soul is always inclined to sex, meat-eating and intoxication. Therefore religious scriptures never actually encourage such activities. Although the scriptural injunctions provide for sex through sacred marriage, for meat-eating through sacrificial offerings and for intoxication through the acceptance of ritual cups of wine, such ceremonies are meant for the ultimate purpose of renunciation.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 14.2📚
And then Kesava (Krishna) accosted him,-“If a person indulges excessively in sorrow for his departed forefathers, he grieves them. (Therefore, banishing grief), do thou (now) celebrate many a sacrifice with suitable presents to the priests; and do thou gratify the gods with Soma liquor, and the manes of thy forefathers with their due food and drink. Do thou also gratify thy guests with meat and drink and the destitute with gifts commensurate with their desires..”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 3.207📚
And in days of yore, O Brahmana, two thousand animals used to be killed every day in the kitchen of king Rantideva…’The sacred fire is fond of animal food,’ this saying has come down to us. And at sacrifices animals are invariably killed by regenerate Brahmanas, and these animals being purged of sin, by incantation of hymns, go to heaven. If, O Brahmana, the sacred fire had not been so fond of animal food in ancient times, it could never have become the food of any one. And in this matter of animal food, this rule has been laid down by Munis:–Whoever partakes of animal food after having first offered it duly and respectfully to the gods and the manes, is not polluted by the act. And such a man is not at all considered to have partaken of animal food…”  (source)

📚Padma Purana 3.56.31b-46📚
best ones, Prajapati Manu has said that these animals with five claws may be always tortoise, hare, rhinoceros, porcupine. He may also eat fish with scales, and the flesh of (the deer called) ruru after having presented them to deities and brahmanas, and not otherwise. best brahmanas, so also (the flesh of) a peacock, a patridge, a pigeon, a cataka, rhinoceros, a crane, a swan. Thus said Prajapati (Maru). These fish, viz. (the glittering fish) saphan, simhanda pahina and rots are directed as fit to be eaten. With a desire to retain the status as a twice born he should eat the flesh of these after it is sprinkled over even if he is about to loose his life he should duly use it. He should not at all eat flesh. He who eats what remains, is not smeared (with sin). If he is weak, he should eat flesh as medicine, or by an order or for sacrificial purposes. He, who would give up flesh when invited at a raddha or a rite in honour of a deity goes to (i.e. lives) in hell for as many years as the number of hair of the beast.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 168.13-21📚
The hare, porcupine, godhā (a kind of an alligator), rhinoceros and tortoise are (those among) the (animals having) five nails (whose flesh) could be eaten. The remaining ones are prohibited. One may eat fish such as the pāṭhīna (a kind of sheat-fish), rohita and lion-faced fish.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 51.61📚
It is for sacrifices that beasts have been created by the self-existent (Brahman) himself, Sacrificing causes the whole universe to prosper; therefore is the slaughter (of beasts) for a sacrifice no slaughter.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 51.65📚
That twice-born man who, knowing the exact truth (promulgated) in the Veda, slays cattle for the sacrifices (ordained in the Veda) will convey himself and the cattle (slain by him) to a blissful abode.”  (source)

📚Yajnavalkya Smriti Verse 177-178📚
Sédhas (porcupine), crocodiles, tortoises, porcupines and rhinoceros—these five-nailed animals, and of fish, Simhasya, Rohita, Pathina, Rdjiva and lobsters are allowed to be eaten by the twice-born. Listen now to the regulations regarding what meat should be taken and what not.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 113.111-112📚
The following can be eaten: hare, tortoise, alligator, porcupine and the fish with darts (?) The village boar and the cock should be avoided. In the following circumstances, even if one eats meat, one is not defiled: if it is the remnant of offerings unto the Pitrs, Devas etc. or if it is cooked in Sraddha at the request of the brahmins and is sprinkled with the holy water or if it is taken as a medicine.”  (source)

📚Vamana Purana 15.2-3📚
Rice cooked well with oil or ghee, even if it be stored for a long time is fit to be eaten. Rice without any oil or ghee, and delicate preparations of milk, meat of the rabbit, porcupine, alligator, hedgehog, fish and tortoise, pulses and similar other things are fit to be eaten, said Manu.”  (source)

📚Paraskara Grihya Sutra 3.10.48📚
On the eleventh day he should give to an uneven number of Brâhmanas a meal at which meat is served.”  (source)

📚Sankha Smriti 13.25📚
A Sraddha ceremony performed by offering oblations of Vala Sakas, bird’s flesh, the flesh of a rhinoceros, or a large-scaled fish, bears infinite fruit. This is the opinion of Yama, the law-giver.”  (source)

📚Sankha Smriti 17.22📚
Golden coloured godhas, tortoises, porcupines, hares, although they belong to the group of five nailed creatures, are animals whose flesh may be eaten; but having killed of any of these animals, one should practise the above-said penance.”  (source)

📚Sankha Smriti 17.27📚
Pheasants, peacocks, Lavaakas, Kapinjaras, Vartakas, and Bardhrinasas are birds, whose flesh, according to holy Yama, may be always eaten.”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 3.107📚
This Sraddha is called Pindanvaharyakam. In the afternoon of the day, when the waning of the Moon takes place, the twice-born should perform it with sanctified fish and meat.”  (source)

5. Cow and Bull Slaughtering

“Cattle were slaughtered for guests. But as per Swami Vivekananda, this practice was later stopped. Sometimes we may wonder how an animal like the cow became so sacred that Hindus started worshipping it and also prohibited its slaughter. When you ask any Hindu why he considers the Cow to be his Mother, he will tell you that ‘Since the cow gives us milk, we consider it to be our mother.’

In the Vedas, even the earth is considered a Mother. The reason for this may be because food grows from the soil. So Hindus consider all such things to be their mother, whichever provides them with food. As we have already read some references about cattle used as a source of money and ploughing the fields. It could be that people in ancient India heavily relied on Agriculture. Many farmers in India still plough fields with the help of Bulls and Cows. So killing cattle would result in heavy loss for such people, thus the prohibition of killing cows may have been enacted. Swami Vivekananda writes,

“you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed. How in time it was found that as we were an agricultural race, killing the best bulls meant annihilation of the race. Therefore the practice was stopped, and a voice was raised against the killing of cows. Sometimes we find existing then what we now consider the most horrible customs.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanda, Volume 3

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 3/Lectures from Colombo to Almora/Reply to the Address of Welcome at Madura

“You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to the old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it.”

[The complete works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3, Pg 536]


Hindu scriptures commands to slaughter cattle or goat for the guests,

📚Vishnu Smriti 51.64📚
When honouring a guest, at a sacrifice, or when worshipping the manes, or the gods, a man may slay cattle, but not otherwise on any account.”  (source)

📚Sankhayana Grihya Sutra 2.15.1-3📚
Should any one of the six persons (mentioned in the Srauta-sutra and in the Sutras 4-9) to whom the Arghya reception is due, visit (him), let him make (ready) a cow, a goat, or what (sort of food) he thinks most like (thereto). Let the Argha not be without flesh. On the occasion of a sacrifice and of a wedding let (the guest) say, ‘Make it (ready).”  (source)

📚Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.18📚
And if a man wishes that a learned son should be born to him, famous, a public man, a popular speaker, that he should know all the Vedas, and that he should live to his full age, then, after having prepared boiled rice with meat and butter, they should both eat, being fit to have offspring. The meat should be of a young or of an old bull.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra📚
By this (permission of the use of buffalo’s meat) it has been declared that the meat of (other) tame and wild animals is fit to be offered.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 3.87.22-27📚
If one performs hundred homas everyday with the flesh of a goat smeared with ghee, and continues it for a month, all kings will be subservient to him…By performing homa with the fruits of udumbara and palasa trees he attains good fortune. With the flesh of a jackal also he attains the same…He can captivate people by performing homa with the menstrual flow of women; the desire is fulfilled by means of the flesh of a deer. The stunning is achieved through the flesh of a buffalo…”  (source)

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
Thereupon he slaughters a barren Anubandhya cow for Mitra and Varuna. And this indeed is performed as a different sacrifice, and that an animal offering: for the Samistayajus form the end of the sacrifice. The reason why there is a barren cow for Mitra and Varuna is this. Whatever part of his (sacrifice) who has offered is well-offered that part of his Mitra takes, and whatever is ill- offered that Varuna takes.”  (source)

📚Asvalayana Grihya Sutra 1.24.33📚
Let the Madhuparka not be without flesh, without flesh.”  (source)

📚Matsya Purana 17.31-36📚
The Pitris say that the offering of fish keeps them satisfied for two months, the flesh of deer for three months, mutton for four months, the flesh of birds for five months, goat’s flesh for six months, Parsat’s flesh for seven months, ena’s flesh for eight months, ham and buffalo’s flesh . for ten months, hare and turtle’s flesh for eleven months, cow’s flesh and milk and rice cooked in cow’s milk for a year, the flesh of Ruru for fifteen months, lion’s flesh twelve years, Kalasaka (pot herb) and flesh of the rhinoceros for a great number of years, the cow’s milk mixed with honey and rice cooked in cow’s milk, clarified butter made of cow s milk offered even, in a small measure satisfies the Pitris— the Purvadevatus to an extreme degree.”  (source)

📚Grihya Sutra of Hiranyakesin📚
That cow is either killed or let loose. If he chooses to let it loose, (he murmurs), ‘This cow will become a milch cow’…If it shall be killed, (he says), ‘A cow art thou; sin is driven away from thee. Drive away my sin and the sin of N.N.! Kill ye him whoever hates me. He is killed whosoever hates me. Make (the cow) ready!’ If (the cow) is let loose, a meal is prepared with other meat, and he announces it (to the guest) in the words, ‘It is ready!’ He replies, ‘It is well prepared; it is Virag; it is food. May it not fail! May I obtain it…Give food to the Brahmanas!’ After those (Brahmanas) have eaten, (the hose) orders blameless (?) food to be brought to him (i.e. to the guest).”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 14.46📚
It is declared in the Vâgasaneyaka, that (the flesh of) milch-cows and oxen is fit for offerings.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra📚
(But the meat) of milch-cows and oxen may be eaten. The Vâgasaneyaka declares ‘bull’s flesh is fit for offerings.’ Five-toed animals (ought not to be eaten) with the exception of the iguana, the tortoise, the porcupine, the hedgehog, the rhinoceros, the hare, and the Pûtikhasha.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 10.28.3📚
(Vasukra speaks). Your worshippers express with the stone fast flowing exhilarating Soma for you, you drink them; they roast bulls for you, you eat them, when you are invoked, Maghavan, to the sacrificial food.”  (source)

📚Brahma Viavarta Purana, Krishna Janma Khanda 105.47-67📚
Get also slaughtered a lakh of cows, two lakhs of deer, 4 lakhs of rabbits and tortoise. Reverentially sacrifice to the village goddess on the night of the ful moon ten lakhs of goats and sheep four times the number of the last named and get the flesh properly cooked for food. O lord of the world, get also vegetables cooked for the purpose. The monarch Bhismaka having heard the words of his son took his family priest aside and also sent a suitable Brahmin to Dwarka. He fixed a date which was regarded auspicious unanimously…”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 10.86.13📚
let Indra eat your bulls, (give him) the beloved and most delightful ghī, Indra is aboveall (the world).”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 10.86.14📚
[Indra speaks]: The worshippers dress for me fifteen (and) twenty bulls; I eat them and (become) fat, they fill both sides of my belly; Indra is above all (the world).”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana Gautami Mahatmya 61.27-28📚
In the southern bank of Ganga the cows were set apart as the sacrificial animals. These cows had fled and the Devas herded them together on Ganga. In its middle they caused an island to be made as the place of rest for the cows. Throught those cows the Yajna of Devas was celebrated on Ganga.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 12.263📚
One who is of such a cleansed soul may slaughter a cow (as an offering in Sacrifice). They, therefore, that are not of that kind should perform Sacrifices with herbs and plants (and not animals).”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 10.94.3📚
Loudly they speak, for they have found the savoury meath: they make a humming sound over the meat prepared. As they devour the branch of the Red-coloured Tree, these, the well-pastured Bulls, have uttered bellowings.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 10.104.3📚
To make thee [Indra] start, a strong true draught I offer to thee, the Bull [as a oblation], O thou whom Bay Steeds carry.”  (source)

📚Rig Veda 5.29.8📚
When thou [Indra] three hundred buffaloes’ flesh hadst eaten, and drunk, as Maghavan, three lakes of Soma, All the Gods raised as ’twere a shout of triumph to Indra praise because he slew the Dragon.”  (source)

📚Atharva Veda 9.4.9📚
that Brahman gives a thousand who offers up the Bull as his oblation.”  (source)

📚Atharva Veda 9.4.18📚
All Gods promote the Brahman who offers the Bull in sacrifice.”  (source)

📚Krishna Yajur Veda📚
On the full moon (the Soma) is pressed for the gods; during this half-month it is pressed forth for them, and a cow for Mitra and Varuna is to be slaughtered for them at the new moon. In that he sacrifices on the day before… In that he sacrifices at the new moon with clotted curds for Mitra and Varuna, the cow which is slaughtered for the gods becomes his also.”  (source)

📚Krishna Yajur Veda📚
At the time of the (offering of the) cow, he should offer on one potsherd to Mitra and Varuna, this (offering) corresponds to his foe’s cow which is to be slaughtered.”  (source)

📚Kausitaki Brahmana 1.15📚
Just as in the world when a human king has come, or another deserving person, they slay an ox or a cow that miscarries; so for him they slay in that they kindle the fire, for Agni is the victim of the gods.”  (source)

6. Meat as Medicine

📚Agni Purana 279.17-21📚
The asthmatic should take Kulattha, and Mudha pulse prepared with Rasna and bird’s flesh, or bird’s flesh (Viskiras) cooked with curd, pomegranate, honey, juice of Matalanga, lime, and grapes, and wheat, barley, or boiled Shali rice, with all husks and extraneous matter carefully exempted.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.193.14-15📚
Fumigating with the excreta, blood, hair or flesh of tortoise, fish, horse, buffalo, cow, jackal, monkey, cat, peacock, crow, boar, owl, fouls and swan is useful for the alleviation of the pain and disorder of the patients of fever and insanity”  (source)

📚Asvalayana Grihya Sutra 4.1.4📚
Being restored health, he should offer a Soma sacrifice, or an animal sacrifice, or an ordinary sacrifice, and take his dwelling (again in the village).”  (source)

📚Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthaanam 27.79-80📚
The flesh of the hare is astringent in taste, limpid, dry, cooling, pungent on digestion, light and sweet. It is recommended in tri-discordance where Vata is. relatively mild. The flesh of the black-buck is said to be sweet in taste and on digestion, alleviative of tridiscordance, generally wholesome, light, obstipative of feces and urine, and cooling. The flesh of the hog is promotive of unctuousness is roborant, aphrodisiac, acopic, surative [curative?] of Vata, strengthening, appetizing, sudorific and heavy. The flesh of the cow is beneficial in disorders due exclusively to Vata, rhinitis, excessive gastric fire and atrophy of flesh. The flesh of the buffalo is unctuous, hot, sweet, aphrodisiac, heavy and nourishing. It also promotes firmness and corpulence, and gives energy and sleep. The flesh of the fish in general is heavy, hot, sweet, strengthening, roborant, curative of Vata, unctuous, aphrodisiac and is said to be highly unconducive to health. The flesh of the Rohita fish, owing to its living on moss and its habit of not sleeping, is digestive stimulant, light and promotive of great strength, The flesh of the tortoise is said to be promotive of complexion, curative of Vata, aphrodisiac, beneficial to sight, promotive of strength intelligence and of memory, wholesome and curative of consumption The flesh of the rhinoceros is said to be deliquescent, promotive of strength, sweet, unctuous, roborant, promotive, of complexion acopic and curative of Vata.”  (source)

📚Charaka Samhita Cikitsasthana 8.163📚
Consumption does not persist long in one that is disciplined and strong-minded and subsists exclusively on a meat-diet and drinks honey wine.”  (source)

📚Charaka Samhita Cikitsasthana 8.165📚
The consumptive patient may take as post-prandial drink, Prasanna, Varuni or Sidhu wine or simple or medicated wine as is suitable after taking a meat-diet.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.171.9-10📚
On locating the fracture of a bone it shall be first washed with cold water. Then it must be plastered with clay and bound with Darbha grass. The diet of the patient must be black gram, meat, ghee, milk and a soup of gingelly seeds. Restorative and constructive diet and drink should be given to him.”  (source)

The chapter containing the following Garuda Purana verse is titled ‘Diseases,’ and it also provides instructions on how to treat those diseases,

📚Garuda Purana 1.169.62📚
Foodstuffs with cooked meat are rejuvenating…”  (source)

7. Animal Slaughtering in Ramayana

The Valmiki Ramayana is one of the foremost ‘Pramānās (Evidences)’ for a Hindu. The epic traditionally ascribed to the Maharishi Valmiki. This epic is divided into seven kāṇḍas: the ayodhyakāṇḍa, the araṇyakāṇḍa, the kiṣkindakāṇḍa, the sundarākāṇḍa, and the laṅkākāṇḍa (also called Yuddhakāṇḍa). These five Kandas are unanimously accepted by Hindus, but they differ about the Uttarākāṇḍa & the Bālakāṇḍa. Though Bālakāṇḍa is sometimes considered in the main epic, according to many Uttarakanda is certainly a later interpolation and thus is not attributed to the work of Maharshi Valmiki. This is disputed issue among Hindu scholars.


The Geeta Press (Gorakhpur) has wholeheartedly accepted this version, without compromising on any part, including Uttarakanda. Therefore, I base my words on the reliance of this publication by Geeta Press.

When examining such an authentic version of Valmiki Ramayana, we find several instances that suggest Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshman consumed meat. Additionally, meat consumption appears to have been common among them and other people during the Ramayan Period.

Swami Vivekanand himself admitted the fact:

“…Instances are found in the Râmâyana and the Mahâbhârata of the drinking of wine and the taking of meat by Rama and Krishna, whom they worship as God. Sita Devi vows meat, rice, and a thousand jars of wine to the river-goddess, Gangâ!”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.96.1📚
Having shown Mandakini River in that manner to Seetha, the daughter of Mithila, Rama set on the hill-side in order to gratify her appetite with a piece of flesh.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.52.89📚
Oh, goddess! After reaching back the city of Ayodhya, I shall worship you with thousand pots of spirituous liquor and jellied meat with cooked rice well prepared for the solemn rite.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.52.102📚
Having hunted there four deer, namely Varaaha, Rishya, Prisata; and Mahaaruru (the four principal species of deer) and taking quickly the portions that were pure, being hungry as they were, Rama and Lakshmana reached a tree to take rest in the evening.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 1.49.7📚
This ram that is being offered to you shall now be gelded to give its testes to Indra, and though this ram is deprived of its organ it will be complete and it endows complete satisfaction to you. To those humans who hereafter offer testes-less rams in sacrifices for the purpose of your gratification, you shall truly offer them plentiful and unmitigated benefits. Thus Agni, the Fire- god spoke to manes.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.56.22📚
Oh, Lakshmana! Bring the meat of an antelope. We shall perform a purifactory ceremony while entering the house. Which is to be done by those who wish to live long.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.56.25📚
Oh, gentle brother! Boil this antelope’s meat. We shall worship the leaf-hut. This day and this instant also are of a distinctive character. Be quick.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.56.27-28📚
This black antelope, with its complete limbs, has been cooked completely by me. Oh, Rama resembling God! Worship the concerned deity, as you are skilled in that act.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.55.33📚
Thereafter having travelled only a couple of miles the two brothers Rama and Lakshmana killed many consecrated deer and ate in the river-forest of Yamuna.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.91.67-70📚
There was no one seen in soiled attire or hungry or unkept or with hair powdered with dust. Dishes of goat and boar with delicious sauces were there and condiments that were spicy, fragrant and succulent, cooked in fruit juices; vessels of rare metals filled with rice, decorated with flowers, were offered in thousands to those soldiers there. The soldiers saw them with wonder on all sides. The wells in various sides of the forest (surrounding Bharadwaja’s hermitage) have their mud transformed into milk in which rice was cooked. The cows in the region were transformed into cows of plenty and the trees dripped honey.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 7.42.19📚
Taking Sita by the hand, Kakutstha gave her delicious wine made of distilled honey to drink, as formerly Purandara had offered to Sachi. Thereafter pure viands and fruits of every kind were brought by servants…”  (source)

For the verse above: The word ‘Viand’ is French, means meat, flesh, meat food, flesh food –


Merriam Webster says:

“‘Viand’ entered English in the 15th century from Anglo-French (viand means ‘meat’ even in modern French)…!”


📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.91.71📚
Some ponds there were endowed with full of wine and some were filled with assortment of various dressed meats pertaining to deer, peacocks and wild cocks; cooked in hot pans.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 1.18.31📚
That best one among the men Rama does not get his sleep without Lakshmana and he would not eat food brought for him, however delicious it may be, without Lakshmana. Whenever Raghava mounts a horse and goes on a hunting game Lakshmana rushes after him wielding his bow as a squire.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.84.10📚
After uttering thus, Guha the king of Nishadas took fish, meat and honey as an offering and approached Bharata.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.84.17📚
Here are the roots and fruits gathered by my tribe as well as fresh and dried meat of great quality and of various kinds, and all a produce of the forest.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.91.21📚
May the blessed moon-god furnish me many-coloured flowers which have just fallen from the flower-plants or trees, the drinks like wine and others as also various kinds of meat.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 2.91.52📚
O, wine-bibbers! Drink the wine, however much you desire! O troops stricken with hunger! Let milk thickened iwth rice and the meats which are very much fresh, be eaten (as you will).”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 3.47.23📚
Be comfortable for a moment, here it is possible for you to make a sojourn, and soon my husband will be coming on taking plentiful forest produce, and on killing stags, mongooses, wild boars he fetches meat, aplenty.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 3.44.27📚
Raghava then on killing another spotted deer and on taking its flesh, he hurried himself towards Janasthaana.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 3.43.19-20📚
Else if that best deer does not come into you capture while alive, oh tigerly-man, at the least its gorgeous deerskin will be remnant of it. I wish to sit along with you on its golden deerskin, overlaying it on a seat of tender darbha grass-blades, in case the deer is felled.”  (source)

📚Valmiki Ramayana 4.17.39📚
Raghava, five kinds of five-nailed animals- a kind of wild rodent, a kind of wild-boar, a kind of lizard, a hare and fifthly the turtle are edible for Brahmans and Kshatriya.”

📚Valmiki Ramayana 1.14.33-38📚
With great delight coming on her Queen Kausalya reverently made circumambulations to the horse, and symbolically killed the horse with three knives. Queen Kausalya desiring the results of ritual disconcertedly resided one night with that horse that flew away like a bird…Then the priest, one with controlled senses and rich in scriptural wealth, took up the omentum [fat] of the horse and cooked it as per scriptures while dropping into the altar of fire to bake as a food to the celestials…Those remaining body parts that horse are there, the sixteen officiating priests have procedurally oblated all of them into fire.”  (source)

8. Kalki Performs Animal Sacrifices

📚Kalki Purana 3.42📚
(Lord Kalki said:) Many pious human beings become degraded in this age of Kali. But because of My presence, they will all become pious once again. Now I would like that all of you worship Me by the performance of a Rajasuya sacrifice and a horse sacrifice.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 3.96📚
The Brahmana, however, did not grant the Asura a son like Indra. And at this, the Asura was inflamed with wrath against the Brahmana. And from that day, O king, the Asura Ilwala became a destroyer of Brahmanas. And endued with power of illusion the angry Asura transformed his brother into a ram. And Vatapi also capable of assuming any form at will, would immediately assume the shape of a ram. And the flesh of that ram, after being properly dressed, was offered to Brahmanas as food. And after they had eaten of it, they were slain. For whomsoever Ilwala summoned with his voice, he would come back to llwala even if he had gone to the abode of Yama, in re-embodied form endued with life, and show himself to Ilwala. And so having transformed the Asura Vatapi into a ram and properly cooked his flesh and feeding Brahmanas therewith, he would summon Vatapi…”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 14.89📚
Vaisampayana said, “Having cooked, according to due rites, the other excellent animals that were sacrificed, the priests then sacrificed, agreeably to the injunctions of the scriptures, that steed (which had wandered over the whole world). After cutting that horse into pieces, conformably to scriptural directions, they caused Draupadi of great intelligence, who was possessed of the three requisites of mantras, things, and devotion, to sit near the divided animal. The Brahmanas then with cool minds, taking up the marrow of that steed, cooked it duly, O chief of Bharata’s race. King Yudhishthira the just, with all his younger brothers, then smelled, agreeably to the scriptures, the smoke, capable of cleansing one from every sin, of the marrow that was thus cooked. The remaining limbs, O king, of that horse, were poured into the fire by the sixteen sacrificial priests possessed of great wisdom.”  (source)

9. Killing Animals is Non-Violent


Vedic verses indeed mention animal sacrifice as part of Yajna (sacrifice). Maharshi Manu also writes about slaughtering animals for sacrifices, considering it as a non-violent act,

📚Manusmriti 5.44📚
Know that the injury to moving creatures and to those destitute of motion, which the Veda has prescribed for certain occasions, is no injury at all; for the sacred law shone forth from the Veda.”  (source)

Whether animals should be killed in Yajna (Sacrifices) or not is explained in detail in the Devi Bhagavatam Purana,

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 1.18.48-61📚
O King! One can see before one’s eyes that the drinking of Soma rasa, the killing of animals, the eating of fish and flesh and so are advised in the Vedas; so much so that in the sacrificial ceremony named Sautrâmana the rule of drinking wine and many other vratas are clearly mentioned; even gambling is advised in the Vedas. So how can Mukti be obtained by following the Veda Dharma? It is heard that, in ancient times, there was a great king, named S’as’avindu, very religious, truthful, and performing sacrifices, very liberal; he protected the virtuous, and chastised those that were wicked and going astray. He performed many Yajñas, where many cows and sheep were sacrificed according to the rules of the Vedas and abundant Dakshinâs (sacrificial fees) were presented to every one that performed their parts in the sacrifices. In these sacrifices, the hides of the cows that were sacrificed as victims, were heaped to such an enormous extent that they looked liked a second Bindhyâchal mountain. Then the rains fell and the dirty water coming out of that enormous heap of skins flowed down and gave rise to a river which was thence called the Charmanvatî river… Janaka said :– “The killing of animals in a sacrificial ceremony is not killing; it is known as Ahimsa [Non Violence]; for that himsa [Violence] is not from any selfish attachment; therefore when there is no such sacrifice and the animals are killed out of selfish attachment, then that is real himsâ; … O Dvija! Really speaking, the killing of animals done by the house-holder attached to senses and their objects, and done under their impulses can be taken into account as a real act of killing; but, O Mahâbhâga of those whose hearts are not attached to anything of those self controlled persons, desirous of moksa, if they do an act of Himsa out of a sense of duty, with no desires of fruits and with their hearts free from egoism that can never be reckoned as a real act of killing.”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 3.26.32-34📚
Those who eat meat, they can sacrifice animals in this worship of the Devî; and, for this purpose, goat and wild boars are the best. O sinless one! The goats, etc., offered as a sacrifice before the Devî attain to unending heavens. Therefore persons offering the sacrifices of goats do not incur any sin. O king! The goats, etc., and other beast offered as a sacrifice before the Devas undoubtedly go to the heavenly regions; therefore, in all the S’âstras, it has been decided that this killing of animals in a sacrifice is considered as non-killing.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 51.67📚
That slaughter which is in accordance with the precepts of the Veda, and has been fixed for this world of movable and immovable creatures, should be considered as no slaughter at all; because it is from the Veda that law shines forth.”  (source)

📚Kalki Purana 26.12📚
The Vedas therefore say that killing in a righteous battle or in a sacrificial performace does not constitute killing.”  (source)

The following verse from Vasistha Dharmasutra explains Manusmriti 5.48, which is used by Hindu apologists to prohibit meat consumption,

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 4.5-8📚
The Manava (Sutra states), ‘Only when he worships the manes and the gods, or honours guests, he may certainly do injury to animals.’ On offering a Madhuparka (to a guest), at a sacrifice, and at the rites in honour of the manes, but on these occasions only may an animal be slain; that (rule) Manu proclaimed.”Meat can never be obtained without injuring living beings, and to injure living beings does not procure heavenly bliss; therefore the (sages declare) the slaughter (of beasts) at a sacrifice not to be slaughter (in the ordinary sense of the word).’ ‘Now he may also cook a full-grown ox or a full-grown he-goat for a Brâhmana or Kshatriya guest; in this manner they offer hospitality to such (a man).”  (source)

10. Examples of Meat Consumption and Sacrifices

10.1 Krishna

Krishna recommended the slaughtering of animals for worshipping Govardhan Mountain and also consumed the flesh of animals that were offered by the people,

📚Vishnu Purana 5.10.36-49📚
Let prayer and offerings then be addressed to the mountain Govarddhana, and kill a victim in due form. Let the whole station collect their milk without delay, and feed with it the Brahmans and all who may desire to partake of it. When the oblations have been presented, and the Brahmans have been fed, let the Gopas circumambulate the cows, decorated with garlands of autumnal flowers. If the cowherds will attend to these suggestions, they will secure the favour of the mountain, of the cattle, and also mine.” When Nanda and the other Gopas heard these words of Krishńa, their faces expanded with delight, and they said that he had spoken well. “You have judged rightly, child,” exclaimed they; “we will do exactly as you have proposed, and offer adoration to the mountain.” Accordingly the inhabitants of Vraja worshipped the mountain, presenting to it curds and milk and flesh; and they fed hundreds and thousands of Brahmans, and many other guests, who came to the ceremony, even as Krishńa had enjoined: and when they had made their offerings, they circumambulated the cows and the bulls, that bellowed as loud as roaring clouds. Upon the summit of Govarddhana, Krishńa presented himself, saying, “I am the mountain,” and partook of much food presented by the Gopas; whilst in his own form as Krishńa he ascended the hill along with the cowherds, and worshipped his other self. Having promised them many blessings, the mountain-person of Krishńa vanished; and the ceremony being completed, the cowherds returned to their station.”  (source)

📚Harivamsha Purana 2.17.15-21📚
Let us kill the animals such as buffalos to be eaten. Let this sacrifice be conducted with all gopas… Along with a pond of curd, a vortex of ghee, a river of milk, a variety of meat and a mountain of cooked rice, the entire complex of vraja including the happy gopa-s and beautiful gopi-s proceeded for the hill sacrifice… At the start of the sacrifice, the items were offered to the fire as ordained. The gopa-s performed the sacrifice along with brahmins on an auspicious day. At the end of the sacrifice, by illusion, Krishna became the hill and consumed the best rice, milk, curd and meat which were offered.”  (source)

This is also mentioned in Brahma Purana,

📚Brahma Purana 79.21-27📚
[Krishna said] Hence, let the mountain Govardhana be honoured and worshipped with all due offerings after killing the sacrificial animal in accordance with injunctions. Vyasa said: O brahmins, on hearing these words of his, Nanda and other residents of the colony became delighted with their faces beaming with pleasure. They said ‘Well said, well said, my boy… Accordingly the residents of colony performed Yajna unto the mountain. They offered oblations unto the mountain by curds, milk puddings, meat etc.”  (source)

Hundreds of animals were slaughtered, and wine was consumed by Krishna’s family and the Pandavas,

📚Mahabharata 4.72.19-28📚
And Krishna gave unto each of the illustrious sons of Pandu numerous female slaves, and gems and robes. And then the nuptial festival set in between the families of the Matsya king and the Pandavas. And then conchs and cymbals and horns and drums and other musical instruments appointed by the Pandavas, began to play in the palace of Virata. And deer of various kinds and clean animals by hundreds were slain. And wines of various kinds and intoxicating juices of trees were profusely collected.”  (source)

10.2 Shiva

📚Mahabharata 13.161.7📚
And since he burns and oppresses, is keen and fierce, and endued with great energy, and is engaged in eating flesh and blood and marrow, he is said to be Rudra.”  (source)

📚Vayu Purana 1.30.202📚
Hail to the one greedy of raw and cooked meat.. Obeisance to the jackal (fond of) embryo meal…”  (source)

10.3 Others

Rishi Agastya is said to have consumed beasts, birds, and even an Asura who had taken the form of a ram,

📚Manusmriti 5.22-23📚
Beasts and birds recommended (for consumption) may be slain by Brahmanas for sacrifices, and in order to feed those whom they are bound to maintain; for Agastya did this of old. For in ancient (times) the sacrificial cakes were (made of the flesh) of eatable beasts and birds at the sacrifices offered by Brahmanas and Kshatriyas.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 14.15
For it is declared in the Veda, ‘At a sacrificial session (sattra), which lasted one thousand years, Agastya went out to hunt. He had sacrificial cakes prepared with the meat of beasts and fowls good (to eat).”  (source)

The below verse indicates that animal sacrifice was conducted to appease the departed ancestors (manes),

📚Brahma Purana 5.47-50
On the Astaka day Iksvaku commanded Vikuksi ‘O powerful one, kill some rabbits and bring their flesh for performing Sraddha.’O Brahmins, after planning to perform the Sraddha rite before executing it he ate part of the meat of the rabbit which was meant for the Sraddha…”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 7.9.1-11
Vyâsa said :– O King! Once on a time, the time for Astaka S’râddha (the funeral ceremony in honour of the departed) arrived. Seeing this, the King Iksâku ordered his son Vikuksi:– “O Child! Go immediately to the forest and bring carefully pure sanctified meat for the S’râddha purposes; see, that there be no neglect of duty.” Thus ordered, Vikuksi instantly went to the forest equipped with arms. He hunted in the forest lots of boars, pigs, deer, and hare. But he was so very tired with his journey in the forest and got so hungry that he forgot everything about the Astaka S’râddha and ate one hare there in the forest. The remaining excellent meat he brought and handed over to his father. When that meat was brought to be sprinkled for purification, the family priest Vas’istha, on seeing it, at once came to know that some portion had already been eaten and it was the remaining part. The leavings of food are not fit for the sprinkling purposes; this is the S’âstric rule…”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 5.20.16-50
The Râjasik Brâhmanas were versed in the Vedas and acted as priests to the Ksattriyas and ate flesh as sanctioned by recognised rules. They were busy with their six duties…”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 9.6.6-8
During the months of January, February and March, oblations offered to the forefathers are called aṣṭakā-śrāddha. The śrāddha ceremony is held during the dark fortnight of the month. When Mahārāja Ikṣvāku was performing his oblations in this ceremony, he ordered his son Vikukṣi to go immediately to the forest to bring some pure flesh. Thereafter, Ikṣvāku’s son Vikukṣi went to the forest and killed many animals suitable for being offered as oblations. But when fatigued and hungry he became forgetful and ate a rabbit he had killed. Vikukṣi offered the remnants of the flesh to King Ikṣvāku, who gave it to Vasiṣṭha for purification. But Vasiṣṭha could immediately understand that part of the flesh had already been taken by Vikukṣi, and therefore he said that it was unfit to be used in the śrāddha ceremony.”  (source)

The sons of Pandu killed numerous animals and offered them to Brahmins,

📚Mahabharata 3.80
And, O chief of the Bharata race, those mighty warriors endowed with great prowess slew with pure arrows various kinds of sacrificial animals for the Brahmanas. And those tigers among men and repressors of foes, daily slaying those wild animals and sanctifying them properly, offered them unto the Brahmanas.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 1.116
The great Rishi Vyasa of immeasurable energy said unto the daughter of the king of Gandhara that she would become the mother of a hundred sons. Illustrious one, how is that you sayest Gandhari had a daughter over and above her hundred sons? If the ball of flesh was distributed by the great Rishi only into a hundred parts, and if Gandhari did not conceive on any other occasion, how was then Duhsala born.”  (source)

Munis (sages) also used to consume meat,

📚Mahabharata 3.159
Vaisampayana continued, “Having heard from that one of incomparable energy, (Arshtishena), that advice conducive to their welfare, those foremost of the Bharatas, began to behave always accordingly. Those best of men, the Pandavas, dwelt upon the Himavan, partaking of the food eaten by the Munis, and luscious fruit, and the flesh of deer killed with unpoisoned shafts and various kinds of pure honey.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 2.4📚
Vaisampayana said,–“Then that chief of men, king Yudhishthira, entered that palatial sabha having first fed ten thousand Brahmanas with preparations of milk and rice mixed with clarified butter and honey with fruits and roots, and with pork and venison. The king gratified those superior Brahmanas, who had come from various countries with food seasoned with seasamum and prepared with vegetables called jibanti, with rice mixed with clarified butter, with different preparations of meat–with indeed various kinds of other food, as also numberless viands that are fit to be sucked and innumerable kinds of drinks, with new and unused robes and clothes, and with excellent floral wreaths.”  (source)

Some Hindus may indeed twist the Vedic verses, suggesting that they are allegorical rather than literal. However, many consider verses from Manu Smriti, Upanishads, Brahmanas, and other texts to be literal and hold specific meanings. There are indeed verses in Vedic texts that mention meat consumption.

11. The Testimony of Various Classical Scholars

To conclude my article, I will present the testimony of renowned classical Hindu scholars, in addition to the other notable scholars I have already quoted. This collective evidence supports the premise that the Vedas and the subsidiary texts permit beef eating as well as the practice of animal sacrifice. By citing the views of various respected scholars, I aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the historical perspectives and interpretations surrounding these topics within Hinduism.

11.1 Adi Shankaracharya

Adi Shankaracharya, the renowned philosopher and theologian, has provided an extensive commentary on the famous Brahma Sutras. In his commentary on Brahma Sutra Adhyaai 3, Paada 1, Sutra 25, he writes,

“None therefore can know, without scripture, what is either right or wrong. Now from scripture we derive the certain knowledge that the gyotishtoma-sacrifice, which involves harm done to animals (i.e. the animal sacrifice), is an act of duty; how then can it be called unholy?–But does not the scriptural precept, ‘Do not harm any creature,’ intimate that to do harm to any being is an act contrary to duty?–True, but that is a general rule, while the precept, ‘Let him offer an animal to Agnîshomau,’ embodies an exception; and general rule and exception have different spheres of application. The work (i.e. sacrifice) enjoined by the Veda is therefore holy, being performed by authoritative men and considered blameless.”

11.2 Acharya Ramanuja

Acharya Ramanuja, another eminent scholar and philosopher, has written a well-known commentary on the Brahma Sutras titled ‘Sri Bhasya.’ In his commentary on the same Sutra 25, he writes,

“Scripture declares that the killing of sacrificial animals makes them to go up to the heavenly world, and therefore is not of the nature of harm. This is declared in the text, ‘The animal killed at the sacrifice having assumed a divine body goes to the heavenly world’; ‘with a golden body it ascends to the heavenly world.’ An action which is the means of supreme exaltation is not of the nature of harm, even if it involves some little pain; it rather is of beneficial nature.”

11.3 Sikand Swami

This 7th-century commentator of the Vedas, while commenting on Rigveda 1.1.4, writes,

“Yajna is good for everyone, and no one is injured. The animals who are sacrificed, also gain ultimate good. The ancestors say, “the animals that are sacrificed in the Yajna, obtain the higher worlds” After examining all these testimonies, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Vedic religion does permit beef eating and considers animal sacrifice as an investment for the greater good. The diverse views and interpretations from renowned classical Hindu scholars, including Adi Shankaracharya and Acharya Ramanuja, along with the commentary on Rigveda 1.1.4, provide a comprehensive understanding of the historical perspectives surrounding these practices within the Vedic tradition. By presenting these testimonials, we gain valuable insights into the beliefs and customs that were prevalent during ancient times, shedding light on the varied aspects of Vedic rituals and dietary practices.