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Did Brahmins eat non-veg in vedic Sacrifice?

Posted by on December 27, 2012

We will come to the desire propelled food habits, like eating non-veg ‘mamsa’, by the Brahmins, in a later post –  this I promised in my previous post. We will discuss this now.

The shruthi gives some injunctive ‘vidhi’ statements for the fire sacrifices performed with cow, goat, horse, sparrow etc.; now some people are of this wrong idea that like in the last Soma yaga, here too since the offerings are to be partaken by the preists, they concur that the Brahmins are allowed to take non-veg or they used to take non-veg (probably, taking the shruti as a Pramana for this escapism).

But, the truth is, even for the people who are allowed to eat the non-veg food, the shruti lays a code of eating only the five animals with five nails ‘panca panca nakhaan bhakshyaa’. This is to control the desire propelled ‘ragata prapta’ food habits.

Son, in the yaga too, like the soma rasa only, if at all, a small bit can be had. And definetly, this yaga is not performed as an excuse for eating non-veg. The shruti not olny lays the rule for the cattle, but also what portion of the cattle should be used, and how it should be cut. The cattle should be cut, and after removing the heart, tongue ‘agre avadyati atha hrdye atha jihvaa’. And the left out portion what will we do, cook for eating, if be said, No, because that is a cattle given for the yaga purpose. There is nothing like leftover, the other unwanted portion should be put in the pit which is dug for throwing all the wastes in the yaga.

But, there is a statement in the shraadha prakarana for using the non-veg food as an offering to the ancestors and be served for the Brahmins who are representative for those ancestors. This is true. But, the smriti texts categorically negate using non-veg foods in any of the karmas in kali yuga.

Then we cannot perform the pashu yaga, if be asked. We understand it right. Then the shruti statement will become useless (if one statement is useless, the others can also be useless, like the previous one. With this kind of logic the others will destroy the pramanatva of the scriptures).

For this reason, the great saints like Sri Madvacharya etc. proposed a new way of performing the yaga. By making the form of the required cattle with dow paste filling its inners with kumum mixed necessary body parts (like, heart, tongue etc) the yaga should be performed. And never with the real cattle.

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