Do the Vedic literature allow meat-eating? Did Hinduism adopt vegetarianism from Buddhism?
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1. Vedic literature not uni-form, but omni-form: not just one way for all people, but multiple ways depending on levels of people.
2. Vegetarianism is their recommendation, as seen from the verses below, but meat-eating is their concession. eg. doctor to diabetic patient: medicines and sugar-less diet are the recommendation, sweet once a week is a concession.
3. When patient misrepresents concession to be recommendation, the doctor rejects the concession entirely to prevent such future abuse. That's what Lord Buddha did.
4. Buddhism brought to the forefront of practical application the recommendations for vegetarianism that had been gradually sidelined.
5. Vedic literature lead the way in pioneering a global elevation of human consciousness through the adoption of vegetarianism.
"One who partakes of human
flesh, the flesh of a horse or of another animal, and deprives others of
milk by slaughtering cows, O King, if such a fiend does not desist by other
means, then you should not hesitate to cut off his head."
"Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to
sentient beings is detrimental to the attainment of heavenly bliss; let him
therefore shun the use of meat. Having well considered the disgusting
origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let
him entirely abstain from eating flesh." (Manu-samhita 5.48-49)
"He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who cuts it up, he who kills
it, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he
who eats it, must all be considered as the slayers of the animal. There is
no greater sinner than that man who though not worshiping the gods or the
ancestors, seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of
other beings." (Manu-samhita 5.51-52)
"If he has a strong desire (for meat)
he may make an animal of clarified butter or one of flour (and eat that);
but let him never seek to destroy an animal without a (lawful) reason. As
many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it
without a (lawful) reason suffer a violent death in future births."
"He who injures harmless
creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness in
this life or the next." (Manu-samhita 5.45)
on pure fruits and roots, and by eating food fit for ascetics in the forest,
one does not gain so great a reward as by entirely avoiding the use of
flesh. Me he [mam sah] will devour in the next world, whose flesh I eat in
this life; the wise declare this to be the real meaning of the word 'flesh'
[mam sah]." (Manu-samhita 5.54-55)
"He who does not seek to cause the sufferings of bonds and death to living
creatures, (but) desires the good of all (beings), obtains endless bliss.
He who does not injure any (creature) attains without an effort what he
thinks of, what he undertakes, and what he fixes his mind on." (Manu-samhita
"By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation."
"He who desires to augment his own
flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures, lives in misery in whatever
species he may take his [next] birth." (Mahabharata, Anu.115.47)
"The purchaser of flesh performs violence by his wealth; he who eats flesh
does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does violence by actually tying
and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who
brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs of an animal, and he
who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it--all these are to be
considered meat-eaters." (Mahabharata, Anu.115.40)
"The sins generated by violence curtail the life of the perpetrator.
Therefore, even those who are anxious for their own welfare should abstain
meat-eating." (Mahabharata, Anu.115.33)
Bhishma started, "Numberless discourses took place between the Rishis on
this subject, O scion of Kuru's race. Listen, O Yudhisthira, what their
opinion was. (115.7)
"The highly wise seven celestial Rishis, the Valakshillyas, and those
Rishis who drink the rays of the sun, all speak highly of abstention from
The self-created Manu has said that the man who does not eat meat, or who
does not kill living creatures, or who does not cause them to be killed, is
a friend of all creatures. Such a man is incapable of being oppressed by
any creature. He enjoys the confidence of all living beings. He always enjoys
the praise of the pious. The virtuous Narada has said that that man who
wishes to multiply his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures meets
with disaster. (115.9-12)
"That man, who having eaten meat, gives it up afterwards wins merit by such
a deed that is so great that a study of all the Vedas or a performance, O
Bharata, of all the sacrifices [Vedic rituals], cannot give its like.
"That learned person who gives to all living creatures the gift of complete
assurance is forsooth regarded as the giver of lifebreaths in this world.
"Men gifted with intelligence and purified souls should always treat others
as they themselves wish to be treated. It is seen that even those men who
are endued with learning and who seek to acquire the greatest good in the
shape of liberation, are not free of the fear of death. (115.20)
"What necessity be said of those innocent and healthy creatures gifted with
love of life, when they are sought to be killed by sinful wretches living
by slaughter? Therefore, O King, know that the discarding of meat is the
highest refuge of religion, of the celestial region, and of happiness.
Abstention of injury [to others] is the highest religion. It is, again, the
highest penance. It is also the highest truth from which all duty emanates.
"Flesh cannot be had from grass or wood or stone. Unless a living creature
is killed it cannot be procured. Hence is the fault of eating flesh. The
celestials who live upon Svaha, Svadha, and nectar, are given to truth and
sincerity. Those persons, however, who are for satisfying the sensation of
taste, should be known as Rakshasas [flesh-eating demons] pervaded by the
quality of Darkness. (115.24-25)
"If there were nobody who ate flesh, then there would be nobody to slay
living creatures. The man who slays living creatures kills them for the sake
of the person who eats flesh. If flesh were not considered as food, there
would then be no destruction of living creatures. It is for the sake of the
eater that the destruction of living entities is carried on in the world.
Since, O you of great splendor, the period of life is shortened by persons
who kill living creatures or cause them to be killed, it is clear that the
person who seeks his own good should give up meat altogether. Those dreadful
persons who are engaged in the destruction of living beings never find
protectors when they are in need. Such persons should always be molested and
punished even as beast of prey. (115.29-32)
"That man who seeks to multiply his own flesh by (eating) the flesh of
others has to live in this world in great anxiety, and after death has to take
birth in indifferent races and families. High Rishis given to the
observance of vows and self-control have said that abstention from meat is
of praise, productive of fame and Heaven, and a great satisfaction itself.
This I heard formerly, O son of Kunti, from Markandeya when that Rishi
discoursed on the sins of eating flesh. (115.34-36)
"He who purchases flesh, kills living creatures through his money. He who
eats flesh, kills living beings through his eating. He who binds or seizes
and actually kills living creatures is the slaughterer. These are the three
sorts of slaughter through each of these acts. He who does not himself eat
flesh but approves of an act of slaughter, becomes stained with the sin of
"That wretched man who kills living creatures for the sake of those who
would eat them commits great sin. The eater's sin is not as great. That
wretched man who, following the path of religious rites and sacrifices as laid
down in the Vedas, would kill a living creature from a desire to eats its
flesh, will certainly go to hell. That man who having eaten flesh abstains
from it afterwards acquires great merit on account of such abstention from
sin. He who arranges for obtaining flesh, he who approves of those
arrangements, he who kills, he who buys or sells, he who cooks, and he who
[acquire the sin of those who] are all considered as eaters of flesh.
[Therefore] that man who wishes to avoid disaster should abstain from the meat
every living creature. (115.44-48)
"Listen to me, O king of kings, as I tell you this, O sinless one, there
is absolute happiness in abstaining from meat, O king. He who practices
severe austerities for a century, and he who abstains from meat, are both
equally meritorious. This is my opinion. (115.52-53)
"Yudhisthira said: Alas, those cruel men who, not caring for various other
sorts of food, want only flesh, are really like great Rakshasas
[meat-eating demons]. (116.1)
"Bhishma said: That man who wishes to increase his own flesh by the meat
of another living creature is such that there is none meaner and more cruel
than he. In this world there is nothing that is dearer to a creature than
his life. Hence, one should show mercy to the lives of others as he does to
his own life. Forsooth, O son, flesh has its origin in the vital seed.
There is great sin attached to its eating, as, indeed, there is merit in
abstaining from it. (116.11-13)
"There is nothing, O delighter of the Kurus, that is equal in point of
merit, either in this world or in the next, to the practice of mercy to all
living creatures. (116.19)
"Hence a person of purified soul should be merciful to all living
creatures. That man, O king, who abstains from every kind of meat from his
forsooth, acquires a large space in the celestial region. They who eat the
flesh of animals who are desirous of life, are themselves [later] eaten by
the animals they eat. This is my opinion. Since he has eaten me, I shall eat
him in return. This, O Bharata, forms the character as Mamsah [meaning
flesh] of Mamsah [me he, or "me he" will eat for having eaten him]. The
destroyer is always slain. After him the eater meets with the same fate.
"He who acts with hostility towards another becomes victim of similar
deeds done by that other. Whatever acts one does in whatever bodies, he has to
suffer the consequences thereof in those bodies. (116.36-37)
"Abstention from cruelty is the highest Religion. Abstention from cruelty
is the greatest self-restraint. Abstention from cruelty is the highest
gift. Abstention from cruelty is the highest penance. Abstention from cruelty
is the highest sacrifice. Abstention from cruelty is the highest power.
Abstention from cruelty is the greatest friend. Abstention from cruelty is the
greatest happiness. (116.38-39)
"Gifts made in all sacrifices [rituals], ablutions performed in all sacred
water, and the merit which one acquires from making all kinds of gifts
mentioned in the scriptures, all these do not equal in merit abstention from
"Those who are ignorant of real dharma and, though wicked and haughty,
account themselves virtuous, kill animals without any feeling of remorse or
fear of punishment. Further, in their next lives, such sinful persons will be
eaten by the same creatures they have killed in this world." (Bhagavata
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