From”: Y K Wadhwa < >

Slaying of Cow not sanctioned by the Vedas – Beef eating and drinking of alcohol not in conformity with true Vedic tradition
We can find many references in the Vedas making it abundantly clear that Vedic tenets do not at all endorse beef eating and slaying of animals.  It is mainly the leftist historians who while following the literal translations of some of the Western scholars and their Indian ilk have grossly misinterpreted and misrepresented the true Vedic point of view.  In this regard equally responsible are some of  the  Vedic exegesis produced generally during the medieval ages when ancient methodology as propounded in Nirukta of Yaskacharya and other works of Rishies to rightly interpret the Vedas had started falling  into disuse. The term ‘Gau’ in Vedic Sanskrit may mean cow or earth, rays of sun, sense organs, speech, etc.  However, failure to understand the contextual  meanings of the  symbolic/multi-dimensional/figurative language of the Vedas led to distortion and twisting of the Vedic poetical expressions.
I am giving below few references from various Arsha Texts covering: Vedas/Mahabharata/Manusmriti/Satpath Brahman/Satyarth Prakash prohibiting meat eating  to smash the prevailing misgivings, misconceptions and misinterpretations in this regard:
Vedas and Vegetarian diet:
Atharva Veda says:
1.  Anago hatya vai bheema kritye.  Maa no gaamashvam purusham vadheeh.(Atharva Veda 10.1.29)
Abstract meaning: It is definitely a great sin to kill innocents.  Do not kill our cows, horses and people.
2.  Ya aamam maansamadanti paurusheyam cha ye kravih.
Garbhaan kaadanti kshavaastaanito naashayaamasi.  Atharva Veda 8.6.23
Abstract Meaning: We ought to destroy those who eat cooked as well as uncooked meat, meat involving destruction of males and females, fetuses and eggs.
3. Breehimattam yavamattamatho maashamatho tilam
Esha vamm bhaago nihito ratnadheyaaya dantau maa hinsishtam pitaram maataram cha (Atharva Veda 6.140.2)
Abstract meaning: You eat rice, barley, gram and sesame.  These cereals are specifically meant for you.  Do not kill those who are capable of being fathers and mothers.
Yajur Veda

4.  Aghnyaa yajamaanasya pashoonpahi.  Yajur Veda 1.1

Abstract Meaning:  O human! Animals are Aghnya – NOT TO BE KILLED.  PROTECT THE ANIMALS. 
Abstract Meaning:  Protect the animals.
6. Dwipaadava Chatushpaatpaahi – Yajur Veda 14.8
Abstract Meaning:  Protect the bipeds and quadrupeds
Rig Veda 
7. Yah paurusheyena kravishaa samankte yo ashwena pashunaa yaatudhaanah. Yo aghnyaayaabharati ksheeramagne teshaam sheershaani harasaapi vrishcha.  – Rig Veda 10.87.16
Abstract Meaning: May those who feed on human, horse or animal flesh and those who destroy milk-giving Aghnya – cows be punished severely.
Source:  ‘Vedic Satsang – Authentic Vedic Perspectives’, Compiled and Edited  by Dr.Deen B Chandora, M.D.,Madhusudan Chandora MD, Aditya Chandora, et al,  Pub.. by Greater Atlanta Vedic Temple Society, Inc., Lilburn, GA, USA, Ed.2012. 
The Vedas do not  sanction animal sacrifices.  The synonym for the Yajna in the Vedic lexicon called Nighantu is Adhvara.  The Word has been explained by Yaskacharya, an ancient vedic etymologist, as:
Adhvara eti yajyanam dhvarati hinsa karma tatpratished Nirukta 1.7 
Adhvara means where there is no violence of any kind (or the act which is perfectly non-violent).  This word(Adhvara) has been used in all the four Vedas hundreds of times clearly proving that the Vedas do not sanction animal sacrifices.
In the Sam Veda-176,  too it is clearly stated – We  act according to the injunctions contained in the vedic hymns.  We never kill animals.
Meat-eating is not sanctioned by the Vedas.  On the other hand it is strongly condemned and prohibited.  Rig Veda 10.87.16  says “One who eats human flesh, flesh of a horse or of any other animal and deprives others of the milk slaughtering cows, O King, if such a fiend does not desist by other means, then even cut off his head by your power.”
Who then started such obnoxious practice of animal sacrifice? In reply to a question by Yudhishtra, Bhismacharya explains in Mahabharata (Shanti Parva – 261.9) “Dhortey pravriti  yajney naitadveydeshu vidyatey” i.e., Taking Wine, fish and flesh of animals, intoxicating drinks of various kinds, etc. is not sanctioned by the Vedas at all.  It is the wicked people that have introduced such ignoble practices.  Mahabharata further states – “It is only such absolutely foolish people, who do not know the real import and tradition of the ancient Dharma, who are atheists and who are skeptics that have mentioned slaughter of animals.”Source:  “Teachings of the Vedas”: An introduction by Pt.Dharma Dev Vidya Martand, Shree Ghudmal Prahaladkumar Arya Dharmarth Nyas, Hindaun City, Raj.
In the Vedas the cows are called Aghanya  which derivatively means ‘not to be killed’.. This word Aghanya has been used in all the four Four Vedas repeatedly.  In the book “Vedic Culture, Ved Bharati, Allahabad, Ed.1985, its author Pt.Ganga Prasad Upadhyaya says that he found the word Aghnya “At 20 places in the Rig Veda, 5 in the Yajur Veda, 2 in Sama Veda and 33 in the Atharva Veda. As per Pt.Ganga Prasad Upadhyaya  while seeking blessings, almost equal regard has been paid to Ashwa, i.e., horse  which has been used at numerous places in the Vedas.
Swami Vidyanand Saraswati, (formerly Principal and Fellow Punjab University) writes while quoting Atharva Veda 1.16.4 “Capital punishment has been ordered for one who kills or tortures our cows or men.  How can we then conceive the killing of animals in any yajna which has been termed as the noblest act or ‘shreshthatam karma’ .  It has been generally held by western scholars and their zealous followers here, that horses were sacrificed as the Ashvamedha.  But the word Ashvamedha, during the Vedic period, was used in the sense of administration or welfare of the state(Rashtram va Ashvamedha –  Shatpatha 13-1-6).  There is no evidence whatsoever of the sacrifice of horse in the yajnas, performed during that period.  It is clear that animal sacrifice in the yajnas were started only by outlaws.  And since it is not in harmony ith the Vedic spirit, any reference reference to it anywhere should therefore be taken as interpolation.Source:‘On the Vedas – A Clue to understanding of the Vedas’ by Swami Vidyanand Saraswati, Vijaykumar Govindram Hasanand, New Delhi.
There are enumerable references available in uninterpolated Arsha texts against flesh eating and intoxicants and in favour of Ahimsa(non violence).  Manusmriti says at one place “Men should abstain from flesh diet and intoxicants”(Manusmriti 5-5).
For more information on this subject, you may like to read the book  “Vedas-The Myth and Reality” (A Reply to Vedic Age) by Bharat Bhooshan(former Deputy Editor, PTI) published by Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Khari Baoli, Delhi.  The above book is an english translation of the book “Vedon Ka Yatharth Swaroop” by Pt.Dharam Dev Vidya Martand  published by Samarpan Shoodh Sansthan, Sahibabad.
Cow finds  a  prominent  part in Indian  culture which has also been  the back bone of our agrarian economy. Traditionally, Hindus have been using five products of cow, i.e.,  pancha-gavya which include milk, curd, ghee, urine and cow dung and not its flesh.    Therefore, Godaan ritual i.e., gifting of cow to the bridegroom by the bride’s family is performed even today(though as a formaility) during the marriage ceremony.  Most suitable time for performing marriage ceremony is supposed to be Godhuli bela.   After cooking the food, some families even today offer first  measure to cow described as Gogras.   As per an Upanishadic story, Satyakama was given charge of four hundred cows by his Guru and was asked to take care of them in the pasture land until they become one thousand.  Conclusively, the emphasis of Vedic culture has  always been on the growth of cattle wealth by care, love and compassion and not otherwise.
( Y.K. Wadhwa )
 The quintessence of the Vedic tradition is against the practice of drinking liquor due to its pernicious effects both on the mind and body of a person..  World over today, doctors are acknowledging that excess of Alcoholism especially for pleasure  is one of the major factors for malfunctioning of various systems of the human body, however, it is unfortunate that the evil lies so deep that its eradication is neither on the priority list of the various Governments nor the concerned professionals at large.  The proponents of alcoholism in order to justify this do not even hesitate in attributing the evil practice to the Indian tradition.   Nothing can be farther from the truth.  Sometime back  headlines in the newspapers created some sensation when a politician described Rama as a drunkard.  Well the politicians and intellectuals are entitled to have their own opinions provided it is based on true understanding of the Vedic tradition and its nuances. The tendency to Simply follow the commentaries and mis-interpretations mainly of the western scholars of the last two centuries, who were not able to to put  Vedic tradition in its right perspective because of lack of knowledge of  figurative/symbolic language of the Vedas is not only damaging the country’s ethos but also its sublime and progressive culture. 

For instance the claim of some of the scholars of the Vedas that the Vedic people used to drink Somras by confusing it with intoxicants like Sura is simply baseless.  Shatpatha Brahmana says“Satya Vai Jyothi Soma, Anrat Papma tamah suraitey(V1.2.10), i.e. Soma is Truth, prosperity and light while Sura or liquor is untruth(anrta), misery and darkness.  Soma primarily stands for God “Somahi Prajapati” – Lord of all beings (Shatpath 5-15-26). It further says all pervading God is Soma “Yo vai Vishnu Somah Sah (3-3-4).  Soma is also described as Moon in the scriptures and juice of devotion.   As per Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati, an eminent scientist and a Vedic scholar ” in history in different geographical locations, different creepers were given the status of Soma, however, so far no agreement has been arrived at with regard to identification of its species”.  Soma a synonym of Amrta is a conceptual term and promoter of divine virtues while its counterpart Sura an intoxicating liquor is promoter of sin.  Rig Veda 10-.5-6 and 7-.86-5 refer to Sura as a great sin  and in Mandal 8 it says “After drinking sura – i.e., intoxicating  liquor, drunkard fight among themselves and their physical strength weakens and they become prematurely old.”     Manu says that man should abstain from flesh diet and intoxicants (Chapter 5) and In Chapter 11 Manusmriti has equated Sura with Mal – a dirty refuse and hence dwijas should not drink Sura at all.  

 The message we get from the characters of Rama, Lakshmana or Bharata as depicted in the Valmiki Ramayana condemns drinking of wine.  In Ayodhya Kandam while convincing others about his sincere devotion to Rama, Bharata says if he ever wished for the exile of Ram, he would call upon Gods to punish him  and strike him with suffering of those who are addicted to alcohol, who murder a king, etc. 

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