Some Brahmins are known to be lovers and avid eaters of fish.
Are Brahmins allowed to eat fish?
Hinduism Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for followers of the Hindu religion and those interested in learning more about Hinduism. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Yes, eating fish is against the regulations for Dvijas. Manusmriti verse 5.15 reads:
yo yasya māṃsamaśnāti sa tanmāṃsāda ucyate | matsyādaḥ sarvamāṃsādastasmān matsyān vivarjayet || 15 ||
He who eats the flesh of an animal, is called the ‘eater of its flesh’; he who eats fish is the ‘eater of all kinds of flesh’; hence one shall avoid fish.—(15).
So, eating Fish is equivalent to eating all kinds of meat; hence, one shall avoid fish.
Eating forbidden food is equivalent to drinking alcohol, which is a Mahapataka for a Dvija. Manusmriti 11.56 reads:
brahmojjhatā vedanindā kauṭasākṣyaṃ suhṛdvadhaḥ | garhitānādyayorjagdhiḥ surāpānasamāni ṣaṭ || 56 ||
Neglecting the Veda, reviling the Veda, bearing false witness, slaying a friend, and eating of forbidden and unfit food,—these six are equal to ‘wine [alcohol made of grains] -drinking.’—(56)
However, certain fish can be eaten without having offered them in a sacrifice. Manusmriti verse 5.16:
The ‘Pāṭhīna’ and the ‘Rohita’ are fit to be eaten when used as offerings to gods or Pitṛs; the ‘Rājīva’, the ‘Siṃhatuṇḍa’ and the ‘Saśalka,’ (one may eaṭ) on all occasions.—(16)
Yājñavalkya verses 1.177-178:
Among fish the following may be eaten by the twice-born,—Siṃhatuṇḍa, Rohita, Pāṭhīna and those with scales.
However, many commentaries state that even these fish should be eaten only after offering them in a yajna (sacrifice).