This answer says, from the Vyasa Smriti:

Milk, wine, honey, and clarified butter are the articles which the gods are fond of.

The word wine is used for Sanskrit "sura."

Then there is this verse from the Manusmriti:

11.95: Intoxicants [drugs], meat, wine [sura] and distilled liquors are the food of Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Piśācas; it should not be taken by the Brāhmaṇa who partakes of the offerings to the gods.

This doesn't doesn't make any sense because the Vyasa Smriti says the Devas love wine, hence, one reason why the Devas are called Suras whereas the demons are called Asuras! Also in the Puranas, the Devas frequently drink sura. The Devas are also the ones who grabbed sura (as the goddess Varuni) when it came out of the churning of the ocean.

Then, meat and sura are themselves offered to the Devas in Yajnas!

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 Pitṛs, he does not incur sin.

There is also a Yajna called the Sautramani Yajna in which the sacrificer offers sura to Indra, and then drinks it.

The Pitrs, who are like Devas, are very fond of meat:

3.272. 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 [satisfy the Pitrs for an endless time].

So, given these facts, Manusmriti verse 11.95 does not make any sense. One can just as well say the Devas and Pitrs are fond of intoxicants, meat, wine, and distilled liquors, just like the Yakshas, Rakshasas, and Pisachas.

Medhatithi's commentary also does not make any sense. He says:

‘Who partake of the offering to the gods’—The cake, rice and such substance offered to the gods are called ‘offerings’; as mentioned in connection with the Darśa-pūrṇamāsa and other sacrifices. It is these that it is right and proper for the Brāhmaṇa to eat, and not wine and meat, which are the food of the lower spirits.

But what if meat and wine are offered to the gods?

What is the purpose of this apparently useless Manusmriti verse 11.95?

I think these statements are Arthavada, simply to show that Brahmanas should not drink liquor.

The other possibility is that the Devas and Pitrs in reality do not eat or drink anything, and statements where they do are allegorical/arthavada, because it is said in the Chhandogya Upanishad:

Among them, which is the first Amrita, keeping Agni in front, is enjoyed by the Vasus. [But, in the real sense], the gods neither do eat nor drink; they are satisfied upon seeing (drishtvA tripyanti) the Amrita only.

But then again, why should the Devas be satisfied by seeing meat and liquor?

Or maybe they are only satisfied by seeing amrta, and not other offerings like soma, sura, and mamsa.


'Deva' means 'gods' and also 'those worthy of being worshipped' according to sanskrit dictionary : http://sanskritdictionary.com/?iencoding=iast&q=देव&lang=sans&action=Search

I think Vyasa and others who say that wine is dear to gods have taken the second meaning.

In Tantra, there are provisions of worship of (Upa)-devas with meat and wine. Even the Tamasika Puja of the Dasa-Mahavidyas also involve offering of meat and wine.

In Tantra, it would depend on the nature of the aspirant. Sattwiki worships never involve these things, as pointed out by Sri Ramakrishna (28 Nov 1883, Kathamrita, Udbodhan, page 307).

  • Yes, perhaps it could be referring to the Kshudra devatas, who are the recipients of the Sautramani yajna. But what about Puranic references of Indra drinking sura, the gods grabbing sura (Varuni) from the churning of the ocean? – Ikshvaku Feb 15 '19 at 17:51
  • @Ikshvaku today there was a question regarding meaning of scriptures that had good answers. Everything is not literally true i think – user17294 Feb 15 '19 at 17:53
  • Yes, perhaps some Puranic stories are allegorical. Even many contemporary Vedic scholars say that most of the Puranic stories are allegorical. But I wonder, what meaning does Indra drinking sura convey if it is allegorical? – Ikshvaku Feb 15 '19 at 17:55
  • @Ikshvaku anything that intoxicates like power, wealth etc could be 'wine' – user17294 Feb 15 '19 at 17:57

The reconciliation is that the Pisachas, Rakshasas, etc. eat meat unflawfully, whereas the Devas and Pitrs eat meat lawfully, which is by eating only meat of specifical animals sacrificed in a yajna.

So when the verse says "meat...are the food of Yakṣas, Rākṣasas and Piśācas", it is referring to non-sacrificial meat, meaning meat that has not been consecrated with mantras.

The Manusmriti states:

3.257 - The food of hermits, milk, the soma-herb, meat that is not forbidden, salt other than alkaline, are by nature, called “sacrificial food.”

"Meat that is not forbidden" refers to consecrated meat, and this meat is considered "sacrificial food."

So when verse 11.95 says, "[meat] should not be taken by the Brāhmaṇa who partakes of the offerings to the gods", it is referring to non-sacrificial meat, since the offerings to the gods can be meat.

The difference is, the Rakshasas, etc. have no self control and eat all sorts of prohibited meat, like human flesh, elephant flesh, etc. And they do not consecrate the meat either before eating it. This practice is what is condemned.

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