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I had posted the following in an answer but was urged to post it as a question.

I thought brahmins were not supposed to eat meat but I was reading MahAbhArata when I came across the following in sabhA parva.

भक्ष्यैर्मूलैैः फलैश्चैव मांसैर्वाराहहारिणैः ie by different types of foods like roots, fuit and pork and deer-meat

and again in

मांसैर्विबिधप्रकारैः खाद्यैश्चापि तथा नृप ie different types of meat and food (SabhA parva, 4th adhyaya, slokas 7 through 9)

which depict how dharma raja Yudhishtira fed the brahmanas before entering the palace of Indraprastha.

But it is a well known fact that Brahmanas shouldn't eat meat. Where does this come from?

Meat is considered a delicacy in the mahAbhArata. But we know, for tradition, that we are not supposed to eat meat. Why did this tradition arise? If serving meat to brAhmanas was considered punya by vedavyasa, why do we consider it a sin?

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    it became a sin only after Lord Buddha appeared according to Swami Vivekananda:) – user17294 Mar 7 at 14:28
  • Did Lord Buddhaa add to or remove practices for the Kali Yuga alone? – D Marcher Mar 7 at 14:41
  • I dont think He mentioned anthing as Kaliyuga – user17294 Mar 7 at 14:44
  • As I remember, Shukr-Acharya (Guru of Rakshas) restricted consumption of meat and alcohol for brahmans. There is a story of how he was forced to resurrect one person (son of Brahaspati, I think), whom he had eaten under influence of alcohol and had to teach him about the art of resurrection so that he can, in turn, resurrect Shukr-Acharaya. – V.Aggarwal Apr 12 at 8:06
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Manu Smriti includes meat (prepared without spices) among Havi (i.e. food that are fit to be offered in Vedic sacrifices).

3.257. The food eaten by hermits in the forest, milk, Soma-juice, meat which is not prepared (with spices), and salt unprepared by art, are called, on account of their nature, sacrificial food.

A Brahmin can meat under certain circumstances, and he has to only consume the meat that has been duly sprinkled with mantra-infused water.

5.27. One may eat meat when it has been sprinkled with water, while Mantras were recited, when Brahmanas desire (one’s doing it), when one is engaged (in the performance of a rite) according to the law, and when one’s life is in danger.

Only the meat that has been first offered in an animal sacrifice is however considered fit to be eaten.

4.27. A Brahmana, who keeps sacred fires, shall, if he desires to live long, not eat new grain or meat, without having offered the (Agrayana) Ishti with new grain and an animal-(sacrifice).

Also, a Brahmin must not recite Vedas after he has consumed meat. So, if meat eating had been entirely prohibited for him, the following verse would not have been said:

4.112. While lying on a bed, while his feet are raised (on a bench), while he sits on his hams with a cloth tied round his knees, let him not study, nor when he has eaten meat or food given by a person impure on account of a birth or a death,

A Brahmin can not refuse eating meat in certain circumstances too, like in funeral ceremonies (Shraddhas).

And, a Brahmin becomes degraded if he chose not to eat meat, during the time when he is conducting a Vedic sacrifice.

See the following verses from Vyasa Smriti:

A Brahmana, engaged in the celebration of a religious sacrifice, becomes degraded by not taking meat.

A Kshatriya should eat the cooked flesh of a quarry after Jiaving propitiated therewith the gods and his departed manes.

A Vaishya can take meat, lawfully obtained for money, after having worshipped therewith his departed manes. (56, 57)

Eating non-sacrificial meat is of course never recommended in any scriptures.

  • Great answer. I think there are references in Tantras also, and those are also God's words as was mentioned by you before:) – user17294 Mar 7 at 14:27
  • @Rickross when following the instructions do you then still get the karma of the animal? Will you still receive the punishment as described in the manus smriti? – Wikash_ Mar 8 at 5:28
  • Which instructions actually? Hindu scriptures unanimously agree with the fact that killing in a sacrifice (if done as prescribed) is Ahimsha (non-killing) .. there will be no sin involved in that and hence no punishments @Wikash_hindu – Rickross Mar 8 at 5:46
  • @Partha Yes true, but most people are not much acquainted with the Tantras .. sometime previously whn I was answering using Tantras as sources, people said better to give references from Sruti and Smriti as not everyone may follow Agamas :P But whn I added the references from Sruti it was found that it was saying exactly the same thing that the Tantras were saying .. :P – Rickross Mar 8 at 5:48

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