I have come across the many translations where "Mamsah" is translated as fruit or as root vegetable. As I am attaching here.

an example translation image of word Mamasah

The original translation As per my belief should be

तां तदा दर्शयित्वा तु मैथिली गिरिनिम्नगाम् ।
निषसाद गिरिप्रस्थे सीतां मांसेन छन्दयन् ।।

इदं मध्यमिदं स्वादु निष्टप्तमिद मग्निना ।
एवमास्ते स धर्मात्मा सीतया सह राघवः ।। (वाल्मीकि रामायण, अयोध्या काण्ड, 96, 1 व 2)

Having shown to Sita the mountain-river Mandakini and gratifying her with meat, Rama sat on the mountain slope. Righteous Rama was seated in Sita's company and remarked saying "This meat is sacred. This is savoury roasted in fire". (Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodha Kanda 96:1-2)

My question is

  1. What is validity of Different translation of Mamasah word done which is different then the etymology of "Mamsah" Word which is already discussed here.

Why are Hindus vegetarian? What is the real meaning of the word 'mamsah' (मांसः) or meat?

  • According to monier williams dictionary, mAMsa can also mean fleshy part or pulp of fruit, though I dont know if that is the sense in which the word is used here.
    – user16581
    Nov 19, 2019 at 5:52
  • Do you want to know the correct translation of the verse mentioned here or looking for different meanings of particular word in general?
    – Pandya
    Nov 19, 2019 at 14:12
  • Yes i want to know the correct translation of the verse. Nov 19, 2019 at 17:36
  • @TalkisCheapShowmeCode I think you wanted to highlight "फल-मूलके गूदेसे" See the correct translation here. Nov 20, 2019 at 3:42
  • Yes thank you for the link. So now the question is why this particular translator chooses "फल-मूलके गूदेसे" ? Nov 20, 2019 at 4:39

3 Answers 3


First off, as Sheldon Pollock points out in his translation of Ayodhyākāṇḍa, the two verses you quote in your question have been removed from the Critical Edition of Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa.

Sarga 90

1. In order to establish a reasonable transition between sargas, the SR [Southern Recension] inserts before this verse four lines (2091*), in which Rāma, having shown Sītā around the mountain, sits down on the slope and gives her cooked meat to eat (thus attempting also to account for the fire mentioned in 87.21ff, and verse 10 below, cf. note on 89.19; it seems more likely that the fire is the one on the sacred altar, cf. 93.11 and 23, though whether one may unceremoniously douse a ritual fire, as Lakṣmaṇa will suggest in verse 10 below, is questionable).

And even if those were present in the original Rāmāyaṇa, medhya and māṃsa together usually mean "fresh or pure meat" and not "pulp made out of fruits and roots":

tāṃ tathā darśayitvā tu maithilīṃ girinimnagām |
niṣasāda giriprasthe sītāṃ māṃsena candayan || 2-96-1

tathā = thus; darśayitvā = having shown; girinimnagām = the mountaneous river Mandakini; tāṃ sītāṃ = to that Seetha; maithilīṃ = the daughter of the king of Mithila; niṣasāda = sat; giriprasthe = on the hill side; candayan = in order to gratify her appetite; māṃsena = with flesh.

Having shown Mandakini River in that manner to Seetha, the daughter of Mithila, Rama set on the hill-side in order to gratify her appetite with a piece of flesh.

idaṃ medhyamidaṃ svādu niṣṭaptamidamagninā |
evamāste sa dharmātmā sītayā saha rāghavaḥ || 2-96-2

saha rāghavaḥ = that Rama; dharmātmā = of righteousness; āste = stayed; sītayā saha = with Seetha; evam = thus speaking; idaṃ = this meat; medhyam = is fresh; idaṃ = this; niṣṭaptam = was roasted; agninā = in the fire.

Rama, whose mind was devoted to righteousness stayed there with Seetha, saying; "This meat is fresh, this is savoury and roasted in the fire."

Translation served by valmiki.iitk.ac.in also uses similar meanings for those words:

मैथिलीम् princess of Mithila, तां सीताम् to Sita, तथा in that way, गिरिनिम्नगाम् mountainriver, दर्शयित्वा having shown, मांसेन with meat, छन्दयन् gratifying, गिरिप्रस्थे on the mountainslope, निषसाद sat.

Rama showed Sita, the princess of Mithila the river Mandakini flowing in the mountain, gratified her by offering meat (to eat) and sat on the mountain slope.

धर्मात्मा righteous, स राघवः that Rama, इदम् this, मेध्यम् sacred meat, इदम् this, स्वादु is savoury, इदम् this one, अग्निना with fire, निष्टप्तम् roasted, एवम् uttering this way, सीतया सह in the company of Sita, आस्ते was seated.

Offering Sita several kinds of preparations to eat, righteous Rama, seated in her company remarked, This meat is savoury, this meat roasted on fire is sacred.

Now, to answer your underlying question:

So now the question is why this particular translator chooses फल-मूलके गूदेसे (pulp made of fruits and roots)?

There are several commentaries/commentators of Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa and one particular commentator, Vaṃśīdhara Śivasahāya, consistently uses fruits and roots instead of meat in his commentary, Śiromaṇi, abbrev. as Cr below.

  • Cg:  the commentary called Bhūsaṇa (the name of the commentary on Bālakāṇḍa is Maṇimañjīrā, on Ayodhyākāṇḍa is Pītāmbarā) of Govindarāja
  • Ck:  the commentary called the Amrtakataka of Kataka Mādhavā Yogīndra
  • Cm:  the commentary called Tattvadīpikā of Maheśvaratīrtha
  • Cna: the commentary of Sarvajña Nārāyaṇa (as cited by Lokanātha Cakravarti)
  • Cr:  the commentary called Śiromaṇi of Bansidhara (Vaṃśīdhara) Śivasahāya
  • Crā: the commentary of Rāmanuja
  • Cs:  the commentary of Satyatīrtha
  • Ct:  the commentary called Tilaka of Nāgeśa Bhaṭṭa, composed in the name of Rāmavarmā
  • Ctr: the commentary called Dharmākūtam of Tryambaka Yajvan
  • Ctś: the commentary called Taniślokī of Ātreya Ahobala
  • Cv:  the commentary called Vivekatilaka of Varadarāja Uḍāli (Uḍāri)
  • Cmu: the commentary called Munibhāvaprakāśikā - author unknown.

And the Gita Press translation which you cite in your question appears to follow the Śiromaṇi commentary throughout. One possible reason why Gita Press used this commentary over others is, its founders (Jayadayal Goyandka and Hanumanprasad Poddar) wanted to promote vegetarianism in India and among Hindus.

To illustrate the extent Śivasahāya (Cr) goes to portray Rāma as a vegetarian prince, let's look at this verse:

tau tatra hatvā caturaḥ mahā mṛgān | varāham ṛśyam pṛṣatam mahā rurum |
ādāya medhyam tvaritam bubhukṣitau| vāsāya kāle yayatur vanaḥ patim || 2-52-102

Having hunted there four deer, namely Varaaha, Rishya, Prisata; and Mahaaruru (the four principal species of deer) and taking quickly the portions that were pure, being hungry as they were, Rama and Lakshmana reached a tree to take rest in the evening.

Now compare with Pollock's notes:

79. "meat" medhyam: This follows Ck, though the word is rarely used in this sense: alternatively, and perhaps preferably, we should read with T1, 2, G1, 3 medhyāṃs, "pure," that is, animals, those fit to consume; cf. 49.14, medhyān mṛgān, so in 50.16. In the NR substitution (1098*) the brothers kill only one beast (a dappled antelope), light a fire, cook, and along with Sita eat the meat, and then retire for the night beneath a tree.

Finally, and with a vengeance, Rāma breaks his fast (cf. note on 41.8 above), and it is noteworthy that he does so by eating meat (cf. note on 17.15, and contrast his words to Guha in 44.19-20, and to Bharadvāja in 48.15 [but see note ad loc.]). Ct (similarly Ck) remarks, "Meat is included in 'forest fare,' there is no fault here; nor is there any in his killing animals, since it is part of the dharma of hunting."

Cr's gloss displays an amusing perversity: "'He struck great animals,' that is, he knocked them about in fun and then took 'pure' food, fruits, etc."

Once again the Gita Press translation follows Cr almost word for word:

वहाँ उन दोनों भाइयोंने मृगया-विनोदके लिये वराह, ऋश्य, पृषत् और महारुरु-इन चार महामृगोंपर बाणोंका प्रहार किया। तत्पश्चात् जब उन्हें भूख लगी, तब पवित्र कन्द-मूल आदि लेकर सायंकालके समय ठहरनेके लिये (वे सीताजीके साथ) एक वृक्षके नीचे चले गये ॥१०२॥

  • 2
    It is good to know that there are people who give importance to the critical edition.
    – user16581
    Nov 28, 2019 at 3:36

The correct meaning of mamsa is fruit pulp. The flesh word is unfit in ramayana because ram was a pure vegetarian.

चतुर्दश हि वर्षाणि वत्स्यामि विजने वने | मधु मूल फलैः जीवन् हित्वा मुनिवद् आमिषम् ||२-२०-२९

"I shall live in a solitary forest like a sage for fourteen years, leaving off meat and living with roots, fruits and honey".

Many people interpret it and say that before exile ram can be a nonvegeterian. But all the verses in valmiki ramayana mostly quoted by people and even you about nonveg are after the exile of ram. There is no verse saying clearly that before exile ram was a nonvegeterian. So,we can coclude that ram was a vegetarian.

The next verse makes it clear that ram was a vegetarian.

न मांसं राघवो भुङ्क्ते न चापि मधुसेवते | वन्यं सुविहितं नित्यं भक्तमश्नाति पञ्चमम् || ५-३६-४१ "Rama is not eating meat, nor indulging even in spirituous liquor. Everyday, in the evening, he is eating the food existing in the forest, well arranged for him."

Now if ram was not eating nonveg, you can't translate mamsa as flesh. V.S Apte dictionary gives the meaning of this word as fruit. vs Apte screenshot] [1][1

Shatpath brahman

. When it (the rice-cake) still consists of rice-meal, it is the hair . When he pours water on it, it becomes skin . When he mixes it, it becomes flesh: for then it becomes consistent; and consistent also is the flesh. When it is baked, it becomes bone: for then it becomes somewhat hard; and hard is the bone. And when he is about to take it off (the fire) and sprinkles it with butter, he changes it into marrow. This is the completeness which they call 'the fivefold animal sacrifice.'

The meanings of mamsa is dictionary and brahmin is quite different but no one is no one related to nonveg.


The definition of meat/ flesh as per vedas is either rice (aitreya brahmaNa - book 2-chapter 1) or rice+barley (shatapatha brahmaNa -

aitreya brahmaNa - book 2-chapter 1: The chaff and straw of the rice of which it consists are the hairs of the animal, its husks the skin, its smallest particles the blood, all the fine particles to which the rice is ground represents the flesh and whatever other substantial part is in the rice are the bones

shatpatha brahmaNa - 1:2:3:7 It entered into this earth. They searched for it, by digging. They found it (in the shape of) those two (substances), the rice and barley: therefore even now they obtain those two by digging; and as much efficacy as all those sacrificed animal victims would have for him, so much efficacy has this oblation (of rice &c.) for him who knows this. And thus there is in this oblation also that completeness which they call 'the fivefold animal sacrifice.' 1:2:3:8 When it (the rice-cake) still consists of rice-meal, it is the hair. When he pours water on it, it becomes skin. When he mixes it, it becomes flesh: for then it becomes consistent; and consistent also is the flesh. When it is baked, it becomes bone: for then it becomes somewhat hard; and hard is the bone. And when he is about to take it off (the fire) and sprinkles it with butter, he changes it into marrow. This is the completeness which they call 'the fivefold animal sacrifice.'

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