First of all, this isn't meant to hurt anyone's sentiment.

  • In which scripture, is the ritual mentioned?

  • Secondly, is it allowed to take the meat in the form of prasad? Why or why not? [1]

Edit (4/10/2020) : The second question has an answer here


  1. Usually, I see members from a particular Hindu tribe take the body of the animal to their village for consumption. Others (usually non tribal Hindus) don't consume it. On the other hand, goats, pigeons, etc form part of the prasad during the festival.

  2. If references specific to Shakti tradition is not available, general reference to animal sacrifice can be provided for the first question.

  • 'I was wondering why are buffaloes sacrificed' - are you asking why buffaloes are sacrificed in particular & not any other animals? – sv. Sep 29 at 17:47
  • In the Gadhimai festival many varieties of animals used to be sacrificed: "The event involves the large-scale sacrificial slaughter of animals including water buffaloes, pigs, goats, chickens, and pigeons – with the goal of pleasing Gadhimai, the goddess of power. People also offer coconuts, sweets, red colour clothes, etc." The sacrifice part of the festival was supposed to be banned but not sure if it's really banned. – sv. Sep 29 at 17:49
  • Regarding the Gadhimai festival, I didn't know about it earlier. Chickens are sacrificed by some tribal Hindus in India. And buffaloes by general Hindus as well. The ritual has Brahmins doing the puja, and Kshatriyas performing the bali – Severus Snape Sep 29 at 18:20
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    If buffaloes are that sacred, India wouldn't be exporting buffalo meat. money.cnn.com/2015/08/05/news/economy/… – sv. Sep 30 at 17:26
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    Since no one has answered this question yet, you can edit and turn this into a totally different question or provide additional context, clarify why you thought buffaloes shouldn't be sacrificed, etc. – sv. Oct 4 at 3:24

In the famous Shakta Stotra, the Karpuradi Stotra, which was created by Lord Bhairava himself, it is mentioned that the Goddess loves sacrifice of animals including buffalo.

Sir John Woodroffe has a commentary on it and reference to this commentary is found in another book by the same author called "Shakti and Shakta". I am quoting from it.

Let us for the moment turn to the celebrated Hymn to Kali (of, as those who read it might call, the extremist, that is Vira Shakta worship) entitled the Karpuradi Stotra (Tantrik Texts,Vol. IX), which like most (probably all) of its kind has both a material (Sthula) and a subtle (Sukshma) meaning. In the 19th verse it is said that the Devi delights to receive in sacrifice flesh, with bones and hair, of goat, buffalo, cat, sheep, camel and of man. In its literal sense this passage may be taken as an instance of the man-sacrifice of which we find traces throughout the world (and in some of the Tantras) in past stages of man's evolution. Human sacrifices permitted by other Semites were forbidden by the Mosaic Code, although there is an obvious allusion to such a custom in the account of the contemplated sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham (Gen. xxii).

So, if we are to take this literally (on the gross level), then sacrifice of buffaloes are permitted in Devi worship. But we need to see the deeper spiritual (subtle) meanings embedded in such verses. Otherwise, the inquiry is never complete. The same author writes in this regard the following:

Nothing is more common in all religions (and Christianity as by some understood provides many examples) than to materially understand spiritual truths. For such is the understanding of material of Sthuladarshin (grossly seeing) men. But, even in the past, those who were spiritual referred all sacrifice to the self; an inner sacrifice which all must make who would attain to that Spirit which we may call Kali, God, Allah, or what we will. But what is the Svarupa-vyakhya or true meaning of this apparently revolting verse? The meaning is that inner or mental worship (Antaryaga) is done to Her who is black (Asita) because She is the boundless (Sita = Baddha) Consciousness (Cidrupa) whose true nature is eternal liberation (Nityamukta-Svabhava). And just as in outer worship material offerings (Upacara) are made, so the Sadhaka sacrifices to Her his lust (the Goat-Kama), his anger (the Buffalo-Krodha), his greed (the Cat-Lobha), his stupidity of illusion (the Sheep-Moha), his envy (the Camel-Matsaryya) and his pride and infatuation with worldly things (the ManMada). All will readily recognize in these animals and man the qualities (Guna) here attributed to them. It is to such as so sacrifice to whom is given Siddhi in the form of the five kinds of Mukti.

So, in the deeper level, sacrifice of buffalo is actually meant to be symbolic of "sacrificing our own anger", which is one of the many obstacles that arise in the spiritual path of the aspirant.

The following verses, from Mahanirvana Tantram's sixth chapter, can be added as reference too:

After worshipping (the Devi) with all the offerings, sacrifice should be carefully made to Her (104). The ten approved beasts which may be sacrificed are deer, goat, sheep, buffalo, hog, porcupine, hare, iguana, and rhinoceros (105); but other beasts may also be sacrificed if the worshipper so desires (106). The worshipper versed in the rules of sacrifice should select a beast with good signs, and, placing it before the Devi, should sprinkle it with the water from the Vishesharghya, and by the Dhenu−Mudra should make it into nectar. Let him then worship the goat (sheep, or whatever other animal is being sacrificed) with (the Mantra) "Namah to the goat," which is a beast, and with perfumes, flowers, vermilion, food, and water. Then he should whisper into the ears of the beast the Gayatri Mantra, which severs the bond of its life as a beast (107−108). The Pashu−Gayatri, which liberates a beast from its life of a beast, is as follows: After the word "Pashu−pashaya" say " Vidmahe," then, after the word "Vishva−karmane," say "Dhimahi," and then "Tanno jivah prachodayat."

So, buffalo is one among the various animals that are approved for Bali (sacrifice).

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    Excellent answer, I believe. It will take some time for me to understand it. I have a doubt. In the last citation, what are the numbers: 104, 105, 106...? Verse number? – Severus Snape Oct 4 at 5:55
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    Thanks .. yes they are verse nos. of Chapter 6 of the said Tantram. @SeverusSnape – Rickross Oct 4 at 5:58
  • What about the meat as prasad? Is it allowed? But seeing that you have put great effort already, I am starting to think that would make the question broader and the answer longer. Should the second part go as a separate question? – Severus Snape Oct 4 at 6:14
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    Anything that is offered to the deity usually can be accepted as prasad because it has become pure @SeverusSnape – Rickross Oct 4 at 6:21
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    @SeverusSnape You can see the answer in the following link with respect to your last query about consumption of prasad -- hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/22404/… – Rickross Oct 4 at 6:24

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