Brahmins from other parts of India, as far as I know, avoid eating fish. This answer (Are Brahmins who eat fish fallen Brahmins?) showed that it is indeed forbidden. So why do Brahmins from Bengal (except Vaishnavas) eat fish? They eat all kinds of fish. It is the staple food for all Bengalis.

I know that Samrta Raghunandana was the authority in that part of India. He made many exceptions and allowed many things. Did he (or any other Samrta) allow fish (all kinds of fish)?

  • Re: Brahmins from other parts of India, as far as I know, avoid eating fish. Incorrect statement. :) Re: They eat all kinds of fish Certain types of fish are forbidden, not just for Brahmins but for Hindus in general. Unfortunately, I don't know what those fish are called in English. But I am 100% sure about it. Jul 21 at 15:13
  • @SeverusSnape - those are people disregarding Shastras, not following them. OP is asking whether scriptures sanction eating it. is a "vegetarian" who eats meat a vegetarian ? the label does not match the character.
    – mar
    Jul 21 at 15:16
  • @mar Unfortunately, most people are not vegetarians. Whether scriptures sanction it or not is a very big debate considering animal sacrifices during Shakti Pujas. In a village nearby my hometown, I see every year on an average 30-40 buffaloes per day being sacrificed during Durga Puja along with other animals like goats, ducks, pigeons which form part of the prasad. (Not buffaloes) Jul 21 at 15:20
  • I would like to add that I was in a spiritual meeting once. A "guru" (we call him by a different name ofcourse) of a very reputed Satra said that this fish (see link) is forbidden. There are few others. I know it from advices by elders. Edit: I am not a follower of that tradition. (Vaishnavism) Jul 21 at 15:25
  • The answer you have referenced in your question clearly states that as per MS 5.16 certain types of fishes are ok for consumption Jul 21 at 18:40

The basis of this is the upapurana named Brihaddharma, which allowed Brahmins of Bengal to eat fish. The english translation of the book is here.

Please also see the following from the book, History of Bengali people (page 364) by Ray.

Another of Bengal's scholars, did the same; quoting two verses from the Vishnu Purana; he tried to show that, except for a few holy days, on no day was the consumption of fish or meat an abomination. According to the Brhaddharma Purana, rohita, saphan, (pufi or saphari), saphara and other white, scaly fish were edible by Brahmans. Having given a list of animal and vegetable oils and fats Jimutavihana mentioned the oil of hilsa fish and described its various uses. It would seem that in ancient times as much as today hilsa fish was one of the favourite foods of the Bengalis and that its oil was used in a number of ways. Not all fish, however, was edible by Brahmanas; they were forbidden to eat any fish that lived in mud-holes, whose mouth and head resembled a snake's (such as the bana fish), or which had no scales. There were also prohibitions against the consumption of rotten and dried fish, although the writer of the Tikasarvasva, Sarvinanda, said that the people of Bengal were very fond of eating dried fish. Such meat as snail, crab, rooster, breast of stork, duck, water-fowl, camel, cow and swine were completely forbidden, at least in the society regulated by Brahmanical law.

  • Could you add the relevant text? Jul 22 at 5:35
  • Thanks for your answer. At least now we have narrowed it down to a specific book. However, can you please add the relevant passage or verse number from that book that sanctions eating fish? Jul 22 at 8:38
  • 1
    @AmritenduMukhopadhyay Sorry I do not have the verses. The information comes from the above book. There are a few paragraphs on various puranas that sanction fish eating for Brahmins of Bengal.
    Jul 22 at 11:26
  • @GIRIBLR In that case, if possible, can you please mention the page number where this paragraph is present. You can quote the paragraph also. Jul 22 at 11:32
  • 1
    @AmritenduMukhopadhyay Yes, sir, I have added the page number. This is the paragraph and I have quoted it.
    Jul 22 at 11:40

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