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Do the Hinduism scriptures have any info for vegan puja rituals/reet/rasam ?

Like performing abhishek with almond milk and coconut milk and such?

Daan/charity as being only vegan food, prasad as being prepared/cooked vegan food in place of say sweets/burfi made with cow milk (cows' milk is for baby cows only imo.)

I agree with the Arthur Avalon/John Woodroffe assertion that the pashu-bali instructions in Tantra texts are often not meant to be taken literally. So like buffalo is anger, some other animal is pride, another is representing envy, and so on; it would be these you're trying to "sacrifice" not actual living animals.

I was thinking in olden times the sanyaasi who lived in Himalayas and jungles would've sometimes performed pujas, rituals, customs/traditions with roots, leaves, jungle fruit, water ?

Any Hindu scriptures properly detail this sort of thing so that it could be adapted in modern times to a grihast/town/city setting ?

I wear vegan clothes, eat vegan food, however I'm not sufficiently well acquainted with Hindu scriptures to know if anything is said about how to perform certain Hindu pujas/rituals in a vegan way. Please link if you guys possibly have any info on this.

If this is the wrong place to post this question plz remove/delete of course, no worries. I get that being a vegan Shakta type is almost an oxymoron to begin with.

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    It may be possible to do simple Pujas like using Gangajala for abhisekam and so on.. similarly in complete antar Puja external materials aren't needed.. but Vegan lifestyle is not recommended by scriptures.. Yajna are fundamental to Vedic rites and ghee is needed for Yajna.. also ghee, milk etc.. are used in making prasadam.. now you go to a temple and then you are offered prasada.. rejecting prasada in most cases is said to incur sin.. "cows' milk is for baby cows only IMO" what is dharma in most cases is decided by what scriptures say and not by one's opinion...
    – Tezz
    Jul 5 at 3:20
  • @Tezz I've actually been concerned about prasad at temples which is why in future I might be one of those people who do most of my Hindu rituals at home (to keep them 100% vegan.) I understand what you're saying about what scriptures say versus ones' opinion, but when we have a very strong feeling inside about something I think it's important to pay attention to that too ? I don't feel it's ok to take anything from animals ever, I'm against all forms of animal exploitation, I wish all animals were wild and free. So I don't know what I'm doing exactly (obviously) I will consider the options
    – user27626
    Jul 5 at 4:18
  • Cow milk is recommended to be used everywhere in scriptures.. so no question of promoting veganism in Hindu scriptures .. Hinduism is very much dependent on cows and the panchagavyas that are derived from them @MissR
    – Rickross
    Jul 5 at 4:35
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    The oldest vedas describe the slaughter of bulls and other animals as ritualistic worship. Jul 5 at 6:47
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    @MissR if you are thinking to be Shakta, you need to have a Guru to be initiated in the Shakta sampradaya.. so you can convince your Guru by saying that you have strong feeling inside regarding this thing.. so he can give you some methods by which you may be able to perform Puja as you want...
    – Tezz
    Jul 5 at 10:29

1 Answer 1

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First of all, the definition of "cruelty-free" is much different in Hinduism, compared to the one envisaged by the modern notion of Veganism.

When a Hindu takes the products from a cow, especially the Milk, there are protocols to be followed in reference to the newborn Calf and her necessities, only that kind of milk is to be consumed. Perhaps the modern concept of capitalistic dairy farming is what drives modern Veganism, but the Hindu idea of animal care is already "cruelty-free".

Refer - Consuming milk and dairy causes bad karma? & What is the moral stance towards milking of animals/cows?, to understand how milk derived from a cow is "cruelty-free", as per Hinduism perspective.

In any case, a practicing Hindu, from ancient scriptures and orthodox perspectives can not be a Pure-Vegan, owing to the essential requirement of the sacred cow and products derived from her viz. (milk, ghee, butter, urine, and dung), which are compulsorily utilized in several formulations like pancha-gavya and panchamrita, as I discuss here.

Although the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa does provide a vegetarian lifestyle arrangement for the Vaishnavas, or in general for everyone too perhaps, but an average Hindu cannot do away with cow products (which are to be derived from the cow in specific dharmika ways, not otherwise).

I'm quoting some relevant verses from Chapter 6 - Fall of Uparicara Vasu: Section 9 - Vāsudeva-Māhātmya in the Book 2 - Vaiṣṇava-khaṇḍa of Skanda-Purāṇa. Full chapter can be read from the link for a complete understanding of the context.

महर्षय ऊचुः ।
....
रजस्तमोदोषवशात्तथाप्यसुरपा नृपाः ।
मेध्येनाजेन यष्टव्यमित्यादौ मतिजाड्यतः ।
छागादिमर्थं बुबुधुर्व्रीह्यादिं तु न ते विदुः ॥ १६ ॥

The great sages said:

  1. Kings, rulers of Asuras, however, due to the fault of Rajas and Tamas, and
    dullness of intellect, take ‘a he-goat’ etc. as the meaning of “Aja” in the injunction “sacrifice should be performed with a sacrificial Aja.” They did not know Vrīhi (rice) etc. (which is its meaning).

सात्त्विकानां तु युष्माकं वेदस्यार्थो यथा स्थितः ।
ग्रहीतव्योन्यथा नैव तादृशी च क्रियोचिता ॥ १७ ॥

  1. In your case, who are created out of Sattvaguṇa, the true meaning of the Vedas should be accepted. Otherwise, that kind of performance (involving violence) is not at all proper.
    ...

सात्त्विकानां हि वो देवः साक्षाद्विष्णू रमापतिः ।
अहिंसयज्ञेऽस्ति ततोऽधिकारस्तस्य तुष्टये ॥ १९ ॥

  1. To you who are Sāttvikas the god is directly Viṣṇu, the consort of Ramā. For his gratification, one is authorized to perform a Yajña which does not involve any violence.

प्रत्यक्षपशुमालभ्य यज्ञस्याचरणं तु यत् ।
धर्मः स विपरीतो वै युष्माकं सुरसत्तमाः ॥ २० ॥

  1. The performance of a sacrifice by actually killing a beast, is contrary to Dharma in your case, O excellent Suras.

रजस्तमोगुणवशादासुरीं संपदं श्रिताः ।
युष्माकं याजका ह्येते सन्त्यवेदविदो यथा ॥ २१ ॥

  1. These performers of sacrifice on your behalf have resorted to Asura type of performance due to their being subjected to Rajas and Tamas Guṇas. They are ignorant of Vedas.

....

राजसानां तामसानामासुराणां तथा नृणाम् ।
यथागुणं भैरवाद्या उपास्याः सन्ति देवताः ॥ २३ ॥

  1. For Asuras and human beings, characterised by Rajas and Tamas Guṇas, there are deities like Bhairava and oṃers, worthy of being propitiated according to the Guṇas (of the devotees).

स्वगुणानुगुणात्मीयदेवतातुष्टये भुवि ।
हिंस्रयज्ञविधानं यत्तेषामेवोचितं हि तत् ॥ २४ ॥

  1. In this world, for the gratification of one’s deity of suitable guṇa, conforming to one’s own (i.e. devotee’s) guṇa, the performance of sacrifice involving violence is enjoined for them.

तत्रापि विष्णुभक्ता ये दैत्यरक्षोनरादयः ।
तेषामप्युचितो नास्ति हिंस्रयज्ञः कुतस्तु वः ॥ २५ ॥

  1. Even out of them, for the Daityas, Rākṣasas and human beings who are devotees of Viṣṇu, Yajña involving violence is not proper. How can it be so, in your case?

...

सात्त्विकानां देवतानां सुरामांसाशनं क्वचित् ।
अस्माभिस्त्वीक्षितं नैव न श्रुतं च सतां मुखात् ॥ २७ ॥
तस्माद्व्रीहिभिरेवासौ यज्ञः क्षीरेण सर्पिषा ।
मेध्यैरन्नरसैश्चाऽन्यैः कार्यो न पशुहिंसया ॥ २८ ॥

  1. Consumption of liquor and eating of flesh by Sāttvika deities is neither seen by us nor heard from the mouths of saintly people anywhere.
  2. Hence this sacrifice should be performed with rice, milk, ghee and other foodstuffs fit for being used in sacrifices, and not with the killing of beasts.

This story, along with endorsement of ahiṃsa and thus it's pro-vegetarian stance
is also found in:




To Conclude -

  • Since cows are indispensable to the Hindu way of life - philosophically, ritually, and theologically, and her products are tantamount to most rituals and worship, thus, Hinduism does not promote the idea and concept of Pure-Veganism (for an average, non-sannyasi, in general, a normal practicing Hindu), and hence, as such, there are no "cruelty-free" substitutions to the Cow and products derived from her.
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    This is very helpful, thx ! @Vivikta My scriptures knowledge is so dismal (I'm working on it) and I'm brand-new to the Shakta path. The texts I've read of Tantra so far don't have any info along these lines.
    – user27626
    Jul 5 at 3:06
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    OP is asking using vegan (means milk also shouldn't be used).. you used quotes which say "Hence this sacrifice should be performed with rice, milk, ghee and other foodstuffs fit for being used in sacrifices, and not with the killing of beasts."
    – Tezz
    Jul 5 at 3:08
  • Glad I could be of some help @MissR . You're Welcome. I hope You're okay with the use of Milk though (it is well known that Hinduism cannot go Vegan, for the Cow and her milk is one of the most essential ingredients in several Sattvika Pujas - Like the use of Panchamrita and Panchagavya, for instance). Although we do have options for Lacto products substitution (in the Panchamrita) in some regional places, still, I hope you're aware of the Importance of the sacred Cow and her products to Hinduism and Yajna sacrifices and other worship rituals. So we cannot go Full vegan, but Lacto-Vegan, Yes!
    – Vivikta
    Jul 5 at 3:20
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    @Vivikta I actually am not ok with cows' milk as I morally/ethically feel it's not ok to take anything from animals (I've been trying to live totally vegan-environmentalist life for many years before becoming Shakta Hindu.) Anyway, yeah, that's part of why I posted this question, in that I'm wondering if abhishek can be done with coconut milk or almond milk, if vegan butter can used in place of ghee, if yagya can be performed with vegan milks and vegan butter in general. Olive oil in place of ghee too. As I mentioned above, I'm just getting started on Shakta path, trying to figure this out :)
    – user27626
    Jul 5 at 3:51
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    @Vivikta I think we can be pure vegan Hindu with some modern substitutions and replacements. Compassionate cruelty-free food is best imo. For those of us who love animals, I think new traditions can be made ! :) Thx for the good wishes :D
    – user27626
    Jul 5 at 4:09

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