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I have seen animals sacrificing for Kali mata. I am not brahmin by birth but had developed interest towards Lord Siva. I read Shiva Purana but there are no references for devotees of Shiva. I have read story of Bhaktha kannappa. Can Shaivaites eat meat?

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    @AnilKumar If you have read story of Kannappa, you should know that Kannappa's way of offerings was not usual as opposed to others. Although Kannappa offered meat to Lord Shiva out of sheer dedication, the temple priest see the meat offerings with disgust. This shows that originally in that part Lord Shiva was not offered meat but it is devotees who might be unaware and whatever they feel is good are offering.
    – Aby
    Sep 2, 2015 at 15:21
  • Btw, people's beliefs differ according to places. At some places, offering meat is ok and allowed while at other places it is forbidden and taken as an offense. Mostly i see it as whatever people are eating in a particular region and not consider offensive, they use in offering to Gods as well. So, God's diet we don't know but its actually people's diet what they offer to God.
    – Aby
    Sep 2, 2015 at 15:30
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    Lord Shiva does not eat meat. None of the gods eat meat or other stuff because they do not have bodies made of five elements. They accept oblations made in yagna fire with mantra. You may continue your dietary practices according to the caste you were born into. Just remember not to partake on forbidden days like Sunday(adhi devata being Shiva), ekadasi , etc. Unless you have been initiated into a mantra. Then your mantra guru will guide you regarding the prescribed lifestyle.
    – user1195
    Sep 3, 2015 at 2:10
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    According to Shiva purana, those who perform rite of listening Shiva purana shouldn't eat meat. Sep 20, 2016 at 18:48

8 Answers 8

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Can one eat meat and still be a devotee ? The answer to this question will be Yes.

But, if the question is whether Lord Shiva approves such an act? (which is what a true devotee will be more concerned about) then the answer will be No.

Lord Shiva does not approve meat eating unless it is part of some rituals.

This is what he says to Sri Devi:

Pitridevatayajneshu VaidahimsA Vidhiyate |

AtmArtham PrAninAm HimsA kadAchinnoditA Priye ||

.....

In Pitru Yanjna and Deva Yajnas sacrificial killing is allowed. But other than that the Shastras never allow prani himsa (killing) for one's own pleasure.

KulArnava Tantram, Chapter 5, Verse 45.

So, it is clear that Lord Shiva does not like the idea of his devotees eating non-sacrificial meat.

Eating meat is allowed only if it is part of some ritual.

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    Notice "for one's own pleasure", it might be prohibiting leisure hunting instead of meat eating.
    – Ritwik
    Jan 4, 2022 at 19:57
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Kashmiri Pandits worship a variation of Shiva known as Batuka Bhairava - with fish and meat.

Vamachara maarg of Tantra is inclined towards the Five M's -

  1. Madya (wine)
  2. Mamsa (meat)
  3. Matsya (fish)
  4. Mudra (cereal)
  5. Maithuna (sexual intercourse)

Here we can understand it is meat.

Also in Ashwamedh and Purushmedh yagna sacrifices are made and deities are offered meats. So we can consider Shiva may eat meat.

Also in Ramayana Later, Sita said to Ravana (disguised as a sage):

"Āgamiṣyati me bharta vanyamādāya puṣkalam z Rurūṇ godhān varāhāñca hatvā ādāyāmiṣaṃ vahu zz Sa tvaṃ nāma ca gotraṃ kulamācakṣava tatvataḥ z Ekaśca daṇḍakāraṇye kimartha carasi dvija zz" (Araṇya/47/23-24)

Translation:

"My husband Ram will come back soon with many kinds of wild fruits and plentiful of meat by hunting ruru (a kind of deer), varaha (wild boar) and godha (iguana). Now you please be kind and tell me your name, your gotra (clan or lineage) to which you belong and what you are roaming in this lonely forest for?" (tr. Ibid, p-323).

There are several other verses that suggest that Ram was not vegetarian. This is also one proof that GODs eat meat.

God is so simple, He is our Aid /wellwisher, who accepts whatever we offer Him with LOVE.

In most of the stories or myths related to temples it could be seen that when the installation of the idol is completed the related people worship the idol with whatever they have in their home.

So, people staying near sea and depending on the sea for their living, naturally will have dried fish as a stock of food at their home. If this community installs an idol in their village, definitely, this dried fish can be expected as an offering.

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  • Thanks for the answer. But some people say Rama never ate meat. It was due to wrong translation. If Rama and Krishna had really eaten meat, then it wouldn't be a sin for people who want Rajo guna .
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 6, 2015 at 13:57
  • But here food was offered first to God and ate by people later, similar to Grama devatas. But my question is can I eat meat without offering to Lord Shiva?
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 6, 2015 at 14:10
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    @AnilKumar That's your personal interest to offer or not.
    – prem30488
    Sep 7, 2015 at 5:19
  • @TheDestroyer - any food we eat must be offered to God first. Not because God is hungry (although he will be hungry if you really want him to be as a bhakta), but to remove the food's doshas. When preparing even vegetarian food, there are many places of ahimsa - grinder, stove, broom, waterpot etc where insects die. When cultivating the land, animals get crushed, when transporting grains via road/train also animals get killed. To pacify these insect's souls, we do neivedyam to God.. otherwise we eat only sin (bhagavad gita).
    – ram
    Apr 26, 2017 at 15:31
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    @TheDestroyer, the story of Vishvamitra - after 12 years of no rain, he was about to die and could only find food from svapaka (chandala or dog eater). Before he was about to eat it, he offered it to devas. Pleased by his devotion even in times of distress, Indra poured rain and revived the earth. Even though you're not Brahmin, it is said a person who shuns meat, all the beings will bow to him. It also leads to rajo/tamo guna which hinders spiritual thoughts and creates animalistic desires.
    – ram
    Apr 26, 2017 at 15:39
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Well, The Shiva Purana is clear on the issue

मद्यं मांसं तु लशुनं पलाण्डुं शिग्रुमेव च । श्लेष्मान्तकं विड्वराहं भक्षणे वर्जयेत्ततः ॥

A devotee of Śiva shall refrain from eating meat, garlic, onion, red garlic, potherb, Śleṣmātaka, pig of rubbish and liquors.

(Shiva Purana Vidyeshvara Samhita Chapter 25)

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Pandavas were voracious meat eaters according to Mahabharata.

Mahabharata Vana Parva Section CCLVI says, "Once on a time, as Yudhisthira lay down at night in the Dwaita woods, some deer, with accents choked in tears, presented themselves before him in his dreams. To them standing with joined hands, their bodies trembling all over, that foremost of monarchs said, 'Tell me what ye wish to say. Who are ye? And what do ye desire?" Thus accosted by Kunti's son - the illustrious Pandava, these deer, the remnant of those that had been slaughtered, replied unto him, saying, 'We are, O Bharata, those deer that are still alive after them that had been slaughtered. We shall be exterminated totally. Therefore, do thou change thy residence. O mighty king, all thy brothers are heroes, conversant with weapons; they have thinned the ranks of the rangers of the forest. We few - the remnants,-O mighty minded one, remain like seed. By thy favour, O king of kings, let us increase.' Seeing these deer, which remained like seed after the rest has been destroyed trembling and afflicted with fear, Yudhisthira the just was greatly affected with grief. And the king, intent on the welfare of all creatures, said unto them, ' So be it. I shall act as ye have said.' Awaking after such a vision, that excellent king, moved by pity towards the deer, thus spake unto his brothers assembled there, 'Those deer that are alive after them that have been slaughtered, accosted me at night, after I had wakened, saying, 'We remain like the cues of our lines. Blest be thou! Do thou have compassion on us. And they have spoken truly. We ought to feel pity for the dwellers of the forest. We have been feeding on them for a year together and eight months. Let us, therefore, again (repair) to the romantic Kamakhyas, the best of forests abounding in wild animals, situated at the head of the desert, near Lake Trinavindu. And there let us pleasantly pass the rest of our time.'

At least Arjuna among the Pandavas worshipped Shiva.

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The Answer would vary depending upon the sub-sect of Shaivism.

But Tirumantiram, one of the most important texts of Shaiva siddhanta written by Tirumular (One of the 63 Nayanmars) and seen as the essence of Shaivagamas clearly criticises Meat eating as well as drinking as sinful and a sin leading to hell.

--- Tirumantiram Tantra 1 ---

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The rules vary depending upon the subsect as already stated in the other answers.

I shall be covering the stance of the pAshupata sampradaya on the matter. While the pa~nchArthika pAshupatas (led by kauNDinya has almost Jaina alias shramaNa like tremendous emphasis on ahiMsA; The same pAshupata sUtra-s, asserting the existence of a different stream of the same pAshupata sampradAya from the above mentioned one, allows it's initiates to eat buffalos, boars, goats etc. If they are given as alms. Which means they themselves can't hunt but can eat it, if given by someone else.

Quoting Directly from Sri kauNDinya's commentary on the pAshupata Sutra.

Pasupata Sutra V.16

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English translation-

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Key verse - यस्य माहिषवाराहादीनाम् अन्यतमम् यत् प्राप्यते तत् खलु हिंसास्तेयरहितत्वात्॥

This pAshupata seems to be represented by shrI haraprabodha who's a contemporary to a Jaina alias shramaNa called chaNDakarmana. This episode is found in the "yashastilaka" ,written by another Jaina called "somadeva suri" of 10th century CE . The verse is-

अग्निवत् सर्वभक्षोsपि भवभक्तिपरायणः।भुक्तिं जीवन्नवाप्नोति मुक्तिं तु लभते मृतः ॥

[Translation]'One who is devoted to shiva obtains pleasure in life and release on death, even though he is omnivorous like Fire.'

The saura purANa, a shaiva shAstra,embodies this stand.

Saura Purana Chapter 11

ईश्वर उवाच - मद्भक्तः सर्वदा स्कन्द मत्प्रियो न गुणाधिकः । सर्वाशी सर्वभक्षी वा सर्वाचारविलोपकः ॥५॥

[Translation] Shiva says - "My devotee, though may be omnivorous, eats anything and everything, is still the dearest to me".

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Eating for survival is individual survival and well being depending upon environments and work culture. But, a Hindu has commitments towards God.

You can see communities/religions seek refuge and live in India because in their countries they dont actually worship God. Their worship is not sufficient to protect themselves from calamities - cyclones, forest fires, genocides, wars and ethic / race clashes similar to our national conflicts by people.

Only a Hindu can lead a beautiful mindset towards God.

Apologies to sainthood of other religions. Saints globally are beyond what is written.

Eating meat is restricted for priesthood(Divine ritual facilitators) and antima-samskaaram(death ritual facilitators), Gurus (spiritual & scientific teachers), doctors(who are with humans during their death / trying to heal human suffering).

If above four classes eat meat they can never save humans from heavy suffering. Four classes of jobs are not exhibitions of rage/valour or power.

Vaishnavites & Shaivaites in above mentioned four classes of jobs must avoid meat & slaughter house products to maximum possible limits of their survival.

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Meat eating is forbidden in Shaiva Agamas for initiates into the Virasaiva order. The Following is From the Paramesvaragama

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