We know that the Pandavas were Kshatriyas. Were they consuming non-vegetarian food?

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    I think yes. When they were in exile period or hiding in jungle after Lakshyagraha incident, there were some verses indicating that Yudisthir was missing some animals flesh. It could be during their stay with Hidimba also that they ate flesh. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 15:50
  • @AshokKumar Yeah, you're right. See my answer. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 16:52
  • There's already a question re: Krishna: Was Krishna a non-vegetarian?...so you should edit the question and remove the part about Krishna. Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 21:45
  • @sv. See now you make sense.
    – Varun Rao
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 15:35
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    Yes they did. Pandavas where kshyatriyas, they where allowed to hunt and eat it. During the war of Mahabharata many hunters where hired so that bhima would get all the meat possible. Earlier there was also the tradition of Bali. The meat was used as prasad.
    – Trichakra
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 9:38

2 Answers 2


Yes, the Pandavas did eat meat. In this chapter of the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, Yudishthira tells his brothers that they should leave the Dwaita forest because they've been eating all the deer there, so out of compassion for the deer they move to the Kamyaka woods:

Once on a time, as Yudhishthira 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, those 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 had been destroyed trembling and afflicted with fear, Yudhishthira 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 awakened, 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 Kamyakas, that 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.'

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    This should be the accepted answer
    – user3547
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 4:18
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    @user3547 Thanks! No, Kshatriyas are permitted to hunt and eat animals. But if the Pandavas had decided to not eat meat, they would accumulated good karma; the Manu Smriti says abstaining from meat gives you as much Punya as performing 100 Ashwamedha Yagnas. Plus it's compassionate to animals (which was Yudishthira's motive in leaving the forest), and vegetarian food gives you better gunas which can make you a better person. So there are many excellent reasons to be a vegetarian. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 4:36
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    @ChinmaySarupria Eating meat isn't a sin for Kshariyas, I was just outlining various benefits that can be obtained by abstaining from meat. In any case, we shouldn't judge things by the actions of Buddha, since Vishnu specifically incarnated as Buddha in order to deceive people. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 8:34
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    @ChinmaySarupria But we don't need to rely on the example of Buddha. Rama eats meat in the Ramayana. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 8:35
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    @ChinmaySarupria Kalki kills Buddhists at the end of Kaliyuga ( not sure some or all: there may be only few Buddhists at the end of Kali Yuga) and grants them all Moksha. So the mistakes done by Buddha will be rectified by Kalki.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 16:44

In India actually meat was prohibited for a civilized person, here uncivilized means people who does not belong to the society, mostly who resides in forests (tribes). you can find following lines on Wikipedia about it:

The fiend who smears himself with flesh of cattle, with flesh of horses and of human bodies, Who steals the milch-cow's milk away, O Agni,—tear off the heads of such with fiery fury.

The cow gives milk each year, O Man-regarder let not the Yātudhāna ever taste it.

If one would glut him with the biesting, Agni, pierce with thy flame his vitals as he meets thee.

Let the fiends drink the poison of the cattle; may Aditi cast off the evildoers.

May the God Savitar give them up to ruin, and be their share of plants and herbs denied them.

Agni, from days of old thou slayest demons never shall Rākṣasas in fight o’ercome thee.

Burn up the foolish ones, the flesh-devourers let none of them escape thine heavenly arrow.

— Rig Veda (10.87.16-19)

That means no one was allowed to eat meat and its kind of a sin. Surely Mahabharata time period is much before that so i don't think Pandavas ever eaten meat or something, and during there vanvaas they live like Brahmins so there is no question of meat there. Here is the link from wikipedia.


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