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Cow or Mridhamgam - which is important

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Active member
Tehelka - The People's Paper

The ‘holiness’ of the cow is a myth. Its flesh was very much a part of the early Indian non-vegetarian food regimen and dietary traditions
DN Jha

‘… gam alabhate; yajno vai gauh; yajnam eva labhate; atho annam vai gauh; annam evarundhe…’
Taittiriya Brahamana, III. 9.8.2-3 (Anandasramasanskritgranthavalih 37, Vol III, 3rd edition, Poona, 1979.

‘(At the horse sacrifice) he (the Adhvaryu) seizes (binds) the cow (i.e. cows). The cow is the sacrifice. (Consequently) it is the sacrifice he (the Sacrificer) thus obtains. And the cow certainly is food. (Consequently) it is food he thus obtains.’
English translation by Paul-Emile Dumont. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 92.6 (December 1948), p485.

An interesting rite repeatedly mentioned in the texts of the later Vedic period is one relating to the reception of guests and is called arghya, or more popularly, madhuparka. The killing of the kine (cow) to honour guests seems to have been prevalent from earlier times. The Rgveda (X.68.3) mentions the word atithinir, which has been interpreted as “cows fit for guests”, and refers to at least one Vedic hero, Atithigva, meaning literally “slaying cows for guests”.

...The cow was also killed on festive occasions like marriage. A Rgvedic passage, for instance, refers to the slaughter of a cow on the occasion of marriage and later, in the Aitareya Brahmana, we are told, that “if the ruler of men comes as a guest or any one else deserving of honour comes, people kill a bull or a cow”.

Is it enough to say that Ancient Hindus ate Cow flesh. Subsequently with influence of Buddhism the cow slaughter was stopped. The Ahimsa was given much more importance very later.


Active member
One Man’s Beef

Pankaj Mishra
The Guardian, Saturday 13 July 2002

It is good to have all the relevant facts in one book. But, perhaps, Jha would have better engaged the general reader had he explained in greater detail why upper-caste Hindus have been more passionate about the cow in the last century and a half than at any other time in India's history. Or, as DD Kosambi put it in his Ancient India (1965), why "a modern orthodox Hindu would place beef-eating on the same level as cannibalism, whereas Vedic Brahmins had fattened upon a steady diet of sacrificed beef".

The answer lies in the 19th century, when many newly emergent middle-class Hindus began to see the cow as an important symbol of a glorious tradition defiled by Muslim rule over India. For these Hindus, the cause for banning cow-slaughter became a badge of identity, part of their quest for political power in post-colonial India. Educated Muslims felt excluded from, even scorned by, these Hindu notions of the Indian past; and they developed their own separatist fantasies.
கால பைரவன்;145104 said:
I have heard about these "supposed" arguments between VAli and RAmA, except with a reversed chronology.

First VAli asks RAmA why he intended to kill VAli. RAmA explains about the injustice VAli did to his brother by stealing Sugreeva's wife. When VAli counters that such transgression is acceptable among VAnaRas and human laws do not apply to them, RAmA replies that hunting a VAnaRa hiding is also NOT unfair as human laws of fighting an open warfare does not apply to a VAnaRA!

Even accepting the reverse order of Q & A, Rama hid himself to shoot the arrow at vAli because vAli had the boon that if anybody fights with him face to face he (VAli) will get half the power of the other person giving him more power to defeat his opponent.
I don't think this half power gain is in valmiki ramayan. Needs checking.

Even accepting the reverse order of Q & A, Rama hid himself to shoot the arrow at vAli because vAli had the boon that if anybody fights with him face to face he (VAli) will get half the power of the other person giving him more power to defeat his opponent.
In the movie "The Graduate", Dustin Hoffman is grabbed by the neighbor and and told to go for "Plastics" in search of a job after graduation. Likewise for most of history, the answer is "Evolution" when it comes to deciding between right and wrong. In matters concerning religion and customs the evolution of thought is the guiding factor. In Victorian England the puritans gained foothold and consequently when the British ruled India they introduced those concepts into India too, such as the Anti-nautch act , child marriage prevention act, and others. So what was once permitted in ancient times came to be revised as a prohibited item or event later. "Old is gold" is not universally true. So in the name of tradition it is foolhardy to impose certain customs without consideration for the pulse of times.

As for making mridangam from cowhide, SEkkizhAr's periya purANam (12th century CE) details how the slum dwellers (including nandanAr) ate beef and used the cowhide to make drums and take them to be used in the temples. The brahmins in those days turned a blind eye to the source of the drums used in the temples. Similarly, the use of kastUri (from the gland of a deer), and kOrOjanai (from cow's liver) was widely prevalent in the name of offering them to the Lord. Later on kOrOjanai was used as a medicine even in brahminical households to be given to children to cure their gastric and intestinal illnesses.
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