Written by Sulaiman Razvi
Meat especially that of cow is the centre of controversy in India. People are lynched and raped on rumours of beef consumption but such mentality didn’t exist in Vedic period, people in the Vedic period relished beef and meat of other animals. There are clear references in Vedas about meat consumption, but some Hindu scholars don’t translate it literally despite the fact that it is supported by other Hindu texts. Vedas no-where says that ‘You shouldn’t have meat’, Hindu scriptures doesn’t prohibit meat consumption, it’s only Hindu scholars that prohibits it. In the Vedas the cattle were gifted to other Deities, because it was a source of money during the Vedic period. A historian William Butler writes,
“The people among whom the Veda were composed, as here introduced to us, had evidently passed the nomadic stage. Their wealth consisted of Horses, Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Buffaloes. Coined money, and indeed money in any shape, was unknown. We meet but two allusions to gold, except for the purpose of ornaments. The cow was to the Vedic Hindu at once food and money.”
A recent survey found that 70% Indians are non-vegetarians. http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/06/18/over-70-indians-are-meat-eaters-but-indian-tv-continues-to-vil/
While according to BBC report, just 20% of Indians are vegetarians,
“But new research by US-based anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and India-based economist Suraj Jacob, points to a heap of evidence that even these are inflated estimations because of “cultural and political pressures”. So people under-report eating meat – particularly beef – and over-report eating vegetarian food.
Taking all this into account, say the researchers, only about 20% of Indians are actually vegetarian – much lower than common claims and stereotypes suggest.
Hindus, who make up 80% of the Indian population, are major meat-eaters. Even only a third of the privileged, upper-caste Indians are vegetarian.”
As per National Family Health Survey (NHFS-5) 2019-21, 52.5% Hindu men and 40.7% Hindu women are non vegetarians.
India is also the world’s largest exporter of beef.
Despite these facts Hindus views non-vegetarians especially Muslims as demons equivalent to cannibals. Hindu apologists says that veg diet is healthy and non-veg diet is unhealthy but they aren’t aware of the fact that veg diet doesn’t provide required amount of nutrients and there are several risks associated with veg diet, vegetarians suffer from B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in non-veg food and egg is a key source of vitamin B12. You may like to go through the following links,
Hindus relishes meat throughout the year but becomes animal rights activist during Muslim festival Eid ul Azha (Bakrid) but they find no problem slaughtering animals to please their gods,
2018 Over 900 sheep, 2 buffaloes massacred to appease goddess Dyamavva in Karnataka village
2017 Hundreds of animals sacrificed on Day 1 of Yellamma Fair in Belagavi
2017 Hindu devotees sacrifice animals in ritual during Deodhani festival
2016 Villagers in Erode sacrifice 3000 goats to placate the rain gods
2016 50,000 animals sacrificed in a day in Odisha to appease Goddess
2016 Brahmins hold yaga, sacrifice goats
2015 ‘In my religion, meat is Ma Kali’s prasad’: A Shakto Hindu objects to enforced vegetarianism
Nepal’s killing fields: FIVE THOUSAND buffalo lie slaughtered at the beginning of Hindu ceremony which sees up to 300,000 animals killed to bring worshippers good luck
Animal sacrifice still in vogue
2015 10,000 Animals slaughtered at Chhattar Yatra in Bhawanipatna
2012 50000 animals sacrificed for Chhattar
2010 Mass animal sacrifice in Uttarakhand village
2016 At Kamakhya, there’s no stopping animal sacrifice
2011 100,000 turtles sacrificed in ritual slaughter to celebrate Hindu festival
Hindu Scholars on Meat Consumption
Swami Vivekananda writes that Aryans used to relish beef,
“There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3 https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_3/Lectures_from_Colombo_to_Almora/Reply_to_the_Address_of_Welcome_at_Madura
“Odan’ (rice) mixed with meat is called ‘Mansodan’. On being asked whose meat it should be, he answers ‘Uksha’. ‘Uksha’ is used for an ox, which is capable to produce semen. Or the meat should be of a ‘Rishabh’. ‘Rishabh’ is a bull more advanced in years than an ‘Uksha’.” Adishankaracharya in his commentary on Brihadaranyak Upanishad 6/4/18
“In the Agnisomiya sacrifice no real harm is caused to the animal victim; for according to the Vedic Texts, the victim —a goat, after abandoning an inferior body, will attain a higher rebirth, with a beautiful body. The Text pertaining to immolation declares: — ‘O animal, by this (immolation) you never die, you are not destroyed. You will pass through happy paths to the realm of the gods, where the virtuous, not the sinful reach. May the god Savitar give you a suitable place.’ (Yajñ, 22.214.171.124; Taitt. Br. iii 7.2).
Likewise the attainment of more beautiful bodies by those who die here in this war [which is like a sacrifice] has been declared in the Gita (2.22). Hence, just as a surgeon makes an incision and performs other surgical procedures for the purpose of curing a patient, the immolation of the sacrificial animal in the Agnisomiya and other sacrifices contributes to its welfare.” Ramanujaacharya in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita 2.32
If you ask Hindus as to why we shouldn’t have meat, they give irrational answer, they say ‘We should not slaughter animals because animals feel pain’. This answer is not convincing and is only a shift of logic. Before it was discovered that even Plants have life they used to say ‘We should not slaughter animals because they have life’ and now they started this ‘Animals feel pain” issue. Here are some excerpts from Hindu texts which shows how the logic was changed,
Mahabharat Book 13, Section 115 “… Thou hast said so while discoursing formerly upon the ordinances in respect of Sraddhas. How can meat, however, be procured without slaying a living creature…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Mahabharata Book 13, Section 116 “…Flesh cannot be had from grass or wood or stone. Unless a living creature is slain, it cannot be had. Hence is the fault in eating flesh…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Founder of Arya Samaj Swami Dayanand Saraswati writes in his book,
“It is childish to say that there is no sin in eating meat…for meat cannot be had without killing animals, and it can never be right to hurt or kill animals without an offence.- Satyarth Prakash, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, p.342, Tr. Chiranjiva Bhardwaj.
Manu Smriti 5.48. Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient beings is detrimental to (the attainment of) heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun (the use of) meat.
These passages doesn’t say that we shouldn’t have meat because they feel pain but it says that we should not slaughter animals because they have life, they are living creatures. However these passages shouldn’t be taken as prohibition for meat consumption because Vedic deities used to consume beef every day, but meat consumption appears occasionally, i.e., for sacrifices in later texts. Manu Smriti 5.48 is explained in Vasistha Dharma Shastra 4.5-8 and Mahabharata 13.116 permits meat consumption on the condition that it is first offered to the gods and Pitrs (ancestors). I have explained those verses from Manu Smriti in this article. Researchers have found that even plants feel pain,
Researchers Have Found That Plants Know They Are Being Eaten
Bad news for vegetarians! Plants can ‘hear’ themselves being eaten – and become defensive when attacked
Indian scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose was one of the first scientist to discover that plants feel pain.
Doctors say that meat of fish, chicken and egg are very good for health then why should anyone abstain from it? Although it’s proved that even plants have life and feels pain but if vegan Hindus don’t eat meat merely because animals feel pain then will they eat egg? Egg doesn’t feel pain when you make omelette from it or boil it, so will Brahmins eat egg if the issue is all about pain? If the issue is about pain then will they be okay with slaughtering animals after proper anaesthesia is administered?
Hundreds and thousands of animals were slaughtered as per Hindu texts. But animal slaughter became a taboo in Hindu society only after Hinduism was influenced by other religions like Buddhism and Jainism.
Swami Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON writes in the commentary of Bhagwad Purana 1.3.24,
“…Lord Buddha superficially denied the authority of the Vedas. This rejection of the Vedas by Lord Buddha was adopted in order to save people from the vice of animal-killing as well as to save the poor animals from the slaughtering process of their big brothers who clamor for universal brotherhood, peace, justice and equity. There is no justice when there is animal-killing. Lord Buddha wanted to stop it completely, and therefore his cult of ahimsa was propagated not only in India but also outside the country…” Swami Prabhupada on Bhagwad Purana 1.3.24 [ http://vanisource.org/wiki/SB_1.3.24 ]
So Buddha rejected the authority of Vedas because Vedas sanctions animal slaughter and Hindus of his time sacrificed animals and he wanted them to stop this Vedic practice. Swami Vivekananda is of the same view. He writes,
“In what way do you see this importance of Buddhism in India today?”
“It is obvious and overwhelming. You see India never loses anything; only she takes time to turn everything into bone and muscle. Buddha dealt a blow at animal sacrifice from which India has never recovered; and Buddha said, ‘Kill no cows’, and cow-killing is an impossibility with us.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 5
Some scholars also say that people during Buddha’s time misinterpreted Vedas and started slaughtering animals in Vedic Yajnas, so to stop animal slaughter Buddha completely rejected the Vedas and established anti-Vedic philosophy called Buddhism. My question is, if Vedas do not sanction animal slaughter and people only misinterpreted the Vedas then why didn’t Buddha the avatar of Vishnu (as per Hinduism) revive the Vedas? Why wasn’t he born as a revivalist who should’ve correctly interpreted the meaning of the Vedas?
Following verses from Skanda Purana shows that animal slaughter was prevalent in 10th century during the reign of Kumarapala,
Skanda Purana III.ii.36.62 “[Kumarapala said] O Brahmanas, I shall not abide and honour the Royal Charter issued by Rama. I disown the Brahmanas who indulge in violence and kill animals in Yajna. There is no question of my having any respect for and devotion to these killers.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kumarapala was a 10th century A.D king who had embraced Jainism, This shows that Brahmins were engaged in slaughtering animals in 10th century also. There is a story of another king named Vena who had also embraced Jainism and stopped animal slaughter in Vedic Yajnas,
Padma Purana II.37.32b-42 “[The sinful one said] I shall tell you another fierce act (mentioned) in the Vedas. When a guest goes (ie. arrives) to the house, a brahmana (kills and) cooks (the flesh of) a goat. (They kill) a horse in a horse- sacrifice, and a bull in a bull sacrifice; a man in human sacrifice and goats in a Vajapeya sacrifice. O great king, a great slaughter of many animals is done at a Rajasuya sacrifice. At a Pundarika sacrifice one would kill (i.e. one kills) an elephant, and at an elephant sacrifice (they kill) an elephant. At the Sautramani sacrifice a beast is seen to be fit for being sacrificed. Thus, O prince, listen how at rites of various forms of killing of beasts of various species is laid down…” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
Buddhism and Jainism were wiped out from India by Hindu kings and scholars probably because of their dominance and confrontation with Hinduism. Animal slaughter in Vedic sacrifices and rituals was often the main topic of debate between Buddhist/Jain and Brahmins where Buddhist/Jains had some valid points against Brahmin beliefs. Vishnu Purana says that demons after embracing Buddhism and Jainism started criticizing animal slaughter sanctioned by the Vedas, One of the main point raised by Buddhist/Jain converts was,
Vishnu Purana 3.18.21-30 “The delusions of the false teacher paused not with the conversion of the Daityas to the Jaina and Bauddha heresies, but with various erroneous tenets he prevailed upon others to apostatize, until the whole were led astray, and deserted the doctrines and observances inculcated by the three Vedas. Some then spake evil of the sacred books; some blasphemed the gods; some treated sacrifices and other devotional ceremonies with scorn; and others calumniated the Brahmans. “The precepts,” they cried, “that lead to the injury of animal life (as in sacrifices) are highly reprehensible. To say that casting butter into flame is productive of reward, is mere childishness. If Indra, after having obtained godhead by multiplied rites, is fed upon the wood used as fuel in holy fire, he is lower than a brute, which feeds at least upon leaves. If an animal slaughtered in religious worship is thereby raised to heaven, would it not be expedient for a man who institutes a sacrifice to kill his own father for a victim? If that which is eaten by one at a Śráddha gives satisfaction to another, it must be unnecessary for one who resides at a distance to bring food for presentation in person.” Tr. H.H. Wilson
Swami Dayanand Saraswati also writes about this,
“Eleven arguments in favored by the Charvaka Faith
3.”If the animal offered as sacrifice goes to heaven, why does not the Yajmana (master of ceremonies) send his parents, etc., to heaven, by killing them by way of sacrifice.” Satyarth Prakash, Ch 11, page 508, by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Tr. Chiranjiva Bhardwaja
Dayanand replies to this argument in the following way,
“3, 4, 5. The Veda and other Shaastras do not at all sanction animal sacrifice; the practice of offering oblations to the manes of departed ancestors is an invention of priests, because it is opposed to the Vedic and Shaastric teachings and finds sanction only in the Puraana like the Bhagvat. We have, therefore, nothing to say against the refutation of this doctrine.” Satyarth Prakash, Ch 11, page 509, by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Tr. Chiranjiva Bhardwaja
Swami Dayanand Saraswati cleverly tries to get rid of it by saying there is no sanction in Vedas. It’s true that Shraddha to Pitrs (ancestors) is not mentioned in Vedas but oblation to departed ancestors is mentioned in Shastras and animal slaughter is mentioned in Vedas and supported by other texts like Brahmanas, Puranas so there is no way out but to accept that Vedas permits animal slaughter. All these verses shows that Hindus used to slaughter animals till Buddhism and Jainism became prevalent and also shows that Hinduism was later influenced by these religions and adopted vegetarianism and later on animal slaughter was considered sinful in Hindu society.
I am using Hindi translation of Pundit Ram Govind Trivedi and Acharya Shri Ram Sharma
Rig Veda 10.86.14 [Indra speaks:] The worshippers dress for me fifteen (and) twenty bulls : I eat them and (become) fat, they fill both sides of my belly ;Indra is above all (the world).
Atharva Veda 6.71.1 What food I eat of varied form and nature, food whether horse, sheep, goat, or bullock…
Rig Veda 1.162.2-3 What time they bear before the Courser, covered with trappings and with wealth, the grasped oblation, the dappled goat goeth straightforward, bleating, to the place dear to Indra and to Pūṣan. Dear to all Gods, this goat, the share of Pūṣan, is first led forward with the vigorous Courser, while Tvaṣṭar sends him forward with the Charger, acceptable for sacrifice, to glory.
Rig Veda 5.29.8 When thou [Indra] three hundred buffaloes’ flesh hadst eaten, and drunk, as Maghavan, three lakes of Soma, All the Gods raised as ’twere a shout of triumph to Indra praise because he slew the Dragon.
तरी यच छता महिषाणाम अघो मास तरी सरांसि मघवा सोम्यापाः |
कारं न विश्वे अह्वन्त देवा भरम इन्द्राय यद अहिं जघान ||
trī yac chatā mahiṣāṇām agho mās trī sarāṃsi maghavā somyāpāḥ |
kāraṃ na viśve ahvanta devā bharam indrāya yad ahiṃ jaghāna ||
Rig Veda 1.161.10 One pours the red water, (the blood), upon the ground ; one cuts the flesh, divided into fragments by the chopper; and a third separates the excrement from the other parts f in what manner may the parents (of the sacrifice) render assistance to their sons?
शरोणामेक उदकं गामवजति मांसमेकः पिंशति सूनयाभ्र्तम |
आ निम्रुचः शक्र्देको अपभरत किं सवित पुत्रेभ्यः पितरा उपावतुः ||
Rig Veda 10.94.3 Loudly they speak, for they have found the savoury meath: they make a humming sound over the meat prepared. As they devour the branch of the Red-coloured Tree, these, the well-pastured Bulls, have uttered bellowings.
Rig Veda 10.86.13 Indra will eat thy bulls…
Rig Veda 10.27.17 The sages cooked a fat ram, they followed in succession like dice thrown in gambling….
मेष [Mesha] = Ram/Sheep.
पचत [Pachat] = Cooked
Above is Shri Ram Sharma’s Hindi translation.
Apologist present some verses which according to them prohibits meat consumption but those verses are quoted out of context, those verses have historical context, for instance it’s mentioned in the Vedas
Rig Veda 10.87.16 The fiend [non Aryan, Dasyu, Rakshas, Mleccha] 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.
Atharva Veda 1.16.4 If thou [Foreigners] destroy a cow of ours, a human being, or a steed, We pierce thee with this piece of lead so that thou mayst not slay our men.
These verses refer to the foreigners/Non Aryans [Maleccha, Rakshasa] or enemies of deities of Vedic period, that they should not kill the Aryans, cows or horses OF THE Aryans as Cows and Horses were sources of wealth and horses were also used for warfare, you can have meat of other castes or of foreigners (non Aryans). Who would like their wealth to be destroyed? Just like stealing milk of cow is wrong similarly killing animals belonging to other people is considered sinful in those verses. The verse Rig Veda 10.87.16 also prohibits stealing milk but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consume milk, you can have milk after buying it similarly you can have meat after buying meat or animal. There may be some confusion among Hindus whether to eat cow or not but there is hardly any prohibition in Vedas to slaughter bull although Vedas do not prohibit any kind of meat.
Some Hindus might say those verses I mentioned above has historical context but they shouldn’t be viewed in a context as all verses are eternal and it’s applicable for all ages. Does that mean you should eat dog’s intestines when you are in deep distress? Because the Vedas says,
Rig Veda 4.18.13 In deep distress I cooked a dog’s intestines. Among the Gods I found not one to comfort. My consort I beheld in degradation. The Falcon then brought me the pleasant Soma.
This verse has a historical context which I am not going to explain, does that mean you should eat dog’s intestines when you are anxious?
The reason why it’s difficult to find verses on meat consumption in the Vedas (from few Hindu translators) is because some Hindu scholars don’t view the animal sacrifice as literal slaughtering but they view it as charity or symbolic slaughtering. So Hindus should ask their scholars to literally translate the Sanskrit verses on meat consumption and I am sure all their doubts on meat eating will be cleared. Vedic verses clearly uses words like Mamsa (Meat), Pachat (Cook) etc., Which is pretty clear for meat consumption but some Hindu scholars likes to add their own words into it, they give their own meanings.
Some Hindu apologists might say Yajnas does not contain killing, Yajnas are non-violent etc., But they cannot deny the fact that the animals which were brought as oblation were thrown into the fire,
Rig Veda 10.91.14-15 He [Agni/Fire] in whom horses, bulls, oxen, and barren cows, and rams, when duly set apart, are offered up,- To Agni, Soma-sprinkled, drinker of sweet juice, Disposer, with my heart I bring a fair hymn forth. Into thy [Agni’s] mouth is poured the offering, Agni, as Soma into cup, oil into ladle…
Manu Smriti 3.76 An oblation duly thrown into the fire, reaches the sun; from the sun comes rain, from rain food, therefrom the living creatures (derive their subsistence).
Rig Veda 3.59.5 The great Aditya, to be served with worship, who stirreth men, is gracious to the singer. To Mitra, him most highly to be lauded, offer in fire [the] oblation that he loveth.
Satapatha Brahmana 126.96.36.199 Now when he slaughters those animals, he prepares a home for Agni; for nowhere but in his home does one enjoy himself. But the home means food: it is that he lays down in, front, and when Agni sees that, he turns unto him.
Satapatha Brahmana 11:7:1:1- He performs the animal sacrifice. Now the animal sacrifice means cattle: thus, when he performs the animal sacrifice (pasubandha, the binding of the animal), it is in order that he may be possessed of cattle…And when he performs the animal sacrifice, he renews his fires, and so, along with the renewal of his fires, does the Sacrificer (renew himself), and along with the Sacrificer his house and cattle. And beneficial to life, indeed, is that redemption of his own self; for whilst he is offering the Sacrificer’s fires long for flesh; they set their minds on the Sacrificer and harbour designs on him. In other fires people do indeed cook any kind of meat, but these (sacrificial fires) have no desire for any other flesh but this (sacrificial animal), and for him to whom they belong.
Asvalayana Grihya Sutra, IV Adhyaya, 8 Kandika, 25 “The husks and chaff (of the rice), the tail, the skin, the head, the feet (of the sacrificial animal) he should throw into the fire.
Yajur Veda 20.79 O Agni [Fire], within thy mouth is poured the offering, as Soma into cup, ghee into ladle…
Read Rig Veda 1.162.19 which I have mentioned above which talks about meat balls of horse put into the fire, We can obtain meat balls only after killing the horse, So it is a undeniable fact that animals were killed in the Yajna. As I said earlier Hindu scholars don’t view the sacrifice as literal for instance Veda says
Rig Veda 10.104.3 To make thee [Indra] start, a strong true draught I offer to thee, the Bull [as a oblation], O thou whom Bay Steeds carry.
Rig Veda 5.29.8 When thou [Indra] three hundred buffaloes’ flesh hadst eaten, and drunk, as Maghavan, three lakes of Soma, All the Gods raised as ’twere a shout of triumph to Indra praise because he slew the Dragon.
I have given the Hindi translation of Rig Veda 5.29.8 by Pundit Ram Govind Trivedi. Some scholars have skipped the Sanskirt word Maas (Meat/Flesh) in their translation, A Hindu scholar Ram Acharya has translated the verse 5.29.8 as Indra ”ACCEPTED” the three hundred buffaloes instead of “Eaten” he has also omitted the word Maas (Flesh/Meat), even if he just accepted the buffaloes then it means later he ate them because Veda commands Indra and Agni to eat the oblation which they receive,
Rig Veda 10.116.8 Eat, Indra, these oblations which approach thee: be pleased with food made ready and with Soma.
Rig Veda 2.1.13-14 The A’dityas have made thee, Agni, their mouth; the pure (deities) have made thee, Kavi, their tongue: the (gods), the givers of wealth, depend upon thee at sacrifices; they eat the offered oblation through thee [Agni]. All the benignant immortal gods eat the offered oblation through thee, as their mouth: mortals taste the flavour (of all viands) through thee: thou art born pure, the embryo of plants.
Rig Veda 1.75.1 ACCEPT our loudest-sounding hymn, food most delightful to the Gods, Pouring our offerings in thy [Agni’s] mouth.
Indra, Agni and other gods were commanded to eat the offered oblations, therefore they did consume meat. In Vedas, there are two more verses about bulls brought for sacrifice,
Atharva Veda 9.4.9 …that Brahman gives a thousand who offers up the Bull as his oblation.
Atharva Veda 9.4.18 All Gods promote the Brahman who offers the Bull in sacrifice.
We have already read that the cattle which were brought as oblation/offerings were put in the fire and later on eaten, so it is a pretty much clear that Hindu deities used to partake beef.
Hindu extremists make so much hue and cry over cow slaughter today but cow slaughter was a common practice in Vedic period,
Krishna Yajur Veda 188.8.131.52-4 On the full moon (the Soma) is pressed for the gods; during this half-month it is pressed forth for them, and a cow for Mitra and Varuna is to be slaughtered for them at the new moon. In that he sacrifices on the day before…In that he sacrifices at the new moon with clotted curds for Mitra and Varuna, the cow which is slaughtered for the gods becomes his also.
Krishna Yajur Veda 184.108.40.206 At the time of the (offering of the) cow, he should offer on one potsherd to Mitra and Varuna, this (offering) corresponds to his foe’s cow which is to be slaughtered
Krishna Yajur Veda 5.1.8 …if he were to let them go after circumambulation with fire, he would disturb the sacrifice; if he were to keep them until the conclusion, the heads would be exhausted; in that he offers the animals, he wins thereby animals; in that he lets them go after circumambulation with fire, (it serves) to prevent the exhaustion of the heads; he concludes (the rite) with (an animal) for Prajapati; Prajapati is the sacrifice; verily he concludes the sacrifice in the sacrifice…
Veda clearly speaks of animal killing and putting it in the Agni (Fire) during Yajna, one of the most popular hymn about animal slaughter is from the Rig Veda about Horse sacrifice (Ashvamedha Yajna). Ashvamedha mentioned in Rig Veda deals with slaughtering and cooking of the sacrificial horse. I am using English translation of H.H Wilson and Hindi translation of Pundit Ram Govind Trivedi,
Rig Veda 1.162.9 “Whatever the flies may eat of the raw flesh of the horse; whatever (grease) is smeared upon the brush or upon the axe ; (what is smeared) upon the hands or the nails of the immolator, may all this be with thee, (horse), among the gods.” Tr. H.H. Wilson
Rig Veda 1.162.10 Whatever undigested grass fall from his belly ; whatever particle” of raw flesh may remain let the immolators make the whole free from defect, and so cook the pure (offering) that it may be perfectly dressed.
Rig Veda 1.162.12 They who observing that the Horse is ready call out and say, the smell is good; remove it; And, craving meat, await the distribution, -may their approving help promote labour
Rig Veda 1.162.13 The trial-fork of the flesh-cooking caldron, the vessels out of which the broth is sprinkled, The warming-pots, the covers of the dishes, hooks, carving-boards,-all these attend the Charger.
Rig Veda 1.162.18 The axe penetrates the thirty-four ribs of the swift horse : the beloved of the gods, (the immolators), cut up (the horse) with skill, so that the
Rig Veda 1.162.19 Of Tvastar’s Charger there is one dissector,-this is the custom-two there are who guide him. Such of his limbs as I divide in order, these, amid the balls [of meat], in fire I offer.
Let’s see what other scriptures says about Horse Sacrifice
Krishna Yajur Veda 220.127.116.11 It is the twenty onefold day, on which the horse is slain, there are twelve months, five seasons; these worlds are three
Krishna Yajur Veda 5.3.12. The eye of Prajapati swelled, that fell away, that became a horse; because it swelled (áçvayat), that is the reason why the horse (áçva) has its name. By the horse sacrifice the gods replaced it. He who sacrifices with the horse sacrifice makes Prajapati whole; verily he becomes whole; this is the atonement for everything, and the cure for everything. All evil by it the gods overcame; by it also the gods overcame (the sins of) Brahman- slaying; all evil  he overcomes, he overcomes Brahman-slaying who sacrifices with the horse sacrifice, and he who knows it thus. It was the left eye of Prajapati that swelled; therefore they cut off from the horse on the left side, on the right from other animals. The mat is of reeds; the horse has its birthplace in the waters, the reed is born in the waters; verily he establishes it in its own birthplace. The Stoma is the fourfold one; the bee tore the thigh of the horse, the gods made it whole with the fourfold Stoma; in that there is the fourfold Stoma, (it is) to make whole the horse.
Srimad Bhagawatam (Bhagvad Purana) 4.19.11 “When Pṛthu Mahārāja was performing the last horse sacrifice [aśvamedha-yajña], King Indra, invisible to everyone, stole the horse intended for sacrifice. He did this because of his great envy of King Pṛthu.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
Commentary: “King Indra is known as śata-kratu, which indicates that he has performed one hundred horse sacrifices (aśvamedha-yajña). We should know, however, that the animals sacrificed in the yajña were not killed. If the Vedic mantras were properly pronounced during the sacrifice, the animal sacrificed would come out again with a new life.” Swami Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam 4.19.11
Satapatha Brahmana 18.104.22.168. And, verily, even on this occasion, they slaughter the sacrificial horse (Asvamedha) as a sacrifice to the gods…
Satapatha Brahmana 13:2:1:1-2 Pragâpati assigned the sacrifices to the gods; the Asvamedha he kept for himself. The gods said to him, ‘Surely, this–to wit, the Asvamedha–is a sacrifice: let us have a share in that also.’ He contrived these Anna-homas (food-oblations) for them: thus when he performs the Annahomas, it is the gods he thereby gratifies. With ghee he makes offering, for ghee is fiery mettle: by means of fiery mettle he thus lays fiery mettle into him (the horse and Sacrificer). With ghee he offers; for that–to wit, ghee–is the gods’ favourite resource: it is thus with their favourite resource he supplies them.
Satapatha Brahmana 11:2:5:5 Verily, then, for him who, knowing this, offers both the Agnihotra and the Full and New-moon sacrifices, they slaughter the sacrificial horse month by month; and month by month the Asvamedha is offered for him, and his Agnihotra and Full and New-moon sacrifices come to pass into the Asvamedha.
Valmiki Ramayan Bala Kanda 1, Sarga 14, Verses 33-38 “With great delight coming on her Queen Kausalya reverently made circumambulations to the horse, and symbolically killed the horse with three knives. Queen Kausalya desiring the results of ritual disconcertedly resided one night with that horse that flew away like a bird…Then the priest, one with controlled senses and rich in scriptural wealth, took up the omentum [fat] of the horse and cooked it as per scriptures while dropping into the altar of fire to bake as a food to the celestials…Those remaining body parts that horse are there, the sixteen officiating priests have procedurally oblated all of them into fire.” Tr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao
Brahma Purana 104.137 “After performing these tasks Rama the most excellent among the virtuous performed ten horse-sacrifices where flesh was offered to the deities.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
Swami Vivekananda and Swami Dayanand Saraswati said that whatever from the Puranas (or other text also) contradicts the Vedas then it must be rejected without any mercy. And verses from Shatapatha Brahmana and Puranas confirms that the horse was slaughtered in Ashvamedha Yajna. So there is no way that apologists can now twist verses from Vedas about Horse-sacrifice.
Cattle were slaughtered for guests. But as per Swami Vivekananda this practise was later stopped. Sometimes we may wonder how an animal like cow became so sacred that Hindus started worshiping it and also prohibited its slaughter. When you ask any Hindu why he considers the Cow to be his Mother, he will tell you that ‘Since cow gives us milk, we consider it to be our mother’.
In the Vedas even the earth is considered a Mother. The reason for this may be because food grows from the soil. So Hindus considers all such things to be their mother whichever provides them with food. As we have already read some references about cattle used as source of money and ploughing the fields. It could be that people in ancient India heavily relied on Agriculture. Many farmers in India still plough fields with the help of Bulls and Cows. So killing cattle would result in heavy loss for such people, thus the prohibition of killing cows may have enacted. Swami Vivekananda writes,
“you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed. How in time it was found that as we were an agricultural race, killing the best bulls meant annihilation of the race. Therefore the practice was stopped, and a voice was raised against the killing of cows. Sometimes we find existing then what we now consider the most horrible customs.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekandan, Volume 3
Hindu scriptures commands to slaughter cattle or goat for the guests,
Vishnu Smriti 51.64 When honoring a guest, at a sacrifice, or when worshipping the manes, or the gods, a man may slay cattle, but not otherwise on any account.
Sankhayana Grihya Sutra 2.15.1-3 Should any one of the six persons (mentioned in the Srauta-sutra and in the Sutras 4-9) to whom the Arghya reception is due, visit (him), let him make (ready) a cow, a goat, or what (sort of food) he thinks most like (thereto). Let the Argha not be without flesh. On the occasion of a sacrifice and of a wedding let (the guest) say, ‘Make it (ready).’
Kausitaki Brahmana 1.15 …Just as in the world when a human king has come, or another deserving person, they slay an ox or a cow that miscarries; so for him they slay in that they kindle the fire, for Agni is the victim of the gods.
Satapatha Brahmana 3:4:1:2. Now as to why it is called ‘guest-offering.’ He, the purchased Soma, truly comes as his (the sacrificer’s) guest,–to him (is offered) that (hospitable reception): even as for a king or a Brâhman one would cook a large ox or a large he-goat–for that is human (fare offered to a guest), and the oblation is that of the gods–so he prepares for him that guest-offering.
Asvalayana Grihya Sutra 1.24.33 Let the Madhuparka not be without flesh, without flesh.
Madhuparka means offerings to the guest. Krishna tells Yuddhisthira,
Mahabharata Book 14, Section 2 “…And then Kesava (Krishna) accosted him,–‘If a person indulges excessively in sorrow for his departed forefathers, he grieves them. (Therefore, banishing grief), do thou (now) celebrate many a sacrifice with suitable presents to the priests; and do thou gratify the gods with Soma liquor, and the manes of thy forefathers with their due food and drink. Do thou also gratify thy guests with meat and drink and the destitute with gifts commensurate with their desires…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
On the occasion of Rukmini’s marriage with Krishna, Rukmi tells his father to slaughter a lakh cows, two lakh deers, 4 lakhs of rabbits and tortoise, ten lakhs of goats and 40 lakhs of sheep,
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna Janma Khanda 105. 47-67 “Get also slaughtered a lakh of cows, two lakhs of deer, 4 lakhs of rabbits and tortoise. Reverentially sacrifice to the village goddess on the night of the ful moon ten lakhs of goats and sheep four times the number of the last named and get the flesh properly cooked for food. O lord of the world, get also vegetables cooked for the purpose. The monarch Bhismaka having heard the words of his son took his family priest aside and also sent a suitable Brahmin to Dwarka. He fixed a date which was regarded auspicious unanimously…” Tr. Rajendra Nath Sen
Cow is also called Aghnya, Yaska in Nirukta has given two definitions for this word, one is that cow is not to be killed and another one is that cow is called Aghnya because it is a destroyer of sins. Cow is destroyer of sin because sacrificing it emancipates ones sins,
Grihya Sutra of Hiranyakesin I Prasna, 4 Patala, 14 Section, verses 11-16 “That (cow is either killed or let loose. If he chooses to let it loose, (he murmurs), ‘This cow will become a milch cow’…If it shall be killed, (he says), ‘A cow art thou; sin is driven away from thee. Drive away my sin and the sin of N.N.! Kill ye him whoever hates me. He is killed whosoever hates me. Make (the cow) ready!’ If (the cow) is let loose, a meal is prepared with other meat, and he announces it (to the guest) in the words, ‘It is ready!’ He replies, ‘It is well prepared; it is Virag; it is food. May it not fail! May I obtain it…Give food to the Brahmanas!’ After those (Brahmanas) have eaten, (the hose) orders blameless (?) food to be brought to him (i.e. to the guest).
Scholars have opined that milch cows were not slaughtered and only barren cows were slaughtered as slaughtering milch cows would result in heavy loss.
Hindu text even permits the meat of cow,
Apastamba Dharma Shastra Prasna I, Patala 5, Khanda 17, 30-31 (But the meat) of milch-cows and oxen may be eaten. The Vâgasaneyaka declares ‘bull’s flesh is fit for offerings.’ 37. Five-toed animals (ought not to be eaten) with the exception of the iguana, the tortoise, the porcupine, the hedgehog, the rhinoceros, the hare, and the Pûtikhasha.
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 14.46. It is declared in the Vâgasaneyaka, that (the flesh of) milch-cows and oxen is fit for offerings.
Hinduism also permits meat of the following animals, birds and fishes,
Manu Smriti 5.18 The porcupine, the hedgehog, the iguana, the rhinoceros, the tortoise, and the hare they declare to be eatable; likewise those (domestic animals) that have teeth in one jaw only, excepting camels.
Padma Purana III.56.31b-46 “…O best ones, Prajapati Manu has said that these animals with five claws may be always eaten: alligator, tortoise, hare, rhinoceros, porcupine. He may also eat fish with scales, and the flesh of (the deer called) ruru after having presented them to deities and brahmanas, and not otherwise. O best brahmanas, so also (the flesh of) a peacock, a patridge, a pigeon, a cataka, rhinoceros, a crane, a swan. Thus said Prajapati (Manu). These fish, viz. (the glittering fish) saphari, simhatunda, pathina and rohita are directed as fit to be eaten. With a desire (to retain the status) as a twice-born he should eat the flesh of these after it is sprinkled over; even if he is about to loose his life he should duly use it. He should not at all eat flesh. He who eats what remains, is not smeared (with sin). If he is weak, he should eat flesh as medicine, or by an order or for sacrificial purposes. He, who would give up flesh when invited at a sraddha or a rite in honour of a deity, goes to (i.e. lives) in hell for as many years as the number of hair of the beast…” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
Agni Purana 168.12-23 “…Animals having five nails such as the Shallaki, the Godha, the rhinoceros, and the tortoise are clean animals; and accordingly their flesh may be taken without any impunity. Flesh of animals other than the five mentioned in the preceding line, should be deemed impure. There is no harm in eating such fishes as Pathin, Rohita, and Sinhatunda…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 177-8 Of the five toed animals, the porcupine the iguana-lizard, the tortoise, the hedge-hog; and the hare; among fishes the Simhatundaka and the Rohita. So also the pathina, the Rajiva, the sasalka may be eaten by the twice born classes.
Brahma Purana 113.111-2 “The following can be eaten: hare, tortoise, alligator, porcupine and the fish with darts (?) The village boar and the cock should be avoided. In the following circumstances, even if one eats meat, one is not defiled: if it is the remnant of offerings unto the Pitrs, Devas etc. or if it is cooked in Sraddha at the request of the brahmins and is sprinkled with the holy water or if it is taken as a medicine.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
Vamana Purana 15.2-3 “Rice cooked well with oil or ghee, even if it be stored for a long time is fit to be eaten. Rice without any oil or ghee, and delicate preparations of milk, meat of the rabbit, porcupine, alligator, hedgehog, fish and tortoise, pulses and similar other things are fit to be eaten, said Manu.” Tr. Ananda Swarup Gupta
Paraskara Grihya Sutra III Kanda, 10 Kandika, 48 On the eleventh day he should give to an uneven number of Brahmanas a meal at which meat is served.
Sankha Samhita 13.25 “A Sraddha ceremony performed by offering oblations of Vala Sakas, bird’s flesh, the flesh of a rhinoceros, or a large-scaled fish, bears infinite fruit. This is the opinion of Yama, the law-giver.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Sankha Samhita 17.22 “Golden coloured godhas, tortoises, porcupines, hares, although they belong to the group of five nailed creatures, are animals whose flesh may be eaten; but having killed of any of these animals, one should practise the above-said penance.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Sankha Samhita 17.27 “Pheasants, peacocks, Lavaakas, Kapinjaras, Vartakas, and Bardhrinasas are birds, whose flesh, according to holy Yama, may be always eaten.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Usana Samhita 3.107 “This Sraddha is called Pindanvaharyakam. In the afternoon of the day, when the waning of the Moon takes place, the twice-born should perform it with sanctified fish and meat.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Manu Smriti clearly allow consumption of meat,
Manu Smriti 5.29 What is destitute of motion is the food of those endowed with locomotion; (animals) without fangs (are the food) of those with fangs, those without hands of those who possess hands, and the timid of the bold.
Manu Smriti 5.30 The eater who daily even devours those destined to be his food, commits no sin; for the creator himself created both the eaters and those who are to be eaten (for those special purposes).
Above Manu Smriti verse might sound contradicting to other verse of Manu which says,
Manu Smriti 5.41 On offering the honey-mixture (to a guest), at a sacrifice and at the rites in honour of the manes, but on these occasions only, may an animal be slain; that (rule) Manu proclaimed.
What some Hindu apologists do is they quote these two verse and says “See these two verses are contradicting each other, one says we can slaughter animals only on occasions but other says we can slaughter animals daily so this proves Manu Smriti is interpolated” It’s so easy to say fake translation and Manu Smriti is corrupted to escape the argument, But the next verse explains it,
Manu Smriti 5.32 He who eats meat, when he honours the gods and manes, commits no sin, whether he has bought it, or himself has killed (the animal), or has received it as a present from others.
So the condition to eat the meat is, he should honor the god, if he doesn’t then it’s a minor offense.
Internet Arya Samajis considers Manu Smriti to be unauthentic. Manu Smriti is the second most authentic scripture of Arya Samaj, Vedas are the most sacred Sruti and the Manu Smriti is the most authentic Smriti, Swami Dayanand Saraswati the founder of Arya Samaj writes in his book,
Q. ~ Well sir! Have you no faith even in what the Parashar says:
A. ~ …. Among the Smrities, the Manu Smriti alone is authentic.- Satyarth Prakash pg 142, Tr. Chiranjiva Bhardwaja
Dayanand recommended reading Manu Smriti to understand several things, Moreover he used approximately 250 verses of Manu Smriti in his book Satyarth Prakash, If Manu Smriti is so corrupted (corrupted according to some keyboard warriors) then why did Dayanand used 250 Shlokas of Manu Smriti in his book Satyarth Prakash? This proves Manu Smriti is the most authentic Smriti of Arya Samaj no matter today if some keyboard warriors reject it. In a debate between Dayanand and an Orthodox Hindu named Tara Charan, Dayanand accepted that Manu Smriti and few other texts are authoritative and they are based on the Vedas
Some Hindu apologists try to show there is no violence in Yajnas therefore killing animals during Yajna is prohibited, let me give an example to refute this point. Drinking alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, if you trade or drink alcohol there you will be imprisoned, but in India drinking or trade of alcohol is legal and you won’t be imprisoned for it similarly killing animals in Yajnas is permissible and is a non-violent act.
Matsya Purana 239.27-33 “…and for the satisfaction of the gods animal sacrifice should also be made…” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
Agni Purana 40.6 “Worship and propitiate the god Dharmesh in the two chambers with meat and rice form boiled paddy, and the Gandharva occupying two such rectangular divisions, with perfume and bird’s tongue.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Agni Purana 84.1-2 “The God said:- Then early in the morning, the preceptor should bathe and perform his daily rites of prayer and worship. Dreams of curd, ginger, meat and wine in the night preceding the day of ceremony, should be held as the most auspicious ones…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Agni Purana 93.22-23 “…A plateful of meat-offering should be given to the god of mountains Dharadhara, who would be considered as occupying six chambers of the diagram…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Brahma Purana 72.52 “Lord Hari said to her: Worshipped by means of wine, meat and other presents and various items of foodstuffs you will become delighted and fulfil all desires of men.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
A king of Bhojas said,
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.36.26 “Commence the bow sacrifice on the Caturdaśī day in accordance with the relevant Vedic injunctions. In ritual slaughter offer the appropriate kinds of animals to the magnanimous Lord Śiva.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
Devi Bhagavatam 5.34.13-31. “In the bright fortnight of the month of Âsvin or Chaitra, is to be observed the fasting of the Navarâtra by those who desire for their own welfare. Homas are to be offered, many in number, and Mantrams are to be recited, the same as in one’s own Mantram, good Pâyasam with sugar, ghee, and honey mixed is to be offered in this ceremony. Goat meat, or holy leaves of the Bel tree, or red Karavîr flowers or til (sesamum seed) mixed with honey can be used instead in the Homa ceremony. The special days for the worship of the Devî are the eighth, ninth, or fourteenth day (tithi) of the half month…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Satapatha Brahman 6:2:2:11 The Karakas slaughter (a he-goat) for Pragâpati, saying, ‘Pragâpati, having built up the fire-altar (agni), became Agni. When he slaughters that [goat] one, then indeed he reaches the end of Agni (the fire-altar).
Brahmanda Purana 17.2- “The three Astaka Sraddhas are performed for the welfare of sons and wives…The first one is the most excellent one with Akhandala (Indra) for its deity. The second one is Prajapatya (with Prajapati for its deity) The third one is Vaisvadevika (with Visve Devas as deities) The first one is always to be performed with sweet rice peas. The second one should always be performed with meat…” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Also mentioned in Vayu Purana Section II.19.3-4; Vayu Purana, Section II.18.51 and Brahmanda Purana,
Brahmanda Purana 22.214.171.124 “In Vaisvadeva and Soma sacrifices, the flesh of a rhinoceros (or a buffalo) is the greatest offering. It is not through rivalry that we feed with the flesh of a rhinoceros (buffalo) excluding the horns.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Narada Purana III.90.28 “The devotee with the previously mentioned form should worship the deities of the above mentioned forms. He should worship them in the proper sequence with the offering of wine, fish and meat duly consecrated.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Vayu Purana 16.5 “During the sacrifice to Visvadevas and Saumyas, the Havis can contain plenty of meat. But one should avoid the horn of the rhinoceros to mitigate the malice (of Pitrs) (?).” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Offerings to Goddess Kali,
Narada Purana III.84.27-28 “At midnight, on Bhutastami (the eighth day in the dark fortnight of Karttika month) the devotee shall offer unto the goddess the flesh of cats and rams along with bones, hairs and hide or the oblation of a camel or a buffalo. All the creatures will become subservient to him. He shall enjoy happiness for a long time with sons, fame, fortune and learning.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Varaha Purana 119.12-18 “[Varaha said:] All this I accept if devoutly offered; also the flesh of deer, goat and hare. All these are dear to me in the worship to attain me. When the goat is offered in sacrifice by the Vaidic Brahmin, a part of it comes to me as my share…The birds that are to be used also in my worship, I shall tell you now. The flesh of the birds Iavaka, vartika and kapinjala are used in my temples.” Tr. Venkitasubramonia Iyer, edited by J.L. Shastri
Agni Purana 185.1-15 “…The man, who carries the image of the goddess in a car (performs the car-festival unto the goddess), offers animal sacrifice, or plants a banner on the top of her temple, enjoys all bliss.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Also read Brahma Purana 79.27.
Black Yajur Veda 126.96.36.199-4 “the form of man, its lack of horns that of horses, the possession of one set of incisors only that of cows, the sheep-like hooves that of sheep, that it is a goat, that is the form of goats. The wind is the abode dear to cattle; in that it is offered to Vayu, in accord cattle wait upon him. ‘Should an animal be offered to Vayu, or to Prajapati?’ they say; if he were to offer it to Vayu, he would depart from Prajapati; if he were to offer it to Prajapati, he would depart from Vayu; in that the animal is offered to Vayu, therefore he does not depart…” Tr. Arthur Berriedale Keith
Hinduism permits slaughtering the following animals for Vedic sacrifices and rituals,
Sankha Samhita 13.25 “A S’raddha ceremony performed by offering oblations of Vala Sakas, bird’s flesh, the flesh of a rhinoceros, or a large scaled fish, bears infinite fruit. This is the opinion of Yama, the law-giver.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Satapatha Brahmana even say that meat is the best food,
Satapatha Brahmana 188.8.131.52. Now, when he performs the animal offering. He thereby redeems himself–male by male, for the victim is a male, and the Sacrificer is a male. And this, indeed, to wit, flesh, is the best kind of food: he thus becomes an eater of the best kind of food. Let not a year pass by for him without his offering; for the year means life: it is thus immortal life he thereby confers upon himself.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.18 And if a man wishes that a learned son should be born to him, famous, a public man, a popular speaker, that he should know all the Vedas, and that he should live to his full age, then, after having prepared boiled rice with meat and butter, they should both eat, being fit to have offspring. The meat should be of a young or of an old bull.
Maitrayana Brahmaya 6.36 … Therefore (to the former) sacrifice must be offered on the house-altar with hymns, herbs, ghee, meat, cakes, sthalipaka, and other things; to the latter, with meat and drinks (belonging to the great sacrifices) thrown into the mouth, for the
mouth is the Ahavaniya-fire; and this is done to increase our bodily vigour, to gain the world of purity, and for the sake of immortality.
Apastamba Dharma Shastra, Prasna II, Patala 7, Khanda 16.28. By this (permission of the use of buffalo’s meat) it has been declared that the meat of (other) tame and wild animals is fit to be offered.
Narada Purana III.87.22-24 “…If one performs hundred homas everyday with the flesh of a goat smeared with ghee, and continues it for a month, all kings will be subservient to him…25 By performing homa with the fruits of udumbara and palasa trees he attains good fortune. With the flesh of a jackal also he attains the same…27 He can captivate people by performing homa with the menstrual flow of women; the desire is fulfilled by means of the flesh of a deer. The stunning is achieved through the flesh of a buffalo…” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Vishnu Purana 3.10.3-7 “When a son is born, let his father perform for him the ceremonies proper on the birth of a child, and all other initiatory rites, as well as a Śráddha, which is a source of prosperity. Let him feed a couple of Brahmans, seated with their faces to the east; and according to his means offer sacrifices to the gods and progenitors. Let him present to the manes balls of meat mixed with curds, barley, and jujubes, with the part of his hand sacred to the gods, or with that sacred to Prajápati. Let a Brahman perform such a Śráddha, with all its offerings and circumambulations, on every occasion of good fortune.” Tr. H.H. Wilson
Narada Purana III.90.147 “By performing homa with the meat of ram smeared with trimadha one shall attain gold. If the meat of ram is smeared with milk and homa is performed, one shall attain a very fertile land abounding in plants within forty days.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Brahma Purana: Gautami Mahatmya 61.27-28 “In the southern bank of Ganga the cows were set apart as the sacrificial animals. These cows had fled and the Devas herded them together on Ganga. In its middle they caused an island to be made as the place of rest for the cows. Throught those cows the Yajna of Devas was celebrated on Ganga.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
Mahabharata Book 12, Section 263 “One who is of such a cleansed soul may slaughter a cow (as an offering in Sacrifice). They, therefore, that are not of that kind should perform Sacrifices with herbs and plants (and not animals).” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Mahabharata Book 13, Section 162 “…One does not incur any fault or stain by eating the meat of animals slain in sacrifices with the aid of Tantras from the Yajur Veda…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 179 One may eat meat without incurring any guilt when one’s life is in danger, (when engaged) in Sraddha, when it has been springkled with water while Mantras were recited, when Brahmanas desire one’s doing it, or when it has been properly offered to Gods and the pitris.
Yajnavalkya Smriti Chapter 1, verse 171 “[One should avoid] havi (clarified butter) made for the worship of a deity, [before the adoration is finished,] the juice of a pot-herb, that of a red-coloured tree, that of trees born of cuttings, meat of animals not offered in sacrifices…” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Vijnanesvara writes on this verse,
“Unhallowed meat, The flesh of animals not offered at the sacrifice.” Tr. Srisa Chandra Vasu
Vyasa Samhita 3.558 “A twice-born one, by eating the cooked flesh of an animal wantonly slaughtered (not killed in any sacrifice), suffers the pangs of hell for eternal time, or as long as the sun and stars would shine in heaven…” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Usana Samhita 9.22 “[There is] no [penance for taking] the meat [of animals] sacrificed unto a deity; [for taking any other meat, one] should perform the Chandrayana. Or, fasting for twelve days, he should offer oblations of clarified butter to the Fire with the Kushmanda [Mantram].” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Vishnu Smriti 51.59 “Under no circumstance shall eat the flesh of an animal, not consecrated with Mantras, but he will eat, in conformity with the injunctions of the eternal scriptures, the flesh of an animal consecrated with Mantras and duly offered on the occasion of a sacrifice.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Manu Smriti 5.32 He who eats meat, when he honours the gods and manes, commits no sin, whether he has bought it, or himself has killed (the animal), or has received it as a present from others.
Vishnu Smriti 51.20-21 Or (food that is given) in a disrespectful manner, or the meat (of animals killed) for no sacred purpose. After having (unawares) eaten the flesh of any sort of fish, excepting the Pathina, Rohita, Ragiva, Simhatunda, and Sakula fishes, he must fast for three days.
Kurma Purana II.24.3 “A Brahmana maintaining sacred fires and desirous of living for a long time should not eat cooked food or meat without performing the Yajna of fresh harvest and the animal sacrifice.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Garuda Purana I.96.72 “By eating garlic and onion one becomes sinful and as atonement one should perform Candrayana. If one takes meat after worshipping deities and manes in Sraddha one does not acquire sin.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Garuda Purana I.96.60-64 “…Meat should not be taken without consecration…” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Mahabharata Book 3, Section 207 “…this rule has been laid down by Munis:–Whoever partakes of animal food after having first offered it duly and respectfully to the gods and the manes, is not polluted by the act. And such a man is not at all considered to have partaken of animal food…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Mahabharata Book 12, Section 37 “…Rice boiled in sugared milk, food mixed with the tila seed, meat, and cakes, that have not been dedicated to the gods, should not be taken by Brahmanas leading a domestic mode of life, Having first gratified the gods, Rishis, guests, Pitris, and the household deities, a Brahmana leading a domestic mode of life should then take his food…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
It is considered sinful to eat meat without honouring gods and manes,
Vamana Purana 12.20 “Those men who have consumed rice boiled in milk, rice cooked with sesamum, and meat, without offering them to the deity have thrust into their mouth awfully hot iron balls.” Tr. Ananda Swarup Gupta
Devi Bhagavagam 9.33.62-85. “If any Brâhmin villain eats, out of greed, any flesh (not sacrificed before the goddess) or anything not offered to Hari, he will have to remain in the Krimi Kunda where he eats those things for as many years as there are hairs on his body…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Gautama Samhita 17.31. Nor the flesh of animals whose milk-teeth have not fallen out, which are diseased, nor the meat of those (which have been killed) for no (sacred) purpose,
Matsya Purana 206.15 “Then the following formulae should be recited:_ ‘Whatever sins I may have committed through insinuations, backbiting, or eating flesh not offered to the gods, be destroyed by the giving away of this copper vessel.’ Then the vessel is to be given over.” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
Kurma Purana 2.17.34b-39 “Manu the Prajapati has said that these five clawed animals may be eaten viz. Godha (alligator), Kurma (tortoise), Sasa (hare), Svavit and Sallaki (the small and the big porcupione). O excellent men, one may eat those fish with thorny scales (?) and the flesh of the deer Ruru. They can be eaten after offering them to the deities and the Brahmanas and not otherwise. The Prajapati has said that the peacock, the francoline patridge, the Kapinjala (a variety of the ruddy goose), the rhenocero and the panther can be eaten. O leading sages, among fishes, these are mentioned as worthy of being eaten, viz: the Rajivas (lotus-like ones) the Simhatundas (lion-snouted), the Pathinas and the Rohitas. The flesh of these must be sprinkled with holy water and consecrated before eating if the Brahmanas so desires. One shall eat meat in accordance with the injunctions or as enjoined at a time when life is in danger. One who eats the remainder (i.e. what is left after worship) or as a medicine or when one is powerless or is deputed, he is not affected by sin.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Division of parts of sacrificial animal
Aitareya Brahmana Book 7, Chapter 1, Para 1 “Now follows the division of the different parts of the sacrificial animal (among the priests). We shall describe it. The two jawbones with the tongue are to be given to the Prastotar; the breast in the form of an eagle to the Udgatar; the throat with the palate to the Pratihartar; the lower part of the right loins to the Hotar; the left to the Braham; the right thigh to the Maitravaruna; the left to the Brahmanacchamsi; the right side with the shoulder to the Adhvaryu; the left side to those who accompany the chants; the left shoulder to the Pratipasthatar; the lower part of the right arm to the Neshtar; the lower part of the left arm to the Potar…the other half of the fleshy part on the neck and the left lobe (kloma) to the slaughterer…Those who divide the sacrificial animal in the way mentioned, it becomes the guide to heaven. But those who make the division otherwise are like scoundrels and miscreants who kill an animal merely (for gratifying their lust after flesh. This division of the sacrificial animal was invented by the Rishi Devabhaga, a son of Sruta. When he was departing from this life, he did not entrust (the secret to any one). But a supernatural being communicated it to Girija, the son of Babhru. Since his time men study it.” Tr. Martin Haug
Mahabharata book 13 section 88 Manu has said that if a Sraddha is performed with a copious measure of sesame, such Sraddha becomes inexhaustible. Of all kinds of food, sesame seeds are regarded as the best. With fishes offered at Sraddhas, the Pitris remain gratified for a period of two months. With mutton they remain gratified for three months and with the flesh of the hare for four. With the flesh of the goat, O king, they remain gratified for five months, with bacon for six months, and with the flesh of birds for seven. With venison obtained from those deer that are called Prishata, they remain gratified for eight months, and with that obtained from the Ruru for nine months, and with the meat of the Gavaya for ten months. With the meat of the buffalo their gratification lasts for eleven months. With beef presented at the Sraddha, their gratification, it is said, lasts for a full year. Payasa mixed with ghee is as much acceptable to the Pitris as beef. With the meat of the Vadhrinasa the gratification of the Pitris lasts for twelve years. The flesh of the rhinoceros, offered to the Pitris on the anniversaries of the lunar days on which they died, becomes inexhaustible. The potherb called Kalasaka, the petals of the Kanchana flower, and meat of the goat also, thus offered, prove inexhaustible.
Apastamba Dharma Shastra, Prasna II, Patala 7, Khanda 16.3-4 At that (rite) the Manes (of one’s father, grandfather, and great-grand father) are the deities (to whom the sacrifice is offered). But the Brâhmanas, (who are fed,) represent the Âhavanîya-fire. That rite must be performed in each month  Beef satisfies (the Manes) for a year.
Apastamba Dharma Shastra, Prasna II, Patala 7, Khanda 17.1-3 (If) rhinoceros’ meat (is given to Brahmanas seated) on (seats covered with) the skin of a rhinoceros, (the Manes are satisfied) for a very long time. (The same effect is obtained) by (offering the) flesh (of the fish called) Satabali, And by (offering the) meat of the (crane called)
Gautama Dharma Shastra 15.15. The Manes are satisfied for a month by gifts of sesamum, Masha-beans, rice, barley, and water, For (three) years by fish and the flesh of common deer, spotted deer, hares, turtles, boars, and sheep,For twelve years by cow’s milk and messes made of milk, For a very long time by the flesh of (the crane called) Vardhrinasa, by Ocyrnurn sanctum (sacred Basil), and by the flesh of goats, (especially) of a red (he-goat), and of a rhinoceros, (if these dishes are) mixed with honey.
Maharishi Manu writes,
Manu Smriti 3.266-72 I will now fully declare what kind of sacrificial food, given to the manes according to the rule, will serve for a long time or for eternity. The ancestors of men are satisfied for one month with sesamum grains, rice, barley, masha beans, water, roots, and fruits, which have been given according to the prescribed rule, Two months with fish, three months with the meat of gazelles, four with mutton, and five indeed with the flesh of birds, Six months with the flesh of kids, seven with that of spotted deer, eight with that of the black antelope, but nine with that of the (deer called) Ruru, Ten months they are satisfied with the meat of boars and buffaloes, but eleven months indeed with that of hares and tortoises, One year with cow-milk and milk-rice; from the flesh of a long-eared white he-goat their satisfaction endures twelve years. The (vegetable called) Kalasaka, (the fish called) Mahasalka, the flesh of a rhinoceros and that of a red goat, and all kinds of food eaten by hermits in the forest serve for an endless time.
Vishnu Purana 2.16.1-3 “AURVA continued.–”Ancestors are satisfied for a month with offerings of rice or other grain, with clarified butter, with fish, or the flesh of the hare, of birds, of the hog, the goat, the antelope, the deer, the gayal, or the sheep, or with the milk of the cow, and its products. They are for ever satisfied with flesh (in general), and with that of the long-eared white goat in particular. The flesh of the rhinoceros, the Kálaśáka potherb, and honey, are also especial sources of satisfaction to those worshipped at ancestral ceremonies.” Tr. H.H. Wilson
Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 258-59 (The Pitris are satisfied) verily for a moth with the havisya (sacrificial food), but for a year with the milk rice, with the fish, with the meat of gazelles, with mutton, with the flesh of birds, with the flesh of kids, with flesh of spotted deer. With the flesh of black antelope, with that of Ruru deer, with the meat of boars, and with the meat of hares respectively for a period progessively increasing by a month are satisfied when offered to the Grandfathers here.
Markandeya Purana 32.2-5; Matsya Purana 17-31-36 The Pitris are satisfied with clarified butter and rice for a month. The paternal grandfathers receive satisfaction with fish meat for two months. Venison should be known to satisfy the pitris for three months; and the flesh of hares nourishes the pitris for four months; bird’s flesh satisfies them for five months; hog’s flesh for six months; goat’s flesh for seven months; and flesh of the black antelope for eight months; flesh of the ruru deer gives them satisfication for nine months, without doubt; flesh of gayal gives satisfaction for ten months.
Same is repeated in in Kurma Purana II.20.37-54 which also talks about giving meat to Brahmins as food. Narada Purana Uttarabhaga 44.51; Vayu Purana 21-2-9; Agni Purana 117.44-48; Padma Purana 1.9.153-157; Agni Purana 163.28-39; Brahma Purana 111.15-33; Brahmanda Purana 184.108.40.206-10 similar thing is also said in Garuda Purana I.99.37- 38; Matsya Purana 15.34-35; Matsya Purana 204.6-9; Narada Purana II.51.142b-145a; Padma Purana 1.9.62-63 including the following verses,
Markandeya Purana 35.2-4 “…The hare, the tortoise, the gosamp, the porcupine, and the rhinoceros, my son, these indeed may be eaten; and domestic pig and fowl should be eschewed. The remains of food at a sraddha after the pitris and gods and other recipients have been satisfied may be eaten at the desire of the brahmanas. A man who eats flesh that has been killed for the purpose of medicine is not defiled.”
Vishnu Smriti 30.34 Now he who studies the hymns of the Rig-veda (regularly), feeds the manes with clarified butter. 37 He who studies the Atharva-veda, (feeds them) with meat.
Markandeya Purana 32.31-34 “At this ceremony also songs in honour of the pitris are sung by those who recite the Veda, songs which were formerly sung by the pitris to king Puruavas. “When will any one of use have a son, the chief among his race, who, eating the remains food left by yogis, will offer the pinda on earth? Or will offer pinda, buffalo-beef, the clarified butter, or the vegetable kala mixed with sesamum-seed, or khichree at Gaya for our monthly satisfaction? May we obtain the offering to the Visvadevas and the soma juice, buffalo-beef, and the finest clarified butter, and the divine food by getting a young rhinoceros!”
Vishnu Smriti 80.1-14 Sesamum, rice, barley, beans, water, roots, fruits, vegetables, Syâmâka grain, millet, wild rice, kidney-beans, and wheat satisfy (the manes) for a month; The flesh of fishes (excepting those species that are forbidden), for two months; The flesh of the common deer, for three months; The flesh of sheep, for four months; The flesh of birds (of those kinds that may be eaten), for five months; The flesh of goats, for six months; The flesh of the spotted deer, for seven months; The flesh of the spotted antelope, for eight months; Beef, for nine months; Buffalo’s meat, for ten months; The meat of a hornless goat, for eleven months; The milk of a cow, or preparations from it, for a year. On this subject there exists a stanza, which the manes utter: ‘(The pot-herb) Kâlasâka (sacred basil), (the prawn) Mahâsalka, and the flesh of the (crane called) Vârdhrînasa, (and of) a rhinoceros having no horn, is food which we always accept.’
Agni Purana 117.44-48 “Now I shall discuss the nature of satisfaction which the different sorts of cakes or oblations respectively impart to the souls of one’s ancestors. Oblations composed of cereals grown in villages as well as forest fruits, bulbs and roots last one’s forefathers for a month, while those consisting of fishes and venison would serve them well for double or triple that division of time. The peculiar kind of venison known as the Rouravas would gratify them for five months, whereas games and wild fowls would last them for four months. The departed soul are supposed to live satisfactorily upon goat’s meat for six months, meat of tortoise, pork, mutton, and buffalo flesh lasting them for seven, eight, nine and ten months respectively. Sweetened porridge and butter of cow milk offered in a clarified state would gratify them for a whole year, while the meat of a full grown sacrificial goat (Vardrinasa) as well as the sword of a rhinoceros, flesh of an antelope or that of a red goat and honey should be considered as their full and proper ration for a period of three consecutive’ months. Offerings made during the rainy season consist of fishes having large scales, while a Shraddha ceremony performed on the day on which the moon enters the asterisk Magha should be supposed as hearing immortal fruits.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Usana Samhita 3.137-141 “one should, with care, give at a Sraddha, deer, lamb and tortoise. With fish and meat, [the Manes attain to gratification for] two months; and [for] three months, with the meat of deer. With mutton, [they are gratified for] four months; with the meat of birds, [for] five months; with the meat of goat, [for] six months; and with the meat of Ruru deer, [for] nine months. With the meat of buffalo and pork, [they] are gratified for ten months; and with the meat of hare and tortoise, for eleven months. With cow’s milk and Payasa (milk and boiled-rice), [they attain to gratification for] one year. With the meat of rhinoceros, [they attain to] gratification for twelve years. Black pot herbs, sea-scrabs, meat of rhinoceros and black goat, honey and all other roots leads to their everlasting gratification.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Grihya Sutra of Hiranyakesin II Prasna, 5 Patala, 15 section, 1-9 On the following day he sacrifices a cow to the Fathers…When it has been sprinkled and fire has been carried round it, they kill it to the west of the fire, its head being turned to the west, its feet to the south. After it has been killed, he silently ‘strengthens’ its sense-organs (by touching them) with water, and silently takes out the omentum, the heart, and the kidneys.…He sacrifices the omentum entirely. The other parts (Sutra 5) he should offer to the Brahmanas and should feed them (with those parts of the cow). When the food (for the Brahmanas) is ready, he cuts off (the Avadanas) together from the mess of boiled rice, and form the pieces of meat, and mixing them with clarified butter he makes oblations thereof with the verses, ‘Behold the Ekashtaka, the giver of food with meat and ghee, (which is offered) with (the word) svadha. By the Brahmanas that food is purified. May it be an imperishable (blessings to me! Svadha! Adoration!’
Grihya Sutra of Apastamba Patala 8, Section 22, 3-5 “On the following day he touches a cow with a Darbha blade, with the words, ‘I touch thee agreeable to the Fathers.’ having silently offered five Agya oblations, and having cooked the omentum of the (cow), and performed the ‘spreading under’ and the sprinkling over (of Agya), he sacrifices (the omentun) with the next (verse, II, 20, 28) with a Palasa leaf from the middle or the end (of the stalk). (He sacrifices) boiled rice together with the meat (of the cow) with the next (verses, II, 20, 29-35)
Asvalayana Grihya Sutra, 1 Adhyaya, 11 Kandika, 1-10 “Now (follows) the ritual of the animal sacrifice…To the west of the Samitra (fire) he (the Samitri) kills (the animal), the head of which is turned to the east or to the west, the feet to the north; and having placed a grass-blade on his side of the (animal’s) navel, (the ‘performer’) draws out the omentum, cuts off the omentum, seizes it with the two Agnisrapanis, sprinkles it with water, warms it at the Samitra (fire), takes it before that fire, roasts it, being seated to the south, goes round (the two fires), and sacrifices it.
Instructions on animal sacrifice is also mentioned in Asvalayana Grihya Sutra, II Adhyaya, 4 Kandika, 13; Asvalayana Grihya Sutra, IV Adhyaya, 8 Kandika, 16-18
Gutama Dharma Shastra 17.37-38 And (animals) that must be slain for (the fulfilment of) the sacred law. Let him eat (the flesh of animals) killed by beasts of prey, after having washed it, if no blemish is visible, and if it is declared to be fit for use by the word (of a Brahmana). I.e animals offered at Sraddhas and Srauta-sacrifices, though under other circumstances forbidden, may be eaten both by the priests and other Brahmanas.
Padma Purana 1.33.80 “O you of a good vow, satisfy the brahmanas with musk, and flesh and various kinds of grains, and by offering a Sraddha.” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
All these animals sacrificed to gods and manes is supposed to be eaten by the Brahmin priest. Some Aryas may cry that this has nothing to do with Hinduism, these are interpolated texts. But for their kind information, interpolation can occur only in one text, the same interpolation cannot happen in several texts like Manu Smriti, Yajnvalkya Smriti, Mahabharata, Vishnu, Markandeya, Matsya Puranas, Dharma Shastras and so on. The fact that this Shraddha for Pitrs occurs in so many Smritis and Puranas proves that Sages who wrote these books agreed with it, so do Hindus mean to say they know more about Hinduism than their sages?
Hindu texts even say that one who refuses to eat meat offered to gods and manes at Shraddha is punished after death,
Manu Smriti 5.35 But a man who, being duly engaged (to officiate or to dine at a sacred rite), refuses to eat meat, becomes after death an animal during twenty-one existences.
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 11.34 ‘But an ascetic who, invited to dine at a sacrifice of the manes or of the gods, rejects meat, shall go to hell for as many years as the slaughtered beast has hairs.’
Kurma Purana 2.17.40 “If a person invited for the Sraddha or the worship of a deity eschews meat he may have to be in the hell as many years as there are hairs on the body of the animal.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kurma Purana II.22.74-75 “An excellent Brahmana engaged in the Sraddha should not avoid anything served. He should not refuse even the meat offered. One should not look at the food served to another person. If the Brahmanas who engaged in the Pitr rite, does not partake of the meat served, he is reborn as an animal for twenty-one births.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Vyasa Samhita 3.56-57 “A Brahmana, engaged in the celebration of a religious sacrifice, becomes degraded by not taking meat. A Kshatriya should eat the cooked flesh of a quarry after having propitiated therewith the gods and his departed manes. A Vaishya can take meat, lawfully obtained for money, after having worshipped therewith his departed manes.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Manu Smriti 5.31-42 The consumption of meat (is befitting) for sacrifices,’ that is declared to be a rule made by the gods; but to persist (in using it) on other (occasions) is said to be a proceeding worthy of Rakshasas. He who eats meat, when he honours the gods and manes, commits no sin, whether he has bought it, or himself has killed (the animal), or has received it as a present from others…After death the guilt of one who slays deer for gain is not as (great) as that of him who eats meat for no (sacred) purpose. But a man who, being duly engaged (to officiate or to dine at a sacred rite), refuses to eat meat, becomes after death an animal during twenty-one existences…If he has a strong desire (for meat) he may make an animal of clarified butter or one of flour, (and eat that); but let him never seek to destroy an animal without a (lawful) reason. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it without a (lawful) reason suffer a violent death in future births. Svayambhu (the Self-existent) himself created animals for the sake of sacrifices; sacrifices (have been instituted) for the good of this whole (world); hence the slaughtering (of beasts) for sacrifices is not slaughtering (in the ordinary sense of the word)…On offering the honey-mixture (to a guest), at a sacrifice and at the rites in honour of the manes, but on these occasions only, may an animal be slain; that (rule) Manu proclaimed. A twice-born man who, knowing the true meaning of the Veda, slays an animal for these purposes, causes both himself and the animal to enter a most blessed state.
Vishnu Smriti 51.61 It is for sacrifices that beasts have been created by the self-existent (Brahman) himself. Sacrificing causes the whole universe to prosper; therefore is the slaughter (of beasts) for a sacrifice no slaughter.
Vishnu Smriti 51.65 That twice-born man who, knowing the exact truth (promulgated) in the Veda, slays cattle for the sacrifices (ordained in the Veda) will convey himself and the cattle (slain by him) to a blissful abode.
Chandogya Upanishad 8.15.1 …never giving pain to any creature, except at the tirthas (sacrifices, &c.), he who behaves thus all his life, reaches the world of Brahman, and does not return, yea, he does not return..
Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagvad Purana) 11.5.11 “In this material world the conditioned soul is always inclined to sex, meat-eating and intoxication. Therefore religious scriptures never actually encourage such activities. Although the scriptural injunctions provide for sex through sacred marriage, for meat-eating through sacrificial offerings and for intoxication through the acceptance of ritual cups of wine, such ceremonies are meant for the ultimate purpose of renunciation.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
Mahabharata Book 3, Section 207 “And in days of yore, O Brahmana, two thousand animals used to be killed every day in the kitchen of king Rantideva…’The sacred fire is fond of animal food,’ this saying has come down to us. And at sacrifices animals are invariably killed by regenerate Brahmanas, and these animals being purged of sin, by incantation of hymns, go to heaven. If, O Brahmana, the sacred fire had not been so fond of animal food in ancient times, it could never have become the food of any one. And in this matter of animal food, this rule has been laid down by Munis:–Whoever partakes of animal food after having first offered it duly and respectfully to the gods and the manes, is not polluted by the act. And such a man is not at all considered to have partaken of animal food…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Rig Veda 1.163.12-13 “The strong Steed hath come forward to the slaughter, pondering with a mind directed God-ward. The goat who is his kin is led before him the sages and the singers follow after. The Steed is come unto the noblest mansion, is come unto his Father and his Mother. This day shall he approach the Gods, most welcome: then he declares good gifts to him who offers.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith
Above verses from Mahabharata and Veda says that animals killed in Vedic sacrifice goes to heaven, on this statement I would like to mention the argument of Jains and Buddhists against this,
“If an animal slaughtered in religious worship is thereby raised to heaven, would it not be expedient for a man who institutes a sacrifice to kill his own father for a victim?”
Vedic verses clearly tells us that killing animal is part of Yajna (sacrifice). Maharshi Manu also writes that slaughtering animals for sacrifices is non-violent,
Manu Smriti 5.44 Know that the injury to moving creatures and to those destitute of motion, which the Veda has prescribed for certain occasions, is no injury at all; for the sacred law shone forth from the Veda.
Whether animals should be killed in Yajna (Sacrifices) or not is explained in detail in the Devi Bhagawatam,
Devi Bhagwatam 1.18.48-61 “…O King! One can see before one’s eyes that the drinking of Soma rasa, the killing of animals, the eating of fish and flesh and so are advised in the Vedas; so much so that in the sacrificial ceremony named Sautrâmana the rule of drinking wine and many other vratas are clearly mentioned; even gambling is advised in the Vedas. So how can Mukti be obtained by following the Veda Dharma? It is heard that, in ancient times, there was a great king, named S’as’avindu, very religious, truthful, and performing sacrifices, very liberal; he protected the virtuous, and chastised those that were wicked and going astray. He performed many Yajñas, where many cows and sheep were sacrificed according to the rules of the Vedas and abundant Dakshinâs (sacrificial fees) were presented to every one that performed their parts in the sacrifices. In these sacrifices, the hides of the cows that were sacrificed as victims, were heaped to such an enormous extent that they looked liked a second Bindhyâchal mountain. Then the rains fell and the dirty water coming out of that enormous heap of skins flowed down and gave rise to a river which was thence called the Charmanvatî river… Janaka said :– “The killing of animals in a sacrificial ceremony is not killing; it is known as Ahimsa [Non Violence]; for that himsa [Violence] is not from any selfish attachment; therefore when there is no such sacrifice and the animals are killed out of selfish attachment, then that is real himsâ; … O Dvija! Really speaking, the killing of animals done by the house-holder attached to senses and their objects, and done under their impulses can be taken into account as a real act of killing; but, O Mahâbhâga of those whose hearts are not attached to anything of those self controlled persons, desirous of moksa, if they do an act of Himsa out of a sense of duty, with no desires of fruits and with their hearts free from egoism that can never be reckoned as a real act of killing.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Devi Bhagavatam 3.26.32-34 “Those who eat meat, they can sacrifice animals in this worship of the Devî; and, for this purpose, goat and wild boars are the best. O sinless one! The goats, etc., offered as a sacrifice before the Devî attain to unending heavens. Therefore persons offering the sacrifices of goats do not incur any sin. O king! The goats, etc., and other beast offered as a sacrifice before the Devas undoubtedly go to the heavenly regions; therefore, in all the S’âstras, it has been decided that this killing of animals in a sacrifice is considered as non-killing.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Vishnu Smriti 51.67 That slaughter which is in accordance with the precepts of the Veda, and has been fixed for this world of movable and immovable creatures, should be considered as no slaughter at all; because it is from the Veda that law shines forth.
Kalki Purana 26.12 “…The Vedas therefore say that killing in a righteous battle or in a sacrificial performace does not constitute killing.” Tr. Bhumipati Das, edited by Purnaprajna Das
Following verse from Vasistha explains Manu Smriti 5.48 which is used by Hindu apologists to prohibit meat consumption in Manu,
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 4.5-8 The Manava (Sutra states), ‘Only when he worships the manes and the gods, or honours guests, he may certainly do injury to animals.’ On offering a Madhuparka (to a guest), at a sacrifice, and at the rites in honour of the manes, but on these occasions only may an animal be slain; that (rule) Manu proclaimed.”Meat can never be obtained without injuring living beings, and to injure living beings does not procure heavenly bliss; therefore the (sages declare) the slaughter (of beasts) at a sacrifice not to be slaughter (in the ordinary sense of the word).’ ‘Now he may also cook a full-grown ox or a full-grown he-goat for a Brâhmana or Kshatriya guest; in this manner they offer hospitality to such (a man).
Agni Purana 279.17-21 “The asthmatic should take Kulattha, and Mudha pulse prepared with Rasna and bird’s flesh, or bird’s flesh (Viskiras) cooked with curd, pomegranate, honey, juice of Matalanga, lime, and grapes, and wheat, barley, or boiled Shali rice, with all husks and extraneous matter carefully exempted.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Garuda Purana I.193.14-15 “Fumigating with the excreta, blood, hair or flesh of tortoise, fish, horse, buffalo, cow, jackal, monkey, cat, peacock, crow, boar, owl, fouls and swan is useful for the alleviation of the pain and disorder of the patients of fever and insanity.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Asvalayana Grihya Sutra, IV Adhyaya, 1 Kandika, 4 Being restored health, he should offer a Soma sacrifice, or an animal sacrifice, or an ordinary sacrifice, and take his dwelling (again in the village).
Charaka Samhita, Sutra Sthaanam, 27/79-80 “Cow meat is beneficial in curing breathing problems, Ozaena, Ague, dry cough, fatigue, diseases due to burns and marasmus.”
Charaka Samhita, Chikitsa Sthaanam 8/163 “A person of magnanimous heart who eats meat along with a wine named as ‘Maadhveek’, is quickly relieved of tuberculosis.
Charaka Samhita, Chikitsa Sathaanam 8/165 “While consuming the above mentioned kinds of meat, one may have a dose of whichever wine is appropriate such as ‘Prasanna’, ‘Vaarooni’, ‘seedhu’, ‘arisht’, ‘aasava’ and ‘madhu’.”
Garuda Purana I.171.9-10 “On locating the fracture of a bone it shall be first washed with cold water. Then it must be plastered with clay and bound with Darbha grass. The diet of the patient must be black gram, meat, ghee, milk and a soup of gingelly seeds. Restorative and constructive diet and drink should be given to him.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
The chapter of following Garuda Purana verse is titled ‘Diseases’ which also gives instructions on how to treat those diseases,
Garuda Purana I.169.62 “Foodstuffs with cooked meat are rejuvenating…” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Krishna recommended slaughtering animals for worshipping Govardhan Mountain and also ate the flesh of animals that was offered by the people,
Vishnu Purana 5.10.36-49 “Let prayer and offerings then be addressed to the mountain Govarddhana, and kill a victim in due form. Let the whole station collect their milk without delay, and feed with it the Brahmans and all who may desire to partake of it. When the oblations have been presented, and the Brahmans have been fed, let the Gopas circumambulate the cows, decorated with garlands of autumnal flowers. If the cowherds will attend to these suggestions, they will secure the favour of the mountain, of the cattle, and also mine.” When Nanda and the other Gopas heard these words of Krishńa, their faces expanded with delight, and they said that he had spoken well. “You have judged rightly, child,” exclaimed they; “we will do exactly as you have proposed, and offer adoration to the mountain.” Accordingly the inhabitants of Vraja worshipped the mountain, presenting to it curds and milk and flesh; and they fed hundreds and thousands of Brahmans, and many other guests, who came to the ceremony, even as Krishńa had enjoined: and when they had made their offerings, they circumambulated the cows and the bulls, that bellowed as loud as roaring clouds. Upon the summit of Govarddhana, Krishńa presented himself, saying, “I am the mountain,” and partook of much food presented by the Gopas; whilst in his own form as Krishńa he ascended the hill along with the cowherds, and worshipped his other self. Having promised them many blessings, the mountain-person of Krishńa vanished; and the ceremony being completed, the cowherds returned to their station.” Tr. H.H. Wilson
H.H. Wilson also writes about it in his introduction of translation of Vishnu Purana,
“…and says that at Krsna’s advice Nanda and the other cowherds worshipped the mount Govardhana with the offer of various kinds of foods including meat of a sacrificial animal killed on that occasion and that Krsna took his seat on the mount, identifying himself with it, and ate up much of the food thus offered by the cowherds…”
It is also mentioned in Harivamsha Purana,
Harimvsha Purana 2.17.15-21 “Let us kill the animals such as buffalos to be eaten. Let this sacrifice be conducted with all gopas…Along with a pond of curd, a vortex of ghee, a river of milk, a variety of meat and a mountain of cooked rice, the entire complex of vraja including the happy gopa-s and beautiful gopi-s proceeded for the hill sacrifice…At the start of the sacrifice, the items were offered to the fire as ordained. The gopa-s performed the sacrifice along with brahmins on an auspicious day. At the end of the sacrifice, by illusion, Krishna became the hill and consumed the best rice, milk, curd and meat which were offered.” Tr. A. Purushothaman and A. Harindranath
This is also mentioned in Brahma Purana,
Brahma Purana 79.21 “[Krishna said] Hence, let the mountain Govardhana be honoured and worshipped with all due offerings after killing the sacrificial animal in accordance with injunctions.  Vyasa said: O brahmins, on hearing these words of his, Nanda and other residents of the colony became delighted with their faces beaming with pleasure. They said ‘Well said, well said, my boy…Accordingly the residents of colony performed Yajna unto the mountain. They offered oblations unto the mountain by curds, milk puddings, meat etc.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
Hundreds of animals were slaughtered and wine was drunk by Krishna’s family and Pandavas,
Mahabharata Virata Parva 4, Section 72, Verses 19-28 “And Krishna gave unto each of the illustrious sons of Pandu numerous female slaves, and gems and robes. And then the nuptial festival set in between the families of the Matsya king and the Pandavas. And then conchs and cymbals and horns and drums and other musical instruments appointed by the Pandavas, began to play in the palace of Virata. And deer of various kinds and clean animals by hundreds were slain. And wines of various kinds and intoxicating juices of trees were profusely collected.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
These are the words of Hindu god Ram before his exile,
Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda 2.20.29 “I shall live in a solitary forest like a sage for fourteen years, leaving off meat and living with roots, fruits and honey.” Tr. K.M.K. Murthy
This proves that meat was part of his lavish lifestyle in the palace. Rama also used to relish pork, meat of deer and other animals in the forest after the exile,
Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda 2.52.102 “Famished, they (Rama and Lakshmana) killed a boar, a rishya (whitefooted male antelope), a spotted deer and a great deer with black stripes. They partook the meat and reached a tree by evening where they rested for the night.” Tr. IIT Kanpur
Valmiki Ramayana Ayodhya Kanda 2.96.1-2 “Having shown Mandakini River in that manner to Seetha, the daughter of Mithila, Rama set on the hill-side in order to gratify her appetite with a piece of flesh. Rama, whose mind was devoted to righteousness stayed there with Seetha, saying; “This meat is fresh, this is savoury and roasted in the fire.” Tr. Shri K.M.K. Murthy
Sita addressed Ravana (who was in the guise of an ascetic) in the following way,
Valmiki Ramayana 3.47.22b-23 “Be comfortable for a moment, here it is possible for you to make a sojourn, and soon my husband will be coming on taking plentiful forest produce, and on killing stags, mongooses, wild boars he fetches meat, aplenty.” Tr. Desiraju Hanumanth Rao
This is what Rama said to Lakshamana on hunting a golden deer,
Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kanda 3.43.31 “Kings pursuing games of hunting in great forests, oh, Lakshmana, will be felling deer either for the sake of flesh, or just for the purpose of sporting archery.” Tr. Desiraju Hanumant Rao
Ramayana of Valmiki, Ayodhya Kanda 2, Sarga 55, verse 33 “Thereafter having travelled only a couple of miles the two brothers Rama and Lakshmana killed many consecrated deer and ate in the river-forest of Yamuna.” Tr. K.M.K. Murthy
Bali addresses Rama,
Ramayana of Valmiki, Kishikindha Kanda 4, Sarga 17, Verse 39 “Raghava, five kinds of five-nailed animals, viz., a kind of wild rodent, a kind of wild-boar, a kind of lizard, a hare and fifthly the turtle are edible for Brahmans and Kshatriya-s.” Tr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao
Rama’s father Dashratha was an avid hunter,
Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda 2.63.21-25 “With a wish to do hunting as an exercise in that most comfortable season, I went along Sarayu River, in a chariot, wearing bow and arrows. Without my senses under control and with an intent to kill there a (wild) buffalo or an elephant or any other wild animal coming in the night at that place for the purpose of drinking water, I was ready with my bow at a solitary place. Hearing the sound, I killed turning towards it, a wild animal, which came to the bank of Sarayu River and another violent beast too which came there. Meanwhile, in that darkness and not within the react of the eye, I heard the sound of a pitcher being filled up, the sound of which appeared like that of an elephant. With an intent to hit that elephant, I drew out a shining arrow resembling a serpent, targeted towards the direction sound and discharged it.” Tr. Shri K.M.K Murthy
Some Hindus says that meat shouldn’t be consumed in Kali Yuga. But they are unaware of the fact that Kalki avatar who will be born in Kali Yuga will offer meat to Brahmins as per Kalki Purana,
Kalki Purana 30.10-13 “Lord Kalki sumptuously fed all the brahmanas the four kinds of food that are chewed, licked, sucked, and rank, and this included vegetable preparations, soup, cakes, meat, fruit, roots, and many other items…” Tr. Bhumipati Das, edited by Purnaprajna Das
Mahabharata Book 13, Section 161, Verse 7 “And since he burns and oppresses, is keen and fierce, and endued with great energy, and is engaged in eating flesh and blood and marrow, he is said to be Rudra.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Vayu Purana I.30.202 “Hail to the one greedy of raw and cooked meat… Obeisance to the jackal (fond of) embryo meal…” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kalki avatar tells to perform horse sacrifice,
Kalki Purana 3.42 “(Lord Kalki said:) Many pious human beings become degraded in this age of Kali. But because of My presence, they will all become pious once again. Now I would like that all of you worship Me by the performance of a Rajasuya sacrifice and a horse sacrifice.” Tr. Bhumipati Das, edited by Purnaprajna Das
Kalki Purana also says that Vishnuyasa father of Kalki avatar will perform horse sacrifice. This proves that Ashvamedha Yajna (horse sacrifice) is permissible in Kali Yuga also. Secondly, Vedas are said to be eternal which permits animal slaughter so there is no prohibition to consume meat in Kali Yuga. Mahabharata also shows that Brahmins used to relish meat,
Mahabharata Book 3, Section 96 “…The Brahmana, however, did not grant the Asura a son like Indra. And at this, the Asura was inflamed with wrath against the Brahmana. And from that day, O king, the Asura Ilwala became a destroyer of Brahmanas. And endued with power of illusion the angry Asura transformed his brother into a ram. And Vatapi also capable of assuming any form at will, would immediately assume the shape of a ram. And the flesh of that ram, after being properly dressed, was offered to Brahmanas as food. And after they had eaten of it, they were slain. For whomsoever Ilwala summoned with his voice, he would come back to Ilwala even if he had gone to the abode of Yama, in re-embodied form endued with life, and show himself to Ilwala. And so having transformed the Asura Vatapi into a ram and properly cooked his flesh and feeding Brahmanas therewith, he would summon Vatapi…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Ashwamedha Yajna mentioned in Mahabharata,
Mahabharata Book 14, Section 89 “Vaisampayana said, ‘Having cooked, according to due rites, the other excellent animals that were sacrificed, the priests then sacrificed, agreeably to the injunctions of the scriptures, that steed (which had wandered over the whole world). After cutting that horse into pieces, conformably to scriptural directions, they caused Draupadi of great intelligence, who was possessed of the three requisites of mantras, things, and devotion, to sit near the divided animal. The Brahmanas then with cool minds, taking up the marrow of that steed, cooked it duly, O chief of Bharata’s race. King Yudhishthira the just, with all his younger brothers, then smelled, agreeably to the scriptures, the smoke, capable of cleansing one from every sin, of the marrow that was thus cooked. The remaining limbs, O king, of that horse, were poured into the fire by the sixteen sacrificial priests possessed of great wisdom.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Rishi Agastya is said to have eaten beasts and birds and even a Asura who was in the form of a ram,
Manu Smriti 5.22-23 Beasts and birds recommended (for consumption) may be slain by Brahmanas for sacrifices, and in order to feed those whom they are bound to maintain; for Agastya did this of old. For in ancient (times) the sacrificial cakes were (made of the flesh) of eatable beasts and birds at the sacrifices offered by Brahmanas and Kshatriyas.
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 14.15. For it is declared in the Veda, ‘At a sacrificial session (sattra), which lasted one thousand years, Agastya went out to hunt. He had sacrificial cakes prepared with the meat of beasts and fowls good (to eat).’
Mahabharata Book 3, Section 199 “Lomasa said, ‘When Ilwala learnt that those kings along with the great Rishi had arrived on the confines of his domain, he went out with his ministers and worshipped them duly. And that prince of Asuras received them hospitably, entertaining them, O son of the Kuru race, with well dressed meat supplied by his brother Vatapi (transformed into a ram). Then all those royal sages, beholding the mighty Asura Vatapi, who had been transformed into a ram thus cooked for them, became sad and cheerless and were nearly deprived of themselves. But that best of Rishis–Agastya–addressing those royal sages, said, ‘Yield ye not to grief, I will eat up the great Asura.’ And the mighty Rishi then sat himself down on an excellent seat, and the prince of Asuras, Ilwala, began to distribute the food smilingly. And Agastya ate up the whole of the meat supplied by Vatapi (transformed into a ram).” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Following verse shows that animal sacrifice was performed to please departed manes,
Brahma Purana 5.47-50 “…On the Astaka day Iksvaku commanded Vikuksi ‘O powerful one, kill some rabbits and bring their flesh for performing Sraddha.’O Brahmins, after planning to perform the Sraddha rite before executing it he ate part of the meat of the rabbit which was meant for the Sraddha…” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
This is also mentioned in Devi Bhagavatam and Srimad Bhagavatam 9.6.6-8 and Devi Bhagavatam,
Devi Bhagavatam 7.59.1-11. Vyâsa said :– O King! Once on a time, the time for Astaka S’râddha (the funeral ceremony in honour of the departed) arrived. Seeing this, the King Iksâku ordered his son Vikuksi:– “O Child! Go immediately to the forest and bring carefully pure sanctified meat for the S’râddha purposes; see, that there be no neglect of duty.” Thus ordered, Vikuksi instantly went to the forest equipped with arms. He hunted in the forest lots of boars, pigs, deer, and hare. But he was so very tired with his journey in the forest and got so hungry that he forgot everything about the Astaka S’râddha and ate one hare there in the forest. The remaining excellent meat he brought and handed over to his father. When that meat was brought to be sprinkled for purification, the family priest Vas’istha, on seeing it, at once came to know that some portion had already been eaten and it was the remaining part. The leavings of food are not fit for the sprinkling purposes; this is the S’âstric rule…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Devi Bhagavatam 5.20.16-50 “…The Râjasik Brâhmanas were versed in the Vedas and acted as priests to the Ksattriyas and ate flesh as sanctioned by recognised rules. They were busy with their six duties…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Sons of Pandu killed many animals and offered them to Brahmins,
Mahabharata Book 3, Section 80 “And, O chief of the Bharata race, those mighty warriors endowed with great prowess slew with pure arrows various kinds of sacrificial animals for the Brahmanas. And those tigers among men and repressors of foes, daily slaying those wild animals and sanctifying them properly, offered them unto the Brahmanas.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Mahabharata Book 1, Section 116 says that Rishi Vyasa divided meat ball into 100 pieces and gave it to Gandhari so she can conceive 100 sons.
Munis also used to partake meat,
Mahabharata Book 3, Section 159 “Having heard from that one of incomparable energy, (Arshtishena), that advice conducive to their welfare, those foremost of the Bharatas, began to behave always accordingly. Those best of men, the Pandavas, dwelt upon the Himavan, partaking of the food eaten by the Munis, and luscious fruit, and the flesh of deer killed with unpoisoned shafts and various kinds of pure honey.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Mahabharata Book 2, Section 4 “Vaisampayana said,–“Then that chief of men, king Yudhishthira, entered that palatial sabha having first fed ten thousand Brahmanas with preparations of milk and rice mixed with clarified butter and honey with fruits and roots, and with pork and venison. The king gratified those superior Brahmanas, who had come from various countries with food seasoned with seasamum and prepared with vegetables called jibanti, with rice mixed with clarified butter, with different preparations of meat–with indeed various kinds of other food, as also numberless viands that are fit to be sucked and innumerable kinds of drinks, with new and unused robes and clothes, and with excellent floral wreaths.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Some Hindus might try to twist the Vedic verses by saying they does not mean what they say, they are allegorical. You cannot say verses from Manu Smriti, Upanishad, Brahmanas etc., are allegorical, all those verses including the Vedic verses on meat consumption are literal. There is no prohibition of meat consumption in Hindu scriptures, so Hindus should not just enjoy eating meat secretly at night but they should start eating openly during day also.