25 December 2013

Swami Vivekananda's Quotes On Beef-eating And Cow Slaughter

Beef-eating or Cow slaughter is a controversial issue in India as a large number of Indian people consider cow as a sacred and holy animal. In Hinduism (which is the largest religion in the country), cow is considered to be a symbol of earthly life, selfless giving and prosperity.

Neutrality is a pillar of this website. That means this website does not force any opinion or point of view on readers. But (frankly speaking), when I read this Wikihow article on "how to slaughter a cow?", I personally felt very uncomfortable.

Anyway, in this article we are going to make a collection of Swami Vivekananda's quotes and comments on beef-eating and cow slaughter.

Swami Vivekananda told—
    Image of a cow
    Hindus from North to South are only agreed
    on one point, viz. on not eating beef.
    —Swami Vivekananda
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons 
    Swami Vivekananda told—
    • At present there are three parties in India included under the term 'Hindu' — the orthodox, the reforming sects of the Mohammedan period, and the reforming sects of the present time. Hindus from North to South are only agreed on one point, viz. on not eating beef.[Source]
    • 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.[Source]
    • England has the sword, the material world, as our Mohammedan conquerors had before her. Yet Akbar the Great became practically a Hindu; educated Mohammedans, the Sufis, are hardly to be distinguished from the Hindus; they do not eat beef, and in other ways conform to our usages. Their thought has become permeated by ours.[Source]
    • Every man, in every age, in every country is under peculiar circumstances. If the circumstances change, ideas also must change. Beef-eating was once moral. The climate was cold, and the cereals were not much known. Meat was the chief food available. So in that age and clime, beef was in a manner indispensable. But beef-eating is held to be immoral now.[Source]
    • Haven't you heard Shri Ramakrishna's story about "the sin of killing a cow"? . . . A man had laid out a beautiful garden into which a cow strayed one day and did much injury. The man in rage gave some blows to the cow which killed her. Then to avoid the terrible sin he bethought himself of a trick; knowing that Indra was the presiding deity of the hand, he tried to lay the blame on him. Indra perceiving his sophistry appeared on the scene in the guise of a Brahmin and by a number of questions drew from him the answer that each and every item in connection with that garden was the man's own handiwork; whereupon Indra exposed his cunning with the cutting remark, "Well, everything here has been done by you, and Indra alone is responsible for the killing of the cow, eh!"[Source]
    • If a Christian finds a piece of beef before him and does not eat it to save his own life, or will not give it to save the life of another man, he is sure to feel that he has not done his duty. But if a Hindu dares to eat that piece of beef or to give it to another Hindu, he is equally sure to feel that he too has not done his duty; the Hindu's training and education make him feel that way.[Source]
    • If we did not eat beef and mutton, there would be no butchers. Eating meat is only allowable for people who do very hard work, and who are not going to be Bhaktas; but if you are going to be Bhaktas, you should avoid meat.[Source]
    • In the midst of all these differences we note one point of unity among all Hindus, and it is this, that no Hindu eats beef.[Source]
    • It is improper to hold many texts on the same subject to be contradicted by one or two. But why then are the long-continued customs of Madhuparka and the like repealed by one or two such texts as, "The horse sacrifice, the cow sacrifice, Sannyasa, meat-offerings in Shrâddha", etc.? If the Vedas are eternal, then what are the meaning and justification of such specifications as "this rule of Dharma is for the age of Dvâpara," "this for the age of Kali", and so forth?[Source] (Note: Madhuparka was a Vedic ceremony, usually in honour of guest, in which a respectful offering was to be made consisting, among other dainties, of beef.)
    • The Brahmins at one time ate beef and married Sudras. [A] calf was killed to please a guest. Sudras cooked for Brahmins.[Source]
    • There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; 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.[Source]
    • You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to the old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it. That is disgusting now. However they may differ from each other in India, in that they are all one — they never eat beef. The ancient sacrifices and the ancient gods, they are all gone; modern India belongs to the spiritual part of the Vedas.[Source]

    Did Swami Vivekananda eat beef?

    Did Swami Vivekananda himself eat beef during his stay in the United States? Read the special article here

    See also

    You may read this article too—

    This page was last updated on: 14 May 2014, 11:11 pm IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
    Number of revisions in this page: 4

    36 comments:

    1. Hopeless. Why did not Vivekananda clearly oppose beef eating?

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      Replies
      1. Because he was mre interested in humanity,

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      2. Why would he oppose beef eating? Just so you know... once a man approached him about saving cows when thousands of people were dying from draught in one of the Muslim majority states in India... he refused to help the man, saying that he should rather direct his resources towards saving the men dying... oh, and given that he was very witty, he said, no wonder we call the cow our mother, the man a true child of the same.

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      3. There was more, when swamiji asked why he was not trying to save those people instead of cows, the man said it was their fate to die, then swamiji smiled and said that then it was cows' fate to be slaughter

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    2. Swami Vivekananda lived in a time when Hindu religion was completely spoiled with worst casteism. So his mission was to preach against it and also to focus on the great part of Hinduism to showcase it as the greatest religion in the world, and of course he was successful in that to a great extend. As regards beef eating, although he trys to touch up on different angles which was predominantly to reduce the ill effect of casteism and to eliminate the notional difference between the Brahmins and Sudras. But finally Swami Vivekananda makes it clearly that the current form of the spiritual part of Veda has been refined through many Rishis. So the crude and uncultured part of it is gone, and the modern India belongs to the spiritual part of Vedas. So my understanding is that Swami Vivekananda never supported beef eating rather he very scientifically tried to make his point from very historical perspective that, being a civilised Hindu, one should not eat beef and should not promote even meat eating.

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      1. You very clearly misunderstood what swami was trying to explain. He himself ate beef and he tried to explain why hindus happen to become non beef eaters over a time.
        It looks like you are very firm in your beliefs and wants to see everything via your own glasses. you didn't not spare swami too. very naturally you have taken what is supporting your ideas.
        civilized hindu is very provocative remark. you can't judge people by their eating habits.

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      2. Womderfully said Mr P.R I ask anonymous people not to comment who don't understand this at all its not about beef eating any animal slaightering is wrong !!

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    3. So, Swami ji ate beef; I wonder what those Saffron terrorists will say now!

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    4. — but it is bread that the suffering millions of burning India cry out for with parched throats. They ask us for bread, but we give them stones. It is an insult to a starving people to offer them religion; it is an insult to a starving man to teach him metaphysics.

      So long as man shall have to live a Rajasika (active) life under circumstances like the present, there is no other way except through meat-eating. It is true that the Emperor Asoka saved the lives of millions of animals, by the threat of the sword; but is not the slavery of a thousand years more dreadful than that? Taking the life of a few goats as against the inability to protect the honour of one’s own wife and daughter, and to save the morsels for one’s children from robbing hands - which of these is more sinful? Rather let those belonging to the upper ten, who do not earn their livelihood by manual labour, not take meat; but the forcing of vegetarianism upon those who have to earn their bread by labouring day and night is one of the causes of the loss of our national freedom. Japan is an example of what good and nourishing food can do.
      (Complete Works, 4.486-7)
      Which are we to obey, and which not to obey? The Brâhmin of Southern India, for instance, would shrink in horror at the sight of another Brahmin eating meat; a Brahmin in the North thinks it a most glorious and holy thing to do — he kills goats by the hundred in sacrifice……..
      Dr. Barrows (president of the Parliament of the World's Religions (1893)) told that Swami Vivekananda ate beef in the United states….. "After the first session of the Parliament of Religions I went with Vivekananda to the restaurant in the basement of the Art Institute, and I said to him, 'What shall I get you to eat?' His reply was "Give me beef !""……
      Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda
      Volume 3
      http://selfdefinition.org/yoga/Complete%20Works%20of%20Swami%20Vivekananda/Swami%20Vivekananda%20Complete%20Works%20(Vol%203).pdf
      This you have always to remember that because a
      little social custom is going to be changed you are not going to lose your
      religion, not at all. Remember these customs have already been changed. There
      was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could
      remain a Brahmin; 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………………
      But, you see, what once dies never comes back to life, and those
      ceremonials of [Hinduism] never came back to life. You will be astonished if I
      tell you that, according to the old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who
      does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it. That
      is disgusting now……………….

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      1. So to satisfy his hunger, a starving man should kill a cow? Why can't he drink the nutritious milk of the cow? I can't believe the sheer foolishness of some ideas. He can, if he maintains a healthy cow, live off her milk even in famine for years! And if he kills a cow, he will only be satisfied for a day or two.

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      2. When a man himself is starving how can he maintain a healthy cow?

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      3. Ohh its very difficult, if a man did not get beef, he may even starve to death....
        Unlike nature have created nothing other than cow.

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    5. One word. GOVINDA

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    6. Save beef !! Kill a Muslim !!
      Acchee Din !!! Democratic & secular country itseems !!
      Ghantaaa !!

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      Replies
      1. No. You got it wrong. It is save a mother and kill her killers. Not muslims.

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    7. Finally saffron ppl decided to kill humans instead of animals, thse pls support eating human dead body and support Agohoris who eat human meat. Congrats..

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      1. A sin of killing a cow is so tremendous that the person who has developed a liking for such an activity should be immediately prevented from doing so on all accounts, such that he should be killed immediately to prevent his own misfortune from rising exponentially. Of course, no Hindu should support such a view since that would put him in jail, but do you get the import of it? Cow-killing amounts to Murder in the eyes of a hindu. So why don't you just stop it and invite peace?

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    8. Dear my friend

      Can you anyone tell me that in which vedas, represent for this line.

      "The Brahmins at one time ate beef and married Sudras. [A] calf was killed to please a guest. Sudras cooked for Brahmins.[Source]
      There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed "

      cow is valuable animal for all Dharam.

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      1. HIndu scriptures allowed the eating of meat...
        Manusmriti (Chapter 5 / Verse 30) says, “It is not sinful to eat meat of eatable animals, for Brahma has created both the eaters and the eatables.”
        Manusmriti (5 / 35) states: When a man who is properly engaged in a ritual does not eat meat, after his death he will become a sacrificial animal during twenty-one rebirths.
        Maharishi Yagyavalkya says in Shatpath Brahmin (3/1/2/21) that, “I eat beef because it is very soft and delicious.”
        Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be slaughtered on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.”
        Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.”
        Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.”
        Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the meat offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”
        Also, comments of some great scholars of Hinduism are also worth noting:
        · Hinduism’s greatest propagator Swami Vivekanand said thus: “You will be surprised to know that according to ancient Hindu rites and rituals, a man cannot be a good Hindu who does not eat beef”. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand, vol.3, p. 536).
        · Mukandilal writes in his book ‘Cow Slaughter – Horns of a Dilemma’, page 18: “In ancient India, cow-slaughter was considered auspicious on the occasions of some ceremonies. Bride and groom used to sit on the hide of a red ox in front of the ‘Vedi’ (alter).”
        · A renowned scholar of scriptures Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane says, “Bajsancyi Samhita sanctifies beef-eating because of its purity”. (Dharmashastra Vichar Marathi, page 180)
        · Adi Shankaracharya’ commentary on Brihdaranyakopanishad 6/4/18 says : ‘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 seme

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      2. HIndu scriptures allowed the eating of meat...
        Manusmriti (Chapter 5 / Verse 30) says, “It is not sinful to eat meat of eatable animals, for Brahma has created both the eaters and the eatables.”
        Manusmriti (5 / 35) states: When a man who is properly engaged in a ritual does not eat meat, after his death he will become a sacrificial animal during twenty-one rebirths.
        Maharishi Yagyavalkya says in Shatpath Brahmin (3/1/2/21) that, “I eat beef because it is very soft and delicious.”
        Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be slaughtered on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.”
        Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.”
        Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.”
        Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the meat offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”
        Also, comments of some great scholars of Hinduism are also worth noting:
        · Hinduism’s greatest propagator Swami Vivekanand said thus: “You will be surprised to know that according to ancient Hindu rites and rituals, a man cannot be a good Hindu who does not eat beef”. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand, vol.3, p. 536).
        · Mukandilal writes in his book ‘Cow Slaughter – Horns of a Dilemma’, page 18: “In ancient India, cow-slaughter was considered auspicious on the occasions of some ceremonies. Bride and groom used to sit on the hide of a red ox in front of the ‘Vedi’ (alter).”
        · A renowned scholar of scriptures Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane says, “Bajsancyi Samhita sanctifies beef-eating because of its purity”. (Dharmashastra Vichar Marathi, page 180)

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    9. What do you say about Rishi Kapoor's Twitter comment? Beef or not beef?

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    10. To rascals quoting some unauthorized, insignificant "scholars" supporting beef-eating in the Vedic scriptures... The Vedas are a complex maze of words which have multiple meanings. The Vedas were not understood by Lord Brahma himself, even though he is the foremost scholar and philosopher of this universe. This is given in the sciptures. The Vedas are to be understood only through authorized seers or saints who have obtained practical knowledge relating to the absolute truth. Case in point being Sri Rambhadracharya or Sri Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj. You should not go to rascals to gain answers to your questions just as you would not go to a bogus doctor to treat your son's stomach ache.

      I don't know what Vivekananda's motives were but he is one fruit that clearly fell very far away from the Ramakrishna tree. What lofty ideals, what lofty character that person had! His heart was softer than butter - a real devotee's heart. Vivekananda, on the other hand, was a pure monist, with heart rough and dry as a stone in a desert. And why not, maybe he had to be like that if he wanted to attract the neo-vedantists and monists of modern India. To each his own.

      However, this much cannot be disputed: The Cow was the most sacred living being for Hindus - right from the ancient times, no matter what a modern meat-eating 'sannyasi' says.

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    11. Swami Vivekananda may be the greatest propounder of Hindusim, but he was no authority on it. Authority on Hinduism would be someone like one of the four incumbent Shankaracharyas or even better, the heads of the four sampradayas or the leader of the Ramanandi sect. Vivekananda has no real connection with Veda Vyas and shouldn't be viewed as someone who is an authority on Vedic literature.

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      1. And who gave shankaracharyas or ramanandi sect the authority on Hinduism?
        Please try to read more about Hinduism and specially on Ramakrishna dev before commenting...you haven't given any evidence but only trying to thrash others with harsh words. You have even gone that far to criticize Swami Vivekananda

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      2. They are authorities because they are connected directly with Veda vyasa, the original and universally accepted authority on the Vedas. I'm very well familiar with the greatness of Ramakrishna paramhamsa. What I feel sad about is how you are propagating nonsense under his name. If you were so affected with my ''thrashing'' of others why do you refuse to feel sympathy for an innocent living entity being slaughtered. Have you lost all sense of value judgments?

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    12. Madhuparka was a Vedic ceremony where the guests were offered dainties of beef? I'm sorry but that is just too much. Authentic Vedic scholars, ensconced firmly in the right traditions of the Vedas, would spit out their desi cow's milk on reading that.

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    13. What we should eat must be decided by qualified dietitians according to individuals personal preference of food. In Muslim scriptures, eating pig meat is prohibited. Incidentally, some Hindus suffer from "inferiority complex", and in reaction to Muslims, suggest ban on beef. This creates confusions, and Hindus get divided into thousands of sects on the basis of food habits like vegetarian vs non-vegetarians, eating food from animal sources vs eating food from vegetation, eating poultry food or not, eating fish or not, eating onion and garlic or not, and no end to such divisions. Hinduism must be understood in its true spirit. It is not a mean religion.

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    14. Hinduism is not a religion. No one has founded any such religion on earth. The bracket of people who did not follow any religion and who were castes and tribes and were oppressed by so called brahmins are now part of Hindu Religion!.

      Beef is still eaten by many in india including so called hindu's. If one can eat goat, cow also can be eaten. Hindus worship almost everything on earth including genital of shiva! That doesn't mean that no one can eat or use such things without their permission. If anyone want to worship cow or genital of shiva, its their freedome, same way if any one want to eat cow or any other food, its their freedom. belief is a matter between one's own God and himself and has nothing to do with others. keep own beliefs for self and do not try to impose it on others. If anybody want to keep cow us God mother, let him do so, but they do not have any right to impose it on others who do not consider so.

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      1. What nonsense are you talking. Tomorrow if I want to eat your mother should I just go ahead and cut her up?

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      2. Ranjit when you are considering cow as your mother and defying all other's logic as "nonsense" there is no point of dragging this argument. As many non Hindus take beef what is your opinion on them ? Should they be allowed to live on earth ?
        So the Hindus who don't eat meat are the greatest human beings on earth and rest are colony of maggots !!! Its really a sad thing for our country

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    15. Namaste, I cannot defend what books may say but for any Hindu saint or sage or Rishi or Guru to have enlightenment to the ultimate truth then they have to give up desires meaning they cannot have attachment or desires for material things. Swami Vivekanand was that indeed so he didnt eat meat or promote meat eating. In his time there was rule of the britishers and who is to say any of his writings were not altered. Just like the moguls altered the manusmiriti and shiv puran etc.... even the bhagwat puran may have been altered. The great thing about Hinduism is that the message is repeated time and time again. So if one studies the Gita or upnishads or work of swami ramsukkdas then it is clear that not just beef but meat eating is not allowed and one cannot reach higher state by going towards such diet. It is a very stupid argument to make. Either there is 2 things that happened. 1 he was a enlightened person and if he ate meat then he was not. Its one or the other. Now he may have eaten during his earlier life but after he claimed he was enlightened then he could not be eating such things at that state.

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    16. In Sanatan Dharam family, following rules apply for different kind of spiritualists:

      1. For Advaitins/ Jnana Yogi: No dietary compulsion.
      2. For Raj Yogi/ Kundalini Yogi: Diet should be nourishing but satvik.
      3. For Bhaktas : Simple pacifying satvik diet.
      4. For Karma Yogis: Appropriate satvik diet as per weather/ physical work.
      5. For Tantra Yogis: No dietary Compulsion.
      6. For Non-Yogic Normal Householders: Nourishing and satvik diet as per availability.

      Meat should be consumed in the least. Cow/ Goat/ Fish/ Chicken differentiation does not hold any good. All animals are the forms of one single Brahman. Even Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh appear, play and dissolve in the Supreme Brahman.

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    17. Well, the vedas and hinduism in general has evolved over many generations and enlightened men ( ex Rishis )have contributed to it over hundreds of years ( may be more ). The hindu might have eaten beef during ancient times but in current form, true hinduism abhors any kind of meat consumption. And Swami vivekananda did not eat beef.

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    18. Well, the vedas and hinduism in general has evolved over many generations and enlightened men ( ex Rishis )have contributed to it over hundreds of years ( may be more ). The hindu might have eaten beef during ancient times but in current form, true hinduism abhors any kind of meat consumption. And Swami vivekananda did not eat beef.

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    19. Swami Vivekananda was a great man of all time. A human life is more valuable than a cow's life.

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    20. But why India retains its top spot as the world’s largest exporter of beef?

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