Shravasti Dhammika, To EAT OR NOT TO EAT MEAT: A BUDDHIST REFLECTION
Chapter 1 Vegetarianism in ancient India
12. Neither of the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata teach vegetarianism and both often refer to eating meat as if it were normal and uncontroversial, as indeed it was. In his detailed study of everyday life as depicted in the Ramayana Ananda Guruge writes, “The Aryans of ancient India were not altogether vegetarians. Their diet was a mixed one; they ate fish as was offered to Bharata and his party by Guha. Meat too was consumed quite widely. Not only did Rama say that animals are killed by men for their flesh but he also killed many animals – deer, wild boar, antelope, etc., - for food during his sojourn in the forest. Meat was eaten with relish and a verse which describes a meal of Rama and Sita states, ‘He sat on a rock tempting Sita with meat (saying) this is pure, this is tasty and this is well cooked by fire.’ In Bharadvaja’s hermitage Bharata’s army was supplied with venison, mutton, pork and flesh of the peacock and the snipe. Likewise, Kumbhakarna consumed large quantities of venison, beef and pork and drank blood. Although the Vanaras are generally depicted as vegetarians, the Brahmans were actually not. The concept that ‘a purely vegetarian diet is an indication of spiritual progress and an advanced culture’ is a later development in India. Even ascetic Brahmans were not strict vegetarians. Although their usual fare consisted of vegetables, they did not abstain from meat-eating as a principle of either religious or social significance. In fact, Agastya is represented as eating rams and he says, ‘I am able to eat comfortably even one whole ram at a Sraddha ceremony.’ There seems to have been no ban on meat-eating by Brahmans even at the time of Bhavabhuti for his Uttararamacarita depicts Vasistha as eating a tawny calf. Further, Valin’s statement specifically mentions the animals whose flesh could be eaten by Brahmans.” (The Society of the Ramayana, 1960, p.147-8).
12. 《羅摩衍那》(Ramayana) 和《摩訶婆羅多》(Mahabharata) 這兩本印度教的偉大史詩均沒有提倡素食主義，反而常提到吃肉，彷彿視吃肉為正常的，不具爭議，而事實也確是如此。古魯格 (Ananda Guruge) 詳細研究《羅摩衍那》中所描述的日常生活，他這樣說：「古印度的阿利安人不全是素食者，他們的飲食是葷素並存，他們吃魚，正如古哈 (Guha) 用魚來獻給婆羅多 (Bharata) 和他的同伴。肉類常被廣泛食用，羅摩 (Rama) 不僅提到人們屠宰動物以取其肉，他在森林居住期間，亦屠宰了很多動物 — 鹿、野豬和羚羊等，作為食物。人們津津有味地吃肉，一首描述羅摩和悉多 (Sita) 進餐的詩提到：『他坐在石上，以肉來誘惑悉多，說它是潔淨、美味和用火煮熟的。』在巴拉瓦伽 (Bharadvaja) 隱居的地方，婆羅多的軍隊獲供應鹿肉、羊肉、豬肉、孔雀肉和鷸肉。孔婆伽那 (Kumbhakarna) 也吃了大量的鹿肉、牛肉和豬肉，並喝血液。雖然猴子軍隊普遍被描繪為素食者，但其實婆羅門並不是。『純素食飲食是心靈提升和高等文化指標』這個概念，是印度後期的發展，甚至婆羅門的苦行者也不是嚴格的素食者。儘管他們的飲食通常包括蔬菜，但他們未有因宗教或社會意義的原則而戒絕吃肉。事實上，投山仙人 (Agastya) 被描繪進食公羊，他說：『我甚至可以在施拉特儀式 (Sraddha) 輕鬆地吃掉整隻公羊。』即使在薄婆菩提 (Bhavabhuti) 時期，婆羅門似乎也沒有禁絕吃肉，因為他的《羅摩傳後篇》(Uttararamacarita) 描述瓦希斯塔 (Vasistha) 進食一隻黃褐色小牛。此外，波林 (Valin) 的陳述特別提及婆羅門可以吃哪些動物的肉。」 (The Society of the Ramayana, 1960年, 頁147-8)。