False claims of beef in vedas

False claims of Beef in Vedas brilliantly explained by an IIT Alumni

The material presented here is based on a thorough and objective analysis of roots of Vedic words, the context in which they appear, Vedic Vocabulary, Philology, Grammar and other tools critical for correct interpretation of the Vedic mantras.

Thus this research series does not merely rely on blind reproduction of works of Max Muller, Griffith, Wilson, Williams and other indologists on Vedas and Vedic language. While they are more popular in contemporary western academia, we have objective reasons to conclude that their works are far from authoritative. We shall explore this facet in more detail in this research series.

Welcome to this first part of the research series on critical evaluation of Misconceptions surrounding the Vedas – the first books of knowledge on earth.

For centuries aspersions have been cast upon the Vedas; the primary holy scriptures of the Hindus of having unholy contents. If one really started believing in those aspersions, the entire Hindu philosophy, culture, and traditions would reduce to nothing but savagery, barbarism and cannibalism.

The Vedas – the very roots of Hinduism, rather the first source of knowledge on earth – are meant for guiding the actions of human being in order to lead a blissful life.

This slanderous campaign has been unleashed by different vested interests to embarrass Hindus around the world citing specific references from the Vedas.

This also comes handy in convincing poor and illiterate Indians to give up their faith on the grounds that their fundamental holy books – the Vedas – contain all the inhuman elements like denigration of women, meat-eating, polygamy, casteism and above all – beef eating.

The Vedas are also accused of animal sacrifice in sacrificial ceremonies popularly known as the YAJNA. Interestingly a section of home-bred intellectuals claiming to have deep study of ancient India has also come up, who cite references from works of western indologists to prove such unholy content in the Vedas.

Saying that the Vedas permit beef-eating and cow-slaughter amounts to striking a lethal blow to a Hindu’s soul. Respect for cow forms a core tenet of Hinduism. Once you are able to convince him of flaws in the foundation of this core tenet and make him feel guilty, he becomes an easy prey for the predator faiths. There are millions of ill-informed Hindus who are not empowered to counter argue and hence quietly surrender.

The vested interests that malign the Vedas are not confined to foreign and home-bred indologists alone. A certain class among Hindus exploited the rest of the population including the socially and economically weaker sections by forcing them to believe and follow what they said in the name of Vedas or else face the wrath.

All the slanders heaped upon the Vedas can be attributed mainly to the interpretations of commentaries written by Mahidhar, Uvat and Saayan in the medieval times; and to what Vam-margis or the Tantra cult propagated in their books in the name of the Vedas.

In due course the falsehood spread far and wide and they became even more deep rooted when western scholars with their half baked knowledge of Sanskrit transliterated these interpretations of commentaries of Sayan and Mahidhar, in the name of translating the Vedas.

However, they lacked the pre-requisite understanding of Shiksha (Phonetics), Vyakarana (Grammar), Nirukta (Philology), Nighantu (Vocabulary), Chhanda (Prosody), Jyotish (Astronomy), Kalpa and so on that are critical for correct interpretation of the Vedas.

The purpose behind Agniveer movement is to objectively evaluate all such misconceptions about the Vedas – the foundation of human knowledge and establish their piety, sanctity, great ideals and philosophy that cater not only to Hindus but to every human being without bars, bias or discrimination of any kind.


Section 1: No Violence Against Animals

Yasmintsarvaani bhutaanyaatmaivaabhuudvijaanatah
Tatra ko mohah kah shokah ekatvamanupasyatah
Yajurveda 40.7

“Those who see all beings as souls do not feel infatuation or anguish at their sight, for they experience oneness with them”.

How could people who believed in the doctrines of indestructibility, transmigration dare to kill living animals in yajnas? They might be seeing the souls of their own near and dear ones of bygone days residing in those living beings.

Anumantaa vishasitaa nihantaa krayavikrayee
Samskartaa chopahartaa cha khadakashcheti ghaatakaah
Manusmrithi 5.51
Those who permit slaying of animals; those who bring animals for slaughter; those who slaughter; those who sell meat; those who purchase meat; those who prepare dish out of it; those who serve that meat and those who eat are all murderers.

Breehimattam yavamattamatho maashamatho tilam
Esha vaam bhaago nihito ratnadheyaaya dantau maa hinsishtam pitaram maataram cha
Atharvaveda 6.140.2

O teeth! You eat rice, you eat barley, you gram and you eat sesame. These cereals are specifically meant for you. Do not kill those who are capable of being fathers and mothers.

Ya aamam maansamadanti paurusheyam cha ye kravih
Garbhaan khaadanti keshavaastaanito naashayaamasi
Atharvaveda 8.6.23

We ought to destroy those who eat cooked as well as uncooked meat, meat involving destruction of males and females, foetus and eggs.

Anago hatya vai bheema kritye
Maa no gaamashvam purusham vadheeh
Atharvaveda 10.1.29

It is definitely a great sin to kill innocents. Do not kill our cows, horses and people.

How could there be justification of cow and other animals being killed when killing is so clearly prohibited in the Vedas?

Aghnyaa yajamaanasya pashoonpahi
Yajurveda 1.1

“O human! animals are Aghnya – not to be killed. Protect the animals”

Yajurveda 6.11

Protect the animals.

Dwipaadava Chatushpaatpaahi
Yajurveda 14.8

Protect the bipeds and quadrupeds!

Kravy da –kravya[ meat obtained from slaughter] + Ada [ the eater]—the meat eater.

Pisacha — pisita [meat] +asa [eater]—the meat eater.

Asutrpa — Asu [breath of life] + trpa [one who satisfies himself on]—one who takes others life for his meals.

Garba da and Anda da – the foetus and egg eaters.

Mans da – the meat eaters

Meat eaters have always been looked down in Vedic literature. They have been known as Rakshasas, Pisacha and so on….All these words are synonyms of demons or devils that have been out-cast from the civilized human society.

Urjam no dhehi dwipade chatushpade
Yajurveda 11.83

“May all bipeds and quadrupeds gain strength and nourishment”

This mantra is recited by Hindus before every meal. How could the same philosophy which prays for well-being of every soul in every moment of life, approve of killing animals?

Section 2: No Violence in Yajna

cow 2Yajna never meant animal sacrifice in the sense popularly understood. Yajna in the Vedas meant a noble deed or the highest purifying action.

Adhvara iti Yajnanaama – Dhvaratihimsaakarmaa tatpratishedhah
Nirukta 2.7

According to Yaaska Acharya, one of the synonyms of Yajna in Nirukta or the Vedic philology is Adhvara.

Dhvara means an act with himsa or violence. And therefore a-dhvara means an act involving no himsa or no violence. There are a large number of such usage of Adhvara in the Vedas.

In the post-Mahabharata period, misinterpretation of the Vedas and interpolations in other scriptures took place at various points intime. Acharya Shankar reestablished the Vedic values to an extent.

In the more recent times, Swami Dayanand Saraswati – known as the grandfather of modern India – interpreted the Vedas as per thecorrect rules of the language and authentic evidences. His literature, which includes commentary on the Vedas, Satyarth Prakash loosely translated as Light of Truth, An Introduction to the Vedas and other texts led to widespread social reformation based on Vedic philosophy and dispelling of myths surrounding the Vedas.

Let us discover what the Vedas have to say on Yajna.

Agne yam yagnamadhvaram vishwatah pari bhuurasi
Sa id deveshu gacchati
Rigveda 1.1.4

O lord of effulgence! The non-violent Yajna, you prescribe from all sides, is beneficial for all, touches divine proportions and is accepted by noble souls.
The Rigveda describes Yajna as Adhvara or non violent throughout. Same is the case with all the other Vedas. How can it be then concluded that the Vedas permit violence or slaughter of animals?

The biggest accusation of cattle and cow slaughter comes in the context of the Yajnas that derived their names from different cattle like the Ashwamedh Yajna, the Gomedha Yajna and the Nar-medh Yajna. Even by the wildest stretch of the imagination the word Medha would not mean slaughter in this context.

It’s interesting to note what Yajurveda says about a horse

Imam ma himsirekashafam pashum kanikradam vaajinam vaajineshu
Yajurveda 13.48

Do not slaughter this one hoofed animal that neighs and who goes with a speed faster than most of the animals. Aswamedha does not mean horse sacrifice at Yajna. Instead the Yajurveda clearly mentions that a horse ought not to be slaughtered.

In Shathapatha, Ashwa is a word for the nation or empire . The word medha does not mean slaughter. It denotes an act done in accordance to the intellect Alternatively it could mean consolidation, as evident from the root meaning of medha i.e. medhru san-ga-me

Raashtram vaa ashwamedhah
Annam hi gau
Agnirvaa ashwah
Aajyam medhah

Swami Dayananda Saraswati Wrote in His Light of Truth:

A Yajna dedicated to the glory, wellbeing and prosperity of the Rashtra the nation or empire is known as the Ashwamedh yajna.

“To keep the food pure or to keep the senses under control, or to make the food pure or to make a good use of the rays of Sun or keep the earth free from impurities[clean] is called Gomedha Yajna”.

“The word Gau also means the Earth and the yajna dedicated to keep the Earth the environment clean is called Gomedha Yajna”

“The cremation of the body of a dead person in accordance with the principles laid down in the Vedas is called Naramedha Yajna”.

Section 3: No Beef in Vedas

Not only the Vedas are against animal slaughter but also vehemently oppose and prohibit cow slaughter.Yajurveda forbids killing of cows, for they provide energizing food for human beings

Ghrtam duhaanaamaditim janaayaagne maa himsiheeh
Yajurveda 13.49

Do not kill cows and bulls who always deserve to be protected.

Aare gohaa nrhaa vadho vo astu
Rigveda 7.56.17

In Rigveda cow slaughter has been declared a heinous crime equivalent to human murder and it has been said that those who commits this crime should be punished.

Sooyavasaad bhagavatee hi bhooyaa atho vayam bhagvantah syaama
Addhi trnamaghnye vishwadaaneem piba shuddhamudakamaacharantee
Rigveda 1.164.40 or Atharv 7.73.11 or Atharv 9.10.20

The Aghnya cows – which are not to be killed under any circumstances– may keep themselves healthy by use of pure water and green grass, so that we may be endowed with virtues, knowledge and wealth.
The Vedic Lexicon, Nighantu, gives amongst other synonyms of Gau[ or cow] the words Aghnya. Ahi, and Aditi. Yaska the commentator on Nighantu, defines these as-

Aghnya the one that ought not to be killed

Ahi the one that must not be slaughtered.

Aditi the one that ought not to be cut into pieces.

These three names of cow signify that the animal ought not to be put to tortures. These words appear frequently throughout the Vedas in context of the cow.

Aghnyeyam saa vardhataam mahate soubhagaaya

Rigveda 1.164.27

Cow – The aghnya – brings us health and prosperity

Suprapaanam Bhavatvaghnyaayaah
Rigveda 5.83.8
There should be excellent facility for pure water for Aghnya Cow

Yah paurusheyena kravishaa samankte yo ashwena pashunaa yaatudhaanah

Yo aghnyaayaa bharati ksheeramagne teshaam sheershaani harasaapi vrishcha
Rigveda 10.87.16

Those who feed on human, horse or animal flesh and those who destroy milk-giving Aghnya cows should be severely punished.

Vimucchyadhvamaghnyaa devayaanaa aganma
Yajurveda 12.73
The Aghnya cows and bulls bring you prosperity

Maa gaamanaagaamaditim vadhishta
Rigveda 8.101.15
Do not kill the cow. Cow is innocent and aditi – that ought not to be cut into pieces

Antakaaya goghaatam
Yajurveda 30.18
Destroy those who kill cows

Yadi no gaam hansi yadyashwam yadi poorusham
Tam tvaa seesena vidhyaamo yatha no so aveeraha
Atharvaveda 1.16.4

If someone destroys our cows, horses or people, kill him with a bullet of lead.

Vatsam jaatamivaaghnyaa
Atharvaveda 3.30.1
Love each other as the Aghnya – non-killable cow – loves its calf

Dhenu sadanam rayeenaam
Atharvaveda 11.1.34
Cow is fountainhead of all bounties


The entire 28th Sukta or Hymn of 6th Mandal of Rigveda sings the glory of cow.
Aa gaavo agnamannuta bhadramakrantseedantu

Bhooyobhooyo rayimidasya vardhayannabhinne

Na taa nashanti na dabhaati taskaro naasaamamitro vyathiraa dadharshati

Na taa arvaa renukakaato ashnute na samskritramupa yanti taa abhi

Gaavo bhago gaava indro me achhaan

Yooyam gaavo medayathaa

Maa vah stena eeshata maaghanshasah

Everyone should ensure that cows are free from miseries and kept healthy.
God blesses those who take care of cows.
Even the enemies should not use any weapon on cows
No one should slaughter the cow
Cow brings prosperity and strength
If cows keep healthy and happy, men and women shall also keep disease free and prosperous

May the cow eat green grass and pure water. May they not be killed and bring prosperity to us. What more proofs does one need to understand the high esteem in whichnot only the cow but each living being is held in the Vedas.

The learned audience can decide for themselves from these evidences that the Vedas are completely against any inhuman practice… to top it all the Beef and Cow slaughter.

~By Agniveer Shri Sanjeev Newar


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  • Hello Satyaji,

    Hats Off to you for clear explaination of Vedas on Cows and animal sacrifice.

    Keep up good work.

    I have one question, I am a vegetarian, but family is non-veg lovers (Chicken, Lamb and Fish), As per Lord Krishna, I need to perform my family duties, In this case am I doing sin or not.

    Please don’t think otherwise, above situation is cursing me a lot when I go to butcher shop to bring a meat.

    • No.
      You are just doing your dharma(refer to daily duty here). Indulging in swa-dharma is never SIN.

  • It is time to need translate vedas properly by making a comparitive study with westerns as well as indian scholers. so the people can understand what is right what is wrong. Hope Agniveer can do thias work as a challenge.

    • Why westerners? It implies the Hindu scholars cannot be trusted and the westerners can! Has this been the case historically?WHEN will the Indians gain self respect? ALL people are not corrupt.If it wasn’t for some really decent people in India ,we would be in trouble.

  • Very good summary.

    In addition, please address the core passages used by the misinterpreters in their arguments
    “Ukshaannaaya Vashaannaaya Somaprushtaaya Meedushe..”

    in KYV

  • How do you explain excavations of Vedic sacrificial altars with cut marks on bone? The Vedas have been composed over a long period of time and have many different strands of thought. Yes, there are verses that strongly oppose the killing of animals, and that many follow today. But there are also verses that talk about animal sacrifice, which you have not translated here. Ideally, everyone who is interested should be able to read the Vedas for themselves and decide what they say.

  • Wanted to email you directly for some questions. If possible let me know

  • I have only one question. When the Rishi of the Rg Veda says do not kill and eat meat of cow, horse or animals….who was he telling this to? Were the general people killing and eating animals including the cow.

  • This article puts me into confusion. Myself being a Hindu & thousands of other wish be to clarified properly when actually meat eating started. Had we been influenced by Muslims or we were eating even before. What was the verses of Mahabharata . Wrong that I might be there are amendments of slokas in vedas in various decades according to the then Rishis as per their thoughts & perception and habits. I have gone through Manusmriti but due to my lack of sanskrit knowledge I have perceived there are some line missing in your content.

  • It is really good to propagate vegetarianism as stated in Vedas and explained by the author .The real problem is who should follow what? Like four Varna’s ie. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishya’s and Shudras where in it clear that those perform rituals to God and Humanity have to be Pure and pious specially Brahmins and Vaishya’s .The Kshatriyas are meant for killing enemies as well as wrong doers to humanity including animals which harm others. Shudras who performs ODD jobs were ignorant of all the rituals have automatically turned Non-Vegetarians due to circumstances and are being explained not to harm living beings including animals as such our ancient history has been propagating them to rectify the extent and advent of civilization which has been slowing making them understand and improve by peaceful advise and explanations through Vedas and other religious teachings. That is very sensible way than to punish or browbeat them into insult and humiliation. modern activists are in hurry to change the age old things that too in typical ways of telling only not to kill Cows only , ie. why not other animals like Hen, Goat, Sheep etc.So let us be realistic and not kill those who are faltering ie killing Humans which is worse than killing animals.We are all Humans so respect the God gifted life of one and all.

  • What I actually read is whole article with comments. Some readers are confused because lack of some clarity (or not shown verses from Mahabharata). Ashvamedha Yajna is described in Ramayana and Mahabharata. The actual ritual of this yajna is given on google. Just go through it buddies. And being vegetarian is good at all. Here the original point is not to kill anyBODY (Including eggs). Not about cow only. Vedas said that neither kill two legged nor four legged beings. Vedas said Ahinsa paramo dharma. It is supreme virtue for all human being. Let us interpret this article very practically. Otherwise if can’t find verses just remember incidents cited in Epics.

  • Do not pick and choose verses. Please translate all the four vedas in their entirety using your method and publish.Manusmriti is not a Veda ,leave it.But the Ramayana and Mahabharata contain Vedic knowledge revealed through stories.You translate these epics also as per your method and publish. People can then understand the Vedas themselves and decide.If Vedas do not advocate sacrifice of animals ,there is no dearth of communities in India who performed animal sacrifice.Vedas were not the basis of the religion of the vast majority of Indians.

  • Shri Satyaji: Shasthanga namaskaram! You have opened the eyes of a brahmin like me who believed in English translations as he had no access when young age to well researched articles like yours. Unfortunately in the modern world, talking about Vedas, which are our heritage, has been branded as something undesirable. People have started believing seriously sarva dharma sama bhava to mean whatever is fashionable thinking about any religion. Absence of understanding of our holy texts has made even those like me unable to argue well when confronted by the alleged contradictions. Thank you very much. Generations of Hindus will be grateful to you for enlightening them. May God bless you.

  • a summary of the Vedas should be taught and explained in every Indian school …. the Hindu population should do some agressive marketing to promote these Vedas in a layman language.. I had no idea of what the Vedas stood for or what it consisted of ….. Problem with Hindus is simply following rituals without understanding the meaning of the same, which creates doubts in the mind of followers who can easily be misled to believe hogwash by people with vested interest

  • But what about the incident of hosting the army of ayodhya with cow meat by bharadwaj muni?

  • I am a foreign vegetarian and life has not been easy