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Sunday, 8 February 2009

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Why India became Vegetarian

India has a culinary culture unique to it, consisting of the tradition of vegetarianism. India may have been vegetarian during the Mohenjodaro and Harappa civilizations.

This cuisine may have been reinstated in India during the 2nd century B.C by Emperor Ashoka.

We do know that the Aryans who migrated to India, and took control of Northern India, were meat eating people.

During the ancient Aryan Vedic period meat was consumed regularly after an animal sacrifice to the Gods. This changed with the rise of Buddhisim and Jainism, the founders of which preached the principle of ahimsa or ‘non-violence’.

The Brahman priests, who conducted animal sacrifices as offerings to God, also began to appreciate this Buddhist/Jain sentiment as it swept India. They began to embrace ahimsa by following a vegetarian diet and regarding it as superior to the Brahminical ideas of animal sacrifice.

Meat was consumed only after the animal was sacrificed to the gods. Among the animals that were sacrificed in Vedic times was the cow, which is considered taboo in the Hinduism of today.

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