I have been trying to some research on the historical roots of vegetarianism in yogic science (ayuervedic too). I came across this:
My basic question is to find if there was a class warfare motivation for creating an ethic for vegetarianism and also equating it to a spiritual path.
For instance the article above, notes that the earliest vedic culture, Aryans, were meat eaters...and the Braman priestly class (highest in the class-caste system) started out eating the meat that was associated with the ritual sacrafices. ...so the lower castes brought their meat to appease the gods, and the highest caste ate the meat. This seemed to change over time though.
Anyway, if anyone has some research or references (more than their opinion), I'd appreciate it.
asked byJustin_2 (227)
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on March 01, 2011
at 03:50 PM
FYI, not all Hindus are vegetarian. The shaktas still eat meat, and they do animal sacrifice as well. Don't equate Shaivite and Vishnaivite religion with all of Hinduism. They're only the two largest branches.
On the other paw, despite the apparent emphasis of male-female balance in tantric yoga, and the worship of goddesses generally, India is still fairly patriarchal. So the shaktas are looked upon with more than a little suspicion, I think, based on what I've read.
on March 01, 2011
at 02:22 PM
I think this is a totally legitimate question, since it asks the question of why the most ancient, most populous vegetarian culture in the world adopted that particular diet. The combination of a vegetarian diet with the use of dairy products and the prohibition to kill the cows could have been a smart answer to feed an overpopulated country, since you can raise much more food in vegetable rather than meat form for a given land surface. I do not know if in the distant past that had anything to do with class (caste) differences but currently Brahmin people are usually very strict with their lacto-vegetarian diet.
on March 02, 2011
at 04:11 PM
Sorry no historical references :) But from my own experience with Vaishnavism and following the lacto-vegetarian diet for religious purposes I can attest that in my case it did induce a very altered state of consciousness, one that I was easily able to interpret as a spiritual experience. I tried the diet several times for spiritual reasons, and then several times without engaging in any religious or spiritual activities, and in all cases my consciousness changed in a similar way, so I'm pretty sure it was the diet that made me feel the way I did, not the religious rituals I was participating in. What I figured was that religious folks noticed that cutting out certain foods resulted in a different state of mind, and ended up interpreting that in a religious way, and incorporating that interpretation into their belief system.