Rama a Vegetarian Faddist?

                 List of Slokas in a Separate Page

Vegetarianism is great fad in India. Especially with reference to religion. Ramayana being a great religious book its treatment of vegetarianism is of great blogging brawl. Everybody wants to see his version anything opposite is stiffly contested with no hold barred. This post tries to approach this subject with unwavering straight forwardness taking Valmiki Ramayana as Guide. All misrepresentations in some major blogs are also pointed out and discussed.
Rama was a Kshatriya and a meat eater. Many believe the dawn of Buddhism and Jainism brought this fad about vegetarianism. Ramayana a Tamil version written by Kambar converts Rama as a vegetarian. May be but, Valmiki Ramayana also gives great importance to vegetarianism.
Even when Rama was anointed as king he was advised by Vasishta to fast and sleep on grass mat. So frugal food and avoidance of luxury (of even mattresses) is a part of religious rites even for kings.
Then again when Rama finds he has to go to forest (for 14 yrs.) he tells his mother Kausalya that he will desist from meat and live on roots and fruits in the forest (2-20-29). Again he says to Guha he desists from meat (2-50-44). Again to Bharadwaj muni he says they are ascetic and are vegetarians (2-54-16). Then in Sundara Kanda Hanuman tells Seetha that Rama is not taking Meat (5-36-41). So what is the doubt? Two verses are creating problem. After meeting Guha, Rama and Lakshmana kill many animals and become hungry and rest under big tree (2-52-102). This makes many believe that they ate the meat. This is not true and there is no such statement. Again after Bharadwaj muni‘s ashram they again hunt is said to have eaten (2-55-33). This is also not correct. The word charatur is translated as ate but means roamed in river forest Yamuna. Though there are many places where Seetha offers meat sacrifice and even offers Ravana when he comes as Brahmin. This is definitely confusing but the facts as said in Valmiki Ramayana are that Rama is a meat eater but abstains from meat for 14 years in forest.

List of Slokas

Sanskrit English
चतुर्दश हि वर्षाणि वत्स्यामि विजने वने |
मधु मूल फलैः जीवन् हित्वा मुनिवद् आमिषम् ||
I shall live in a solitary forest like a sage for fourteen years, leaving off meat and living with roots, fruits and honey Back
कुश चीर अजिन धरम् फल मूल अशनम् च माम् |
विद्धि प्रणिहितम् धर्मे तापसम् वन गोचरम् ||
Know me as under a vow to be an ascetic, wearing the robes of bark and deerskin and by piety, I am determined to live in the forest by eating roots and fruits only. Back
तौ तत्र हत्वा चतुरः महा मृगान् |
वराहम् ऋश्यम् पृषतम् महा रुरुम् |
आदाय मेध्यम् त्वरितम् बुभुक्षितौ|
वासाय काले ययतुर् वनः पतिम् ||
Having hunted there four deer, namely Varaaha, Rishya, Prisata; and Mahaaruru (the four principal species of deer) and taking quickly the portions that were pure, being hungry as they were, Rama and Lakshmana reached a tree to take rest in the evening. Back
पित्रा नियुक्ता भगवन् प्रवेष्यामः तपो वनम् |
धर्मम् एव आचरिष्यामः तत्र मूल फल अशनाः ||
Oh, Venerable sage! Commanded by our father, we are entering a lonely forest to practise asceticism, living on roots and fruits. Back
क्रोशमात्रम् ततो गत्वा भ्रातरौ रामलक्ष्मनौ || २-५५-३३
बहून्मेध्यान् मृगान् हत्वा चेरतुर्यमुनावने |

Thereafter having travelled only a couple of miles the two brothers Rama and Lakshmana killed many consecrated deer and ate in the river-forest of Yamuna.The translation has an error the word चेरतु means roamed not ate hence it should read roamed in the river forest of Yamuna Back

न मांसं राघवो भुङ्क्ते न चापि मधुसेवते |
वन्यं सुविहितं नित्यं भक्तमश्नाति पञ्चमम् ||
Rama is not eating meat, nor indulging even in spirituous liquor. Everyday, in the evening, he is eating the food existing in the forest, well arranged for him. Back

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All Sloka Translations are from the site Valmiki Ramayana


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. P.K.Ramakrishnan
    Jan 20, 2011 @ 16:04:47

    There are several slokas in Valmiki Ramayana saying Rama offered Sita
    cooked meat. I shall find the actual slokas.


  2. krishnan
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 20:46:10

    Sanatan Dharma has he principle of no meat in diet. Sanskrit verses have become distorted by outsiders trying to fool Hindus coz they know Hindus don’t even know what the Vedas say about Meat eating & how its barbaric. Mr P k Ramakrishnan, Rama never offered meat to Sita – if he did can you give us a verse here to back your claims?


    • mghariharan
      Nov 01, 2012 @ 09:31:16

      I have addressed this issue from various aspects. Rama was offered meat by Guha and Bharadwaj muni. Rama says during vanavas he will not eat meaning otherwise he eats. Hanuman also tells Sita that Rama is not eating meat. If Hindus never eat meat then all these slokas are redundent. I have quoted manusmriti “5.41,42,56 says it is not sin but better to absatain There is no sanctitiy in claiming no one killed or should kill and there is no translation problem etc. only understanding problems.” See for more in detail
      All slokas are available.


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