Monday, January 21, 2008

Beef Eating in Ancient India

Even among meat-eaters, beef was and is taboo. This practice seems to be at least 2000 years old (Achaya quotes DD Kosambi, who quotes the Vedic sage Yagnavalkya as preferring it. Vasishta, Gautama, Apasthamba and Baudhayana, in their Sutras (ca. 300 BC) prohibit killing cows and oxen and eating beef. It had become prevalent by 1100 AD across India, since Al-Biruni wrote that while beef eating was prevalent earlier, it was not allowed later.
Vickraanth C Reddy reviews KT Acharya's works on the history of Indian food.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rebirth- A Buddhist Idea?

In many cases, the informations provided by the ‘môsēra’ about the wanderings of the Karbis find parallels in the ‘kechārhé’ as well. The names of the hills, mountains or rivers referred to in the dirge narratives are bound to undergo changes as is wont with any oral literature. Elaborating on the use of the word ‘chōm’ in Karbi as the corruption of Sanskritized ‘yama’[27], Lyall and Stack described the Karbi belief of a departed soul that ‘gains admittance’ to ‘chōm ārông’ only through the ritual performance of ‘chōmkān’ and that of gaining rebirth. Lyall and Stack believed this concept of rebirth to be borrowed from Hinduism (Page 29). But, Prof. Kosambi asserts that the ‘large succession of rebirths….is characteristically Buddhist’.[28] It may therefore be not very inappropriate to guess that the Karbi idea of rebirth may have been a Buddhist influence considering the specific mention of ‘Dukpa’ in the migration memories of ‘môsērā’ as a Karbi neighbour thousands of years ago in their wanderings through the ‘White Mountains’ of Himalayas before they crossed to Burma.
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