View Full Version : Was Bhima a Vegetarian.

markandeya 108 dasa
02 July 2015, 03:11 PM

Any valid source in Mahabharata as to weather he ate meat or not, not including his fight with Duryodhana. What is the Vedic injunction for eating meat with Kshatriya Kings.

23 December 2016, 06:04 PM

Yes, Kṣatriyas were sanctioned to eat meat, then, and even now. Rāma ate meat. Yudhiṣṭhira and his brothers (incl. Bhīma) also ate meat. Some people may find this shocking because they automatically assume "meat is bad", "everybody should quit eating meat" etc.

Rāma says in Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa(Ayodhyā Kāṇḍa):

चतुर्दश हि वर्षाणि वत्स्यामि विजने वने |
मधु मूल फलैः जीवन् हित्वा मुनिवद् आमिषम् || २-२०-२९
29. vatsyaami = I shall live vane = in forest; vijane = bereft of people munivat = like sage chaturdasha = fourteen varshhaaNi = years hitvaa = leaving off aamishham = meat; jiivan = living madhu muulaphalaiH = with honey; roots and fruits.
"I shall live in a solitary forest like a sage for fourteen years, leaving off meat and living with roots, fruits and honey".

Hanumān tells Sītā (Sundara Kāṇḍa):

न मांसं राघवो भुङ्क्ते न चापि मधुसेवते |
वन्यं सुविहितं नित्यं भक्तमश्नाति पञ्चमम् || ५-३६-४१
41. raaghavaH = Rama; na bhuNkte = is not eating; maamsam = meat; na sevate = not indulging in; madhuchaapi = even spirituous liquor; nityam = everyday; paN^chamam = in the evening; ashnaati = he is eating; bhaktam = food; vanyam = existing in the forest; suvihitam = well-arranged (for him).
"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."

In Vana-parva of the Mahābhārata, Yudhiṣṭhira says (http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03256.htm):

Once on a time, as Yudhishthira lay down at night in the Dwaita woods, some deer, with accents choked in tears, presented themselves before him in his dreams. To them standing with joined hands, their bodies trembling all over that foremost of monarchs said, 'Tell me what ye wish to say. Who are ye? And what do ye desire?' Thus accosted by Kunti's son--the illustrious Pandava, those deer, the remnant of those that had been slaughtered, replied unto him, saying, 'We are, O Bharata, those deer that are still alive after them that had been slaughtered. We shall be exterminated totally. Therefore, do thou change thy residence. O mighty king, all thy brothers are heroes, conversant with weapons; they have thinned the ranks of the rangers of the forest. We few--the remnants,--O mighty-minded one, remain like seed. By thy favour, O king of kings, let us increase.' Seeing these deer, which remained like seed after the rest had been destroyed trembling and afflicted with fear, Yudhishthira the just was greatly affected with grief. And the king, intent on the welfare of all creatures, said unto them, 'So be it. I shall act as ye have said.' Awaking after such a vision, that excellent king, moved by pity towards the deer, thus spake unto his brothers assembled there, 'Those deer that are alive after them that have been slaughtered, accosted me at night, after I had awakened, saying, 'We remain like the cues of our lines. Blest be thou! Do thou have compassion on us.' And they have spoken truly. We ought to feel pity for the dwellers of the forest. We have been feeding on them for a year together and eight months. Let us, therefore, again (repair) to the romantic Kamyakas, that best of forests abounding in wild animals, situated at the head of the desert, near lake Trinavindu. And there let us pleasantly pass the rest of our time.

Now the meaning of Kṣatriya has changed over the years. I believe we have a guna-based varṇa system now. So, only you will know what you are destined to do. If you were to join the military you have to eat meat to build a strong body to do justice to your job; nothing wrong in it. But if you have a desk job in the military, meat will not do you any good.

For further reading: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m13/m13b081.htm (Eating of flesh – Merits and Demerits, The Mahābhārata, Anuśāsana-parva, Section CXVI)

Hope this answers your question.

- SV

24 January 2017, 02:04 AM
Namaste Markandeya,

Yes, I remember reading in the Mahabharatha of Krishna highlighting the psychological state of Bhima as he seems to have ceased relishing dishes of meat and spending much time in deep thought , due to his anger over the Kauravas as the diplomatic negotiations to get their kingdom back was not becoming fruitful, and war seemed iminent.

Similarly I remember reading about Karna taking a vow never to touch wine or meat until he had killed Arjuna in combat.

So this shows that the kshatriyas had taken meat and so did Bhima as well.


27 January 2019, 05:09 PM
Yes, Bhima eats Meat
I remembered a story from Adi parva (http://mahabharatastories.in/adi-parva-mahabharata-book1/), A Bakasura story
When Pandava's staying at Ekchakra city and a people feared of a daemon named Bakasura (https://mahabharatastories.in/adi-parva-mahabharata-book1/#i-15). Bhima went to Bakasura along with cart full of meat to bakasura's place.
as soon as Bhima reached there, he started eating meat and this made Bakasura angry and then both fought with each other. Bhima killed him

28 January 2019, 10:11 PM
eating is the body religion so going further body religion is duty now what to eat or not is to select among karma akarma and vikarma .
brahadaranyak Upanishad describes the duty of body and soul ,pl look into .

29 March 2020, 12:00 PM
Vivekananda ate some meat...but mostly to be kind to the cultural customs in the West. Christ ate meat, because that was the cultural norm of his society and he wanted to respect that.

So, sure it is possible to realize God and eat meat.

It is possible to be a soldier, in war and still meditate at night after your military duties.

But that is hardly the easiest way to spiritual progress.

The easiest way to spiritual progress is by doing the most spiritual work you can, in all aspects of life. And that would include vegetarianism.

If you can't, you can't. And you do the best you can in the circumstances you find yourself.

But just because Rama, Christ and others ate meat, does not mean that God has granted you a personal license to do the same.