Dear Rustom and readers:
Several friends have asked me about beef/meat eating, Is there any citation against it in the Avesta?. There is one in the Gatha Ahunavaiti 32.8 about Jamshid eating beef but this is rather doubtful (see "Beef Eating Plea of Jamshid" by Ilya Gersehvitch) and although the Pahlavi translator of this 32.8 opines that Jamshid favored eating beef in a measured portion, it is still not accepted by the majority of scholars.The questionable words are "gaush baga xvremno" which I and Humbach have translated as "gratifying mortals by calling himself God", which Zarathushtra considered as crime , others have translated as 'eating a portion of meat of cattle'. which Zarathushtra considered as crime. Our translation is confirmed by Shanameh where Jamshid claimed to be God and was put to death by his step brother.
However I can give you a clear cut edict against beef eating from High Priest Atrupat-e Emetan in Denkard BookVI written in the 9 century circa. I do not know if by not eating meat/beef can lead one to spiritualism, that is for each to decide.
"ku.san enez a-on ku urwar xwarishn bawed shmah mardoman ku derziwishn bawed, ud az tan i gospand pahrezed, ce amar was, eg Ohrmaz i xwaday hay.yarih i gospand ray urwar was dad."
"They hold this also: Be plant eaters (urwar xwarishn) (i.e vegetarian), O you, men , so that you may live long. Keep away from the body of cattle (tan i gospand), and deeply reckon that Ohrmazd, the Lord has created plants in great number for helping cattle (and men)."
Regards, Dr. Pallan Ichapporia Mainz University Germany
A Zoroastrian wrote:
"I would readily give up beef eating or meat eating if one, zoroastrian, proof is given that this leads to spiritualism."
The Shah Namah states that the evil king of Iran, Zohak was first taught eating meat by the evil one who came to him in the guise of a cook. This was the start of an age of great evil for Iran. Prior to this, in the Golden age of mankind in the days of the great Aryan Kings, man did not eat meat.
The Pahlavi scriptures state that in the final stages of the world, when the final Saviour Saoshyant arrives, man will become more spiritual and gradually give up meat eating. So it seems that our religion does support the theory that meat eating is a fall from the original spiritual state of mankind, there is nothing "hindu" or "jain" about it - it is Aryan belief, and the Indians have retained this Aryan belief more so than the Europeans, who deteriorated into beef-eating AFTER they migrated from the ancient homeland.
Vegetarianism is stated to be the future state of the world in Pahlavi scriptures, and Dr. Ichaporia has also proved to us that High Priest Atrupat-e Emetan in Iran in Denkard BookVI requested all Zoroastrians to be vegetarians. So no one can say that vegetarianism is not a zoroastrian idea, in fact it is. But if Zoroastrians want to eat meat until the time comes for them to be vegetarian, they are welcome to do so. (I am a meat eater myself, but slowly stopping it.)
Fasting is a minor matter and you are welcome to do this if you want, again the Pahlavi scriptures state that in the final stages of the world, there will be no need for men/women to eat anything at all since hunger and thirst will be all gone at that perfect time.
However that is in the future, note that the Vendidad also states for day to day living, in the words of Almighty Ahura Mazda to Asho Zarathushtra:
" LET THIS HOLY WORD BE REMEMBERED: BY EATING NOTHING YOU HAVE NO POWER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS (ASHA), NO POWER FOR AGRICULTURE, NO DESIRE TO BEGET CHILDREN. CERTAINLY BY EATING ALL MY CREATION LIVES; BY NOT EATING IT DIES. "
- Holy Vendidad.
Chapters of the Saga
Saga of the Aryans Home Page
Traditional Zoroastrianism Home Page
How to get the Saga in book form