Monday, March 20, 2006

Brahmin and Catholic Rules for eating Meat

There's a story that my mom likes to tell that I love to hear.

"Long long ago, there was a Brahmin boy lost deep in the forest. He wandered around for days, and eventually arrived under a Peepal tree, hungry and scared. It was in this condition that he saw a small dog crouched under the tree. He pulled a branch from the tree, beat the animal to death, roasted it using the nearby banyan tree and ate it. Eventually he found his way back to his family, and told his story to his father--the head Brahmin priest. It was in this way that the priest sanctioned the rules for eating meat. "You are allowed meat : a). If you have wandered the forest for 10 days b). are under a peepal tree; c). you are eating a dog; d) using a peepal branch to kill it; e) roasted it in a fire built from banyan branches. "

There are several reasons why I am very fond of this fable. It points to the all too human origins of even our most sacred laws. It underlines my long held belief that our rules are made by the powerful for the powerful. It teaches us the skills necessary for survival when wandering lost in the forest. A delicious recipe for roasting dog. Lessons that I believe the Christian right in America could use some education in.

I was thinking of this story, when I heard about the Archbishop granting dispensations for eating meat--specifically cornbeef--on St. Patrick's Day this year due to its un-desirable arrival on a Lent friday. Eating meat for St. Patrick trumps not eating meat for Jesus for many.


Blogger Andy's Life in India said...

Well most religious laws are actually old public health rules. And we all know how unhygenic catholics are so it doesnt surprise me :-)

2:55 PM  
Anonymous sony said...

religious law as public health laws? that's really interesting to think about...obey your parents, don't futz around w/ your neighbors, etc. etc.

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes that is interesting.. homeboy

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:09 AM  

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