For sometime now, there’s a desperate attempt to rewrite History. To the extent that such efforts can deliberately misinform the people. Particularly those who have just begun to learn History. Giving you two examples.
The Hindu Groups, political and otherwise, who see it their duty to propagate non-beef eating Hinduism (vegetarian form of Hinduism) at any costs, are giving a different meaning to the term “medha” used in the terms such as Ashwamedha. They are saying that the meaning of “Medha” is not “Sacrifice”. For instance, according to these groups, which have great reverence to Hindutva ideology, agenda or some life living philosophy (whatever it is!), the word Ashwamedha doesn’t mean “A ritual which concludes with the Sacrificing of the Horse”. Although, they don’t specifically tell or are able to explain what Ashwamedha actually means, they keep insisting on that it doesn’t mean horse sacrifice. Which is kind of surprising, as we have ancient river Ghats such as Dashashwamedh Ghat in ancient city of Varanasi or Banaras (or Benares, with no disrespect to puraniticals), which even the Pandas and Brahmins sitting there explain as having been associated with two Hindu mythologies.
According to them, the Ghat is the exact place which Lord Brahma created to welcome Lord Shiva; and which another ancient legend sees as a place where Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses during ‘Dasa -Ashwamedha yajna’ which was performed there. These priests and pandas use the word “Ahuti” for Sacrifice.
‘Vajpaya Yajna’ is the ritual of laying down offerings to the sacred fire. You ask what a Vajpeya Yajna is? It’s a yajna or yagya which concludes with the Sacrifice of a Human Being (a man). The priest who officiates the yagya is the Vajpayee. If Ahuti doesn’t mean sacrifice, then what does it mean?
Ever since BJP came to power, the Hindutva lobby is trying hard to distance Hinduism from any links to beef eating, even in remote history.
The primary reason for this may be the question … How can such a thing be part of Hinduism?
But, what about the Aryans, which are believed to be the forefathers of the victorious & hailed characters in Ramayana and Mahabharata. If Aryans were pastoralists (about shepherds or herders or relating to, or used for animal husbandry) living on their herds, and then they eating beef seems logical. Particularly when one looks at the pastoral cultures of today, who not only consume dairy products, but also consume animals they husband (to manage). Aryans also counted their wealth in terms of cows (as it’s the animal they reared). Even during Vedic period there come instances where people used to raid other people’s habitation and steal their cows. Some elements of the present Mahabharata can be traced back to Vedic times (ca.1750–500 BCE)? In his latest book, Shikhandi: And other tales they don’t tell you, Devdutt Pattanaik, the Mythology cum management expert whose Business Sutras are popular among youth in India, says, and I quote,
As the year drew to a close, the kauravas – whose spies had informed them of the Pandavas’ whereabouts – invaded Virata’s kingdom to smoke out their cousins, while the king and his soldiers were chasing cattle-thieves.
— Chapter 16 : Arjuna, who was temporarily castrated for showing restraint. [ From the Mahabharata]
I’m not presenting the above para from Pattanaik’s book, as history itself, but it does speak something about the times, where a king has to go behind the cattle thieves to retrieve the stolen cattle (which must be in that number, to receive the King’s personal attention ).
To conclude, in a recent interview, Hindutva practitioner Dina Nath Batra, kept insisting on that the Linga used in the word Shiva Linga doesn’t mean phallus. That’s why Wendy Doniger calling linga as phallus, in her book The Hindus: An Alternative History is misinforming people. When asked what does it mean then, he said a ‘symbol’!