Food And Eating In Christianity And Hinduism

Decent Essays
Food and eating are at the centre of Christianity and Hinduism for centuries. The Fall of Adam and Eve, after eating the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden, is one of the central tropes in the Western discourses. A special kind of food becomes a cause for the first man and woman’s damnation, and ironically, I argue, a new opportunity to control the new “dominion”. God commands, specifically, what requirements man should fulfill, including what he needs to eat in order to secure his union with the god. Food, therefore, can work to uplift man to heaven if chosen accordingly, or could be a cause for his damnation to hell. Hinduism, in a similar fashion, observes food as an important aspect of life and afterlife. It depends upon man’s choice…show more content…
Writers and philosophers, in both traditions, have attempted to suggest possible ways to keep oneself untouched by the worldly, or satanic characters and stay pure in order to unite with the god. One of the most important ways to secure the place in god’s territory is to make a correct choice of food because how one thinks and acts depend upon what food s/he consumes. This paper analyses how William Shakespeare, in As You Like It, attempts to demonstrate the implications of food in early modern England and how his anxieties about killing animals and eating meat intertwine with a Hindu text, The Laws of Manu. I attempt to unpack how Shakespeare’s views on vegetarianism and meat eating, and the relationship between human beings and animals, go in relation to Hindu philosophy of ahimsa, non-violence. Ahimsa remains as one of the central themes in Hinduism, and shapes the discourse of most of the Hindu texts. The sages, described in Hindu scriptures, are believed to have the responsibility to preserve religion and educate…show more content…
OED defines venison as “The flesh of an animal killed in the chase or by hunting and used as food; formerly applied to the flesh of the deer, boar, hare, rabbit, or other game animal, now almost entirely restricted to the flesh of various species of deer”. Jaques opposes the violence to animals in their own territory, and reminds Duke Senior about animals’ similarities to human beings, they are “fat and greasy citizens” (2.1.55). The humanisation of animals and the necessity of human beings to understand the importance of respecting their value corresponds to the idea of prelapsarian world where Adam and Eve lived in harmony with the animals. They lived in a world where animals had human sensitivity, and were free of any human interference. Violence against any creature was not imagined in the prelapsarian world. Joan Fitzpatrick argues that Shakespeare may have “strange sympathy for vegetarianism, especially in those plays where pastoralism features” (Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare: Culinary Readings and Culinary Histories 140). In the similar vein, the Hindu scriptures describe about the creation of the world where the first men on earth–all of them were the sages with different capacities–lived together with the animals in a completely harmonious natural environment. There was
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