Animals and animal products as reflected in smṛti texts
Author(s): K. G. Sheshadri
Abstract: Ancient sages had a harmonious view of living with Nature. The importance of animals and the remarkable products that are available from them were known from very ancient times as evident in the Vedic texts, Epics, Kāvyas, Tantra literature and so on. The information related to various animals are spread in various sections of Smṛti literature also. These include details regarding their origin, use and properties of animal products for various sacrificial and domestic rites, expiations for killing them, the role of animals and birds in law of transmigration and various other aspects. Interestingly one finds specific details about various fauna that modern biologists can investigate scientifically. The merits of donating cows and other such animals are also highlighted in various texts. Some Smṛtis also give aspects of examining dead animals, their pregnancy condit ions, fines imposed for killing certain animals. The present paper briefly describes the above aspects of Fauna as gleaned from various Smṛti texts.