#1 Can Hindus Eat Bison?
Yes, Hindus can eat bison or buffalo, as those are exceptions to the rule of not consuming beef or pork. Some Hindus will avoid bison as they view it as related or too similar to the cow, which is seen in Hinduism as a sacred animal to be venerated.
Nonetheless, a large portion of Hindus (nearly half) are vegetarians or Lacto-vegetarian, meaning that they would not choose to eat bison due to their self-imposed dietary restrictions.
Bison do share the same animal kingdom family of Bovidea, including:
- Water buffalo
Therefore, some Hindus find this correlation too close for comfort.
Cows are even brought to new properties to obtain a blessing for the home. Without a cow’s blessing, the home is not livable. Being that their view on cows is so revenant, the bison could easily be seen as worthy-of-protection too, by mere relation.
- Hindu – Natural Cow – Hinduism’s Sacred Animals | PBS; Published November 29th, 2006.
#2 Can Hindus Eat Chicken?
Yes, the Hindus partaking in a non-vegetarian diet are limited to the m
eats of chicken, lamb, and fish.
Nearly half of the Hindu population are vegetarian or Lacto-vegetarian (by choice, not by rule), but regardless, a Hindu will never eat beef or pork.
Chicken is considered a clean meat (compared to pork, considered unclean), but chicken also has the bonus of not being too sacred to consume (such as cows, considered the mother of the universe).
Hindus greatly respect life and do not want to do harm to others. For this reason and to avoid consuming the wrong meat, many are vegetarians to limit their karmic grief or harm while on earth. Hindus will always be reluctant to kill a living creature, but chicken is generally seen as acceptable.
- BBC News Asia; Delhi, where only a third of residents are thought to be vegetarian, may well deserve its reputation for being India’s butter chicken capital. But, the stereotype of Chennai as the hub of India’s “south Indian vegetarian meal” is completely misplaced. Reason: only 6% of the city’s residents are vegetarian, one survey suggests. Many continue to believe that Punjab is “chicken loving” country. But the truth is that 75% of people in the northern state are vegetarian.”
- CNN – Reasons Why Indians are Eating More Meat; July 21st, 2016.
#3 Can Hindu Priests Marry?
Yes, Hindu priests are allowed to marry, but Hindu monks tend to embrace celibacy.
There is limited research on the subject, and many find themselves hitting a wall. The primary aspect to keep in mind is that celibacy is strongly promoted in the Hindi culture, and Indians are taught to abstain from sex until after marriage.
Many Hindu priests will end up married, but you will not see any Hindu monks in wedlock. But another important quality is that a married priest may be required for certain ceremonies, while a divorced or widowed priests could be considered ineligible to perform certain rituals.
- Hindu Wedding Priest; February 17th, 2020.
#4 Can Hindus Wear Deodorant?
Hindus do not typically wear deodorant. Although there is no rule against this, and they certainly could if they wanted to, it is simply not customary or culturally common. Deodorant is seen as a Western practice, and Hindus will instead use perfumes and oils known as attars.
Faiths such as Islamic may forbid deodorant as a sign against vanity or over-concern with how one appears. This is not the case for Hindus, but rather, it is simply a cultural choice to not use deodorant.
Women of Hinduism may be more likely to use deodorant than men.
- Economic Times – Indian News – 90% of Indian women wish their deodorants performed like in advertisements; Published December 11th, 2020.
#5 Can a Hindu Widow Remarry?
No, a Hindu widow may not remarry and are subject to a life of great pain, segregation, and isolation.
In CNN’s piece ‘Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die’ they write:
“These Hindu widows, the poorest of the poor, are shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition — and because they’re seen as a financial drain on their families.
They cannot remarry. They must not wear jewelry. They are forced to shave their heads and typically wear white. Even their shadows are considered bad luck.
There are an estimated 40 million widows in India; the least fortunate of them shunned and stripped of the life they lived when they were married.”
Hindi widows are drastically lacking social rights but are bound by tradition. Some describe that in areas of higher income and stability, there can be a chance for a life of normalcy. There are even cases of some widow remarriages in Northern India.
- Legal Services in India – Rights of a Hindu Widow; November 9th, 2020.
#6 Can Hindus Go to Mecca Medina?
No, the holy city of Mecca is for Muslims and practitioners of the religion of Islam. No outsiders will be allowed into Mecca or allowed to enter as a non-Muslim.
If a non-Muslim attempt to enter Mecca, this can result in fines, arrest, or deportation.
The central part of Medina, which is where the holy mosque is located in Mecca, is seen as the most sacred piece of land in the world. With Muslims praying in the direction of Mecca five times daily (no matter where they are in the world), this city holds great power and relevance within the Islamic faith.
For a non-Muslim to even want to enter Mecca would be seen as a violation and disrespectful to a Muslim. For all of these reasons, a Hindu should not attempt to visit Mecca, honoring and respecting the Islamic wishes.