Some Vedic sacrifices of this century

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 16 10:25:47 CST 1999

On Mon, 13 Dec 1999 12:02:56 -0600, Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan
<kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:

>This is an old posting, but I wanted to clarify one point.
>Anand V. Hudli wrote:
>>  Here are some examples of Vedic sacrifices belonging to the pAshuka and
>>  saumika categories performed in this century. Both pAshuka and saumika
>>  yajnas require the sacrifice of animals. In addition, the saumika
>>  as the name indicates, require the extraction and offering of juice of
>>  the soma plant. The saumika yajnas are also called soma-yAga's. The
>>  which fall into the category of AishhTika do not involve the sacrifice
>>  animals. An example of AishhTika would be the darsha-pUrNamAsa-ishhTi.
>[examples of sacrifices deleted]
>I have a question here: were *real* animals sacrificed in these YaGYas or
>were the "animals" made of flour and other inanimate objects? In "Hindu
>dharma," the Paramaachaarya has talked about Vedic sacrifices in which
>such subsitutions took the place of animals. Perhaps the above yaGYas were
>also performed without injury to a real animal.

 The yajnas that I cited used real animals. Vaishnavas  have been
 known to follow the custom of substituting real animals by those
 made from grains, but this has no vedic sanction. Perhaps the ParamAchArya
 was referring to such "piShTa-pashu-yajnas." smArtas do not accept
 such so-called yajnas.

>> Source: Krishna-Yajurveda, Vol. 1,  Jyoti Samskritika Prakashana,
>>         Bangalore, 1988.
>> Unfortunately, the dates of some of the sacrifices are missing in the
>> book. But the book is indeed a reliable source, since it has the foreword
>> of none other than HH Shri Abhinava Vidya Teertha, and has been edited
>> by the eminent Vidvan Rameshvara Avadhani.
>Earlier this century, some people wanted to perform a yaGYa where a real
>animal was to be sacrificed and after much protest from persons associated
>with the Sringeri Math, the idea was given up. So I would really like to
>know if these sacrifices did indeed involve injury to animals.

 That is surprising given that Shankara's commentary on the Brahma sUtra
 "ashuddhamiti chenna shabdAt.h" makes it clear that we cannot find
 fault with yajnas that involve the killing of animals. Yes, all yajnas
 that are of the pAshuka and saumika type (see my previous note on this
 subject for an explanation) REQUIRE the killing of animals. I have heard
 from a reliable source that as recently as a couple years ago, such a
 yajna was performed near Gokarna, Karnataka. So there is really no way
 to insist on "ahiMsA" in such yajnas. Note also that not all yajnas
 require animals. The darsha-pUrNamAsa-ishhTi is an example of a
 "vegetarian" yajna.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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