Some Vedic sacrifices of this century

Sankaran Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Fri Dec 17 10:15:18 CST 1999

On Thu, 16 Dec 1999, Anand Hudli wrote:


>  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.

The paramAchArya was referring to YaGYas which used animals made of flour,
that's all I gathered from the book. He did not seem to be condemning such
sacrifices. I don't know whether or not he was referring to Vaishnavas.

> >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.

No one found fault with such yaGYas.

> 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 should've made it clear that when I said "the idea was given up," the
idea of performing the yaGYa was abandoned altogether, not merely the
killing of the animal in the yaGYa. It was my grandfather and aunt who
were associated with the Sringeri Math that convinced the persons involved
not to perform the yaGYa.

AFAIK, none of the shAstras twist a man's arm into performing such yaGYas.
Nowhere can you find an *injuction* that a yaGYa with an animal sacrifice
_must_ be performed. When the tirukkuraL, a tamil book on ethics says,
"Refraining from performing one animal sacrifice is better than the
performance of a thousand such sacrifices," the ParamAchArya DOES NOT say
the tirukkuraL is mistaken. Rather, he is careful to point out that the
tirukkuraL does not say that performing such a sacrifice is wrong, and
therefore one should not condemn animal sacrifices.

The dharma-shAstras say that eating beef is OK. But I would definitely
find fault with someone who is brought up a vegetarian, EXPECTED by
his/her parents to continue in the tradition, and then relishes eating
beef while quoting the shAstra! To such a person, one should quote from
the taittirIya upanishhad.h "mAtR^i devo bhava, pitR^i devo bhava..."
(parents are to be considered gods). If his parents have forbidden him
from eating meat, why should he not pay heed to them? Please note that I'm
not judging someone who is eating meat as prescribed by his or her
parents. Most Americans eat meat because their parents have asked them to
do so, and I think that's OK. The paramAchArya also says that some people
who do certain kinds of physical toil can eat meat.

When an upanayana ceremony is performed, it _requires_ that the to-be
brahmachAri be clothed in deer-skin. That's why a small piece of deer-skin
is tied to the yaGYopavItaM. But do the shAstras say that the deer be
skinned alive?! If possible, I think it would be better if the skin were
taken from a deer which is either dead due to natural causes or forfeiting
that, from one that is not killed in a painful manner.

The idea is to *minimize* injury as much as possible, not revel in it and
take shelter in the shAstra.

> 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.

I just realized that ALL the places mentioned are outside of Tamilnadu.
Two-thirds are in Karnataka! I have not heard of any animal sacrifices in
Tamilnadu. That's why it's news to me.

> Note also that not all yajnas
>  require animals. The darsha-pUrNamAsa-ishhTi is an example of a
>  "vegetarian" yajna.
>  Anand


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list