Some Vedic sacrifices of this century

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Dec 23 17:36:50 CST 1999

On Fri, 17 Dec 1999, Nataraj BV wrote:

> --- Sankaran Jayanarayanan <kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:
> [snip]
> > 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.
> It may be OK for you. But I don't think the animals would like to be slaughtered.

Undoubtedly they wouldn't.

> You seem to pay no attention to the pain and suffering that the
> animals go through.

Vrats like Ekadashi involve fasting which causes discomfort.  From the
"pain and suffering" standpoint, it is better to eat three hearty meals
than to starve yourself.  Yet Vaishnavas (and for that matter Smartas) do
it anyway because they feel it is pleasing to Vishnu Bhagawan and the joy
of knowing that outweighs any possible pain.  It is incorrect to say that
Smartas "don't care" about the animals used in yajnas but we believe that
in being used this way they are serving a higher purpose.

In the case of eating meat, there are two different issues.  Whether it is
proper for a particular person to eat meat.  This would depend on their
traditions.  Or whether in general it is proper for a human being to eat
meat.  To answer that we must note that Man is a carnivorous
animal.  Unlike a cow he is quite capable of digesting meat and getting
nourishment from it.  Unlike other carnivorous animals like lions or
tigers, Man is capable of changing his nature.  If we can live without
harming other creatures, we should certainly endeavor to do so.  So the
bottom line is that although meat-eating is not a minus, vegetarianism is
definitely a big plus and all the Advaita acharyas are in favor of it.

> How does advaita treat physical pain? Is the pain and suffering that
> the animals go through also considered mithya? Does "experience" have
> any place at all in advaita? Or is it rejected completely?

It is a common misconception that because Advaita Vedanta considers some
things mithya it means they can heedlessly be set aside.  It is only the
sannyasis who can do that.  For those of us that live in samsara, things
such as pleasure and pain are very important and the shastras are the
true and trustworthy guide as to how we should deal with them.  In the
case of Shrauta Yajnas they say it is ok, and for the Smarta, it is all
they need to know.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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