Any query......

Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 16 10:17:36 CDT 2002

On Thu, 16 May 2002 13:00:03 +0900, Somik Raha <somik at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

>I am afraid you misunderstand me. I do not connect "greasy" or "spicy"
>"vegetarianism". But I do connect them with the options before me - and I
>clearly mentioned "Indian restaurants". I doubt how many Indian
>will serve true sattvic vegetarian food - low on oil and spice. Given the
>options before me - I prefer non-spicy, non-greasy non-vegetarian to
>greasy, oily vegetarian. I hope you are not recommending that I choose the
>latter over the former.

I would strongly urge you to read "The Practice of Brahmacharya" by Sri
Swami Shivanandji Maharaj. It is available online at

I was in your shoes a little while back and was eating all kinds of veggie
foods - spicy, fried, you name it. Then I read this book and it changed my
diet. I too was working crazy hours but the book had a very great effect
on me and I started cooking. It did take some extra time (approx 30
minutes) but I think it was well worth the effort. I think for over an
year, till I got married, all I ate was dal with salt and tomotoes (no
spices, tadka etc), wheat nan and buttermilk, and sometimes, rice. I
combined this with juices and yogurt. It was bland but I got used to it
and even now, when my wife cooks for me, I sometimes revert back to the
old diet. When the purpose of changing one's diet is to move a step closer
to the goal, it should be taken without any argument that what one should
eat should be conducive to where one wants to go. Whether it is meat or
not, whether it is sattvic or not, is secondary. If Swami Shivananda had
written gorge away at beef and it will benefit your Sadhana, I would have
been at the meat shop in no time. Of course, but he wouldn't as he
represents a lineage of Gurus that have taught the same thing in different

Please do read the book. It will be well worth your time.

>I agree with you. It is no wonder to me that New Delhi with so many
>vegetarians constitutes some of the primary reasons for heart institutes
>the area. Vegetarian Indian food cooked the oily way is just as bad as
>non-veg food cooked that way.

To date, I have not heard of anyone dying of a heart attack in my village
or my mother's village in North India. Everytime I visited, I used to
observe that the cooking is entirely done on chulhas (earthen fireplaces)
and the food was cooked in earthen vessels too. Moreover, specific days
had a specific dal-type set. So masoor was cooked on a certain day of the
week and moong on another fixed day of the week. I did not know why this
was so but I later read about there being Jyotish significance to these
rules. Certain dals are related to certain Grahas. For example, Shanideva,
deity of Saturn, is connected with Urad Dal.

>FYI, Swami Vivekananda, before he went to attend the Parliament of
>Religions, took permission from Sri Ramakrishna whether he could eat beef
>America as the perception in those days was that you had to, if you would
>to the West. Sri Ramakrishna told him - he was so pure, nothing would
>him and he could eat just what he wanted to. Beef is probably another
>debate, but it is a known fact that Ramakrishna Mission does not consider
>fish as tamasic or rajasic, and allows it in the diet.

Can you provide the reference to when Swami Vivekananda asked to eat beef
in the US, and Sri Ramakrishna gave his approval? Swami Vivekananda landed
in the US in 1893 (Chicago address) and Sri Ramakrishna breathed his last
in 1886. Swami Vivekananda only went to the Mother for blessings. So I am
not sure where you have gotten this piece of information from.

>There are views and then there are views. Everyone is of course entitled
>his/her own opinion. Personally I am in favour of vegetarianism, but not
>the cost of practicality. There is no point in starving and not doing my
>duty for my company, at the cost of sticking to this idea.

Perhaps this is why, the fact that we have our own reasons and opinions
conditioned by our own individual experiences which we take to be
empirically true, our Shastras tell us to take decisions based on Sruti,
Smriti, conduct of those established in the Vedas, and our conscience, in
that order.

>I am not a scholar on our epics or shastras. But from what little I have
>read - I understand that Hindus dont eat beef, its against the religion.
>reason is that the cow is considered akin to mother - as it gives milk for
>the little babies. And one cant kill one's mother. Now, it leads one to
>ask - where did such a huge thought originate ? I am given to understand
>that it was Lord Krishna who originated this - when he found that cows
>being mercilessly slaughtered, and little children were not getting milk
>dying. Also Lord Krishna himself as a child was known as "makhan chor" -
>loved butter, and that comes from milk. For these reasons, he proposed
>idea -and instantly, people found they were unable to raise their axe to
>kill the cow.
>This anecdote leads one to believe - that people in India, were beef
>upto that point. Also - the beef consumption might not have been
>to "lower" classes of society - bcos then the brahmins would automatically
>have condemned them, and ostracized them. Since it was so prevalent
>requiring Lord Krishna to intervene - one might assume that even the
>classes - Kshatriyas and Brahmins were beef eaters (and of course meat
>eaters). It is interesting to note - that other forms of meat were not
>forbidden by Lord Krishna. And he didnt forbid beef either - he only gave
>the comparison.

This again shows that your are basing this on your own understanding. I
would like to ask you whether you have asked anyone why the cow is sacred.
How are you "given to understand" that Bhagawan Krishna "made" the cow

I asked this question once and the answer I got was this: In any yajna we
perform to perform our duty to the Devatas, we need Agni to convey the
offerings of the Yajna to the respective Devata - that is why we say "Idam
Indraye Idam na mama" and still offer the ahuti into Angi. What is needed
for the Yajna is Ghee, made from the cows. Only Cow ghee is used in Yajnas
like Agnihotra. Since this ghee is poured into the havan-kund, it is the
food of all the Devatas. All the Devatas partake of this ghee. Since the
ghee comes from the cow, she becomes the universal nourisher of all the
Devatas. So it is said that all the Devatas "reside" in the cow, since she
is like a mother to them all. So killing a cow is like harming the
Devatas, who stand for goodness. That is why it (killing a cow) is
forbidden and a cow should always be protected. In fact, it is one of the
Kshaatra-Dharma (Kshatriya's duty) to do so.

To dismiss your theory that "cow protection" started with Lord Krishna, I
would just remind of a story of Shri Ram's ancestor (I forget his name)
who served the cow Kamadhenu (or Nandini) in order that he have a son.
Shri Ram came before Shri Krishna and of course, Shri Ram's ancestor came
before Shri Ram himself.

>Lastly, I am not sure if you are from South India - but if you are - then
>you would surely know of the great devotee Kanappa. A Brahmin discovered a
>shiva linga in the forest, and gave all the fruits and flowers would be
>horrified to find the linga desecrated with meat the next day. He would
>clean it up again, and find the desecration on the following day, and so
>The third day he was furious. He was about to curse the base man who was
>doing this. On which he is supposed to have heard a voice asking him to
>back. He did so and hid in the trees. Around midnight (the wrong hour for
>abhishek ??) - along came hunter Kanappa - with a slaughtered deer on his
>shoulders. He laid it down, threw off all the flowers and fruits offered


This story appears as a verse in Shri Adi Shankara's Shivanandalahari. It
is not that the Vedas are opposed to meat being offered to the Gods. In
fact, the Nirudha-Pashubandhak yajna is one of the 40 samskars. In fact,
the Manu Smriti says that meat duly offered to the Gods must be taken.
There was a discussion about this on this list about two years ago (or
maybe a year back). You can search the archives.

The role of food etc is only as good as how effective it is in making us
that much more advanced in our Sadhana. Meat eating is not a sin. And our
religion, based on the Vedas, certainly does not say so. One should eat
what makes one pure, both physically and mentally. A Sattvic diet,
therefore, is recommeded universally. For Brahmins, it is especially so
because most of their work is based on a clean and calm mind - an offering
made to the Devatas with a frolicking mind but a mantra correctly spoken
would not have the same effect as that spoken with a concentrated and calm
mind. That is why, when Japa is done, it is recommended that we
concentrate on the meaning of the mantra we are reciting.

Meat eating is prevalent in India and has always been prevalent in
different communites. However, just as other communities, looking at the
conduct of good Brahmins, adopted their ways i.e. things like vratas etc,
a vegetarian diet (which is Sattvic if cooked properly), may have been
similarly adopted.


>From  Thu May 16 09:15:02 2002
Message-Id: <THU.16.MAY.2002.091502.0700.>
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 09:15:02 -0700
Reply-To: venky at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: "Venkatesh ." <venky at OREKA.COM>
Subject: Weekly page from Hindu Dharma: Planets and Stars

This week's page from Hindu Dharma (see note at bottom) is "Planets and Stars" from "Jyotisa". The original page can be found at

Next week, you will be emailed "The Grahas and Human Life" (from "Jyotisa")

Best regards

(this email is being sent on an automated basis)

Planets and Stars
from Jyotisa, Hindu Dharma

      How do the planets differ from the stars? The planets revolve round the sun; the stars do not belong to the sun's "mandala" [they are not part of the solar system]. If you hold a diamond in your hand and keep shaking it about, it will glitter. The stars glitter in the same way and twinkle, but the planets do not twinkle.

 The sun and the stars are self-luminous. The stars dazzle like polished diamonds. The planets Jupiter and Venus shine like the bigger stars but they do not twinkle. The sun too has the brilliance of the stars[it is in fact a star]. If you gaze intently at the sun for a moment the watery haziness surrounding it will vanish. Then it will look like a luminous disc of glass floating in water and it will not be still. The moon is not like it. I will tell you how to prove the sun twinkles. Observe the sun sun's light pouring down from an opening in the roof. Observe similarly moon's light also coming into your room. You see the sun's rays showing some movement but not the moon's. The planets are also like the moon.

 If the star is a big one, we may be able to see its light refracted into the seven colours(vibgyor), like the colours emanating from a brilliant diamond.

 The sun is called "Saptasva" (one with seven horses--the sun god's chariot is drawn by seven horses). It is also said that there is only one horse drawing the chariot but it has seven different names. "Asva" also means "kirana" or ray. So "Saptasva" could mean that the sun emits seven types of rays or colours. It is of course the same light that is split into seven colours. In the Taittiriya Aranyaka it is clearly stated that the same "asva" or ray has seven names: "Eko asvo vahati saptanama. "

 The stars are self-luminous, while the planets shine by reflected light. The light of the stars is not still. That is how we say, " Twinkle, twinkle little star ". The stars rise in the east and set in the West. The planets too travel westward but they keep moving a bit towards the east every day. It is like a passenger walking westward on a train speeding eastward. The seven planets thus keep moving eastward.

Hindu Dharma is a translation of two volumes of the well known Tamil Book "Deivatthin Kural", which, in turn, is a book of 6 volumes that contains talks of His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamiji of Kanchipuram. The entire book is available online at .

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