Animal Sacrifices (was Re: [Advaita-l] Web-sites related to advaita)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at
Wed Jan 19 14:03:33 CST 2005

On Wed, 19 Jan 2005 10:56:08 -0800 (PST), S Jayanarayanan
<sjayana at> wrote:
> Sorry drag on with this topic, but this interests me a lot:
> --- Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <rama.balasubramanian at>
> wrote:
> > A general comment on sacrifices. Animal sacrifices are indeed
> > advocated in some yajnas and are even compulsory in some cases. This
> > is beyond any debate. Even advocates of not using animals mention
> > only
> > kali yuga as an excuse, and do not refute the actual fact of using
> > animals in yajnas.
> The article in the Hindu dharma raises several questions:
> 1) Is meat-eating at a shrAddha ceremony an injunction from shruti or
> smR^iti? And does the "Kali Yuga" excuse come from shruti or smR^iti?
> If shruti is for meat-eating at shrAddha ceremonies, and the Kali Yuga
> excuse is only from the smR^iti, is this not an example of smR^iti
> over-riding shruti?
> 2) The Kali Yuga excuse is accepted as regards meat-eating in shrAddha
> ceremonies (i.e., meat is not eaten at shrAddha ceremonies) but
> rejected as regards animal sacrifices (i.e. animal sacrifices are
> done). Why is the excuse valid for one and not the other?
> [..]

I have no idea about the article. But I have been told there are
various smR^iti texts contradicting each other regarding meat eating
during shraaddham. Sorry I can't produce quotes off-hand. Then the
question of sadaacharam/aitihyam also comes into play (another valid
source of knowledge). Usually, it has less force than smR^iti, but
when texts contradict each other, it may come into play. Whether there
is an injuction in shruti about eating meat in a shraaddha, I do not
know. One has to examine the original sources from these texts and see
as per miimaa.nsaa rules how forceful the statements are with respect
to meat in shraaddha. It's best to contact someone in the know. Try
Sri Ganesh Prasad on the shrouta list.

> The most interesting thing about the entire discussion is this:
> > What is dharmic or not is known from the vedas, not from anyones
> > likes
> > and dis-likes, or stray quotations from smR^iti. If any one feels
> > squeamish about animal sacrifice, he/she should not participate in
> > it.
> Note that the smArtas (in your original posting) *did* finally use
> vegetarian substitutes in the Vedic YaGYa. If using vegetarian
> substitutes were altogether prohibited in the context of a Vedic
> YaGYas, how and why did such a vaidIka YaGYa take place with the
> sanction of the smArtas at all? Going by your above statements, the
> smArtas should have unequivocally not participated in such a "wrongly
> performed" Vedic YaGYa in the first place!

I have no idea why they did anything like that. You'll have to ask
them. Perhaps, they did not want any controversy. Of course,
nambuudiris are also technically not smaarthas. There have been/still
are yaagams with animal sacrifices in TN, Andhra, etc. Except they are
usually low-key to avoid unncessary attention.


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