[Advaita-l] Animal sacrifice is black karma

Raghavendra N Kalyan kalyan7429 at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Jan 27 11:49:18 CST 2005


While we are at it, Sankara considers animal sacrifice as black karma. This view is based on his commentary on the yoga sUtras of patanjali. This commentary (vivaraNa) appears to be a genuine work of Sankara as no scholar worth his reputation found any reason to question its authenticity. While commenting on the yogasUtra 4.7 (or 4.8, I dont remember), Sankara says that since animal sacrifice involves causing pain, it must have its own negative consequences apart from positive consequences like heaven which are mentioned in the vedas. An analogy for this dual causality is eating which gives pleasure and also provides for subsistence. The animal sacrifice is classified as a black karma by Sankara. He specifically mentions the jyotistoma and agnistomiya sacrifices here.

It doesn't appear that there would be a reason for an serious advaitin (or more generally, a vedantin) to do animal sacrifice. That would probably be on the list of a purva mimamsaka.


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