[Advaita-l] Animal sacrifice is black karma

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Thu Jan 27 12:30:57 CST 2005

Actually no scholar of serious repute has made an effort to identify
this commentary as Sankaras. In fact, the opposite is true.

1. Halbfass (Tradition and Reflection) attributes it to some other
Sankara from Kerala. He gives many reasons for this in his book.

2. T.S.Rukmani has published many papers (including JIP) arguing
against this identification.

3. No scholar from the tradition accepts it as a genuine work. It's
not to be found in the collection published by Vani Vilas Press
(compiled after scrutiny of many manuscripts of works supposedly by
Sankara from all over India, by H.H Nrsimha Bharati Mahaswamigal of

Only Trevor Leggett passionately defends this identity. But, Halbfass
for one finds many defects in his methodology.


On Thu, 27 Jan 2005 17:49:18 +0000 (GMT), Raghavendra N Kalyan
<kalyan7429 at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Namaste,
> 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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