[Advaita-l] Re: Food Habits.

Girish Ramadurgam rsgirish at aol.com
Thu Jan 27 16:38:02 CST 2005

advaita-l-request at lists.advaita-vedanta.org wrote on 27/01/2005, 17:00:

 > > What do our shastras say about vegetarianism? I have a
 > > very close Bengali Brahmin friend, whose family
 > > associates itself with the Puri Math. He tells me that
 > > his family has always been consuming meat with taboo
 > > on beef consumption. I think most other communities
 > > also consume meat. Is the origin vedic or jaina?
 > Interestingly the Ramakrishna Mission translation of the popular Nyaya
 > work Bhasa Pariccheda by the 17th century Bengali scholar Vishvanatha
 > Nyayapanchana has this to say about the author:
 >   "Vishvanatha also wrote another work called Mamsatattvaviveka--an
 >   interesting treatise on Smrti.  The work was written as the result of a
 >   controversy with the Pandits of Maharashtra with a view to
 > vindicating the
 >   custom of meat-eating among the Brahmins of Northern India...The author
 >   shows vehemence in his advocacy of the custom, which prevails
 > particularly
 >   in Bengal, and ridicules the South Indian Pandits, who deprecate
 >   meat-eating, as followers of the Buddhist tenets."
 > Dharmashastras say that the Brahmanas south of the Vindhyas, the Pancha
 > Dravida (Dravida, Karnataka, Andhra, Mahratta, and  Gurjara) should be
 > vegetarian while those north of the Vindhyas, the Pancha Gauda (Gauda,
 > Kanyakubja, Maithila, Utkala, and Vanga) need not be.  As your friend
 > noted beef is forbidden for everyone though in extremely ancient times it
 > seems to have been allowed.
 > The above quote shows that even prior to the modern historians some
 > people
 > associated vegetarianism with Buddhism.  But then how do you explain that
 > not one traditionally Buddhist country has anywhere near as many
 > vegetarians as India?
 > >From the viewpoint of Advaita Vedanta, I think even if meat-eating is
 > not
 > a sin for a particular person, it should still be given up because a
 > sadhaka should cultivate the sense of friendship to all sentient beings.
 > Attempting to stop meat-eating thorugh revulsion as in the link Aravind
 > posted works for some people and does meet the short-term goal, but in my
 > opinion doesn't create the feeling of friendship which is a more stable
 > basis in the long run.

I happen to read a book on Hinduism by Anbil Ramaswamy which has this to 

A further question can be asked whether vegetarianism is not also 
'himsa' in the sense that it has been proved that plans have life? It 
has further been proved that in the case of plants, lifeline runs in the 
trunks in some cases, root in others and seeds in others and that is why 
sastras have prohibited cutting the plants at their respective lifelines 
- and this has been confirmed by modern science. Modern science concurs 
with sastras in the view that those parts where the lifelines do not 
run, no harm is caused when those parts are cut. These parts correspond 
to say hair on our head or the nails on our fingers or toes which when 
cut or clipped do not entail any pain.

No sure where exactly the information was collected from, but I am not 
sure of any  thing regarding what is mentioned about mordern science or 
the Sastras.

Can anyone throw light on this and if the above is really 
acceptable/cogent argument.

As for Meat -
I was under the notion that Non Vegetarian food was associated with 
Tamas Guna. Am I wrong?

- Girish

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