[Advaita-l] Some questions on dharma

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Fri Oct 6 23:11:24 CDT 2006

praNAm.h All,
       I have a few questions on dharma:

-- What is the advaita vEdAntic position on ahiMsA vis-a-vis
non-vegetarianism? Two reasons that came up in discussion are -- For a
metaphysical basis, the world has no reality apart from the Self, and hence
a GYAni does not have to feel the need to act. So, let alone
non-vegetarianism, even eating does not make much sense to a GYAni (at least
theoretically). Another reason is that by eating an animal, you are cutting
short its opportunity for sadhana in its present life.

But the kShatriyas were allowed to eat meat. It seems like even the
brAhmaNas (at some point) were allowed to eat meat going by the episodes of
vishvAmitra and yAGYavAlkya. And we do know from the rAmAyaNa that shrI rAma
ate meat. One metaphysical reason is that the animal's sins would be purged
when it is sacrificed with the correct hymns and the meat partaken of. But
this seems like needless interference with the animal's life. What then is
the metaphysical basis in advaita vEdAnta for vegetarianism?

-- The episode of bhIShma fighting on behalf of the kauravas. Is not bhIShma
being adhArmic? Some reasons usually given are that he took a vow to defend
hastinApura at all times, but going again by the story of "the vow of
kauShika" as also the vow of arjuna to kill yudhiShThira, we see that blind
adherence to a vow is not dhArmic. Another reason could be that since the
kauravas never gave him cause for offence (as was not the case with
vibhIShaNa who was greatly insulted by rAvaNa and mEghanAtha (indrajit.h)),
he was bound to serve the kauravas. But if I remember right, there is a
reference from the atharva vEda branch of teaching on rAja nIti that one can
(and should) always desert a king who is adhArmic.

So, was bhIShma deliberately being adhArmic, or are there other issues that
we need to consider to understand bhIShma's action?



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list