[Advaita-l] Thanks [Was some questions on dharma]

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Tue Oct 17 04:55:50 CDT 2006

praNAm.h shrI Vidyasankar,
       Thanks a bunch for clarifying some of the issues involved. Could you
clarify a few more things.

Re: eating vegetarian food, there is no single injunction that is binding on
> all people. Generally speaking, the vast majority of human beings (even in
> India) eat meat of one kind or other. It is only recommended that to give
> up
> tAmasika and rAjasika elements, one should also withdraw from meat eating
> and move towards sAttvika vegetarian food.

-- Can I understand then that eating (or not) of meat is more a matter of
pragmatism than a metaphysical principle. Is the logic of "cutting short the
sAdhana of an animal" not sanctioned by the dharmashAstra (this was
mentioned by a dvaitin svAmi suguNEndra tIrtha)?  (Because logic in such
cases could cut either ways, I was wondering what the dharmashAstra has to
say on this.)

> This ancient rule of succession did not say anything about the
> character of the eldest son - all that was needed to inherit was the
> primacy
> of birth.

This was not always true. The character of the king was considered
important. Two cases are king sagara banishing his son asumAnjas.h (at the
request of his people), and king yayAti favouring his youngest son puru over
yadu (against the wishes of his ministers). But probably you meant primacy
of birth was more the established norm.

> bhIshma had a very tough choice, but in the end, he had to honor the vow
> he
> had taken of protecting hastinApura.

Should one honour his vow or adhere to what is dharma? For example, even
though shrI kR^iShNa promised not to take up weapons, He said many times
during the war that He would not hesitate in fighting for the pAnDavas. A
notable instance is His taking up the chakra to kill bhIShma. Here's a
snippet from bhIShma parva, section 59 (K.M.Ganguli translation;

"Hearing these words of Santanu's son, Krishna rushing impetuously towards
him said, 'Thou art the root of this great slaughter on earth. Thou wilt
behold Duryodhana slain to-day. A wise minister who treadeth in the path of
righteousness should restrain a king that is addicted to the evil of
gambling. That wretch again of his race who transgresseth duty should be
abandoned as one whose intelligence hath been misdirected by destiny.--The
royal Bhishma, hearing these words, replied unto the chief of the Yadus,
saying,--Destiny is all powerful. The Yadus, for their benefit, had
abandoned Kansa. I said this to the king (Dhritarashtra) but he minded it
not. The listener that hath no benefit to receive becometh, for (his own)
misery, of perverted understanding through (the influence of destiny).'"

Thus, shrI kR^iShNa seems to be blaming bhIShma for his wrong choice. shrI
kR^iShNa also narrates the story of a certain kaushika (
http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08069.htm) when urging arjuna to desist
from his vow to kill yudhiShThira (when yudhiShThira asks arjuna to give
away his gAnDIva).

Given this, is not bhIShma's action adhArmic?



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list