[Advaita-l] Using silk for pUja

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 21 09:26:59 CDT 2008

Dear Sri Praveen Bhat
> I guess you follow the Aapastamba Sutra as many South Indians do.
> AFAIK, yes.
- Everyday in the pravara which starts with chatuh saagara-paryantam one repeats one's gotra, rishis, sutra, and branch of veda. If you say "...aapastamba sootrah, yajuSSaakhaadhyaayi, praveeNabhaTTo'ham bho! abhivaadaye" it means you are a follower (or from the line of followers) of the Apastamba sutra, otherwise you are not. There cannot be any doubt in that.
> You may be aware that India used to produce silk since ages, finding its
> use in the dharmashAstra stories too. That very traditional circle uses silk
> and, for me, tells of no foreign origin tales.

- cheena+ambaram = cheenaambaram; cloth from China. If somebody refers to silk as "cheenaambaram", inherent in the name is the tale of foreign origin.
> I would like to see the reference where it says skin of only naturally dead
> animals can be used.
> If I were brought up with Vedic learning, I'd surely try to give a
> reference. Possibly then, I wouldn't have started this thread in the first
> place. :) However, unfortunate as it is, I can only learn from observing
> locally what the tradition is and asking them Qs. To clarify, that paramparA
> includes the maThas we follow, kulaguru, kuladevata and other temple priests
> and family elders. I'd heard of our maThAdipati saying that skin of only
> naturally dead animals are to be used.

- while accpeting the word of elders as a pramANa by itself, I still request you to ask those elders for a reference if possible, just to bunk the notion, held by people like me, that a lot of the later day "explanations" are just that, explanations, but passed off as if they were authoritative. This class of people (who give explanations) also make claims that the vedas contain the science of aerospace, and practically every other grain of knowledge. The first step should be honesty, otherwise no amount of saadhana would take a person anywhere.

> Regarding milk, cows are not the only mammals to give milk. Humans do, and
> yes, there is always more milk than the baby needs; but using it for anybody
> other than a baby ... well, I leave it to you decide if it is a good
> husbandry practice.
> Please! 
- Precisely. Just as producing silk involves cruelty, using the cow's milk involves cruelty, or inhumanness. The conclusion therefore is that one should not bother "to justify the same <use of silk> due to the cruel process of silk production". (In case you have not recognised, the words within quotations are from your original mail).
> My point is equally simple. I didn't raise any concern for silk worms, but I
> asked whether, if at all, shAstras justify or explain using silk. 
- If you asked only "whether Vedas permit/ recommend usage of silk clothes in pUja", your above stance is valid, but you have first referred to the "cruel process of silk production" and sought to know the "justification" (the act of making just what might seem to be unjust, or the act of explaining) for the same, by adding the clause "and of so, the justification for the process". Implicit in your construct is your concern for silk worms. As you might be aware, anumaana is a valid pramANa.
> To close, I'm withholding my further comments on content other than usage of
> silk in this thread. Thanks for your response.

- I don't know if you noticed, but my first response was mainly an extract from the sutra that both of us follow, with some text to indicate that "concern for the silk worm" is misplaced. In other words, the expanding of the material covered in the thread - if there was such expansion - was of your choice. You are gracious to say thanks.

> If any other members use silk for sandhyA and have any guidance to offer on
> the original question, kindly do so. 
- It seems I have not succeeded in persuading you that your original question of seeking a justification for using silk is not worth pursuing. I wonder when we will get the next question seeking a reference to justify the usage for using cow's milk in daily pooja, or whether green chilly can be used in the pulihora offered as naivedyam to the God (the chilli is a Portugese import, available from the 16th century; earlier pepper did that job). So be it.
> From my search online today, I found a link at IITM on dharmashAstra (
> http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/mirrors/vv/literature/dharmasastras/ds1c.html, see
> 25) that recommends silk, but not for brAhmaNa, only for other dvijAs.

- It might be of interest to other members to know that the above reference is from a book which has condensed the Smriti Muktaphala of Sri Vaidyanaatha Deekshita, which is said to be very popular in the South (at home, in AP, we only have the Dharmasindhu not the Deekshiteeyam). The particular recommendation that Brahmins use cotton and others silk, is from VasishTha dharma sUtra, and reproduced under the item dress by Sri Vaidyanatha Dikshita confirming the complete disappearance from common usage of skin as dress by that time.


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