[Advaita-l] Using silk for pUja

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Sat Jun 21 14:15:28 CDT 2008

praNAm all.

On Sat, Jun 21, 2008 at 7:56 PM, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>

> Dear Sri Praveen Bhat
> namaskaara!

Hari Om, Senani-ji,

> > I guess you follow the Aapastamba Sutra as many South Indians do.
> >
> > AFAIK, yes.
> >
> There cannot be any doubt in that.

Apologies, I meant to say that "AFAIK, I follow" as in the doubt was about
the technicality of *following*, than which sutra. :)

- cheena+ambaram = cheenaambaram; cloth from China. If somebody refers to
> silk as "cheenaambaram", inherent in the name is the tale of foreign origin.

I got that of course, but as I said, I hadn't heard of cheenambaram being
mentioned for silk.

- 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....

Hmmm, interesting, but I doubt I'm capable/ learned enough to ask my
maThAdipati to give references for things in his pravacana. I'd rather be
sitting at home reading books instead, what use is the parampara to me then?
Personally, I prefer the other way of rechecking something in printed stuff
with the maTha.

The first step should be honesty, otherwise no amount of saadhana would take
> a person anywhere.

Agreed. But also a first step is faith. And be it a negative, but I've
tremendous faith in what my elders in the tradition say. If that sounds as
if its blind faith, I tend to kind of agree there too.

> 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).

I do recognize it, but the reminder to my memory does only good. :) But if
you remember the phrasing, I asked if at all Vedas justify it. If I read you
answer as *no they do not, because they do not consider it as a cruel
process in the first place*, I've no arguments, I have to accept your
stance. But... contd in the below response.

- 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.

Implicit in the construct is not my concern, but a general concern. So
anumAna in this case is not a perfectly correct inference, though one of the
inferences. Else I'd have left silk long back and used cotton instead. Now
whether I consider the recommendation as cruel is a totally different
matter. From a certain perspective killing is, surely, neither neutral nor
good action. The only place where I know of killing being recommended is
animal sacrifices, for which I know there is an explanation that the
sacrificed animal gets swarga and a higher janma. If it was said that the
sacrifice results in the yajmAna's swarga prApti,or whatever putra lAbha,
etc,  without any *justification* of the sacrificed animal's future, I can
totally accept your stance as above. Unfortunately, verisimilar seems the
need to *justify* the possibility of something cruel done, indirectly
through the recommendation (again, if any) of silk.

> > 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.

That may quite be the case, but I hardly think there has been harm in trying
to check up with the learned list members. :)

> 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.

Why jump the gun!

> > 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.

Not only others, it interests me too. To clarify, I was not seeking to find
if recommendations and/ or justifications are in my sutra alone; it had
wider scope of shruti, smRti & shAstra. I just chanced upon the VasishTha

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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