[Advaita-l] The role of ahiMsA

Ananta Bhagwat ananta14 at yahoo.com
Mon May 26 14:22:42 CDT 2008

----- Original Message ----

From: Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>
ent: Monday, May 26, 2008 2:47:08 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] moxa-sAdhanA

To add few things of my own to the very informative discourse of Sri Ramesh on ahiMsA:

1/ ahiMsA can be seen as a 'principle of harmony' in its totality. One can differentiate between causing injury in self-defense or for survival etc. and causing injury for power and pleasure etc. Thus Arjuna's fight for justice or a tiger killing a deer etc can be separated from pleasure or business hunting of tigers, polluting the environs, and for that matter any action which disturbs the 'natural' harmony. The old Indian (Hindu) habit of seeing God in rivers, mountains, animals, and nature in general may look laughable to mostly hip Hindus but it was in tune with 'principle of harmony'.

2/ Eating habits is a controversial issue. Where should we draw the line? Vegetables, Eggs, sea-food, non-domestic animals, domestic animals, human flesh.... Perhaps I am extending it too much. I prefer stopping at vegetables, the lowest step of Darwinian evolution. But this a part of SishTAcAra largely influenced by tradition and culture. Though I tend to associate vegetarianism with ahiMsA, I acknowledge that many non-vegetarians could be better human beings than me (and could be even Vedantins :)

3/ Vedic liturgical tradition condoned animal sacrifice for secular gains. To that extent principle of ahiMsA was compromised particularly in comparison with Jaina, Buddha, and later day Yoga traditions. Vedic tradition however, was not monolithic; upanishad-s for example gave a symbolic interpretation to sacrifices (brUhadAraNyaka) or looked down upon sacrificial ritualism (mUNDaka). gItA too berates vedvAdarata-s and ritualistic pleasure and power seekers.

Principle of ahiMsA and Hinduism can not be understood in a linear manner!



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