[Advaita-l] [AIVS] about the secrets of blood: sacrifice and Ahimsa

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 28 20:40:03 CDT 2009

We have had discussion on a somewhat similar topic in another group also. There could have been the practice of ritual sacrifice of human beings in the ancient times in different societies. Was the event of the prophet Abaraham's trying to sacrifice his son an indication that before his times human sacrifice was practised in those regions? Purusamedha could also be one such ancient practice, if it really existed..
As regards animal sacrifice Manu has indeed said that animal can be killed during the sacrificial rites (Manu Smriti 5. 23 & 39). He also said that one should avoid meat and the meat eaters will be eaten up by their victims (5. 33 & 48). If however one  wants to take meat one should first sprinkle water on it,  with recitation of the holy mantras Manu Smriti (5.7 &27). To my knowledge,for that purpose a particular vedic verse, where Lord Vishnu is invoked as Mriga (Mrigendra), is recited. Even then there are restrictions like one should not take domesticated pig's meat.(5. 19) 
But human sacrifice can be looked at from an entirely different angle also as the human flesh is  not for consumption, even though there could have been some  cannibals, who could have done that secretly. For whatever reason some people became threat to the society and in the ancient times there were no ways the society could keep those peolple away from harming the society due to logistical and other reasons. Exiling them to some remote distant land was not feasible in every society and life imprisonment was also not practicable in the ancient times. Probably some of the  prisoners of war could have been sacrificed after much deliberation. As per the rules of war in the ancient times if the enemy surrenders he cannot be killed. So trials could have been held there for finding out if any of them deserved death punishment. Thus Willy nilly people had to be killed and what could be the better way to sacrifice them to the realm of the gods and the
 manes, where they could be possibly / supposedly controlled. This could be the reason why the human sacrifice could have been  practised with the usual restrictions but only with the prior proper approval of the relevant authorities. There could have been degradation of the practice, in the course of time,  as every practice gets misused sometime or the other.
Actually the deity does not eat what is offered but only accepts it with the eyes. After the sacrifice the devotees eat what has been offered to the deity and the deity gets the taste of it (or can we say the deity is pleased?). There is a Sanskrit verse on this, in a book published by Swami Sukhobodhananda, if I remember correctly.
Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Mon, 9/28/09, Mehrdad <mhrd.azari at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Mehrdad <mhrd.azari at yahoo.com>
Subject: [AIVS] about the secrets of blood: sacrifice and Ahimsa
To: AIVS at yahoogroups.com
Date: Monday, September 28, 2009, 11:43 AM



I have already posted this in another spiritual group and I am posting it here as well with some changes so as to have dear members' comments on this important but neglected issue. 

the issue has to do with human sacrifice in various traditions throughout the world, as well as in Tantric tradition. 

To begin with, for example, we all know more or less about Mayans and Aztecs and their wonderful calendars. They were surely advanced in some ways. But what I have not been able to find a reason for is the issue of human sacrifice: They definitely did this act (not sure about Mayans but Aztecs did have this custom). 

When it comes to India, there are similar news with regard to some Tantric gurus. 

It is even stated in a tantric text that human sacrifice should be done by the king. One example from the website shivashakti. com:

" The Karpuradistotra comments on animal sacrifice. Male creatures may only be sacrificed to Kali, else she becomes furious. ... according to other sources, only a king may perform the sacrifice of a man" (the exact page is: http://www.shivasha kti.com/kali. htm)

There are of course other examples. Just look up the term in Wikipedia and see for yourself. I even read once in the news that a Tantric guru had advised a woman to sacrifice her own child to get rid of some emotional disease. 

Even today, in almost all parts of the world the remnants of this act or belief remains: In my own country people behead a poor sheep when, for example, they buy a new house, new car, etc. so as to counteract possible evil eye. 

Are there any explanations about this? I have corresponded with the author of shivashakti website, but no answer did I receive. Just one explanation in this regard was given to me by Mr. Stephen Knapp in an email correspondence and he told me that according to Srimad Bhagavatam, when an animal is sacrificed for Kali, She does not accept it but lets spirits (as far as I can remember)take the offering. 

Does the Divine Mother Kali really want her devotees to sacrifice animals and humans in some occasions? And if the answer is yes, does it not stand in contrast to Ahimsa? 

Insights would be highly appreciated

Peace and blessings

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