[Advaita-l] Advaitic Foods - Vedic ritual involving animal-killing

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Jan 1 14:06:27 CST 2011

On Sat, 18 Dec 2010, Shrisha Rao wrote:

> El dic 18, 2010, a las 10:03 a.m., V Subrahmanian escribió:
>> I have always wondered what was the compelling reason for Sri Madhwacharya
>> to introduce the practice of using a 'pishTa pashu', a flour-image of a
>> pashu, in Vedic yAga?
> I don't think it is accurate to credit Madhva with introducing such 
> practice, which is already sanctioned in Manu (V-37) and finds 
> justification in the Mahabharata as well.

I don't know about the Mahabharata but this is Manu 5.37:

kuryAddhR^itapashuM sa~nge kuryAtpiShTapashuM tathA |
na tveva tu vR^ithA hantuM pashumichchhetkadAchana || 37 ||

"If he cannot control his appetite he may make an animal[1] but let him 
never kill an animal without a reason[2]."

[1] The commentator kulluka bhaTTa says the piShTapashu is to be made of 
ghee and flour.  See the greatness of our ancestors.  Not only did they 
invent 0 and quantum physics, they also invented the veggie burger! :-)

[2] Dharma is a reason according to Kulluka BhaTTa.  So this shloka 
refers to killing animals for food not for sacrifice.

> I seem to recall that the पराशर-स्मृति gives a list of कलिवर्ज्‌्यs including 
> meat-eating, which were allowed in other Yuga-s but are not permitted in 
> the Kali Yuga.  The quote कलौ पराशरस्मृतेः (from the पराशर-स्मृति itself) is 
> said to justify why these restrictions should be followed now, rather 
> than adopting the more relaxed standards permitted in other स्मृतिs. 
> However, I do not believe this is unique to Madhva's tradition; even 
> orthodox स्मार्तs accept this reasoning.

The nirNayasindhu which is widely followed by smartas include ashvamedha, 
gomedha, purushamedha, and the use of mAMsa in shrAddha in the list of 
kalivarjyAni however that does not include jyotishtoma and agnichayana 
etc.  Somayajnas including the sacrifice of a pashu have continued 
sporadically until the present day.  It is however true that even 
the staunchest Smartas owing to their vegetarianism, have become rather 
squeamish about the whole idea.

>> In the Brahmasutra 'अशुद्धमिति चेन्न शब्दात्’ 3.1.25 Shankaracharya has
>> argued that the Veda will not be teaching something that will bring sin to a
>> performer of a vedic ritual, as ordained by the Veda.  And the vedic
>> injunction involving an animal is not violative of the general rule: mA
>> himsyAt sarvaa bhUtAni (no being should be injured).  He has said that the
>> two operate like a general rule and an exception.  I do not know how the
>> other Acharyas have commented on this sutra.

OOps. when I wrote my earlier message today I didn't see that Shri 
Subrahmanian has already mentioned this sutra but anyway the key point is 
to notice that both the pro and anti side invoke the authority of Shruti 
which you would not expect from Jains or Buddhists.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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