[Advaita-l] more on food habits

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 3 13:09:51 CST 2011

Please see the  Brihadaranyak upanishad where a pregnant woman can take calf's meat for a special purpose.

--- On Mon, 1/3/11, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>
Subject: [Advaita-l] more on food habits
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Monday, January 3, 2011, 10:55 AM

There is absolutely no permission in the Vedas to eat meat except in the
context of a yajna. There is a clear specification of who can eat which
remnant in srauta karma. There are neo-vedantins and few in medieval times
who could not control their tongue or mind from craving for fish, mutton or
beef. For those who are interested in the sastras, I am offering a few
quotations from my dull memory. There are countless others that you can find
in the sruti and smrti alike. There is a direct injunction in sruti against
himsa – “ma himsyat sarva bhutani” (Do not harm any living entity). Smrti
sastras are full of instructions on following ahimsa. In fact, ahimsa is
considered to be the essence and very purpose of dharma. “ahimsarthaya
bhutanam dharma pravacanam krtam” “Dharma is taught to living entities for
the sake of ahimsa”. If one does not follow ahimsa, then he has not
understood what dharma is. Ahimsa is said to be the means for immortality,
which is the promised result of all religions. “ahimsaya ca bhutanam
amrtatvaya kalpate” “By following ahimsa, living entities attain
immortality”. “sarve’dharma himsayam pravisanti tatha drdham” “All forms of
adharma enter in to violence”. This is the acid test for whether one is
following the path of dharma. If one follows the path of adharma, which is
rooted in selfishness, one loses control over the mind and becomes angry.
This anger manifests in the form of harmful thoughts, words and action
towards other living entities. It is not possible to have compassion towards
human beings but treat other living entities violently. Such a position is
superficial. “paropakaraya punyaya papaya para pidanam” “For the sake of
punya (piety), work for the welfare of others. For acquiring papa (sin),
cause pain to others”. Accordingg to baudhayana dharma sastra, “The purity
of inner self comes from the practice of ahimsa”. Ahimsa is the first of the
austerities that is required for purification of the self. Yoga is now very
popular as a means of fighting stress and improving health. But the real
benefit of yoga will accrue only if one undertakes the mandatory austerities
listed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The first and foremost of these
austerities is ahimsa.  Ahimsa is not a principle to be followed when
convenient. It is to be followed at all times. “ahimsa dharmanityata”
“Ahimsa is the eternal state of dharma. Ahimsa is to practised towards all
living entities not only human beings. “Ahimsa caiva jantushu” Ahimsa is the
only carrier of happiness. “Ahimsaika sukhavaha” The world witnesses ahimsa
towards all living entities and truthfulness in saintly persons. “Ahimsa
satya vacanam bhutanam anukampakah santo loka saksinah” It is not only for
saintly persons who have renounced the world but also for kings who have the
duty to fight in defence of their people against aggression if all means to
establish peace fail. There is a tendency to fast and then kill animals for
a feast. But this is not accepted as an austerity that will please the Lord.
Only by acting as a friend and providing to protection to all living
entities can one attain the supreme destination. It is not only in the life
after death but right here one attains equanimity and peace by following
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