[Advaita-l] vedic yajna

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 24 07:55:51 CST 2011

This discussion has gone down roads of predictably generalized opinion and
speculation about meat eating. The very specific instance of the bRhadAraNyaka
upanishad description is getting lost in the process.
1. Inasmuch as we are talking about the upanishad, the SAnkarabhAshya is very
much an authority in understanding it. My intent in quoting the bhAshya was this -
the explanation given therein is straightforward; no talk of substituting goat meat
for that of a bull (this suggestion from Sri Venkatesh Murthy is unsubstantiated);
no talk of herbs called ukshA or Rshabha (extremely far-fetched interpretation, in 
my opinion). SankarAcArya provides sufficient ritual detail in relevant places in his
commentaries, so what he says is a reliable snapshot of what the practice was in
his times. Any changes/substitutions would have been innovations after his time.
2. There is absolutely no reason to think that this is about nutritional needs of
pregnant women. Firstly, both husband and wife are supposed to eat the rice
cooked with milk or curd or water or with sesame or with meat. What the father
consumes has no nutritional value for a developing foetus or on the pregnant
woman. Secondly, if you read the text carefully, it is obvious that it is not about
a pregnant woman at all. The rice is supposed to be cooked as described andeaten immediately after a monthly menstrual period of the wife. It should be
obvious to anyone that pregnancy is hopefully a future event at this time. So
the consumption of meat along with rice at this stage is purely driven by ritual
and the desire to obtain illustrious progeny.
3. For more information and description of the sthAlIpAka ritual, as observed
in contemporary times in Maharashtra, please see the book "Vedic Domestic
Fire Ritual: Its Performance and Exposition" by Musashi Tachikawa and Madhavi
Kolhatkar (2006) published by New Bharatiya Book Corporation. 
> Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2011 07:43:14 +0000
> From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] vedic yajna
> As animals have a well developed nervous system, they suffer a lot of pain
> and fear when killed. So, we should abstain from meat. It does not matter
> if there is sin or not associated with it. Even if it is in our nature
> to desire meat, we should abstain from it for the welfare of the animals.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list