[Advaita-l] vedic yajna

ravi chandrasekhara vadhula at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 27 21:29:45 CST 2011

Dear Vidya,

Before you close the thread, I have some questions based on points below.

1.V Sri Ram posted on this list as to the prohibitions in Kali Yuga as mentioned in Niranya-Sindhu, which includes prohibition on go-medha.
2.The yagna is to promote conception of a son well versed in Veda. Adi Shankaracharya's bhashya on Br.U. refer to meat from a bull/ox without any substitute.
3.That yagna is also not obligatory.
4.That type of yagna has been performed before.
5.Adi Shankara, from what I understand, is not mandating that yagna. He is only stating what that yagna refers to.
6.Hence, based on point 5, there should be no conflict with Niranya-Sindhu or shista-achara.

Is that correct ?

Ravi Chandrasekhara

 From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
To: Advaita List <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 5:47 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] vedic yajna

> Adi Sankaracharya was a great person and he could have realised that the recommendation
> for eating veal (calf-meat) and not just any cow's meat, by a pregnant woman was only for a
> very specific purpose and that had merit only for that special case. 


I have no real desire to continue on this thread, but I must set right several misconceptions above.

Firstly, the bRhadAraNyaka upanishad is not talking of a pregnant woman at all. I already touched
upon this earlier. The specific reference in the text is to the end of the three nights of a monthly
cycle of a sacrificer's wife - yasya jAyAM ArtavaM vindet ... tri-rAtrAnte Aplutya vrIhIn avaghAtayet.
The whole ritual is in preparation for conception, not after pregnancy is established. The sacrificer
is told to eat the evening meal along with his wife and offer ritual oblations on the morning of the
fourth day according to the rules of the sthAlIpAka gRhya ritual. (Normally, sthAlIpAka is observed
on pUrNimA and amAvAsya days, just like the Srauta darSa-paurNamAsa yajna-s.)

Secondly, there are five separate additions to rice mentioned for the meal in question - milk, curd,
only water, sesame or meat - as per the desire to get a son versed in one veda, or two or three
or a learned daughter or a son versed in four veda-s. There is nothing here about meat and its
role in nutrition during pregnancy. Four out of five cases described in the text involve no meat.

Thirdly, the reference is to ukshA, glossed as secanasamarthaH, or Rshabha, which is adhikavayAH.
Neither kind of male animal is a source of veal. ukshA is a young bull that has attained maturity, 
and is already capable of procreation, while Rshabha is an older bull. Adi SankarAcArya does not
see a reference here to veal at all. Veal is a particularly cruel variety of beef, obtained by killing
calves (usually male) that are only a few weeks to few months old, certainly not male calves that
have been raised to maturity.

Finally, the veda is what it is and the bhAshya is what it is. We need to understand them without
judgement on these kinds of issues. Coming up with "naturalistic" or "scientific" explanations for
one or the other detail in the vast corpus of the veda may be appealing for whatever reason, but
it only ends up trivializing the content of the scripture and the intent of the commentary.

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