[Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Apr 14 11:52:19 CDT 2012

Dear Abhishek,

The Acharya who taught me Vedanta had this to say on the topic you have

In our sampradaya we use honey, conch (shankha for puja purposes), silk,
deer skin, etc.  Milk is considered saattvik.  Are these not animal-based?
Is there not himsa in obtaining/extracting these?  For this our answer is:
It is not animal-source that decides what is himsa.  It is what the shAstra
teaches as himsa and ahimsa that counts.  The shastra permits the use of
the above things in our practice of devotion, AchAra, etc. And by their use
we are not under the risk of incurring sin.  So our reply to someone who
questions on this is: We go by what the shAstra dictates/permits and not
(solely) by the consideration of pain inflicted.  Sri Rama who is
kRpA/karuNA sindhu, an ocean of compassion, was known to have killed
animals and even cooked/roasted and delighted Sita with the preparations
during the vanavAsa.  Also there is the maxim: jIvo jIvasya jIvanam:

अहस्तानि सहस्तानामपदानि चतुष्पदाम्
फल्गूनि तत्र महतां जीवो जीवस्य जीवनम् (shrImadbhAgavatam १.१३.४६)

Translation: Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have
hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are
the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one
living being is food for another. [Srimadbhagwat Mahapuran, 1.13.46]

I know your friend will not be convinced by the above reply.  I said the
above more to convince ourselves than others on this question.


On Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 8:11 PM, abhishek sm <abhishek046 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Pranams to all list members,
> I know this is a bit out of context but i need opinions of learned list
> members.
> Brahmins always consume vegetarian food and refrain from consumption of
> meat,etc on the grounds of ahimsa.
> I was recently questioned by a friend-"If killing animals is a sin and is
> himsa then what about killing of plants? Don't we cut the plant to get
> rice?"
> I was unable to give a satisfactory answer to this question. Hope our list
> members could give me some valuable opinions.
> Regards,
> Abhishek Madhyastha

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