[Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Apr 14 16:44:29 CDT 2012

On Saturday, April 14, 2012, V Subrahmanian wrote:

> Dear Abhishek,
> The Acharya who taught me Vedanta had this to say on the topic you have
> raised:
> 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.

What is himsa known through pratyaksha and anumana. We don't need sastras
to know what is himsa. The sastras may negate the result of himsa to the
karta in the case of righteous war or yajna. But even in these cases, there
is himsa. We know how much effort Lord Rama and Lord Krishna took to
prevent war. They didn't take the view that it is okay to cause pain and
kill on the grounds that it is righteous war.

Lord Krishna says that one who eats the remnants of yajna becomes freed
sins. Sankara refers to inevitable sins caused in the oven etc. and
inadvertent injury caused to others. Lord Krishna says that one who cooks
for himself verily eats sin.
*yajna-sistasinah santo*
*mucyante sarva-kilbisaih*
*bhunjate te tv agham papa*
*ye pacanty atma-karanat (BG 3.13)*
There are yajnas where animals but not common place. Just as with a
righteous war, a yajna should be undertaken only when there is a higher
purpose and strictly under the guidance of a selfless brahmana.

Even two generations ago, calves were allowed to drink milk and only excess
was taken for human conception. They all had names and were part of the
family. Nowadays, they are mostly killed immediately on birth to reduce
cost. The go-mata cries in separation of her calf but is forced to generate
more milk for human conception through hormone injections. Vegans do not
drink milk for this reason. We may not be willing to make such sacrifices
but we have to support goshalas and drink only milk from cows whose calves
are not butchered to feed us. Otherwise, we are in direct violation of
injunctions to protect cows.

Tomorrow, we are walking / running / cycling in central london to promote
ahimsa milk (milk from goshalas where cows are not slaughtered). You can
visit the site for details


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