[Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 15 07:20:38 CDT 2012

> From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> 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

Not always, because anumAna presumes a theoretical judgement of values
on which to examine the pratyaksha. And if the value structure is not based
on an agreed upon SAstra, what is himsA to one person is not seen as himsA
by another. When a hungry lion hunts down a deer, is it causing himsA to
the deer? If the deer escapes being caught, is it causing himsA to the lion,
by denying it food? When one sees that it is the nature of the lion to hunt
and it is the nature of the deer to run and try to escape, how does one judge
where the line of relative himsA lies?

To take another example that goes to the root of our embodied existence -
The very act of birth causes pain to the mother. Who is to be held responsible
for this, if this is himsA? The new born or the father or the mother herself?
It would be totally unfair to the new born, to lay the blame on his or her door.
And in the general case, the act of procreation is consensual, and occurs 
within a legitimate union, so it would be unfair to lay blame on the father
alone or the mother alone.

If one is a misogynist, the woman would bear all the blame, and if one is a
radical feminist, the man would bear all the blame. The truth lies elsewhere -
the pain of labor is part of the natural structure of the world, and we need a
dhArmika framework to even begin to understand what is himsA and ahimsA
here, and for a dhArmika framework, we need SAstra.
In this particular instance, one might argue, a secular SAstra is enough and
that you don't need dharmaSAstra. Fair enough, which is why a registered
marriage outside of any religious ceremony is valid, but the secular SAstra
defined by the law of the land has to accepted a priori, in order to make
sense of whether a particular instance of pratyksha and/or anumAna is
himsA or not. It has to be accepted by all parties concerned and that will
itself make the secular SAstra part of the structure of sAmAnya dharma,
because it impacts how one leads one's life. pratyaksha and/or anumAna
alone are never enough.

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