[Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sun Apr 15 14:29:12 CDT 2012

On Sunday, April 15, 2012, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> > From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com <javascript:;>
> ...
> >
> > 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.

You don't need shastras to tell you that an act causes pain. If I slap you,
we both know it is himsa. Now, the rule of land or god can consider it
inadvertent or inevitable and decide not to punish me for my act. If I did
it for a greater good, to kill a poisonous insect on your hand, dharma
shastras may even reward me for saving the life of a scholar. But no
shastra will contradict the direct experience of pain by you or the insect.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list