[Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

sriram srirudra at vsnl.com
Wed Apr 18 02:25:07 CDT 2012

When I read about Sri Ramanamaharishi this came to mind.When a foreigner 
posed a question as to Maharishi`s snoring when asleep being a jnani , 
Maharishi smilingly said that snoring has nothing to do with 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Vidyasankar Sundaresan" <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
To: "Advaita List" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

>> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
>> From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com
>> Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 07:53:36 +0000
>> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Vegetarianism
>> In pranAgnihotram, we purify rice with ghee and offer it to prana 
>> devatas.
>> This is done with suddhAnnam before even adding vegetable (sic I have to
>> specify this) sambar etc. We cannot separate the mantra from the ritual
>> and cannot change the ritual to suit our whims.
> Exactly. But we also have to understand the ritual completely.
> The practice you describe above is seen among south Indians. What do you
> think is the custom among those who don't begin their meal with rice?
> Also, why is there a ritual intake of water with a mantra at the end of a 
> meal
> and why is there a rule for not speaking while eating?
> If you think about these, you will realize that the ENTIRE meal is seen as 
> a
> ritual offering in the agni residing in the body in the form of the 
> prANa-s. The
> start of the prANAgnihotra is as you describe, but the ritual is not over 
> till the
> entire meal is eaten. What that means is that everything that is eaten as 
> part
> of the meal is offered in that yajna. And this includes whatever grains, 
> whatever
> vegetables and whatever fish or meat are included in the meal, depending 
> on
> local custom and practice. The rule on not speaking while eating (while it 
> has
> a hygiene component to it) is because in the middle of a yajna, the 
> consecrated
> fire is not to be used for some other non-yajna activity. Expending energy 
> to
> speak while eating would be equivalent to using yajna fire for other 
> activity.
> Your heart is in the right place in what you say about meat eating, 
> especially
> in today's context of industrialized mass production of food, but your 
> head is
> not, with respect to the ritual context. The beauty of sanAtana dharma 
> rules
> is that they are very general and can apply to lots of specific variations 
> in
> customs. Precisely for that reason, one should avoid over generalization 
> of
> what one is familiar with, and one should get the SAstra principles right.
> It is possible to argue against meat eating on purely secular humane 
> grounds
> or on health grounds, but those conversations are different. The ritual 
> and
> religious use of various kinds of food is independent of these 
> contemporary
> reasons and also independent of an ethical system based on secular humane
> considerations.
> So, whether Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ate fish or not, as per Bengali
> custom, and whether Ramana Maharishi ate only rice and vegetables, as per
> Tamil custom, this has nothing to do with their level of jnAna. Advaita 
> Acharyas
> from older established institutions, who said something about these 
> individuals,
> knew all this very well. To acknowledge that Ramakrishna was a jnAnI has
> nothing to do with fish or fowl. It has no consequence for the dietary 
> policy
> followed in their own institutions or recommended by them at a personal 
> level
> for those who follow their advice.
> Vidyasankar
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