[Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Apr 20 12:18:58 CDT 2012

On Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> If you think about it, on this list, no one who responded on this thread
> probably eats meat in private or in public. Yet we are saying that meat
> eating should not be judged negatively at a universal level.

It was exactly with this in mind that I had mentioned the case of the
family-practice of fish/meat eating and how it can also be an offering to
the divine:

यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् |
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् || Bh.Gita 9.27||

"Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and
whatever austerities you perform—do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to

But Rajaram could not see this idea behind my response.  He went on to ask
for the vidhi of a yajna where fish is offered!!

> It is not as if every vaidika yajna is to be performed only by "selfless"
> agents and only for "the good of the world". There are any number of
> yajnas that involve paSu sacrifice and are meant to serve the saMkalpa of
> individual yajamAna-s. After all, svargakAmo yajeta pertains to one person
> who has kAma for attaining svarga, it does not address the need for that
> person to give up even this kAma (ihAmutra bhoga virAga) and the world goes
> along on its course.

It is exactly in this context does Shankara comment on the Brahma sutra
'ashuddham iti chet, na shabdAt.'  The point here is that the shAstra
promises svarga (sukhAnubhava) as a result of this yaga.  And if one holds
that there is a himsA in it, then the prospect of the shAstra-promise of
svarga getting frustrated arises and the person will end up in naraka
(duHkhAnubhava).  Shankara holds that there is no himsA in such a yAga
which the Veda itself prescribes.  And that He also does not forget to add
the rule-exception duo in this.  The earlier Sringeri Acharya (as reported
in the book 'Divine Discourses') makes this very point with the vedic
injunction of 'agnIshomIyam pashumAlabheta': Let one sacrifice an animal in
propitiation of Agni and Soma DevatA-s. ' Surely this kind of a yAga cannot
be a loka-kalyANArtha; at least the Veda does not prescribe this for that
purpose.  It has this yAga only for the one desirous of those other-worldly
enjoyments.  It is another matter that the nityAgnihotra can be a karma
yoga as distinct from  kAmyAgnihotra, in either case there is no animal


> It does not attain to any larger good because of one person desiring
> svarga.

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