[Advaita-l] Vegetarianism

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 27 12:32:23 CDT 2012

> >>
> You are tying yourself in to knots. If action is mingled with flaws,
> and Vedas say to perform (action) animal sacrifice, that is flawed
> also. So Vedas are flawed then!!
> Are you going to follow Krishna or Vedas?

I wanted to let this thread fizzle out on its own, but cannot let go without
addressing the above contention about the veda.
The above formulation, follow Krishna or follow the Vedas, as if the two
are separate choices, is fundamentally flawed. It represents a serious
misunderstanding of the veda, of vedAnta, of the role of vaidika animal
sacrifice in general and the viewpoints offered by many of this list's
members in particular.
1. From the perspective of advaita vedAnta, any and all action, including
vaidika karmA, is useless when it comes to the issue of moksha. It is only
in the realms of other results to be obtained that karmA plays a role. And
in those realms, vaidika karmA is privileged from a religious perspective.

2. If moksha is your only concern, and you are really following kRshNa,
you have to renounce ALL action and become a sannyAsin. And if you think
about it, in so renouncing, you will be following the veda as well. 

3. If you have other concerns, then you are in no position to sit in judgment
over vaidika karmA, even where it involves ritual animal sacrifice. From a
religious perspective, the veda should be accepted, by definition, as being
beyond the dictates of changing human perceptions of right and wrong. If
this is not acceptable to you, even when you have room for concerns other
than moksha, then you have no business aligning yourself with any vaidika
tradition, including advaita vedAnta.
That is all there is to it. And looking back on this list's discussions, whenever
the topic of vegetarianism has cropped up, this privileging of the SAstra is all
that people have sought to emphasize, when they say that animal sacrifice in
vaidika karmA is not subject to what we usually think of as himsA and ahimsA.
To not recognize this is to be deliberately obtuse. Furthermore, to hold a
holier-than-thou attitude about one's own food habits is not quite advisable,
given the vast variety of customary practices. From the vedAntic perspective,
this kind of superior feeling about one's own customs over those of other
people is itself an enabler of ahaM-kAra and mama-kAra.

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