Some Vedic sacrifices of this century

Sankaran Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed Jan 12 17:18:54 CST 2000

On Wed, 12 Jan 2000, Anand Hudli wrote:


>  Not so. There is absolutely no question of reconciling shruti with
>  smR^iti. Reconciliation is possible ONLY when two or more texts
>  at the SAME level of authority seemingly contradict each other.
>  Reconciliation cannot be done when one text is at a higher level of
>  authority than the others under consideration. In such cases, the
>  text at the higher level wins, hands down!


>  Back to your specific question on the injunction on the jyotishhToma,
>  the smR^iti which says only the wealthy may do it is NOT contradicting
>  the shruti. It is explaining the shruti injunction without contradicting
>  it. The shruti, in this case, has never said you must do the jyotishhToma
>  at all costs such as, for example, when you are seriously ill or in a
>  comatose state. The shruti cannot go on exhaustively listing all
>  conditions under which you may or may not do the jyotishhToma. It is
>  left to the smR^iti and other authoritative sources of dharma to do this.

Prima facie, there is simply an injunction in the shruti that one must
perform the jotishhaa sacrifice every spring. Taking it at face value, it
does appear that it is enjoined on ALL dvijas irrespective of illness,
desire, wealth, etc. But one notes that smR^iti has something to say on
this issue also.

We take a look at it and find two points made in the smR^iti:

1) The Apastamba shrauta suutra which says that it is to be performed by
one who has the desire for svarga.

2) Some others (YAGYavalkya, etc.) who say that it a nitya karma for the
wealthy alone and NOT for the poor.

Considering both the above declarations, why can we not say the injunction
is applicable for one who has the desire for heaven AND the required

The dharma shAstras are clear that the nitya karmas enjoined on a person
are to be performed without desire. Why the mention of desire in the
shrauta suutra if it is an obligatory duty? Isn't it blatantly out of
context to mention desire regarding one's dharma?

If the shrauta suutra is the CHIEF smR^iti to consult in this regard, why
should it say "svargakamo yajeta" at all?


> >On the other hand, if what you have said is read in conjunction with the
> >MahAbhArata, it can be interpreted as, "Only grains should be used in the
> >place of the real animal, and *therefore* this does not result in any
> >killing or harm to animals."
> >
>  Not by any means. Please read my previous message again. There is no
>  mistake at all that the shruti and also as interpreted by the shrauta
>  sUtras means actual animals, not animals made of grains.

Yes, the shrauta suutras do interpret it as real animals.

But as to the interpretation of this from the shruti, I had heard from
shrI Subhanu Saxena that in the second prashna of the taittirIya AraNyaka
dealing with the brahma yaGYa, there is a mention of the recital of the
itihAsas/purANas as being akin to the offering of flesh in a yaGYa. In the
shruti itself, we find a *symbolic* portrayal of the elements used in a


>  3) The proponents of the "pishhTa-pashu-yaGYas", the Vaishnavas and
>     yourself included, overlook one thing. Even when the "pishhTa-pashu"
>     (animal made of grain) is used, such a pashu gets done the
>     prANa-pratishhThA rite which means you intend the pashu to be filled
>     with life. Then you go ahead and "kill" it. By doing this are you
>     not, at least in principle, breaking your lofty vow of ahiMsA
>     that says "thou shalt not kill."

I'm sorry, but I wasn't aware of this. This is actually worse considering
it goes against the shAstra as well as one's conscience.


> >A friend told me that appayya diikshita rejects the view that grains can
> >be used in lieu of animals. Maybe someone who has access to his writings
> >can help clarify this point.
> >
>  The smArta tradition has rejected the pishhTa-pashu-yaGYa principle
>  all along.

I read this in the book on Hindu dharma by the kAnchi paramAchArya, and
will get the book next week and find out what his opinions on this issue


>  shrIkaNTha, and may be others as well. All these AchAryas are unanimous
>  on this issue as indicated by the Brahma sUtra "ashuddhamiti chenna
>  shabdAt.h", though they may sharply differ on other issues. Can all
>  these AchAryas be wrong? I dont think so.

I was of the opinion that MAdhva was the propounder of the PishhTa pashu
yaGYa, and that is what you had in mind when you said "Vaishnavas" perform
such yaGYas.


>  Anand


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list