some dharmic questions

Wed Apr 23 04:55:51 CDT 2003

Hello Ravi and other friends,

I did not sign my previous mail and ended it rather abruptly, and wanted to
complete it properly before sending it off. Due to a slight lapse in the
attention, the message got sent off. So sorry. Sending it again. Pl. forgive.

Very interesting questions indeed. For quite some time, I have been
'lurking' on the list, since I wasn't sufficiently moved by any topic to
reply. But this has prompted a reply.

1) About disposal of pictures of deities: If you are still able to feel the
deity in the picture, the picture is live. And live pictures should be put
in the puja room and worshipped. If you are not able to take care, pl. ask
the deity to leave that picture and go back to the Loka of that particular
deity. Then how you dispose of the paper (now it is only paper, not deiity)
is immaterial. One of the least painful ways is to put them aside and at
the right opportunity put them in a sea. Even in USA, you have big rivers,
lakes etc., but dumping of paper may not be permitted. But putting them in
sea, far away from the coast may be allowed. Check with the law enforcing
agencies. Else, send them to India, where they can be disposed off in a
river or lake or in the sea.

2) Madi is easy to maintain with silk, since silk doesn't hold moisture as
much as coarse cotton. In a hot summer, even cotton clothes dry up quite
quickly, so it is best to use cotton. If as Ravi said, if you are gifted
silk and are not in a position to refuse, pl. give it to someone else.
Else, use them. Don't buy silk, if possible, since where you can avoid
Himsa, pl. do it. Madi is basically a question of mind. "Apavitrasya
Pavitrova, sarvavastha gatopiva, yasmaret pundarikaksham...."

3) If you can avoid leather by all means do. If you can't, accept.

4) If you can avoid eating eggs and egg containing foods, pl. do. There are
a lot of alternatives. But if tht becomes a problem, pl. again accept.

Fnally if we study Gita carefully, the question comes, who is the killer
and who is killed? In Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam also, He is described as the
Eater, the Eaten and the act of eating, the Yagna, The doer of the Yagna,
The offering in the Yagna, the Homa Kundam in which Yagna is performed, the
Anna (food), Annada (the food giver). All the dos and don't s are necessary
stages to bring forth such questions and provide such answers.

At the same time, because Atman is indestructible, we don't eat shit or
drink acid. At each level of creation and consciousness, there are rules.
But there is a stage beyond all these rules. Sarva dharman parityajya,
mamekam saranam vraja....says Lord in Gita. Here Dharma has many
connotations. Societal rules, conduct rules, dos and don'ts. Dharma also
means attributes, guna traya. So, when Bhagavan said sarva dharman
parityajya, He also probably menat that we should cross the limitations of
Saguna Brahman and realise the Nirguna nature of the Atman.

If on the other hand we are talking of dharma as a rule of conduct, He
meant that with our body, mind, ego, we should do whatever best is
possible, and beyond that surrender to Him. 'Karomi yadyat sakalam parasmai
narayaneti samarpayami.'

At His Lotus Feet,


At 17:53 17/04/03 -0500, you wrote:
>I dont think such rules exists for pictures. Typically they do such things
>for vighrams made of clay, etc.  But  this issue could be a sentimental one.
>To borrow Sri Ramakrishna's approach: What will one do if he has a lot of
>pictures of his wife or child. Certainly one would not like to throw it away
>in garbage container.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list