[Advaita-l] Animal sacrifice

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Sat Jan 7 17:32:52 CST 2006

Animal sacrifice.

 In a previous note I had given the view of Sri Sankara on animal sacrifice.
Please see item 5, Digest- Vol.33, Issue 4.

Now I am giving the view of Sri Ramanuja on the same subject. He says in his
commentary on the same brahmasutra 3.1.25- "aSuddham iti cet na, SabdAt" :--
"The animal sacrificed in a yajna attains svarga. There is  scriptural
authority for the sacrifice not being considered as sinful killing. The
Vedas, in the following and other similar passages, declare that the
attainment of svarga by the animal sacrificed is due to its being killed in
the sacrifice. "With a golden body, it attains the world of svarga"
(Aitareya Brahmana, VII.4). An act which is the cause of great prosperity to
some creature, is not* himsa, *even though it may cause some pain; on the
other hand it is a blessing. To the same effect are the words of the
following mantra addressed to the animal during the sacrifice: "Indeed, now
you are not dead, you are not killed, you will reach the gods by the
blissful path and go to the place to which those who perform meritorious
deeds go. May the god, Savitri, take you there" (Taittiriya Brahmana,
III.7.92). He who practises surgery, although he causes a little pain at the
time, is looked upon as a benefactor and honoured by those who know him.".

Thus both the Acharyas agree that animal sacrifice is not sinful. It is
clearly sanctioned by the Vedas.

We of the present day however find it difficult to accept this, inspite of
our great respect for the Acharyas and the Vedas.


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