[Advaita-l] Advaitic Foods - Vedic ritual involving animal-killing

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Dec 17 22:33:07 CST 2010

(I have edited the title of the main thread in order to focus on a
particular issue)

On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Shrisha Rao <shrao at nyx.net> wrote:

> El dic 16, 2010, a las 2:53 p.m., Satish Arigela escribió:
> > brAhmaNa-s refraining from eating meat is more because of bauddha and
> jaina
> > influence.
> That is certainly the refrain of modern Indologists who wish to minimize
> the worth of the Vaidika traditions and ascribe all good qualities to the
> Judeo-Christian faiths as far as possible, or at least to Buddhism and
> Jainism where not.  However, it is not correct in any obvious sense.
>  Buddhists have never been vegetarians themselves -- the Buddha himself is
> said (by Buddhists) to have died by choking on a bone in his food, and
> Buddhists have always eaten all kinds of flesh, as may be seen even today.

> The Buddhists criticized animal sacrifices as part of their all-round
> condemnation of Vedic rites, but this was not because of their concern for
> the pain and suffering of animals.

Dear Sri Rao,

I have always wondered what was the compelling reason for Sri Madhwacharya
to introduce the practice of using a 'pishTa pashu', a flour-image of a
pashu, in Vedic yAga?  Here is a source for this information of mine:

Sri Madhvacharya – His Personality and Teachings
- Pt. Raghavendrachar Rachuri
Jayateertha Vidyapeetha


// A great reformer
Madhvacharya was a great reformer of his times. He was not subdued by the
onslaught of Advaitic thought so predominant during his times. He took a
fresh look at the Vedas and its ancillary literature. He revived the age old
Bhagavata dharma based on Vedic teachings in the light of the Brahma Sutras.
* Once he went against the practice of killing animals during Vedic
sacrifices. He recommended that offering Pishta pashu or a figure made out
of flour should be practiced instead in this kaliyuga. *He claimed that this
is truly Vedic. He prevailed over the scholars and made his brother
successfully perform a sacrifice using the pishta pashu.// (emphasis mine)

Is there any provision/sanction in the scripture to the effect that 'in Kali
yuga jyotiShToma type of sacrifice should not involve a real animal but only
an alternative like flour-made, etc.?' Has Sri Madhwacharya cited any such
authority for the piShTa-pashu practice introduced by him?

In the Brahmasutra 'अशुद्धमिति चेन्न शब्दात्’ 3.1.25 Shankaracharya has
argued that the Veda will not be teaching something that will bring sin to a
performer of a vedic ritual, as ordained by the Veda.  And the vedic
injunction involving an animal is not violative of the general rule: mA
himsyAt sarvaa bhUtAni (no being should be injured).  He has said that the
two operate like a general rule and an exception.  I do not know how the
other Acharyas have commented on this sutra.


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