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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 06:10:43 CST 2010

On Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 12:52 PM, Shrisha Rao <shrao at nyx.net> wrote:

> I don't think it is accurate to credit Madhva with introducing such
> practice, which is already sanctioned in Manu (V-37) and finds justification
> in the Mahabharata as well.


As I do not have immediate access to the Manu texts in the original, I made
a short search on the net and got this result:


       To start with, the *Manu-samhita* clearly and logically recommends
that, “Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and
injury to sentient beings is detrimental to the attainment of heavenly
bliss; let him therefore shun the use of meat. Having well considered the
disgusting origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying
corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh.” (*Manu
-samhita* 5.48-49)

       However, it is not simply the person who eats the meat that becomes
implicated by eating the dead animal, but also those who assist in the
process. “He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who cuts it up, he
who kills it, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it
up, and he who eats it, must all be considered as the slayers of the animal.
There is no greater sinner than that man who though not worshiping the gods
or the ancestors, seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh
of other beings.” (*Manu-samhita *5.51-52)

       As we get further into the *Manu-samhita*, there are warnings that
become increasingly more serious. For example, *“If he has a strong desire
(for meat) he may make an animal of clarified butter or one of flour (and
eat that)*; but let him never seek to destroy an animal without a (lawful)
reason. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who
killed it without a (lawful) reason suffer a violent death in future
births.” (*Manu-samhita* *5.37*-38)

       In this way, the only time to carry out the need to kill animals for
consumption is when there is an emergency such as when there simply is
nothing else to eat. Otherwise, when there are plenty of grains, vegetables,
fruits, etc., to eat, it is only mankind’s lust and selfish desires that
motivate one to kill other beings to satisfy one’s tongue by tasting their
blood and flesh, or to fatten one’s wallet by making money from
participating in the distribution or the cooking of meat. Such violent
actions create opposite reactions. For this reason the warnings are given,
“He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure,
never finds happiness in this life or the next.” (*Manu-samhita *5.45) //


In the above reference to Manu 5.37, it is a case of one desiring to 'eat'
meat.  It does not say anything about the vedic yajna involving an animal
and an alternative to it.  The 'swarga-kaamaH', the person, is interested /
desirous of attaining swarga and seeks to perform the jyotiShToma
(अग्नीषोमीयं पशुमालभेत) as the veda-prescribed means for it.

Is the Mahabharatha reference also of the above nature?

I have heard that the (jiva in the) animal used in a vedic sacrifice attains
to high/er worlds.  I think there must be a scriptural basis for this.  Is
anyone aware of the authority?
Also, here is another verse:

We know that the common law of the mundane life is to live on or at the
sacrifice of another life.

*ahastaani sahastaanaam
apadaani chatushpadam
phalgUni tatra mahataam
jivo jivasya jivanam*
Srimad Bhagavatam (1.13.47): "Those who are devoid of hands are prey for
those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four- legged.
The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that
*one living being is food for another.*" For example, Lord needs to
facilitate the human living and so, trees, plants, vegetable's lives are
sacrificed for to meet their need of food, making house etc; thus tree,
plant, creeper's life becomes miserable or distressed for a time-period
(until their death ) in order to facilitate the human life. Again vegetarian
animals live on vegetable, but, non-vegetarian animals live on other
animal's meat. For another example, as the insects or germs of a disease get
facilitated to live on/in a human body, then the body becomes sick, on the
contrary, when attacked by medicines - their lives get miserable or killed
and at the cost of their life, again the human body regains health. //

Any comments (from any member) on this?

> > Here is a source for this information of mine:
> There is also a paper titled "To Kill or Not to Kill the Sacrificial
> Animal" by Jan Houben (1999) which you may want to look up (part of a volume
> that is available as a Google Book).
> Regards,
> Shrisha Rao

Thanks for this and other observations/clarifications.  Here is a case: In
older kalpas upanayanam for women and initiation into the Gayatri was
practiced/permitted. (पुरा कल्पे कुमारीणां मौञ्जीबन्धनं...) This is not
practiced/permitted in this yuga.

To Satish Arigela,

Thanks for your reply on 'kRcchra'.  Let us look for more specific


> > subrahmanian.v

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list