[Advaita-l] vedic yajna

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 2 15:05:32 CST 2011

> The named Sistas will not ask anybody with any qualification like
> knowing Vedas with desire to have learned son to eat Beef under any
> circumstance. 
Again, you misunderstand and misrepresent my position. You and Rajaram
are allowing your emotional reactions against beef eating to cloud the way 
you think about SAstra and SishTAcAra. And I am not saying that SishTa-s
will actively go ahead and promote the eating of beef. They could counsel,
for instance, in this particular case, that one does not have to do exactly
as specified in the upanishad because it will be misunderstood by others
in society (yad yad Acarati SreshThaH ...). This does not mean that they
would consider it a sin the way you do and it does not mean that they will
sanction some arbitrary substitution instead either. They will also not agree
with you, if you state that the meaning of a Sruti vAkya is to be modified
as per deSa and kAla. There are well established reasons for when to take
a direct meaning and when to go for an indirect meaning in such cases.
When SankarAcArya gives you the direct meaning of a Sruti vAkya in his
bhAshya, you have very flimsy grounds to insist upon an indirect meaning. 
Ask the SishTa-s a specific question, even if it is only a theoretical one in
this day and age. If a man who meets all the adhikAra requirements they
can think of were to have this desire, hypothetically speaking, for a son as
specified in the upanishad, and if he were to act exactly as specified in the
upanishad, should the hypothetical eating of the meat of ukshA/Rshabha
by him and his wife be considered a sin? If yes, why? Further, is living in
kaliyuga an automatic and universal disqualification in terms of adhikAra?
If yes, why?

Please be prepared to hear from the SishTa-s that the situation is not as
you think, for the simple reason that by default, the veda never promotes
adharma, at any deSa or in any kAla.
As for me, I am open to the possibility that someone as highly learned,
qualified and venerable as the Sringeri Acharya could tell me that I am
wrong. It would be a blessing for me to receive SikshA on any issue from
such respected SishTa-s and I would be willing to be corrected and most
interested in learning exactly where I have gone wrong in the arguments
that I've laid out over the last two weeks of this debate.
> In the case of Bull meat Sruti may be saying if you have such and such
> qualification and such and such desire to have learned son and such
> and such conditions are satisfied you should eat Bull meat with rice
> and other ingredients. But Nirnaya Sindhu is saying don't eat Beef
> under any circumstances irrespective of who you are your
> qualifications, desires, and any conditions.
Is it making a well-meaning recommendation or is it issuing a blanket and 
general prohibition, irrespective of the context of vaidika ritual? 
> You are looking at Sruti
> Vakya and finding escape exit saying if I don't have the desire I
> don't have to eat Bull meat. I will not eat it. But I am saying
> looking at Nirnaya Sindhu I will not eat Beef. The result for both is
> the same for this case but the reason given is different. It is
> strange we have to find escape exit when important books like Nirnaya
> Sindhu are available to help.

This is not an escape exit, but merely a restatement in English of the
Sanskrit words of the upanishad. If you don't have the specific icchA
as described in the upanishad, the question does not arise in the first
place and you don't even have to open the nirNayasindhu. A kAmya
karmA sanctioned in the veda presumes a kAma on the part of the
kartA. The specific adhikAra of the kartA to do that particular karmA
is always there in the background. The veda does not enjoin these
acts upon anybody and everybody in a general sense. e.g. Not every
king can do an aSvamedha or a rAjasUya yajna. Not every brAhmaNa
can be a somayAjI or a vAjapeyI. And given that this is an advaita
vedAnta list, let me add that advaita vedAnta reminds you that behind
karmA, there is kAma, and behind kAma, there is avidyA. 
Since you are desperately tyring to be very, very simplistic, let me try
and simplify things. Below, smRti refers to itihAsa, purANa, dharma-
SAstra etc.
If Sruti explicitly enjoins action X upon all people, smRti CANNOT go
ahead and prohibit it, period.

If Sruti is silent about action X, smRti can enjoin it, so long as it does
not contradict something else already known from Sruti.
If Sruti prohibits action X, in a general sense or in specific instances,
smRti cannot enjoin it otherwise, in contravention of Sruti.
If a given smRti fails in any one or more of the above cases, it has to
be set aside by vaidika SishTa-s. If you think that a smRti accepted by
SishTa-s does anything of the sort, then your understanding of the 
Sruti, smRti and the SishTAcAra are all wrong.
If Sruti enjoins action X and says nothing else, smRti can be a source
for learning about the restrictions on when action X is to be performed,
by whom, for what reason, how it should be done, how it should not
be done etc. In technical terms, if Sruti provides an apUrva vidhi, and
nothing else, smRti can provide associated niyama or parisaMkhyA or
adhikAra vidhi-s etc. It cannot simply prohibit action X, in direct
contravention of Sruti.
If Sruti enjoins action X upon certain persons, provided certain conditions
are met, i.e. if Sruti provides the apUrva vidhi and also one or more of
niyama, parisaMkhyA and adhikAra vidhi-s, smRti CAN further expand on
what those conditions are. In order to cover instances when the specified
conditions are NOT met, smRti can also enjoin something else, or specify
yet other restrictions, etc. Anything said by smRti in these cases should be
such that it does not contradict something else already known from Sruti.
Also, smRti cannot impose a blanket prohibition of action X, irrespective
of whether the Sruti specified conditions are satisfied or not, in direct
contravention of what the Sruti says about it.
In both cases above, where Sruti and smRti both say something about a
particular course of action, so long as the additional information supplied
by smRti does not directly contradict something else that is already known
in Sruti, the standard mImAMsA stance is that the smRti is based upon
some unknown Sruti that we have lost today.
Finally, if there appears to a contradiction between two things within Sruti,
or between two things in smRti, then we have to find another explanation
that removes the apparent contradiction, or if no such alternate explanation
is possible, then there is an option (vikalpa) available to the kartA. This is a
very special case and I only mention it because a few references to this have
been made recently on this list, in the sentences quoted in the sUtrabhAshya
"atirAtre shoDaSinaM gRhNAti; nAtirAtre shoDaSinaM gRhNAti."
Try to work out what these principles mean for the issue that bothers you
so much about the bRhadAraNyaka passages in question. 
> > What is the point of desiring that one's son should be a
> > trivedi or caturvedi and highly respected in society, if one can't regulate
> > one's own anger and other desires? This particular passage is not to be
> > taken lightly at all.
> >
> Above point applies in this case also. Why take escape exit? There is
> a direct way. Respect the law of the country.

Please. A husband and wife do not need the law of the country to teach
them how to deal with each other. Whatever the law says in any country,
it does not prevent people from doing what they please. It only provides
punishments and legal processes after the event, and even then, only if
it is reported, investigated and proved in a court of law.
And from a point of view of personal morals, religion and rituals that a
married couple operates with, if they have any affinity at all to leading
dhArmika lives, I would hope that the values they attach to Sama, dama,
titikshA etc. would step in long before the law of their country has to
interfere in their private lives. 
> But what is position of Dharma Sastra books like Nirnaya Sindhu in
> your opinion? You think they cannot prohibit things not prohibited by
> Sruti? Kindly answer this.

Covered in the cases enumerated above. However, note that you claim
that  the nirNayasindhu issues a generic prohibition against something
that is allowed in a certain specific situation by the veda. I suggest to
you, nay I assert very forcefully, that nirNayasindhu does nothing of the
kind and that your understanding of it all is quite skewed.
That will be the last I will post on this thread. I have continued with this
discussion for so long, possibly to the annoyance of many list members,
but only because of the principles of interpretation involved therein. A lot
of these mImAMsA principles have direct application in how SankarAcArya
and other advaitins after him interpret the upanishad-s too, and that is
the only relevance this has to the list. 
Finally, an admin note: Keep personal opinions, blog entries, websites
etc relating to Gandhiji, Indian independence and Partition out of this list.
Br. Pranipata Chaitanya mentioned his name only as a short response to
other comments about law and dharma. This passing mention does not
have to grow and become a topic of discussion here. 

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