HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

Hinduism,Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.

Animal Sacrifice in Ancient India-Not Truth, half knowledge

Hinduism DeMystified's photo.

Animal sacrifice, called bhuta yajna in Sanskrit is widely practised in Nepal,Bali and certain remote parts of India as part of Hindu rituals.. Most of these practises are associated in Shaktism and in currents of folk Hinduism strongly rooted in local tribal traditions.A Sanskrit term used for animal sacrifice is bali, in origin meaning “tribute, offering or oblation” generically (“vegetable oblations and animal oblations,”)..It is important to note that Hinduism eveolved from ancient times assimilating rituals and traditions from various Indigenous cultures. If Hinduism is a Big Banayan tree – several branches exists with varying traditions which never stick to particular ritual. Aghora sadhus happen to eat dead bodies to reach spiritual peak and follow hard rituals.

Proponents of animal sacrifice usually cite the Rig Veda, the oldest of Hinduism’s revealed scriptures. Certain of its verses could be interpreted to support the practice, but scholars differ: Should those words be taken literally, or do they have a deeper, mystical meaning?

Some Vedic commentators, such as Udgita, Ananda Tirtha, Atmananda and Sayana, refer to Rig Veda verse 10.86.14, in which Indra says, “They cook for me 15 plus 20 oxen,” and verse 8.43.11, which describes Agni as one whose food is the ox and the barren cow. These verses, they say, mean that these animals should be offered in yajnas. Vedic-Agamic scholar and priest Dr. S.P. Sabharathnam Sivachariyar says these verses should not be interpreted literally. He asserts that the true meaning is symbolic: “The tenth mandala of the Rig Veda states that the words of the Veda mantras are concealed words, encapsulating deeper meanings. Therefore the reader should never take the meaning literally.” Hinduism is full of symbolism, perhaps more than any other religion; and Dr. Sabharathnam explains that various animals mentioned in the context of sacrifices are actually representative of our inner faculties, qualities, emotions and external and internal organs. “Killing a horse refers to suppressing the human/animal side of our life-energy and transmuting it to the Divine. Similarly in all other contexts.”

Pandit Vamadeva Shastri amplifies the mystical viewpoint: “The Vedic yajna has an inner side, with the offerings of speech, mind and prana, such as outlined in the fourth chapter of the Gita, and as reflected in many Vedic mantras. The practice of yoga itself arose from the inner sacrifice.”

Along these lines, Sabharathnam offers an alternate translation for one of the above-mentioned verses: “Agni, who maintains the order of the universe and the inner faculties of the human body, makes the ox (pingala nadi, the human masculine-aggressive current) and the cow (ida nadi, the feminine passive-emotional current) his tools and bears the soma-delight (attainable in the sahasrara chakra) on his back (to distribute it to the seekers).” As a whole, he maintains, the hymn is speaking to the aspirant about deeply mystical practices. “No doubt the literal translation starts ‘Agni whose food is the ox and the barren cow…’ but this is not correct according to the context of the hymn.”

The Agamas do not prescribe animal sacrifice. Sabharathnam asks, “How is it that one set of revelations (Agamas) do not speak of animal sacrifice, while another set of revelations (Vedas) from the same Lord could? The Rig Veda itself states that the Veda mantras should be understood against the background of the Agamas. The two sets of scriptures complement each other.”

Vamadeva adds, “It would be wrong to say that the Vedas do not allow any animal sacrifice. However, animal sacrifice was generally regarded as an inferior sacrifice for less-evolved souls, in whom the gunas [qualities] of rajas [agitation] and tamas [lethargy] are still powerful. For those of inner vision, more sattvic [pure] in nature, the animal was symbolic of certain states of mind to be offered to the Deity. So, it is also wrong to say that the Vedas had a high regard for animal sacrifice and thought it to be equal to the other types of sacrifice.”

Sabharathnam remarks, “I am not saying that sacrifices were not conducted externally. The grains, vegetables, plants, sweets and other such items the Vedas enjoin us to sacrifice should be considered representative of the animals. It was never the actual animals that were intended to be sacrificed. It was in this way that the Vedic yajnas were conducted in the earlier periods, before the Brahmanas and Aranyakas were written. Certain Vedic pandits took the literal meaning and wrote treatises prescribing the sacrifice of actual animals. Unfortunately, their writings were widely read, and genuine yajnas came to be considered a lesser form of worship.”

Vamadeva points out the rarity of references to animal sacrifice in the Vedas: “Of substance-based offerings, dairy products like ghee and milk are the most common, and Soma, which usually had a plant basis, is said to be the highest of all offerings. Actual references to animal sacrifices in Vedic texts do exist but are relatively rare. I have found no more than a handful of such potential references in the entire Rig Veda, whereas offerings of ghee, honey and Soma can be found in great abundance.”

According to Sabharathnam, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad established that the Vedic sacrifices are intended to be spiritual, that they do not involve the killing of animals. “In fact, many Upanishads were the result of sages’ efforts to expose the spiritual side of the Vedic yajnas, to be performed internally.”

Phagunadi maintains, “Animal sacrifice is right as per the Vedas. It is discussed in the Mahabharata as well. Orthodox [ancient] Hinduism is completely different than what Hindus practice in India now.”

Swami Harshananda’s A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism offers this opinion: “Sacrificing an animal to please a supernatural Deity is a common feature found in many cultures, including that of Hinduism, during the early part of their development. Though formal animal sacrifices of the early Vedic period gradually lost their importance, due to the reformatory movements of the Upanishadic sages, Jainism and Buddhism, a new type of animal sacrifice got into the fabric of Hinduism during later ages as aboriginal cultures got integrated into the Hindu fold. The Deity was invariably an aspect of Durga or Kali and the rituals were very simple. Buffaloes, goats, sheep and cockerels were the usual sacrificial victims. It was believed that these victims would go to heaven.”

According to Vamadeva, animal sacrifice occurs today not only in Bali but in the Himalayas, Assam and the northeast of India, as well parts of Orissa and Bengal, Nepal and a few places in Panjub.Still Gadhimai in Nepal witness largest slaughter of animals in the name of Hindu religion.

“I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity.”
-Edgar Allan Poe

<p>Anumantaa vishasitaa nihantaa krayavikrayee</p><p>Samskartaa chopahartaa cha khadakashcheti ghaatakaah</p><p>Manusmrithi 5.51</p>Those who permit slaying of animals; those who bring animals for slaughter; those who slaughter; those who sell meat; those who purchase meat; those who prepare dish out of it; those who serve that

meat and those who eat are all murderers.

———————————————<p>Breehimattam yavamattamatho maashamatho tilam</p><p>Esha vaam bhaago nihito ratnadheyaaya dantau maa hinsishtam pitaram maataram cha</p>Atharvaveda 6.140.2

O teeth! You eat rice, you eat barley, you gram and you eat sesame. These cereals are specifically meant for you. Do not kill those who are capable of being fathers and mothers.

——————————————–

<p>Ya aamam maansamadanti paurusheyam cha ye kravih</p><p>Garbhaan khaadanti keshavaastaanito naashayaamasi</p><p>Atharvaveda 8.6.23</p>

We ought to destroy those who eat cooked as well as uncooked meat, meat involving destruction of males and females, foetus and eggs.

——————————————-

<p>Anago hatya vai bheema kritye</p><p>Maa no gaamashvam purusham vadheeh</p><p>Atharvaveda 10.1.29</p>

It is definitely a great sin to kill innocents. Do not kill our cows, horses and people.

How could there be justification of cow and other animals being killed when killing is so clearly prohibited in the Vedas?

———————————————<p>Aghnyaa yajamaanasya pashoonpahi</p>Yajurveda 1.1

“O human! animals are Aghnya – not to be killed. Protect the animals”

———————————————<p>Pashunstraayethaam</p>Yajurveda 6.11

Protect the animals.

———————————————<p>Dwipaadava Chatushpaatpaahi</p>Yajurveda 14.8

Protect the bipeds and quadrupeds!

———————————————-

Kravy da –kravya[ meat obtained from slaughter] + Ada [ the eater]—the meat eater.

Pisacha — pisita [meat] +asa [eater]—the meat eater.

Asutrpa — Asu [breath of life] + trpa [one who satisfies himself on]—one who takes others life for his meals.

Garba da and Anda da – the foetus and egg eaters.

Mans da – the meat eaters

Meat eaters have always been looked down in Vedic literature. They have been known as Rakshasas, Pisacha and so on….All these words are synonyms of demons or devils that have been out-cast from the civilized human society.

——————————————–<p>Urjam no dhehi dwipade chatushpade</p>Yajurveda 11.83

“May all bipeds and quadrupeds gain strength and nourishment”

This mantra is recited by Hindus before every meal. How could the same philosophy which prays for well-being of every soul in every moment of life, approve of killing animals?

———————————————–

Section 2: No  violence in Yajna

Yajna never meant animal sacrifice in the sense popularly understood. Yajna in the Vedas meant a noble deed or the highest purifying action.

————————<p>—————–</p><p>Adhvara iti Yajnanaama – Dhvaratihimsaakarmaa tatpratishedhah</p>Nirukta 2.7

According to Yaaska Acharya, one of the synonyms of Yajna in Nirukta or the Vedic philology is Adhvara.

Dhvara means an act with himsa or violence. And therefore a-dhvara means an act involving no himsa or no violence. There are a large number of such usage of Adhvara in the Vedas.

———————————————

In the post-Mahabharata period, misinterpretation of the Vedas and interpolations in other scriptures took place at various points intime. Acharya Shankar reestablished the Vedic values to an extent.

In the more recent times, Swami Dayanand Saraswati – known as the grandfather of modern India – interpreted the Vedas as per thecorrect rules of the language and authentic evidences. His literature, which includes commentary on the Vedas, Satyarth Prakash loosely translated as Light of Truth, An Introduction to the Vedas and other texts led to widespread social reformation based on Vedic philosophy and dispelling of myths surrounding the Vedas.

Let us discover what the Vedas have to say on Yajna.

————————————–

<p>Agne yam yagnamadhvaram vishwatah pari bhuurasi</p><p>Sa id deveshu gacchati</p>Rigveda 1.1.4

O lord of effulgence! The non-violent Yajna, you prescribe from all sides, is beneficial for all, touches divine proportions and is accepted by noble souls.

—————————————-

The Rigveda describes Yajna as Adhvara  or non violent throughout. Same is the case with all the other Vedas. How can it be then concluded that the Vedas permit violence or slaughter of animals?

The biggest accusation of cattle and cow slaughter comes in the context of the Yajnas that derived their names from different cattle like the Ashwamedh Yajna, the Gomedha Yajna and the Nar-medh Yajna. Even by the wildest stretch of the imagination the word Medha would not mean slaughter in this context.

It’s interesting to note what Yajurveda says about a horse

——————————————————–

<p>Imam ma himsirekashafam pashum kanikradam vaajinam vaajineshu</p>Yajurveda 13.48

Do not slaughter this one hoofed animal that neighs and who goes with a speed faster than most of the animals.

———————————————————-

Aswamedha does not mean horse sacrifice at Yajna. Instead the Yajurveda clearly mentions that a horse ought not to be slaughtered.

In Shathapatha, Ashwa is a word for the nation or empire

The word medha does not mean slaughter. It denotes an act done in accordance to the intellect Alternatively it could mean consolidation, as evident from the root meaning of medha i.e. medhru san-ga-me

Raashtram vaa ashwamedhah

Annam hi gau

Agnirvaa ashwah

Aajyam medhah

(Shatpath 13.1.6.3)

Swami Dayananda Saraswati wrote in his Light of Truth:

A Yajna dedicated to the glory, wellbeing and prosperity of the Rashtra the nation or empire is known as the Ashwamedh yajna.

“To keep the food pure or to keep the senses under control, or to make the food pure or to make a good use of the rays of Sun or keep the earth free from impurities[clean] is called Gomedha Yajna”.

“The word Gau also means the Earth and the yajna dedicated to keep the Earth the environment clean is called Gomedha Yajna”

“The cremation of the body of a dead person in accordance with the principles laid down in the Vedas is called Naramedha Yajna”.

———————————————–

Section 3: No beef in Vedas

Not only the Vedas are against animal slaughter but also vehemently oppose and prohibit cow slaughter.Yajurveda forbids killing of cows, for they provide energizing food for human beings

———————————<p>Ghrtam duhaanaamaditim janaayaagne maa himsiheeh</p>Yajurveda 13.49

Do not kill cows and bulls who always deserve to be protected.

—————————————-<p>Aare gohaa nrhaa vadho vo astu</p>Rigveda 7.56.17

In Rigveda cow slaughter has been declared a heinous crime equivalent to human murder and it has been said that those who commits this crime should be punished.

—————————————–

<p>Sooyavasaad bhagavatee hi bhooyaa atho vayam bhagvantah syaama</p><p>Addhi trnamaghnye vishwadaaneem piba shuddhamudakamaacharantee</p>Rigveda 1.164.40 or Atharv 7.73.11 or Atharv 9.10.20

The Aghnya cows – which are not to be killed under any circumstances– may keep themselves healthy by use of pure water and green grass, so that we may be endowed with virtues, knowledge and wealth.

————————————— The Vedic Lexicon, Nighantu, gives amongst other synonyms of Gau[ or cow] the words Aghnya. Ahi, and Aditi. Yaska the commentator on Nighantu, defines these as-

<p>Aghnya the one that ought not to be killed</p><p>Ahi the one that must not be slaughtered.</p>Aditi the one that ought not to be cut into pieces.

These three names of cow signify that the animal ought not to be put to tortures. These words appear frequently throughout the Vedas in context of the cow.

——————————————–

Aghnyeyam saa vardhataam mahate soubhagaaya

<p>Rigveda 1.164.27</p>Cow – The aghnya – brings us health and prosperity

<p>Suprapaanam Bhavatvaghnyaayaah</p><p>Rigveda 5.83.8</p>There should be excellent facility for pure water for Aghnya Cow

Yah paurusheyena kravishaa samankte yo ashwena pashunaa yaatudhaanah

<p>Yo aghnyaayaa bharati ksheeramagne teshaam sheershaani harasaapi vrishcha</p>Rigveda 10.87.16

Those who feed on human, horse or animal flesh and those who destroy milk-giving Aghnya cows should be severely punished.

<p>Vimucchyadhvamaghnyaa devayaanaa aganma</p><p>Yajurveda 12.73</p>The Aghnya cows and bulls bring you prosperity

<p>Maa gaamanaagaamaditim vadhishta</p><p>Rigveda 8.101.15</p>Do not kill the cow. Cow is innocent and aditi – that ought not to be cut into pieces

<p>Antakaaya goghaatam</p>Yajurveda 30.18

Destroy those who kill cows

<p>Yadi no gaam hansi yadyashwam yadi poorusham</p><p>Tam tvaa seesena vidhyaamo yatha no so aveeraha</p>Atharvaveda 1.16.4

If someone destroys our cows, horses or people, kill him with a bullet of lead.

<p>Vatsam jaatamivaaghnyaa</p>Atharvaveda 3.30.1

Love each other as the Aghnya – non-killable cow – loves its calf

<p>Dhenu sadanam rayeenaam</p>Atharvaveda 11.1.34

Cow is fountainhead of all bounties

The entire 28th Sukta or Hymn of 6th Mandal of Rigveda sings the glory of cow.

Aa gaavo agnamannuta bhadramakrantseedantu

Bhooyobhooyo rayimidasya vardhayannabhinne

<p>Na taa nashanti na dabhaati taskaro naasaamamitro vyathiraa dadharshati</p>

<p>Na taa arvaa renukakaato ashnute na samskritramupa yanti taa abhi</p>

<p>Gaavo bhago gaava indro me achhaan</p>

<p>Yooyam gaavo medayathaa</p>

Maa vah stena eeshata maaghanshasah

1. Everyone should ensure that cows are free from miseries and kept healthy.

2. God blesses those who take care of cows.

3. Even the enemies should not use any weapon on cows

4. No one should slaughter the cow

5. Cow brings prosperity and strength

6. If cows keep healthy and happy, men and women shall also keep disease free and prosperous

7. May the cow eat green grass and pure water. May they not be killed and bring prosperity to us.

My view is that it was practiced and  is wrong.

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2015 by in animal sacrifice, RIGVED, VED, VEDA, VEDAS and tagged , , .

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