Friday, April 15, 2016

Story told by Sita to Rama has a message to non-vegetarians.

On this Rama Navami day, let me recall a story told by Sita to Rama that is found in Aranya khanda of Valmiki Ramayana. Sita talks about a Dharma of shunning cruelty to people with whom there is no enmity. This idea is relevant in shunning meat food too, as meat is procured by killing the hapless animal which had not done any harm to the eater and to the one who kills it for selling as food. This particular episode in Aranya khanda is vital for understanding that Rama did not eat meat as per any verse of Valmiki Ramayana. A discussion on this was earlier done by me in my blog Does Sanathana Dharma support eating meat? (Part-1)


The setting is in Aranya Khanda after meeting the sage Suteekshna. He requests Rama to vanquish the demons of Dandaka forest as they were constantly giving trouble to the sages like him who are engaged in ascetic life in the forest. Rama agrees to do that. Sita hands over the bows and swords to Rama and Lakshmana. But she is distressed while doing that. She expresses that to Rama which can be read in 9th sarga in Aranya khanda.

She says that there are three definite products of self- gratification that arise from desire. One is speaking falsehood. The second is desire for another man’s wife. The third is cruelty without enmity. The first two are irrelevant in Rama’s case. But by agreeing to Suteekshna’s request Rama is at the verge of sticking to the third, namely cruelty without enmity.

Sita goes on to explain that Rama is set out to destroy the people whom he does not know and with whom he has no prior enmity. Rama has come to the forest to lead the life of a sage. His parents would be happy to only hear that of him. But by taking up the arms now, the faculty of the weapons would eventually come to stick to him.

To explain this Sita tells the story of a sage who lived in the forest amidst animals that adored him. He never intended to do any harm to any life. As if to challenge his nature, once Indra came to him and asked to him to take care of his sword until he returned. The sage agreed and started to guard that sword. To keep up his promise, he could not leave the sword when he went out to do his daily chores. So he started carrying that weapon all the time. But what happens is that the faculty of the weapon comes to stick to the carrier of that weapon. Anger, infuriation and ultimately the propensity to use the weapon driven by such faculties overpowered the sage. As a result the sage did things that led him to hell.

Sita says that all this happened owing to the reason of associating with a weapon constantly, and the sequel of constant association with weapon is as good as constant association with fire.

Rama being a kshatriya has already carried the weapons, but that was in Ayodhya. In the Dandaka forest where he has come to lead a life of a hermit he must not carry it as the association with it would cause him to injure people with whom he has no enmity, even though they happen to be demons. As a Kshatriya he can use weapons (cruelty) only as a means to protect the suffering people. Otherwise the constant contact with weapons would transfer the quality of weapons to him and make him act as directed by that quality.

Rama convinces her that by agreeing to the request of Suteekshna he is only agreeing to protect him and other sages. So it is perfectly justifiable to kill the demons unknown to him and with whom he has no direct enmity. After all it is only for the protection of the hapless ones, he is going to kill the people with whom he has no direct enmity.

The outward message of this episode is that Rama is always there for protection of suffering people. But the inner message of this episode that he will not do any harm to any life where there is no enmity with him and that wherever such cruelty is perceived to be done by him it was for the purpose of protecting some deserving people who has suffered on account of those people.

 And this nature – not being cruel to beings that have in no way harmed you or not being an enemy with you – is the justification for shunning food got by killing animals. Sita tells this tendency – cruelty without enmity – as one of the three desires of man that are fundamental to self- gratification. Killing a life for the gratification of the stomach is therefore not desirable. Such a thing is permitted only in the case of saving life when one is dying of starvation (Apad Dharma).

Based on this one can say that Rama could have never eaten food that was procured by killing a life. The so-called verses in Valmiki Ramayana that are interpreted by non-vegetarian lovers as indicating that Rama ate meat are pure mis-interpretations.

That Sanatna Dharma had never supported food procured by killing can also be noted in the way one Satyavratha earned the name “Trishanku”. According to Harivamsam, tri-shanku means three blemishes. Satyavratha came to be called as Trishanku due to three blemishes or dosha he had.

One is pithru dosha - common form is the debt to one’s parents that is unpaid.

The second is Guru droha by having killed the milk cow (Kamadhenu – the wish-giver) of Vashishta - a common form of this is the harm done to environment and others while fulfilling one’s wishes.

The third is eating unsanctified food. This does not mean that meat got by killing an animal can be sanctified by means of mantras or prayers. As cruelty without enmity is the dictum, meat itself is unsanctified food. Eating that would create its own karma which cannot wiped out by prayers but by undergoing the same suffering that the animals underwent.  


One must not interpret this dictum – cruelty without enmity – to mean that cruelty is justified if there is enmity. In the case of enmity when one is drawn into tit for tat like fights, whatever justification is there on the part of one to inflict injury on the other would to some extent modify the retributive karma that accrues out of that act. In the case of cruelty without enmity as in the case of killing life for food, there is absolutely no justification that can reduce the retributive / resultant karma that accrues to one for having been the cause for that cruelty to a hapless life. 

12 comments:

Jay said...

The so-called verses in Valmiki Ramayana that are interpreted by vegetarian lovers as indicating that Rama never ate meat are pure mis-interpretations. This misinformed article is one more example.

jayasree said...

Karma vipaka texts are very clear on this. Check Karma vipaka by Veera simahaivaloka, Prasna Marga and Nadi texts.

The most common result of eating meat is to have dental problems of sorts and even oral cancer leading to the removal of parts of the mouth in future births.

Leucoderma, white spots on skin, incurable skin diseases of sorts and leprosy are all caused by eating meat in the previous birth.

Diseases of the face, of the nose and eyes are related to retributive karma in having eaten animals killed for that sake.

The most common disease of today namely diabetes is caused by the retributive karma of having consumed countless animals in the previous births. Their wails would not allow food to digested or absorbed in the body.

Eating eggs is one of the causes of childlessness in the next birth.

Whichever body part of the animal one relishes, one will be born with defect in that part in one's own body in the next birth.

One for whose sake the animal is killed will be born as that animal countless times and be killed.

The basic logic is you get what you do to others.

Jay said...

when your article is on Sri Rama and Sita from Ramayana, let's talk about the source, Vaalmiki Ramayana. Let's not bring up other texts and instead focus on Vaalmiki Ramayana. Don't you know any vegetarians who have dental problems? Silly question, of course you do. You know brahmins who have problems of face, leucoderma and diabetes. As you already know, diabetes results due to insulin resistance mainly due to untimely eating and over consumption of sugar through sugar as well as starch and carbs. Science and Sanatana Dharma do not contradict. So please do not write cockamamie stories.

Eggs are explicitly prohibited from eating under our ancient vedic scriptures. The basic logic is not ".....you get what you do to others", but it is - you shall reap the results of what acts-confirming-dharma you commit and what acts-nonconfirming-to-dharma you commit. That is the reality under Sanatana Dharma. Saarva-bhouma matam does not condone generalized " you reap what you sow" type of incorrect proverbs. I am sure you know this, please dont insult my opinion of you.

In Vaalmiki Ramayana, the verses are crystal clear on hunting animals and eating by Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, as well as Lakshmana following the Gandharvaa's advice (after Kabandha was killed and turned into the gandharva) to serve Rama fresh fish from the river near Sugreevaa's rushymooka mountain. The verses are also crystal clear when Sri Rama responds to Vaali's question by saying that certain animals are sanctioned for hunting and killing by meat-eating people and that is why he also hunted vaali with an arrow shot at vaali from behind a tree. The verses are also crystal clear when Hanumaan tells Sita in Ashoka-vana, that since she disappeared Rama had neither eaten meat nor took 'madhu'.

I really doubt whether you read sanskrit vaalmiki Ramayana in sanskrit verses based on your misconceptions so far expressed in your posts and your responses.

Please read sanskrit slokaas in Valmiki ramayana and dispel this ignorance that Kaakutsha (and Kshatriya varna) dynasty did not eat meat.

jayasree said...

//when your article is on Sri Rama and Sita from Ramayana, let's talk about the source, Vaalmiki Ramayana. Let's not bring up other texts and instead focus on Vaalmiki Ramayana.//

This article is about Valmiki Ramayana, but when you say it is a mis-interpretation despite my explanation given in the comment section of Part 1, that Rama could not have consumed meat in vanavas (where your quoted verses in another comment occur) as he had given a promise to his mother before he started for the forest life that he would live like a Muni “leaving off meat and living with roots, fruits and honey.” (2-20-29), what occurred to me was how a person swearing to believe and live like a Sanathana Dharmist could ignore the karmic results of what one eats. Don’t worry, I will be doing an detailed article on Karma Vipaka of meat eating.

//You know brahmins who have problems of face, leucoderma and diabetes.As you already know, diabetes results due to insulin resistance........//

I know the science behind the ailments, and I can say that I know more than any average person (I don’t wish to say like this here, but am forced to) as my branch of research for my PhD is medical astrology, with particular reference to oral cancer and other ailments of the mouth besides cancer in general, and diseases of the head and neck region. And my research includes karma Vipaka for these diseases too as we have to know the karmic cause for these diseases. Please note that I have specifically written in my comment ‘in future births’.

Brahmins are not exceptional ones as not to be touched by the effect of past karma. One gets what one has sown previously. (தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர் தர வாரா). That past karma, both good and bad, done with thought, word and action would come back to the same person. No living being can escape this.

(continued)

jayasree said...

Even Sita tells to Hanuman, “Destiny drags out a man into a very extensive fortune or into a very dreadful adversity, as if being dragged, tied with ropes." (VR 5-37-3)

She continues to tell “For living beings, destiny is surely irresistible. See how Lakshmana, myself and Rama are baffled by misfortunes." (VR 5-37-4).

Though they are divine entities, once born into a mortal body of flesh and feelings, one has to undergo the effect of past karma. She used the word Krutha- anthaha (कृत अन्तः) for destiny. It means the end of action or result of one’s (previous) action.

Even the Brahmin birth or birth into any varna is the result of past action. I have written about it in the comment section of http://jayasreesaranathan.blogspot.in/2013/02/how-difficult-is-life-of-brahmana.html

A Brahmin in this birth need not be born as a Brahmin in the future birth and there is no certainty that he was a Brahmin in the past birth. Each one of us is hopping from one body to another, in some varna and it is also possible that we will be born as an animal or a tree as well. Certain attributes make one born in Brahmin varna and that does not mean that one will be an evolved person just because of that. Some of the attributes I gathered from Nadi texts were written by me in that comment.

A Brahmin or anyone suffering from the diseases I have mentioned could have had meat eating habit in a past birth. Research has now shown beef eating leads to colon cancer in the present birth itself. One who eats meat will be born with a propensity to develop such diseases that would not allow food to be absorbed in the body. For your information, diabetes was rare in India until recently. Diabetes or Prameha was of course there in olden days in India but not widespread as it is today. Today every second person has this problem. This is because meat eating habit had come to stay with the Indian population and Hindus in particular only in the last one century.

There is on record a travelogue which says that
"Their (Indians) total abstinence from all flesh, and the express prohibition of their religion which forbids them to kill animals, prevent them from dissecting them and examining their internal construction."
(From the book "Voyages to the East Indies" by John Phillip Wesdin, the Austrian traveler who traveled through India between 1776 to 1789)

Also the Census Report of 1881 says "that Hindoos are almost completely vegetarians and that the Mahammedans are the butchers and the flesh eaters of the country".

The Hindus here include all castes and categories and just Brahmins.

(continued)

jayasree said...

// Eggs are explicitly prohibited from eating under our ancient vedic scriptures. The basic logic is not ".....you get what you do to others", but it is - you shall reap the results of what acts-confirming-dharma you commit and what acts-nonconfirming-to-dharma you commit. //

So you agree that eggs are prohibited. And by the next line you imply that it is for ‘confirming dharma’. What is that Dharma? Is it not about taking off a life before it is born? That means life that is formed in the egg must be allowed to be born and live. Once born, it will anyway have its death some time in future. All that is born will die some day.

But the same Dharma that prohibited the wanton extinguishment of life in the egg, cannot allow wanton extinguishment of life that came out from the egg. The very idea of prohibition to eat egg means Dharma does not warrant destruction of life.
If you say that Dharma allows it in Yajna, my next blog reveals where in yajna it is allowed and how much is allowed and who were allowed to take it. By quoting that yajna one cannot justify one’s liking for eating meat. That is where I caution you that your acts will pay you back.

You have written the same idea that I wrote by further expanding it as “you shall reap the results of what acts-confirming-dharma you commit and what acts-non confirming-to-dharma you commit.”

This means that for an act that confirms to Dharma you will reap the positive results. For an act that does not confirm to Dharma, you will reap negative results. The result will be in accordance with the nature of the act done. That is the reason the resultant karma of meat eating is reflected in the body as diseases.

Moreover as our birth is not strictly into human forms, the meat eater gets birth into animal forms to undergo the same suffering as the animals experienced for his sake. The diseases and the killing animals for food had increased manifold nowadays because more and more people had taken to meat eating in the recent century.

(continued)

jayasree said...

// In Vaalmiki Ramayana, the verses are crystal clear on hunting animals and eating by Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, as well as Lakshmana following the Gandharvaa's advice (after Kabandha was killed and turned into the gandharva) to serve Rama fresh fish from the river near Sugreevaa's rushymooka mountain.//

This is like telling that when people direct me to a place, they would mention Saravana Bhavan and KFC on the way where I can take food. That does not mean that I will eat at KFC. Kabhanada also tells about fruits available in that region which Lakshmana could fetch him. So he has told whatever is available on the way or in the vicinity, BUT there is no verse saying that Lakshmana did fetch the fishes for eating.

It is horrible to read this quote (on Kabhanda) from you, because in the very verse where Kabhanda tells about hunting birds for eating, he says that those birds were never killed by people and therefore they never got disturbed by human presence and never knew the art of saving themselves from being hunted. But you believe that Lakshmana killed such birds and Rama savoured them! A demon like Kabhanda can say that and it is left to the discriminatory intellect of people to know whether Lakshmana killed and Rama ate them. A Sanathana Dharmist is one who possesses such a discriminatory knowledge (sukshma buddhi).

Similarly in Vali vadam, Rama tells that hunting and killing is done by meat eating people but Rama did not kill Vali for hunting purpose or for eating purpose. I am starting a series of articles on this issue in Ramayana where I will address all the mis-interpreted verses.

// Please read sanskrit slokaas in Valmiki ramayana and dispel this ignorance that Kaakutsha (and Kshatriya varna) dynasty did not eat meat.//

It is obvious from your quote of Kabhanda and Vali that you have not read Valmiki Ramayana verses properly. And your non-apprehension of the issue here, being that Sanathana Dharma does not support or lend sanction to meat eating and that Valmiki Ramayana at no place tells of Rama as eating or having eaten meat is well attested by your last sentence. Whether Kshatriyas of whichever dynasty ate meat is not an issue. Eating meat is one’s choice, but don’t justify it by bringing in Santana Dharma and Rama.

Jay said...

@Jayasree, you are right, PHds are dime a dozen these days, they are as common as engineers graduating. There is a fundamental flaw in your arguments, that have led to your misconceptions. I will address this in subsequent paras, since I want to address couple things you raised first. That fundamental flaw is also where sookma buddhi is required to grasp it, and a sanatana dhaarmist will grasp it, unlike you. You don't demonstrate such sookshma buddhi based on your writings.

//So you agree that eggs are prohibited. And by the next line you imply that it is for ‘confirming dharma’. What is that Dharma? ...// - Dharma is what the dharma shaastras say, it is what Sri Rama and Sri Krishna (and all avataaraas of the eternal omnipotence per our puranaas) followed as indicated in Vaalmiki Ramayana and Vyasa Mahabharata, especially. Dharma shaastras include Yaagnayavalkya smriti, Manu Smiriti among others plus vedas. What they state is dharma. Such dharma is enunciated by Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, and what they did and said helps us understand the dharma. This is where you and I differ. I take what these shaastra say as dharma, whereas you are demonstrating that you take what your mind tells you as dharma and are trying to justifying it by using terms such as Sookshma buddhi, something you need to develop based on your writings.

Eggs are prohibited because infanticide is a sin in shaastras. That is it. When animals come off youth, they are slaughtered for yagnya, per our shaastras. So your entire arguments following my above quote are invalid.

I take what Vaalmiki says, he clearly says that Lakshmana killed a fish in Pampa, heated it and served it to Rama who ate it. You refuse to take the literal translation, and thus are providing on your blog your own interpretation of the text. And this appears to be because of your lacing the sookshma buddhi required to understand what is 'lying' and what is not, per sanatana dharma. You further equate english 'truth' to sanskrit 'satya', which further pushes you far away from gaining the sookshma buddhi required to understand the dharma. I will not reveal the difference between these here, I will wait for you to write your articles on vaalmiki ramayana as you mentioned, so that I can correct the falsities you will express in guise of pushing on others your prejudice and bias.

Coming to the fundamental flaw in your opinions and bias and in others' whose articles you copy paste as your own opinions on your blog, it is this. Plants are also living beings, per science as well as per Sanatana Dharma. Of course we all know now that flora is alive and feels pain per scientific advancement achieved during the last century, all thanks to Jagadish Chandra Bose's groundbreaking/pioneering work in that area. But sanatana dharma already classified, eons ago, that life arises in four forms - andaja (arising from eggs), udhbhuja (arising tearing earth, i.e. flora), swedaja (arising from waste liquids) and finally jarayuga (coming from womb). Which means, that whether you eat meat or plants, you eat killed life only. And both flora and fauna bleed. The blood of mammalian fauna has Hemoglobin with iron as the central mineral in it, whereas the blood of flora has Chlorophyll with Magnesium as it's central mineral, that's the only difference between the blood of these two (the only difference between constituents of Hemoglobin and Chlorophyll). But in reality, it causes no difference to our concerns, because both iron and magnesium are metallic atoms. So your entire arguments about kaarmic debt and other asinine arguments about causing pain due to killing need to be discarded as ramblings of a prejudiced and biased individual, because we cannot survive without it & Sanatana Dharma accommodated that.

Jay said...

Puranaas have demonstrated to us repeatedly how dhaarmic and adhaarmic acts have come back to be repaid over lifetimes. They have demonstrated this using ancient acts and lifetimes of many historical individuals in our sanatana itihaasic history. Many many adhaarmic acts were mentioned, discussed and dissected to provide such understanding/clarity in our puranaas. Nowhere and in no purana was mentioned the act of eating meat during such adhaarmic deeds to be repaid in current lifetime. So your arguments (bias and prejudice driven clearly) on adhaarmic debt due to eating meat is without foundation and is simply your misconstrued assumption only; and a person who eats the meat of animals permitted in our shaastraas and mentioned by Sri Rama to Vaali in Vaalmiki Ramayana after sanctifying such food by offering to gods first, will NOT accrue any paapa because such an act is NOT adhaarmic. It cannot be if you apply sookshma buddhi and common sense, because similar adhaarmic debt will be accrued by eating plant and roots and tree based food also, if it were.

If you are still stubbornly holding on to your misconceptions, then remember you will accrue the karmic debt of killing life causing it immense pain when you partake in eating vegetables, per your own incorrect biased logic. The pain suffered by a plant or a tree when we uproot it or slice and cut it, will be the same when an animal who is killed experiences. Just because plants and trees do not talk and voice out does not mean that they don't feel it. Flora is much larger and more dense and bigger than fauna also.

It is crystal clear from your arguments you express in your writings, that you have not really read all of Vaalmiki ramayana sanskrit slokas and instead read some translative or interpretative text on Vaalmiki Ramayana and are expressing opinions of others without doing your own research. It is obvious that you lack the sthuula buddhi, forget sookshma buddhi for comprehending sanatana dharma. Once again, nothing wrong being a vegetarian, but don't force your bias and prejudice on others by imposing it as Sanatana Dhamra and by bringing Sri Rama into it. Sri Rama was a sanatana dhaarmist and he lived dhaarmically, and per Vaalmiki he ate meat of deer and fish as permitted by sanatana dharma.

jayasree said...

Please quote the verse from Valmiki Ramayana that says that Lakshmana cooked fish from the Pampa and fed Rama.

Read my article on Sanathanaic rules of cutting trees and the concept of Panchangni Vidya which is about how a jeeva passes through the stages to be born as a human being. Plant life is in that chain. http://jayasreesaranathan.blogspot.in/2012/02/plants-talk-to-each-other-and-we-can.html The article in this link answers your views on eating plants.

To know more about Panchagni Vidya which accepts only Veg food in the chain for birth read Changogya Upanishad 5- 4 – 1 to 5 -8 – 2 and Brahma Sutra 3 -1- 22 to 27.

Jay said...

@Jayasree

Regarding your question, you being a researcher need to pick up gita press or another original sanskrit verses of valmiki ramayana and read the last few sargas of Aranya Kanada to see the verses of Sri Rama eating fish.

Regarding the link you provided, I read that article. And now I am convinced your misconceptions arise due to couple misunderstandings. 1) You are equating Sanyaasi dharma with Hindu dharma. This is, IMO, the first and foremost reason for your misconceptions. I (& you should too) follow Grihasta aashrama dharma, which permits sacrificing and eating meat. Most slokaas people typically quote from Mahabharata also relate to sanyaasi context of living.

2) You are unable to see that the same way certain rites are conducted before cutting a tree, certain rites (through yagnyaas and offerings) are conducted before cutting down an animal. Similarly, even though you have started with the Panchagani concepts, you do need to achieve closure to it by acknowledging that NO birth is possible without sacrifice of flesh and blood (tearing of vagina, loss of placenta and blood in case of human birth). Without tearing up the earth, plants cannot take birth. Without tearing up a woman, a child cannot take birth. Sacrifice is at the root of all existence and at the root of all achievements (sacrificing comforts such as movies or sports or music to study hard and get good grades). Without sacrificing life/life's-comforts, human existence is not possible similarly. And that is why our shaastraas have clearly denoted which animals can be hunted and eaten and which we should not. Sri Rama clarifies this to Vaali in Vaalmiki Ramayana.

Sanatana Dharma did not make sacrifices a central focus for our well being for nothing.

jayasree said...

@ Jay

Write down here the Aranya khanda verse of Valmiki Ramayana that you say describes Rama eating fish and prove that.