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Re: Ahimsa paramo dharmaha
Date: Wed Jul 29 1998 - 21:38:15 PDT


Mani's recent response is in consonance with the promptings of my conscience. 

In a message dated 98-07-29 18:24:41 EDT, Mani writes:

<<  But I find it very hard to accept that SrIman nArAyaNa is happy with us
 unnecessary harm to thousands of His creatures .....  >>

Non-violence, never to hurt, in thought, word or deed, is a supreme state of
living and is the ultimate goal. To understand and experience the common
thread in everything around prompts a 'hurt never' attitude. In fact, this is
the basic teaching of the Gita:  1. God is all pervasive. 2. Therefore,
conduct yourself in such a way as to never harm others or yourself.

In the quotation given by Mani, "Ahimsa paramo dharmaha" both ahimsa and
dharma need to be understood and then will be found the same. How can himsa be
ever dharmic?

The command of Krishna for Arjuna in terms of not only what to do but how to
do it needs to be reverentially understood so one can think intellectually
about dharma. What was Arjuna's problem, what was his duty, who was the
beneficiary (Mani caught this succinctly when he wrote 'for higher good') of
his act, what was the situation, what was being set right etc etc need to be
carefully considered. Sriman Narayana is the Doctor. What He diagnoses as the
illness, what he prescribes as the medicine and the regiment - how can these
be ever worng?

When the intellectual understanding is not in line with the promptings of the
conscience (with the Vishnu who is viswam), it is time to revisit the
intellectual limitations again, put the gifts of viveka and vichara in high
gear and understand, if one must, from the perspective of the conscience. From
this perspective, I believe that the animal sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas
refer not to the killing of animals per se, but to the sacrifice of the animal
tendencies (gunas) in man. If our dear Acharya, Ramanuja, is to be interpreted
correctly and understood in full justice to his demonstrated 'lokaas
samasthaassukhino bhavanthu (may all worlds be well)' attitude,  then I
understand his message that 'animal sacrifice is good for the animal' to mean
that sacrificing animal tendencies, man rises from the animal level of
behavior to the human level of conduct.  

For your kind consideration.