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halth, transplants etc..

vsundar_at_technologist.com
Date: Fri Jul 23 1999 - 06:56:52 PDT

I agree with Sri Gopaul Lakshmanan <visnu_sri@hotmail.com> that this is a timely topic, and we would all benefit from discussing it well. 

As a religion, we are quite specific about the exchange of what have been called 'coded substances' in indological literature : food, body fluids etc., to the extent of regulating the exchange of these. Thus, proscriptions against 'theettu's and 'asesham's of various sorts etc. have some shastric arguments behind them.

This being the case, I'm not sure organ transplants are acceptable, if one hews to these shastras. I'm sure we have all heard anecdotes about orthodox Vaishnavas who have refused allopathic (western) drugs on shastric grounds.

Leaving aside the probability of vedic cryogenic surgery, I'm not sure there is a cut and dried asnwer that says "You shall not receive organ/blood transfers"...

"On the other end of the spectrum, I am deeply disturbed by the fact that lot of pregnancies are terminated before their term in India (for whatever
reason). If that is acceptable to Hinduism

I do believe that the mahabharata refers to specific injunctions against abortions, referred to as "bhrUNa hatya".  'parihaara' for this may also be found in some brahmanas.

" then I would say transplants and life
support are perfectly O.K. for all.

I fail to see this connection. Most of us can agree that the termination of a pregnancy is a regrettable and difficult reason. Some of us believe that organ and blood donation are excellent causes. Why should life support be acceptable if abortion is ?

On the grounds that the body is the medium of performance of karma, and that it should be maintained, I agree that maintaining health is an excellent thing. The devil, as always, is in the details. 

Is there an argument from the Sri Vaishnava viewpoint that organ and blood donation are acceptable and/or to be encouraged, regardless of human origin ?

Is there an argument against it ? On what grounds are either of these arguments supported ?

Do we have a position on life support ?

In all these questions, I'm looking for an 'ex cathedra' position. I am sure that we all have personal opinions on these, with reasons to back them up. I look forward to the discussion.

Regards to all,

Sundar




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