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Karma Kanda Is For Doers
Alexa: Dear Sundari, thank you so much for your love and clarity expressed in text on Vedanta and vegetarianism. Please help me with one clarification because there seems to be a contradiction.
Here it is: in the text, you use yukti and anubhava pramana (logic and experience) to draw certain conclusions, but what I would be interested to see is also sruti pramana. Being a Vedanta student, I have a great respect for the Vedas, and as I understand it the Vedas are pramana for areas not available to perception, therefore they are pramana for dharma and moksa.
Sundari: The Karma Kanda section of the Vedas are a pramana for dharma, not moksa. They are called dharma shastras, and they are a preparation for moksa. Only the sruti is a pramana for moksa.
Alexa: Eating meat belongs to dharma issues and therefore the Veda is valid in this matter.
Sundari: Yes, correct. This is the main teaching of my document.
Alexa: The Veda is clear about what food humans shall eat – avoiding meat-eating, as long as one has a choice. Meat can be eaten only when one’s own life is in danger and no other food is available.
And also, as I had heard Swamiji’s (Swami Paramarthananda) saying, “annam” in Sanskrit meant originally “plant kingdom,” therefore Isvara designed the plant kingdom as food to be eaten. That was said many times by Swami Paramarthananda, both in independent talks on dharma and also as side comments on the Brahma Sutras (please forgive me not quoting particular chapters and topics).
So here is my doubt: How to reconcile logic, experience and Vedic words?
In your text I have not found any comment or reference to the Vedas. If I missed it, please forgive me. My aim is only clarification of that point – I cannot reject Veda’s words (in the form of Swamiji’s teaching).
Please help me to clarify that apparent contradiction.
Sundari: No, you did not miss it. We are only talking logic and experience because we are talking about the apparent reality and how an inquirer navigates in the apparent reality.
Your question is a good one, I am glad you asked it. There is no contradiction between knowledge and experience in the document, because it is simply pointing out how things function in duality. Very importantly, Vedanta is at the end of the Vedas; it is not part of the Karma Kanda section of the Vedas. The Karma Kanda is for immature people who think they are doers and are identified with the body; these people are not knowledge-seekers, and they need rules. They need to be told how to live and what to do, what is right for them as jivas.
Vedanta is only for knowledge-seekers. It does not prescribe how the jiva lives, but it explains the dharma field, which is indirectly prescriptive because it is a set of natural laws which function a certain way, whether we like it or not. Knowledge-seekers are mature people who use discrimination to navigate the apparent reality based on their state of mind. If your state of mind is rajasic or tamasic, it is likely that you are violating some dharma of your body. To exercise discrimination the mind needs to be sattvic.
Knowledge-seekers do not need to be told what to do; they work this out for themselves according to their state of mind and their own dharma, which is subject to and in harmony with universal dharma, or Isvara. Remember also that ahimsa relates to non-injury of the body too.
~ Namaste, Sundari