Animal Sacrifice – More myths, less facts


As per Nighantu, Yajna has 15 meanings.

यज्ञ:| वेन: | अध्वर: | मेघ: | विदथ: | नार्य: | सवनम् | होत्रा | इष्टि: | देवताता| मख: | विष्णु: | इन्दु: | प्रजापति: | धर्म इति यज्ञस्य |

In Sanskrit, all meaning-bundles like above, carry one thing in common i.e. Theme. They all represent similar theme in different situation, on different planes (आधिदैविक, आधि-भौतिक, आध्यात्मिक).

This post is about Animal sacrifice so we will consider word most nearest to meaning ‘Sacrifice’ and bypass other meanings.

इष्टि: – Sacrifice to fulfill others’ wish, fruits. पश्व इष्टि – wish for group’s, troop’s, community’s welfare and act upon fulfilling their wish. i.e Selfless work for society without society’s knowing about it.

वस्य इष्टि – seeking or desire for the better i.e.for welfare. When we understand this word on भौतिक plane, it means to engage self in such activities which can bear good living to mass. Sacrifice your wealth, your things for others. For physical and mental health of mass (Family, Neighborhood, Village, Nation), our seer-scientists (ऋषि) gave us some rituals called यज्ञ.

In यज्ञ, we sacrifice certain items whose resultant fire is potent enough to provide mental and physical health to mass within short time. Our topic is about Animal-sacrifice so we will not go in details and benefits of this ritual.

When the ritual is about physical and mental health of mass, it must employ such elements for sacrifice to sacred fire which can bring positive impact. चरक is indisputable authority in health science. Read what he says:

आदिकाले खलु यज्ञेषु पशवः समालभनीया बभूवुर्नालम्भाय प्रक्रियन्ते स्म । ततो दक्षयज्ञं प्रत्यवरकालं मनोः पुत्राणां नरिष्यन्नाभागेक्ष्वाकुनृगशर्यात्यादीनां क्रतुषु पशूनामेवाभ्यनुज्ञानात् पशवः प्रोक्षणमवापुः अतश्च प्रत्यवरकालं पृषध्रेण दीर्घसत्रेण यजता पशूनामलाभाद्गवामालम्भः प्रवर्तितः तं दृष्ट्वा प्रव्यथिता भूतगणाः तेषां चोपयोगादुपाकृतानां गवां गौरवादौष्ण्यादसात्म्यत्वादशस्तोपयोगाच्चोपहताग्नीनामुपहतमनसां चातीसारः पूर्वमुत्पन्नः पृषध्रयज्ञे| (चरक -चिकित्सास्थान -एकोनविंशोऽध्यायः-४)

Charak says, originally Animals were brought to place of sacrifice to receive best benefits (Their presence was solicited as they were part of local universe/environ) and not sacrifice them in the ritual. Later, people started ignoring their (Animals) presence and its impact on ritual fruits, and started killing cows in name of sacrifice. Due to these killings, other animals in surroundings go haywire. Panic all over. As a result, अतिसार type indigestion illness spread in society.