Misconception about Animal Sacrifice
After a series of discussions, I am back with a spiritual post. I have another serious topic for discussion which I would post soon. After my post on the "Inner meaning of the Caste System" - I would like to put up this post which tells you the inner meaning of sacrifice in Hinduism unfortunately misinterpreted by the common man as sacrificing animals to Hindu Gods.
According to Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba [Dharma Vahini - Chapter 1]:
"You have to understand ancient Dharmakarmas by entering into their symbolic meaning. The spiritual field has many a technical term, with its own special connotation. These have to be clearly understood, so that you can grasp correctly the teaching of the Sastras. Let us take an example: People used to celebrate Yajnas in ancient times; and they sacrificed Pasus or animals in these Yajnas. But, the animal is only a symbol. It was not the dumb creature that had to be cut to pieces. The animal leads a life of sacrifice, without man completing its career at the sacrificial pole! The animal that has to be disemboweled and offered is different; in the spiritual vocabulary, animal means "the body-consciousness", "the I-consciousness"; and it is this that has to be slaughtered. The Lord is known as Pasupathi or Govinda; Pasupathi means the Lord of all Jivas, Pasu meaning Jiva; Govinda means the Guardian of Cows or Jivas, "Go" meaning Jiva. The tending of cows is a symbolic leela of Krishna to indicate His Mission of tending Jivas."
This is what the Saiva Siddhantha preaches as Pasu-Pathi-Paasam. Its three basic codes are 1. Pasu(the contained state of the spirit) 2. Paasam (the three threads that bind -Ego, Karma and Mysticism) 3. Pathi (primordial matter - God). Liberation of the spirit from attachments and attaining salvation (Mukthi) and identifying with God is the ultimate aim.
Unfortunately, people have misunderstood these concepts and ended up slaying animals for sacrifice.