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Organizations like PETA seem to be working through the judicial system to end the practice of animal sacrifice. A recent example of this was a petition by another organization to end animal sacrifice at Gadhi Mai, which was cleared by the Supreme Court.

Jesus said "render unto caesar what is caesar's". Do Hindu scriptures talk about how to handle conflicts between prescriptions in scripture and the secular law of the land, particularly in animal sacrifice?

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The idea of a secular sphere is of western origin. I must point out that the Jesus teaching about rendering to Caesar is an anachronism and was certainly not spoken by Jesus. The reason to disbelieve is that there was no church while Jesus was alive (assuming he was a historical figure). Depending on which gospel you read, the public life of Jesus of Nazareth lasted between 1 to 3 years. No church could possibly have grown in such a short time. So it was pointless to talk about rendering to Caesar since only Caesar was around and no Church. This saying was inserted into Jesus's mouth in the gospels by its anonymous authors many decades after the death of Jesus for political reasons. The Christian Church in the late first century was still too weak to challenge the power of the Roman state and this explains the anachronistic statement. Later this statement has served the important purpose of defanging the political influence of the Christian Church.

Hinduism has never developed the secular idea since all this universe is Brahman.

Verily, all this universe is Brahman. From Him do all things originate, into Him do they dissolve and by Him are they sustained. ................

Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1

A King is not a secular figure in Hinduism. A King is a ksatriya and is subject to ksatriya dharma.

King gets merits or demerits

The King derives his highest good by protecting his people. A King who protects his people well, will derive one-sixth of the merits of his subjects in the life hereafter. But a King who collects taxes from people without administering their affairs properly, will lose all the merits to his credit and will inherit the sins of his people to boot.

Srimad Bhagavata Purana iV.20.14

So how does Hinduism handle any conflict between the state and scriptural saying? There are 2 escape routes for a Hindu.

'...Reflecting on this entire teaching do as you think fit'.

Gita 18.63

Even the Lord does not demand slavish acceptance of scripture. A Hindu is free to disagree with scripture if any scriptural statement goes against his conscience. Thus he has the right to agree with the state if the state does anything that is correct in his view.

The second escape route is what Hindu scripture has to say about ancient customs and traditions.

Attitude towards ancient custom

Bhishma continued,'Tuladhara said,"One should practice what one considers to be one’s duty, guided by reasons, instead of blindly following the practices of the world."'

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section CCLXII

There may be an objection here. Can a Hindu object to a custom that is considered as part of dharma? The answer is yes.

However, discard the desire (kama) and material wealth (artha) if contrary to Dharma; as also, any usage or custom or rules regarded as source of Dharma if at any time they were to lead to unhappiness or arouse people's indignation.

Manu Smriti 4.176

  • So according to Manu 4.176, respecting people's will, Rama should've returned to Ayodhya instead of spending 14 years in a forest? – sv. Feb 18 '18 at 17:31
  • Manu 4.176 is talking of discarding usage, custom or rules that arouse societal indignation or unhappiness. Examples would be Sati, caste rules that affect in a negative manner society. Rama's choice of upholding his father's promise is a one off event and does not fall in the categories of usage, custom or rules. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Feb 19 '18 at 11:01
  • @PradipGangopadhyay Off topic, about Jesus, it is not exactly like that: Jesus was born in a Jew-hebrew religion, very ancient, very deep, and rooted, in Israel country. There were not church as christian churches, but synagogues, and there was sacred scriptures (torah, prophets, and talmud, and more) which Jesus knew and taught very well to all his people (Jews). Still now Jews people have that scriptures. About year 60 BC, Roma conquered Israel, and later on, in time of Caesar, coins with Caesar face reach Israel, as reach other countries in the world, even India – Indra Feb 21 '18 at 23:05
  • "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" Matthew 22:21, Jesus was speaking to Jewissh people, dominated by romans, who were forced to pay tribute with roman money. And Jesus words were about how to relate to the world with the worldly things, and the Spirit with the Spirit things. Very similar to Krishna's words BG 8.7 "Therefore, always remember me and also do your duty of fighting the war. With mind and intellect surrendered to me, you will definitely attain me; of this, there is no doubt" – Indra Feb 21 '18 at 23:05
  • The meaning of Krishna's words is: give to the battle your fight-using-your-body, but give your attention unto Me. Also you can read Paramahamsa Yogananda's the divine romance, page 118 About "So it was pointless to talk about rendering to Caesar since only Caesar was around and no Church". But Jesus spoke those words inside Jewish Solomon Temple, the most sacred temple for Jewish people, and spoke that to priests and common people (jews priests are called rabbi). Btw, on 30AC (Jesus times), Caesar was dead many years before – Indra Feb 21 '18 at 23:06
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In Mahabharata Santi Parva Section CCLXII, is a little long, but worth it:

Whatever fruits one enjoys by penances, by sacrifices, by practising liberality, by speaking the truth, and by paying court to wisdom, may all be had by practising the duty of harmlessness. That person who gives unto all creatures the assurance of harmlessness obtains the merit of all sacrifices and at last wins fearlessness for himself as his reward. There is no duty superior to the duty of abstention from injuring other creatures. He of whom, O great ascetic, no creature is frightened in the least, obtains for himself fearlessness of all creatures. He of whom everybody is frightened as one is of a snake ensconced within one's (sleeping) chamber, never acquires any merit in this world or in the next. The very gods, in their search after it, become stupefied in the track of that person who transcends all states, the person, viz., who constitutes himself the soul of all creatures and who looketh upon all creatures as identical with his own self. Of all gifts, the assurance of harmlessness to all creatures is the highest (in point of merit).

And later on...

Amongst diverse conflicting ordinances, some succeed in comprehending duty by observing the acts of the good. 3 Why dost thou not consume them that emasculate bulls and bore their noses and cause them to bear heavy burthens and bind them and put them under diverse kinds of restraint, and that eat the flesh of living creatures after slaying them? Men are seen to own men as slaves, and by beating, by binding, and by otherwise subjecting them to restraints, cause them to labour day and night. These people are not ignorant of the pain that results from beating and fastening in chains.

And keeps going, this is interesting:

In every creature that is endued with the five senses live all the deities. Surya, Chandramas, the god of wind, Brahman, Prana, Kratu, and Yama (these dwell in living creatures), There are men that live by trafficking in living creatures! When they earn a living by such a sinful course, what scruples need they feel in selling dead carcases? The goat is Agni. The sheep is Varuna. The horse is Surya. Earth is the deity Virat. The cow and the calf are Soma. The man who sells these can never obtain success. But what fault can attach to the sale of oil, or of Ghrita, or honey, or drugs, O regenerate one?

(BTW here drugs means medicine)

There are many animals that grow up in ease and comfort in places free from gnats and biting insects. Knowing that they are loved dearly by their mothers, men persecute them in diverse ways, and lead them into miry spots abounding with biting insects. Many draft animals are oppressed with heavy burthens. Others, again, are made to languish in consequence of treatment not sanctioned by the scriptures.

pay attention here:

I think that such acts of injury done to animals are in no way distinguished from foeticide.

and then

People regard the profession of agriculture to be sinless. That profession, however, is certainly fraught with cruelty. The iron-faced plough wounds the soil and many creatures that live in the soil. Cast thy eyes, O Jajali, on those bullocks yoked to the plough. Kine are called in the Srutis the Unslayable. That man perpetrates a great sin who slays a bull or a cow.

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In days of yore, many Rishis with restrained senses addressed Nahusha, saying, 'Thou hast, O king, slain a cow which is declared in the scriptures to be like unto one's mother. Thou hast also slain a bull, which is declared to be like unto the Creator himself. Thou hast perpetrated an evil act, O Nahusha, and we have been exceedingly pained at it.' For cleansing Nahusha, however, they divided that sin into a hundred and one parts and converting the fragments into diseases cast them among all creatures. Thus, O Jajali, did those highly-blessed Rishis cast that sin on all living creatures, and addressing Nahusha who had been guilty of foeticide, said, 'We shall not be able to pour libations in thy sacrifice.' Thus said those high-souled Rishis and Yatis conversant with the truths of all things, having ascertained by their ascetic power that king Nahusha had not been intentionally guilty of that sin.

Finally...

These, O Jajali, are some of the wicked and dreadful practices that are current in this world. Thou practisest them because they are practised by all men from ancient times, and not because they agree with the dictates of thy cleansed understanding. One should practise what one considers to be one's duty, guided by reasons, instead of blindly following the practices of the world. Listen now, O Jajali, as to what my behaviour is towards him that injures and him that praises me. I regard both of them in the same light. I have none whom I like and none whom I dislike. The wise applauded such a course of conduct as consistent with duty or religion. Even this course of conduct, which is consistent with reasons, is followed by Yatis. The righteous always observe it with eyes possessed of improved vision.'"

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First, the Christian quote given is often quoted but misinterpreted. What Jesus was saying is that give to God what 'YOU' think you should give and give to Caesar [the secular world] what 'YOU' think you should give. This is mostly interpreted as to ok to follow secular rules sometimes, and God sometime. He does not say to follow both. A better idea of what Jesus really thought is given in Matthew 6.24 (King James version)

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Decide - one or the other; you cannot have both. He continues to explain this through the subsequent verses until verse 34 where he says

Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the thing itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

In Manu Smriti (II.6) it says:

The whole Veda is the (first) source of sacred law, next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who know the (Veda further), also the customs of holy men, and (finally) self-satisfaction.

and in II.10:

But by the Sruti (revelation) is meant the Veda, and by Smriti (tradition) the Institutes of the sacred law: those two must not be called into question in any matter, since from those two the sacred law shone forth.

you will notice it says "...in any matter". Follow the law of God in all matters. Both the Christian and Hindu scriptures agree.

  • Totally wrong with respect to the Jesus quote. His enemies were trying to get him in trouble with the Romans by getting him to recommend not paying taxes to the Romans and Jesus cleverly parried their question. – S K Feb 22 '18 at 12:11
  • @SK Yes, you are right, they were trying to trap him, and isn't what he said in line with my comment on what he said? I don't see a conflict. And isn't the second quote more in line with his real thought? – Swami Vishwananda Feb 23 '18 at 4:12

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