Hinduism and Euthenesia

S Krishna mahadevasiva at hotmail.com
Wed May 14 21:48:59 UTC 1997

Dr Jayant Bapat writes:
>>Dear Colleagues
>>A friend of mine has recently asked me what the position of 
>>Hinduism is in relation to Euthenesia. I do not know of any 
>>sources within Hinduism that have embraced this topic.
>>Can someone help?
>>Jayant Bapat

If I remember right, many traditional commentators on Hinduism condemn 
euthanasia. Some seem to view it as an abrupt termination of ones Pra
rabdha Karma, which would lead to greater grief in the next janma
while others seem to interpret as an act of a human being playing
God( i.e. the view that is offered by many Christian scholars).
   Interestingly enough, the main objection to this view seems to
have been offered by Charaka, the Ayurvedic practitioner. To the
best of my understanding, he seems to have taken the view that
 while falling sick can be interpreted as Karma, taking medication
for it ( or the type of medication) is not really dictated by Karma.
Therefore, when you had a patient suffering from a disease such that
he/she had reached the point of no return, it was acceptable to
reduce the suffering by termination( This was an extension of the
principle of overcoming a curable disease through medication).
Dr S.Cromwell Crawford, I believe also quotes Mahatma Gandhi as 
having supported this kind of "abrupt termination" of life inspite
of his rigid stand on Himsa vs Ahimsa, on the ground that it helped
decrease the suffering of the patient in the long run. 
    There is a book by Dr S.Cromwell Crawford which covers this topic in a fair 
amount of detail ( can't recollect the name of the book
offhand....something to do with Hindu Ethics)


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