Community on Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda and Spirituality
Does it not amount to sinful violence to kill an animal or get it killed, particularly in the case of those
who are out for spiritual advancement? Does it not sound suicidal for a hermit to sit all his
life on the skin of a dead animal and aspire for deliverance or Mukti for himself?
The most important point to remember in connection with the use of deer-skin or tigerskin
as Asana or seat is that the animal is never killed for obtaining its skin. The deer was always
a part of the ancient Ashrams of Sannyasins and Maharshis; and they should have found the skin
of the deer, when it died its natural death, an easily procurable material for the Asan. To those
living in dense jungles, therefore, deer-skin and the bark of trees should have been more easily
and abundantly available than cloth.
Tiger-skins, too were procured in a similar way, though much less numerically, and that
accounts for the wider use of the deer-skin as Asana. In fact, Mriga-charma is prescribed for
Asana; and Mriga means deer.
From the spiritual point of view, the sages found that doing Sadhana seated on a deer-skin
was highly conducive to Siddhi. The power generated in the body through Sadhana was
preserved by the skin.
From "May I answer that" by Swami Sivananda (1987-1963). More Informations on Swami Sivananda: on the Website of Divine Life Society, Photographs of Swami Sivananda, German Pages on Swami Sivananda