Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Significance of a Yagna

This is in reply to one of the comments my friend made in the earlier post....this is a big topic, hence thought of blogging abt. this as well separately.

The belief of Yagna, is manifold...

The central belief of a Yagna, I will try to explain with the help of a story to be more clear:

An uneducated farmer goes to a telegraph office in his village and asks for a money order to be sent to his son who is studying in the city. So he goes to the Telegraph master and gives him a 100 rupee note , and requests it be sent to his son. The telegraph master sends a telegraph order through Morse code to the office at the city and then tells this farmer that the money has been sent.

To this the farmer says "Why are you lying to me, the 100 rupee note is still in your hands".

The farmer does not understand what is meant by a telegraph, and you cannot explain it to him that easily. Just as the telegraph has been sent to the son without the ACTUAL movement of the 100 rupee note, the belief of a Yagna is that anything that is offered in the "Sacrifical Fire" will be sent to the appropriate God.

According to the Gurus of this system of sacrifice, we are the farmers, who are yet to comprehend how this offering reaches the Gods.

Read this : http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part5/chap16.htm (and keep reading it by pressing the next button for more info)

Now why should we offer sacrifices: http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part5/chap19.htm

Some of you may kid the analogy that has been mentioned therein, but the fact is that, as we grow older, we feel how childish we were for many things in the past...it just means we are getting wiser. Perhaps, we need to have faith and more belief, and then will slowly come to understand that the analogy is perhaps true.

The reason why analogy is given to humans is because, we fail to comprehend when some things are said to us in the first go. To make life easier and to instill belief analogies are used. When we say every action has an equal and opposite reaction, we donot understand how...but when we give an example such as two balls coming in opposite directions colliding with each other, we seem to understand it better. Hence, in case you are a non-believer of the above system, it is not necessary for you to believe what is said, but you could read it for the sake of knowledge. In case you are a believer, then trust it fully.

Lastly, read this http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part19/chap3.htm, said by Sri Chandrasekara Saraswati Swamigal, (great words)

"The point to noted is that if you believe in the sastras you must believe in them fully. If you are an atheist you could of course reject all of them. But to make a show of being very clever and twist the sastras as you like, accepting some parts or rejecting or changing some others, is an offence more grave than that of being an atheist. To think that Mother Veda should dance to our tune is also a great offence. Learning the Vedas in such an attitude is tantamount to ridiculing them. "

Monday, April 04, 2005

Mistaken Beliefs

I happened to read one of my friends' blog recently where he has mentioned about the Sankara Mutt being an organization that serves the Brahmin Community and has gone on to insult it and talk of caste discrimination and stuff. It has sort of made me realize how little people are aware of this organization and the true greatness of it as well as some more things on Brahmins. Here is an attempt to clarify certain things about the Sankara Mutt and about Brahmins in general.

1) Before I begin, I start on this axiom : "Every organization has a motto and a set of beliefs. IF you expect an organization to function without a motto or a direction , you could rather not expect it to be existent at all. If having a set of beliefs is wrong, then the whole world be damned for everyone believes in something. Even nihilists believe in not believing in anything".

The Sankara Mutt has its foundations based on the Varnasrama System, which believes that every man should do the duty that his caste specifies and does not infringe on the duty of others, in other words, a software engineer should not drive an auto for a living because that is causing unnecessary competition for the Auto Driver. Whether or not the Varnasrama System is valid or not is another issue altogether. I am not interested in arguing upon that, all I want to say is that, the members of Sankara mutt have some particular belief. They practice what they believe. As long as they are not disturbing the peace and tranquility of other people by practicing their belief, everyone else can shut their **** and keep quiet.

Now, coming to this so called practice that has been so badly accused, torn apart, criticised , exorcised, and insulted in so many places.

What is it that people complain about? I broadly classify them into the following categories:

1) Brahmins are not allowing other caste members to chant the vedas - To be frank, being a brahmin and practicing the duties of a brahmin to the book is not something that you need to envy about. It is not a 5 star hotel stay with your bills paid by your father in law. Here is a partial list of what you are supposed to do and not do if you want to do the duty of a Brahmin as specified by the scriptures:

a) Get up EVERY DAY (no sundays) at 4 AM. Start with your Sandhyavandhanam (a prayer), and then there are a lot of homams(sacrifices, not animal sacrifice, but sacrifice made with Ghee, and oil) which you have to do right from 4 o clock until afternoon 12 o clock. Sitting in front of the fire for such a long time everyday is no mean task.
b) You are not supposed to eat till 12. After 12 you can have lunch, and then you again get on with chanting the Vedas till evening.
c) Evening you again do the Sandhyavandhanam , and listen to some Mahabharata/Ramayana stories recited by your guru etc.. and go to sleep at around 8 PM after your dinner.
d) No Eggs allowed in your diet. No Non vegetarian. No onions. No Garlic. And very staunch Brahmins have even additional restrictions like No Salt. These people have to beg for their food. They cannot cultivate/purchase from others.
e) Coming to the Mantras they chant, these mantras are not for Self but are for the welfare of the society. Just go and read any mantra from the Vedas and the Upanishads and it will have the word "we" in it rather than the word "I". Which means, they are praying for the welfare of you and me and the world. Is that sinful? Even the Gayatri Mantra has "Dhiyo yonaha prachodayat" which means "from me let the this world benefit".

This kind of a ritual which the members of the Sankara Mutt follow does not seem to me like something that anyone would want to do badly in their lives. In fact, the food that they eat is begged from streets.

People who think the Sankara mutt is gladly enjoying the money sent by brahmins all over the world, please rethink. Please go and see for yourself what happens in these mutts. I have seen one subsidiary of the Sankara Mutt here at Hyderabad. There are 6 teachers, and they are so poor that they are literally living like beggars. Their life is not all that glossy as someone would imagine.

2) Secondly to People not being allowed inside temples - This I too strongly object to. This should not take place. And I definitely donot see this happening anywhere now. So no point again and again talking about what probably happened 150 years ago. Even the Britishers suppressed us, do we now go and scorn them? We rather want to go to UK and proudly tell everyone that I went on a foreign trip. (I am not generalising here... so please donot assume I am accusing someone in case you donot fall under this category)

Now, let me atleast try to explain why sometimes some persons are not being allowed, or atleast why this sort of a thing came into practice - When a person performs duties such as cleaning a gutter, or working on dirty places, he is usually dirty. Temples are supposed to be clean places. So if these people are allowed inside without cleaning themselves first, then it just makes the place dirty.

Of course, anyone who enters the temple has to first wash his feet and then enter. If everyone who enters the temple has taken bath/or is clean, then I donot mind even if he were a gutter cleaner or sweeper. But I will object to Anil Ambani entering the temple, if he is dirty.

Are you aware of why a Kumbhabhisekam is performed in a temple? It is performed after you renovate any temple because during any new construction/renovation work, brings a lot of dirt into the temple and the Kumbhabhishekam is for cleansing this dirt. Kumbha - means the topmost point in the temple (its dome). Abhishekam is cleansing by pouring water/milk etc, and chanting mantras.

But yes, it is true that a lot of injustice was happening in the past.

But off late, I get the feeling that Brahmins are the lot that are suffering now. Apart from being scorned by members of different societies, (for the injustice which their great great grandfathers meted out), the brahmins also have the problems of reservation everywhere.

It is like this now : An upper caste gets 90 percentile. A reserved candidate gets 80 percentile. The reserved candidate gets to study in the medical college because his great great grandfather was once not allowed inside the temple by the upper caste members great great grandfather. How stupid can you get?

I personally know a person who lived above my house whose dad is like a millionaire and can afford to spend good money and educate his son. But he was an SC, and his son got a seat in IIT C and did Computer science though he had a much less rank when compared to another counterpart.

I guess I am deviating from the main topic.

But anyways, people who scorn these practices, please realize that the Mutt, and the Brahmins are praying for the welfare of the whole world, and it is not that the Mutt serves only brahmins. IT IS NOT SO.

I would strongly sugest you read "Hindu Dharma" by Chandrasekara Saraswati Swamigal before you again scorn a brahmin/the mutt.