Friday, September 12, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 32 of (Vol 2) of 08 Oct 2007.

Om Namah Sivaya.Deivathin Kural # 32 of (Vol 2) of 08 Oct 2007.(continued from DK # 31 of 05 Oct 2007.)98. From paragraph number One, in this series of e-mails, I have been talking to you about the greatness of Vedas. In the last edition, I talked about how Veda is the highest book of Law, in our religion. There is one more important attribute of Veda, unmatched elsewhere. That is, Yaga / Yagnam / Velvi / offering oblations to the deities through the medium of fire! The action of offering various things to please the Devatas, while chanting the necessary Mantra, is Yagyam. Yaagam or Yagyam is from the root word, 'yaj'. Actually those who know, write 'yajyam'. To 'yaj', is to pray. A feeling of a sense of gratitude towards God and His Ministry of Devatas is the undercurrent, in the action of devotion, that is known as Yagam or Yajyam.99. "mananaath thraayate iti mantra :", is the definition for Mantra. That is, 'what saves when repeated mentally'. 'Thraayate' means, that which saves. You may have become familiar with this word, 'thraanam', from the Baghawat Gita slokam, 'parithraanaaya saadhoonaam. ..'. Mananam is repeating mentally. You do not have to say it loud even. Enough to simply go through the chanting of the Mantra, mentally! All that I have explained earlier about the resonating effect on the 'Naadis' still take place. If you chant it loudly, anyhow it benefits even those who do not understand even a word of what you are saying! It gives the hearer so much satisfaction and pleasure; and it has the power to affect the very atmosphere salubriously! Now these Mantras, when combined with 'Karma' of 'Yaagam or Yagna'; then there is, involved participation of Mind, Body and Intellect, with action and speech; that is, 'mano, vaak, kaayam'.Not in Other Religions.100. Yagnam or Velvi, in principle and practice, is not to be found in any other religion! Our religion is known as Vaidika Madam, because it has the Vedas as the basic tenets. This Vaidika Madam differs from all other religions, on one major factor. In Christianity and Islam, all followers of the religion venerate and pray to one God. In the Vaidik religion too, it says that there is only one God, who is also the 'jeevan' or the individual soul! But that one God can be comprehended and understood, only by some of the followers of the religion, adopting the 'Gnana Marg', through the process of 'Atma Vichara' or Self - Realization, for which a very high level of maturity is required. When we become so identified with that one God, then the whole world becomes null and void. To attain to that level of maturity and ripeness, the only way that we can raise ourselves is to, prepare ourselves continuously while still involved in day-to-day life. Conduct one's own life most judiciously with the highest moral standards, to one's own satisfaction and approval, doing all our duties as laid, continuously cleansing our own minds; continuing the process till all the 'Karma' drops off automatically.101. In the process, the most important 'Karma' is this 'Velvi' / Yaagam. Instead of offering oblations to only one God, here it is offered to everyone of His Office Bearers! This unique system is prevalent only in this Vaidik Religion of ours and none else. It is not there in Christianity or Islam. Buddhism does not even recognise the existance of any God. So the question of offering oblations to God or deities, does not arise.102. In Yagna, many materials are dropped in the fire, after the chanting of the necessary Mantras. This is known as 'Homam'. Though put in fire, all the materials are not being offered to the 'Agni' Bagawan! Only those items as being specifically offered to Agni, go to him. Rest of the items go to those respective Gods. Other Deities such as Rudra, Varuna, Indra, Vishnu, Matariswan, Soman etc., recieve their shares. Do we not put all mails addressed to various people, in the same post box? The 'havis' meant for various Deities should be offered in the same fire of Homam.103. The biggest difference between this and other religions is that, in the Vaidik Madam, instead of restricting the devotionary process to only 'the God', through the fire we offer oblations to all the Devas. In God's creation, Devas are a 'set' of Deities variously empowered to carry out the appointed duties; something like the 'bureaucracy in God's Government'. Do we not say that, if we serve each other, God is pleased? Even those who have stopped believing in God, accept the high ideals of Social Service! In every language, there are proverbs to say that, 'to serve Man is to serve God'. Similarly, to serve the Devatas through 'homam' is to serve God only!104. Vedas emphasise repeatedly that, all that exists is one God only and that One God is also all the different things, materials, living things, human beings and also Deities and Devatas. While talking in praise of each God, whether it is Soma or Varuna or Vayu, that particular deity is praised as Paramatma! So it is still 'Monotheism' only. Just because Vedas talk of many Devatas, it does not become 'Polytheism' . All these are His Officers, so to say. What we call as Nature, is after all a conglomeration of many many systems and sub-systems, all of which have to have intelligent reporting systems, feedbacks, sensors and corrective mechanisms. All this cannot be left to inanimate objects, but entrusted to sentient beings. Those are the Devatas! As we have been created, they have also been created. He Himself became us and everything else too, says Adwaitam. So also He became these Devatas too. Till we attain to understanding this principle of Adwaitam, we have to think of ourselves as seperate individuals and continue being devoted to all the Devatas, as well as the One and Only God! Thinking of each Devata as seperate, we have to offer each, His or Her part of the share of the 'Aahuti' as ordained by the Vedas! As per God's orders, we have to pray to all the Gods for their kindness and blessings and keep them pleased. Once we have attained to Gnaanam or total comprehension, in all our understanding and humility, we are not bounden by the requirements of 'Karma' anymore. Till we have reached that level of comprehension, we are in the 'Dwaitap Prapancham', and our efforts towards realization has to continue, which includes 'upaasana' of Devatas through the 'Aahuti' in Yaagas / Velvi.Three Gains by Yaagam. 105. There are three gains in doing these Yagas. First one is that, as we live in this world, we benefit ourselves and other life forms, by the good will and blesings of the Devatas. Second, is to gain admittance to the Heavens and be happy there after our death in this world. Stay in Heavens is not forever. We could be there only till all the merits we have accumulated are used up. The happiness attainable in Heavens is not total or complete either. The happiness of self-realization called 'atma aanandam', when the infinitesimal single individual comes to realise his oneness with the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent; and that all his earlier deficiencies were only imagined; that happiness is complete 'poornatvam' . What the Heavens can offer is minor pittance comparatively. Adi Sankara, in Manisha Panchakam says that the happiness of heavens in comparison to 'Atma Aanandam' is only a fraction,('lesa lesam'. <-- Initially I typed this in bold letters. Then for really making it 'lesa', I thought that I should use the lower font! ). Third, is the most important gain in doing Yaagam. That is doing one's duty of Yaagam, not looking for GAINS! As Gita says, '...nish kamya karma...'. That is to raise above the binding effects of needs and wants. To think that, 'I am not interested in any advantages to myself, here or here-in-after; I shall do my duty as required of me. This Yaagam is also one of those duties'. If we are driven by such clarity of purpose, this very attitude will cause cleansing of hearts and minds and direct us towards the highest level of satisfaction and happiness; wherein we dissolve in 'paramatma swaroopa', without a forwarding address or residual identity! 106. Adi Sankara, who emphasised the preferability of 'Atma Satchtkara' or 'coming face to face with one's own real self' and the need for Gnaanam; also emphasised, "vedo nityam adheeyatam I Tat uditam karmasu anushteeyatam" . He said, "Daily chant the Vedas. The Karmas as given in the Vedas, (including the Yaaga Karmas), be strictly observed. You can easily see that, He was mainly directing us towards the Third Gain, as described in the above para. Because compared to the gains of 'Nish Kamya Karma', all other gains are minor points. So his orders to, 'chant the Vedas daily and strictly adhere to the duties as levied in the Vedas', are for optimum effectiveness. Mutual Helpfulness Between Human Beings and Devatas.107. This Yaaga / Yagna is not only rare and unique, but also very important, to our religion. Sri Krishna Baghawan talks about it in Baghawat Gita. He says that, as Brhma created the Human beings, He also created the Yagnas for them. In Chapter III, stanza 10, Brhma tells the Humans :- "Live doing the Yagnas, by which get all the benefits. Let the Yagnas be the Kamadenu that gives you all your needs and wants." 'saha yagna: praja srushtva purovacha prajaapathi: I anena prasavishyatvam esha vo asthu ishta kamaduk: II' It does not say that, with human beings, He created the Yagnas. That would mean first human beings and then Yagnas, in that order of importance. No. It says clearly that, with Yagnas, human beings were also created! 108. The very source of creation is the Veda. The chanting of those Mantras itself will catch hold of those Deities and fetch them, corresponding to those sound vibrations. In Yagna, the chanting of those Mantras is similar to writing their addresses. This fecilitates Agni in taking the Aahuti to the respective Deity. We see that amongst animals, there is successive increase in the size and or power, between say, the mouse, cat, dog, horse, elephant, lion and so on. Similarly in creation, there are life forms, with greater power and capabilities, than human beings. They are the Devatas. They are immanent in the life forms of the world and have seperate individual existance too. 'Mantra Siddhi' is a state wherein, you can recieve the Devata's blessings as well as see, meet and interact with them! The Mantras are the cause of their coming into being and so, we can call the Mantras as the 'Sound Form' of the Devatas. 109. In Yagna, as we chant the various Mantras for each of the Devatas, that particular Devata is there in subtle form. Very matured people can even see them. But the 'Aahuti' for them is not given directly. If we write an official document, is it not necessary to affix the stamp, and get it signed by the concerned authority? Similarly, it has to be put in fire, exactly as given in the Vedas, for it to reach the correct destination, in a form acceptable to the reciepient. We should not feel bad or say that, 'all the valuble things have been reduced to ashes by fire, balance remainders have been eaten away by the people conducting the Yagna. Then how can the things offered reach the Devas?' Devas are not made up of gross bodies like us. Come to think of it, how do we absorb the food that we eat? The 'Jataraagni' (a name for the fire in our stomach!), digests it and sends the necessary nourishment to various parts of the body, as some chemicals! So where is the problem in understanding the mechanics of 'Yaga'?110. Why go up to the mechanics of 'Yagna' transfer of oblations to the respective addressees? As per the western traditions, you conduct a dinner or feast, in which one man proposes a toast, for say the President of the Country, who may not be there even, and everyone present in the party joins in the toast and say, "The President", don't they say that and drink it themselves? How did the Good will accrue to the President? These are all a matter of the right mindedness and attitude. Do not they all believe in the power of thoughts to convey the 'Good Will' to the President?111. Its God's power, that has come to us as Mantras. They have to be very powerful indeed, for our well being, as we are nothing but His creations only. These 'Aahutis' that we give goes to compliment the power of Devatas. Though Devatas are more capable and powerful than human beings, their power is neither complete nor unlimited. They also have desires, needs, wants! We assist them, feed them, subscribe for their well being and have good wishes and good will for them. They in turn bless us with plentiful rain, harvest, yields and so on. Listen to this Sloka from Baghawat Gita, (III.11):- "devaan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu va: I Parasparam bhavayanta: sreya: paramavapsyata II" It says, "With this do ye nourish the Gods and may those Gods nourish you; thus nourishing one another, ye shall attain to the highest good." (To be continued.)Sambhomahadeva.



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