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Hindu SamskAra Regulations

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  #41  
Old 24 March 2009, 12:27 AM
saidevo saidevo is offline
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Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

rudrAkSha mAlA niyamas
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.54)

Que: It would be useful to let me know the niyamas for wearing a garland of rudrAkSha beads.

Ans: If it is a single rudrAkSha bead tied around the neck as a necklace, it can be worn at all times and the niyamas don't apply.

In other cases, the rudrAkSha mAlA should not be worn all the 24 hours. During the times of nidrA (sleep), having a meal, going to the toilet, and doing shASTAnga namaskAram, the garland should be removed. However, there is an opinion that if the rudrAkSha beads are stringed with svarNam (gold), it can be worn all the times with no doShas.

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pitRu kArya, tarpaNam: times
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.55)

Que: It is said that the pitRu kAryas such as the amAvAsya tarpaNam, mahAlaya shrAddham should not be done in the morning hours, only more or less during the mAdhyAnihaka (noon) time. But this can hardly be done in cities by working men, what to do?

Ans: Let us understand one thing. Generally, the times prescribed for these ceremonies are based on the kAla krama computed by our ancestors. It is not possible to adhere to them completely in the urban circumstances of these days.

It is uttama to do the ceremonies in the noon time. If we say that they should not be done before that time, there is the danger of people giving up such karmAs. Moreover, the shAstrigaL who do dattam (guide performance) of these ceremonies at ten or fifteen homes, cannot be at the homes of his client disciples at the same time! In these days when most people have migrated from the villages to towns and cities, the difference in times for performing these ceremonies do not constitute doSham.

One thing, though. The pArvaNa shrAddham must be done at the prescribed time, because it is pratyApttikam (restitution), therefore of great mahima. So the shrAddham should be done with great bhaya bhakti, AchAram and with the kAla niyamanam.

In summary, if you follow the advice of your family priest you will not have any bAdhakam (annoyance).

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bhakti in the TV channels
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.60)

Que: These days bhakti is dispensed through religious and spiritual programms in TV channels. Does any good accrue by watching them?

Ans: It does, but then we should not get into the trap of Maya. Listening to VishNu SahasranAmam on the TV is not the equivalent of our chanting it loudly with our own mouth. Thus the satisfaction we derive from the TV chanting is only Maya: the fruits will accrue only when we ourselves chant the stotra and do the pArAyaNam. In the same way, only when we have personal darshan of the temples by going on pilgrimages, we would get the puNyas, not by watching them over the TV.

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pitRu kArya, shrAddham: sUtram
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.66)

Que: In the place we live we have, there is no shAstrigaL who knows the tradition of bodhAyana sUtram which is our sidhra (custom) for the shrAddham ceremony. Only a vAdhyAr who knows the Apastambha sUtram is there. We do not know how to perform the ceremony?

Ans: When a vAdhyAr (priest) of one's specific sUtram is not available, the shrAddham may be done through another sUtram. There won't be any karma naSTam (loss of the ceremony) by such act, so you may proceed with it, as it is important that the shrAddham should be performed.

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Home puja: women doing puja done by men
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.74)

Que: When men can't do the daily home puja, can the women do it?

Ans: Yes, they can do it very well. But then there is no place in the ShAstras for women to do the panchAyadana pUja. Even if one cannot do the puja in vistAram (detailed manner), one may do it briefly, chanting the bhagavAn nAmAs known to oneself, removing the old flowers and adorning the deities with new flowers and then offering some nivedanam and lighting the camphor, and finally do the namaskAram. One may chant the relevant shlokas that he knows. Bhakti is the most important thing, and the puja should not go unperformed without a valid reason.

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Doing puNya tIrtha yAtras for another person
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.74)

Que: Can another man do the gangAdi puNya tIrtha yAtras (pilgrimages to holy places of rivers) for another man?

Ans: Yes, one man undertake tIrtha yAtra for another by way of helping the other man. Proper saMkalpam should be done for this purpose. In the same way, with the necessary saMkalpam, one can also do the pradakShiNa namaskAram for another.

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रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #42  
Old 24 March 2009, 11:36 AM
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Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

Perhaps you are right saidevo

but I strongly believe all of these rules are an irrelevant distraction and saying (as per your own words) god comes from humans is, well...a Satanic viewpoint, but nonetheless, I prefer to keep the door open to the phenomenon of so-called god coming from an all-pervading Atman which is independent from the existence of humanity. (even if interwoven therein) in other words humans are maya and not ultimate reality. So rules about earrings are incredibly silly.

good day to you.
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  #43  
Old 24 March 2009, 01:51 PM
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Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

Now that's some responsible reply Naomi, thanks for sharing your POV. Yes, perhaps everyone of us is right in our own way, so no point in one finding fault with the other.

And yes, the humans, things around them, and this world--everything, is Maya; but fortunately--or unfortunately perhaps--we don't have the (what seems to me as) queer mix up and combinations in the practice of religion that we can have in deviant art, and perhaps also in life. Perhaps you have more enlightenment on the all-pervading Atman in your practices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomi Ningishzidda View Post
So rules about earrings are incredibly silly.
There you go again! Our rules are for our belief, like the unruly rules of your deviant art. One might think a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g but when thinking is reduced to words in speech or writing, it's reduced! There is always a tricky and treacherous gap between thoughts and words.

Art can be deviant, but speech is more disciplined. I hope someday the Americans who use their Hollywood trendset, hideously slang-ridden, sex-allusive language with pride, would understand, lest they should end up like people in the movie 'Idiocracy'.

Good day and all the best.
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रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #44  
Old 24 March 2009, 11:55 PM
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Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

Puja articles from wayside shops
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.75)

Que: How do we find out the purity and cleanliness of the puja articles we buy from wayside shops for our nitya pUja or other visheSha (festivity)?

Ans: One need not worry on this account. The Shastram says decisively that all the padArthas (material articles) bought from wayside and other shops are pure and clean.

In the same way, we need not insist about cleanliness with people suffering from diseases, small boys who have not undergone upanayanam, and the woman in the kitchen--our ancestors have advised us.

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Birthday parties
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.76)

Que: Celebrations such as the birthday party are on the increase today, what is your opinion about them?

Ans: It is our custom to celebrate the birthdays of only mahAns. On the days of KrishNa Jayanti, Hanumat Jayanti, devatA pUjas for these deities are prescribed for us.

Other than these, we have no custom of celebrating personal birthdays. In those days, our ancestors used to visit temples on the birthday of their children, pour oil to the temple lamps and perform archanAs.

If we need to celebrate personal birthdays, we might spend time by arranging for a pArAyaNam (scriptural reading) or a [i]nAma-sankIrtanam (singing the glorious names) in the evening. We don't have to follow the Westerners simply closing our eyes.

One thing I should like to point out though. Cutting a cake and blowing out candle lights with mouth should never be done. In our culture, shubha kAryas (good things) start with lighting a lamp, not blowing it out.

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maDi vastram (ceremonially pure clothes)
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.77)

Que: Where there is no maDi vastram for the nitya pUja, can we do the puja wearing clothes already washed and kept separately?

Ans: It can be done. But then it is necessary to give a prokShaNam to that vastram with the praNavam, show it in the sUrya rashmi (sunlight) and then wear the vastram for the puja.

If there is a nirbandham to use a wet cloth, if that cloth is fluttered in the air for seven times it would construed to have become equal to a dry cloth. (Generally, one should not do the puja or japam wearing a wet cloth).

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Some bhojana niyamas
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.79)

Que: Should one be quiet during a meal? Generally, what are the things to be observed during a meal?

Ans: Here are some bhojana niyamas:

• The gRuhastha should not be silent when eating. He is required to observe silence only till the prANAhuti.

• One should not eat with a wet or just a single piece of cloth.

• Men should eat only after doing the pariseShaNam both in the noon time and night time.

• If one needs to drink water with his left hand, the right hand should be touching the leaf plate.

• After one is sufficiently aged, he can avoid taking the pazhaiyatu (leftover rice of previous day). With curd, buttermilk and oils, there is no doSham of leftovers.

• If one finds any deficiency in a dish, one should not reproach the bhojanam during mealtime, says the Upanishad. Later on, it can be deftly advised to the people who cooked the food.

• It is much visheSham not to take parAnnam (food from another person).

But then it is my abhiprAyam (opinion) that in these days one need not be very strict about parAnnam; enough if this rule is observed during the times of shrAddham, vratam. More than the annam the dravyam (money) we get reaches us bearing many shapes. Don't we accept it without inquiring anything about it? Then why should it be different for the annam too beyond a certain point? (For argument sake, if everyone is strict about parAnnam, then who would eat in whose house and how would the 'karmAs' be held?) This does not mean, however, that we can take whatever we sight at whatever places. It is ADiyen's abhiprAyam that there is nothing wrong for ordinary householders (including the vaidIkAL) if there is a nirbandham to eat another's food. But then there should be no anAchAram and the attention must be on the shuddham.

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रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #45  
Old 25 March 2009, 11:43 PM
saidevo saidevo is offline
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Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

(Mainly observed by brahmins)

pitRu kArya, shrAddham: brothers, GayA shrAddham
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.80)

Que: Is it right if the eldest son is performing the shrAddham, the other brothers may only need to be beside him (without performing it separately)? Same way, after one goes to GayA and performs the shrAddham, does the annual shrAddham need to be performed?

Ans: Every son should do the shrAddham to his deceased parents once they are living separately, having obtained or not obtained their share of the legacy of parental properties. If all the brothers are living as a single, joint family, only then the individual performances of the shrAddham is not necessary. If the brothers are living separately and meet on the day of the shrAddham for a combined performance, it is not acceptable. It is only for a joint family that the rule of only the eldest performing the shrAddham and the other sons may be by his side is applicable. In the other case, only if the shrAddham is performed individually with homam, would the pitRus be more satisfied; pitRus have the capability of being present in more than one place for the shrAddham.

GayA shrAddham

The idea that once a GayA shrAddham is performed, there is no need to perform the annual shrAddham is completely abhadram (inauspicious, mischievous); against the shAstras too. Do we forgo our daily meal just because one day we have a sumptuous dinner in a 5-star hotel? GayA shrAddham is of great unnatvam (sublimity). It should be done at least once in the janma. But then it has no sambandham (relationship) with the annual prAptika shrAddham. Therefore, the annual shrAddham must be performed without fail.

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pitRu kArya, tarpaNam: shaNNavati tarpaNam
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.82)

Que: I would like to know the details of the shaNNavati tarpaNam.

Ans: The total of 96 tarpaNas offered in one year is known as shaNNavati tarpaNam. These must be offered between the time of one year after conducting the shrAddham of one's father, and before the next year's tithi of this ceremony falls due. The shaNNavati is of great visheSham.

If the father is alive and the mother is not, it is not possible to practise shaNNavati. If the father is not alive but the mother is, it can be anuShThita (practised).

amAvAsya (12), mAsa sangkramaNam (12), aSTakA and others (12), vaidhRuti (13), vyatIpAta (13), manvantara days (14), yugAdi days (4), mahAlaya pakSham (16)--thus the shaNNavati includes a total of 96 tarpaNas.

Among these 96 tarpaNas, the amAvAsya, sangkramaNam might occur on the same day. If the sangkramaNam is offered, both are deemed to have been offered. There are certain rules for the inclusion of one tarpaNam within another. But the mahAlayam will not be included in the amAvAsya, so both should be offered separately. Although there is a rule that these 96 tarpaNas can be done as pArvaNa shrAddham, since it is an impossible task, they can be offered in the tarpaNa rUpam.

It would be good if the shaNNavti is observed at once in a man's lifetime. But there is no compulsion.

Note: Please also check http://www.dvaita.org/misc/calendar/intro.html

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vivAham and tarpaNam
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.84)

Que: Some people say that both the man who gave kanyAdAnam (bride in marriage) and the bridegroom's father should not offer amAvAsya tarpaNam for some months after the marriage is held?

Ans: Wrong. The tarpaNam should never be given up. But then in the offering, some akShata should be added to the sesame. Some people use arugam pul (hirathi grass) the place of the darbha grass for the tarpaNam.

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रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #46  
Old 26 March 2009, 10:18 PM
saidevo saidevo is offline
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Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

Growing a beard
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.88)

Que: Is it good that men grow beard?

Ans: Generally, without a reason, men shouldn't grow beard. Only during the times of pitRu dIkShA, garbha dIkShA, vrata, there can be beard on men's faces. After the duration of that apara kAryam is over, the beard should be shaved off on the next auspicious day.

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Pure by nature
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.88)

Que: What does the Shastra say about which among the things we see are shuddha (clean/pure) by nature?

Ans:
1. agni (fire) is always shuddha.
2. The feet of a brAhmaNa.
3. The backside of a cow and the face of a goat and horse.
4. All items bought in the bazaar.
5. The infant just born.
6. The weasel, fly, beetle and such other creatures.

7. No shuddha should be insisted with a rogiSTa (person with disease), bAlaka (small boy), the woman in the kitchen.

8. For the flowers like lotus born in water and the flowers that are stringed, there is no doSham of their being old. They can be kept in a refrigerator for a day or two and used.

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nAma-sankIrtanam (singing God's glorious names)
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.84)

Que: About the nAma-sankIrtanam...?

Ans: By singing the glorious names of Bhagavan, bhakti and Ananda would swell within us, and this would help us forget our worries. We should get the habit of doing a nAma-sankIrtanam either as a group or with our family members at home daily for sometime. The paramAnandam obtained in a bhajan can only be known by experience; it is beyond words.

Maybe because that we should sing the glorious names of God, we see ourselves chanting Bhagavan's various names in our daily Sandhya Vandanam.

One thing, though. The nAma-sankIrtanam cannot be a substitute for our nitya karma or other anuShTAnas. We should be careful about this. Many of us are fooled in this regard. (Recently, an opinion that a nAma-sankIrtanam is enough on the day of a shrAddham is also doing the rounds).

In the name of bhajans we should not neglect the karmas we are blessed with by our Rishis, and the treasures of prayogas handed down to us in succession by the SUtrakas (mahAns such as Apastambha, BodhAyana and AshvavAyana). If we do it, the loss is only to us.

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रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #47  
Old 28 March 2009, 12:21 AM
saidevo saidevo is offline
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Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

Living a meaningful retired life
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.89)

Que: I have recently retired from my service. There are no serious worldly commitments. How can spend the rest of my life in uchitam (properly, delightfully)? How should I change myself for that life?

Ans: A good question. Most people don't think about this at all, and live their retired life as it comes.

If your health and household circumstances are favourable, you can think about the following and take up what you can and have not done already. Thus you may:

• Apart from the daily Sandhya Vandanam, do the Sahasra Gayatri Japam (1008 times).

• Start panchAyadana or sAlagrAma puja and do it daily.

• Seek poor children, and teach them shlokas and about our Hindu dharma.

• If there is facility at home start doing daily aupAsanam.

• Try some public service such as doing kaingaryam in a temple.

• While doing your anuShTAnas such as Sandhya Vandanam and puja at home, wear pacha-kachcham.

• Grow a shikhA (tuft of hair). Should we have not the shikhA atleast in one stage of our life? During the days of school, college and office we ignored this for reasons of our own making. At least after retirement we should think about having the shikhA which is of great visheSham and our Hindu identity; we should not feel shy about it.

• Seek the growth of AtmIka chintanA (spiritual thoughts) through a suitable guru.

In summary, starting thinking about your life as retired but not tired. Life will be meaningful and useful.

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Wearing golden kolusu (anklets)
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.90)

Que: Can women wear golden anklets (kolusu) on their legs?

Ans: They can't. It is not uchitam (proper) to wear svarNam (gold) below the hip.

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sAdhAraNa nitya dharma
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.90)

Que: I want to know about the dharma that needs to be followed in daily life.

Ans: In these days, it is doubtful that one can completely follow the precepts of the Dharma Shastra with consistency. Still if we know some of them, we might try to follow a few of them completely and consistently in later life.

The following precepts are not only easy, but necessary too.

• Under the guise of talking truth, one should not use bad or harsh language.

• Leaving balance in debts would scorch us without a fire. So we shouldn't leave a balance either in our debts or in our vratas (religious vows).

• We should not always be immersed in thoughts.

• The gRuhastas (householders) should not remain in single vastram (piece of cloth).

• Women when cooking in kitchen, should be doing smaraNa (mental chanting) of shlokas or bhagavAn nAmAs (names of God). This is very important.

• After the mUtrAdi visarjanas (restroom chores), one should wash the legs and gorgle at least twice (4,8,12,16 times according to the Shastras).

• During vrata (time of view), taking milk, drinks such as Horlicks, medicine, or the shrAddha bhojanam (eating on the day of ceremony), or talking during a mauna vratam (vow of silence)--these things will not be deemed as resulting in vrata bhangam (break in vow).

• Without a reason, one should not drink water with the left hand or eat meals or tiffin standing or walking about.

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homaH: kUShmANDa homam
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.92)

Que: I have heard that the kUShmANDa homam is a prAyachitta homam (palliative act). I would like to know some details about it.

Ans: The kUShmANDa homam is a very good prAyachitta karmA. Whoever whants to do shuddhi of himself can do it.

A speciality of this homam is that in the other homas, the AchAryaL (vAdhyAr) would get the AchArya varNam from the kartA and conduct the homam for him; whereas this homam should be done by the kartA himself. That is, the kartA should do it in his aupAsanagni.

Another speciality is that except the kUShmANDa homam no other homam is directly mentioned in the Vedas. (Taittiriya-Aranyaka, 2.7.1)

Other than the wish to remove pApas (sins), thie homam can be done as pUrvAngam (preliminary) for the karmAs such as a daughter's marriage, son's upanayanam, the annual pratyAptika shrAddhas, and ShaShTi apta pUrti.

These days brahmins after they are back from an overseas trip do this homam as a palliative for having crossed the ocean. This is also good.

If the kUShmANDa homam is done with the dIkShA niyamas prescribed for it, maximum fruit will be obtained.

This homam is not expensive nor requires many ritviks or a large list of homam material items. There is no doubt that this homam is a visheSha prAyachitta karmA.

Note: Kushmanda homa Vidhi by Dikshitha,Brahmasri Sundararaam is listed in the online library at http://www.new.dli.ernet.in/cgi-bin/...=1990020102804
*********

About the AzhvArgaL (Azhvaars)
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.94)

Que: About the AzhvArgaL...

Ans: Since these mahAns had aparimita bhakti (limitless devotion) towards MahAvishNu and deep knowledge in VaishNavam, they were known as AzhvArgaL. They were twelve in number (10+2):

Poikai AzhvAr, Bhutattu AzhvAr, PEyAzhvAr, Tirumazhisai AzhvAr, Madhurakavi AzhvAr, Kulasekhara AzhvAr, PeriyAzhvAr, AndAL, ToNDar ADippoDi AzhvAr, TiruppANAzhvAr and Tirumangai AzhvAr.

The granthas (compositions) they blessed us with are 24 in number, comprising a total number of 4,000 songs. One speciality about this is that NammAzhvAr's four books are considered equal to the four Vedas:

Tiruviruttam - Rig Veda, Tiru Asiriyam - Yajur Veda, Periya TiruvandAdi - AtharvaNa Veda, TiruvAimozhi - SAma Veda.

In summary, all the songs composed by these 12 AzhvArs are steeped in deep bhakti and are replete with facts of Vedanta. The collection of these 4,000 songs is called Divya Prabhandam.

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__________________
रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #48  
Old 29 March 2009, 12:33 AM
saidevo saidevo is offline
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Reputation: 81567
Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

kolam at the doorsteps
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.99)

Que: Things to attend when water is sprinkled on the ground of doorsteps early morning...?

Ans: It is visheSham to sprinkle the ground at the doorsteps with water every morning before sunrise and draw a kolam. (If any occasions arise when the kolam should not be drawn, one should not stop sprinkling water anyway.)

Generally women do the chore of sprinkling water and drawing a kilam. But there is no bar on men to do it when necessary.

Since it is our belief that certain devatas reside there for our security, we should not fail to draw kolam on the vAsal paDi (steps and the threshold) too.

It is best to use the flour of rice for the kolam. On visheSha days it is necessary to border a kolam with the semmaN (red oxide powder).

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ArAdhana for siddha puruShas, swamijis
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.99)

Que: Can the ArAdhana of siddha puruShas and swAmigaL who attained siddhi be done at home?

Ans: Can very well be done, there are no prescepts against it.

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pariSheshaNam procedure
(Sri Sarma SastrigaL in his book 'VaidIkam and Culture', p.100)

Que: Please explain the procedure of doing pariSheshaNam.

Ans: This has another name, 'prANAgnihotram'. The pariSheshaNam is done during the time of taking a meal, which should usually be in the noon and night. It is not required at times of taking tiffin or snacks. The pariSheshaNa mantras should be chanted in mind, not loudly.

1. Chanting 'Aum bhUr bhuva suvahaH', some water should be held on the palm of the right hand and trickled through the fingers in drops around their leaf-plates. The left hand should lightly touch the leaf-plate while doing this.

2. Continuing the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra, prokShaNam (sprinkling of water) should be done on annam and other padArthas on the leaf-plate: 'tat savitur vareNyam, bhargo devasya dhImahi, dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt'.

3. Chanting 'deva savitaH prasuvaH', water should again be tricked round the leaf-plate.

4. Chanting the mantra 'satyam tvartena pariShinchAmi' in the morning and 'Rtam tvA satyena pariShincAmi' in the evening (after 5 o' clock), the food on the plate should be encircled with water again.

5. Taking some tIrtham on the palm of the right hand (or letting another person to measure out the water) and chanting the mantra 'amRuthOpastharaNamasi' and sip it. This act is known as Aposanam.

Further Info:
amRut ApaH upastaraNam asi: upastaraNam means the act of spreading out under as a substratum. This way one invokes the little amount of water he sipps now to spread within him as Amrutam or nectar and form the substratum for the food to follow. Vishnu Purana says that liquid substances should be taken at the beginning and at the end of the meal.

The Rishis have mentioned in the Upanishads (Chhandogya Upanishad 5.2.2 and Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 6.1.15) that realized people, while eating, before and after their meal, 'dress up' the prANa (breath of life) with water. Water is a purifier; it also sustains the body. Most Hindu rituals start with sipping water, an act known as Achamanam. The Yoga Shastras recommend that we should fill only half our stomach with food, a quarter with water and the rest should be air. This ideal proportion brings in spiritual and bodily health.

6. Chanting the six mantras below, sAdam in morsels of 4 or 5 grains should be taken with the fingers and swallowed without their touching the teeth.

aum prANAya svAhA |
aum apAnAya svAhA |
aum vyAnAya svAhA |
aum udAnAya svAhA |
aum samAnAya svAhA |
aum bhrahmaNE svAhA |


Further Info:

1. This act is called prANAhuti. While taking a morsel of rice with fingers, the thumb, middle and ring fingers of their right hand in a typical mudrA of a deer-head, should be used, and the head should be kept down to face the plate so it is easy to throw the morsel in.

2. After water, it is now the turn of the air or breath. Water nourishes the body to keep it healthy, but air in the form of life breath sustains the soul and holds it in the driver seat of this bodily vehicle. The life breath or prANa has five functions.

prANa is the principal breath coursing through our nostrils and lungs; you can use it to control and regulate your mind and thoughts.

apAna is responsible for the excretory activity.

samAna circulates around the navel and plays a vital role in digestion.

vyAna is diffused through the body and is responsible for circulatory activity.

udAna is the wind that goes upward in respiration.

These five vital airs together represent the Vaayu deity; they are also infused with agni or fire and Apas or water. Therefore we offer a morsel of annam as Ahuti to these gods, by swallowing the food without biting it. We don't bite it because it is not for personal consumption.

7. Chanting 'aum brahmaNi ma AtmA-amRtatvAya', a little amount of water should be dropped on the left side, touched with the ring finger of the left hand and then with that finger the chest should be touched.

Further Info:
This mantra says, "May the Self be united with Brahman so it may attain immortality."

8. One can start eating now.

9. At the end of the meal some water is poured on the right palm and sipped chanting the mantra 'amRuthOpastharaNamasi'.

Further Info:

After this, some water is trickled in drops around the leaf saying "annadAtA sukhI bhavaH"--a Sanskrit proverb, meaning 'May the food provider be happy and hearty!'

This is an act of remembering all the people whose labour has gone into the food articles consumed. This includes the people who cooked the food. As Bhishma said in Mahabharata the physical and mental health of the cooks who prepare the food influences the people who partake the food. This is the reason orthodox brahmins avoid restaurants.

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__________________
रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #49  
Old 31 March 2009, 10:23 AM
saidevo saidevo is offline
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Reputation: 81567
Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

chickpea garland to Sri DakShiNAmUrti
(Sri Seshadrinatha SastrigaL, Sakthi Vikatan dated Mar 10,2009, p32)

Que: We offer a garland made of 108 koNDaikkaDalai (chickpea) pieces to Sri DakShiNAMUrti every Thursday. Some people say that we should not prick a chickpea with a needle to string them, as that would cause them pain since they are living things. What is the position in this regard?

Ans: Our national song 'vande mAtaram' says that ours is a land of flowers gifted to us by Mother Nature ('pullakusumita'). Sri KrishNa says that it is enough if one offers him a leaf, flower, water or fruit. The flowers are the most suitable for a garland. It is wrong to string items that we fancy into garlands showing unsupported references to it. Since IshA took poison, can we offer him poison as nivedanam? KaNNan says that he is immanent in all that moves and do not move. Can we offer stone and sand to him?

The JyotiSham (astrology) says that the sAnnidhyam (presence) of the nine planets is felt in all the things in this world. It is also explained as different in a flower, fruit or an unripe /green fruit. These differences are there to highlight their nature and are limited. For stringing into a garland, none others have the eligibility that the flowers have.

If it hurts to prick a chickpea, even the chicken and goat are hurt when picked, since they are living beings too! So, instead of using vegetables and fruits (and nuts), use flowers, which are eminently suitable for stringing into a garland. Use the vegetables and fruits for eating. It is always best to act with some thought.

*********

Converting a bequeathed mAngalyam into jewelry
(Sri Seshadrinatha SastrigaL, Sakthi Vikatan dated Mar 10,2009, p22)

Que: After living a long life as a ripe Sumangali, my mother attained Shivaloka PrApti. Her tirumAngalyam is with me for the last 60 years. Can we convert it into other jewelry and wear them?

Ans: Gold is always pure. Its purity is not affected by someone wearing it, or by being paryushita (stale, not fresh). There is nothing wrong in changing it into ornaments. The husband would tie a new thAli (mAngalyam) around his wife's neck on the day of their 60th year of age celebrations and feel happy. There is also a custom to convert a tirumAngalyam into chain and put it round the neck of a granddaughter.

People also use the gold and silver kAppu (talisman) made for the first child for the successive ones. This would then acquire the honour of a family privilege (Aki vandatu). There is also an unfortunate sampradAyam (tradition) that after the first wife is dead, the husband marrying again use the her tirumAngalyam for the second wife. There are also mothers who used their tirumAngalyam for their daughter's wedding. Mothers who are economically weaker have a custom of wearing a 'gold dot' and let their daughter have their tirumAngalyam for her wedding. Therefore, you can reuse the said tirumAngalyam without any hesitation.

*********

pitRu kArya: amAvAsya, auspicious day?
(Sri Seshadrinatha SastrigaL, Sakthi Vikatan dated Mar 10,2009, p23)

Que: It is customary to start good efforts on the day of amAvAsya. But then in the PanchAngam published by Sakthi Vikatan (3.6.08 issue) it is mentioned, 'amAvAsyai--avoid good efforts'. Please explain it.

Ans: From the point of view of JyotiSha, the day of amAvAsya is not auspicious for good efforts. On a day when the chandra balam is totally absent, it is not suitable for efforts aimed at growth!

Many among us would prefer to ignore the waning fortnight. How can we accept a day when no phase of the moon is seen? Auspicious time is decided based on tithi, vAram, nakShatram, yogam, karaNam; amAvAsya does not give place for good things. Shastra is not in agreement with doing another thing on day when the ancestors should be worshipped.

We say that during the memorial days of leaders we need to be immersed in their thoughts doing nothing else. The belief that the new moon day is auspicious is born out of unsupported reference. When there is this reference in astrology, we may as well as ignore the belief.

*********
__________________
रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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  #50  
Old 03 April 2009, 11:59 PM
saidevo saidevo is offline
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Reputation: 81567
Re: Hindu SamskAra Regulations

pitRu kArya, shrAddham: venue
(Sri Seshadrinatha SastrigaL, Sakthi Vikatan dated Mar 26,2009, p36)

Que: Can the annual tithi be offered on the banks of a pond or river? Or should it be given only at home?

Ans: The Dharma Shastra says that divine worship, yajna, japa homas and the ArAdhanam of ancestors are best done under a roof. The Veda that introduced the first yajna recommended only a place under a roof (antarhi dohi devaloko...).

We live only under a roof, not in the open space? So, the tithi offered at home has a special distinction. The tIrtha shrAdhhas may be performed going to the place of a puNya tIrtham and taking a bath there. This is different from the tithi that should be offered at home, and it would be wrong to offer such tithi on the banks of a pond or river.

People who live in a small house that can't be used to offer tithi might consider using the banks of a pond or river for this purpose. However, everyone must try to offer the tithi at home as far as possible. And this would also ensure that the sanctity and importance of this rite is introduced to the next generation!

*********

Eccentric devotional customs and habits
(Sri Seshadrinatha SastrigaL, Sakthi Vikatan dated Mar 26,2009, p37)

Que: During tErOTTam (religious car procession), some people scatter their offering such as flowers, fruits and food prasAdam before the divine car on its path. This custom has the danger of people slipping over them as they pull the car. Why can't they store the articles in a place and distribute them to others?

Ans: The mind of the devotees attains fulfilment in practising what they desire for their deity. The mental inclinations of devotees would make them forget the circumstance (for such is the power of bhakti).

A bhakta would regard the divine car as the deity itself, reverentially touch it and touch his eyes with those fingers. He would also smear on his forehead the sand from the tracks of the car wheels. People who pull the car wouldn't slip over the articles on their path but would manage to overcome or avoid them, because they are devotees too!

A mind that steps away from the deity would regard things and acts differently. Such a person might have the fear that the burning torches and bursting crackers that precede a divine procession might cause a fire hazard; that the pieces of coconuts smashed to the ground might cause injury to the people standing by; that there might be a sudden gush of flood and sweep the person away when he/she is bathing in a sacred river.

The devotee stays with the faith that God would take care of everything; and there would be no problem of any untoward incidents.

*********

pitRu kArya: amAvAsya, auspicious day?
(Sri Seshadrinatha SastrigaL, Sakthi Vikatan dated Mar 26,2009, p39)

Que: People say that good things can be started on the day of amAvAsya even if it is not an auspicious day according to tithi, nakShatram? Is this right?

Ans: Wrong. A good thing should be started only taking into consideration the tithi, nakShatram. Generally, the amAvAsya should be avoided for this purpose.

The dinam, lagnam (day and time) when we start shubha kAryas must be an auspicious; with matching tArAbalam and it should also be on the waxing phase of the moon for chandra balam, says the Shastra (tadeva lagnaM sudinaM tadeva*).

But there would be no chandra balam on the day of amAvAsya. Chandran (moon) has an intimate connection with our mind; and the strength of the moon phase would help us carry on in our act with concentration; it would be wrong to lose this balam. Additionally, the roles of the tArA balam (star strength) yoga and karaNa are important. If one says that there would be fruits ignoring all these aspects that are absent on the day of amAvAsya, it is not proper.

If some examples of success of efforts started on the new moon day are shown, will the falsity become the truth?

There could be many reasons for a successful effort; all of them should be taken into account when the fruits are assessed. The evidences of astrology are also important.

To think that starting a good thing on amAvAsya would get the blessings of deceased ancestors and make it a success is faith. But to act on a few experiences ignoring the Shastras is wrong.

Note:
tadeva lagnaM sudinaM tadeva tArAbalaM chandrabalaM tadeva |
vidyA balaM daivabalaM tadeva laxmIpateH tenghri yugaM smarAmi ||

--a popular mantra in pujas and auspicious rituals.

What is the best time to worship the Lord? When our hearts are at the feet of Lord Narayana, then the strength of the stars, the moon, the strength of knowledge and all the Gods will combine and make it the most auspicious time and day to worship the Lord.

Wikipedia has a good article on the Hindu calendar:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_calendar

*********
__________________
रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.
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