Parasharasmriti

As Manusmritti was the Dharmashastra for Satyayuga, Parasharasmriti is the Dharmashastra of Kali yuga. This is what follows….

 

GANESHAAYA NAMAH

Saraaga loka durlabham viraagiloka pujitam, Suraasurairnamaskritam jaraapamrityu naashakam/ Giraa gurum Shriyaa Harim jayanti yatpadaarchikaah, Namaami tam Ganaadhipam kripaapayah payonidhim/ (Shri Ganesha Pancharatna)

 

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Paraashara matam puraayam pavitram paapa naashanam, Chintitam Braahmnaarthaaya Dharma samsthaapanaaya cha/

(This Outstanding Treatise on Dharma composed by Maharshi Paraashara is highly sacred and sin destroyi ng; it is a Standard Authority that ought to be observed meticulously by Brahmana and other Classes of the Society for the sustenance of Virtue). Source: Paraashara Smriti (Chapter I, Stanza. 29)

 

 

After performing the duties till the afternoon and the evening, Sages are normally engaged in activities like preaching and discussions on Dharma. Once, the Sages who assembled in a forest on the peaks of Himalayas approached Vyasa Maharshi requesting him to enlighten them about the shifts and possible amendments of the stern frame work of Dharma, as Kali Yuga was round the corner. Vyasa advised the Sages to settle down at Badarika Ashrama to comparatively lower levels of Himalayas and accompany them to approach his father Paraashara Maharshi since the latter was an authority of Dharma in its essence, especially since there would be likely changes during the times ahead in Kaliyuga with approved dilutions of the Principles of Dharma. As the Sages accompanied Vyasa to Parashara Maharshi, the latter accepted to explain the trends and broad principles of Dharma. Vyasa expressed his gratitude to his father that he learnt a lot about the principles of Dharma from stalwarts like Manu, Vasishtha, Kashyapa,

Gaargi, Gautama, Ushasana, Atri, Vishnu, Samvarta, Daksha, Angirasa, Shataatava, Haarita, Yagjnyavalkya, Apastamba, Shankha, Katyaayana, Praachetasa and such glorious Maharshis. He had absorbed the trends as witnessed in the same Manvantara in the course of Yugas of Krita, Treta and Dwapara and the gradual slide-down of the levels of Dharma; the evolution was bound to further erode the setting Yuga of Kali and therefore the request to Parashara was to detail the outlines of Dharma as

would now be relevant as applicable to the Chatur Varnaas viz. the Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and the Other Class. The gist of what Maharshi Paraashara taught in this context is as follows:

In the ever revolving Cycle of Time of Maha Kalpas and Kalpas, each Kalpa comprising the four Yugas, the Values of Dharma varied substantially. Krute tu Maanvo Dharmah Tritaayaam Goutamah Smritah, Dwaaparey Shankha likhitah Kalou Paraashah Smritah/ In Krita Yuga, Manu Smriti was stated to be the Authority on Dharma, in Treta, Guatama Dharma was followed, while Dharma was observed as per Shankha’s Treatise, and now in the Kali Yuga, Parashara Smriti needs to be pursued. Tapah param Krita Yuge Tretaayaam Jnaanamuchyate, Dwaapare Yagnamityuh daanamekam Kalou Yuge/

 

The values of Dharma got evolved substantially over the Yugas: human beings gradually experienced loss of physical energy and mental forbearance. As such ‘Dharmaacharana’ or practice of Virtue too reflected Societal values: in Krita Yuga the supreme observance of Dharma was by way of performing ‘Tapas’ by way of ‘Kruccha Chandraayana’ and such Vratas; in Treta Yuga the index of Dharma was ‘Jnaana’or high quality of Spiritual Knowledge; in Dwapara Yuga, the criterion was performing Yagjnas or Sacrifices; and now in Kali Yuga, offering Danaas or charities of various kinds has come to assume significance as means of Dharma. But charity too changed its context: in Krita Yuga, charity was given by approaching the person concerned, in Treta Yuga the donor would request the person for giving away the charity, while in Dwapara Yuga donations were sought for but in the Kaliyuga, charities are provided in lieu of services rendered!

 

Abhigamyottamam daana maahootanchaiva madhyamam;Adhamam yaachamaanam syaat sevaa daanancha nishphalam/ Personally approach the person to be donated would indeed be the best recourse, beckoning a person and offering the donation is of medium type, while a needy one requesting for charity is at least the passable alternative but donations against services rendered are a mere waste!

 

Krite chaa sthita gataah Praanaastretaayaam maasa samsthitaah, Dwaapare rudhiram yaavat Kalivaannaadishusthitaah/ Body strength depended on the bone strength in Krita Yuga, while it came to be assessed on the retention of flesh in the body in Treta Yuga, got reduced to the retention of flow of blood in Dwapara Yuga, and now in Kali Yuga, the criterion would be the strength of food that retains in a person as the real cause of Praana or the Life Force. Indeed, more than anything else, the strength of the

Inner Consciousness is of paramount significance! Slippages into ‘Adharma’ and ‘Varna Sankarana’ were treated with ‘Desa Bahishkarana’ or deporting from a Kingdom in Krita Yuga, while in Treta and Dwapa Yugas were punished with expelling from the native place and out-casting respectively. In Kali Yuga, the retribution is to ban social activities like weddings and co-meals from the same caste. Sinners in the three Yugas were not allowed to with mingle, touch, converse and much less dine with persons of the same class of the Society while in Kali Yuga those observances are not that stringent but avoidable. The usual restrictions followed in the earlier Yugas are neither observed nor even in the boundaries of awareness! Even when the Regulations are familiar, observance is a far cry and Adharma is abysmal. The impact of Non-Virtue and Injustice is rampant and further decadence is measured by the passage of time. Hence the application of Dharma as enunciated by Paraashara to mitigate the further onslaught of Viciousness and Injustice and infringement of Varna Samkarana. Of the Four Varnas as listed on the Hindu Dharma viz. Brahmana-Kshatriya-Vaishyas or the Vipras, Royalty/Administrators, and Vaishyas or Business class, besides the Lower Class or theWork force. The first three categories engaged in ‘Dharmaacharana’ are the Practioners of Dharma, the Protectors of Dharma, and the Facilitators of Dharma and finally the the fourth or the lower category relates to that of Service Providers of Dharma.

 

Veda Vyasa explained in Vyasa Smriti: Brahmanah Kshatriyo vaishyastayo varnaa dwijaatayah, Shruti Smriti Puraanokta Dharma yogaastu neterey/ (Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vyaishyas are called dwijas or twice born due to the samskaras that they would have been provided from their respective life’s evolution). Even the Lower Class is indeed a part and parcel of Hindu Dharma: Varnaschaturthopi varnatwaadharmamarhati, Veda Mantra swadhaa swaahaa vashatkaaraadibhirvinaa/ (For all practical purposes, the Lower Class is eligible to Dharmaacharana except however Veda Mantra, Swadha, Swaha, and Vashatkara and such homa kriyas). Various ‘Samskaras’ or observations of mile stones of life and customs signifying Weddings, Nama Karana, and so on are all performed as per the customs of individual Varnas. The Samskaras are however distinctly different for dwijas. Garbhaadaanam, Pumsavanam seemanto jaata karmacha, Naama kriyaa, Nishramanennaashanam vamana kriyaa/ Karna vedho vraadesho vedaarambha kriyaa vidhih, Keshaantah snaanamudwaaho Vivaahaagni parigrahah/ Treyaagni sangrahashcheti samskaaraah shodasha smritaah/ (Garbhaa daana, Pumsavana, Seemanta, Jaata Karma, Naama karana, Nishkramana, Anna praashana, Mundana, Karna vedha, Upanayana, Vedaarambha kriyaa vidhi, Keshaanta, Snaana, Vivaaha, Agni parigraha, Tretaagni or Dakshna- Garhapatya and Aahavasiya Agnis are sixteen samskaraas). Garbhaadhaanam prathamah tritiye maasi Pumsavah, Seemantaschaastame maasi jaate jaatakriyaa bhavet, Ekaadashehni naamaarka syekshaa maasi chaturthake/ (After wedding, Garbhaadhaana is the first Samskara followed by pumsavana after three months, the Seemontannayana within eight months, then the arrival of a baby whereafter soon the jaatakarma / naamakarana on the eleventh day and in the fourth month ‘nishkramana’or Suryadarshana are celebrated). Shashthe maasyannashaneeyaah choodakarma kulochitam, Krita choode cha Baaley cha karna vedho vidhheeyate/( In the sixth month, the child’s Anna praashana, Choodara karma or hair removal and tuft keeping as per the family custom followed by ear piercing). Vipro garbhaashtame varshe kshatramekaadashe tathaa, Dwadashe Vaishya jaatistu vratopana kriyaa/ (To Brahmanas upanayana is prescribed in the eighth year, while to Kshatriyas and Vaishyas the age is eleventh and twelfth respectively).Tasya praaptavratasyaayam kaalah syaat dwigunaadhikah, Veda vratachyto vraatyah sa vraatyastomamarhati/ (In the event of exceeding the limit of the prescribed age of eight years for performing the Upanayana upto double that age, then there would be lapse of Vedaadhyana Vrata and that is why Vraatyastoma Yagjna would need to be executed as a prayaschitta. Dwe janmani dwijaatinam Maatru syat prathamam tayoh, Dwiteeyam Chhandasaam Maatugrgna hanaadvidhivad Guroh/ (Dwijaati has two births viz. firstly his own mother and maternal grand mother, besides Gayatri Maata). Upaneeto gurukule vasennityam samaahitah, Bibhruyaddanda koupeenopaveetaajina mekhalaa/ (After the Upana – yana samskaara, the boy has to assume a placid and attentive mind and stay at the Gurukula and wear danda, kaupeena, yagjnopaveeta, deer skin and girdle) Punyehni Gurvangjnaatah krita mantraahuti kriyah, Smrutomkaarancha Gayatromkaarabhedvedamaaditah/ (On an auspicious day after securing the blessings of his Teacher, the boy should gradually learn to perform oblations into Agni, recite Omkaara and learn gayatri upasana well). Souchaachaara vichaaraartham dharma shastramapi dwijah, Pathet Gurutah samyak karma taddishtamaacharet/ (This Brahmachari should then be trained into Shoucha and Aachara or External and Internal Purity besides the traditional knowledge and training). Brahmachari should also refrain from enmity, narrow mindedness, violence, wasteful gazing at Surya, dance-dramatics in wrong companies, untruthfulness, obsession, undesirable criticisms of others, hypocrisy, company of fair sex, vagabonding, dissatisfaction and negativism. Ekaannamanyavirodhe vrataanaam prathamaagrami, Bhuktwa Gurumupaaseet krutwaa sandhukshanaadikam/ (In view of Brahmachari dharma, he should eat a single meals a day, be engaged in daily chores including Agni karya and engage himself with service to Guru). These indeed are the vidhis of Brahmachari dwijas till such time; they enter the subsequent phase of Grihastas or House- holders.

 

General guidelines to Dwijas include performance by the selves of, and motivating others to, undertake Yagnya Karyas, Veda Pathana and encouraging others to do likewise, giving and encouraging Daanas, Deva Puja and Atithi Puja, Agnihotra kriyas and consuming Sesha Prasaada or the left over Naivedya offered to Agni Devas and so on. As regards Veda Pathana, care be taken to avoid nitya and naimittika timings; the nitya kaalas are Paadyas, Ubhaya Ashtamis, Ubhaya Chaturthis, Pournamis and Amavasya Tithis while Naimittikas include hearing of inauspicious sounds like those of barking of dogs, braying of donkeys, growls of fox or owls or desperate cries of humans as also at impure places like cremation grounds, sights of corpses, lightnings, cloud sounds and bursts etc. Some also opine that Anaadhyaa is also observed on Yugadis, Vishuvat kaala/ Sankrantis etc. In respect of Yagnya Karyas, Devatas are satisfied by partaking the ‘Havish’ and blessing all round happiness by way of good crops and prosperity in general. The Yagnas are of Satvika, Rajasika and Taamasika nature: the Satvika yagnas are performed out of social welfare; the Rajasika ones are of pomp and show while the Tamasika Yagnas are either targetted for selfish motives or even of negative benefit. Daanas or Charities too are performed aiming at specified benefits or of Nishkaama nature without expecting returns. Deva Puja is either aimed at three hundred or thirty or three. The number of thirty three is arrived at Ashta Vasus –comprising Pancha Bhutas of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky- besides Sun, Moon, Stars and Swarga; Ekadasha Rudras consisting of Rudra known for Rud or Rodana- always Crying- besides Dasha Pranas viz. Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, Vyana, Naga, Karkara, Kurma, Devadutta and Dhanjaya; Dwasha Adityas viz. twelve months; besides Prajapati, and Indra. Atithi Devo Devo bhava -Welcome to guests: Whether one likes or not, respecting and receiving well any guest at door is to be considered as a duty even if he or she were an opponent or of foolishness, an intellectual or of abnormality, especially arriving at Vaishwadeva or other Pujas and this gesture needs to be observed as a good reason for going to heavens. This is particularly relevant to those who arrive after a journey, or those who are tired even according priority to those already arrived. There is no need to enquire of the background of the arriving guest even before asking to be seated with respect. On making the guest feel at home with refreshments, then the host may initiate the conversation with politeness about the purpose of the visit or in the case of visitors already familiar with the guest, then the host shoud normally engage in further talk with no signs of annoyance whatsoever.

 

Shat Karma Vidhi

The above guide lines apart, following are the essential duties of a Brahmana as in Paraashara Smriti:

Shatkarmaabhirou nityam Devaatithi pujakah, Huta sheshaantu bhungagno Brahmano naavaseedati/ Sandhyaa snaanam japo homo Devataanamcha pujanam, Vishwa Devaatithi yaamcha shatkarmaani diney diney/(Regular observance of six essential duties every day, besides Deva Puja and Atithi Seva and eating Yagna Sesha or the left overs of Yagnas would pull down a Brahmana to descend to lower worlds. The six duties are specified as Sandhya Vandana, atleast twice a day, Snaana that precedes ‘Bahyaantara Shuchi’ or Cleanliness of the body and mind, Japa, Homa, Devaarchana or Deva Puja, Atithi Seva or paying respects and attention to the guests who are already familiar or unknown especially the unknown. On waking up at Brahma Muhurta or four ghadias before Sun Rise, Devata Smrarana; prathama darshana of Shrotrias, cows, Agni, and avoidance of sinners, digambaras, and beggars; Ablutions with yagnopa – veeta worn around the left ear; praatah snaana as bathing in the morning absolves the evil effects of bad thoughts, deeds and dreams in the bed; recitals of Jala devata/ Aaruna mantras in the course of the bathing; pratah snaanantara Deva Rishi Pitru Tarpana; Vastra dharana; and Vibhudi-Gandha-Kumkuma dharana on the forehead. Now, a digression is made on ‘Snaanas’ before detailing Sandhya Vadana karya.

Snaana Prakarana: Snaanaani pancha punyaa vikeerintaani manishibhihi, Agneyam vaarunam

Braahmam Vaayavyam divyamevacha/ Agneyam bhasmanaa snaanamavagaahamtu vaarunam,

 

Apohishtheticha Braahmam Vaayavyamgorajsmrutam/ (Maharshis classified punya snaanas in five catogries viz. Agneya, Vaaruna, Braahma, Vayavya and Divya). While performing aachamana before commencing snaana, both head and neck should not be covered nor koupeena is removed, nor also the hair on head kept unpleated and certainly not without yagnopaveeta. After performing snaana or drinking water, or after waking up from sleep or while concluding bhojana or while walking on roads or even while dressing up, one should refrain from sneezing; but if inevitable, the person concerned must perform two achamanas. It is stated that as an alternative to aachamana, one could touch the right ear; the same could be done after spitting, yawning or mouth watering. As the water flows tend to touch Sun rays early inn the mornings, snaanas at that time are stated to purify best but snaanas in the nights, especially around late night are prohibited, excepting if there were a Lunar elcipse. This exception for snaanas at Chandra grahana timings as prescribed is considered as a duty since Vasu-Rudra-Aditya-Devatas would be yearning for ‘Soma Paana’ and hence snaanas are essential after the eclipse. It is further stated that night bathings are approved at Khala Yagna while taking Dhanya home from the agicultural fields, at the Vivaha timings, Sankraanti as sankramana of Chandra takes place, but not otherwise.

 

Nityam naimittikam kaamyamiti karma tridhaa matam, Tividham taccha vakshyaami grihastyaa– vadharyataam/ ( There are three kinds of Snanas as explained by Veda Vyasa viz. Nitya Naimittika and Kaamya for Grihasthas). Nitya Snaana is the prerequisite of Nitya Karmaacharana viz. Sandhya Vandana, Homa kriya and so on as prescribed. Similarly, the Madhyaahnika and Saayam kaala snanaas are a must to qualify the daily duties. Madhyaahnika snaana especially in running waters is done with kusha-tila- phalas while reciting appropriate mantras is beneficial. Ratri snanas are purpose-less. Brahmana- Kshatriya-Vaishyas need to recite mantras while women need not do so. Veda Vyasa explains in his Smriti: Snaanamabdaivataih kuryaat paavanaishchaapi maarjanam, Mantraih praamstriraayamya Souraishchaarkam vilokayet/ ( Snaanas are better performed with appropriate marjana Mantras like : Apohishthamayo bhuvah ta na oorje dadhatana, Maheranaaya chashase yo vah shivatamorasah, Tasya bhajayateha nah, Usateeriva Matarah, Tasmaa arangama vah yasya bhajayateha nah usateeriva Matarah,Tasmaa arangamaamavah yasya kshayaya jinvatah, Apo janyatah nah/ Om Bhurbhuva – ssuvah/). Vyasa further explains: Tikshthan sthitwaa tu Gayatreem tatgah swadhyaayaaarambhet, Ruchaanyacha Yajushaam Saamnaayaamatharvanangirasaamapi/ Itahasapuraanaam vedopanishidaam Dwijah, Saktyaa samyak pattenithamalpa mantra madhyamalpamapamapyasamaanaat/ (While standing and reciting Gayatri, the dwija at the bath might commence Swadhyaya albeit in parts of the three Vedas!).

 

There are also standard instructions like Grahana snaana, Pitru Karya snaana, Tirtha Snaana, Snaanas by the touch of Rajaswala, Shava yatra and Smashana visits and so on. Now, Agneya Purana classified Kaamya Snaana, Malaapakarshana Snaana and Kriyaanga Snaana too among the Naimittika Snaanas. Kaamya Snaana in Holy River on Pushya Janma Nakshatra, besides Vyatipaata Vaidhruti Amavasya timings yields the benefit of satisfying seven generations of Pitru Devatas. Chaitra Bahula Chaturdashi Ganga Snana or near in any Sacred river where a Shiva Temple is situated would yield Kailasa Nivasa. Pushkarini Snaana on Kartika Pournami or Prayaga Snaana on Maagha Pournami would wash off all the Sins of the past. Hasta nakshatra yukta Jyeshtha Shuddha Dwadasi Ganga snaana too has similar phala of total sin destruction. Surya grahana on Maagha Shuddha Saptami snaana in the early morning yields Maha Phala. On Chaitra Shukla Ashtami snaana in running flow of any river if coincides with a Wednesday and Punarvasu would bestow Ashwamedha phala. Kartika snaanaas during the entire month to be followed by Japa- homa karyas with purity of heart and faith would destroy the long standing fund of sins for sure. Similarly snaanas during the months coinciding Tula-Makara-Mesha Rashis, daily pratah kala snanaas would yield similar results, especially observing Brahmacharya Vrata. Pratah snaanas during the four month period of Ashadha till Kartika coupled with Anna daana concluding Vishnu Vrata there- after should certainly bestow Vishnu Sayujya. Tila Snaana on any day yields offers fruitful results. Maagha snaanas in Punya Tirthas are highly fulfilling with desires as emphasized in Dharma Shastras and Puranas. Some do’s and don’ts of Malaapakarsha Snaanas are as follows: Abhyanga snaanas or oil baths are prohibited on Sundays as also meat eating on Tuesdays and Fridays, Stree sambhoga on wednesdays are prohibited; Jyotisha Shastra emphasizes that Sundays, Pournami-Amavasya-Chaturdashi-Ashtamis and on Solar Eclipse days, Taila Sparsha and oil baths be avoided unless such baths are tempered with scents or of cooked oils. Tila oil should be always avoided for oil baths.

 

Sandhyaa Vandana: Sandhya is the intermission of ‘Ahoraatras’or day and night as signified by Sun Rise and Sun Set. Poorvaa Sandhyaa tu Gayatri Savitri madhyaa smritaa, Yaa bhavet paschimaa sandhyaa saa Vigjneyaa Saraswati/ The pre-noon is dominated by Devi Gayatri, noon time by Devi Savitri and the Sun set by Devi Saraswati and hence the respective Goddesses need worship at these times. Gayatri is of blood red complexion, Savitri of pure white Varna and Saraswati of black colour and they represent Brahma-Rudra-Vishnu Swarupas of Paramatma. Meditation of these forms of Almighty is basically through the representation of Aditya: Udyantamastam yantamaadityam/ (Taittiriya Brahmana Upanishad). Broadly speaking the format of Trikaala Sandhya Vandana as as follows: Aachamana, Anga Nyasa- Karanyasa, Dhyaana, Praanayaama, Sankalpa, Prokshana, Aapah Praashanam, Punarmaarjanam, Arghya Pradaanam, Prayaschitta Arghya, Atmaanusandhaanam, Tarpana, Prarthana, Gayatri Sankalpa, Pranaayama, Gayatri Aaavahana: Aayatu varadaa Devi Aksharam, Brahmasammitam Gayatriim chhandasaam Maatedam Brahma Jushaswanah/ Gayatrim avaahayaami Savitrim avahayami Saraswatimavahayami/ Nyasa, Dhyana viz. Muktaa vidruma hema neela dhavalah chhaayair mukhaistryakshanaaih yuktaam Indrakulaa nibaddha ratna makutaam tatwaartha varnaatmikaam, Gaayatreem varadaabhaya ankusha kashaah shubhram kapaalam gadaamchakramathaara vinda yugalam hastairvahanteem bhajey/ Gayatri Mantra: Om bhurbhuvah suvaha saviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi dhiyo yonah prachodayaat/ The Japa is performed preferably 108 times in the morning, 32 times in the afternoon and 64 times in the evening [ the count of Gayatri Mantra each time to commence from the right ring finger middle (1) to the lower finger portion (2), to continue to the bottom of the little finger (3), to the middle little finger (4), to the top of the little finger (5), to the top portion of the ring finger again (6), then to the top of the middle finger (7), to the top portion of the pointing finger (8), the middle portion of pointing finger (9) and finally to the lower portion of the pointing finger (10)]

 

[Taittiriya Upanishad offers fourfold explanation of the Mystic Utterances as follows: (I.5.1-4): Bhur bhuvah suvah iti vaa etaas tisro vyaahritayah, taasaam u ha smaitaam chaturthim, Mahaa cha masyah, pravdayate,Maha iti, tad Brahma, sa Aatmaa, anaagaani anya Devataah, Bhur iti vaa ayam lokah, bhuva iti antariksham, suvar iti antariksham, suvar iti asau lokah, maha iti aadityah, aditenna vaa vasarve

lokaa maheyante/ ( These are the three utterances viz. Bhuh or this Earth, Bhuvah or the Atmosphere, Suvah or the yonder world, Mahah or the Sun by whom Brahman is known and the latter’s limbs are the various manifestations of Devas). Bhur iti vaa Agnih, bhuva iti vaayuh, suvar iti Adityah, Maha iti chandramasaa vaa va sarvaani jyotishmi maheeyantey/ (Bhuh is Agni, Bhuva is Vaayu, Suvah is Aditya, Mahah is Chandra, and by Chandra indeed all the Luminaries shine magnificently); Bhur iti vaa Ruchaah,

 

Bhuva iti Vaayuh, Suvar iti Adityah, Maha iti Brahma, Brahmanaa vaa va Sarve Veda mahiyante/ (Bhu is

Rig Veda verses, Bhuvah is Saama chants, Suvah are the Yajus formulas and Mahah is Brahman by whom all Vedas become outstanding); Bhur iti vai praanah, Bhuva iti apaanah, Suvar iti vyaanah, Maha iti annam, Annena vaava sarve praana maheeyantey/( Bhuh is inbreath, Bhuvah is outbreath, Suvah is diffused breath, Maha is food, and by Food indeed all the vital breaths become grand)]

 

Pranaayama again, followed by Gayatri upasthaana sankalpa as applicable to the morning viz. Mitrasya charshani dhrutah shravo Devasya saanasim Satyam chitra shravastamam Mitro janaan yaatayati Prajaananj Mitro daadhaara prithiveemutadyaam Mitrah kushtheera nimishaa abhichastey satyaaya havyam ghrutavaddhvidhema/ PrasaMitra marto astu prayaswaan yasta Aditya shikshati vratena, na hanyate na jeeyate twoto nainamah ho ashnotyantito na duuraat/ In the afternoon the Gayati upaasthaana mantra states: Om aasatyena rajasaa vartamaano niveshayan amritam martyamcha, Hiranyena Savitaa rathenaa Devo yaati devo yaati bhuvanaa vipashyan/ Udvayam tamasaspari pashyanto jyotiruktam Devam Devatraa Suryamagnam jyotiruktamam/ Udyuktyam jaatavedasam Devam vahanti ketavah, Drusho Vishwaaya Suryam/Chitram Deaanaamudagaadaneekam chakshurmitrasya Varunasagneaah, Aapraadyaavaa Prithivee Antariksham Surya Atmaa Jagatasyatsyushashcha, Tacchakshurdevahitam purastaacchukra mucchyarat/ Pashyma sharadasshatam jeevema sharadasshatam modaama sharadasshhatam bhavaama sharadasshatam shrunvaama sharadasshatam prabravaama sharadasshatam ajeetaasshyaama sharadasshatam jyokacha Suryam drusho, ya udagaamna hato arnaavaad vibhraajamaanasah sarirasya madhyaat sa maa vrishabho lohitaakshah Suryo vipaschin manasaa punaatu/ In the evening the Upasthaana Mantra states: Imam me Varuna shrudhi havamadyaa cha mridaya/ Twaamasyu raachake/ Tatwaayaami Brahmanaa vandamaanasta-dwaashaaste Yajamaano havirbhih, ahedamaano Varuneha bodhyurushangumsa maa na yaayuh pramosheeh/ Yacchidhvite Visho yathaa pradeva aruna vratam, Minimasi dyuvi dhvavi/ Jane a bhidroham manushyaashcharaamasi, achitteyatwa dharma upopim maa nastasmaadenaso Devareerishah/ Kitavaaso yadripurpurna diviyadvaaghaa satyamuta yanna vidhma, Sarvaa taa vishya hithireva Devataa te syaam Varuna prayaasah/ Gayatri Upasthaana as above in respect of Tri Sandhyaas would follow Dig Devataa vandana as relevant to Morning and Afternoon to East-South-West-North- East again and in the evening to West- North-East-South and West again saying Sandhyaayai-Savitrai- Gayatrai-Sarasvatai-Sarvaabhyo Devataabhyo namah and finally say: Kaamo (A) kaarsheen manyurakaarsheet namo namah/ This would be followed by Pravaraabhivandana ; Dik Vandana (Praachai-Dakshinaayai-Pradeechai [Evening as appropriate] and Udeechyai-Urdhvaayai-Adharaayai-Antarikshaayai-Bhumyai-Brahmaney- Vishnavey- Shivayai namah. Yama Vandana to Yama, Chintakaaya-Kaalaaya-Aoudumbaraaya-Dadhnaaya- Paremeshti- Vrikodara-Chitraya- Chitra Guptaaya vain namah. Finally Kshamaa Prarthana of Kayenavaachaa manasendriyarvaa budhyaatmanaa aa prakruteh swabhaavaat, karomi yadyat sakalam parasmaiNarayanaayeti samarpayaami/ Om tat Sat/ Brahmarpanamastu/ [Note: More details given vide Essence of Dharma Sindhu by the same author especially Taittiriya / Katyaayana versions vide the website of Kamakoti.org/news]

 

Homa Prakarana: As a part of the Shat Karmas to be observed, homa vidhi is the other significant duty of Brahmanas. Just as there are time restrictions to perform Sandhya Vandana, timings for nitya homa are suggested as possibly in continuation of Pratah Sandhya as also after Saayam Sandhya. However, the tradition of Nitya homa is kept flexible as per family traditions. There could be dispensations of combining Saayam-Praatah kaala homas done together too. If not possible at all, proxies could be appointed like sons or Sishyas or Brahmanas on one’s behalf. However proxy homas are effective in yielding far less phala than by one self! As regards Homa Dravyas, the dictum states kritam akritam kritaakritam/ that is the Homa material is of three kinds: Annam or cooked rice or wheat flour are Kritam; akritas are ‘dhaanya’ or non husked cerials and ‘kritaaakritas’ include tilas, yavas, milk, curd, ghee etc. Samidhas include unkinned twigs of Arka, Palaasha, Apamarga, Peepul, Gular, Shami, Durva, Bel, Vata and such other trees of normally ten to twelve inches long. Infringements or interruptions of Nitya Homa karyas need to be revived with appropriate ‘prayaschittas’ or self imposed punishments by way of purifications. In any case, dictates of one’s own conscience are the best judges, especially depending on the Desha-Kaala exigencies. In any case, the suggested outline of the procedure of homa is as follows:

 

Agni Mukham: The Homa Kunda or the Fire Pit is to be a cubic meter square size and before use the raised platform of sand is dressed with white rice flour. All acts inside the platform are to be performed from left to right in respect of devas and from right to left in respect of Pitru Devatas. Kunda rekhas or lines on the surface of the platform are drawn from west to east with a spoon handle bisecting the lines from south to north. The platform is sprinkled with water, twigs are arranged at the center of it and fire is kindled with camphor in a copper plate circling thrice on the twigs by way of Agni Sthapana reciting the mantra: Chandramaa manaso jaatah, Chakshus Suryo ajaayata, Mukhad Indraschaagnischa praanaad Vayur ajaayata/ (Chandra is created from Almighty’s mind, Surya from His eye; Indra is born from His mouth and so is Agni while Vayu is created by His breath). Om bhur bhuvassuvah—Agnim sthaapayaami/ (Thus Fire is installed). Then ‘Agnim Prajvalanam’ is done by adding twigs. Darbha paristarana: Darbha grass is laid and spread in 3 or 5 layers around fire as the grass ends are kept in east with points to north, in the south with points to east, iin the west pointing to north and north with points to east. Paatra saadhanam: To the north of Agni on a layer of darbha grass, pairs of vessels to be used in the homa are to be arranged: spoons, ajya patra or ghee vessel and prokshani patra or the vessel with which water is sprinkled. Brahma varanam or the priest is to be seated to the south of Agni. In his absence, a kurga or the bundle of darbhas or a flower is plaed on his seat. Prokshani paatra saadhanam or the vessel to sprinkling water is filled in again and again. ‘Parishinchana’ is taken up with Om Aditenumanyaswa/ ( to South),Anumatenu manyaswa ( to west), Saraswatenu manyaswa ( to north) and finally to all sides: Then Deva savitah prasuva to all sides. After ‘parishechanam’ meaning ‘May earth be pleased to bestow me the kingdom, may the wives of Devas bestow me what all I desire, may the Goddess of speech, intellect and knowledge grant me what I ask for, may Devi Saraswati fulfill all my wishes for excellent speech and knowledge and may Devi Savita impel us to fructify our sacrifices and oblations’. With these parishachanas, Agya samskaras follows as in respect of Nityagni by Brahmacharis or Grihastas as also various other Agni Karyas. Incidentally, besides the Brahamachari homas or Grihasta homas performed ondaily basis, these Karyas are also preceded by various other Samkaras: These Samskara Agnis are called: Yojaka for Vivahas, sikhi for chaturthis, marutah for garbha daana, Chandra/ pavamana for pumsavana, paarthiva for naama karana, Shuchi for anna praashana, sabhya for chala samskara, Surya for godaana and Kshaya for samvarthana.

 

Brahmachaari Dwija homa vidhana: After purifying Homa Kunda with cow dung and waters of Sacred rivers like Ganga, be seated near the Kunda as ‘purvaabhimukha’ or facing the east, sprinkle water and molten cow’s ghee for the purpose of the homa, perform tri-achamana and Anga nyasa, Ganapati Dhyana,

‘Praanaayaama’ with Pranava Mantra and Sankalpa assuming the ordain of Maha Vishnu by reciting the

Shubha Muhurta of Dwiteeya Paraatha, Kali Yuga Prathama Paada, Jambu Dwipa, Bharata Varsha,

 

Bharata Khanda, Meroh dakshina dik bhaaga, specified Pradesha, specified disha, in the august presence of the Sacred feet of Samasta devataas, Brahmanas, Gurus and others at specified Samvatsara-Maasa- Paksha-Tithi-Vaara-Nakshatra and so on and declare the Praatah/ Sayam Homa. After the Sankalpa, initiate the Homa by repeat tri-achamana: Om Amritopastarana masi swaha (the first)-Om Amritaapadhaanamasi swaha (the second)- Om satyam yashah Shrirmayi shrih shrayataam swaha (the third); this shall be followed by the sprinkling of water and touch the body parts with: Om Gangmayaschaasyestu( face), Om nasome praanestu (both openings of the nose), Om akshorme chakshurastu ( both the eyes), Om karnayorme shrotarastu (both the ears), Om baahyonge balamastu (both the hands), Om uruvomme ojostu ( both the thighs) and Arishtaani mekaangaani tanustanvaa me saha santu/ Thereafter perform Agnyaadhana brought on a plate, use camphor to sustain the fire kindled with wooden figs with the following mantra: Om bhurbhuvah swadyorivam bhumnaa Prithiveeyam vyarinmaa, Tasyaamste Prithivi Deva Yagjaani pushtegni mantradaa maatraadya dadhe/ While inflaming the following mantra is rendered: Om udbhavam budhyasyaagne pratim jaagruhi twaamishtaa- purti swayam srujetaa mayam cha, Asmin samidhasye addhyuttaarasmin Vaishwa deva yajamaanascha seedata/ ( Yajur Veda). Agni praarthana: Paritwaa Agne parimrujaami aayushaa cha dhanena cha, Suprajaahaa prajayaa bhuyaasagum suveero veeraihi suvarchaa varchasaa suposhah poshaih sugruho gruhais supatihi patyaa sumedhaaya su brahmabrahmacharibhih/ Then ‘parishachana’or sprinkling water around the homa kunda in clock wise direction stating the Mantras: Aditenu manyaswaa, anumateny manyaswaa, Saraswatenu manyaswaa, Deva savitah prasuva/ where after ‘Samidadhana’or offereing Samidhas to Agni reciting ‘Swaha’ each time as follows twelve times after each Mantra:

 

1) Agnaye samidha-maahaarshim brihatae jatavedase, yathaa twagrame samidha samidhayasa evam mamaayushaa varchasaa sanyaa medhaayaa prajayaa pashubhih brahmavarchasena annaadyena samedhaya swaahaa/ 2) Yaedho asi yaedhisheemahi swahaa/ 3) Samidasi samedhishhemahi swaahaa/ 4)Tejo asitejo mayi dhehi swaaha/5) Apo adyaanvachaarisghagum resena samasrukshamahi payasswaagumagna aagamam tammaa sagusruja varchasaa swaahaa/6) Sam maa agnae vaarchass sruja prajayaa cha dhanaena cha swaahaa/ 7) Vidyunae asya devaa Indro vidtat sahasrshibhih swaahaa/ 8) Agnayae bruhatae naakaaya swaahaa/8) Agnayae bruhatae naakaaya swaahaa/ 9) Dyaa Prithivi bhyaam swaahaa/ 10) Yeshaa te agnae samit tayaa vardhaswa cha aapyaayasvaa cha tayaa aham vardhamaano bhuyaasam aapyaa maanascha swaahaa/ 11) Yo maagne bhaaginagum santamathaa bhaagam chikeerushati, Abhaagamagnaetam kuru maamasnae bhaaginam kuru swaahaa/ 12) Samidhaamadhaayaagnae sarva vrato bhuyaasagum swahaa/

 

The ‘samidhaana homa’ concludes with ‘parishachana’ or circling water sprinkling around the homa kunda in clockwise direction with the Mantras: Aditenu manyaswaa, Deva savitenu manyuswaa, Saraswatenu manyswaa, Deva savitah praasaaveeh/ This would be followed by the mantra: Agnerupasthaanaam karishye/ Following the ‘Upasthaana’, supplication mantra to Agni Deva to be recited in standing position as follows: Yatte agnae tejastenaaham tejasvi bhuyaasam, yatte agnae varchastenaaham varchasvee bhuyaaam/ Yatte agnae harastenaaham haraswi bhuyaasam, Mayi medhaam mayi prajaam mayagnih tejo dadhaatu/ Mayi medhaam mayi prajaam maeendrah indriyam dadhatu, mayi medhaam mayiprajaam mayi Suryo bhraajo dadhaatu/ Agnayae namah/ Finally the Kshamaa Prarthana would be as follows: Mantra heenam kriyaan heenam bhakti heenam hutaashana, Yaddhutam tu mayaa Deva paripurnam tadastute/ Praayaschittaani asheshaani tapah karmatmikaani vai, Yaani teshaam asheshenaam Parameshwara manusmaranam/ Maha Deva Maheshwaram/

 

Grihasti Brahmana homa vidhaana: Connected with Agni Mukham detailed after the Section of Brahmachari Dwija homa above including the Sankalpa therin, the rest of the following be continued as Grihasti Brahmana homa vidhi. (This is as per Apastamba Prayoga)

 

Sankalpa: Om poorvokta guna visheshena visishthaam asyaam shubha tithou bhagavad aagjnayaa bhagavad preetaartham rupena praatar/ saayam aoupaasaa homam karishye/ This is followed by parisechanam:

 

Agni Dhyaana: Om ram Agnaye namah/ Meshaaroodham cha vakraangam Jaataveda samanvayam, Dwi seersham sapta hastam tri paadam sapta jihvikam, Varadam shakti paani cha bibhraanaam sru sruvau tathaa/ Abheetidam charma dharma vaame-chaajya-dharam kare/ ( I contemplate Agni Deva who rides a ram whose limbs are twisted, who has two heads, and seven arms, three feet and seven tongues. He displays the gesture of munificence, bears a Shakti weapon, two ladles, shows the signal of protection and carries a vessel full of ghee). Chatvari shringa trayosya paada dwe sirshe sapta hastaasosya, Tridhaa baddho vrishabho roraaveeti maho devo martyaagum aaviveshaa/ Eeshaa hi devaah praadishonu sarvaah purvo hi jaatassa u garbhe antaah, sa vijaayaamanassaa janishyamaanaaha prattyan mukhaa stishthati vishvato mukhaaha/ Hey Agne praan mukho Deva maamaabhimukho bhava/ (The illustrious Agni has come down to men and is attended by sacrifices; He has four Vedas as his horns, three swaraas as his feet, Brahmodana and Pravargya are his two heads and seven Vedic meters as his hands. Heis regulated by Mantra, Kalpa and Brahmana; he is the bestowere of fortune. He is sung with and without music by the hymns of Rig, Yajur and Saama Vedas by the sacrificial priests such as the Hota. The

Unique Paramatma realized by the Wise having been present in all quarters was born as Hiranyagarbha at the beginning of Creation. Indeed He is the same Hiranyagarbha who will be born as such in fuure too.He is the indweller of thehearts of all the beings, the witness to all and the inciter of action. Agni Deva of divine magnificence! Do kindly be seated in the eastern direction and be well disposed to us).

 

Now, akshatas and flowers are to be offered to ‘Ashta dishas’ or in eight directions as follows: East: Om Agnaye namah; South East: Om jaatavedhase namah; South: Om sahojase namah; South West: Om Ajiraa -prabhave namah; West: Om Vaishwaanaraaya namah; North West: Om naryaapase namah; North: Om Panktiraadhase; North West: Om Visarpine; Centre: Om Yagjna Purushaaya namah/ This follows Alankaara or worship to Dishaadhipatis or Heads of Directions situated around Agni by placing flowers in the respective directions: East: Indraaya namah; South East: Agnaye namah; South: Yamaaya namah; South West: Nirrutaaya namah; West: Varunaaya namah; North West: Vaayave namah;North: Somaaya namah; North East: Ishaanaaya namah/

 

This would be followed by Samidhaa daanam: Karta stands and faces the Brahmana saying the following and tendering the bundle of Samidhas in his hands for further placing on Agni: Asmin homa karmaani Brahman idhmam aadhaasye/ Aadhatswaa!/

 

Then ‘Aaghaara’ is followed as the Karta meditates Agni Deva silently and offers Ajya/ ghee in streams from North East to South East and recites: Om Prajaapataye swaahaa, Prajaapataye idam na mama/ Then offers Ajya again to Indra from South West to North East reciting: Om Indraayaa Swaahaa, Indraaya idam na mama/

 

Aajya bhaagam: Karta then makes two oblations, one to Agni and another to Soma: Om Agnaye swaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama, Om Somaaya swaahaa, Somaaya idam na mama/ Vyahriti homa is continued: Towards South: Om bhuvasswaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama/ Towards Northa: Om Bhuvaswaahaa, Vaayave idam na mama/ At the center: Om Suvaswaaaa, Suryaya idam na mama/ Prayaschitta homa sankalpa: Asmin—-homa karmani sankalpa prabhriti etat kshana paryantam madhye sambhaavita samasta dosha prayaschitthartham sarva prayaschittam hoshyami/ Om bhur bhuvas swaahaa—Prajaapaaye idam na mama/

Pradhana homa: Now proceed with main oblations: [Refer to the next section of Aoupaasana homa] Uttaraangam or conclusion: Prajaapate na twad etaanyanyo vishvaa jaataani pari taababhuva, yat kaamas te juhumas tanno astu vaayagum syaama patayo rayeenaagum swaahaa/ Prajaapataya idam na mama/ (Prajapati the Lord of Beings, you alone comprehend all these created forms and nobody else. Do grant us our heart felt desires as we invoke you; may we become the chiefs of rich possessions) Om bhussuvaahaa Agnaye idam na mama/ Om Bhuvassvahaa, Vaayave idamna mama/ Om Suvaassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Yad asyaa karmaano tyareericham yad vaa nyunam ihaakaram, Angishtaat svishtaakrad vidwaan sarvagum svistagum suhutam karotu swaahaa, Agnaye swishtakrutedam na mama/ (Whatever that has been done that is superficial or deficient in this sacrifice be please accepted as complete, Agni swistakrita!)

 

Paridhi pariharam: Paridhis or boundaries of the homa kunda are offered to Agni the ghee dipped samidhas commencing from the middle one first to the rest. Samsraava homa: Sruva or the sacrificial ladles are filled up with ghee flow offering to Agni covering the ladles reciting Swaahaa, Vasubhyo Rudrebhya aaditebhyah samsraava bhaagebhyah idam na mama/ (May there be glory to Ashtaavaus, Ekaadasha Rudras and Dwadasha Aditya Devas as these oblations are offered to them through Agni Deva); Om bhur-bhuvas-suvas-swaahaa, Prajaapataye na mama/ (May this offering be made in the glory of Prajapati the Lord of Creation as a testimony of physical-mental-spiritual realms) Praayaschitta or atonement: Sankalpa-Om poorvokta guna visheshena visishthaayaam asyaam shubha tithou bhagavadaajnaayaa bhagavad kainkarya rupena asmin—homa karmaani avijnaata praayaschitta aadeeni karishye/ (May I make the atonement offerings in this —rite as to be specified- on this day of auspiciousness signified with astrological qualifications, with the approval by and in service to Almighty). Anaagjnaatam yad agjnaasya kritaye mithu, Agne tadasya kalpayaa twagum hi vetta yathaa tathagass swaaaa/ Agnayedam na mama/ (Agni Deva! What all imperfections that have been committed by me either knowingly or unknowingly be pardoned in the course of this Sacrifice). Purusha sammito yagjno yagjnah Purusha sammitah, Agne tadasya kalpaya twagum hi vetta yathaa tathagas swaaha/ Agnayedam na mama/ (Almighty too is coequal with this Sacrifice as with Agni Deva and may all my indiscretions and lapses in the procedure of this Sacrifice be too ignored keeping in view the best that we indended to perform with sincerity)- Om Bhussuvaah, Agnaye idam na mama/ Om bhuvassvaaha, Vaayave idam na mama/ Om suvassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Om bhurbhuvassuvas swaahaa. Prajaapataye na mama/ Om Shri Vishnavey swahaa, Vishnave Paramatmane idam na mama/ Om Rudraaya Pashupataye swahaa, Rudraaya Pashupataye idam na mama/

 

Purnaahuti or the Final Offering: Sankalpa: Om Purvokta guna vishesena visishthyaam asyaam Shubha tithou bhagavad aagjnayaa bhagavad kainkaryaa rupena asmin— homa karmanaah sampurna phala praapyartham—naamagnou purnaahutim hoshyaami/ tadantaram saangata siddhyartham vaasordharam hoshyaami/ (May this final offering called Vasordhara be concluded successfully!) Om purnaahutim utaamaam juhoti, Sarvam vai purnaahutih, Sarvam evaapnoti, atho iyam vai purnaahutih, asyaam eva prati tishthati swaahaa/ Agnaye vausath/ (Our final oblations conclude herewith; Totality is the Final Oblation; through that everything is obtained. Hence may this final obation and worship now be firmly established).

 

Vasordhaara homa: Om sapta te agne samisdhaassapata jihvaas sapta rishayah saptadhaama priyaani, Sapta hotraa sapta dha twaa yajanti saopta yonir aapranasva ghritena swaaha/ (Do protects us with this oblation of ghee Agni Deva along with these seven samidhas, your Seven Tongues, Seven Rishis, Seven Sacred Dhaamas, Seven Priests who assist our oblations, and Seven Origins from where Creation is effected). Praanaayama and parishechana: Aditenvamgasthaah, Anumatenvamgassthaah, Sarasvatenvamgaasthaah, Deva Savitah praasaavih/ (Aditi Devi granted us permission, Anumati Devi granted too and so has Devi Saraswati while Devi Savita impelled us to take up this Sacred Homa.

 

Now to farewell to Varuna Deva: Varunaaya namah sakala araahanai swarchitam, Yathaa sthaanam/ (Varuna Deva! My reverence to you; do return later as you are invited as required again). Then while pouring water recite the following: Prachyaam dishi devaa ritwijo maarjyantaam/ Dakshinasya dishi maasah pitaro marjyantaam/ Pratichyaam dishi griha pashavo marjyayantaam/ Udeechyaam dishyaapa oshadhayo maarjyantaam/ Urthvaayaam dishi yagjna samvatsaro yagjna patir marjyayantaam/ Om Vaishwaanaraaya vidmahe Lalitaaya dhimahi, tanno agnih prachodayaat/ ( May Devas and Brahmanas be blessed in the Purva /Eastern Disha; may the months and Pitru Devas make us famed in the Southern side; may our homes and cattle be safeguared in the western front; may waters, plants and trees be made illustrious on the northern side; may the Sacrifices and years be fructified from the antariksha or the higher lokas; indeed we do take cognizance of Vaishwanara or the mystic fire within the Innner Soul which enlightens all of us).

 

Reverence and Prayers to Agni Deva: Agne naya supathaa raaye asman Deva vayunaani vidwan, Yuyodhasmaj-juhaaraanaam eno bhuyissthaante nama uktim vidhema/ Om Agnaye namah agnim Aatmanyudvaasayaami/ (Agni Deva! You are a repository of knowledge and thus the resultant wisdom; do lead us to the richness of bliss and take us away from the easy paths of sins and evil. These are our salutations to you and pleadings to return to us whenever solicited).Namaste Garhapatyaaya Namaste Dakshinaagnaye, Nama Aahavaniyaaya Maha Devai Namo namah/ (Our prayers to Garhapatyaaya Agni, Dakshina Agni, Aahavaniyaaya at the high altar and our repeated obeisances!)

 

Aoupaasana homa: The homa prakriya commences with clean feet and palms, Aachamana wearing pavitra of darbhas twisted and tied to the right ring finger followed by Sankalpa: Om purvokta guna visheshena visishthaayaam asyaam shubha tithou bhagavadaagjnayaa bhagavad preeyataartham rupena praatah Aoupaasana homam karishye/ The Sankalpa would be followed by parisechana, Agin Dhyana, Agni Alankaara, Punah parisechana and then to the oblations. The Grihasta asks his wife hoshyaami as the wife replies juhudhi/ He takes a handful rice in the left hand, sprinkles water on it with the right hand, and takes half the quantity with the following Mantras allowing the rice to trickle through the fingers; the first mantra for the morning : Om Suryaaya swaahaa, Suryaya idam na mama/ Om Agnaye idam na mama/ The first mantra for the evening is: Om Agnaye swaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama/ The second mantra which is common to both morning and evening is: To the South: Om bhusswaahaa Agnaye idam na mama/ To the North: Om bhuvasswaaha Vaayave idam na mama/ To the Centre: Om suvaassvaahaa Suryaya idam na mama/ The final offering of rice states: Om bhur-bhuva-suvas- swahaa—Prajaapataye idam bna mama/ ( Note: The rice offerings should not be allowerd to mix with Agni). The rice oblations would be followed by parishechanam and Purna huti comprising a samita and two blades of darbha grass while reciting: Om Shri Vishnave swaahaa, Vishnave Paramaatmaane idam na mama/

 

Now salutation to Agni with folded hands: Agne naya supathaa raye asmaan Vishvaani Devaani vidwan, Yuyodhyasmaj- juhuraanam eno bhuyishthaante nama uktim vidhema/ Mantra heenam kriyaa heenam bhakti heenam Hutaashana, Yad hutam tu mayaa paripurnam tad astu te/ Praayaschitta anya sheshaani tapah karmaatmaka kaani vai, Yaani tehaam asheshenaam Krishna anusmaranam param/ Vicchhinna – aoupaasana Agni sandhaanam: After cleaning feet and hands, aachamana, pavitra dharana, akshata grahana, offer akshatas and dakshina to brahmanas, and after their approval, repeat sankalpa on behalf of wife also to revive the vicchinna Agnihotra reciting: Aavaaho auopaasanaagnim aadhaaye vicchinna sandhaanaartham/ Kritancha—Now Agni mukha/

 

Pradhaana homa: Agnih siddhyartham vyahruti homam karishye/ Pick up the main dharvi or the bowl like ghee container and offer the Vyahritis: Om bhussuvah, Agnaye idam na mama –to the South; Om bhuvassvaaha Vaayave ida na mama —to the North; Om Suvassvaahaa, Suraya idam na mama—to the centre; Om bhur- bhuvas-suvas swaahaa—Prajaapataye idam na mama/ This would be followed by Sankalpa for opening oblations to Agni Deva: Harihi om tat sat/ …Anekakaala saayam Praatar aoupaasana akaarana praayaschittaartham sarva praayaschittam hoshyaami/ Three oblations be offered with each of the following mantras: Anaagjnaatam yad agjnaatam yagjnaasya kriyate mithu, Agne tadasya kalpaaya twagum hi vettha tathaagass swaahaa/ Agnayedam idam na mama/(Agni Deva, I may have committed mistakes on this Sacrifice either knowingly or unknowingly; do kindly ignore these and keeping in view my sincerity, and consider my flaws as rectified); Purusha sammito yagjno yagjnaah Purusha sammitah, Agney tadasya kaalpaaya twagum hi vettha yathaa tathaagass swaahaa/Agnayedam na mama/( Indeed Almighty is as much involved in this Homa Prakriya as you are and as such do kindly amend my shortcomings and have the act of homa be got perfected). Yat paakatra manasaa deena dakshaa na, Yagnasya manvate martaasah, Agnistaad hotaa kratu-vid vijaanan yajistho devaagum kratuso yajaati swaahaa/ (Agni Deva! We humans are indeed fallible and of immature minds not quite acquainted with the perfect procedures of Sacrifices; may the mystic fire itself which is well versed with the methodology of Sacrifices offer the ideal means of the acts and grant necessary adjustments to bless!)

 

Sankalpa regarding the oblations to Agni by Aditya-Rudra-Vasu-Brahnanas: Upavaasa vikalpena choditaaayaascha homam karishye/ Aayaashaagne syan abhishastischa satyam iva mayaa asi, ayasaa manasaadhrutoyasaa havyam uuhiseyaano dhehi bheshajagass swahaa, Agne ayase idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You are our refuge to us and the devotees like all of us; you are the unique medium and bearer of all oblations and the sure conveyor of all remedies to humanity.) Punastwaadityaa Rudraa Vasavaas samindhitaam, Punar Braahmano vasunita yagjnaih/ Ghritena twaam tanvam vardhayasva, Satyaah santu yajamaanasya kaamaah swaahaa Agnaye vasunithaayedam/ (May Adityaas, Rudraas, Vasus, Brahmanas kindle you with their rites ad fulfill their wishes). Mano jyotir jusataam aajyam vicchhinnam yagjnaagum-samimam dadhaatu/ Yaa ishta ushaso nimruchascha taah sandadhaami havisha ghritena swaahaa/ manase jyotishe idam na mama/ Yanma aatmano mindaabhud agnih tat unar aahaar jaatavedaavicharshinih swahaa/ Agnaye jaatavedasaa idam na mama/ Punaragnih chakshuradaat punar Indro Brihaspatih, punar me Ashvinaa yuvam chakshur aadhattam akshyoh swaahaa/ Agni ndra Brihaspatyah vibhyaam idam a mama/ Tantum tanvan rajaso bhaanum anvihi jotishmatah patho rakshadiyaa kritan/ Anulbanam vayata joguvaamapo manur bghava janayaa Daivyam janaggah swaahaa, Agnaye tantumata idam na mama/

 

Kshamaapana Sankapa: Asmin Agni sandhaana homa karmaani madhye sambhavita mantra tantra devataa viprayaaah nunaatireka swarakshara pada bhresha samasta dosha praayasthittaartham sarva praayaschittam hoshyaami/(I now seek final atonement for all shortcomings); Om bhussvaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama, Om Bhuvaasswaahaa, Vayave idam na mama/ Om suvassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Dosha prayaschitta Sankalpa: Asmin agni sandhaana homa madhyae sambhavita samasta dosha praayaschittaartham sarva praayaschittam hoshyaami/ ( May I tender atonement to all the blemishes that would have occurred during the course of the homa karma) Anagjnaatam yad ajnaatam, Yaagjnaasya kriyate mithu, Agne tadasya Kalpayaa twagum hi vettaa yattaagasah swahaa/ Agnaye idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! Do kindly pardon my shortcomings executed knowingly or unknowingly and treat my wrong doings as ratified). Purusha sammito yagjno yagjnah Purusha sammitah, Agne tadasya kalpayaa twagum hi vetta yathaa tathaagasah swaahaa/ Agneya idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You do indeed assume great significance in the context of homas and yagjnas, yet Paramatma the Supreme has the greatest role and as such may your prowess and strength be fortified by each act of yagjna homas executed in the Universe and may Almighty grant you that magnificence for ever!)

 

Imam me Varuna shrudhi havam adyaacha mridaya, Twaam avasyuraachake swaahaa/ Varunaayedam na mama/ (Varuna Deva! Do kindly receive my invocation and be gracious enough to attend out entreaties as we seek your protection) Tat tvaa yaami brahmanaa vandamaanas tadaa shaaste yajamano havirbhih, Ahedamaano varuneha bodhyurushaagum sa maa na aayuh pramoshih swaahaa/ Varunaayedam na mama/ (Varuna Deva! You are extolled by Vedas always; may we too reach you by our sincere oblations as we do very sincerely offer our salutations to appease your characteristic fury and sound and reveal your inner Self of tranquility and repose to those you hold you in great esteem!) TwannoAgne Varunasya vidwaan devasya hedo vayaasi sishtaah, yajishtho Vahni tamah shoshuchaano Vishwa dwesaagumsi pramum ugdhyasmat swaahaa, Agni-Varunaabhaama idam na mama/ (Agni Deva, do mollify the fury of Devas especially of Varuna deva. You are indeed the most worshipful and the best conveyor of all and the most resplendent too of Devas. With these oblations do be pleased with our earnest entreaties and protect us from all those evil forces who are jealous of us due to our dictect approaches to you and the like minded Varuna deva too)/ Sa twanno Agne vamo bhavoti nedishtho asya Usaaso vyustau, Avakswaano Varunagum raraano veehi mridikagum suvavo na edhi swaahaa/ Agni varunaabhyaam idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You are indeed the foremost of Devatas; do protect us in the morning, day and night. It is so easy for all of us to approach you and hence one feels comfortable to offer our invocations to you always; do also provide shelter and daily succor along with Varuna Deva too; our sincere oblations to you both herewith). Twam Agne ayaasya yaasan manasaa hitah, ayaasan havyam uuhishe yaano dhehi bheshajaggah swaahaa, Agni-ayase idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You are ou fal refuge and shelter to keep us peaceful and contented; Indeeed you are the unique carrier of our oblations to any destination and concerned Devatas without hesitation and meticulousness so that the remedies sought from them are granted to us instantly. We are ever grateful for your grace Agni Deva! This is our special oblation to you Deva!)

 

Final oblations: Om bhussvaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama/ Om Bhuvassvaahaa, Vaayave idam na mama/ Om suvassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Om Bhur-Bhuvas-Suvas-Swaahaa, Prajaapataye idam na mama/ Om Shri Vishnave-swaahaa, Vishnave Paramatmane idam na mama/Om Rudraaya Pashupataye swaahaa, Rudraaya Pashupataye idam na mama/ Praanaayaama and Parishechana: Aditenvamagasa sthaah, Anumatenvamagas sthaah, Sarasvatenvamagas sthaah, Deva Savitah praasaavih/

 

Vasordhaara homa: Om Sapta te Agnesamidhaah Sapta jihvaah Sapta Rishayah Sapta Dhaama priyaani, Sapta Hotraa Sapta dhaa twaa yajanti yonir aapranaswaa ghritena swaahaa/ Hiranya daana: Harih om tat sat—aneka kaala saayam praatar aoupaasana akarana prayascchittraatham homa dravya daanam yat kinchit hiranya daanam cha naaaa gotrebhyo Braahmanaabhyah tebhyah sampradade, nama, na mama/

 

  1. II. Alternative Grihasta Homa : Note: The procedure is as per Maharshi Dayananda and Shatapata

Brahmana:

Agni Deva Samidhana is performed with Samidhas dipped on ghee with the Mantra : Om ayam ta idhma Atmaa Jatavedastenedhyaswa vardhasya chendra vardhaya, chaasmaan prajayaa pashubhi Brahma varchasenaanyadyana samedhaya swaaha/ Idamagnaye Jatavedase-Idanna mama/ This first oblation is made with the above Mantra in the north side of the homa kunda starting from west to east. The second oblation is made with the following Mantra: Om samidhaagnim durvasyat ghriteh bodhayutaantitham, Asmin havyaa juhotan swaahaa/ Idamagnaye idanna mama/ ( This ahuti is done in the South side from west to east)The third oblation’s Mantra is: Su sammidhaaya shochipem ghritam teevram juhotana, Agnaye Jaatavedase swaahaa/ Idaagnaye Jatavedase-idanna mama/ (This ahuti is performed in the middle of the homa kunda) The fourth oblation is made with the following mantra: Tatwaam samidhabharanghiro ghrutena vardhayaamasi, Bruhatccunchaam yathishtadya swaahaa/ Idamagnayengirasy idanna mama/ (This ahuti too is to be done in the middle of the homa kunda)

 

Jala prokshana/ Jala sinchana: Water is taken in an anjali or cupped palm and sprinkled in all the directions of the Havana kunda: the first sprinkle in the Purva Disha or the east direction from south to north; the second sprinkle is in the Paschima disha or the west direction commencing from south to north again; the third sprinkle is in the Uttara Disha from west to east and finally then fourth should be a complete circle from starting from South East corner of the Homa Kunda with the following mantras: 1) Om Aditenumanyaswaa/ 2) Om Anumatenumanyaswaa/ 3) Om Saraswatenumanyaswaa/ 4)Deva savitah prasuvah/ Then the Mantra continues: Prasuva yagjnam pra suvam Yagjnapatim/ Bhagaaya/ Divyo Gandharvah, Ketapuh Ketou nah punaatu Vaachaspativaamcha nah Vidwat/

 

Now further oblations to continue: Om Agnaye swaha, Agnaye idanna mama- (Sprinkle gandha in the north side of the homa kunda); Om Somaaya swsaha, idam Somaya, idanna mama (ghee now onward) – at this stage Agni to be re- kindled; Praja pataye swaha, Prajapataye idanna mama; Om Indraaya swaaha, idamindraa ya, idanna mama/ (The oblations to Prajapati and Indra to be performed at the center of the Homa kunda).

 

Note: So far the Homa Vidhi is common: Praatah kaala ( Morning): Om Surye jyotirjyotih Surtyah swaaha/ Om Surye varche Jyotirvarchah swahaa/ Om Jyotih Suryah Surye Suryo jyotih swahaa/Om Sajurdevena Savitraa sajurupasendravatyaa/ Jushaanah Suryo vetu swaaha/ Saayamk kaala (Evening):

 

Om Agnirjyoti jyoti jyotiragnih swaaha/ Om Agni varcho jyotiragnih swaaha/ Om Agnirjyotiragnih swahaa/ Om sajurdevena Savitraa sajurendratvaya/ Jashano Agnirvetu swaah/

 

Note: Keeping the above in view, the execution of homa is continued further: Om Bhuragnaye Praanaya swah, idamagnaye Pranaya-idanna mama/ Om Bhuvar Vaavepaanaaya swaha/ Om swaraadityaaya vyaanaaya swaha vyanaya swahaa, idamadityaya vyanaaya-idanna mama/ Om bhurbhuvah swaragni Vayavyaadityebhyah, idanna mama/ Om aapo jyoti rasomritam Brahma Bhurbhuvah swarom swahaa/Om yaam medhaam Devaganaah pitaraschopaasate,Tayaa maamah medhaagne medhaavina kuru swahaa/ Om Vishwaani Deva savitur duritaani paraa suva, yadbhadram tanna aa suvgam swaha/ Om bhurbhuvaswaha tat saviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi swaha/ Om Vishwaani Deva/ Upasthaanam/ Agnerupasthaanam karishye/ Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnaat puranamudachyate, Purnasya Purnamaadaaya Purnamevaa vashishyte/ Om Shantih Shantih Shantih/ Om tat sat Brahmaarpanamastu/ Homa Prakriya regarding Brahmachari Homa and Grihasti Homa is thus concluded.

 

After observing homa as above, the Shat Karma Vidhi is continued with the instruction that a Brahmana should perform daily Sandhya and Homa as prescribed, followed by Brahma Yagna: Brahma Yagjna Vidhana: Swa shaakhaadhyanam Vipra Brahma yagjna iti Smrutah/ As per one’s own branch of Veda, Adhyana/ reading or recitation of Ruk-Yajur-Saama Veda Stanzas is called Brahma Yagjna. This Vidhana is mentioned in Taittiriya Swaadhyaya Brahmana and as clarified by Brihaspati that it can precede or follow the Tarpana karya or after Praatah homa or Vaishwa Deva. A person who executes this Yagjna is expected to be seated in ‘Padmaasana’ facing east, preberably on the banks of a water flow, perform tri- achamana, initiate Savitri Mantra of ‘Pacchordhancchraashra’ along with Vyahritis, keep the Yagjnopaveeta in the normal position of Savya, and recite withis the self. The method of Brahma Yagjna is detailed in Swadhyaaya Brahmana. Apart from reading the Ruk-Yajur-Saama- Adharvana Vedas, one can read excerpts of Itihasa-Purana -Kalpas as per one’s own convenience. Even on the days of Anadhyaya or on those days like Amavasya etc. the restriction of Anadhyaya is not applicable for Brahma yagjna, expepting that only one Ruk might be read out on such days, but otherwise the Anadhyaya restriction is nor applicable otherwise. As regards the ‘phala’ or the fruit of observing Brahma Yagjna on each day, the resultant outcome is stated to be that of the positive account of performing that specific Kratu: Yam yam kratumaddheyata tasya tasyaatpnuyaat phalam/ iti/ Vitta-Purna-Prithivi-Daanascha phalamashrute iti/ Vedas approvingly praise the excellent result of Brahma Yagjna everyday as follows: Uttamam Naakamadhirohati Uttamah samaanaam bhavati yaavantam ha vaangmaam vitasya purnaam dadat Swaga lokam jayati taavantam Lokam Jayati bhuyaayaamsam chaakshavya chaapapamrityum jayati Braahmanah saayujyam gacchati/( He who practises Brahma yagjna daily would eventually turn out to be superior to others,would be blessed with land property and prosperity, would certainly avoid Apamrityu or untimely death and would surely reserve abode in Swarga).

 

Tarpana Vidhana: Ruk Saamaadrthvaa Vedoktaan Japya mantraan yajushim cha, Japitwaivam tatah kuryaaddevarshi pitru tarpanam/ Tava Vashishtah/ (Vashishtha Maharshi affirmed that even after studying Ruk-Saamaadharvana Vedas, it is essential to recite Pranava and perform tarpana to fructify the knowledge of Vedas. Vishnu Purana emphasized: Shuchi Vastradharah snaato Devarshi Pitru tarpanam, Teshaameva hi tirthena kurveet susamaahitah/ (Only on wearing clean clothes after bathing and poised with unpertubed conscience, Tarpana is to be undertaken thereafter). To Devas only one tarpana/ Jalaanjali each be executed, while to Rishis twice and to Pitru Devas thrice respectively for their satisfaction. Praaggeshu Suranstarpenmanushyaanchaiva madhyatah, Pitramstu dakshinaareshu chaika dwi trijalaanjaleen/ (As prescribed for example in Agni Purana: Tarpana Karya needs to be performed facing East in the Savya Yagjnopaveeta position to Devas; to Rishis facing the East again with yagjnppaveeta as a garland but to Pitru Devatas the tarpana should be performed facing south with the yagjnopaveeta worn as ‘apa savya’ or ‘Praacheenaa veeti’ or in the reverse position reciting ‘Swadhaanamah tarpayami’. While performing nitya tarpana, both the hands can be used while Shradhaadi tarpana needs to be performed with one hand only. Pitru Devas would not be contented of tarpan is performed from a higher plane position into water flows nor with wet clothes. In fact, Pitru tarpana needs to be performed with dry clothes only preferably seated on spread over darbhas. Also tarpana be done with water drawn from one vessel and transferred to a smaller vessel into a lower plane but due to the apprehension that a lower plane on the ground might be sullied with hair, ash, coal particles, thorns, and even bones on the ground and hence the tarpana is preferably done on a clean place with darbhas are spread over. Alternatively, tarpana may be done in a large flat plate or container. For performing tarpana only vessels of gold, silver, copper, brass, bronze or any metal vessels may be used but not earthen pots; however neither metal vessels nor hands without darbhas be used for the tarpana. Deva tarpana and Rishi apana needs to be performed along with water mixed with plain rice grains or white tilas. Pitru tarpana needs to be necessarily done with water mixed with black tilas. One theory is that tila tarpana should be avoided in house holds on Saptami Sundays keeping in view the welfare of wife and sons. Also for one year after weddings and half a year after Upanayanas, tila tarpana be avoided in the house holds but on water banks. Now, tarpana needs to be dne in favour of one and all: Maharshi Yagjnavalkya confirms: Brahmaanam tarpayet purvam Vishnum Rudram Prajapatim, Vedaan Chhandaamsi Devaamscha Rishem chaiva tapodhanaan/Tathaa Devaan Gandharva Naagaan Saagaraani Parvataanapi, Saritotha Manushyaamcha Yakshaan Rakshaamsi chaivahi/ Pishaachaamscha Suparmaascha bhutaananyatha pashumstathaa, Vanaspatinoshadheemscha bhutagraamaamscha turvidhaan—-sarvaan pitruganaamsthaa Maataamahaamscha satatam shraddhayaa tarpate Dwija/(One needs to perform Tarpana to one and all right fromVishnu Rudra Prajapati, Vedas, Chhandaas, Devataas , Rishis, Gandharvas, Nagas, Saagaras, Parvatas, Saritas or water flows, Manushyas, Yakshas, Raakshasaas, Piscaachas, Suparnas, Bhutaas, Pashus, Vanaspatis, Ouashadhis,and so on).

 

Deva Tarpana: This tarpana is to satiate Devas and the Devatva or the Divinity that is microcosmically present in all Beings in the Universe. Seated facing the east direction with the right knee kept in contact with the ground, placing the left leg over the right leg so that the knee is above the ground, keeping Akshatas in the water pot, holding the water pot on the right hand palm, covering it with left left hand palm reciting Brahmaadaya Suraah Sarvey Rishayah Kashyapaadayah, Aagacchantu Mahaa Bhaagaa Brahmaandodaravartinah/ Now pour water with the left hand into the opne right palm releasing water from the tips of four fingers; three darbhas need to be placed on the rigt palm with the tips of darbhas aligned with finger tips while reciting the following in favour of each Devata: Om Brahmaa tripyataam,Om Vishnum tripyataam, Om Rudrah tripyataam, Om Prajapatih tripyataam, Om Devaah tripyantaam, Om Devyah tripyantaam, Om Vasavah Tripyantaam, Om Rudraah tripyantaam, Om Adityaag tripyantaam, Om Chhandaamsi tripyantaam, Om Vedaah tripyantaam, Om Rishayah tripyantaam, Om Gandharvaah tripyantaam, Om Apsaraah tripyantaam, Om Devaanugah tripyantaam, Om Naagaah tripyantaam, Om Saagaraah tripyantaam, Om Parvataah tripyantaam, Om Saritah tripyantaam, Om Manushyaah tripyantaam, Om Yakshaah tripyantaam, Om Rakshaamsi tripyantaam,Om Pishcaachaah tripyantaam, Om Suparnaah tripyantaam, Om Bhutaani tripyantaam, Om Pashavah tripyantaam, Om Vanaspatayah tripyantaam, Om Oshadhayah tripyantaam/

 

[Details of Vasu Rudra Adityaas : Dhruvo Dharmascha Somascha Aapaschaivaanilonalah, Pratyushascha Prabhaatascha Vasavoshtoa prakeertitaah/ Ajaikapaada-ahirbudhnaghyo Virupaakshoya Raivatah/ Harascha Bahurupascha Trayambikascha Sureshwarah, Saavitrascha Jayantascha Pinaaki chaaparaajitah, Yeto Rudraah samaakyaataa Ekaadasha Surottamaah/ Indro Dhaataa Bhagah Pushaa Mitroya Varunoryamaa/AhirVishwaan Twashtaa cha Savitaa Vishnurevacha, Yeto Divyaah Pitarah Pujyaa sarvey prayatratah/ (Paitheena Darshana) ( Ashta Vasus are Dhruva, Dharma, Soma, Apa, Anila, Anila, Pratyusha, and Prabhasa; Ekaadasha Rudraas are Ajaikapaada, Ahibudhna, Virupaaksha, Raivata, Hara, Bahu Rupa, Trayambaka, Sureshwara, Saavitra, Jayanta, and Pinaki. Dwadashaadityas are Indra, Daata, Bhaga, Pusha, Mitra, Varuna, Aryama, Archi, Vivaswaan, Twashta, and Vishnu)].

 

Rishi tarpana: The same procedure as in Deva Tarpana above to be followed. Om Kashyapah tripyataam, Om Atrih tripyataam, Om Vasishthah tripyataam, Om Vishwaamitra tipyataam, Om Gautamah tripyataam, Om Bharadwaajah tripyataam, Om Jamagagnih tripyataam, Om Angeeraah tripyataam, Om Kutsah tripyataam, Om Bhriguh tripyataam/

 

Divya Manusha tarpana: The revised procedure requires change of sitting postion to face the northern direction and wearing the Yagjnopaveeta like a garland and with raised knees and making two oblations in respect of each : Om Sanakah tripyataam Om Sanakah tripyataam, Om Sanandah tripyataam Om Sanandah tripyataam, Om Sanaatanah tripyataam om Sanaatanah tripyataam, Om Sanatkumarah tripyataam om Sanatkumaraha tripyataam, Om Kapilah tripyataam om Kapilah tripyataam, Om Aasurih tripyataam om Aasurih tripyataam, Om Odhuh tripyataam om Odhuh tripyataam, Om Pancha Sikhah tripyataam om Pancha Sikhah tripyataam/

 

Divya Pitri Tarpana: The revised procedure for tarpana to the Divine Devas and Manes requires change of sitting position to face the Southern direction and wearing the yagjnolpaveeta in reverse position as ‘praacheenaa veeti’, with left knee to be in contact with the ground while the right knee to be above the ground yet not touching it with left leg on the ground and the right leg on top of left leg; pour some black tilas (sesame seeds) in the water pot; now the offerings would be made thrice each time to Agni-Soma- Yama and Aryama ie. Agni the Divine Fire God who carries the soul of the burnt body, Soma the Water God who carries the soul of the drowned body, Yama the Maintainer of Dharma and the Judge of Karmas of the deceased and Aryama the Ruler of the Domain of Souls :Om Agnih tripyataam idam salilam jalam tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swdhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ Om Somah tripyataam idam salilam jalam tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ Om Yamah tripyataam idam salilam jalam tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ Om Aryamaah tripyataam idam salilam jalam, tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ The next three mantras are for the three Divine Manes-as were associated with the souls who were burnt or drowned and carried to the Skies till the latter are tendered to their destinations: Om Agnishu aatthaah Pitarah idam salilam jalam tebhyah swadhaa namah,tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhha namah/ Om Somapaah Pitarah tripyantaam idam salilam jalam tebhyah swadhaa namah,tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhaa namah/ Om Barhishadah Pitarah tripyantaam idam salilam jalam tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhaa namah tebhyah swadhaa namah/

 

Pitri Tarpana: Om aagacchantu me piratah imam gruhnantu jalaanjalim/ (May my ancestors present themselves here and receive my oblations) Mama Sarva janmeshu Pitarah/ Pitaamahaah/Prapitaamahaah/trupyantaam idam tilodakam swadhaayibhyah tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhaa namah/ tebhyah swadhaa namah/ Mama Sarva janmeshu Maatarah/ Pitaamahyah/ Prapitaamahya/ trupyantaam idam tilodakam swadhaaibhyah taabhyah swadhaa nanah, taabhyah swadhaa namah/ taabhyah swadhaa namah/ On this pattern, replacing ‘tebhyah’ for males and ‘taabhyah’ for females, following tarpanas be performed alternatively. In respect of Male Pitras: Patayah/ Putraah/ Mataamhah/ Pra mataamahaah/ Vriddha pramaataamahah/ Bhraatarah or brothers/ Pitruvyaah or father’s brother(s)/ Swasurah or fathers in law, Maatula or mother’s brother; guravah or teacher, sishyaah or disciples, sakhaah or friend/ Aptajanaah or dear ones. In respect of Female Pitris: Wives/ Kanyas/ Mataamahyah or Mother’s father/ Pramaataa mahyah or mother’s grand father/ Vriddha Pramaataamaha or mother’s great grand father/ bhaginya or sisters/ pitru bhaginya or father’s sister/ Matru bhaginya or mother’s sister/ Swasura patni or mother in law/ and so on. All the above are in reference of Mama sarva janmeshu—/

 

Now in reference to the Karta’s own Pitru ganas: Aadou Pitaa tathaa aataa saapatni janani tathaa, Maataa mahi ssapatnikaa Atma Patnyastwanantaram / Sutabhraatru Pitruvyaascha Maatulaascha Sabharyakaah, Duhitaa Bhagini chaiva Douhitro bhaagineyakah/ Pirushvasaa Maatrushvasaa Jaamaataa Bhaukah Snushaa, Shwashurah Syalakaschiva Shwashrushascha Guru rikthinah/ (Following is the line in which Pitru Tarpana is to be performed: Foremost to father, grand father, Great grand father, mother, father’s mother, father’s grand mother, Co mother if any, datta / adopted putra’s parents if any, mother’s father, mother’s grandfather, mother’s mother and the latter’s mother in law, wife, sons, self’s brothers, father’s brothers, mother’s brothers and their wives, daughters, sisters, grand sons, father’s sisters, mother’s sisters, son-in-law, brother’s-in-law, and their wives, daughter-in-law, mother’s brothers, wife’s brothers, mother-in-law, Guru and the Trader, the Supplier of household goods)

 

Tarpana prayoga: Achamya; Mamopaattha durita kshaya dwaaraa Parameshwara preetyartham evam guna Pituh Pitrunaam akshayya punyaloka phalaavaapyartham darsha prayukta maha punya kale tila tarpanam karishye/ Iti sankalpya, praacheenaaveeti dakshinaabhimukhah savyam jaanvaachya/ ( After achamana and sankalpa, assume praacheenaaveeti, face Southern direction and bend the left knee being seated and commence the tila tarpana). Brahmanas should address the Pitru Devatas as sharmaanam, Kshatriyas as Varmaanam and Vaishyas as Guptam/ Following is the order in which the tarpana is made: Pitaram-gotram-sharmanam-Swadhaanamah tarpayaami-Swadhaanamah tarpayami Swadhaanamah tarpayaami/ Pitaamaham—–Prapitaamaham—- /Maataram-gotraam-daam-Swadhaanamah tarpayami (three times)/ Pitaamaheem-gotraamdaam-Swadhaanamahtarpayami (three times); Prapitaamahim- gotramdaam-Swadhaanamah tarpayaami(3 times)

 

Likewise, Sa-patni maataram or step mother-gotraaamdaam-swadhaa-(3); as also Janaka pitaram/ Janaka Mataram. Maataamaham or mother’s father-gotram-swadhaanamah tarpayami (3); Maatuh pitaamaham—Maatuh Prapitaamaham—; Maataamahim or mother’s mother– gotramdaam- Swadhaanamah tarpayaami (3); Maatuh Pitaaahim- gotram daam-Swadhaanamah tarpayaami (3); Maatuh Praptamahim-gotramdaam-Swadhaanah tarpayaami (3);Atma patnim or karta’s wife- gotramdaam swadhaanah tarpayaami (3); Sutam or sons/ bhraataram or brothers; Pitruvyam or father’s brother; Matulam or mother’s brother; duhitaram or daughter; bhagini or sister; Douhitrah / douhitri or daughter’s son/ daughter; bhaagineyam or sister’s son; Pitru bhagini father’s sister; Maatru bhagini or mother’s sister; Jaamaataram or son-in-law; bhaavukam or brother-in-law; Snushaam or wife of brother in law; Swasura or father in law; Swashrum or mother in-law; Syalakam or wife’s brother; Gurum; Rikthinam or House hold trader. After duly performing tarpana to all the relatives, the rest of the tilodaka on the vessel be released reciting: Narakeshu samasteshu yaatanaasu cha ye sthitaah, teshaam aapyaayanaayaitat eayate salilam mayaa, Ye bandhavaa baandhavaascha yenya janmani baandhavaa, te triptimakhisaayaantu yaschaasmattobhi vaanchati/ Ye mey kuley lupta pindaah putra daara vivarjitaah, teshaam hi datthamakshayyam idamastu tilodakam, Aabrahmastamba paryantam Devarshi Pitru maanavaah, Trupyantu Pitarah sarve Maatru Maataa mahaadayah, Ateeta kula koteenam Sapta dwipa nivaasinaam, Aabrahma bhuvanaat lokaat idamastu tilodakam/ There after recite the following: Yekechaasmat kule jaataa Aputra agotrinomritaah, Te gruhnantu mayaa dattam sutra nishpeeda – nodakam/ (In our Vamsha among our gotra dharis, those who died without sons and thus could not perform obsequies, may I offer due homage by way of ‘sutra nishpeedanam’ or pressing water out of my yagnopaveeta which is being worn as a garland now before wearing normally!)

 

At the end of the Tarpana Kriya as described above, the remaining water meant for tila tarpana be thrown away, fill up the vessel with fresh water, sit in eastward and perform Deva Tarpana by looking at Surya Deva and recite: Om Suryaya namah,Om Agnaye namah, Om Prithivya namah, Om Varunaaya namah, Om Shivaaya namah, Om Vishnave namah/ Anena yathaa shakti kritena Devarshi Pitru tarpanaakhyena karmanaa Bhagavan Pitru swarupi Janaardana Vaasu deva Parameshwara preeataam na mama/ Om tat sat/ Om Shri Krishnaarpanamastu/Om Lokaah samastaa sukhino bhavantu/ Om Sarve Janaah sukhino bhavantu/ Om Shaantih Shantih Shantih/

 

Amaavasya Tarpana Phala Shruti: Amaavaasyastu ye Martyaah prayacchanti tilodakam, Paatramoudumbaram graahyam Madhu mishram tapodhanam/ Kritam bhagvati taih Shraaddham sarahasyam yathaa vidhi, Hrishta pushtamanaasteshaam prajayante prajaa dhruvam/ Kula Vamshasya Vriddhistu pindadasya phalam labhet, Shraddhaayutastu yah kuryaatritrunaa manrunaa manruno bhavet/ (Maha Bharata Anushaasanika Parva-125 Adhyaaya) (Pitru Devas asserted: Amavasya tila tarpana from a madhu mishra Aoudumbara Paatra is as fruitful as a formal Shraddha Kriya; this would bestow the fruits of excellent progeny and Vamsha Vriddhi besides fulfillment and happy life ahead!) Yama Tarpana: This tarpana is to be performed on Aswiyaja Krishna Chaturdashi or on Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi coinciding with Tuesdays: Pretotsava Chaturdashyaam kaaryantu Yama tarpanam, Krishnangaara Chaturdashyaamapi kaaryam sadaiva vaa/ Yamaaya Dharma Raajaaya Mrityave chaanta kaayacha, Vaivaswataaya Kaalaaya Sarva Bhuta Kshayaaya cha/ Ouodumbaraaya Dadhnaaya Neelaaya Parameshtiney, Vrikodaraaya Chitraaya Chitraguptaaya tey namah/ (Yama tarpana is to be performed on Aswiyuja Krishna Chaturdashi or on Krishna Paksha coinciding withTuesday. This has to be addressed to: Yamaaya namah, Dharmaraa Rajaaya namah, Mrityave namah, Antakaaya namah, Vaivaswataaya namah, Kaalaaya namah, Sarva BhutaKshayaaya namah, Oudumbaraaya namah, Dadhnaaya namah, Neelaaya namah, Parameshthiney namah, Vrikodaraaya namah, Chitraaya namah, Chitra guptaaya namah); Dakshinaabhi mukho bhutwaa tilaih savyam samaahitah, Daiva tirthena Devataattilaih Pretaadhipaaya cha/ (the tarpana is to be executed facing South in Savya Yagjnopaveeta position with ghee and tilas and each oblation needs to be done thrice against each name) .

 

Devataarchana Prakarana

Parashara Smrtiti’s Shat Karma Vidhana quoted in the earlier pages is recalled: Shatkarmaabhi nirato nityam Devataathithi pujakaha, Hutasheshentu bhunjaano Brahmano naavaseedati/ Sandhyaa staanam japo homo Devataanaamcha Pujanam, Vaishvadevaatitheyancha shatkarmaani diney diney/ In fact, the day time if divided into eight parts, Deva Puja- Tarpana, Brahma Yagjna or Veda Pathana, Vaishwa Deva, are all integral parts excluding the Bhojana Kaala.

 

Devataarchana is an integral part of the Shat Karmas. Agneya Purana emphasizes that daily worship of Sarva Devas with appropriate Mantras is a daily duty: Mantrai Vaishnava Roudrestu Saavitraih Shaktivaistathaa, Vishnum Prajapatim vaapi Shivam vaa Bhaskarantathaa/ Tasmingairarchaye mantraih Sarva Devan samahitah/ ( Purusha Suktaadi mantras to commend Vishnu-Rudra-Surya related hymns, Shakti Mantras and Sarva Devata Stutis must be a daily duty. Kurma Purana states: Brahmaanam Shankaram Surye tathaiva Madhusudanam, Anyaanschaabhimataan Devan bhaktya cha akrodhanotwarah, Sarvai mantrairarchayennityam patraih pushpaistathaambubhih/ (Being fully rid of Kama-Krodhaadi durgunas and with undiluted devotion and faith, one must perform worship to Brahma- Shankara-Surya and Vishnu as also to any Deity of one’s chioce since are indeed are one and the same with Patra-Pushpa-Jalas regularly). Shaivascha Vaishnavam Shaaktam Souram Vainaayakantathaa, Skandascha Bhakti margasya Darshanaani shadeva hi/Siddhanta Purana suggests daily worship of Six Devas viz. Shiva Vishnu Shakti Surya Vivayaka Skanda.

 

Vishnu Puja: Lord Krishna taught the method of Vishnu worship to Yudhishtara in the context of Ashwamedha Yagjna as per Vaishnava Darshana: The Puja Sthala or the Place of worship be improvised an ‘Ashtaadasha Padmaakaara’or a Lotus with eighteen petals with rice flour and having placed eighteen Deva Pratimas reciting Ashtaakshari, Dwaadashaakshari Mantras, Purusha Sukta, Vishnu Panjara Stotra and so on and execute the worship: Saha Pushpodakena Maha Purusha maavaayayaami, Om Bhuh Purushamaavaahayaami, Om Bhuvah Purushamaavaahayaami, Om Suvah Purushamaavaahayaami, Om Bhurbhuvassuvah Maha Purushamaavaahayaami/Bhagavan Maha Purusha ityenaabhinandati, swaagatam snaanaani kalpayatadaasana snaanaani kalpayatyad Shankhaayakalpayaami Paratschakraaya kalpayaami , dakshinato gadaayai kalpayaami, Vaamato Vanamaalaayai kalpayaami, Paschimatah Shrivatsaaya kalpayaami, Garudmate kalpayaami, Uttartah Shriya kalpayaami,Sarasvatyai kalpayaami, Pushtai kalpayaami, Tushtai kalpayaami—-snaanaantaram sthaapaitwaa pujaam kuryat: Keshavam Naraayanam Maadhavam Govindam Vishnum Madhusudanam Trivikramam Vaamanam Shridharam Hrishikesham Padmanaabham Damodaram tarpaitwaayaitaani Vastrayagjnopaveetaa- chamaniyaanyudakena vyaahrutibhi pradakshinamudakam parishichedam Vishnurvikrama iti gandham dadyaat, tadvishnoh paramam padamiti pushpam-akshataan- dhupam- deepam-Naivedyam-Keshavaadi naamabhir dwaadasha pushpaan dataat: Shankhaaya namah,Chakraaya namah, Gadaayai namah,

Vana- maalyai namah, Shri Vatsaayai namah, Garutmate namah, Shriyenamah, Sarswathyai namah, Pushtou namah, Tushtao namah,ityaadi/ Nirmalya-Pratimaa visarjana-Punaraagamana praarthana/

 

Shiva Puja: As in the case of Vishnu Puja, Bodhaayana Maharshi also prescribed Shiva Puja as detailed in

Paraashara Madhava. After snaana and physical-mental cleanliness, create a platform, wash it around with

 

‘Gomaya’ jala, recite Shiva Panchakshari and Rudra Stuti and invoke Maha Deva: Saha pushpodakena Maha Devamaavaahayet/ Om Bhurmahaadevamaavaahayaami Om Bhuvo Mahaa Devamaavaahayaami Om Suvah Mahaa Dvamaavaahayaami Om Bhurbhuvasuvah Maha Devamaavaahayaameetyaavaaham aayaatu Bhagavanmahaadeva ityatha swaagatenaabhinandati; Swagatamadhunaa bhagavate Maha devaaya, Suvarna sthaanaani kalpayatyagrato Vishnave kalpayaami, Brahmane kalpayaami, Dakshinatah Skandaaya kalpayaami Vinaayakaaya kalpayaami, Paschimatah Shulaaya kalpayaami Mahaa Kaalaaya kalppayaami, Uttaratah Umaayai kalpayaami Nandikeshwaraaya kalpayaamiti/ Then by reciting Maha Rudra, perform snaana-paadya, proceed with tarpana:Tarpayaami Sharvam Devam tarpayaami Ishaanam Devam tarpayaami Pashupatim Devam tarpayaami Rudram Devam tarpayaami Ugram Devam tarpayaami Bheemam Devam tarpayaami Mahaantam Devam/ After tarpana, Maha Deva be provided vastram-yagnopaveetam-achamaneeyam- Namaste Rudra manyava iti gandham dadaat, Sahasraani sahasraaksha iti pushpam dadaat, Ishaanantwaa Bhuvanaamadhishriyamityakshataan dadaat, dhupamuddeepyasweti deepam/ Bhagavate Maha Devaaya jushtam charum nivedayaameeti naivedyam/ Athaashtabhirnaamadheyairashthou pushpaani dadaat: Bhavaaya Devaaya namah, Sharvaaya Devaaya namah Ishaanaaya Devaayanamah Pashupataye Devaaya namah Rudraaya Devaaya namah Ugraaya Devaaya namah Bheemaaya Devaaya namah Mahate Devaaya namah Vishnave namah Brahmane namah Skandaaya namah Vinaayakaaya namah Shulaaya namah Mahaa kaalaaya namah Umaayai namah Nandikeshwaraaya namah iti/ On completion of the ‘Shodasho – pachaara’ or the formal sixteen service worship to Maha Deva on reciting Shiva Gayatri and Shiva-related mantras, udvaasana, nirmalya gandha dharana and ‘punaraagamana prarthana’ or welcome back again prayers, the devotee is indeed blessed even with one such complete performance and is bestowed with the returns of a lakh of charities of cows to a veda pandita Brahmana!

 

Devataarchana viz. worship of Divinity (of one’s own Ishta Devata-be it Vishnu or his forms or Shiva or his extensions or Shakti / Devi in her innumerable forms of Lakshmi-Gauri-Saraswati basically representing Prosperity-Power-Knowledge) constitutes a significant part of the Shad Vidhis of Dwijas, especially of Brahmanas.

 

Vaishwa Deva Prakarana:

 

Panchame cha tathaa bhaage samvibhaago yathaarhatah, Pitru Deva Manushuyaanaam keetakaanaam chopa dishyate/—Deva Yagnah Pitru Yagno Bhuta Yagno Manushyayagno Brahma yagnah/ Devaarchanaanantara Karya or the Duty mentioned among the Six Daily Duties of Brahamana following Deva Puja is called Vaishwa Deva comprising Deva-Pitru-Bhuta-Manushya-Brahma Yagnas.Vaishwa Deva needs to be performed as per one’s own family tradition in Shaalaagni or Loukikagni; Angira said: Shaalaagnou vaa pachedannam Loukike vaapi nityashah, Yasminnagnou pachedannam tasmin homo vidhheyate/ The ‘pachaanna’ or the cooked rice is offered to the fully enflamed Agni either in Loukikagni or of on-going nature while shalaagni is improvised. Also, Vaishwa deva karya needs to be performed to appease Pancha Suna: Pancha soona Grihastasya vartanteyharah sadaa, Khandani peshani chulli jala kumbha upaskarah/ (Normally house holders commit five sources of ‘Jeeva himsa’, viz. khandani or cutting vegetables by the kichen appliances, peshani or pounding and pasting implements, chulli or water containers and cleaners and maarjani or washing utensils, floors etc).

 

Whatever shortcomings and sins are committed daily in one’s house holds are rooted out by the end of the day with the Vaishwaanara Vidhi. Anaahitaagni Vaishwa Deva vidhi includes Deva Yagna, Bali haarana, Bhuta yagna, Pitru yagna, Manushya yagna or Atithi Bhojana. Hence is the significance of Vaishwa deva vidhana as a part of the Shat Karma Vidhi. Incidentally, those who have not fulfilled the daily Vaishwaanara including Athithi Puja are stated to end up on termination of one’s life as a crow!

 

Ashoucha Nivritti Prakarana

Following are the general regulations applicable to ‘Ashoucha’ to the ‘Chatur Varnaas’ of Brahmana- Kshatriya-Vaishya and Lower Classes or ‘Chatur Ashramas’ of Brahmachari-Grihastha-Vanaprastha- Sanyasins of the Hindu Society. In reference to the demise of Mother-Father-Brothers and close relatives of ‘Sagotra-Sapinda’classification, Brahmanas are required to observe Ashuchi for ten days, Kshatriyas for twelve days,Vaishyas for fifteen days, and for the lower class one month: Jaate Vipro Dashaahena dwaadashaahena Bhumipah, Vaishyah panchadashaahena Shudro maasena shuthyati/ Special dispensations for Brahmanas are as follows: Ekaahaachudhyate Vipro yogniveda samaanvitah, Tyahaat kevala Vedastu dwi heeno dashaabhi dinouh/ Those extreme Brahmanas who practise daily Agni Homas an d Veda Paatha would be exempt from Ashuchi within a day while only those who observe only Veda Paatha without daily Agni Homa might observe Ashuchi for three days only. Janma karma bhrashtah Sandhyopaasana varjitah, Naamadhaaraka Viprasya dashaaham sutakam bhavet/ (Those Brahmanas simply on account of birth and without performing all the prescribed Six Duties of Brahmanas must however observe ten days of Ashuchi).

 

Also, besides just born domestic cattle as also house wives with just born child already during the ‘Prasuti’ time might observe ‘Mrityaashoucha’ for ‘dasha raatrena’ instead of ‘dashaaham’or ten nights in place of ten days. Eka pidaastu daayaadah pruthak daara niketanaah, Janmanyapi vipattou cha bhevetteshaancha sutakam/ (Those who need to observe ‘samaana pinda’, ‘daaya bhaagyadaari’ and in reference to wife’s close relatives like her parents and brothers are all in the similar scope of Ashoucha). Ubhayatra dashaahaani kulasyaannam na bhujyate, Daanam pratigruho homah swaadhyaayascha nivrittate/ ( In either of these cases as mentioned above, cooking and eating bhojana by those subjected by Ashuchi is forbidden and also are disallowed to give or accept Daana or charities, let alone perform homa, swaadhyaa and Veda pathana. As regards the general restriction that Asoucha requires forbidding of normal duties of a Brahmana, there is a view that except Sandhya Vandana and perhaps Nityagnihotra in essential forms, which might secure time-bound temporary dispensation, all other activities are forbidden, especially Pancha Yagnas viz. Deva Yagna, Brahma Yagna, Pitru Yagna, Bhuta Yagna, and Nara Yagna. During Jaataashoucha and Mritaashaucha, Sandhya Vandana and Ishti Charu movement should not be dispensed with; as regards, pranayaaa be avoided and other Mantras be uttered mentally. During

‘Shutaka Asoucha’, Gayatri Mantra Japa –Arghya pradaana-Pradakshina-Surya Dhyana-Namaskara are allowed as per Sage Paitheenasi. Marjana Mantras be recited mentally and Arghya Pradaana by way of Vaachaka or vocally; but certainly not homa and swadhyayana. During the Ashuchi period, saha bhojana by those with other gotras are forbidden to eat. Praaptena sutakam gotrey chaturtham puruyshena tu, Daayaadwicchetamaapnoti panchamo vaatma vamshajah/ (The ‘sagotras’ need to observe the Ashuchi for four generations and the links of ‘gotra daayatwa’ be discarded thereafter). In fact the ‘gotra daayatwaa’or of the links of gotra get thinned down by the Ashuchi observance from ten days to eight to six and so on and the further generations would not be eligible for Shraaddha bhojana. Deaths in foreign countries, as also those of children and Sanyasis too would attract instant Asuchi. In case, the news of death after the prescribed ten days is communicated thereafter within a year, then the Ashuchi has to be observed. However, after a year this late news would ask for immediate bathing with the same clothes as that would suffice Shuddhi Snaana or Purifying Bath. In case, a sagotriya Brahmana is stated to have died without knowing the details of the death, then tarpana and panda be offered on any Krishna paksha Ashtami, Amavasya or Ekadashi. In case there is a death of a child just born or upto the time of teething, no Agni samskara, or Ashuchi or jala kriya is warranted. In case there would be ‘garbha nashta’ or ‘garbha sraava’, Ashuchi is called for as many days as the months of the pregnancy. If a child dies in the birth itself, only the mother needs to observe Ashoucha or otherwise if the child survives some days, and then the Ashuchi happens for the entire period as prescribed. Birth of a child in the night and survival after Sun rise, the ten day restriction becomes valid for the Ashoucha. Death of a child after teething and after chooda karma or prathama kasha khandana on the completion of the first year or of the Samskara there after whichever is earlier, there would be the requirement of Agni Samskara and three days of Ashuchi. From the time of Chooda Karma till Upanayana, the Ashuchi is for three days. Brahmachaari grihey eshaam hyuyate cha Hutaashane, Samparkam na cha kurvanti na teshaam sutakam bhavet/ (In any household, where there is a Brahmachari and the house holder both are in the regular observance of daily Agni homa, then in that household, there cannot be any Ashuchi as long as there is no contact with those who have Ashuchi! Samparkaadi dushyate Vipro naanyo doshosti Brahmane, Samparkeshu nivritthasya na pretam naiva sutakam/ (It is only any kind of contact that a pure Brahmana suffers, otherwise there could be neither Pataka nor sutaka!). Shilpis, workers, physicians, servants, barbers and Kings would secure instant Shoucha or purification. Ashouchaantara Ashoucha: Antaraa tu dashaahasya punarmarana janmani, Taawat syadaadashuchih vipro yaavattah syaadanirdeesham/ While already during the Ashoucha of say the full or part duration of Ashoucha, if another Ashoucha occurs either on account of death or birth, there is no need to observe another Ashoucha and Suddhi or purification would take place on the tenth day itself. Anaadham Brahmanam pretam ye vahanti dwijaatayah, padey padey yagjna phaloamaanupura- llabhanti te/ (Those dwijaas or twice born on account of Upanayana Samskaara viz. Brahmana, Kshatriya, and Vaishyas perform the respect of carrying a dead body of a poor and helpless brahmana, then such a dwija reaps the fruit of yajgna phala for each step of his carrying the body till the cremation ground! Such dwijas in return from the cremation grounds would purify themselves with mere praanayam after bathing on the return. Even if such dwijas merely accompany a dead body-whether related or not- to the cremation and return thereafter would have to be purified with snaana, Agni sparsha and some eating. In the event of a dwija touches or so accompanies a dead body of a lower class, then snaana and Surya darshana would purify him. Atimaanaad atikrodhaatsnehaadwaa yadi vaa bhayaat,Udandhaneeyaat stree pumaan vaa gatireshaa viddheeyate/ (Either on account of respect, anger or friendship or even out of fear, anybody is responsible any to have a person directly or otherwise lead a person to gallows and death would receive the same fate, besides shashthim varsha sahasraani narakam or experiencing hell for six thousand years!

 

Vishesha Ashoucha Nivritti: Nashoucham nodakam naagnim naashrupaatamcha kaarayet, veedhaarogni pradaataarah paashaccheda karaastathaa/ Tapta krucchhena shudhhyantyevamaaha Prajaapatih/ (Prajapati states that one’s Ashuchi is countered by Tapta kruccha Shuddhi or fasting on three days by consuming hot water, hot milk and hot ghee in the daily measures of a pala – six-three-one measures respectively). Praayaschittas in general: Triratram prathame pakshe dwitiye krucchamaacharet, Triteeye chaiva pakshe tu kruccham santapanam charet/ Chaturthe Dasha raatram syaat paraakah panchame matah, Kuryaa chhaandraayanam shashthe saptame tvyandadwayam/ Shuddhyarthamashtame chaiva shanmaasaat krucchamaacharet, Paksha samkhyaa pramaanena suvarnyaapi dakshina/ (Depending on the severity of Ashuchi or impurity, the prescription of Prayaschitta ranges from Upavasa or fasting three nights, or secondary kind of Prayaschitta involves Kruccha vrata, the third one Saantapana Prayaschitta– viz. bhakshana or consumption of Pancha Gavya viz. five cow products of milk, curd, ghee, cow’s urine and dung, besides kushodaka or purifying water of kusha grass for two days or seven days or a fortnight or three weeks; the fourth prayaschitta comprises fasting of ten nights in a go, the fifth prayaschitta is observance of paraaka vrata or fasting of twelve days from Amavasya; the sixth prayaschitta is chandrayana vrata or increasing fistful meals a day from Amavasya to Purnami and decreasing fistful meals from Purnima to Amavasya; the seventh type is to perform two chandrayana vratas; the seventh and eighth prayaschittas is to observe kruccha vrata for six months and a year respectively). For each fortnight, gold coins are required to be given as Daana to deserving Brahmanas).

 

Pancha gavya vidhana: Panchagavya: Gomutram gomayam ksheeram sarpih kushodakam, Nirdrushtam pancha -gavyantu pavitram papa naashanam/ (Cow’s sacred urine, dung, milk, curd and ghee besides kushajala constitute the Panchagavyas which uproot multiple sins). These items are to be mixed in the prescribed proportion of one pala or eight tolas of urine, three palas of curd, one pala of ghee, half-ring finger measure of gomaya, one-seventh of the mix to be added by one pala of ‘kushodaka’. Gayatraa gruhya gomutram gandhadwaareti gomayam, Aapyaayasweti cha ksheeram Dadhikraavneti vai dadhi/ tejosi shukramotyaajyam Devasya twaa kushodakam, Panchagavyaamruchaa putam syapayedagni sannidhou/ Aapohishtheti chaalodya maa nastoketi manrtayet/(Explanation of the above is as follows: Cow’s urine along with Gayatri mantra; cow dung with Gandhadwaaraam dhuraadarsheem nitya pushtaam kareeshineem Ishwareegum Sarva bhutaanaam taamihopahvayeshriyam/ Cow’s milk: Aa pyaayasva sametute te vishwatayh soma vrishniyam, bhavaa vaajasya sangadhe/ Cow’s curd: Dadhikravinno akaarisham jishnorasvasya vajina, Surabhi no mukhaa karat Prana ayoogumshi taarishat/ Cow’s ghee: Tejosi shukramasi jyotirasi Devovah savitotpunaatwacchidrena pavitrena vasoh Suryasya rashmibhih/ Kushodakam: Devasya twaa savituh prasave Ashwinoh baahubhyaam pushno hastaabhyaam/ All these are mixed reciting: Aapohishthaa mayobhuvah taana urjyedadhaatana maheranaaya chakshuse yovasshiva tamorasah tasyabhajayatehanah ushiteeriva maatarah tasmaa aranga maamavo yasya kshayaaya jinvadha apojana yathaachanah/ Then perform ‘abhi mantra’ to the mix and recite: Maana- stoke tanaye maana ayushimaano goshumaano ashwureerishah veeraanmaano Rudrabhaamito vadheer havishyanto namasaa vidhematey/) Later on, the upper portion of the mix likened to a parrot of bright green of about the size of seven kusha grass pieces be lifted up and be offered to Homaagni with the Mantras of Rig Veda like Iravati, Ivam Vishnurvi chakramey, Maana nasteke tanaye etc. and the remaining portion be consumed by the Karta by reciting Pranava Mantra. On entering the body of the Karta, the Pancha Gavya should dissolve his hardened mass of sins from his bones, blood stream and skin pores like the offerening made to Agni Deva by of the Homa thus performed! Pavitram trishu Lokeshu Devataabhiradhishthitam, Varunaschiva domutrey gomaye Havyavahanah, Dadhin Vaayuh Samudrishtah Somah ksheere dhrutey Ravih/ ( The Devas who are present in all the Tri-Lokas are represented in the Pancha gavya as follows viz. Varuna in Go mootra, Agni in cow dung, Vayu in the curd, Chandra in the milk and Surya Deva in the ghee!)

 

A few corrective measures: Duswapnam yadi pashettu vaante vaa khurakarmani, Maithuney preta dhume cha snaanameva vidheetate/ ( In the cases of viewing disturbing dreams, after vomittings for whatever reasons, after shaving and haircuts, after the act of feminine congress, and nearing and touching a dead body, one ought to purify by Snaana. Snaanaani pancha punyaani keertitaanui Maneeshibhih, Agneyam Vaarunam Braahmam Vaayavyam Rajasaa smritam/ (Five kinds of Sacred Bathings are stated as Agneyam with Bhasma or with Ash, Varuni by entering deep into the running stream of water, Brahma Snaana with Mantras such as Apohishthaa mayo bhuvah taana urgey dadhaatana Maheranaaya chakshasey yovah Shiva tamo rasah, tasya bhaajayatehanah ushiteeriva maatarah, tasmaa arangamaamavo yasya kshayaaya jinvath, Aapojana yathaachanah/ and Vayavya snaana by sand to wash off external and internal cleanliness.) Snaanaartham Vipramaayaantam Devah Pitruganaih saha, Vaayu bhutaa hi gacchanti trushaartaah salilaarthinah/ (As Devatas along with Pitruganas visit for bathing in Sacred Rivers, Brahmanas bathe as the former approach them in the form of Vayu and this kind of bathing is called Divya snaana.). Snaatvaa peetwaa kshute supte bhhukte shayopasarpine, Achaantah punaraachaamedwaaso viparidhaayaa cha/ (Perform Achamana twice after bathing, drinking any liquid or even water, throat clearing, sleeping, after eating, outing on roads, and changing dresses.) Kshute nishtheevite chaiva daantocchishte sambhaashe dakshinam shravanam sprushet/ (Always one should t ouch one’ s own r i ght ear , after sneezing, loud spitting, throat clearing, teeth cleaning , gossiping and telling lies too). Brahmaa Vishnuscha Rudrascha Somah Suryonilastathaa, Tey Sarve hyapi tishthanti karney Viprasya dakshinah/ (Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Chandra, Surya and Vaayu all reside at Brahmana’s right ear!). Divaakara karaih putam diva snaana prashasyate, Aprashastam nishi snaanam Raahoranyatra darshanaat/ (Bathing during day time or the early evenings is commended but not in late nights unless when Surya Grahana takes place and Rahu Deva is sighted). Maruto Vasavo Rudraa Adityaah cha adhidevataah, Sarvem Somey vileeyantey tasmaat snaanantu tad grahey/ (Forty nine Marut Ganaas, eight Vasu Devatas, eleven Rudra Devas, twelve Aditya Devas, and the rest of all other Devas are all present when Chandra Deva is absorbed in Rahu Deva and it is essential to take sacred bath at the time of the elipses). Khala yagne Vivaahecha Sankraantou grahaneshucha, Sharvayyaam daarameteshu naanyatreti vinishchah/ (It is compulsory to perform purificatory Sacred Bath in connection with Khalihaan yagna, at the time of weddings, Sankranti and Solar or Lunar Eclipses surely). Putra janmaani, Yagne cha tathaa cha atyayakarmaani, Rahoscha darshane daanam prashasta naanyathaa nishi/ ( Even in the nights, Sacred bathing becomes essential when there is a child birth, Yagnas, death related news and deeds, eclipses, any daana prakriyas, bathing becomes inevitable.) Mahaa nishaatu vigjneyaa madhyastha prahara dwayam, Pradosha paschimou yaamou dinavat snaana maacharet/ (There is a distinction between night and post mid night say at the time of two praharas and in the latter case, bathing be postponed till early mornings. Asthi sanchayanaat purvam ruditwaa snaanamaacharet, Antar dashaahe Viprasya hyurdhva maachamanam smrutam/ (Purificatory bathing be undertaken after ‘Asthi Sanchayana’ or collection of the burnt bone remains and after the session of cryings on the deaths as also on the tenth day duties as prescribed). Kusha putantu yatsnaanam kushonopaspurshed dwijah, Kushonodbhuta toyam yat somapaana samam smrutam/ (Kushaagraasa snaana is considered as sacred and hence dwijas or the twice born Brahmana-Kshatriya-Vaishyas are advised to keep the kushas on the head for bathing as that kind of bathing is as purificatory as consumption of Soma Juice!). Agni karyaat paribhrashtaah Sandhyopaasana varjitaa, vedanchyaivaan dheyaanaah sarve te vrishalaah smritaah/ (All the dwijas are required to observe to Yagnya karma, Sandhya Vandana and Vedaadhyana and those who do not observe these are Vrishalas or those belonging to very inferior class; literally meaning bulls). Tasmad vrishala bheetena Brahmanena visheshatah, Adhyetavyopyekadesho yadi sarvam na shakyate/ (Those are ashamed of being dubbed as Vishalas, especially among the Brahmanas of the dwijas ought to learn at least a little of Vedas if not much). Those belonging to the dwija community ought not to mix socially, nor dine and much less marry into the low class society! Bhaajaneshu cha tishthisdtui swasti kurvanti ye dwijaah, Na Devastripyati maanaasti niraashaah Pitarastathaa/ (Those dwijas who dine with the other classes could neither please Devatas nor receive approval and blessings of Pitru ganas).

 

Principles of ‘Dharma Rakshana’ or sustenance of Virtue:

 

Grihasti Dharma Vivarana: Atah param Grihastasya Dharmaachaaram kulou yuge, Dharmam saadhaaranam shaktyaa chaaturvarnaashwaramaagatam/ Sampravakshyamaham bhuyam Parasharavacho yatha, Shatkarmanirato ViprahKrishi karmaapi kaarayet/(Parashara Maharshi describes the Grihasti Dharmas in Kali Yuga as regulatory duties to all the house holders among all the Four Varnas; Brahmanas especially need to meticulously observe the Shat Karmas [as detailed above] besides agricultural activities too). Kshuditam trushitam shraantam baleevardham na yojayet, Heenaangam vyadhitam kleevam Vrusham Vipro na vaahayet/ ( Oxen which are hungry, thirsty and tired as also diseased, lame and listless are not to be driven in carts). Japam Devarchanam homam swadhyaayam saangamabhyaset pashchaat snaatakaan dwijah/ Dwijas are required to daily observe japa, DevaPuja, Homa, Veda-Vedanga adhyayaa after Shuchi snaana and atleast provide bhojana to deserving Brahmans of atleast one or two or three or even four in numbers every day). Swayam krushte tathaa kshetre dhaanouscha swayamaarjitaih, Nirvepeta Pancha Yagjnaamscha kratu deekshaancha kaarayat/ (In this manner, the Grihasthi should also undertake the tilling of his own land, procure his own food, besides execute the Pancha Yagnas of Deva-Pitru- Bhuta-Nara-Atithis on daily basis). Tilaa rasaa na vikreyaa dhaanyatatsamaah, Viprasaivam vidhaa vrittistruna kaashtaadi vivikraha/ (Sale of Tilas and juices should not be resorted but sale of dhaanya and wood would be in order; Brahmana should eke out his lively hood likewise). Halamashtagavam dharmam shadgavam vritti lakshanam, Chaturvagam nrushaamsaanam dwigavam Vrishaghaatinam/ (Ploughing with eight oxen is stated to be ideal as per dharma, six oxen would be as per the characteristic of business, four oxen might be minimam but trying to take up the plough is quite mean and unjust to the animals). Dwigavam vaahayet paadam Madhya – ahnam tu chaturgavam, Shadgavam tu triyaamaaheshtabhim purnam tu vaahayet/ (In the event of tilling with only two oxen then in all fairness the tilling time be restricted only to one-third of a day, if it were to be with four animals then it could be for two thirds of a day, but if the tilling has to be day long then eight animals would be in order). Na yaati narakeshvevam vartamaanastu vai dwijah, Daanam dadyaat chaaiveteshaam prashastam swarga saadhanam/ (In case this above principle is not adopted, then daana dharma would be performed inevitably as means of attaining swarga). Braahmanastu krishim krutwaa mahaa doshamavaapnuyaat, Samvatsarena yatpaapam matsyaghaati samaapnuyaat, Ayomukhena kaashtena tadekaahena laangalo/ (If the above is not observed, a Brahmana would indeed be liable to a sizeable sin which tantamounts to that of a fisherman catching fish or a black and hideous faced low caste ploughmans’output in a day!) Paashako matsya ghati va vyaadhah shaakunistathaa, Adaataa karshakaschaiva panchaite samabhakinah/ (The sin committed by a fisherman, a hunter, a slaughterer, a diceman and bird killer might be worse than that of a Brahmana tilling land with two oxen). Kundini peshani chulli udakumbhatha maarjani, Pancha suna grihastasya ahanyahani vartate/ (As it is, in each house hold there are five killing places viz. a pounder, a gastric mill, a cooking stove, a water pot and a sweeper). Vaishwadevo balibhikshaa gograaso hantaaarakah, Grihasthah pratyaha kuryaat sunaa dorsharna lipyate/(The five relieving remedies absorbing the five places of killings in a household happen to be the Vaishwadeva Yagjna, bali karma, bhiksha pradana, giving grass to cows, and these offsetting the daily killings otherwise). Vrikshaan chitwaa Maheem bhitwaa hatwaa tu mriga keetakaan, Karshakah khalu yagjnena sarvaa paapaat pramuchyate/ ( The farmer is saving himself by performing yagjnas from the sins committed by cutting trees, digging earth, killings of animals and ‘krimi keetas’)Yon a dadyaad dwijaatibhyo raashi mulamupaagatah, sa chourah sa cha paapishtho Brahmaghnam tam vinirdishet/ (Those farmers seated near the heaps of foodgrains without parting any to Brahmanas would be aptly named thieves and sinners, worth being called Brahma ghaatis!) Kshatriyopi krushim krutwaa Dwijaan Devaamscha pujayet, Vaishyah anyastathaakuryat krushi vaanijya shilpikaan/ (Indeeed, Kshatrias display their industriousness and courage and serve Brahmanas for their involvement and dedication in Deva Pujas, Vaishyas earn out of their trading and business skills and so do the other class of the Society due to their ability in crafts). Chaturnaamapi varnaamsha dharma sanaatanah/ (Thus the Four Varnas are engaged in their own respective duties as per dharmas).

 

Samaamanya (Normal) Dharmas of husband and wife: Adushtaapatitaam bharyaam youvane yah parityajet, Sapta janma bhavet streetwam Vaidhavyancha punah punah/ (In case a husband abandons a youthful woman without any blemish, he would become a widow for successive births again and again). Daridram vyaddhitam murkham bhartaaram ya na manyate, Saa mrutaa jaayate vyaali vaidhavyamcha punah punah/ (In case a wife abandons a husband on account of poverty, disease, or idiocy, then she turns out to be a serpent or widow again and again. Patyo jeevita yaa naari uposhya vratamaacharet, Ayushyam harate bhartruh saa naari narakam vrajet/ (Even as a husband is alive, if a wife observes fasts and vratas without his knowledge, then the life span of her husband would be reduced). Yat paapam Brahma hatyaayaa dwigunam garbhapaatane, prayschittam natasyasti tasyaastyaago vidheeyate/ (Abortion is as doubly heinous as that of Brahama hatya which has no prayaschitta as cited above oreven otherwise! The only possible retribution would be rid of that woman by out casting or otherwise!) Na karyamaavasatyena naagnihotrena vaa punah, sa bhavetkarma chandaalo yastu dharma paraangmukhah/ (That house holder who has no respect for Dharma, especially if a Brahmana, is as fallen like the worst human being).Oagha vaataahatam beejam yathaa kshetreprarohati, Kshetri tallabhate beejam na beeji bhaagamarhati/ Tadwat parastreeyaa putrow dwou kundagolakou, Patyou jeevati kundah syaanmrite bhartaari golakah/ (Just as a seed thrown by fierce gale from one field to the neighbouring field the crop of that seed basically belongs to the neighboring woman only). Kubja vaamana shandeshu gadgadeshu jedeshu cha, jaatyaghne baadhire mukey na doshah parivedany/ (There is nothing wrong that a junior son marries earlier, in case an elder son happens to be a ugly, too short, stupid, impotent, eunuch, blind, deaf, dumb, etc). Also: Nashte mrite pravrajite kleeve chapatite patou, Panchaswaapatsu naarinaam patiranyo vidheeyate/ ( If one’s husband is lost for long, reckoned away for dead, turned as a Sanyasi, impotent, or immoral, then the woman concerned could rightfully select another person for wedding again). Mrite bhartaari yaanaari brahmacharye vyavasthitaa, Saa mritaa labhateswargam sadbrahmachaarinah/ (On the expiry of husband, if the woman maintains her celibacy, she on her death would reach heaven for sure!).

 

In reference to purification of house-hold material, kitchen utensils can be cleaned by unpolluted water and so also the yagjna and puja material. Rajasa shuddhyate naari vikalam ya na gacchati, Nadi vegena shuddhyeta lepo yadi uadi shudhyati/ (Females in courses are cleaned up by running flows of waters say of rivers or water bodies provided they are other wise not ill). Vaapi kupa tadaakeshu dushiteshu kathanchana, Uddrutya vai ghatastham panchagavyena shuddhyati/ (Tanks, wells, water reservoirs when look and smell, then hundreds of water pot fulls are thrown out and add mixes of Pancha gavyas or of cow products-milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine-be sprinkled into the wells and so on). Ashta varsha bhaved Gauri nava varshaa tu Rohini, Dasa varshaa bhavet Kanyaa ata urtharvam rajaswala/ (An eight year old girl is called Gauri or the Fair One, a ninth year old is known as Rohini or a cherry, a ten year aged is a Kanya or maiden and thereafter a Rajaswala). Prapte tu dwadashe varshe varsha ah kanyaam na prayacchati,Maasi maasi rajastasyaah pibanti pitarah swayam/ ( In case the Kanya is not married on attaining of age, then pitru devatas are required to consume the menses material). Maataa chiva Pitaa chiva jyeshtho bhataa tathaiva cha, Trayaste narakam yaanti drushtwaa kanyaa rajaswalaa/ (In case, the mother, father and the elder brother of the girl who has come of age still remains unmarried are destined to go to hell). Yah karotyekaraanetrena vrishaleesevanam dwijah, Sa bhaikshubhugjapannityasya tribhi varsher vishudyati/ (If a dwija or Brahmana-Kshatriya-Vaishya were to serve a low caste person in a night, then the atonement would be to beg alms and perform japa for three years!) Astam gate yadaa Suryesta nimna jatyaam patitam striyam, Sutikaam sprushate chaiva katham shudda vivardhheyate/ Jaata vedam suvarnamcha Somamargam vilokyacha, Brahmanaanugataschiva chaiva snaanam krutwaa vishuddhyati/ (If a dwija happens to touch a degraded person, a characterless woman or a woman in confinement especially in the nights or darkness, then the method of purification would be to look at Agni, Gold, Moon’s movement on the sky, follow a brahmana and take a Shuddhi snaana or bath). Spushtwaa rajaslaanyonyaham brahmani brahmani tathaa, Yavattishthenniraahaaraa triratraivena shuddhati/ (In case, two brahmana females in menses touch each other, they need to avoid bhojana three nights to be freed from Ashuddhi). In the event of two females in the periods, belonging to different varnas, the ‘shuddhi marga’ is to resort to varying types of kruccha vratas as prescribed.). Snaataa rajaswala yaa tu chaturthehani shuddhyati, kruyaadrajonivrittou tu Daivapitraaya karmacha/ (Those females on the fourth day of the periods are required to take Shuddhi Snaana and perform the normal duties to Devas and Pitru Devas as usual) Rogena yadrajah streenaamanvahantu pravartate, Naashuchih saa tatastena tat syaadwai kaarikam matam/ (For the reason of illness, in case the ‘rajotpatti’ persists, then too the Ashuchi Period time is stated to have terminated on the fouth day) Prathamehani chandali dwiteeya Brahma ghatini, Triteeye rahaki proktaa chaturthehani shuddhyati/ ( On the first day of the period the female is reckoned as a chandaali, on the second day as a Brahmacide, the third day as a washer woman and on the fourth day she gets purified). Aature snaanamutpanee dashakrutyodnyaaturh, Snatwaa snaatwaa sprushedenam tatah shudyet sa aaturah/ (In case a person is extremely ill, then another person who is heathy takes his snaana many times and then touches the person who is sick, then the latter would get far better!) Now the ways in which purification of metallic and other household items is achieved is as follows: bronze items like utensils are cleaned by ash powder normally unless spirituous material is not involved and in the case of the latter cleaning by fire and scraping the smoked layer with a sharp metal. Bronze items again when smelt by cows or sniffed by dogs or even by touched by low class persons lose their acceptability and rendered unworthy of reusage unless they are cleanedby ash several times. Aayase shwapasaarena seesasyaagnow viseshodhanam, Dantamayiswa tathaa shringa roupyam souvarnabhaajanam/ Mani paashaana sringascha etaan prakshaalayejjalaih, Paashaane tu punar-dhrushta reshaah shuddhirudaahyataa/ ( As regards iron-steel vessels are concerened, these need to be rubbed one against another and or better burnt in Fire; ivory, bone, horn, silver and gold, Ratnas, Precious stones and ivory articles concerned they are either exposed to fire and get melted while rock-made items a purified ny rubbed again). Earthern vessels are rendered clean by being burnt; paddy is cleaned by scouring; bamboo vessels, rags, linen, cotton clothing, woollen clothing, are purified by sprinkling of water; similarly leather and hide, grass of various kinds, wood, ropes etc. are purified by spinkling of water after sun drying. Bhumim spushtavaa gatam toyam aschaapyanyonya viprushah, Bhuktvocchishtam tathaa sneham nocchishtam Manurabraveet/ (Manu says that running water falling on the ground, flying saliva while in conversation with other albeit respectfully, remnant ghee and cooking oil is not impure!). When ever, ‘Madhuparka’ or clothing offered to the guests after bhojana as a gesture of respect, the remnant fruits, juices, tamboola or betel, etc.are never unclean or impure. Adushtaa santataa dhaaraa Vatoddhutaascha renavah, Striyo vriddhaascha baalaascha na dushyanti kadaachana/ (A continuous stream of water flow, dust by passing wind, women, elderly persons and children can never be considered as unclean). Desha bhange pravaase vaa vyaadhishu vyasaneshvapi, Rakshodevaswadehaadi pashchaaddharmam samaacharet/ (When there is a crisis in the country or in ‘pravasa’ or in exile, or in illness, or in a state of self control, or due to extreme difficulties, then one’s duty is of self-protection and ‘dharmaacharana’ be postponed for the time being!). Ye na kena cha dharmena mridunaa daarunen cha, Uddhareddeena maatmaanam samartho dharmamaacharet/ (Be it a hard or none too soft duty of dharma, it is essential to first pull up one self and get strong enough to practise Dharma). Aapatkaale tu sampraapte shouchaachaaram na chintayet, Swayam samuttaret paschaat swastho dharama samaacharet/ (Whenever there is an emergency, do not get concerned regarding the practice of ‘Shoucha’ and ‘Aachara’ till such time that one gets stabilized to normalcy). But this indeed is not an escape route!

 

Grihastu dayaa yukto Dharmamevaanuchintayet, Poshya vargaartha siddhyartham nyaayavartaa su buddhiman/ (It is expected of Grihasthaas or house holders to be always engaged in compassion, just conduct, and observance of Virtue as also the upkeep of the family members on the path of worthy upbringing, training and of justice). Nyaayoparjita vittena kartavyam hyatma rakshanam, Anyaayena tu yo jeevet sarva karma bahishkrutah/ ( The grihasthi is never ever to deviate from the practice of living with well earned money within his means and maintain his family with uprightness being far aloof of undeserving temptations of life). Agnichit Kapila Satree Rajaa Bhikshur Mahodadhih, Drushta maatraah punantyete tasmaan pashyettu nityashah/ (Even the visions of those who observe nitya Agni homas, Kapila cows, performers of Satra Yagnya, kings and nobilities, Bhikshus or those who renounce the worldly activities and the profound Oceans would inspire and motivate such right minded persons). Arani Krishna marjaalam chandanam Sumanim ghritam, Tilaan, Krishnaajinam, Chhagam gruhey chaitaani rakshayet/ (Every house holder is advised to keep an Arani or double stones with which to create fire, black cat, chandanam, good quality gem stone, ghee, tilas, black deer, thick butter milk and a goat for the security and auspiciousness in his house). Also bulls and cows are of immense benefit and even a place to let a pair of these stand if given as a charity to a good Brahman would bestow the fruits of warding the most heinous sin of Brahma hatya perpetrated by way of mere thought, speech and the worst still by a deed! In fact such a daana if given to a very poor and helpless but ‘Vedaadhyaayi’would instantly add several years of healthy and contented on going life itself! But he who mismanages to gain houses, fields or even barren land by foul means from another party would not recompense by acts of digging wells, performing yagjnas, and giving away charity of several cows! Even a touch of a low caste person, a woman of a just born child, a woman during the menses period and a fallen woman would warrant impurity for two, four, six, and eight days respectively. Tatah saannidhyamatrena sachailam snaanamaacharet, Snatwaavalokayet Suryamajnanaat sprushyateyyadi/ (Even going across such a person requires bathing with the dress as worn and thereafter look at and greet Surya deva.) Drinking water from a well, or a water body straight into the mouth without using palf fulls would land up the person as a dog in the next birth. A person out of anger shouts and declares that at his wife was unfit for him even privately and then once again seeks to approach her for rapprochment, then there should be a public apology to remove the blemish; this is equally applicable both ways! Swaantah kruddhastamondho vaa khsutpipaasaa bhayaadhritah, Daanam punyamakrutwaa cha praayaschittam dinatrayam/ (When a person gives away a charity to a quality Brahmana, while in a mental frame of tiresomeness, anger, ignorance, hunger, thirst, or under compulsion, then such a charity would be no only ineffective but warrants a three day prayaschitta or sin retriever as prescribed below); the payaschitta includes Nadi Snaana and Brahmana bhojana and Go daana. Duraachaarasya Viprasya nishidhaacharanasya cha, Annam bhuktwaa dwijah kuryaad dinamekam abhojanam/ (In fact any Brahmana who becomes aware that he has committed a sin, should organize a Brahmana bhojana but obsereve a day’s ‘upavasa’ for rectification). Sadaacharasya Viprasya tathaa Vedanta vaadinah, Bhuktaannam muchyate paapaada- horaatrantu vai narah/ (If a Duraachaari Brahmana or the sinful Brahmana due to any type of sins, regrets his sin, observes a day-night abstinence of food besides entertains with food to a sadachara Brahmana and gets him contented, then the former should be free from all blemishes!).

 

Vyasa Smriti adds further dimensions to Grihasthaashrama Dharmas as follows: Grihashramaat paro dharmo naasti naasti punah punah, Sarva tirtha phalamtasya yayoktam yastu paalayet/ (This truism needs to be stressed again and again that there could be no better dharma as evidenced in Grihastha – ashrama. Those who observe these Ashrama Dharmas with conscience are rewarded with the fruits of arva Tirtha Darshana) Guru bhakto bhrutya poshi dayaavaannasuyakah, Nitya japi cha homi cha Satya vaadi jitendriyah/ Swadaaro yasya santoshaha paradaaraa nivartanam, Apavaadopi no yasya tasya tirthaphalam gruhe/ (Those grihastis who pay great attention to Guru and elders, take full care of servants with sincerity, essentially of kindly disposition, being of non-complaining nature, observing nitya gayatri japa homas, satyavaadi or highly truthful, self restrained of his physical limbs, fully contented with his own wife and respectful of other females, and of impeccable chatacter and reputation are doubtless the recipients of the Sarva Tirtha phala without visiting none and being totally home bound) Para daaraan Paradravyam harate yo dine dine, Sarvatirhaabhishekena paapam tasya na nashtati/ (Those grihastis who have no desire for other females and other’s money at any time make the Sarvatirtha-abhhisheka punya into insignificance!) Griyashu sananeeyeshu sarvatirtha phalam tatah, Annadasya trayo bhaagaah karthaa bhaagena lipyate/ (In those house holds where Soma-Savana and other yagjnas are duly and daily executed the Sarva tirtha phalas are reaped readily and totally. Those house holds which provide Anna daana always secure three fourths of the rewards while who perform other duties of Grihastas the rest of it.) Pratishrayam paadashoucham Brahmanaancha tarpanam, Na paapam samprushetasya Balim Bhikshaam dadaati yah/ (Those house holders who inivite Brahmanas, wash their feet, offer ‘neeraajana’ while standing with utmost esteem and serve bhojan and satisfy them along with other services would be completely unreachable for any kind of sins.) Paadodakam paada ghritam deepamannam pratishrayam, Yo dadaati Brahmanebhyo nopasarpatitam Yamah/ (Those grihastis who wash the feet of Brahmanas with water, ghee, deepa nirajana, Anna and restful hospitality shall indeed be out of bounds by Yama dharma Raja even!) Vipra paadodaa vilannaa yaavat tishthati modini, Taavat pushkara patreshu pibanti Pitaromritam/ (Till such time the ‘paadokaka’or the water washed by both the feet of the Brahmana keeps wet, the lotus feet of the Grihasti’s Pitru Devatas would be enjoying ‘Amrita paana’!) Yatphalam kapilaa daane Kartikyaam Jyeshtha Pushkare, Tatphalam Rishayah shreshtaa vipraanaam paadashouchane/ (Hey great Rishis! The Punya that would accrue from the Pushkara Tirtha Snaana and Go daana on a Kartika Pournami day would approximate the paada- prakshalana of the Brahmana guest of the grihastha respectfully performed by the latter!) Swaagatena – agnayah preetaa aasanena shatakratuh, Pitarah paada shouchenaannaadyena Prajaapatih/ (The grihasti welcoming the Brahmana-atithi itself would have pleased Agni Deva, the guest being seated comfortably would have made Indra Deva happy too, Pitru Devatas would have been delighted by the ‘Paada- prakshalana’ and indeed Prajaapati himself would have been contented by the Brahmana’s contentment with the bhojana!) Maata Pitrou param tirtham Gangaa gaavo visheshitah, Braahmanaat Parama tirtham na bhutam na bhavishyati/(The grihasti would normally consider his father and mother as Punya Tirthas and especially so the Go Maatas or cows; but Brahmana as the Atithi is indeed the Parama Tirtha as never in the past nor in the future times!) Indriyaani vesheekritya Griha eva vasonnarah, Tatra tasya Kurukshetram Naimisham Pushkaraanicha/ (Any person might as well stay in one’s own home if only he keeps his physical parts and mental faculties are controlled utmost; indeed his own home is as good then since that itself is Kurukshetra,or Naimisha or Pushkar like Tirthas!) Gangadwaaramcha Kedaaram sannihiti tathaiva cha, Etaani Sarva Tirthaani krutwaa Paapaih pramuchyate/ (His own home then would be as near and purifying as Haridwar, Kedarnath and such other Tithas since that indeed is the singular sin destroying Tirtha) Varnaam ashramaanaan chatur Varnasya bho Dwijaah, Daan dharmam pravakshyaami yathaa Vyaasena bhaashitam/ ( O Dwijas! This is the moral that any person of the Chatur Varnaas and Ashramas should follow and observe asVyasa emphasizes viz. that one’s own home be considered as any Tirtha, provided he or she could control one’s own faculties!)b Yaddadaati visishtebhyo yacchaashnaati diney diney, Taccha vittamayaham manye shesham kasyaabhi rakshati/ (It is only that amount of money or wealth which is given away in daanas or donations as also that which meets the daily requirements his family; but whatever is surpus or hoarded may be taken care of by Almighty alone!) Yaddadaati yadashnaati tadeva Dhanino dhanam, Anye mrutasya kreedani daaraarapi dhanairapi/ (Whatever money that is actually spent on the needs of the family members apart from that spent on daana dharmas is called the genuine money, but the excess of that money which is left behind one’s death is indeed squandered endlessly on the family’s playful activities since that part of the amount is sure to be misused!) Kim dhanena karishyanti dehaanoti gataayushah, yadwardhviyatumicchantarastacchariram- ashaaswatam/ (What indeed is possibly saved for besides one’s own upkeep sustenance; beyond the needs of the anticipated family needs, what is that hoarded amount useful for there after!) Ashasvataani gaatraani vibhavo naiva shasvatah, Nityam sannihito mrityuh kartavyo dharma sangrahah/ (Sharira is indeed transitory, the money is not permanent either, death is round the corner and as such one should endeavour to earn as much Dharma as possible) Yadi naama na dharmaaya na kaamaaya na keertaye, Yat parityajya gantavyam taddhanam kim na deeyate/ (If money is not earned as per Dharma, that can not meet fulfillments nor good name and fame; what indeed is the excess money earned any way unless it cannot be donated in daanas and improve the ‘Punya’ accounts!) Jeevanti jeevite yasya Vipraa mitraani bandhavaah, Jeevanti saphalam tasya Atmaartham ko na jeevati/ (Indeed it is that life which is worthwhile as would help Brahmanas, relatives and friends; beyond that consideration as for the self alone would smack of selfishness!) Pashavopi hi jeevanti kevalaatmodarambharaah, Kim kaayena suguptena balinaa chirajeevinaa/ ( If one ekes life for self sustenance alone, then he or she is considered as an animal only; what is the purpose of that kind of animal life even if lived for long!) Adaata Purushastyaagi dhanam samtyajya gacchati, Daataaram krupanam manye mrutopyartham na muchyati/ (A person who would not perform Daana has the psyche of being a wise one since he feels that he leaves behind that money and that is wiser since that much of money would be available with him, feeling self- deceptively though- that would be as his carry forward in his next life, anyway!) Praananaashastu kartavyo yah kritaartho na so mritah, Akrutaardhatu yo mrityupraaptah kara samohi sah/ (Those who leave the life are indeed well deserved and fulfilled once they have the satisfaction of having lived contented and indeed such persons are acclaimed as Amarajeevis or persons everliving! But, those who merely exist without ‘satkamas, are as bad as donkeys!) Anaahateshu yaddatam yaccha duttamaya – achitam, Bhavishyati yugasyaantah tasyaantato na bhavishyati/ (The kind of daana that is given by special invitation and that which is given being when asked for has considerable difference till the end of yugas but there is no end of the concept of daana ever!) Mritavatsaa yathaa goushcha trishnaa lobhena duhyute, Parasparasya daanaani loka yatraa na dharamatah/ (The kind of daana given to a desperate person just as given to a dying calf or a cow is not genuine and not for the sake of Dharma-apparently for the donor’s motives!) Adrushte chaashubhe daanam bhoktaa chaiva na drushyate, Punaraagamanam naasti tatra daanamanantakam/ (That kind of daana with the apprehension of having to face inauspiciousness on the part of the donor is of artificial nature, but a ‘Nishkaama Daana’ with no expectation of return desire is stated to be of lasting value, especially when the daana karta would request for ‘Punaraagamana’ or to say, ‘please come again’) Maataa pitrushu yadyadyaad bhraatrushu shvashureshucha, Jaayaapatyeshu yaddadyaad sonantah swarga samkramah/ (The charity that is provided to parents, brothers and father- in- law, own wife and children would pave the way for heavens) Pituh shatagunam daanam sahasra, Maaturuchyate, Bhaginyaam shata sahasram sodare dutta – makshayam/(If the charity that is given to father is hundred folded, that given to mother is thousand folded, to sisters- it is of a lakh times more, and to brothers is countless!) Kinchitvedamayam paartam kinchit partam tapomayam, Yasya chaiva gruhe mukho doore chaapigunaanvitah, Gunaanvitaaya daatavyam naasti Brahmanaatikramenacha/ (Referring to ‘Paartaapaatra’ daana, or the nature of deserving or otherwise of charites, Vyasa Maharshi states that some who deserve highly are Veda Swarupas or the embodiments of Vedas, or Tapomaya Rishis and some could even be stupid Brahmanas or well qualified; in any case even those Brahmanas who are ill qualified may not be ruled out for daanas) Devadravya vinaashena Brahmana haranenicha, Kulaanya kulataam yanti Brahmanaatikramena cha/ (In the case of stealing the offerings to Devas, or the charities offerered to Brahmanas as also to despise both Devas and Brahmanas, actions of such persons would instantly deserve ‘Kula bhrashtatwa’ or demotion of his or her status in the Society) Brahmanaatikramo naasti Vipre Veda vivarjite, Ujjwanata- magnimutsrujjya na hi bhasmani hyuyate/ ( Veda heena Brahmana becomes despicable just as one performs homa to bhasma instead of to a full flame) Sannikrushta madheeyaanam Brahmanam yo vyatikramet, Bhojane chaiva daane cha hanyat tripurusham kulam/(Those in respect of insulting Veda – paathi Brahmanas at bhojana and daana are destined to get cursed for three generations in their kula!) Yathaa kaashtamayo hasto yathaa charma mayo mrigah, Yascha Vipronadheeyaanastrayaste naama dharkaah/ (Indeed those Brahmanas who are not used to Veda Pathana are just like elephants made of wood or stuffed skin made deer, as they are not genuine Brahmanas) Samamabraahmane daanam dwigu- nam Braahmanabruve, Sahasraguamaachaarye hyaanantam Vedaaarage/ (The reward given in daana to an ‘Abraahmanya’ or he who does not deserve to be called a Brahmana is perhaps very nominal, but to him claiming to be a Brahmamna due to his birth is minimal, but the daana given to an Acharya is far better by thousand times, but to aVeda Vidwan, the daana punya is stated to be endless) Agnihotri tapaswi chaVedaadhyaapayechha yah, Sakalpam sarahasyancha tamaachaarya prachakshate/( He who is a practitioner of Agni homas, a tapaswi or daily Meditator, well conversant of Kalpa- Aranyaka Upanishads and of confidential mantras as also a teacher of Vedas is known as an Acharya.) Ishtabhih Pashu bandhaischa chaaturmaasyaistathiva cha, Agnishtomaadi bhiryagjnaina cheshtam sa Ishtawaan/ (He who is an expert of performing Ishtis like Pashu bandha, Chaturmasya and so on, Agnishtomaadi Yagnas and others is titled as an Ishtimaan or well versed with such Sacred Homa) Meemamsate cha yo Vedaan Shadbhirangaih savitsaraihi,Itihaasa Puraanaani sa bhavedpaaragah/( It is he who is described as the Veda Pararaga who besides Veda Jnaana is also versatile in the Six Vedangas of Siksha, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chhanda, Jyotisha and Kalpa as also Meemaamsa; he should also have the knowledge of Puranas and Itihasa) Brahmanah sa bhaveccheva Devaanaamapi Daivatam, Prakshanchaaiva lokasya Brahmatejo hi kaaranam/ (Such a Brahmana is indeed a Deva Deva or the evidence of, and reason for, Brahma teja in the universe). Brahmanasya mukham kshetram nishkarkaramakuntakam, Vaapayetatra beejaani saa krushih saarvakaamiki/(Brahmana’s bright face is like a pebble free and thornfree agricultural field in which human beings themselves are the seeds to be sown and the resultant crops are like the various desires fulfilled by them) Sukshetre vaapayedbeejam supatre daapayedwanam, Sukshetre cha Supaatre cha kshiptam naiva vidhshyati/ (The seeds must be sown in ideal and fertile fields only and in such fields the seeds or various forms of yields or prosperity emerge) Vidya vinaya sampanne Brahmane gruhamaagate, Kreedanyoshadhayah sarvaa yaasyaamah paramaam gatim/(It is only in the households of Brahmanas that Vidya and Vinaya or knowledge and discipline could thrive and by the entry of oushadhis or anna / food would become playful and lead to total fulfillment) Nashtashouche vrata- bhrashthe vipre veda vivarjite Deeyamaanam rudayatyannam bhayaadhvai duyshkrutam krutam/( Those Brahmanas who are ‘apavitraas’ or of unclean physiques and characteristics, who are of depravity and meanness, who are Vedaheens and least enlightened are prone to fear, sadism and timidity). Vedapurna mukham vipram subhuktamapi bhojayet, na cha murkham niraaharam shaddraatra mupavaasinam/ (A Veda Brahmana only richly deserves fulfillment of food, instead of feeding a ‘murkha’ or an idiot who starves even for six nights!) Yasya gehe sadaashnanti havyaani tridivoukasah, Kavyaani chaiva Pitarah kimbhutamadhikam tatah/ (Who else is called an ideal Brahmana in whose house ‘Devata havya shesha’ and ‘Pitru kavya shesha’are eaten!) Vedalaangala krushteshu dwija shreshtheshu satu cha, Yatpuraa patitam beejam tasyaiaah sasyasampadah/ (During the days of yore, the seeds that Brahmana‘Sajjanaas’ of virtue sowed by the ‘veda swarupa hala’ or tillers of Vedic features yielded ‘sasya sampada’ or the opulence of rich crops) Shateshu jaayate shutrah sahasreshu cha panditah, Vaktaa shata sahasreshu daataa bhavati vaa na vaa/ (It is probable that among hundreds of persons, there might be a valiant and intrepid person born, among thousands there might be a Vidwan Pandita, among lakh of them an orator of fame, but nobody knows as to how many of persons that a ‘Daata’ (donor) or one with the great qualities of munificence and selflessness might emerge!) Na raney vjayahacchuroh adhyanaanna chapanditah, Na vaktaa vaakpatutvena na daataa chaartha daanata/ (By winning a battle one does to become a hero of all battles, a Shastri who teaches Shastras can become a Vidwan of all Vidyads, a person with facility of expresson cannot be acclaimed as a great orator cannot, but he who sincerely and selflessly donates with respect and in humility is indeed designated as a data!) Indriyaanaam jaye shuro, Dharmacharita panditah, Hitapriyoktibhir vaktaa daataa sammmana daanatah/ (A person who possesses physical and mental control is a truly gallant hero, a meticulous practitioner of Dharma or Vrtue is a genuine Vidwan, a soft spoken convincer in arguments and persuader of proactive actions is a real Orator, and he who donates as per the reciever’s needs and necessities with respect and polteness without seeking a return is an authentic data!). Yadye kapatam krutyaam vishamam dadaatisnehaadbhaadwaa vaarthahetoh, Vedeshu drushtam Rishibhiscgha geetam tad brahmahatyaam Muniyo vadanti/ (Any charity given out of compulsions of money returns, or fear, or publicity and providing Brahmanas excellent bhojana by way of ‘saha pankti’or with equal status is as motivated as committing ‘Brahma hatya’ as stated in Vedas and amplified by Rishis!) Upare vaapitam beejam bhinnabhaandeshu goduham, Hutam bhasmaani havyancha murkham daanamashaswatam/ (The seeds sown on the top layer of soil, collecting milk from a cow’s udder into a broken vessel, the ‘ahutis’ or ghee homas offered to the ashes of the agni kunda, are as wasteful as giving ‘daana’ to a ‘Murkha’) Amritam Brahmaanenna daridram Kshatriyasa ha, Vaishaannenena heentwa heenajaatenna narakam vrajet/ (The bhojana served by a Brahmana is like Amrita, that which is served by Kshatriyas leads to daridrata or poverty, the food served by Vaishyas leads to meanness, and that served by the low class is as bad as ‘naraka prapti’) Pankti bhedi vrithaa paaki nityam Brahmana nindakah, Adeshi Veda vikrataa panchaite Brahma ghaatakaah/( Those who maintain distinct sections of the guests in their homes as per richness or commonality, who cook for one’sown bhojana without sharing with others, who are habitual offenders of Brahmanas, who seels to boss over for no reason, who sell Veda Scriptures for money, and teach Vedas or Scriptures for monetary considerations are to be called as the Five ill-famed Brahma Hatyaaris) Idam Vyaasa matam nitya madhyatvam prayatnatah, Etadyuktaachaaravatam patanam naiva vidyate/ (This theory propounded by Vyaasa Maharshi should be always read and understood properly. Those who follow these precepts would never ever be downgraded in their lives!)

 

Grihini Dharmas: In the event of married (or unmarried) women desirous of shortening their hair due to reasons of religion the head hair can be shortened by two inches; for example there is a dutiful binding called ‘Veni Samhara’at tirtha pradeshas like Gaya, where a husband himself performs the vrata by scissoring the hair likewise. But widows ought to shave the head as per ancient ‘aachaara’. They are forbidden to sleep in the central place of their homes or alone in far off places. They are also restricted to neither accompany their husbands to agricultural fields, nor visit without husbands or unaccompanied with close relatives to cattle sheds, river beds, sea shores and forests. It is preferred that they perform Vratas in their own homes with their husbands. Tirtha yatras, temple visits or religious places or congregations unaccompanied with husbands are a mere waste. Similarly giving away danaas, performing any activity like homas, vratas etc. are futile. Yet, any activity related to Dharma with motives of vengeance, harmful to others or with show off and pride shall indeed recoil in couse of time. At the same time, a prayer or vrata or of spiritual significance performed with physical and mental cleanliness would concentration, faith and dedication would indeed yield contentment and fulfillment. Even a Kamya Vrata or Nishkama Karma performed with commitment shall indeed be reciprocated proportionately while of course kamya vratas lead to desired results while nishkama vratas add to the accounts of Punya!

 

Referring to the tendencies of contacts with men in general and those males other than husbands in particular, Paraashara Smriti lists out Ashta Vidha Maithuna viz. Smarana or thoughts, keertana or praising, keli or being playful, prekshana or passing looks with desire at the opposite party, Guhya bhashana or whispers, Sankalpa or a kind of resolve, Athyavasaaya or trials for contact from a distance, Kriya nirvritti or intense desire, Vaak prerepana or inciting with small conversation, Udreka or infatuation, steady vision, rahasya sambhashana or secret conversation, Ubhaya prerepana or mutual physical contact, Resolve or the decision to mate and finally the copulation. These misdemeanors too would qualify for atonements!

 

Some Prayaschittas: Urthwaryocchishtamaghah antarikshareer mrutao tathaa, Krucchatrayam prakurveetaashouchaarane tatha/ (In the event of a death who dies as a result of illness due to the failure of body parts of upper or lower limbs, the witnessing dwijas present at the time of death not placing the dead body down to earth are required to perform three Kruccha Vratas as a penalty.) Krucchhe devyayutanchaiva praanaayaama shatatrayam, Punya teerthem naardra shirah snaanam dwadasha sankhyayaa, Dwiyojanam tirha yaatraa krucchamevam prakalpitam/ (The Kruccha Vrata comprises Gayatri japa ten thousand times, a dozen snaanas with shaven head in Punya Tirthas atleast of two yojana radius). Grihasthah kaamatah kruyadretasah sechanam bhuvi, sahasrantu japerdevyaah praanaayaamaistribhih sahaa/ (If a grihasti Brahmana out of extreme passion spills his virility on the ground, then he is required to atone by three hundred pranayama and thousand times of Gayatri japa). Chaturvedyopapannasu Vidhivad Brahma ghatake, Samudra seta gamana prayaschittam vinirdeshet/ (A Brahmana who is an erudite pandita of Four Vedas commits Brahma Hatya or killing of a co-Brahmana, then he is required to pay a visit to Sethu bandhana at Rameshwara Kshetra and perform the Prayaschitta as prescribed). Setu bandhapathe bhikshaam chaturvarnyaat samaacharet, Varjayitvaa vikarmasthaamh chatropaana dwivarjitah/ Aham dushruta karma vai mahaa paataka kaarakah, Grihadwaareshu tishthaami bhikshaarthi Brahma ghaatakah/ ( All those who have committed the worst of crimes of killing a learned Brahmana is required to visit Rameswara or the Setu Bandhana Kshetra and beg alms without foot wear or umbrella and announce himself shouting : Sir/madam, I am a Brahmana killer and am standing at your door step for alms for expiation). Thereafter, the offender Brahmana killer having walked begging to Setu all the way halting at goshalaas, villages and town ships, crossing streams, rivers, tirthas and so on overnights without break and after the Setu visit with prayers to return if alive!). Punah pratyaagato veshma vaasanaartha –mupa, saputrah saha bhrutaischa kuryaad Brahmana bhojanam/ (On return if at all, Brahmana bhojana be organised accompanied by the entire family and be blessed). Savanastaam striyam hatvaa Brahmahyatya vratam charet, Madyapascha dwijah krutyaaninadeem gatwaa samudragaam/ (For killing a woman engaged in the performance of vrata, the atonement is as per the procedure of Brahma hatyaa sin, while if involved in drinking intoxicants, the expiation would be bathing in a river flowing into the Ocean). Chandraayane tatashcheerny krutyaad Brahmana bhojanam, Anangut sahitaam gaancha dadyaadvipreshu dakshinaam/ (Thereafter, Chandraayana vrata, Brahmana bhojana and daana of a cow and bull with dakshina to a Pandita Brahmana be provided). Madya paana Prayaschittam: Madyapascha dwijah kuryaannadim gatwaa Samudragaam, Chaandraane –tatasksheerna kuryadbrahmana bhojanam/ Anadutsahitaangam cha dadyaat Vipreshu dakshinaam/ (Dwijas who resort to Madyapaana of draksha, kurjuraadi juices with fermentation have to perform bathing in a Sacred River and the Ocean besides observe Chandraayana Vrata and Brahmana bhojana dakshas).

 

Self-confession of sins:Self-confession of sins commited: As an important component of ‘Dharmaacharana’vide Ashtamodhyaya of Parashara Smriti, ‘Sad- Brahmanas’ are by themselves confess about their own sins: Vedavedanga vidushaam Dharma Shastra vijaanataam, Swakarmarata vipraanaam swakam paapam nivedayet/ (Those superior and distinguished Brahmanas who are experts in Veda Vedangas and well versed in Dharma Shastras and ideal practitioners of Dharma Shastra, do declare themselves voluntarily to co-Brahmanas about their own shortcomings and misdeeds! Krutwaa paapam na gruhet guhyamaanam vivardhate, Swalpam vaatha prabhutam vaa Dharmavidbhyo nivedayet/ (Whether the sin committed is minor or major, one’s own conscience demands to confess to Vidwans who in turn would judge its intensity). After all: Te hi paapey krute veda hantaaraschiva paapmanaam, Vyadhistasya yathaa Budddhimanto rujaapahaah/ (To enable the nature of illness, the patient who is affected would indeed have to convey the details of it and similarly the Karta of the sin committed has to describe its details to enable the Vidwat Sabha to prescribe the remedial medicine!) Praayashchitte samutopanne lajjaaman Satya paraayanah, Muhuraarjava sampannah shuddhim gacchet maanavah/ ( Once such a virtuous and forthright person who owns a sin fulfills the prayaschitta or atonement is performed and condoned after exercising it, he becomes far cleaner person once again!) Dharma Parishad: Definition of a true Brahmana who is qualified to be a member of a Dharma Parishad to determine the kind of Prayaschitta to the sinners among Dwijas or Brahmana-Kshatriya-Vaishyas: Saavitrayaashchaapi Gayatraah Sandhyopaastyagni karyaho, Agjnaanaat krishikartaaro Brahmana naama dhaarakah/ (Without the worship of Savita Devata comprising Gayatri mantra, Sandhyopaasana and Yagjna karma, a person who merely exists and carries on by eking livelihood is a Brahana by birth only). Graama – sthaanam yathaa shunyam yathaa kupastu nirjalah, Yathaa hutamanagnow cha amantro Brahmanas- tathaa/ (Like there is a dwelling home in a village without inhabitants, like there are wells without water, like fire without homa karya, so is a Brahmana without Mantras) Yathaa shandophalah sreeshu, yathaa gourushara phalaa, Yathaa cha aagjnephalam daanam tathaa Vipronruchophalah/ (Just as a ‘napumsaka’ among women, a useless fruit called ‘Vaagjna gao’ among fruits, a valuable daana to a stupid, so are Brahmanas without the Ruchas or stanzas of Vedas) Chitram karma yathaanekairangouru- namulyate shanai, Brahmanyamapi tadvat syaat saskaararairvidhi purvakam/ ( Just like drawing a picture and embellishing it with appropriate colour combinations gradually, a Brahmana too evolves with formal ‘samskaaras’ into a glorious and charming flower!) Prayaschittam prayacchanti ye dwijaanaama dharakaah, Te dwijaahpaapakarmaanah sametaa arakam yayuh/ (Those so called Brahmanas for name sake tenders prayaschitta to other ignorant persons go to hell together!) Ye pathanti dwijaa vedam Panchendriya rataashcha ye, Trailokyam dhaarayanyete panchendriyarataashrayaah/ (Those genuine Brahmanas who teach Vedas and are constantly engaged in performing ‘PanchaYagnas’ and control their own ‘Panchendriyas’ are those who bear the brunt of Three Lokas!) Charurvedyo vikalpi cha anga vidharma paalakah, Prapashchaashramino mukhyaah parishad syudashaavaraah/ (He who is an exponent of Four Vedas, Meemaamsa Darshana Vidwan, Vedanga vetta, Dharma paalaka is indeed the one qualified to be a proper member of the Parishad). The announcement of whatever prayaschitta is decided by the parishad needs however to be made by the King. Praayaschittam sadaa dadyad devataayatanaagratah, Atmaanam paavayet pashchaajjyapan vai vedamaataram/ (Normally, there is a place earmarked to announce ‘prayaschitta nirnayas’ announced by the Royalty as approved by the Dharma Parishad. The affected party is made to be seated by reciting Gayatri Mantra). Sashikham vapanam krutwaa trisandhyaamavagaahanam, Gavaam goshthe vasedraatrou diva taah sumanovrajet/ (Even as retaining the tuft, the dwija concerened is made to bathe in a river or water flow nearby and having stayed in a Goshaala or a cow shed is then followed by othere to the temple premises. Now the prayaschitta for ‘Go Hatya’ would be ‘Prajaapatya’: Govadhasyaanurupena Praajaapatyam vinirdeshaat, Prajaapatyantu yatkruccham vibhajettacchaturvidham/ (Praajaapatya Kruccha Vrata is distributed in four ways) Ekaahameka bhaktaashi ekaaham nakta bhojanah, Ayaachitaa shyekamaharekaaham maaruta aashanah/ (Eat onyle once a day, the next day eat only in the nights, one day eat whateve is available without asking, and on the ne next only Vaayu bhakshana or nothing at all!); this is the first kind of Praajaapatya krucchha. Dinadwayam chaika bhakto dwidinam nakta bhojanah, Dinadwayamayaachi syaada dwidinam marutaashanah/ (Only simple cooked cereal on two days, on two days nakta bhojanam or evening such meal, two days what ever is available without asking for and the next two days only vayu bhakshana or simply nothing at all except vayu bhojana).Tridinam chaika bhaktaashi tridinamnakta bhojanah, Dina trayamayaachi syaatra dinam maarutaashanah/( Eating three days of cooked cereal, three additional days of nakta bhojana, three additional days of available and unsolicited food and on three days further). Chaturahantweka bhaktaashi charurah nakta bhojanah, chaturdinamachaachi syaacchaturaham maarutaashanah/ (Four days of cooked cereals, four evening such meal, four days of unsolicited food and four days of vaayu bhakshana in a row); these are the four kinds of Praajapatya krucchha vidhi. Praayas chittey tatashccheerney kruyyad brahmana bhojanam, Vipaaya dakshinaam dadyaat pavitraani japed dwijah/ (On the completion of the Prayaschitta procedure, Vipras are required to be treated with a feast, ‘dakshina taamboolas’ are tendered and thus dwijas attain purification finally).

 

Shraddha Prakarana

 

As per Paraashara Madhaveeyam, the purpose of Shraaddha is to portend Shuddhi of Ashoucha and to cleanse off all sorts of impurities especially consequent on relatives from deaths as also to prepare oneself to intiatite all types of auspicious acts.In fact, after a death in any family, the Ekoddishta Shraddha is compulsory among the ‘Chatur Varnas’ on the termination of Ashoucha after a death on the eleventh day only after ‘pinda daana’; to Brahmanas the Shuddhi is on the eleventh day after the death while it is the twelfth day to Kshatriyas, the fifteenth day of Vaishyas and the thirtieth to others. There would be however be full Shuddhi to Brahmanas and temporary Shuddhi to others on the eleventh to enable the performance of Ekoddhishta Shraddha Vidhi. The word Shraddha as explained in Brahmanda Purana is: Deshe kaalecha paatrey cha shraddha yaa vidhinaa cha yat, Pitrunuddishya Viprebhyo cha/ (Depending on the availability of a learned and deserving Brahmana and an appropriately auspicious time, one’s offering good bhojana and daana aiming at and in the pious memory of Pitru Devas is defined as Shraaddha). Such shraddhas could either be of Ekoddhishta or Parvana type, besides Nitya-Naimitthika- Kaamya nature. Ekoddhishta as explained above on the terminal periods of Ashuchi and Paarnana Shraddhaas are in favour of three generations consequent on the demise of father or mother.

 

Sage Vishwamitra lists twelve types of Shraddhas: Nityam naimittikam Kaamyam Vriddhi Shraadda mapindanam, Parvanam cheti vigjneyam goshthyaam Shuddhirthamashtakam/ Karmangam navamam proktam Daivikam dashamamsmrutam, Yatrtaasvedekasham proktam Pushtyartham dwadasham matam/ (Nitya Shraddha is the one performed regularly on Amavasyaadi days or coinciding with Solar and Lunar eclipses; Naimittika or the Shraddhas on sacred days coinciding with select days of one’s choice of Tithi- Vaara- Nakshatras; Kamya Shraddhas are at Upanayana- Vivaha-Janmaadi Samskaraas; Vriddhi Shraddha or for longevity, Sapindikarana Shraddha or involving fistful cooked cereals, Parvana or as explained above the Pindas offered to the departed generations, goshthi shraddha at Vidwamsa sabhas or collective shraaddha in Pitru paksha or the second fortnight of Bhadrapada month ending Amavasya; Shuddhi shraddha or the one to signify the termination of Ashuchi for various reasons like disallowed personal contacts; Karmanga or as parts of certain Karmas or actions involving inappropriate acts or when there are obsessions of extreme affection to the dear ones; Daivika Shraddha or occasions relevant to natural events like quakes, storms, fire related happenings etc.as also on dwadasi tithis; Yatra shraddhas connected with places like Gaya, Brahma kapala, etc. and Pushti Shraddha aiming at recoveries of health or warding of epidemics etc. Nitya Shradda is with cooked food or atleast with water; Namittika is the offer of cooked food to one or three numbers of Brahmana bhoktas and so on.

 

Yatra Shraddhas: are specifically related to visits of Punya Tirtha Kshestras like Gaya sheersha, Akshaya Vata, Brahma Kapaala, Gangaasaagara Sangama Kushaavarta, Bilva, Neela Parvata, Prayaga, Kubjaagra, Bhrugutunga, Kedara, Mahaalaya, Amarakataka Narmada, Yamuna, Ganga, Ganga dwara, Lalika, Sugandha, Shakambari, Phalguni Tirtha, Maha Ganga, Tantu vikaashrama, Kumara dharva prabhava, Saraswati, Kuru Kshetra, Naimishaaranya, Varanaasi, Agastya Ahrama, Kanvaashrama, Pushkarini, Gokarna, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Gomati,Vetravati, Vipasha, Vitasti, Shatadu, Chandrabhaaga, Iravati, Kaanchi, Pancha nadi teera, Kaushaki, Saryu, Shona, Jyoti ratha, Uttara Manasa, Badaba, Saoptarcha, Vishnu Paada, Swarga maga pradesha, Sindhu and so on besides Samudra Snanas. Shraddha along with Snana-Homa- Daana- Tarpana are expected to be not only of repaying Pitru Runa but for the fulfillment of personal desires too. Gaya Pinda Phala is considered as of the prize Shraddha.

 

Darshaada Shraaddha timings: According to Parashara Madhaveeyam, Maharshi Yangjnyavalkya opined that when there is not much of a constraint for money and material, Shraddhas be comfortably planned on Amavasyas of Margashira and three subsequent months of Pousha-Maagha-Phalguni; on Bahula Ashta tithis; Putra janma tithis; Utaarayana ad Dakshinaayana tithis, Tula Mesha Sankranti Vishuvat kalas; Surya samkramana days,Vyatipaata, Gajacchaaya, and Surya-Chandra grahana days.Vyatipata Lakshana: Amavasya coinciding with Sundays and further coinciding with the Stars of Shravana, Ashwi Dhanishtha, Ardra, Asresha, and Mrigashira is called Vyatipata and in case that day further coincides with a ‘Punya Dina’ then that day is reckoned as a Maha Vyatipaata. Shraddha must be performed on that particular day, lest prayaschitta is to be executed. Gaja chhaaya: When Chandra coincides with Star Makha, or Surya coincides with Hasta Nakshatra on any Trayodashi Tithi that Tithi is called Gaja Chhaya and that is the appropriate and auspicious day for performing Shraddha. Surya-Chandra Grahana Shraddha: Tridashaah: Sparsha samaye trupyanti pitaraatathaa, Manushyaa Madhya kale tu moksha kale tu Rakshasaah/ (Just when the eclipse commences, Pitru Devatas are happy with the Shraaddhas, Manushyas are blessed when the Grahana is midway but it would be Rakshasas who rejoice the act of shraddha if over at the termination of the eclipse! Lord Yama is quoted to have stated that on the Pournamis of Ashadha-Kartika-Maagha months, shraddhas if performed by satisfying three or five Pandita Brahmanas with bhojana-danas would be most rewarding. Also, coincidences of Vaishakha Shukla Tritiya with Rohini Nakshatra, or Bhadrapada Krishna Trayodashi with Makha Star,Vaishakha Shukla Triteeya with Star Rohini and Kartika Shukla Navami with Shatabhisha are stated to be ideal for Gaja chaaya or Vaidhruti Shradhas. Additionally, Vishnu Purana suggests shraddhas or atleast Jala Tarpana mixes with Tilas would please Pitru Devatas on Vaishakha ShuklaTriteeya, Kartika Shukla Navami, Magha Krishna Amavasya, and Bhadrapada Krishna Trayodashi being the Yugadis. Matsya Purana also suggests Shraddhas for pleasing Pitru Devatas on Manvadis on Ashwiyuja Shukla Navami, Kartika Shukla Dwadashi, Chaitra Shukla Triteeya, Bhadrapada Shukla Triteeya, Phalguna Krishna Amavasya, Pushya Shukla Ekadashi, Ashadha Purnima, Kartika Purnima, Phalguna Purnima, Chitra Purnima, and Jyeshta Purnima.

 

Kaamya Shraddhas are fruitful as per Vaara-Tithi- Nakshatras. As regards Vaaras, Kurma Purana states: Aditya vaaret vaarogyam Chandre sowbhagyamevacha, Kuje sarvatra Vijayam sarvaan kaamaan Budhasyatu/ Vidyaam vishishtaancha Gurou dhanam vai Bhargave punah, Shanaischare bhavedaayuraarogyancha sudurlabham/ (Shraaddha Phala on Sundays provides health, Mondays Sowbhagyam or Auspiciousness, Tuesdays all round victory, Wednesdays fulfillment of desires, Thursdays Vidyaa Laabha or success in Studies, Fridays profits and wealth, and Saturdays longevity). As per Manu, the Tithi phalas of performing Kamya Shraddhas are as follows: Kurvan Pratipadi Shraaddham rupaan vindite sutaan Kanyakaantu dwiteeyaayaam tritteyaantu sampadah/ Pashun kshudraan chaturthantu Panchamaam shobhanaan sutaan, Shashthaam dyute krishischaiva saptamyaam labhate narah/ Ashtamyaamapi vanijyam labhate shraaddham sadaa, Swaannavamyaam ekakhuram dashamyaam dwikhuram Pashum/ Ekadashyaam tathaa rupyam brahma varchaswinah sutaam, Dwadashyaam jaatarupantu rajatam rupamevacha/ Jnaati shreshtham trayodashyaam Chaturtha – shyaantu suprajaah, Shraaddhadaamaavaasyam sarvaan kaamaan samashruye/ ( Shraaddhas on Pratipadi Tithi would bestow handsome sons, on Dwiteeya pretty daughters, prosperity on Triteeya, cattle on Chaturthi, illustrious sons on Panchami, success in gambling on Shasthi, Agricultural profits on Saptami, Business profits on Ashtami, Horse based profits on Navami, Vrishabha Laabha on Dashami, Gain of Silver on Ekadashi, Golden jewellery on Dwadashi, Superiority and Pride to Swajana or close relatives on Chaturdashi; Yogya Santana or well deserved progeny doing the parents proud, and all round fulfillment on any Amavasya). Similarly, Shraddhas performed during the various Nakshatras from Krittika to Bharani provide following results: Kritthika Shraddha would result in Swarga, Rohini good progeny, Mrigashia Brahma Varchas, Ardra Karma Siddhi, Punarvasu Bhu laabha, Pushtya Deha Pushti, Asresha Sampada, Makha fulfillment of desires, Purva phalguni Sowbhagya, Uttara Phalguni Dhana Prapti, Hasta Swajaati Shreshthatwa, Chitta Soundara Tanaya or handsome sons, SwatiVanijya laabha or commercial profits, Vishakha Suvarna Laabha, Anuradha Mitra laabha, Jyeshtha Rajya prapti, Moola Krishi laabha, Purvashadha Desire fulfillment, Abhijit Sreshthatwa or Superiority, Shravana samasta Vaanchaa siddhi or realization of all kinds of desires, Dhanishtha bala, Shatabhisha Arogya, Purvabhadra Samudra yaana, Uttaraabhadra Bharyagriha laabha, Uttaraashadha Pashu laabha, Revati Go laabha, Ashwini Ashwa laabha, and Bharani provides longevity. Such would be the results of Shradhas oriented to Kamyaartha.

 

Ekoddishta Prakaara Shraaddhas: Apastamaba Sutraas prescribe that in case of brothers or sisters without children pass away then Ekoddishta vidhana on Mahalayaadi Tithis without paarana vidhana be followed. Anyway after Sapindeekarana, the demised body would become rid of ‘pretatwa’ and join Pitru varga ranks. In other words, only after Sapindikarana, the departed Soul would join Pitru Varga and then only the validity of Ekoddhishta mehod. Otherwise whoever takes upon the responsibility to perform the ‘Antya kriyas’ of the departed brother or sister, should be cautioned of the need to execute the Parvana vidhana. In case this is not so executed, the Karta is stated to have committed Brahma hatya! In case, there is any difficulty in taking up the responsibility, Sutakaantara or after the Ashuchi days in the next month on the Mrita Tithi of either Shuka paksha or even Krishna Paksha would be in order.Sutakantara Maasika is required to be executed with all the components including Agnoukarana, Pindapradaana, Brahmana bhojanaadi Pitru puja. Amashraaddha: In case there is any limitation of performing Shraddhas on Amavasyaadi Tithis afore mentioned due to the non presence of wife for reasons, then Anna Shraddha might not be essential and Amashraddha would suffice.

 

Mahalaya Paksha Shraddha Phalas: The fortnights following Ashadha Shuddha Purnima or that of Bhadrapada Krishna are stated to be of Punya Tithis which are of significance to Pitru Devas and those fifteen days are called Pitru Pakshas. The fruits of performing Shraddhas on each of the Tithis are as follows: Prathama Tithi-Dhana Laabha; Dwiteeya: Santaana Prapti; Triteeteeya: Vishesha Laabha; Chaturthi: Shatru naashana; Panchama Tithis: Sampada; Shashthi: Pujyata; Saptami: Senadhipatya; Ashtami: Budhi; Navami: Putrika pradaana; Dashami: Ichhaa Purnata or fulfillment of desires; Ekaadasha: Vedabhyaasa; Dwadashi: Suvarna Laabha, Pushti, Pashu laabha, Vriddhi sheshtata; Trayodashi: Deerghaayu and Ishwarya; Chaturdashi : Mukti of those who died young or during accidents; Amavasya: Swarga phala.

 

Mahalaya Pakshas are also stated to refer to the fortnight when Surya enters Kanya Raashi during Bhadrapada Krishna Praapitada to Amavasya and this fortnight is called Gajacchhaaya. During these days, it is stated that parvana shraddhas would be effective. Also, on Aswiyuja Prathama Tithi and the following fortnight too is good for Shraddhas. There is also a view that from Bharapada Krishna Paksha to Ashadha Purnima even if Surya has not entered Kanya Raashi, shraddha prakriya would be beneficial to sons for their good health, longevity and prosperity, as stated by Jaabaali. On the entry of Surya and during Bhadrapada Krishna Paksha, Pitru Devas would be awaiting atleast Jala tarpana as pointed by Brihanmanu. In fact Adi Purana emphasizes that during this period when Surya enters Kanya rashi, Shraddhas would yield definite and positive results. In fact Gautama Maharshi stressed that on this specific day, Shraddhas have far reaching phala tantamount to Yagjna karya. Even as Bhadrapada Krishna p aksha is terminated and as Surya enters Vrischika Raashi, Pitrus in the state of pretatwa are stated to be badly affected by thirst and hunger and shraddhas with payasaadi padarthas would gratify them fully.

Now, till Surya leaves Kanya raashi and Tula Raashi and enters Vrischika Raashi, Pitri devatas would be waiting for the Shraddas and once disappointed without relief, then they would have to transport to Yama Loka while cursing the progeny. Once satisfied with ‘bhakshya bhojyas’ during the shraddhas, they attain mukti and bless the progeny responsible for the Shraddhas for Dhana Dhanya Arogyaadi fulfillments. In case Shraddhas are not performed daily but on certain days only, then the avoidable days are Janma Tithi- Vaara- Nakshatras, Fridays, Tayodashi, and Rohini-Makha-Revati nakshatras. Also, in this context, Shraddhas are required to be performed to Pitru varga and Matamaha varga too. Another precaution would be that Mahalaya Shraddhas in favour sister/ brother, son, maternal uncle, Guru or one’s own Master are required being as per Ekoddishta Vidhana.

 

Now, some do’s and don’ts before performing shraddhas: The Brahmanas to be appointed as ‘bhoktas’are to be well versed in Veda Vedangas, well behaved, healthy with no physical disabilities, coming of good family background, infallible, and trained well in performing Parvana shraddha and /or ekoddishta as well. Such ideal bhoktas be invited in advance by the Karta or his brother or son or disciple. The ‘nimantrana’ or invitation should be done with ‘Apasavya’of ‘yagnopaveeta’ in respect of ‘Pitru sthaana bhokta’ and ‘savya’position to Vaishwanara bhokta. The prescribed number of Pitru Sthana and Vaishwadeva Sthaana is three and four but as per Desha-Kaala-Parishithis or convenience and availability a minimum of one each would be a must. Vaishwa Deva Brahmanas are to be seated Purva Mukha or east facing and Pitru Deva brahmanas are Uttara mukha or facing north. The respective Brahmanas of Pitru and Vaishwadevas are not mingled nor even touch each others.

 

Vishwedevas are stated to be ten in number: Kraturdaksho Vasuh Satyah Kaalah Kaamasthaivacha, Dhunischa Rochanaiva tathaa chaiva Pururavaah/ Ardraaascha darshete tu Vishwadavaah prakourtitaah/ (Kratu, Daksha, Vasu, Satya, Kaala, Kaama, Dhuri, Vilochana, Pururava and Ardrava are the Vaishwadevas). Daksha and Kratu are engaged in Ishti Shraddhas, Satya and Vasu are into Naandi Shraddas, Dhuri and Vilochana into Kamya Shraddhas, Pururava and Ardra in ParvanaShraddhas, Naimittika Shraddas are to be invoked in Kaala and Kaama. Daksha and Kratu devas are invoked in Ishti Shraddhas, Satya and Vasus in Naandi Shraddha, Dhuri and Vilochana in Kamya Shraddhaas, Pururava and Ardras are invoked in Parana Shraddhaas, Kaama anad Kaala in Naimittika Shraddhas. Ishti Shradhas are a part of Samskaras like Seemanta, Pumsavana, Soma and so on. Naandi Shraddha is relevant to Putra Janma Vivahas, Anna Praashana, Chooda Karma and so on.

 

In the present context, two ‘Arghya patras’ or water vessel with ‘gandha-akshata-darbhas’ are placed at the seat of of the Vishwa Devas and are to be handed over with reverence to the representative Brahmanas and perform a pradakshibna around him. The arghya paatras / vessels could be of bronze or copper or palaasha leaves. Similarly at the Pitru sthaana Brahmana too has to be circubambulated but in an ‘apradikshina’ manner or the reverse manner changing the yajgnopaveeta in the ‘praachhenaaveeti’ manner. All the tasks concerning the puja of the Brahamana representing Pitru Devatas need to be done including that of his puja with black tila to be ornamented on his head downward to his feet, while puja to similarly be done tp the Vaishwe deva with akshata white rice grains from head to feet. After puja to both the Viashwanara and Pitru Devata representative- Brahmanas with gandha-pushpa-dhupa- deepas, the next task would be Agnoukarana with the concurrence of the Brahmanas.

 

This task is to make two homas after keeping Agni in the homa kunda twice reciting: Saannidhyamupaasa Somaaya pitru matey Sadhaanamah/ Agnaye kavyavaahanaaya swahaananamah/ These homa kriyas need to be performed as of Pitru yagna vidhaana homa and since Pindapitru yagna is of two fold nature of Daivikatwa and Paitrukatwa the yagopaveeta might either be in Savya or Apasavya manners as per one’s own shakha manner. In any case, the remaining ‘anna’ needs to be disposed off in Agni itself and no remainder of it be retained.

 

The next step is Pariveshana or purification of the cooked bhojana or bhakshya-bhojya-shaaka-soopanaadi padarthas with right hand wearing darbha followed by ‘ghritaabhikarana, then holding the right hand thumbs of the Brahmanas representing the Vaishwa Deva and Pitru Devas of three generations with naama-gotras , taking care of savya-praacheenaaveti precautions, showing them around the padarhas placed in circles – in savya or apasavya manner respectively- and request them to commence the bhojana after performing ‘Aaposhana’ making the bhoktas feel completely comfortable discarding what ever they do not like. The karta would address the bhokas saying: Anna heenam kriyaaheenam mantra heenam yadbhavet, Sarvamacchidramiyutkaa tato yatnena bhojayet/ Even as the bhojana starts, there should be Swaadhyaaya: Swaadhyaayam shraavayet Pitrye Dharma shastraani chaiva hi/ Anna Suktaadi Shravana is to be taken up during the Bhojana kaala. Also before the bhojana itself, the remainder of anna at Agnoukarana is to be placed as three small pindas along with ghee and tilas.

 

After the bhojana follow the tasks of Sapindeekarana and Pinda pradana- puja karmas. As regards, ‘Madhyama Pinda viniyoga Vidhana’ or the matter related to be disposal of the middle pinda of the three pindas, it is customary that the wife of the Kartha if childless receives it with reverence in her hold with both palms from her husband as the Mantra is recited: Apaamtvoushashadhonaagum rasam praashayaami bhutakrutam garbham dhatswa/ As the house wife eats the Madhya Pinda, the Mantra is to be recited: Adhatta Pitaro garbhamanta santaana vardhanam/ Manu states: Pativrataa dharma patnou pitrupujamnatparaa, Madhumantu tatah pindamadhyaatsamyak sutaarthinou/ Ayushmantam sutam vindet yasho medhaa samanvitam, Dhanavantam prajaavantam dhaarmikam saatwikam tathaa, iti/ In the event of wife not consuming the Madhyama Pinda, or even otherwise, the Tri Pindas be eaten by a Brahmana, or Agnihotra or cow or running water. In case a Karta cannot perform Parvana Shraddha for any reason of inability due to any reason he could perform the same as Sankalpa Shraddha. In case a person whose wife is diseased cannot perform Agnihotra, he could be a Vidhuraagnihotra yet parvana vidhaana is acceptable. If otherwise unable and would wish to perform Sankalpa Vidhana, then Aavahana, Agnoukarana, Vikira pinda, panda pradana, Patra poorana, Swadhaaninayaa etc. are not necessary. In Ekoddishta Vidhana, Vaishwa deava nayama is not applicable, nor Avaaana and Agnoukarana/ Maatru/Pitru saapindya gotra niyama: In the event of sons not being born or available, then the husband himself can perform the sapinda shraddha. Similarly if the husband dies without sons, and no other relative like his brothers, their sons are available; nor any other members of his sagotras, then wife’s father if alive could do the needful; in case that too is not possible, the next resort could be the douhitra or her daughter’s sons are allowed; but even that possibility is unavailable then the dead husband’s own wife could herself perform the Antya kriya herself without mantras but with parvana vidhana: Putraabhaave sapindastu tadbhaave sahodakaah, Maatruh sapindaaye vaa syurye vaa Maatrusahodakaah/ Kuryenam vidhim samyak aputrauya Shrutaah Smritaah/ KuryaanMaataamahaayaiva putrikaa tanayaastathaa, Sarvaabhavey Striyah kuryah swabhatrunaam amantrakam/ Parashara Madhaveeyam states: when women and men die without sons, one view is that Ashoucha nivaarana would take place when the Antya kriyas are to be performed only on Ekoddhishta basis, that is after Udaka Pindodaka-Daanaadi kriyas only, without resorting to Sapindeekarana; but indeed that is not ‘perhaps’ the justified view but the basic idea is that sons should have taken up this task! Incidentally, in respect of all Dwijas, even when sons are indeed qualified to perform the full obsequies of their parents even if their Upanayana and Gayatri ‘Vanadanaadhikaara’ has not been accomplished; Manu emphasised that a boy among dwijas without Upanayana would have attained the status of dwija or twice born. But Sumantu Rishi clarified that once the Samskaraas Chooda Karma would have been performed by a boy of three years and above, he would as such be certainly eligible to perform the shraddhaa karmas with mantras in a fullfledged manner!

 

Prayaschitta Prakarana:

[Some prayaschittas like kruccha vrata in reference to Brahma Hatya and Go hatya have already been discussed in the Chapter on Principle of Dharmaacharana above] Maharshi Angirasa defined Prayaschitta as follows: Praayo naama tapah proktam chintam nischaya ucchyate, Taponischayasamyuktam Prayaschittam taduchyatey/ (‘Tapo nischaya krutya’ or any act as firmly resolved in one’s inner conscience by deep meditation is known as Prayaschitta). This act is to undergo penance as prescribed by Scriptures; this is to offset nitya-naimittika-kaamya papa krityas or of lapses of regular duties, incident oriented momentary and emotional offences of very serious nature and degree as also blemishes due to non performance of desirable acts. Now, atonement of such actions do involve sacrifices of considerable physical, mental and psychological endurance, proportionate to the sins committed; some of the prayaschittas might entail extreme penances, total loss of social respect and of even existential circumstances ranging from boycotts to deaths! Thus prayaschittas are proportionate penances some being even comaparable to experiencesof Narakas or hells! Manu and great Rishis like Yagnyavalkya asserted that prayschittas executed on earth might somewhat appease the impact of far worse and severe tribulations in hells after the termination of the lives of the sinners: Akaraney pratyavaascha Manunaa darshatah: Charitavyamatonityam praayaschittam vishudhaye,Nindourhi lakshanouryuktaajaayante nishkrutainasah/ Further Yagjnyavalkya described ‘eka vimshati’ or twenty one narakas as follows: Prayaschitta makurvaanaah paaeshu nirantaa naraah, Apaschaantaapinah kashtaan narakaan yaanti daaruram/Taamishram Lohashanku Mahaairaya shalmali, Rouravam Kumbhalam Puti mritthikaam Kaalasutrikam/ Sanghaatam Tohilodakamcha Savisham Sampra taapanam, Mahaa Naraka Kaalolam Sanjeevana Mahaapatham/ Avichourandhataamishram Kumbhopaakam tathahivacha, Asipatravanam chaiva Taapanam chaika vimshikam/ (The details of the twenty one hells are Taamishra, Lohashanku, Maha Niraya, Shalmali, Rourava, Kumbhala, Puti mrittika, Kaala Sutra, Sanghata, Tohiloda, Savisha, Samprapaatana, Maha Naraka, Kaakola, Sanjeevana, Maha Patha, Aveechi, Andhataamisra, Kumbheepaaka, Asipatravana, and Taapana. In case, prayaschittas are not already executed in one’s life time in lieu of Maha Patakas and Upa patakas perpetrated on earth in the previous birth, the accumulated sins of dreadful nature would entail much more severe penalties and retributions).

 

The retributions are on account of non-performance of ‘Vihita Karmas’ or prescribed duties and perpetrating ‘nishiddha karmas’ or prohibited acts. For example, avoiding Garahana Snanas involves attacks of leprosy for seven births. Committing ‘Brahma hatya paataka’ and such grave sins and not resorting to prayaschitta would definitely lead to payback reprisal like being pushed down from mountains of high altitudes or being consigned to engulfing poisonous flames mercilessly. Persons who are normally susceptible to continous attacks by ‘Arishad Vargas’ viz. Kama-Krodha-Lobha-Moha- Mada-Matsaras viz. Deep desires, terrible anger, passionate possessiveness, excessive attachments, incorrigible arrogance and unpardonable jealousy; one’s misdoings of serious nature are therefore sure to lead them to Ati Pataka, Maha Pataka, Anupataka Upa, Paataka, Upa pataka, Jaati bhramsha types of retributions as also Sankarikarana, Apaatri karana, Malaavaha, and so on. Matru -Putrika-Swashru- Sunsha gamana are considered as Atipatakas and Brahma Hatya-Suraapaaa-Brahmana Dhana harana- steya or stealing-guru bharya gamana are Maha patakas. Rajaswala-Garbhini-Asphuta baala gamana and Sharanaagata Shatru vadha are as dreadful as Brahma hatya; providing wrong or misleading evidences and murder of friends are as heinous as Suraa Paana; Para daaraa gamana especially with closely related women is stated to be as appalling as Guru Bharya gamana; ‘Sharanaagata stree gamana’ is stated as Anupataka or as deplorable as Maha Pataka. Go Vadha, Para Stree vikraya, Matru/Pitru dushana and bahishkarana, Brahmana Vidhi parityajana, Vrata parityaga, Kanya dushana and nastikyata are of the rank of Upapaata dosha. Para ninda, Madyaadi vikraya, Neecha sahavaasa and such other traits demand Jaati bhramsha. Pashu samhara and Heena vritti demand sankarikarana. Asatya sambhaashana, nishkarana nindaaropana, kriki keeta pakshi jalachara vadha are considered as Malaa vaha; heena jaati seva, nindita dhanaarjana and such acts of depravity including Urbandhana maranas or forced deaths and anti-social activities are called prakeerna-avikeerna paapas. Among the Atipatakas are listed Matru-Putrika-Sahodari gamana or with such other blood relations both knowingly or ignorantly, the Prayaschitta is Sishna- chedana and three Kruccha prayaschitta and three chandrayana vratas.Para stree gamana demands a series of Chandrayana Vratas like Rishi Chandrayana-eating three fistful havishaanna a day for a month, Sishu chandraayana or consuming a one year old boy’s four-fistfuls of cooked food a day for a month or Yati chandrayana or eight fistfuls of cooked bhojana on a mid-day for ever! There after, a cow and calf are to be donated to a Veda Brahmana.

 

Paraashara Smriti in the Prayaschitta Kanda takes up the description of prakeerna-avikeerna papas now.Prayaschittas for ‘Urbandhana marana’ or forced deaths or suicides occur due to extreme anguish, frustration, self-pity and hatred due to problems created by one’s own family members or associates; it is stated that such deaths end up in the most abject existence of thousands of years in Andhatamisra Naraka full of blood, raw flesh and pus.The prayaschitta vidhana in such cases of Atma hatya would be that the dead body is to be buried but nor burnt as such deaths do not deserve Agni dahana, Udaka daana, Ashru paata or tearful cries, Asthi sanchayana, udaka nimajjana, Anteshti Pinda udaka daanaadi kriya, shraaddha and so on. However if a person of very old age who is extremely diseased being unbearably pained and forces own death, then the Kartha- a son or any one eligible to perform obsequies should perform the Agni dahaadi Antya kriyas, observe Tri-Ratraa Asoucha, Asthi sanchayana on the second day, Udaka daana on the third day, Shraadhaadi kriya on the fourth day and perform ‘Tapta kruccha dwaya prayaschitta’ to redeem the soul; Yetaani patitaanantu yah karoti vimohitah, Tapta krucchayenaiva tasya shuddhirna chaanyathaa/ In the event of such antya kryas are not done by the sons or whosoever eligible, then the ‘pretaatma’ would be hovering around like birds on the sky for several years, cursing the eligible Kartas and their families to face similar situations or worse. Also if for reasons of deaths in wars, or in foreign lands and such other reasons when persons eligible to perform the antya kriyas properly, then the karta would have to formally perform the antya kriyas like dahana-pindadaana daanaadi karmas, asoucha Narayana bali, Shraddha kriyas etc. with retrospective effect as per advice of the Purohitas and also perform Praajapatya prayaschitta, which can be performed within a period from first upto six years. Till the prayaschitta is not performed, the preta swarupa is retained on the Antariksha and perish thereafter without redemption.

 

Durmarana Shava vahana Prayaschitta: Those dwijas who happen to carry dead bodies, take part in Agni samskaraas or untie the ropes of the bodies get surely purified by observing Kruccha Prayaschitta as assured by Prajapati. Minor blemishes like Shava sparsha can be purified by oneday’s upavasa or fasting, but to those who partake in the preta kriya of those who committed suicide out of affection or respect would get purified only by observing Tapta kruccha prayaschitta.

 

Tapta kruccha swarupa: Fasting by way of consuming hot water for three days, hot milk for three more days and hot ghee for yet another three days successively and observing complete fast on the following day is called Tapta kruccha prayaschitta. Similarly ‘Seeta kruccha’ is fasting as above by consuming cold water, milk and ghee likewise on three consecutive days.The measures for water is six ‘palaas’ while milk and ghee are to be one pala each a day. Praajaapatitya swarupa: Eating food in the mornings only for three days, in the evenings only for three evenings, one meal a day each for three days by begging and three more days by keeping total fasting thus observing the food restrictions for a fortnight in all is called Praajaapatiya kruccha prayaschitta. Saantapana swarupa: This has duration of two days, or seven days, fifteen days and three weeks in each case. Yagjnyavalkya explained the ‘dwi raatra santapana’or of two nights by consuming Go mutra-Gomaya-Go ksheera-Go ghrita-Go dadhi-kushodaka on a day-night basis and full fasting till the next night; the ‘sapta ratra santapana’is like wise for seven day- nights till the seventh night followed by fast on eighth night. Yama Dharma Raja mentioned about Maha Saantapana comprising ‘Pakshaashana’or consumption for fifteen days by way of consuming three days of Go Mutra, three days of Gomaya, three days of Go ksheera, three days of Go dadhi, and three days of Goghrita.But Jaalali amended Maha Saantapana as of Eka Vimshati Raatra ie. for eighteen days of consumption by adding Kushodaka too and the last three days of ‘Purnopavaasa’ or total fasting! Tapta Kruccha might be for Sapta Ratra, Dasha Ratra or Dwadasha Ratra too.

 

Paraaka krucchra swarupa: Manu Smriti suggested Paraaka Kruccha or the Tapta Kruccha for Dwadasha Ratra; Paraka denotes ‘Indriya nigraha’ or Self restraint of Indriyas / Physical restraint; Yataatmaano – pramatthasya Dwadahaahamabhojanam, Paraakonaama kruccheyam sarva papa pranaashanam/ (Paraaka krucchra prayaschitta with utmost self-control for a period of Twelve days without bhojana but for the prescribed eating of cow products is sure to destroy all sins.

 

Prayaschittas for family lapses: Ritu snaana tu naari bhartaaram nopasarpati, Saa mritaa yaati vidhavaa cha punah punah/ Ritu snaanaantu yo bharyaam sannidhou nopagacchati, Ghoraayaam bhurna hatyaayaam ujjatey naacha samshayah/ Dardram vyaadhitam dhurtam bhartaaram yaavamanyatey.Saa shuni jaayate mrutwaa sookari cha puna punah/ Patyo jeevati yaa naari uposhya vratamaacharet, Ayushyam harate bhartruh saa naari narakam vrajet/ Tripushthaa chaiva bhartaaram naari kurute vratam, Sarvam tadraakshasaan gacchedityevam Manuravreet/ Baandhavaanaam sujaateenaam durvrittim kurute tu yaa, Garbbha paatascha yaa kuryaana taam sambhaashayet kachit/ Yata paapam Brahma hatyaayaa trigunam garbhapaataney, Praayaschittam na tasyaah syaat tasyasyaagovidheeyate/ Nakaaryaa maavasathyena naamagnihotrena vaa punah/ Sa bhavet karmachandaalastostu Dharma paraangmukhah/ ( In case a house wife consents for union with her husband during her menstrual period, the woman on her death would surely experience Naraka and experience widowhood for several ensuing births. If however she does not consent for congress with her husband after the period even as he is healthy and desirous, then she would be liable with ‘bhruna hatyaa dosha’ and in her ensuing births would become the wife yet again to a ‘daridra murkha bharta’ with diseases during several successive births! If the wife maltreats and nags her husband consistently, then after her death she would be a bitch or a pig in successive lives. If a housewife resorts to perform a Vrata without the husband or without his consent, then not only his longevity would be affected but she would have to suffer narakas after her death. If a woman tries to harm a relative on her husband’s side or her own, she should be not only kept boycotted always and if she resorts to abortion, she is liable to attract Brahma hatya dosha.In case a house holder seeks to exist without snaana-sandhya vandana-agnihotraadi vidhis he is to be rightly called as a karma chandala and ‘Dharma paraanmukha’ and is indeed unavailable for prayaschitta).

 

Otherwise the prayschitta for the woman who refuses union with her partner soon after the period or vice versa must resort to Artha Kruccha prayaschitta; alternatively, the husband would have to perform two hundred Pranayamas, besides thousand tila homas; the wife is however liable to perform hundred Prana yaamas and join half the homa with the husband. This atonement is only for healthy persons. Para purasha gamana by a house wife demands a kruccha prayayaschitta. Garbha patana prayaschitta however requires the sasntapana kruccha vrata for a year.In the event of the elder brother not marrying before the wedding of the younger brother, then the latter is called Parivetta and the non marrying elder brother is known as Parivitti. Now both Parivetta and Parivitti are both need to undergo prayaschitta by way of two Krucchaas; not only that: the Kanya being married to the younger brother who is called Paravedi, the Kanyadaata or the bride’s father called Paridaayi, the Yagnika or the Brahmana who performs the wedding called Pariyashta also need to undergo Prayaschitta of Kricchhaatikruccha and chandraayana.

 

Krutyaatikruccha is to fast twenty one days by way of consuming milk only.Similarly Agre ddidhishaadi prayaschittha meaning that the younger sister marrying before the elder sister too demands prayaschitta; the jyeshtha kanya is called didhishu and the younger kanya is Agredidhishu. The bridegroom of the younger sister is called Agredidhishu pati.

 

Dispensations of Prayaschittas in respect of various other Prakeerna Papas pertaining to relatives as also other human beings have been enumerated fairly exhaustively in the Parashara Smriti as annotated further in the Parashara Madhaviya Bhashya.

 

A few more Prakeerna Papaas related to the touch and even attack by biting etc. of some animals like dogs, fox, pigs and so on and their Prayaschittas have also been enumerated in the Parashara Smriti: Vrikascha shrugaalaadrashtoyastu Dwijottamah, Snaatwaa japet sa Gaayatrim Pavitraam vedamaataram/ Gavaam shrungodake snaanam mahaanadyastu sangamey, Samudra darshanaadyaami shunaadashtah shuchirbhavet/ Vedavidyaa vrata snaatah shunaa dashto dwijo yadi, Sa hiranyodake snaatwaa ghrutam praashya vishuddhati/ Suvratastu shunaa dashto yastriraachamupaavaset, Ghrita shrungodakam peetwaa vratasesham samaapayet/ Avratah Suvrato vaapi shrunaa dashto bhavedwijah, Pranipatya bhavet pooto Vipraschakshurnireekshatah/ Shunaa ghraataavaleedhasya nakhour visnaswitasyaha, Angih prakshaalanam proktamagninaa bhuri taapitam/ Shunaa tu Braahmano dashtaa jambukena vrikena vaa Utitam graha nakshatram drushtaa sadyah shuchirbhavet/ Krishna pakshe yadaa Somo na drushye kadaachana,Yaam disham vrajate Somastaam disham vaavalokayet/Asad Braahmanake graame shunaa dashto dwijottamah, vrisham pradakshanee krutya sadyah snaatwaa shuchirbhavet/ (In the event of attacks and bites of fox, dogs etc. a Brahamaa should at once bathe and recite the Veda Maata Gayatri Mantra hundred and eight times. Dog bites are purified by cow horn full of water or better still bathing in Maha Nadis or Samudra darshana-snaana. Those whob are unable to do so ‘Goshrungodaka snaana’ atleast. Praajaapatya Agneya Soumya Vaishwa deva Vrata or atleast ‘Snaanantara Ghrita praashana’ and hundred times of Gayatri Mantra Japa would surely bring about purification as per another view. Severe dog bites call for fasting for three days, Ghrita-kushdaka praashana, cleaning of the place of bites with application of fire burning, Chandraadi Graha darshana, Nakshatra darshana and pancha gavya praashana are stated to be the remedies and prayashchittas. Pradaksina of Sadbrahmana should be done around atleast of Vrishabha with shuchi and faith). ‘Malini karana paapa prayaschitta’ deals with the killing of birds like cranes, swans, hen, parrots, doves, sparrows and so on. The atonements range from day long fasting for the killing of cranes and hens; fasting till night in the case of parrots, doves and kites, go daana for killing swans; performing pranayama till evening while in water for killing crows and garuda; killing of sheep, goats, pigs etc. call for godaana with calf, besides fasting for three days except eat for uncooked food like raw vegetables and so on. ‘Sankalikarana prayaschitta’ is demanded in the case of killing rats, mongoose, cats, frogs, serpents, and so on. The prayaschittas range from Brahmana bhojana with tilas and dals called ‘Krisraanna’ and daana along with iron rods in the case of serpents besides observing sapta raatra vrata or bhojana at seven nights. Prayaschitta for killing frogs, rats, mongoose, cats etc. requires Dwadasha raatra kruccha vrata, while killing domestic animals like cattle, horse and donkey besides daanas including iron rods and homa prakriya and gayatri japa as also brahmana bhojana and daanas.

 

Parashara Smriti also described many other prayaschittas such as follows: ‘Suryodayaadikaala- astama kaala shayana’ -or waking up after Sun Rise and sleeping at the Sun set- Prayaschitta; this sin is as imperfect as ‘Brahmana dhana harana’ or like stealing the material of a Sadbrahmana. This blemish requires to under take Gayatri Japa by ten thousand times and observe Upavasa till the evening for Sunrise in respect of late rising and upavasa and japa for sun set sleeping. In case of failure to perform Sandhya vandana and agnikarya, the atonement would be double of Gatri Japa in addition to the lapse of late rising and Sunset sleep. ‘Veda Vedangaadi Vikraya’ or sale of Scriptures demands Chandrayana Vrata; Vedanga vikraya requires Kruchha vrata; Purana Itihaasa vikraya demands Saantapana-Pancha raatra vratas. ‘Anruta vachanaadi upapataka’or the habit of speaking lies is stated by Manu as also Yagjnyavalkya Maharshi to be as serious as ‘Brahma Hatya’ and ‘Suraapana’ and the prayaschitta should be on similar lines. ‘Veda-Smrityadi Ninda’, ‘Nitya Karmanushthana tyaga’ and ‘Veda Pramaana tiraskarana’ tantamounts to ‘Nastikata’and as severe as a Maha Pataka and the only Praayaschitta could be ‘Sangha bahishkarana’.

 

Prayaschittas once performed in faith always certainy yield results and Rishi Vakyas can never go fruitless; the person committing the sin of small or huge nature gets his or her conscience clear and clean. But the atonement so performed must be under the direction of a dharmaachara and learned Brahmana as affirmed by Apastamba; indeed, in the tasks of Japa-tapa-homa-daanas with the blessings of a Brahmana would attain perfection, guidance and inspiration. More so, if the performing Karta is not physically fit and psychologically untuned to the prayaschitta vidhana, the entire effort might really get wasted. The Karta need not be egoistic to feel that he knows everything but needs moral support even to a Pandita and subjecvity must be replaced with objectivity any way! In the performance of a Prayaschitta, there has to be evidence even to Almighty, besides his own conscience! Vedas emphasize that Agni-Brahmana-and Kavi are always pure and sacred and can not be rejected! Devatas too approve the Brahmana Vaakya since they are the only Agents of Dharma who can interpret as per Desha-Kaala maana- achaara vyavaharas in the contemporary Society!

 

A brief sum up of Vishnu Smriti on Prayaschittas is as follows: The person with blemishes seeking penance is to start with performing ‘upavasa’ or fasting for a day or more as per the intensity of the sin as per one’s own self-assessement. He or she may perform three snaanas a day by muttering ‘Aghamanshana’ mantra three times: Hiranya shringam Varumam prapadye teerthammey dehi yaachitam, Yanmayaa bhukta masaadhunaam pratigrahah/ Tanme Manasaa Vaachaa Karmanaam dushkrutam kritam, Tatra Indro Varuno Brihaspatih Savitaacha punantu punah/ Namognepsumate Nama Indraaya namo Varunaaya namo vaarunyai namadbhyayah/ Then the person may eat in the evening only for three days, for three another day times and another three days by way of unsolicited food and finally undertake fasting for additional three days an this kind of penance is called Prajapatya. Then let the person drink hot water for three further days; for three other days’ hot ghee, for three days more fast totally which is called Tapta Kriccha. Taking the same kind of consumption for the same duration is known as ‘Seeta kruccha’. Subsisting on milk for twenty one days is called ‘Kricchaatikriccha’; sustaining for a full month with barley water is called ‘Udakakruccha’; eating nothing but Lotus fibres for a month is ‘Moola kruccha’while eating only ‘bel’ fruit’ for a month is ‘Sriphala kriccha’. Eating a month of lotus seeds is called Paraaka kriccha. Subsisting for one day on ‘Pancha gavya’ or of Cow’s five products as boiled in Kusha grass is noted ‘Saantapana’ vrata to be concluded by fasting on the next day. Swallowing each of these for three consecutive days is ‘Maha Santapana.’ Swallowing oilcakes, boiled rice foam, butter milk, water and ground barley, each for one day with a fasting in between-every two days- is called ‘Tula purusha’ or the weight of the person concerned performing the penance. Drinking water boiled with kusha grass, leaves of Palaasha (bastard teak), Udumbara (fig) tree, lotus, Shankha pushpi a herbal medicine for mental development, besides the leaves of banyan tree is called ‘Parna kruccha’ each day for three days. The Krucchas concerned need to be observed with shaven heads and beard, three snaanas a day and lying on ground with Brahmacharya without conversing with women, low caste persons, observing silence and reciting mantras. Apart from these Kruccha Vratas, the Prayaschittas also refer to Chndrayana Vratas viz. eight mouthfuls of cooked barley food a day for a month called Samamanya Chandrayana, or eight mouthfuls a day and night for a month known as ‘Yati Chandrayana’ or four mouthfuls in a day as also in night a month called ‘Sishu Chandrayana’; the Vrata involves the rate of consumption a day at the rate mentoned above depending on the increased or decreasing the rate at which the Moon travels from each fortnight from Pournami to Amavasya and vice versa. Maha Vratas are required to be observed in respect of major sins for twelve years and these involve dwelling in forests, carrying out tri snanas daily, collecting alms declaring the sins, sleeping on grass, and strict brahmacharya. Unintentional killings of Brahmanas, of Kshatriya-Vaishyas in the course of Sacrifices, pregnant women or women in courses or even in women other wise and of close relatives and friends demand observance of Maha Vrata for the full period of twelve years normally. Unintentional killings of Kings require the observance of two Maha Vratas viz. for twenty four years. Such killings of Kshatriya, Vaishya and of Lower sections call for the Vratas for nine, six and three years respectively. But in all these prayaschittas, the Karta needs to be duly publicized to all in the concerned Societies especially in his neighbourhood and relatives; they have to necessarily derecognised as notorious as the Karta has to carry the skull of the victim, if not a stick or flag or placard with the description of the sin. The offender is also required to be unshaven, serve the family members of the killed and a herd of cows during the period of the Maha Vrata, and besides subsist on Pancha Gavya for a month in each year. While serving the cows, he has to stand as the cows stand and rest when the animals do; he has also to safeguard from the attacks of tigers etc. and during winters, rains and diseases. Killing of elephants intentionally or otherwise demand charity of black bulls to Vedic Brahmanas; garments against killing of horse; charity of a bull against killing of an ass or a goat; gold against a camel; three days fast against killing a dog; charity of milk dishes, sesamum, rice and an iron hoe besides a day’s fast against killing a mouse, cat, frog, non poisonous snake; three days fasting in a row and go daana against killing an owl or crow, or fish; go daana against killing a swan, crane, ape, falcon, vulture, or a duck; charity of an iron spade against a poisonous snake; a load of straw against cattle or birds; a pot of butter for killing a boar; sesame against a partridge; a two year old calf for killing a parrot; a milch cow against killing wild animals; hundred times of Gayatri Japa be performed against cutting trees, shrubs, plants with fragrant flowers; and daana of butter for killings of flies, and insects.

 

Prayaschittas for performing Gupta-Doshas or secret sins: Molestations of under-age or old women demand Ati Kruccha Vrata Brahmana hatya sin requires Aghamaharshana Snaana in a running water flow, Pranayama sixteen times, single meal a day for a month, daana of a milch cow and so on as above. Drinking spirituous liquor and stealing golden items require Aghamarshana Snaana and Gayatri Japa by a thousand a day for ten days.Illicit relationship with Guru’s wife calls for fasting for three days, reciting Purusha Sukta and Praaschitta homa. In fact, Ashwamedha Yagnya removes all kinds of Maha Patakas. Even as a routine, Brahmanas are advised to perform aghamarshana snaana, pranayaamas, Gayatri japa and paakayagnas daily as per Vishnu Smriti. Griha Sutras of Kaushika, Paraashara and Sankhyayana under-score, the need for Paaka Yagnas in favour of Devas, Pitrus, Manushyas, Bhutas and Atithis besides Baliharana.

 

Conclusion: The opening and the concluding stanzas of Gautami Smrita are as follows: Vedo Dharma mulam tadvidaancha mahataam, na tudrushtortho varadorbalyaat tulya balavirodhe vikalpah/ (Those who know and practise Dharma as per the precepts in Vedas and Smritis do transgress Dharma. Yet, basically those who on balance veer back to Dharma resisting the powerful pulls otherwise do return back in course of time and do opt for Dharma in the long run) Anaajnaate dashaavaraih shishtairu havadbhiralubdhaih prashastam kaaryam, Chatvaaraschaturnaam paaragaa Vedaanaam praaguttamaatraya ashraminah prutthugdharma vidasastraya etaan dashaavaran parishadityaa chakshate/ Asambhave tweteshaam shrotriyo Veda vicchishto vipratipattou yadaaha yatoyamapramavo bhutaanam himsaanugraha yogeshu Dharminaam visheshana swarga lokam dharma vidaapnoti jnaanaabhi niveshaabhyaamiti Dharmo Dharmah/ (In respect of that which is not properly absorbed, intelligent persons who cogitate well should decide by the opinion of Chaturvedis, vidwans, the learned ones of the Chaturashramas of Brahmacharya, Grihasta etc. together constituting a Parishad.

Alternatively, the majority of the opinion of Shrotriya, Vedavid, Sishtaas must prevail especially in controversial matters related to sins and their correctives; these are the steps to Swarga; that is Dharma indeed!)

 

Om Purnamadah purnamidam purnaatpurnamuchyate, Puransya purnamaadaaya purname4vaavashishyate, Om Shantih shantih shantihi/

 

 

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