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Sri Chandramoulisvaraya Namah:
The world we live in is called ‘Misraloka’. ‘Misra’ means mixed. What is mixed? Happiness and misery are mixed. There is a world where no happiness, but only misery is there. Similarly there is another world where no misery, but only happiness is there. This world of ours is a world where both are mixed. Brahmaloka, i.e. Satyaloka, Vaikuntham, Kailasam etc. are worlds where only happiness is there. Naraka is the world where only misery is there. There are many varieties there also. The cruelest Naraka is called Rourava. When Pitrus live in worlds other than Naraka, the benefit of tarpanam during Amavasya will reach them. Pitrus in Narakas will not receive those benefits. There are, however, certain materials which will benefit them also. Water from dirty clothes, from hair on the head and from washing hands will satisfy them, if given with those Pitrus as target. That is why there is a mantra for squeezing water from dhoti. In Andhra Pradesh, there is a tradition of leaving water, at the end of eating after ‘Uttaraposanam’, at the right side of the leaf, chanting a mantra: ‘Rourave apunyanilaye padmaarbudanivasinam’. Rourava is a Naraka, where severe sinners stay. Padma and Arbuda refer to very large numbers (a thousand billions; a hundred millions). There are persons staying in the Rourava Naraka for many crores of Padmas and Arbudas. This water should be offered saying: This water is intended for those persons and let them be rid of their unending thirst.
We perform Vaisvadevam. In lieu of that, certain Andhraites offer five ‘balis’ during the time of eating food. That is called ‘Chitradi bali’, where they keep cooked rice aside. They will say a mantra after Aaposanam, offer water and close this bali.
There is happiness in this world; there is also misery. If we make efforts, we get more happiness. Pleasure and pain differ from person to person. For some pleasure is more; for some others pleasure is less. There are some who control their minds and do not experience pain. There are also those who suffer always. In other living beings also, this is observed. The difference is in the degree of pain. Happiness and misery are like climate. The worlds are like thermometers. In that thermometer, the boiling point is Naraka; the freezing point is Swarga. We can also interchange this. There is no cold in boiling point; there is no heat in freezing point. In total, there are three types: freezing point; boiling point; points in between, where there are degrees of both. The upper worlds are of one type: Satyaloka, Vaikuntham, Kailasam. Upanishads put them together; Puranas speak of them separately. Narakaloka is down below. Misraloka is in between.
According to our Sastras this world of ours is superior to the other worlds. Why? From ‘Misraloka’ one can go to any world. From other worlds one cannot go away at his free will. Dharmaraja would have written down the period of stay in that world. One has necessarily to stay that long. We cannot do anything there on our own. Here we have unique freedom. We can do acts of merit or sin. With our hands we can perform Pooja or we can beat someone. With our tongue we can do Namaparayanam (chanting of divine Names) or we can abuse someone. We are capable of both. Bhagavan has thus given twin power to every sense organ. This freedom is not there in other places. They are all worlds of enjoyment. If we are born as bulls, can we do acts of merit? Devas are like those bulls. Bulls do not accrue either merit or sin. In this world we can perform good karmas and attain to good state. In Devaloka this is not possible. This world determines one’s fate. The rest of the worlds are there only for gratification; not places of genesis of fruits. There one can reap fruits of merit or sin in the measure in which we have done it. That is why those places are known as ‘Bhogabhumi’. The power of doing acts of merit or sin is available here only and that too, only for humans. In quality of person, there can be goodness or evil. Persons in other worlds do not have the right to perform karmas (laid down by Vedas). Karma and quality are the two aspects which take the Jiva to other worlds. It is not possible to reach higher worlds by doing karma except in this karmabhumi. For doing a karma, one requires time and place. Can one do Sraadham in midnight? Not done. There is a time for it. Similarly there is place defined for a karma. Karma has to be done only in Punyabhumi. The rest are Bhogabhumis. In this world also, certain periods are prohibited. For certain karmas, certain places are also prohibited. Karmas have to be done in pure places in pure periods. For creating a dhoti, how many are the actions to be performed!
One has to be made an ‘Atmavit’ (knower of Self) by doing many actions. This has to be done by working through quality and karma. Karmas are known as ‘Samskaras’. That which removes the defect and adds quality to a material is Samskara. Jivatma has defects. Defects have to be removed and good qualities have to be filled in. Some Samskaras are done in the field. First the field has to be dried, then ploughed and watered, seeds have to be sown, replanting done, the harmful vegetation removed, field irrigated, excess water removed, paddy later harvested, beaten, husk removed, rice to be dried and treated and then only it can be used. So many actions are there to be performed. In the same way, if thread has to be made into a dhoti, many actions are required. In the loom, how many actions are performed! Our Atma is complex. The knots have to be removed and Atma has to be made happy always. There are some impediments to it. Happiness is sometimes experienced; even in spite of pain. That happiness has to be made constant.
Jiva has to be led to Brahmaloka. Once led to the presence of Iswara, there will be no more misery. After Maha Pralaya (Final Dissolution), merger with Iswara will happen. For this merger, Jiva has to be put through preparation. For this purpose Rishis have specified 40 Samskaras and 8 Atmagunas (qualities of Self). They have written many Dharma sutras and told us about the procedures of Samskaras. They are the Smritis. There are 28 Smritis. Of them, 18 are important. The rest 10 are Upasmritis. Manu, Yagnavalkya, Haaritha, Parasara et al have authored Smritis. Some have written general Dharma sutras other than these Smritis. Of them, Gautama is one. In every Kalpasutra, Samskaras are described. They differ from one another. Aapasthambha and Gautama have written about matters applicable to everyone. Aapasthambha has written separately too. Gautama has talked about 40 Samskaras and 8 Atmagunas.
When jiva departs from the body, if it has to go straight to Brahmaloka, these 48 are the cause. These make him stay in that Presence (of Iswara). It will be like being in the presence of a supreme Gnani. One can remain constantly blissful. When he drops his appearance, we can also merge.
These 40 Samskaras involve bodily actions. If we have to do a job, we have to move our hands and feet and also use our mouth. There are 40 Samskaras of the form of karmas and 8 Atmagunas. It is said:
Forty Samskaras have been detailed right from impregnation to cremation. From the time the material base for body starts forming in the mother’s uterus right upto the time the body is consigned to flames, 40 Samskaras are to be done. All karmas are done with Agni. Agni has to be preserved without being extinguished. Brahmachari should perform Samidadhanam every day in Agni. Grihastha should perform Oupasanam. For Vanaprastha, Agni known as Kakshagni is specified. It is produced in forest. Only in Sanyasasrama, there is no Agni. But there is Gnanagni in him. His body is not subjected to Agni Samskara. Burial is done out of courtesy. His body can be cut into four pieces and laid in forest in four directions. It will be food for the beings there. That his body should be disposed in forest is specified in order to avoid trouble for people. If not done that way, the body should be buried, over which trees and plants should be grown. If disposed in forest, it will be food for other living beings. If buried, it will become manure for the trees over it. It is said that big trees like bilva and asvatha (fig) should be planted on top.
Everyone should keep the Agni from the time of marriage without being extinguished and offer his own body in the same Agni as oblation. Agni is specified for everyone. At the time of marriage people of all varnas should do Oupasanam. They should maintain that Agni. Now only Persians maintain fire. Their religion was born from ours only. Their scripture is known as ‘Zend-Avesta’. That name is form of our ‘Chandovasta’. Zoroaster is their Acharya. That name is the distorted form of ‘Sourashtra’. Their country is called ‘Iran’, which again is form of ‘Arya’. If their Agni is extinguished, they spend a lot of money and perform ‘Prayaschitta’ (expiation). In our case Agni rituals have declined in the last 40 years. Life has changed. If there is deep sraddha (faith and sincerity), Agni can be maintained even now. The present day education is one cause of the absence of sraddha. Whatever be the cause, if we have to prosper, we have to necessarily do actions as laid down in Sastras. Everyone desires to be comfortable, but he does not perform actions aimed at that. If a person wishing to go to Madurai gets into a train bound for Madras, he cannot reach Madurai. In the same way, if one keeps performing actions prohibited by Sastras, he cannot attain prosperity.
Hence it is requested that everyone should discard actions prohibited by Sastras, perform actions laid down in Sastras and attain prosperity.
VEDA DHARMA SASTRA PARIPALANA SABHA
Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai
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