Our Duty

Sri Chandramoulisvaraya Namah:
Publication No. 46

Nobody can deny that this Bharatadesa, celebrated as treasure of varnasrama and education from ancient times, is now denuded of wellbeing and afflicted with weakness and poverty. The chief reason for this is our having allowed the creeper of modern civilisation to grow in the garden of our ancient civilisation. There is none who is unaware of the destruction caused by this creeper of modern civilisation spreading vigorously in our garden of society and overwhelming the tree of varnasrama, the very base of our religion.

Even if we know this, we are indifferent and inactive owing to insincerity and laziness and thinking that everything is the manifestation of the cruel fate of Kaliyuga. When faced with such a dangerous situation, we are not attempting to save the tree of Sanatana Dharma by removing and throwing away the poisonous creeper of modern civilisation, which has spread over and gripped the tree. If this tree is destroyed, can we create a new one? If we allow destruction of Vedas and Sastras, handed to us by our ancestors, the Maharishis, who have laboured over lakhs of years for our welfare and framed those works in an easily understandable manner, it is certain that there cannot be  any greater fools, waylaid with ill luck, than us.

Having got the rare human birth and there too, a position high in intellect and power, should we slide down from our position? We have no duty other than seeking a solution to avoid this downward slide. If we perform our duties properly, this will help us in future, like a treasure safeguarded in a box, incapable of being stolen by thieves. Reaching a mundane position in this world, we put in so much effort to retain that position for ever. But its benefit is meagre. That too, it will last only till this body remains. We know very well from experience that this is not linked with true joy. Should we, who work so hard for useless attainments, not put in at least a little work for wellbeing of Atma? Why should we not utilise a path, which would give us eternal joy? Though there are many such ways, the best way is to know the substance of Vedas and Smritis and act as instructed therein. It goes without saying that our ancestors studied Vedas and Sastras properly, did their duties as enunciated therein and derived great happiness. There appears to be no reason for our indifference to these matters, other than the cruel act of Kali Maharaja.

Vedas, which benefit us here and hereafter, are gradually disappearing owing to our indifference. We do not get even one student of Veda in every village these days. Sastra affirms that one who does not chant Veda is not a brahmana. Even people who have studied a little of Veda, if not in entirety, have become rare to come by. Earlier at least when we put our children in school, we used to teach them Samskrit alphabet. Now we just start with A, Aa; that is all.

Grihasthas should make effort to see that their children learn Samskrit at least for a short time every day and study Veda required for daily observance of karmas. They should be able to do their daily observances without others’ help. Every brahmana should perform every day Snanam, Sandhyavandanam, Japa, Homam, Puja, Brahmayagnam and Vaisvadevam. Srutis and Smritis reiterate that those who perform these rituals derive immense benefits.

Every grihastha should see that at least one of his sons studies Veda well. This is the duty of every grihastha. There is no difficulty or loss involved in this. Only seriousness is required. A Sandhyavandana class can be held in each village. This will lead to the habit of all joining together for a good cause. If those with knowledge teach with proper ‘swara’, the error of wrong intonation and consequent loss of benefit will be avoided for others. In addition to obtaining the spiritual benefit (‘sreyas’) by proper intonation, the habit of performing in time will also take root. Even aged grihasthas, who have not developed this habit so far, can learn with some effort within six months the mantras required for daily karmas properly.  They can perform the Deva and Pitru karmas on their own properly without the help of Purohita. It will be a little embarrassing at the beginning to learn Sandhyavandanam at an advanced age. We do so many acts without embarrassment for mundane convenience. It is foolishness to feel embarrassed in doing one’s svadharma, which will bring spiritual benefit here and hereafter. All will treat with respect in a very short time, one who practises svadharma seriously without break. In fact they will feel sorry at their inability to perform the same acts.

Hence everyone should desist from considering observance of svadharma as an embarrass-ment and, ignoring constraint of time, place and circumstance, attempt to observe svadharma. Knowing fully well the duty assigned to him by Iswara, he should fulfil the same. Just as a carpenter or goldsmith or any other tradesman does not feel any reservation about working in his trade, brahmana should do his duty of chanting Veda with sincerity and without any embarrassment. Gautama has stated, ‘Vedokhilo Dharma-mulam’- ‘The basis of all dharmas observed by us is Veda’.
“Veda: kritsno-adhigantavya: sarahasyo dvijanmana|
Vedabhyaso hi viprasya tapa: param-ihochyate||”
It has been stated that brahmanas should study Veda completely along with Upanishads; for brahmana that is the noblest austerity.

Brahmana should study all Vedas. Some people may ask: How can we, past the age of 40-50, without the knowledge of even Samskrit alphabet, learn Veda. Let them attempt to perform properly their ordinary daily rituals like Japa, homam, Puja, Brahmayagnam, Vaisvadevam etc.

Each of us should spend at least a portion of our earning in dharma. If not done, there will be compulsion for many times higher expenditure on medical treatment and proceedings related to transactions. We should help those who have studied Veda to the extent possible with respect. We should not try to cut down on expense in this regard. As each one of us has got this birth in accord with the fruits of karmas of previous births, our paramount duty is to attain noble state by sincerely performing karmas assigned to us by Vedas.

May Iswara bless all with attainment of wellbeing through observance of their svadharma.


Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai

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