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The Daily Duties of a Hindu

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The important features of the practice of Hinduism in our daily life are called
    “ Pancha Maha Yajnas”. This includes the social service one is expected to do everyday. These are compulsorily to be practised by everyone.

    1 – Deva Yajna:

    This is regular worship of God in any way a person likes. This can be done in an elaborate manner like Vedic Yajnas, homams, agnihotra, aupasana etc. The simple form can be chanting a few prayers, offering flowers to the deities and doing namaskaras. This practice makes one God-conscious in daily activities.

    2 – Pithru-Yajna:

    It consists of Tarpana or oblations to departed souls and Srardha or annual religious rites performed for departed souls.
    In Hindu culture the impact of the sentences
    Matru devo bhava (Be one to whom the mother is a deity )

    Pitru devo bhava ( Be one to whom the father is a deity )
    is considered very significant.
    All are duty-bound to pay their debt to them.
    We must treat our parents with respect and do all that we can, to keep them in comfort. We cannot make sufficient recompense for all the sacrifices they make on our behalf.
    Worship of parents, not only those who are alive, but also of our forefathers is an important injunction, irrespective of the nature of the parents.
    Respecting and taking care of living parents and unconditional reverence while they are alive, come under this yajna.
    Hence the concept of old age homes, does not fit in our culture at all !
    One must contemplate on the teachings of the sages, holy men and our forefathers.
    This practice is intended to serve as a reminder to preserve, enrich and continue our rich cultural heritage and family values.

    3 – Rishi-Yajna or Brahma Yajna:
    This includes the worship and study of vedas and scriptures.
    The best form is chanting and propogating them.
    So, merely keeping them in th puja room and showing deeparadhana on Saraswathi Puja day is not sufficient.
    We must learn them and give to the next generation.
    This practice refreshes our mind with sacred knowledge and helps to preserve and enrich such knowledge.
    Promotion of scriptural study falls under this yajna.

    4 – Manushya- Yajna:
    This is service to fellow human beings.
    All kinds of social services come under this.
    Adhithi devo Bhava - guests should always be welcome.
    They must be served with love, respect and reverence.
    This is the backbone of traditional Hindu hospitality.
    Service to humanity is service to God.
    This is conveyed by Sathya Sai Baba in His words “ Nara seva is Narayan seva”.

    5 – Bhutha-Yajna:
    This is service to all living beings like animals, birds, insects, trees, forests etc.
    We must remember they are also serving us.
    The kolam drawn with rice flour is meant for feeding ants.
    The rice offered everyday after naivedyam helps the crow to feed on it.
    Offering bali to various creatures also comes under bhuthayajna.
    Bali means that which is offered directly – and not in the fire.
    This is common in Kerala temples and is done in some homams.
    The flour offered in the ant hill for the snakes is sarpabali.
    In many pujas, offerings are thrown outside the house with the chanting of the mantras. The latter are meant for various creatures of the earth and are termed bali.
    Environmental protection and ecological protection come under this yajna.
    This practice is intended to create the awareness, to share with all other living beings on earth.

    All the above yajnas are necessary for one’s inner growth and one yajna cannot replace the other.
    Each is important in its own way.
    All the above must be practised everyday in one’s affordable manner.

    Thiruvalluvar has said more or less the same thing as the Vedas say:
    " Thenpulattar, deivam, virundu, okkal, tan endru angu
    Aimbulattaru ombal thalai."
    Five are the duties of the householder, namely, the offering of oblations to the ‘ pitrus’, the performance of sacrifice to the Gods, the doing of hosptality,the rendering of help unto others and looking after one’s own self.

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
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  2. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Refreshing lesson!

    I have heard of the word "yagnas', never really bothered to understand them. By reading this my mind feel refreshed and belive me i feel very bad to think of the innumerous arguments i have had with my parents, as a result taking them for granted. I think the whole process of just knowing about Hinduism, in depth, will imbibe a lot of purity in us.

    Thank you for the wonderful post!!

    Purni
    (ps- just wanted to let you know, everymorning i open those 10 guidelines of effective prayers and read them, not only read but practise them. I think more i read them,more calm and mature i become! )
     
  3. Priya Amarnath

    Priya Amarnath Bronze IL'ite

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    Five Duties

    Dear Chithra

    The posting highlighting the important duties of a Hindu is neatly written with good examples. The points you have described in the second duty is very true. Hindu culture gives importance to the duties towards our parents, which I feel makes our culture unique. Also liked your example given in the adithi devobhava duty.

    Thanking u
    Love and Regards
    Priya
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Purni, you are on the right track.

    Yajnas do not always mean the big homams alone. Pancha maha yajnas do not mean any homam. It is simple to practise daily.
    Let me share with you one more point on Manushya Yajna. You may not have guests everyday & may not have an opportunity to help somebody everyday.
    You know what I do? - do not laugh. When I go for my evening walk, I just say in mind " may God bless you', to every person, I cross ! I feel, that is the best service I can do to them, many of whom, I do not know at all.
    Arguements with parents is part of growing up. Please do not overly bother about it.
    I am very happy that you are remembering my 10 points, on how to pray. Over a period, you will fall in line & the peace we achieve has to be experienced to be believed.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  5. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    You are as prompt as only you can be !

    My dear Priya,
    I am very happy to read your F B .
    Please read my reply to Purnima. That is an extension of what you have written.
    At this young age, you show so much of interest in these postings which makes me very happy.
    Stay tuned, Priya.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  6. sumanr

    sumanr Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks

    Thanks Chitra.
    Don't these yajnas that u have listed go like a circle envoloping everything. I mean it starts with God, deaprted souls, enlightened souls and our enlightenment, then behaviour towards people around us, then the other life-forms. Thanks again for making us think of the real purpose when we do such things.
    Just a small question - For Eg., I have also heard that kolams are for feeding ants and stopping them at the entrance so that they don't come in. But, these days, some people don't use rice-flour. When they use some white coloured chemical powder, how will ants eat it ? Whats the point if we clean our entrance with disinfectant and then draw a kolam, ants can anyway not come near. I mean it doens't serve the purpose, right ? There is something more to it than just decorating the entrance with some white chalk powder, right ?
    regards.
     
  7. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    You are right, sumanr !

    These yajnas cover all aspects of our life. If everybody practises them,
    the complexion of the world changes ! There is then only purity, beauty and joy in life !!
    Strictly speaking only rice flour should be used for kolam & you now know, it comes under Bhutha Yajna. But if ants heavily infest, it becomes a nuisance & perhaps that is why kolamavu is used by some people. Probably after knowing the purpose of kolam, one will be tempted to use rice flour.
    Thanks for your F B, sumanr.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  8. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    pure enlightenment

    Dear Chitra,

    there were times when I used to quietly move away when elders start discussing about pujas cause I just couldn';t follow anything. words like Yajna, etc would literally scare me cause they go right above my head - nobody ever made anything look simpler; everything looked so complex & unapproachable - your posts are really enlightening & again & again I thank God for meeting you here at IL.
    wonderful posts, Chitra. Let's move on further.

    Love & regards,
     
  9. Kamla

    Kamla Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Neverending....

    ...are the pearls of wisdom that seem to flow out of your pen and mind for our benefit here. Thank you Chitra.
    Read your this week's posting with great interest. Even without knowing, looks like we have been performing yagnas! Atleast, to some extent.
    The part about 'bali' under Bhutha Yagna is something I never gave much thought to. At first, I was a little alarmed to read the word 'bali' as I always thought of it as a sacrifice of some living animal. But this interpretation was comforting.
    Thanks to you, I am learning something new EVERYDAY.
    (All the same, I hope people don't start throwing things outside their houses in the name of 'bali'!! We will be achieving exactly the opposite of what was meant in the Bhutha Yagna!! Our roads in India are shocking enough!)
    I do have an enormous guilt feeling as far as the tiny ants are concerned. Here I am, trying to rid of them:( God forgive me.
    Chitra, we , I, must have done something good sometime somewhere. Or else, how can we explain that a Yogi herself is explaining all this to us in great detail?! Now, this is not flattering you. It comes from my heart.
    Love and regards,
    Kamla
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Meena, I clearly understand.....

    what you write ! There was a time when I used to be " scared" whenever there was a puja in my MIL's house & there were atleast 2 every month.
    There was nobody to tell me that we must enjoy it, not be scared of arranging for it. There was no ready format to say, how to go about things. I was so scred that I might do something wrong & out of place.
    It is, based on that experience, that I decided to write puja formats & make people realise that with the right instructions at every step, doing a puja can be a pleasurable experience.
    I am glad that my wish is getting fulfilled !
    Thankyou for the post.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     

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