Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.07
A Study of the Various Customs and Rules of Daily Prayer Worship
Teachings in Hindu Scriptures for the Rituals at Home and at the Temples
-~ Level - 2 ~
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Lesson - 103 :
Full Realization for a Supreme Bliss
Ithihasas, Puranas, Philosophy and Theology
Please see below
for Lesson - 02
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As an important step for our understanding the faith and philosophy, the One Supreme Truth as Formless "Nirguna Brahman". He is also "Savisesha Brahman" the Form beyond explanation. He takes the forms of various Deities for the benefit of the understanding of the Devotees. This is explained in the Agamas and various Ihtihasas and Puranas. These Ithihasas and Puranas are often referred by the Western equivalent as mythologies though they are not imaginary "Myths".

Most of us feel that action [Karma] without desire, greed or lust is the basic step. Then meditation, concentration and faith with discipline [Raja Yoga] form the next step. After this stage, some feel one should acquire the devotion [Bhakthi] to the Supreme Truth to reach and attain the Divine knowledge [Jñana Yoga] and liberation. Some others feel that the Divine knowledge will lead us to devotion [Bhakthi] and total surrender to the Divine [Prapatthi] for the ultimate bliss.

A person who is "Thamasika" with ignorance, Avidhya, or false knowledge, guided by materialism, greed and lust only, can not comprehend and understand these Divine Incarnations. He will consider them as normal mortals who were elevated to this level of reverence and falsely worshipped as Divine. A "Rajasika" who has limited knowledge of Dharma and is guided by material pleasures only, considers these incarnations as humans of superior characters who were elevated to a high level and are worthy of our prayers.

It needs the superior divine knowledge of a "Sathvika" to really understand the true nature of the Divine incarnations as given in Hindu Puranas as the descent of the Supreme Brahman for the ascent of the Human soul in times of calamities and despair to destroy the evil, to preserve and protect the Humanity and to establish the rule of Divine law. Here Jñana is like the unencompassed glow of sunshine to guide our path and Avidhya or ignorance is a negative state of darkness or absence of such light.

 

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Lesson - 104 :
Rituals of Nithya Karma and Prayer Services
The Sanskaras, Sandhya and Family Rituals
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Karma, in addition to referring to our duty and activity for living, also refer to Vedic Karma or our spiritual duties. Thus study of the scriptures and performances of the vedic ritual are as important as the performance of one's Dharma or duty to the community according to one's birth and profession and stage of life.

Every one has to perform all their daily duties according to their Varna-Ashrama Dharma and their education and vocational training. They need to do the sandhya rituals and sanskaras and the yajñas to people, animals, ancestors, celestial bodies and to God. All these have an important effect on our family, our future births and ultimate liberation from the Samsara or cycle of rebirth.The daily Vedic rituals performed are called nithya karma like the sandhya rituals, various Yajñas and Sanskaras.

Rituals of sandhya and sanskara are prayers offered to the gods through water, fire and Sun. Contrary to popular belief, a Karma Yogi also has duties of offering his prayers to the Divine through Nithya Karma. He also performs his work as a service to God, as he sees God in every one.

Sandhya are the most important rituals that a Hindu is expected to perform in the house every day, three times a day. These are rituals performed at dawn, noon and at dusk to God, to the Sun and to ancestors. Yajna rituals are offered to Vedic Gods such as Prajapathi, Indra, Varuna, Purusha, Rudra and the Deities of the nine planets.

The Vedic gods are the custodians of our social well being and only from our sacrificial oblations in Yagnas they draw their sustenance. The Pancha-Maha Yajnas which are important include Brahma Yajna or sacrifices to Brahman, to Vedas and to sages, Deva Yajna to celestials, Pitri Yajna for ancestors, Bhutha Yajna to all creatures and Manushya Yajna to fellow men. There are fifty-two Sanskaras which are listed as rituals performed at home, of which ten are important.

These Sanskara rituals like Simanthonnayana, Namakarana, Annaprasana, Chudakarana, Upanayana, Samvarthana and Vivaha, are for family events. There are also funerary rituals which are performed after death of a person and srardha ceremonies which are rituals to ancestors performed by family members.

 
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-Chapter - 7: Rituals, Prayers, Practices and Problems - Lessons 103 & 104
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Lessons: ~: 097 & 098 :-: 099 & 100 :-: 101 & 102 :-: 103 & 104 :-: 105 & 106 :-: 107 & 108 :~:
 
 
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