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  Special Articles on Hindu Dharma ~ Level - 3  
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HR 311.08 - 02
Attaining the Spiritual Discipline with Rituals and Prayers
~ Level - 3 ~
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Lesson:
8- 02: Spirituality seen in the Practice of Karma Rituals
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Understanding the Supreme with the Rituals as our Dharma
 
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Our traditions and rules for the practice of Hindu Dharma are explained in the six Dharsanas and the four Yogas, and they are prescribed in our Dharma Shastra. Vedic Rituals are performed by all those who have studied the Vedas and are well trained in those Rituals. Most of their rituals are done to one of the natural forces or Upa-Dèvathas, combined with prayer rituals for one of the manifestations of the Supreme Paramãthma.

Many of us may perform Nithya Karma to attain some boons and Divine blessings. Can we really expect any benefit from performing these rituals of Nithya Karma? No. Absolutely there is none. We do not expect any positive effect just by the Karma and prayer rituals. So, we do not perform the Karma expecting any benefits.

Then why do Vedic Pandits insist on performing several of the Nithya Karmas and various Vedic Fire rituals. Yes, we need to perform the Karmas and Karma Rituals as prescribed. This is also true of the several Prayer rituals in Devotional practice which are also combined with the steps of Karma rituals. All these Karmas are to be performed without demands or desires for personal benefits. This is expressed as "Nishkãma Karma" as explained by Sri Krishna in Gita.

Then, why do we do these Karmas? When we perform these Karmas without looking for boons or profit from our actions, it becomes our Dharma, just our duty. Dharma means "that which holds" the people of this world and the whole creation. It is the eternal Divine law of God. When we perform our duties as Dharma, God will bless us with true happiness and eternal bliss.

We have several important Rituals which are listed as the five forms of our Karmas as given in our Vedas. The Pancha-Mahã Yajnas, include Brahma Yajna or Rituals for Brahman, to Sages and to Vedas (Learning and teaching the Texts), Dèva Yajna to celestials, Dèvathas and Divine Forces, Pitri Yajna for ancestors and service to elders, Bhutha Yajna to all creatures, including all plants and animals and Manushya Yajna as community service to fellow men.

In all these paths, in addition to Karma rituals, Karma as a duty for service to the community and to the universe around us becomes essential. Sage Jaimini in his path of Poorva Mîmãmsa said that the Karma rituals by themselves will offer the benefits through Apurva or Adhrishta. This was later disputed by many others. As Sage Vèda Vyasa and later Sri Sankara explained that it is the Divine will and pleasure that offers the benefits as they follow and maintain the Dharma.

With total devotion to the teachings, even Dharma becomes secondary but is essential. While one may not ask for the benefit for the Karma, the power of our positive thinking itself will offer some benefits. These rituals and prayers create a sense of discipline and also a positive vibration in our mind and in our action with a sense of self-confidence.

 
 
 
 

 

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Chapter - 8: Realization of the Supreme with Rituals & Prayers ~Lesson - 02~
 
Lessons: - :~: 8- 01 :~: 8- 02 :~: 8- 03 :~: 8- 04 :~: 8- 05 :~: 8- 06 :~: 8- 07 :~: 8- 08 :~: 8- 09 :~:
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