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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.