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Special Articles on Hindu Dharma ~ Level - 3 ~

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Realization of Supreme through the Vedic Karma and Thanthra Rituals
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Chapter - 6
Rituals and Prayers to obtain Spirituality
HR 322 - 06
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Lesson 06.05:
Ishta Devatha and Adhikara for Pooja at Home
For Next Lesson
Please See Below
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Major part of Hindu Religious practice among the common people consists of ritualistic form of worship for God in the various forms of Deities of Saguna Brahman, called Avathara. It follows prayers offered to God in the devotional path as worship to a Pratika [picture], Prathima or Vigraha [statue], Yanthra [a geometric drawing] or a Linga, following the rules and traditions established in the Agamas and Sasthras.

Sri Adhi Sankara, in addition to the Advaitha Philosophy explaining that the Self as part of the Divine Nirguna Brahman, established a school for prayers to the Saguna Brahman is His six Forms called the Shanmatha Sthapanam. He established the rules for the six types of prayers to God at home as 1. Ganesha, 2. Kumara [Karthikeya], 3. Surya [Sun], 4. Siva, 5. Vishnu, 6. Sakthi.

The main tenets of the practice are by prayers to "Ishta Devatha." The methods of learning and doing the various types of prayers to the Ishta Devatha are governed by the rules of "Doctrine of Adhikara." By this doctrine, the religious teachings and methods of worship that is taught vary from person to person, according to the various schools they follow.

All prayers are performed following two major principles of Hindu Dharma that are the pillars of the Hindu faith and practice - namely Ishta Devatha and Adhikara. Special prayer rituals are usually taught and given specially to persons following certain tradition as a form of initiation to that form of worship practice. One is not authorized to perform rituals of their choice unless trained and initiated in the same by a properly qualified teacher [Guru]. Accordingly, there are special rules and restrictions for pooja for Sri Siva, Sri Sakthi and Sri Vishnu in their various forms.

Only a person who has received the religious teaching from a Sivacharya Guru shall perform pooja for Sivalinga. Similarly, only a guru who has understood the manthra of "Sri Viddhai" can teach the pooja methods of Sri Chakram to his Devotees. In the past, mostly men have been learning and performing these types of poojas. Very few women took these types of ritualistic worship. Most people performed prayers at home just by lighting a lamp for a collection of pictures and images of various Avatharas of God in their prayer room and recited some songs for prayer.

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Lesson 06.06:
Importance of Guru to learn the Poojas and Rituals
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In all Hindu rituals and devotional prayer services the pooja is offered to a Murthy in the form of a Vigraha of the manifestation of the supreme Paramathma and it should be understood as an Icon and not just an idol. Hindus are not Idol worshippers as referred by by some ignorant people. The Deity form one desires to pray is called "Ishtadevatha and the trules for the services and the training and an initiation are included in getting the Adhikara.

It is always recommended for everyone to learn the basic steps and rules for these rituals from a teacher or Guru. Often people get a doubt and some ignorant ones often question about the need for a guru and some even say that these rituals are useless blind beliefs. The best combustible firewood and oil still needs a matchstick to light. So also every student needs a teacher to light-up their spiritual knowledge.

Around the world, such strict disciplines from Teacher to student also had undesirable effects of the priests getting a control of the community of devotees which was misused. However, in Hindu practice, our forefathers preserved the sanctity of our Dharma and the teachings by going into the recluse of forest as research studies and as Sanyaasis and sadhus they explained the Aranyaka portions of the Vedas, the Upanishads with the basic principles and philosophy of our faith. These were also well maintained by our Ithihasas and Puranas given to us by these saints to explain the principles and philosophy.

Along with Mantras for rituals, some also use Tantra type of rituals which has manasika pooja with hand gestures and severe pooja disciplines to follow. Many Hindus who were turned off by the blind rituals and prayers, tried to understand the reason. Many felt they were more spiritual and wanted to get beyond karma and bakthi path, to Raja Yoga path of meditation and to Jnaana path of realization of the Truth.

Every soldier needs to learn walking in a parade to discipline his mind before he gets the strength to shoot and kill an enemy. So also the rituals are to condition the mind to a meditative state of Spiritual path of reaching the Almighty. Every Hindu should realize that the rituals and prayers for various manifestations of Deity forms are to condition the mind to focus on the Supreme Paramathma, who also lives inside each one of us. These rituals are just stepping stones to climb into the fort of Jnaana, as we cannot suddenly elevate ourselves to Spiritual realization without a true understanding.

 

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: Lessons : -: 6.01 : - : 6.03 : - : 6.05 : - : 6.07 : - : 6.09 : - : 6.11 :
A Collection of Lessons on Hindu Dharma discussed in Satsangh
There are Two Lessons on each page - so thay you can read two lessons each day.
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