ज्ञान की महिमा स्वीकार करने का दिन – गुरुपूर्णिमा

– डॉ. शशि तिवारी

गुरुब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु: गुरुर्देवो महेश्वर: |

 गुरु: साक्षात् परब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः ||

’उस गुरु को प्रणाम है जो ब्रह्मा है, जो विष्णु है और जो महेश्वर का रूप है। साक्षात् परमब्रह्म गुरु ही है।’ इसी तरह एक हिंदी दोहे में कहा गया है कि-

गुरु गोविंद दोनों खड़े काके लागू पांव ।

बलिहारी गुरु आपने जिन गोविंद दियो बताए ॥

‘यदि गुरु और गोविन्द दोनो खडे हों तो किसके पैर छुएं ? मैं तो गुरु की बलिहारी जाऊंगा  जिन्होंने गोविन्द के बारे में बताया।’

वास्तव में गुरु ब्रह्म के समान हैं; कुछ माने में उससे भी बड़े हैं क्योंकि ज्ञान का रास्ता गुरु ही बताते हैं। वेद में तो साफ-साफ निर्देश है- मातृदेवो भव, पितृदेवो भव, आचार्यदेवो भव । ’माता, पिता और आचार्य का सम्मान करने वाले बनो’। संस्कृत के एक श्लोक में कहा गया है -’जो ज्ञान की शलाका से अज्ञान के अंधकार को दूर कर आंखों को खोल देता है, ऐसी श्री गुरु को प्रणाम है।’

हिंदू कैलेंडर के अनुसार प्रत्येक मास के अंतिम दिन पूर्णिमा की तिथि होती है इसे ही पूर्णमासी भी कहते हैं। यह पूर्णता की प्रतीक है। देखने की बात है कि लगभग सभी माह की पूर्णिमाएं किसी विशेष नाम से भी जानी जाती है -जैसे चैत्र मास की पूर्णिमा हनुमान जयंती,  वैसाख मास की पूर्णिमा गंगा स्नान, श्रावण मास की पूर्णिमा रक्षाबंधन या श्रावणी, आश्विन मास की पूर्णिमा शरद पूर्णिमा । आषाढ़ मास की पूर्णिमा गुरुपूर्णिमा या व्यासपूर्णिमा के नाम से जानी जाती हैं ।

गुरुपूर्णिमा उन महर्षि व्यास के नाम पर है, जिन्होंने चारों वेदों का व्यास  किया था, पंचम वेद महाभारत की रचना की थी और पुराणों का प्रणयन भी किया था। ये वेदव्यास के नाम से भी जाने जाते हैं। महर्षि व्यास एक श्रेष्ठ गुरु के प्रतिनिधि हैं। विचारणीय है कि कैसे गुरुपूर्णिमा का पवित्र दिन एक बहुत बड़ा दिन हो जाता है-  गुरु की पूजन, वंदन और विश्वास का दिन। माता-पिता के बाद यदि कोई पूजनीय माना गया है तो वह गुरु ही है। वह हमें ज्ञान देता है जिससे हमारा व्यक्तित्व विकसित होता है। भारतीय संस्कृति में ज्ञान की सर्वाधिक महत्ता है, इसीलिए समाज में गुरु का भी विशेष स्थान है। वैसे तो प्रतिदिन गुरुवन्दन करणीय है, पर  इसे समारोहपूर्वक मनाने के लिए एक दिन पर्व के रूप में रखा गया है।

पिता और गुरु अपने पुत्र और शिष्य को सब कुछ दे देना चाहते हैं । उससे पराजय की कामना करते हैं जिससे उनका यश हो। कभी पिता लोभवश कुछ अपने पास बचा कर रख भी ले, परन्तु गुरु कभी भी कुछ भी ज्ञान अपने पास छुपा कर नहीं रखना चाहते, सब कुछ निस्पृह भाव से शिष्य को दे देना चाहते हैं उसके जीवन को विश्वास से परिपूर्ण करना चाहते हैं ।

गुरुपूर्णिमा मना कर हम अपने आदरणीय गुरुजनों को सादर स्मरण करते हैं और इस तरह् जीवन में ज्ञान की उपयोगिता को स्वीकार करते हैं। गुरुपूर्णिमा अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से उदात्त चरित्र, अनुशासित जीवन, और सम्यक ज्ञान की महिमा स्वीकार करने का दिन है – तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः

– डॉशशि तिवारी,अध्यक्षवेव्स –भारत

Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana (Controversy over Sūrya or God?)

Sh. Vidya Sagar Verma

Declaring International Day for Yoga is a great tribute to the seers and sages of India who propounded the Yoga Discipline.

The literal meaning of the word ‘Yoga’ is union. Union of what? Answer to this question has been given by renowned commentator on Yoga Darśana Yajñyavalkya: Samyogo Yoga Ity Ukto Jivātma-Paramātmanoriti, i.e., Yoga is the union of Soul and God. There is a divine spark in all of us and that, because of ignorance, we are not aware of it and, hence, the advice is to know ourselves. And that can be done only through Yoga. God being present everywhere is present in our souls too and can be discerned there directly.

Thus, Yoga and its purpose defined by many seers, scholars, philosophers-

Gita offers a secular definition of Yoga, viz.,

योग: कर्मसु कौशलम्

Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam

i.e., Yoga is perfection in action. By controlling the thought currents of one’s mind, one attains deep concentration on any subject matter and, thereby, attains complete knowledge of the matter pondered over.

Sage Patanjali in his Yoga-Sūtra said :

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः 

Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhah

i.e controlling the modifications / thought currents of mind is Yoga. It is a holistic system having both physical and psychological traits.

Rudolf Steiner has also said “Meditation is the way to knowing and beholding the eternal, indestructible, essential centre of our being” (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/edit-page/Dissolve-thoughts/articleshow/347676.cms).

Philosopher Allie M. Frazier has also defined Yoga: 

The purpose of Yoga is to unite man with the Divine Ground, with the Cosmic Consciousness. Yoga is the psychological linking of the mind to the super-ordinated principle ‘by which the mind knows’. 

Every human being possesses three things – Body, Mind and Soul (Spirit). Yoga aims at the composite development of human personality — physical, mental and spiritual. The Vedas and the Upaniśads advise ‘Ᾱtmānam Vidhi’, i.e., Know Thyself.

आत्मानं रथिनं विद्धि शरीरं रथमेव तु।

(कठोपनिषद्, अध्याय १, वल्ली ३, मंत्र ३)

To know oneself, one has to concentrate deeper inside. Performing Yoga-Ᾱsanas is not just a way to physical fitness but also helps in deliberating deeper essence of his/her body. Out of 84 Ᾱsanas of Hatha-Yoga, two are very prominent and effective — Shirṣa-Ᾱsana and Sūrya-Namaskār Ᾱsana.

The Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana energises the whole body, it wards off many diseases related to the spine, stomach, thyroid gland, arthritis, et al. It is, therefore, recommended that this Ᾱsana must be learnt and performed by all the practitioners of Yoga.

It is unfortunate that the Yoga Capsule devised by the Ministry of Ayush for the International Day of Yoga Celebrations, Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana has been excluded, whereas, in many countries, it forms a prominent part of the Yoga Demonstration on this day celebrated by almost all the countries in the world.  

The word ‘Sūrya’ in the Sūrya Namsakar does not mean Sun, but God.

सूर्यो वै सर्वे देवा:।

(शतपथ ब्राह्मण १३.७.१.५)

In the Vedas Indra, Varun, Sūrya, et al, are all the names of God and he (Sun) is worthy of being bowed to by all. Brāhmaṇas of Yajurveda narrated various references where Sūrya is said to be ‘द्वादश’.

आदित्यो  द्वादश:।

(तैत्तिरीय ब्राह्मण १.५.३.४; शतपथ ब्राह्मण ११.६.३.५)

विष्णुर्धाता भग: पूषा मित्रेन्द्रौ वरुणोऽर्यमा….॥

सूर्य (आदित्य) के बारह नाम – विष्णु, धाता, भग, पूषा, मित्र, इन्द्र, वरुण, अर्यमा, विवस्वान्, अंशुमान्, त्वष्टा, और पर्जन्य।

(ब्रह्मपुराण ३१.१७-१८)

To avoid the controversy over Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana, a humble suggestion is that it be renamed as Iśa Namaskār Ᾱsana as Sūrya here means God.

Prof. Max Muller’s following words in ‘India: What Can It Teach Us’ are worthy of attention: 

“They were all meant to express the Beyond, the Invisible behind the Visible, the Infinite within the Finite, the Supernatural above the Natural, the Divine, Omnipresent, Omnipotent.”

It is not only the Vedas, but many religions, philosophers and scholars declare God as the Soul of the Universe: 

All are but parts of (the Universe is) one stupendous Whole

Whose Body Nature is, and God the Soul.

— Alexander Pope (https://www.bartleby.com/360/4/13.html)

Sh. Vidya Sagar Verma, Former Ambassador

प्राणसाधना क्यों और कैसे?

डा. राजकुमारी त्रिखा

२१ जुन, २०१५ को संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासभा द्वारा संकल्पित “अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय योग दिवस” ने न केवल भारत में अपितु विश्वभर में ख्याति प्राप्त की। वस्तुत: योग विद्या हमारे पूर्वजों की अत्यन्त प्राचीन और अनमोल विरासत है। आधुनिक वैज्ञानिक परीक्षणों द्वारा डाक्टरों ने योगसाधना से होने वाले अनेक शारीरिक और मानसिक लाभों को प्रमाणित किया है। उन्होंने सूर्य नमस्कार और अन्य सूक्ष्म व्यायामों के प्रभाव का योगक्रियाओं के प्रभाव के साथ तुलना की, और इस निष्कर्ष पर पहुंचे कि योग के प्रभाव अन्य व्यायामों की अपेक्षा अनेक गुणा अधिक, उत्तम गुणवत्ता वाले और व्यापक रहे। शास्त्रों में तो स्पष्ट उद्घोष किया है – नास्ति योगसमं बलम्। प्राचीन और गुरुपरम्परा से मिलने वाली इस योग-विद्या का प्रचलन धीरे-धीरे इसके जिज्ञासु और साधकों की उत्साहहीनता के कारण कम होने लगा। समय के साथ-साथ मनुष्यों की शारीरिक और नैतिक शक्ति क्षीण होने लगी। परिणाम स्वरूप धीरे-धीरे यह विद्या लुप्त होती गई । इस विद्या के जानकारों की यह भी मान्यता रही कि विद्या अपात्र व्यक्ति के पास न पहुँच  जाए तथा उसका दुरुपयोग न हो, इस कारण भी हमारे ऋषियों ने इस विद्या को वेद मंत्रों में संकेतों के माध्यम से सुरक्षित रखा। यह विद्या अत्यंत गोपनीय है और अनेक प्रकार से मानव कल्याण करने वाली है।

प्रायः आसन और प्राणायाम को ही योग समझ लिया जाता है परंतु योग के आठ अंग है – यम, नियम, आसन, प्राणायाम, प्रत्याहार, धारणा, ध्यान, और समाधि। आसन तो योग का केवल मात्र एक ही अंग है। आसन के अन्तर्गत स्वास्थ्य की दृष्टि से अत्यंत लाभकारी क्रियायें आती हैं, अतः आसन बहुत लोकप्रिय हुए। प्राणायाम भी अत्यंत ही महत्वपूर्ण और लाभकारी क्रिया है, जिसका उपदेश योग ग्रंथों में बहुत विस्तार से है। प्राणों की शक्ति को सभी जानते हैं। जब तक शरीर में प्राण हैं तभी तक व्यक्ति जीवित रहता है। हमारे ऋषियों ने बहुत सावधानी से प्राण की गतिविधियों को देखा और मनन किया। अतः प्राण-साधना को जानना परमावश्यक है।

ऋषियों ने शरीर में पंचप्राणों, उनके कार्यों और स्थानों का भी अध्ययन किया। उन्होंने बताया कि शरीर में पाँच प्राण और पाँच उपप्राण होते हैं। प्राण, अपान, उदान, व्यान और समान – यह पांच प्राण हैं तथा नाग, कूर्म, कृकर, देवदत्त, और धनंजय उप प्राण हैं।  इन मुख्य पांच प्राणों में भी प्राण मुख्य है। इसका स्थान हृदय में बताया है। अपान वायु का स्थान गुदा में, समान वायु का नाभि में, उदान का कण्ठ और उसके ऊपरी भाग में स्थान है। व्यान वायु सम्पूर्ण शरीर में व्याप्त रहती है।

हृदि प्राणो स्थितो नित्यमपानो गुदमण्डले।

समानो नाभिदेशे तु, उदानो कंठमध्यगः।।

व्यानो व्याप्य शरीरे तु , प्रधानाः पंचवायवः।

(घेरण्ड संहिता ५.५९-६०)

शरीर में इन प्राणों और  उपप्राणों का कार्य भी अलग अलग है। प्राण शरीर में शक्ति प्रदान करता है, अपान वायु  शरीर से अशुद्धि निकाल कर बाहर कर देता है। समान वायु खाए हुए भोजन को पचाता है । उदान वायु कंठ के ऊपर के भाग में संचार करता है। व्यान वायु पूरे शरीर में विचरण करता है। नासिका द्वारा ली जाने वाली वायु जीवन दायिनी होती है। यह शरीर के अंदर जाकर आन्तरिक अशुद्धियों, रोगाणुओं और कफ, वात, पित्त (त्रिदोष) के मल दूर करती हुई उनको प्रश्वास के साथ बाहर फेंक देती है। जब तक शरीर में प्राण वायु समुचित रूप से गतिशील रहती है, तभी तक शरीर स्वस्थ रहता है। यही कारण है कि केवल प्राण का ही विस्तार किया जाता है, अर्थात् प्राणों का ही आयाम किया जाता है, अपानवायु आदि अन्य वायुओं का नहीं। विधिपूर्वक किया गया प्राणायाम अनेक रोगों को दूर करता है।

(Source of Image : https://arlivenews.com/in-udaipur-final-rehearsal-of-yog-one-day-before-of-international-yog-day/ )

दह्यन्ते ध्मायमानानां धातूनां हि यथा मलाः।

तथेन्द्रियाणां दह्यन्ते दोषाः प्राणस्य निग्रहात्।।

(मनुस्मृति १.७१-७२)

अर्थात् जिस प्रकार लोहार की धौंकनी से तेजी से जलती हुई आग में सोना आदि धातुओं के मल जल जाते हैं, उसी प्रकार प्राणों के नियन्त्रण से सभी इन्द्रियों के दोष, मल, और अशुद्धियाँ जल जाती हैं। योग साहित्य और एलोपैथिक डाक्टर भी प्राणायाम की रोगनिवारक शक्ति को स्वीकार करते हैं। अस्थमा के रोगियों के एक समूह पर प्राणायाम के प्रभाव का अध्ययन किया गया। प्राणायाम के पहले उनके कुछ रक्त तथा श्वास संबंधी परीक्षण किए गए और प्राणायाम के कोर्स की अवधि के बाद पुनः रक्त और श्वास के वही परीक्षण  दोबारा किये गये। साधकों के परीक्षणों में सकारात्मक परिवर्तन मिले। साधकों का हीमोग्लोबिन, रेड ब्लड सेल्स तथा लिंफोसाइट काउंट्स बढ़े हुए मिले जबकि व्हाइट ब्लड सेल्स, पॉलीमर्स,  इस्नोफिल्स और मोनोसाइट्स कम हो गए। यह रक्त के बदलाव अस्थमा की तीव्रता कम होने के सूचक हैं। सबसे महत्वपूर्ण और आश्चर्यजनक उपलब्धि तो यह रही कि उपचार की अवधि में रोगियों को अस्थमा का दौरा ही नहीं पड़ा। उनके फेफड़ों की शक्ति बढ़ गई जिससे वे अधिक वायु को श्वास के द्वारा शरीर में खींच सके और अधिक समय तक उस वायु को भीतर रोकने में समर्थ भी हुए। इससे उनका श्वास का एंप्लीट्यूड और होल्डिंग टाइम बढ़ गया। यह सभी परीक्षण डॉ के. एन. उडुप ने किए और प्राणायाम के लाभों को स्वीकार किया {“Stress and it’s management by yoga”, Dr. K. N. Udupa, Delhi, 1985 and K.N.Udupa, R.H. Singh, R.M. Settiwar, and M.B.Singh. “Physiological and biochemical changes, following the practice of some yogic and non-yogic exercises,” Journal of Research in Indian medicine, 10(2)}। प्राणायाम की इस रोग निवारक शक्ति  का संकेत हमें ऋग्वेद के दशम मंडल के १३७ वें सूक्त के प्रथम और द्वितीय मंत्र में मिलते हैं, जहां प्राण को विश्वभेषज और बल दायक बताते हुए शरीर के रोगों और मलों को दूर करने वाला कहा है।

प्राण साधना कैसे करें

प्राणायाम के अनेक प्रकार हैं और अनेक विधियों से किया जाता है। रोगी की शारीरिक शक्ति और रोग की अवस्था को देख कर उसके अनुसार ही प्राणायाम का चुनाव करना चाहिए। किसी अनुभवी, स्वयं साधना करने वाले, कुशल और सज्जन स्वभाव वाले योग शिक्षक की देखरेख में उचित प्राणायाम का ज्ञान प्राप्त कर अभ्यास करना चाहिए जो पालन करने योग्य नियम भी बताएगा और सावधानियों की शिक्षा भी देगा। कुछ प्राणायाम विशेष रोगों में ही लाभकारी होते हैं जैसे शीतली और सीत्कारी प्राणायाम, जो उच्च रक्तचाप,  एसिडिटी तथा गर्मी से उत्पन्न रोगों में लाभदायक होता है परंतु निम्न रक्तचाप तथा कफ के रोगियों के लिए यह प्राणायाम हानिकारक है। इसी प्रकार श्वास को भीतर रोककर कुम्भक सहित किए जाने वाले प्राणायाम हृदय और स्ट्रोक के रोगियों के लिए हानिकारक होते हैं। सामान्य रूप से स्वस्थ व्यक्ति को नाड़ी शोधन/ अनुलोम विलोम प्राणायाम करना स्वास्थ्यवर्धक और अनुकूल रहता है। श्वास को भीतर रोके बिना बाईं नासिका से श्वास लेकर दाहिनी नासिका से निकालना और फिर दाहिनी नासिका से लेकर बाईं नासिका से निकालना नाड़ी शोधन प्राणायाम है। इसका कारण है कि बाईं नासिका में चंद्र स्वर चलता है जो ठंडा होता है और यही जीवनदायक है। दाहिनी नासिका से निकलने वाली वायु गर्म होती है, क्योंकि यह शरीर के सभी दोषों को लेकर बाहर निकलती है। अतः शरीर में पहले स्वास्थ्यवर्धक प्राणवायु को  श्वास से भीतर खींचना चाहिए और दाहिनी नासिका से सभी मलों को बाहर फेंकना चाहिए। श्वास लेते समय यही विचार करना चाहिए कि  प्रकृति से शक्तिदायक वायु के साथ मेरे शरीर में शक्ति प्रवेश कर रही है। बाहर श्वास फेंकते हुए यह विचार करें की मेरे शरीर के सभी रोगों के कीटाणु और शरीर के सभी मल श्वास के साथ बाहर निकल रहे हैं। इस प्रकार प्राणायाम द्वारा सकरात्मक विचारधारा से शरीर के साथ-साथ मानसिक बल में भी वृद्धि होती है।

प्राणायाम का मूल तत्व है गहरा श्वास लेना, इतना गहरा की नाभि तक हिलने लगे। इससे श्वास से भीतर ली गई वायु की गुदा स्थित अपान वायु से टक्कर होती है। तब अपान वायु प्राण को नीचे अपनी ओर खींचती है, और प्राणवायु अपान वायु को ऊपर अपनी ओर खींचती है। प्राण अपान का यह घर्षण से नाभि स्थित जठराग्नि तेज होती है और रोगों के कारणभूत कफ, वात, और पित्त के कुपित अंश को जला कर शरीर को रोग मुक्त कर देती है।

प्राणायाम के नियम

प्राणायाम के लिए कुछ पालनीय नियम हैं , जिनका पालन करने से प्राणायाम का पूर्ण लाभ मिलता है।

1. प्राणायाम के ३ घंटे पहले कुछ ना खाया हो और पानी आधा घंटा पहले पी सकते हैं।

2. प्राणायाम के पश्चात् स्नान लगभग १ घंटे के बाद करें। पानी आधे घंटे बाद पी सकते हैं परंतु भोजन एक से डेढ़ घंटे के बाद ही करें।

3. प्राणायाम का साधक उचित समय पर सोए और उचित समय पर जागे। वह स्वास्थ्यवर्धक और सीमित मात्रा में ऋतु अनुकूल भोजन करें। तभी प्राणायाम का पूरा लाभ मिलता है।

प्राणसाधना के लाभ

प्राणायाम से अद्भुत लाभ होते हैं- मन की एकाग्रता बढ़ती है (जिससे व्यक्ति की कार्यक्षमता बहुत बढ़ जाती है, एकाग्र मन से किया हुआ कार्य भी श्रेष्ठ गुणवत्ता वाला होता है),  मन का तनाव भी बहुत कम हो जाता है (परिणाम स्वरूप तनाव से उत्पन्न होने वाले मनोदैहिक रोगों में बहुत लाभ होता है), मन में शान्ति रहती है, काम, क्रोध, ईर्ष्या आदि के नकारात्मक भाव धीरे धीरे कम होते जाते हैं (काम, क्रोध, लोभ आदि ही अनेक सामाजिक, आर्थिक, यौन अपराधों के मूल कारण होते हैं), भावनाएँ शुद्ध होती हैं जिससे व्यक्ति समाज में शान्ति और व्यवस्था बनाए रखने में सार्थक भूमिका निभाता है। प्राणायाम से इन लौकिक लाभों के अतिरिक्त आध्यात्मिक दृष्टि से भी  बहुत लाभ होता है। शरीर की अशुद्धियां नष्ट हो जाने पर प्रकाश स्वरूप आत्मा के ऊपर से अज्ञान अंधकार का आवरण हट जाता है। तब साधक को आत्मसाक्षात्कार होता है। यह आध्यात्मिक लाभ मानव जीवन का अंतिम लक्ष्य माना गया है।

ततः क्षीयते प्रकाशावरणम्।

 (पतंजलि योगसूत्र २.५२)

यदि इस जीवन में आत्म स्वरूप को पहचान लिया तो बहुत उत्तम है, जीवन सफल है, और यदि न जान पाए तो बहुत बड़ी हानि है क्योंकि मानव जीवन का यही प्रथम लक्ष्य है कि वह आत्म-दर्शन का प्रयास करता रहे।

इह चेदवेदीदथ सत्यमस्ति, न चेदिहावेदीन्महती विनष्टिः।

(केनोपनिषद् २.५)

अयन्तु परमो धर्मः यद्योगेनात्मदर्शनम्।

(याज्ञवल्क्य स्मृति ८)

आशा है कि इस योग दिवस योग के इन सार्वभौमिक सकारात्मक परिणामों को स्वीकार करते हुए तथा प्रेरित होकर प्रबुद्ध जिज्ञासु प्राणायाम साधना में रुचि लेंगे।

डा. राजकुमारी त्रिखा, पूर्व अध्यापिका, संस्कृत, मैत्रेयी कालेज, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय

DemoNOcracy is Here – Readers offer ways out

The article “Democracy turns into DemoNOcracy!!” authored by Prof. Bal Ram Singh published on 22nd May, 2019. The title itself of the article said a lot about Prof. Singh’s view. According to Singh the purpose of the piece was not exactly to provide road map and solutions, rather raise the consciousness of intellectuals towards the problem. Therefore, VedicWAVES blog sought response from the readers of the blog.

(Source of Image: https://mastergolflivestream.com/image/democracy-clipart-government-bill/459473.html#gal_post_480_democracy-clipart-government-bill-7.jpg )

Readers were requested to consider the following questions: 

1. Whether readers are agree with the observation. 

2. What maybe the reason? 

3. What can be done from Vedic view?

Below are the short responses received –

Prof. Girish Nath Jha, Dean, School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Agree with your observation. In fact, just yesterday I was wondering [if] someone [had] compiled all the invectives used in this election. It would be a good linguistics resource for research.

The reason why politicians are using these into quickly to hone their message in a very short time. The audience would perhaps remember these more than plain talk.

The Vedic way of sound democratic ways is not possible today. The closest that we can go would be to promote leadership with Tyāga and general wellbeing of others as the guiding principles.

Dr. Pandita Indrani Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago

I agree for a code of ethics for politicians on the campaign trail. Leaders should show restraint in speech and conduct. I found nothing wrong with the ‘termite’ metaphor because of what a termite does – it works silently from within and before you know it, your entire house falls down like a pack of cards. It is an appropriate metaphor for campaign rhetoric.

Political speech is not in the realm of religious or academic discourse. There is the element of ‘warring opponents’ – nothing wrong with that. However, while being feisty, the campaign rhetoric should aim not to injure and hurt the personhood of the ‘other’ – stick to the issues not personalities. The subtle, artistic, bringing down of your opponent with words is to be enjoyed as the art of debating. It should not descend into ridicule and slander.

Sumit Ganguly’s analysis is from a leftist perspective and nationalism for these folks is not a welcome concept. I disagree with their consistent recourse to demonization of minorities. It’s simply not true. Minorities in India have greater privileges and protections than many other parts of the world and are used by leftist activists seeking favours in foreign countries. Uplift of the economically disadvantaged is more pressing than identity politics in India. Chandra Bhan Prasad’s comment is puerile.

Criminalization in Indian politics is a real issue. Remove goondas and corruption.

India needs a vision to manage its great diversity and the socio-economic and spiritual development of its citizens. India is the spiritual capital of the world. A return to the principles of Rām Rājya is mandatory. Let the state provide the social and economic conditions for development so that people may actualize their highest goals of spirituality. 

India has to be constantly vigilant about external cultural, economic and political forces that see it citizens as ideal consumers. India has to be constantly vigilant about the constant threat to its sovereignty, for near and far, especially its neighbours.

Dr. Raju Chidambaram, USA

Democracy is a basically good concept, perhaps the second best one can have other than a Rāmraj led by a dhārmic monarch.

The problem is the Party system that plagues all democracies. Cooperation (the Yajña spirit of Gīta) needed for progress is not possible in a party-based democracy.

How do we enforce parties to cooperate? Every two years in the US the election should be about the entire House of Representatives. Instead of choosing individuals, the people should decide “Has the House worked for the people in the last 2 years? If so, all of them return for the next 2 years. If not none of them will be allowed to run for re-election and every seat filled with a new comer”. Drastic idea, maybe, but it might force all representatives to cooperate for the good of the country in order to stay elected.

Sh. Rishi Pal Chauhan, Jiva Institute, Faridabad.

I agree with your observations. Earlier social workers used to join politics. They not only used to understand the culture of the nation but lived that in their day to day life. Their life was for nation.

In seventies people started keeping muscle man. In eighties muscle man started join politics. Now people with money power and criminal record join politics.

There should be basic qualification for a politician. He should submit his achievement about the knowledge of the culture of India and the record of social work practically achieved in his constituency He should submit his individual plan for five years. There should be review of his work after every year. He or she did not achieve as per the satisfaction of people he should get grading. There should be basic qualification of voter also.

Sh. Lallan Prasad Pandey, Former Income Tax Officer, Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Yes I agree with the observations made in the write up, given above. 

I think that people see the power politics an opportunity to make money and enjoy power as this was previous trend.

Democratic system of India has provisions and institutions for check and balance. But now a days there needs to come forward the learned and right thinking people to observe the conduct of Parliamentarians and issue public warnings of their observations. Some proper learning courses may be conducted for new members.

डा राजकुमारी त्रिखा, पूर्व अध्यापिका, संस्कृत, मैत्रेयी महाविद्यालय, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

डॉक्टर बलराम सिंह ने बहुत सुंदर विश्लेषण करके भारतीय राजनीति की तस्वीर प्रस्तुत की है। यह सच है कि हमारे राजनेताओं ने इलेक्शन के दौरान अनेक प्रकार के आरोप-प्रत्यारोप एक दूसरे पर लगाए, जो कि हमारी संस्कृति और नैतिकता के विरुद्ध है ।

जहां तक अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता का प्रश्न है , कुछ बोलने से पहले यह सोचना जरूरी है कि हमारी बातें नैतिकता के विरूद्ध न हों। हमें अपनी डेमोक्रेसी को डेमोनोक्रेसी बनने से रोकना होगा, जो कि गिरते हुए नैतिक स्तर के कारण लगभग असंभव सा लगता है। भ्रष्टाचार में आकंठ डूबी अधिकांश जनता और भ्रष्ट विरोधी पार्टियों से भरे हुए देश में डेमोक्रेसी फेल है। यहां तो समुचित और त्वरित दंड व्यवस्था, और सीमित राजतंत्र वाली ऐसी शासन पद्धति होनी चाहिये जैसी महाभारत में बताई गई है। वहां मंत्रिमंडल का कार्य था राज्य के हित को देखते हुए कानून, नियम बनाना और राजा का कार्य था उन कानूनों और नियमों को जनता में सख्ती से लागू करना। कानून के विरुद्ध आचरण करनेवाले को अपराधानुकूल निष्पक्ष दण्ड देना। यदि राजा अपने इस कार्य में असफल होता था, तो उसे गति सिंहासन से उतारा भी जा सकता था। यही उचित राजधर्म है।  महाभारत में इसी व्यवस्था को आदर्श शासन पद्धति कहा गया है। परंतु दुख की बात है कि भ्रष्टाचारी जनता और विरोधी पार्टियों के रहते हुए इस तरह का परिवर्तन संभव प्रतीत नहीं होता। फिर भी ईश्वर से प्रार्थना है कि वह हमारे नेताओं को सद्बुद्धि दे और भारत को नैतिक दृष्टि से भी समृद्ध राष्ट्र बनायें।

Prof. R.P. Singh, Professor, Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

In Vedas, Asuras were not demonized. Demonization started in the Purānas and Epics. Since then it has been happening in one way or another. Britishers were called as mylekshas (म्लेच्छ). There is a lack public morality and predominance of civil society over the State. It will give rise to the State to become authoritative. I appreciate the paper through and through nostalgic.

Mrs. Shagufa Afzal, Principal, Kuruom Vidyalaya, Kuruown, Uttar Pradesh

First of all Sir, the content is mind blowing and is the true scene of our prevailing so called democracy. I truly agree with it. There’s no more the taste of democracy, instead every leader now just puts each other’s name down which really gives a bad impression to everyone.

According to me the reason is selfishness of political leaders. Now what has become the point that everyone somehow or the other just wants the rule …politicians instead of serving nation, they have developed the mentality of serving their pockets. Development has become a faraway point. They just put each other’s name down to move ahead.

Lastly, according to me as in each n every competition certain education is necessary, likewise it should be made mandatory for politicians as well to be qualified because its education which can mentality and bring in good leaders to the show!!

Sh.Yogendra Bhardwaj, Research Scholar, Sanskrit, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Nice thought by you (Prof.Singh)

राजनीति में मतभेद होना संभव है, किन्तु मतभेद नहीं होना चाहिए। भारतीय संस्कृति में राजनीति के अंतर्गत ऐसी नीतियों के निर्धारण का मार्ग प्रशस्त होता है, जिसका अंतिम लक्ष्य “लोककल्याण” होता है।

Ms.Ami Shah, Corporate Legal Expert, Mumbai

Yes totally agree with the observation… The demon of politics is clearly visible now… The status has gone down significantly.

Today the scenario is such that they want to win at any cost. Losing is not am option as their fake reputation is at stake and for that they can go to any extent even if they gave to lose your moral values. They attack at personal levels… They attack your family and your morals. They attack at your weakest links. It has become a battle with no rules, just win at any cost.

In my opinion the best way to improve the practice of democracy is to conduct elections every five year plus conducting voting out every year… This will be an added responsibility and fear of getting removed in the minds of those who are elected. They won’t take their positions for granted. Introducing e-voting system to implement this. Apart from this education is a must to improve the practice of democracy.

Our View

The responders are unanimous in holding politicians responsible for the deterioration of the discourse of democracy to demonocracy. The reasons range from selfishness, no rules of engagements, criminalization of the politics, lack of public morality, power politics and money, party-based democracy, and expedient short term political gains

It is interesting that most of the readers feel that there should be some level of accountability and a provision to recall and/or the elected representatives for lack of progress on promises made. Education and training of politicians are needed, and perhaps principles of sacrifice for public good, following dhārmic principles need to be introduced and  encouraged. The concept of Rāmrajya needs to be invoked.

We feel intellectuals and policy makers need to look at the history of governance in India for inspiration of a system that can serve India’s diverse population without creating acrimony and divisiveness currently being practiced. It is important to be willing to storm out of a system that is becoming detrimental to the nation.

Editorial Team, Vedic WAVES

Why Women are still considered Second Class Citizen in Indian Society?

*[‘International Women’s Day’ – celebrating Womanhood that comprises of all the attributes that are natural to Women i.e., patient, affectionate, caring, emotional, generous, devoted, elegant, calm, sensitive, strong, courageous amongst the top ones.

In this era of male dominance our society is constantly dealing with conflicting issues such as gender equality & women empowerment. Recent movies for instance, Padmaavat and Manikarnika made a huge impact on mindset of people as the portrayal of Women therein, represents & redefine the multitude characteristics of a woman. How significant is to hold on to one’s individuality, is to be learnt from such powerful characters of Indian society. In this small initiative at Vedic WAVES Blog, an effort has been made through a survey to gather an opinion over the current status as enjoyed by women in present day society, in India.]  

*Editorial note by Dr. Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal, Assistant Professor, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Women are not just considered but are also treated as 2nd to men in current society. Ancient social engineering made women equal half. First time a woman was considered an object … Bharata rose in arms to protect Dharma of equality and respect.

Ms. Neera Mishra, Chairperson, Draupadi Dream Trust

I consider the very question based on ignorance. Granted gender discrimination occurs around the world (in case of both sexes) and India would have it’s own share of problems. I grew up in villages and also spent time in cities of India. I also lived in multiple countries. Based on my limited experience I have not seen imbalanced discrimination against women.

That remains my experience.  If at all, I have noticed discriminatory laws against men, especially in family law courts around the world.

Mr. Nilesh Oak, Adjunct Faculty, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Theoretically, women are on a par with men but in actual practice they are considered second class citizens who suffer discrimination in almost all walks of life. This kind of mindset is starkly evident not only in the family for the upbringing of female child in comparison to the male ones but also in education, jobs, career opportunities, promotions and future expectations. The society must eradicate this obvious injustice and menace perpetrated by people in general and institutional biases in particular.

Dr. Dayanand Parashar, Former Associate Professor, Physics, ARSD College, University of Delhi, Delhi

प्राचीन भारत में महिलाओं को देवी के तुल्य सम्मान था। मनु के द्वारा भी इसकी पुष्टि की गई है। जो भी विषमताएं आईं हैं, वो निसंदेह मुस्लिम संस्कृति के प्रभाव से है और अब पाश्चात्य संस्कृति का प्रभाव भी दृष्टिगोचर है। समाज में महिलाओं की स्थिति सुधारने के लिए सर्वप्रथम उनको शिक्षित करना होगा, सिर्फ साक्षर बनाने से बात नहीं बनेगी। अब पहले से महिलाओं की स्थिति में सुधार है, इसका कारण शिक्षा ही है। समानता में लाने के लिए महिलाओं को मुफ्त में शिक्षा, और रोजगार के अधिक अवसर उपलब्ध कराए जा सकते हैं।

श्रीमति स्नेहलता उपाध्याय, पुस्तकालयाध्यक्ष, राष्ट्रीय संस्कृत संस्थान

Yes, women are better than men in respect of mental ability, farsightedness, sincerity, still they are treated as second grade citizens now. They are not getting their due recognition in nation-building. Even in Vedic times, they weren’t treated respectably. Apala can be cited as example, who was abandoned by her husband due to skin disease. Even Gargi was asked to keep shut when Yagyavalkya could not answer her queries. Situation is same even now!

Dr. Raj Kumari Trikha, Former Associate Professor, Sanskrit, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, Delhi

In this materialistic world those who don’t earn/ have money are looked at as 2nd.

Mrs. Suvarta Vinod, Anandavan Bhakta Samudaya, Institute of Advanced Studies in Veda and Science.

Everything was balanced during Vedic period, but it is only after post Vedic era the misinterpretations of our ancient Indian texts that evolved such thought process in Indian society.

Secondly, It varies from culture to culture –via- family to family in the sense of treating their daughters-in-law, i.e., how families expect their daughter-in-law to behave in particular manner.

Dr. Pankaja Ghai Kaushik, Assistant Professor, Sanskrit, Lady Shree Ram College, University of Delhi, Delhi

भारतीय समाज में सम्बन्धों को महत्व दिया जाता है। ऐसे सामाजिक परिप्रेक्ष्य में महिला का स्थान माँ, बहन, बेटी, और धर्मपत्नी के रूप में सर्वोच्च विदित है। इन सम्बन्धों से वंचित यदि महिला का, या कि किसी और भी वर्ग का, अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय दिवस मनाना भारत में अजूबा सा लगेगा|

प्रोफेसर बलराम सिंह, सदस्य, बोर्ड ऑफ़ डायरेक्टर, वेव्स

Maintaining balance in the society is not a woman’s problem, it’s a national issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced business, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, gender-balance in wealth… Let’s hope this race ends, balance remains with gender equality.

Happy Women’s Day!!

Mrs. Shubha Rawal Wadhawan, Chief communications Officer – IG International pvt. Ltd.

I don’t consider there is a difference between men and women. So first of all there is no need for celebrating International Women’s Day. Is there any International Men’s Day? When you celebrate something like this then you producing yourself as victim. You already give an upper hand to men. In a civilized and sensible society in reality there shouldn’t be difference between men and women. Both have their own limitations biologically, physically and mentally. We should know each other limitations and respect similar to a normal Indian family. Once we understand this we will make a better society.

Dr. Raj Kumar, Assistant Professor, Botulinum Research Center, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

We live in a patriarchal society where in male members are given more liberty and decision making choices. It’s a woman who is expected to change her surname after marriage. It’s a woman who is expected to take care of cooking, cleaning, etc. It’s a woman who works even on holidays. There is no holiday for women. It’s a woman who is expected to take care of family and children after marriage. They are made to do work both inside and outside their homes. It’s just because women are not given a friendly environment to show their talents. The problem lies in our education system and Indian values. Women are still not given adequate education. Even the text books we read show women doing all the household chores like cooking, cleaning and taking care of men. They don’t depict men doing household work rather men are shown going to work or seeking leisure in their free time. Our Indian family values also don’t support a woman standing hand in hand with her male partner. From the very initial stages girls are taught to walk properly, dress properly, keep themselves presentable. The in-laws also expect their daughter-in-law to look after the entire family needs. Even in case of major decision making events the opinion of women is kept as second choice and the ultimate decisions are still taken by male members. Even in job sectors more preference is given to male members keeping less job opportunities to women.

Ms. Tanya Kumra, Accounts Assistant, Shreeram World School, Delhi

I always believe that women are same as the men. When I was a child my MAA always fulfilled my dreams, when my family faced economic problem my elder sister has been there to support me, and now when I  face ups and down in my life  my wife becomes my strength. My supervisor (Prof. Rani Majumdar), my well wishers like Prof. Shashi mam, Dr. Aparna Dhir di and many more always teach me, support me and advise me. They all are women. Therefore how can I believe women are second in Indian society? For me without these women I (men) am incomplete!!!

Kisi ne Kya khoob kaha

Soch ko badlo sitare badal jayenge/

Nazar ko badlo nazareyin badal jayenga/

kastiyan badal ne ke zaroorat nehin hai/

dishayein badlo kinare khud badal jayenge.

Mr. Tahasin Mondal, Research scholar, Department of Sanskrit, AMU, Aligarh, U.P

I don’t think women are considered second in the society. I think there is no society without women. Women are the ones who is giving birth to a child, upbringing the child and making of a future citizen. So in short women only are shaping the thoughts, values and the culture of the society. Whatever a woman teaches a child goes on for generations!! Women are also the biggest strength of a man! A woman who is strongly supporting a man that man is definitely successful in all spheres of life. In Ramayana, it is said man and woman are two wheels of the same chariot, if somehow one wheel breakdown the chariot automatically stop. So, both have to be strong to move in the sphere of life. It is just that every individual has to play his role in life. It is not about 1st or 2nd. I think it is about how efficiently you play your role in life, the tasks assigned to you, your duties towards your people and of course yourself too! It is definitely not about 1st or 2nd at least in today’s times. All the things have to go hand in hand for the smooth running of one’s life.

Mrs. Neeti Chawla, Housewife, Delhi

“As women, we have super powers. We are sisters. We are healers. We are mothers. We are goddess warriors”

It’s International Women’s Day, a day to honor and celebrate the cultural, social, economic and political achievements of women. It’s a day to remind ourselves why women are so amazing. They are the ones who are responsible for bringing new lives to existence. There’s no field where women are lagging behind men. It’s a day to be cherished… Happy Women’s Day to all the lovely ever smiling faces no matter what comes.

Mrs. Shagufa Afzal, Principal, Kuruom Vidayalaya, U.P.

In the modern era, Indian women are no more lacking behind men. They are equally capable and talented in all the fields, e.g., doctors, teachers, astronauts, etc. But still in some places Indian women have not got the equality as men due to religious or orthodox thoughts which need to be changed by giving proper education and awareness.

Mrs. Ankita Dhir, Teacher, K.R. Mangalam World School, Delhi

In present time, Indian women doing their empowerment and society also demand for Equality. The fearless woman today raises her voice against harassment like “MeToo Campaign”.

Mr. Yogendra Bhardwaj, Research Fellow, Sanskrit, JNU, Delhi

The Indian woman has to make her way through all the social prejudices against her, and the men yet have to allow and accept the women to be equal participants in the country’s way forward.

Mrs. Rajni Bhalla, Teacher, DAV Public School, Delhi

In my point of view women are considered to be an integral part of the Indian family and society. They are not given secondary status as we can see in our families or around us in the society.

Ms. Anuja Sinha, Director and Anchor, TCN Media

भारत में आज भी स्त्री का स्थान दूसरे नंबर पर है क्योंकि भारतीय समाज पुरुषों के द्वारा ही संचालित होता रहा है और कहीं ना कहीं स्त्रियां स्वयं भी जिम्मेदार हैं| उन्हें स्वयं को उपभोग की वस्तु के दायरे से बाहर निकलना होगा| वैचारिक रूप से स्वतंत्र होना पड़ेगा|

डॉ. सुषमा चौधरी, अध्यापक, संस्कृत, कमला नेहरू महाविद्यालय, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

The position and status of women in society has been changing from time to time. In Vedic India, woman was considered like a goddess. With time, the position of women received a set- back. But in modern context, women no longer depend on others. Education has raised her status. She holds equal status in society.

Ms. Suruchi Sharma, Teacher, Modern Public School

हिन्दू संस्कृति को जीवंत रखने का श्रेय नारी को ही है। नारी को परिवार का हृदय और प्राण कहा जाता है – न गृहं गृहमित्याहु गृहिणी गृहं उच्यते ।

श्री विकास शर्मा, तदर्थ अध्यापक, संस्कॄत, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

Women are a perfect combination of strength and beauty. 

Happy Women’s Day !!

Mrs. Rekha Khandelwal, Housewife, Mumbai

Indian Festivals based on the Concept of Yajña (Part-III)

Continued from Part-II

-Sh. Anand Gaikwad

Festivals during Māgh, Fālgun, Chaitra and Vaiśkha:

Mahāśivrātrī: This festival is celebrated on the 14th day of Kriśna Pakṣa in Māghmās. This is celebrated with great pomp and glory at twelve Jyotirlinga places i.e. Kedarnāth, Baidyanath, Kashi Vishwanath, Somnath, Mallikarjuna,  Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Nageshwar, Ghrishneshwar, Tryambakeshwar, Bhimashankar, and Rameshwar. When the twelve Jyotirlingas come for discussion, I must mention their importance for Suvrushti Projects. “Suvrushti’ means ideal, adequate and well-distributed rainfall. The inspirational Research Paper which has been the basis of Suvrushti Pojects undertaken by Vedāśram; was the paper submitted by a primary teacher from Bihar in 1950 to our then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The summary findings of this research paper was that Twelve Jyotirlingas are the Holy Fire Places (nodal centres of Sacred Fires) which attract and accelerate the Monsoon Cycles in Bhārat Khand i.e. India. If a series of Somayāgas are performed during dry season (Rain Conception Period) at these twelve Jyotirlinga places, Bhārat Varsha will get Suvrushti-timely, adequate and well-distributed rainfall during wet season throughout the country. This theory and RCRD Theory of Varāh Mihir were validated during the Suvrushti Projects undertaken by Vedāśram in 2005-06 and 2015-16. The reports of these Suvrushti Projects have been published in Asian Agri-History Journal published by Asian Agri –History Foundation.

On the day of Mahāśivrātrī in the ceremonial pūjās, Devas are invited, Śiva is invited, Yajñā is performed. Offerings are made with chants and devotional songs. Rudra Swahakars are performed at most of the places. At our Homa farm we also organize” Rudra SwahakarYajñās” periodically but not necessarily on Mahāśivrātrī Day.

“Rudra Swahakar”Yajñā being performed at the Farm

Holī: On the full moon day of Fālgun, Holī is celebrated throughout India. Holī has religious, philosophical, spiritual and seasonal significance. In India, the Agri-eco production system has basically two cropping patterns in a year i.e. Kharip crops and Rabbi crops. Kharip crops mature during Aświn-Kārtik (Oct. /Nov.) and Rabbi crops mature during Fālgun to Vaiśkha (Jan. to April). It is our Vedic tradition that new produce of crops is first offered to Agni Devatā and Sūrya Devatā which are the main sources of cosmic energy and then we start having it as food to nurture the life bio-energy within us.  In Sanskrit the word ‘Holak’ means raw (just reaching maturity stage) cereals and grams roasted in bonfires of dry cow-dung patties, wood and grass stalks (remains from the fields). Holī as a colourful festival has significance in many ways. The first and foremost is the process of Yajñā. Holy Bonfires are lit and offerings of sweets and snacks prepared from new season’s crops are made to Agni Devatā and Sūrya Devatā. Incense sticks and lamps are lit and sacred fires, which represent success of good over evil, are circumambulated thrice with slow pouring of water from the containers. The next day is celebrated as “Dhulīvandana” where, ’Bhūmi’ or ‘Prithvī’ is recognized and appreciated. From Dhulīvandana to Rang Panchami it is celebrated as a colourful festival representing colours of spring flowers and nature’s beauty and bounty. It is a joyful festival of throwing on or smearing others with colours without any discrimination. In the bonfires, old furniture, dead wood, prunnings of trees and waste material of crops are burnt as and by way of “Holikā Dahan” for “Space Clearance” (discarding old and welcoming new).

From Puraṇas, one story which is associated with “Holikā Dahan” is the story of Bhakta Pralhād and ‘Dhundha’ or ‘Holikā’ Hiranyakashyapu’s sister. Holikā had a boon that she will not get burnt in fire i.e. she had protection from fire. Hiranyakashyapu, the Rakṣasa was against the worship of Lord Vishnu by his own son Pralhād. Since Bhakt Pralhād was not ready to give up worship of Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashyapu ordered that Pralhād be burnt alive. For that purpose he made Holikā to take Pralhād in her lap and lit a big fire. But with the grace of Lord Vishnu Pralhād was saved and Holikā got burnt into the fire, thus representing the success of virtue over vice.

Jyotir bhaskar Jayant Salgaonkar, the founder and author of, “Kālnirṇaya Panchāng” (published in many Indian Languages) describes in his book, “Dharmbodh” a ‘Vrita’ or ’Anuṣṭān’ (practice) called “ Vanhi Vrita” which is related to Agnihotra / Yajñā. Vanhi Vrita is started on the 14th day of Fālgun Kriśna Pakṣa or one day prior to Fālgun Amāvasyā. On this day an idol of Agni made from any metal or five metals is worshipped and offered cow-ghee, til (sesame seeds) and sugar with mantra, “Agnaye Swaha!”. Agni is worshipped because Agni is the connecting link between man and Devatās like Indra, Varun, Ādi Śakti, Lord śiva and Vishnu. During Holī all elements i.e. Prithvī, Āp, Teja, Vāyu are worshipped and readiness is made for celebration of the fifth element,’ Ākāś’ on the following first day of Chaitra i.e.’ Gudi Padava’ by hoisting well decorated/adorned Gudis or flags pointing towards Ākāś’or Space, which is the mother of all other elements, for auguring well the  “ New Year” as per Hindu Calendar.

Rāmnavamī Navrātra: This is celebrated as birth-day of Lord Rāma. In some parts of the country Yajñās like, “Vishnu Yāga” are performed.

Akśaya-Tritīya/Paraśurām Jayantī: Akśaya-Tritīya is supposed to be an auspicious day as per Hindu calendar. On this day also some Yajñās/ Homas are performed. Lord Paraśurām had initiated Param Sadguru Shri Gajanan Mahāraj of Akkalkot Maharashtra, to rejuvenate the Vedic Yajñā system and also the Vedic Way of Life. Followers of Param Sadguru Shri Gajanan Mahāraj perform Havans on this day while celebrating Paraśurām Jayantī.

Vedic Yajñā System and Festivals based on the concept of Yajñā:

Our Vedic Yajñā System broadly consists of Yajñā  performances during “Sandhi Kāl” or “Sankraman Kāl” as Nityakarmas for restoration of atmospheric order, ecological and seasonal balance and ensuring Suvrushti  i.e. good, adequate and well–distributed rains –“ निकामे निकामे न पर्जन्यो वर्षतु-“ “Nikame Nikame Nah ParjanyoVarśatu!”. Apart from these Yajñās there are various Naimittik or Kāmya Yajñās which are prescribed in Vedic system including Homas and Havans which form part of Sixteen Hindu Sanskāras. The Yajñā System for ecological balance, good rains etc. consists mainly of the following :

  1. Agnihotra (Smārta/ Shrouta)— ‘ Nitya’ Daily at the time of sunrise and sunset as per circadian cycle.
  2. Darshya-Poorna Māsya (Smārta/ Shrouta Eshti )— ‘Nitya’ Fortnightly  on Full-Moon/ New Moon Day as per Moon Cycle.
  3. Chaturmāsya Yāga (Shrouta Eshti )—‘Nitya’ during Sandhi Kāl i.e Transition Period of change in Seasons as per Cycle of Seasons. This is also called as Medicinal Homa for healing the Atmosphere.
  4. Somayāgas– ‘Nitya’ during Sharad Ṛtu and during Vasant Ṛtu.” वसंते वसंते ज्योतिस्तोमेन यजत” –“ Vasante Vasante Jyotistomen Yajat!”.
  5. Parjanya Yāga—‘Naimittik’- During Rainy Season when one or two Nakṣatras have gone dry and Bhūmi is “Vrishti Kāmu”, i.e, when the land is desirous of rains for sowing new crops (new life).

( Nitya = Regular ,  Naimittik = Occasional for specific purpose)

From the above it will be clear that Agnihotra can be performed individually by anybody, however for performance of Shrouta Yajñās, particularly so in case of “Sapt Somayāgas”, you require Ritwijas well versed in all Vedas. Our great Rishis had anticipated that if Shrouta Yajñā System gets dwindled or out of practice for whatever reason at least the festivals based on Yajñā Concept will be celebrated by mass-participation; for the purpose of keeping Atmospheric Order and Ecological Balance and also to safeguard cultural traditions. Since Yajñās are related to environmental protection, purification/ restoration of atmospheric order, ecological balance and ensuring good rains during Monsoon Season it is important to understand the relevance of Verse 28 and Verse 30 of Chapter 21 of Brihat Samhitā:

भद्रपदाद्वयविश्र्वाम्बुदेवपैतामहेष्वथर्क्षेषु |

सर्वेष्वृतुषु विवृध्दो गर्भो बहुतोयदो भवति ||२८||

“Bhadrapadādvaya Viśvāmbudeva Paitā Maheṣvathkṣerṣu \

Sarveṣvṛtuṣu Vivṛddho Garbho Bahutoya Do Bhavati  \\28\\

The Rain-foetus that develops when the Moon stands in any of the five asterisms viz. Purvabhādra, Uttarabhādra, Purvaṣadha, Uttaraṣadha and Rohiṇī in any season will yield plenty of rain. Also

मृगमासादिश्वष्टौ षट् षौडश विंशतिश्र्चतुर्युक्ता |

विंशतिरथ दिवसत्रयमेकतमर्क्षेण पन्चभ्य: ||३०||

Mṛgamāsādiśvaṣto  Ṣat Ṣodaś Vimśatischaturyuktā |

Vimśatiratha Divasatraya Mekatamarkṣeṇa Panchabhyaḥ ||30||

Rain-foetuses coming into being when the Moon is in conjuction wih any of the aforesaid asterisms during the month of Margaśirṣa, Pauṣya, Māgh, Fālguna, Chaitra and Vaiśakha; will yield rain after 195 days for 8,6,16,24,20 and 3 days respectively.

Thus celebration of and participation in the festivals based on Yajñā concept by masses ensures restoration of Atmospheric Order, Eco-Seasonal balance and good rains during the rainy season. This is the great wisdom and sagacity of our Ṛṣis and Seers in interweaving seamlessly the festivals based on Yajñā concept in our social and cultural life. Therefore these festivals should be celebrated with proper understanding of the Yajñā concept incorporated into them and not simply by way of fun and frolic or introducing any pervert way of celebration. The sanctity of Yajñā, Agni Devatā and Sūrya Devatā has to be kept in mind in the joyful celebrations of these festivals.

References:

  • Panditabhushan Sastri VS & Bhat MRV, “Varāh Mihir’s Brihat Sanhita” With an English Translation  and Notes . V.B. Soobbiah & Sons Bangalore City.1946.
  • Jyotirbhaskar Jayant Salgaonkar, “Dharmbodh” (in Marathi) Jaya Ganesh Mandir  Nyas, Medha Malwan, Dist-Sidhudurga Maharashtra 2011.

Sh. Anand GaikwadKrishi Bhushan Sendriya  Sheti  M. S. & Retd. Executive Director/Company Secretary

Indian Festivals based on the Concept of Yajña (Part-II)

Continued from Part-I

-Sh. Anand Gaikwad

Festivals based on the concept of Yajñā during Aświn and Kārtik :

Sh. Anand Gaikwad along with his wife performing Yajñā

Durgā Pūjā/ Navrātrī: During Durgā Pūjā, Mā Durgā i.e. Ādi Śakti is worshipped. Mā Durgā is worshipped in different forms starting with Śailputrī Devī on first day. The second day is Brahmachāriṇī Pūjā and subsequently Chandraghaṇṭā is worshipped for peace, tranquility and prosperity, Kuśmānḍā for cosmic energy, Skandamātā as a relationship between mother and son. She is also called as Padmāsīnī since she is seated on lotus flower. On day six she is worshipped as Kātyāyīnī, on seventh day as Kalvatri or Mā Kāli and on eighth day as Māhā Gourī the eighth form of Māhā Durgā.Durgā Saptaśati Japas and Havans are performed for “Nav Cadī”, “Śat CadiYajña. Durgā Pūjā is not considered complete without the performance of Havans. In these havans samidhās of Yajña-Vṛkśās are used and different types of havan samugrī are also used which is prepared from aromatic and medicinal herbs.

Daśherā: This day is celebrated as Vijayā Daśamī i.e. success of good over evil. It is considered as a very auspicious day as per Hindu calendar therefore new possessions are acquired. Some Naimittika Yajñas are performed for material well being, health, wealth, peace and prosperity. In agriculture sector, sugar factories worship and start boilers on this day for subsequent starting of new crushing season. This practice is prevalent in Maharashtra, which produces about 35% to 40% of the total sugar produced in the country.

Dīpāvalī:  Festival of lights celebrated by Indians all over the world. The first day of Dīpāvalī is called Vasubaras when, “Savatsā Dhenu“ i.e. lactating cow with young calf  or  entire cow family is worshipped. During ancient times the wealth and prosperity were measured in terms of or judged on the basis of number of cows one possessed. Therefore, ‘Godhan’ was first worshipped before worshipping any other type of ‘Dhan’. For establishing divine relationship and complete integrity with our Homa Farm and Family, we have started performing Havans on Rigveda 10.169, Atharvaveda 4.21 & 3.14 as a part of cow pūjā on Vasubaras day at our farm. Although no specific types of Yajñas are performed during Dīpāvalī days, the houses and surrounding premises are decorated with flowers, mango/ banana leaves, electrical lamps and oil/ ghee lamps are lit to celebrate it as a festival of lights. On Lakṣmī Pūjā Day and Kārtik Pratipadā, flowers, sweets and preparations made from new harvests, dryfruits etc. are offered to the deities as a part of pūjā.

Sh. Anand Gaikwad while worshiping cow

Sankrama Kāl Festivals: This is a transition period when the Sun starts entering Uttarāyaa and Sankrama. Festivals based on the concept of Yajña are celebrated throughout the country under different names.

Māgh Bihu and Meji Fires: Māgh bihu is celebrated in Assam during January to mark the end of harvesting season. It is a thanks-giving celebration to the nature’s bounty as the granaries are full after harvesting the first new crops of the year. On or before the day of Sankrāntī Bellaghars and Mejis are prepared by menfolk with Bamboo sticks and other wood / grass material. Beautiful make-shift cottages in the form of Bellaghars are prepared.People stay overnight in these Bellaghars, enjoys feasts and next day the Bellaghars are lit. The ashes are spread in the fields, rivers and trees for improving soil health and bringing luck for better harvesting next season. On the day of Sankrāntī people gather together in their fields at very early hours and do Meji fires. Meji fire is a ritual in which Agni is worshipped. All the offerings are placed in front of Meji and one of the elders of the community does the honour of lighting up the Meji. A thick cloud of smoke covers the area and the crackling sound of burning bamboos is heard. While the sacred Meji fires burn, people greet each other and enjoy the feasts. Womenfolk distribute the offerings placed before Meji fires as Prasādam.

Lohri: Every year on the previous day of Makar Sankrāntī in Punjab, Haryana and north-western region, the harvesting festival celebrated is known as “Lohri”. This commemorates the passing off of winter solistice and Lohri represents the largest night before the end of winter solistice followed by the shortest day of the year in Māgh as per Hindu calendar. Although Punjab is known for production of wheat, this festival is related to the sugarcane harvesting after the crop reaches the maturity. Sugarcane products such as jaggery and gachak are essential for Lohri along with groundnuts which are also harvested in the season. Traditionally people eat chikki, gajak, sarso dā sāg, makkai de roti, raddish, groundnuts and jaggery during the festival. Lohri celebrates fertility and joy of life. Harvested fields and farmyards are the central attraction. The farmyards are lit up with lights and bonfires. Folk dances are a part of the festival such as men perform Bhāngara whereas women perform graceful Giddā dance. People circle around the bonfires and offer sugarcane, puffed rice, popcorn etc. while performing folk dances with songs and prayers to Agni. The prayers to Agni Devatā are for his blessings for prosperity and fertility of land. The fire signifies the spark of life and prayers are said for goodwill and abundant crops. They also shout, “Ādar Āye Dilather Jāye” i.e.” Let the wealth, prosperity, honour come and poverty vanish.”

Pongal: Pongal is celebrated as a harvesting festival with glory in Tamilnadu, Puducherry, Sri Lanka and by Tamilians. This harvesting festival is dedicated to Sun God. In Tamilnadu it is a four-day festival called “Thai Pongal” usually celebrated every year from 14th to 17th January. It corresponds with Makar Sankrāntī which is celebrated throughout India. Thai Pongal is mainly celebrated to convey appreciation and gratitude to Sun God for bountiful crops and their successful harvesting. Part of the celebration is boiling of the first rice of the season as an offering to Sun God i.e. “Sūrya Mangalam”. The four day Pongal celebrations are Bhogi, Thai, Maatu and Kannuml. On “Bhogi” day, people discard old belongings and celebrate new possessions. Houses are cleaned, painted and decorated to give a festive look and the farmers keep medicinal herbs, neem leaves etc in the north-east corner of each field to prevent crops from diseases and pests.

The main event, “Thai Pongal” takes place on the second day of four day celebrations. On this day, milk is cooked in a vessel and when it starts bubbling and overflowing, freshly harvested rice is added and cooked, as an offering to Sun God. The day marks the start of Uttarāyaṇa i.e. when the Sun enters the 10th house of Indian Zodiac viz. Makar or Capricorn. “Maatu Pongal” is celebrated to recognize and appreciate the cattle for providing dairy products to human beings and fertilizers, labour and transportation for agricultural operations. Cows, buffaloes, oxen are bathed, decorated and fed with mixture of Pongal, jaggery, honey, banana and other fruits. “Kannum Pongal”, the fourth day of the festival marks the end of Pongal. The word ‘Kannum’ in this context means ‘visit’. Many families hold reunions. Villagers visit relatives and friends while in the cities people gather on beaches, theme parks and gardens. The exchange of greetings and gifts take place and the joyful atmosphere prevails in all households.

Makar Sankrāntī: The sun’s entry  in Makar Rāshi and starting of Uttarāyaa is celebrated as Makar Sankrāntī or “Sankrama Parva” in Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, while it is celebrated as, ‘Uttarāyaa’ in Gujarat and Rajasthan. In Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated for four days like Pongal in Tamilnadu. The fourth day here is celebrated as “Mukkanuma” for worshipping cattle. Some people also take non-vegetarian dishes on the fourth day while they do not take any non-vegetarian food during first three days of Makar Sankrāntī.

In Maharashtra, Makar Sankrāntī is celebrated not only for three days but as a Sankrama Parva it extends right up to Rathasaptamī, the 7th day of Śuklapaka of Māgh. The previous day of Makar Sankrāntī is called “Bhogi”. On this day, Bājrā rotī of Til (Bread of Pearl Millets with toppings of Sesame Seeds) is prepared and a bold dish of mix-vegetables consisting mainly of green bengal gram, carrots and various types of beans, which are the produce of new crops is prepared. On the day of Makar Sankrāntī a delicacy of “Gul Poli” (rolled Chapatti/Roti with inside stuffings of jaggery and sesame seeds) is prepared and offered in Pūjā.

During the period from Makar Sankrāntī to Rathasaptami (except the third day which is called, ‘Kinkrant’) “Haldi-Kumkum” programmes are organized and celebrated by ladies. People meet their relatives and friends and offer Laddoo made from Sesame Seeds and Jaggery with greetings for auspicious days of Uttarāyaa and for establishing re-unions and good relationships with each other. On Rathasaptami day Sun god is worshipped in the form of “Sun riding the Chariot of Seven Horses”. On this day milk is boiled in small earthen pots and allowed to overflow as an offering to Sun God. Thus, Makar Sankrāntī with extended period up to Rathsaptami is the largest festival celebrated during Sankrama Parva, while the Sun enters the Makar Rāshi.

In all these festivals the concept of Yajña is deeply rooted. The basic principle is expression of appreciation and gratitude to the nature, nature-spirits and deities for their benevolence and bounty. Sacrifice of something given by nature (Idam na mam!) for ‘Samaṣṭī Kalyān’ and ‘Mānav Kalyān’. The elements of, ‘competition’, ‘Brand building’ or ‘Conflict with Nature and others’; which are the basis of Western Approach to Agriculture or any Business activity , is totally absent here . On the contrary the concept of, ‘Sacrifice for Samddhī‘; i.e. overall prosperity, peace and happiness is very much ingrained in these festivals. Prayers for Bounty or Samddhī to Agni or Sun God are for the purpose of ‘plenty for all and sharing with all’. The concept of Yajñā in these festivals makes the fundamental difference in the Cultures.

to be continued….

Sh. Anand GaikwadKrishi Bhushan Sendriya  Sheti  M. S. & Retd. Executive Director/Company Secretary