Why should we perform Yagna was the question that was raised yesterday. Yes there are many advantages in doing Yagna. This is not a just a process where ghee and materials are poured into the fire wastefully. The ghee and materials that are offered to fire enables the air to be purified. Since the air is rendered pure the possibility of getting diseases is avoided.
K: How Yagna could purify the air?
V: The Yagna materials (called samagri) are made of four kinds of vegetable substances which are disinfectant, odiferous, sweet, and nourishing in nature. When Yagna is performed with the odiferous materials of the nature referred to, the disease causing germs get destroyed. This is called air purification. This also likely to cause rains and further improves the quality of food crops and medicinal plants. As a consequence, happiness is caused to all living beings.
K. In my view, it is more beneficial to consume nourishing foods which builds up the ability of body to resist diseases. Why burn such nourishing food items and cause waste? Where is the possibility of rain being got from Yagna?
V: It is not my case that we should not eat healthy and nourishing foods. By all means we should take them in good quantity and at the same time perform Yagna also to the best of ones capacity. As we try to strengthen the body with the food we eat, so also it is equally necessary that we should seek to strengthen and purify the quality of air. He is a sinner who does not purify the environment. He who pollutes the air should necessarily undo the same by the Yagna process. Please think over. Whatever that comes out of the body in the form of excretions be it from nose, ears, skin (sweat) and other organs are waste products which are unclean and polluting. Whereas what is taken in the form of Vegetables, Water, fruits, grains etc are all wholesome and clean. Similar is the case of the air we inhale. However what is exhaled is impure air. It is a well-known fact that air is vital to human and animal life and whereas we can survive without food and water for a few days, we cannot survive without air even for a few minutes. Once we realize the air is a vital factor to our lives it is therefore very important to see that it is kept pure. When the air gets polluted epidemics break out and the life is threatened. Hence there cannot be a better method for effecting air purification than conducting Yagna which is also called as Havan or Homa.
Further your query as to why should we burn and thereby destroy them i.e. ghee and other items, makes no sense. No matter is ever destroyed and only the form of the material undergoes change. When the water is heated evaporation takes place and only a fool would think that water is destroyed. Whereas an intelligent man understands that water is evaporated and has mingled with the air. Similarly the things that are burnt inside the Yagna kund do not get destroyed but after undergoing change they reach the air in a subtler form engaging in the act of purifying the air. They also further help the water vapors present in the air to get converted into a mass of clouds, in the same manner a heavy quantity of milk getting is converted by a dash of curds. The ghee which is unaffected by the brightest of bright sunrays helps in thickening the water vapors into clouds which bring us rains. If Yagnas are conducted regularly as per rules rains could occur to our convenience. In the past, Yagnas were being conducted strictly as per rules and therefore rains were copious. There were neither famines nor diseases as being rampant today.
K: Is it not enough that we keep odiferous and disinfectants at home? Is not the air getting purified from them? Is that the air is rendered pure only from burning? What specialty is there in burning the materials?
V: Definitely we must keep odiferous things and disinfectants at home, besides doing Yagna. The strength of materials multiplies hundredfold by doing Yagna. For proof of this statement, consider this. A person can eat chilies and withstands its pungency. But the same person cannot withstand the strong acrid smell that is emanated when a piece of chilly that is put inside the fire. He starts coughing very badly and this soon becomes a nuisance to neighbors. People start cursing the fellow responsible for burning the chilli. However if the same person performs Yagna, the neighbors start praising him for the wonderful pleasing smell being spread all around. Now you would have understood the power of materials burnt in fire. There cannot be nobler act than doing Yagna which is also called act of philanthropy done in silence. The Yagna purifies the home air where done and also the air of surrounding area. People may not will to accept the help or donation. But through Yagna a donation is received from another and this is so because the subtler gases travels to all neighborhood houses and kills the germs and this constitutes receipt of help and therefore the statement that Yagna is a silent act of philanthropy is fully justified.
K: The Sun kills the germs and removes the bad odor. Then where is the need for Yagna? Why man should intervene in things being done without his participation?
V: The celestial bodies like the sun and the moon are doing their functions without human help is true. Then why man is striving to get electricity, gas, illuminating objects etc.? Trees, plants are growing on their own and why man is striving to grow food? God has created an inbuilt system in body which could defend itself against sickness. The heart pumps and distributes the blood. Lungs purify the blood. The intestines absorb the food, create the energy and arranges for the disposal of wastes. All these activities are done methodically and involuntarily. This being the case, why man is using medicines? Why he follows food discipline when fallen ill? In fact, it is this Laws of Creation that is prompting the man to work to its advantage, the object being the welfare of human being itself. The Laws of Creation inspire the man to remove the dirt and purify air, similar to the way the sun does his job. Yagna is thus demonstrative token act which supplements and supports Nature’s purifying job.
Secondly, although the God’s machinery is operating in its own way to maintain the purity of environment, there are some primary duties cast on the part of man to be performed in this context. Can we allow garbage to be accumulated waiting to be disposed off by rains and winds? Should we allow stench to be got removed or contained by the sunrays? Then why we should have Municipal bodies? There could be number of similar questions. The moral of the story is however is that, the Man should remove the dirt that he creates. Yagna is thus an action form of such thinking.
V: The Yagna details are all described in Mantras. They are recited while performing Yagna and by doing so the Mantras are remembered and Vedas stand protected thereby. By repeatedly reciting the Mantras we develop faith in them. With the faith firmly rooted in, the corresponding action becomes stronger. With the action becoming stronger, the good sanskars of such Karma leaves a strong imprint on the soul. This enables him to realize the goal of life.
K: Thank you sister. Let us close the discussion on this. Now tell me the significance of wearing Yagnopavitha? Why people wear across their shoulders? While some wear three threaded Yagnopavitha and some other wear six threaded one. What is the secret of it?
V: Yagnopavitha is called the thread of oath (Pratigna sutra) or a thread where a person binds himself to follow a set discipline. Ideally speaking Yagnopavitha should have only three threads. These threads are joined at a knot called Brahmagranthi. The three threads stand for or represent three debts/obligations which require to be discharged. They are (1) debt that we owe towards god called DevaRin (2) debt towards parents (Pitru Rin) and (3) debt towards teachers (Acharya Rin). These debts are to be discharged faithfully. By debt towards god is meant, gratitude to God for having been born human. This is repaid by engaging oneself in praise, prayer and communion (Ishwara stutiprathanopasana) regularly. The person who does not do prayer called Sandhya, and Fire sacrifice called Havan cannot be said to be free from Dev Rin. It is not that God is going to be benefited from Sandhya-Havan. But on the contrary these activities do lot of good to the soul. By Sandhya the soul is elevated and with the Havan the body-soul both gets strengthened. He, who does not remember the agency that rendered the help, is not fit to be trusted. Hence the first thread shows the path to be free from the debt that we owe to God.
The second thread commits the wearer to serve the parents in order to be from the debt he owes to them. The third thread commits him to repay the debt he owes to his Acharya. In the other words, the Acharya who has imparted his knowledge and instrumental in showing the pious path should be served always faithfully. In addition, the three threads commit a person on other subtler points too. For ex, Knowledge, Action and Worship are the three paths by which a person could realize God. Hence, the wearer of Yagnopavitha resolves himself for realization of God thru these means. Further he resolves to overcome the three Stages of consciousness (Jagruth, Swapna, and Sushuptha) and aims to establish contact with God in the ultimate Conscious stage called Turiya.
Further, the wearer of Yagnopavitha also resolves to avail the best of Tri-attributes called Gunas( Satva, Rajas, and Tamas)so as to establish relationship with the Ultimate goal of Life i.e. God. He resolves to treat the young, the equal, and the old appropriate to their status. In other words, the old is given respect, the equal is shown love and the young is showered with kindness. There are many more issues over which the Yagnopavitha wearer resolves to perform the ordained duties.
K: What you say that Yagnopavitha consists of three threads is found to be false as I have seen hundreds of people wearing Six threaded Yagnopavitha. Further, it is possible to remember all the above oaths even without Yagnopavitha. Then why bind the man with the threads?
V: That you have seen people wearing six threaded Yagnopavitha is of course true. However it ought to have been with three threads only. In ancient times women were also wearing Yagnopavitha. But with the passage of time the selfish male dominated society snatched away the rights of women associated in this regard and also study of Vedas. They started to wear that part of Yagnopavitha that belonged to women. But thanks to Maharshi Dayananda Saraswathi, women have got back their rights with the result many Arya men and women have again started wearing Yagnopavitha. No Arya male ever wears six threaded Yagnopavitha. Yes, it is only those men who are opposed to enlightenment and welfare of women that wear the six threads.
Next, about the question as to why need the thread to be worn unnecessarily when the associated oaths could be remembered as well. This point may be likened to a case of policeman being instructed of his duties but the uniform not given. What good of uniform and badge? If policeman were not to wear Uniform and badge then what makes him different from the ordinary public? How to recognize a policeman then? How would the people submit to his authority? Hence it is important that he remembers his duties and equally important is that he wears his Uniform and Badge. The same analogy is applicable to Yagnopavitha as well. It is important to remember the duties and wear the Yagnopavitha also which is a hall mark of twice-born (enlightened Arya).
K: O.K. Why people raise it to their ears?
V: This is done only during the time they attend to the nature call. As long Yagnopavitha rests on the ear it would remind him to wash his hands/ face after done with. Once this is over, it is brought down. This way the Janeu becomes a reminder tool for cleansing.
K: Is it very necessary that it should be raised to ears?
V: Not very necessary. No harm done when raised to ears either. But the need to remain clean would be reminding. Another thing to be noted here is, if the janeu is too long the chances of getting polluted by the touch of urine and faeces are always there. Hence it is necessary to raise it ears from this point of view.
K: Well, why people leave tuft of hair on the crown of their heads? Why it is tied while doing prayer (Sandhya)?
V: The very word Shikha also called tuft in English points out that it remains at the top of body. The place where tuft is grown is called Brahmarandhra. Scholars call this place as treasure cave (Guptha kosha). In yoga parlance it is called as “Sathya”. That is the reason why we get a reference “Satyam punaatu punah shirasi”. The first thing that is done before commencing Sandhya is to knot the tuft while reciting the Gayathri Mantra. This is similar to the practice in marriage where the bride’s one end of Sari (pallu) is tied to the end of groom’s dress to indicate that the former has come over within the latter hold. The tying of knot is reflective of soul being tied in with that of God. Frankly speaking the tuft is a sign of Dharma
K: Why Hindus alone keep tufts? Why not others? Please reply its usefulness in brief.
V: I have already told that this is a sign of Aryan Dharma. Shikha (tuft) means to keep on top. Since Vedic Dharma is godly it is a sublime religion indeed! Hence people keep it as a sign of Dharma. How others whose religion is not Vedic could keep this tuft? Only those who belong to elevated Dharma alone could keep elevated symbols.
Quote this article on your site
To create link towards this article on your website,
copy and paste the text below in your page.