Some Vedic sacrifices of this century
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 13 14:13:37 CST 2000
On Wed, 12 Jan 2000 17:18:54 -0600, Sankaran Jayanarayanan
<kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:
>1) The Apastamba shrauta suutra which says that it is to be performed by
>one who has the desire for svarga.
>2) Some others (YAGYavalkya, etc.) who say that it a nitya karma for the
>wealthy alone and NOT for the poor.
>Considering both the above declarations, why can we not say the injunction
>is applicable for one who has the desire for heaven AND the required
>The dharma shAstras are clear that the nitya karmas enjoined on a person
>are to be performed without desire. Why the mention of desire in the
>shrauta suutra if it is an obligatory duty? Isn't it blatantly out of
>context to mention desire regarding one's dharma?
>If the shrauta suutra is the CHIEF smR^iti to consult in this regard, why
>should it say "svargakamo yajeta" at all?
You hit the nail on its head with this one. But, not to worry,
MadhusUdana comes to the rescue! He provides the answer in his
gUDhArthadIpikA commentary on the gItA, chapter 17. In brief,
YaGYas can be nitya karmas or kAmya karmas depending on how
one does them.
First of all, the yaGYas from agnihotra to the jyotishhToma are
of two types, nitya and kAmya, as MadhusUdana says, "agnihotra-
yaGYo dvividhaH kAmyo nityashcha |"
A yaGYa may be performed either in a sAttvika way or in a
rAjasika way. (The gItA also mentions the tAmasika yaGYa but that
is not relevant here.)
When one performs yaGYas with the understanding that he is doing them
because "they have to be done and if they are impossible to do then
I may do them by the alternative rites", these are nitya karmas. In
a YaGYa done as a nitya karma, one is not doing it with any specific
desire and may do the YaGYa by an alternative (or inferior) method
if the regular method is impossible to follow. For example, the
vaishvAnarI ishhTi, as an alternative, can take the place of the
When one performs YaGYas with a desire for heaven, etc., that becomes
a kAmya YaGYa, which is classified as a rAjasika YaGYa by the gItA.
Here, the significant difference in the performance is that the YaGYa
MUST be performed by the primary method mentioned in the shAstras.
The alternative method must NEVER be used.
This means if one is a poor dvija he is off the hook as far as the
expensive yaGYas are concerned. He is not required to do them but only
the alternative. If one is a dvija who can afford the expenses,
he is *required* to do them. If, in some instance, such a man cannot
possibly do them he can get by with the alternative YaGYa.
But, for a man who has the desire indicated as the result of a YaGYa,
there is no leeway. He has to follow the shAstras to the letter in doing
This is entirely consistent with YAGYavalkya smR^iti 126 and the
mitAxarA commentary on it that I posted earlier.
bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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