Samdhya Meditation and Agnihotra

Vaidya Sundaram vaidya_narayanan at YAHOO.COM
Tue Oct 30 04:57:29 CST 2001

 Let me give you my 2 cents worth on why I think the Arya Samaj is not
respected -
 look at your original mail:

> > > I studied in an Arya Samaj school in India where we were taught to
> > > perform Samdhya. We did this once a week.

 Either they knew it had to be done three times a day and did not teach it
(which is why they should be chastised for giving you less than 1/(7*3) of
the truth) or they did not know it themselves (which is why they are not
mostly respected by traditional schools of learning the vedas).

 Now, I don't claim I do my sandhyavandhanam three times a day - I do not do
it in the afternoon since I have to, like several others in this list, earn
my living in non-brahmanical ways. But that's my fault. I can, I just
don't - but atleast the feeling of guilt makes me want to surrender my ego
more to HIS will, not have pride that I do it atleast this many times ...
It's not the fault of the Kanchi madam which taught me that I have to do it
three times a day, taught me the meanings of the mantras and the kriyas
employed etc., they have taught me that it is sooooooo important that even
if I have to offer **sand** as arghya, I still have to do it ... it is
better to know this level of truth than to learn abstractions.

Now, when given this argument, the counter argument I usually receive is
"did I learn calculus and quantum physics in a day? was it not taught in
steps??" - the response to that, if that's what you are going to say also,
is this: No, I did not learn it in a day, but what I learnt each day was
never contradicted the following day - every step of the way was correct,
and only lead to further understanding; so also here - I am (as we all are)
taught by the tradition to do this sandhya atleast, then we can graduate,
when the time is right and I am ready, to doing only the pranava.

As as aside/example, there are some schools today which advocate the
chanting of the pranava by itself - if you (or any other reader does this)
PLEASE DON'T - it causes lack of interest, laziness and dis-satisfaction,
but does not give rise to viveka. The pranava for grihastas has to be
chanted only with the such mantras as the gayathri or the panchAkshari or
panchadasAkshari etc ... never by itself. So ...

> How this is relevant to the Advaita-L email list? Well, the Arya Samaj
> school was instrumental in sowing in me the *seed* of inquiry and that has
> eventually led me to be part of this list. I don't think that's a small
> achievement.

 If they sow a wrong seed, it's worse than having not sown a seed at all,
for they make you complacent inspite of knowledge, as opposed to just plain

> > > We were also taught how to perform Agnihotra Havan (we had to learn
> > > mantras and recite them in exams and also perform the actual

 Unfortunately it is popular belief, that when it comes to performance of
homam (a.k.a havan), that mantra is sufficient, and that kriya is
subservient. IT IS NOT. Kriya is just as, if not more, important as the
mantras. If the husband is sick and therefore cannot do his ritual daily
offereing, the shastras require that the wife perform the "kriya" atleast
and offer oblations to the fire although she may not know the mantras, and
even if she does, is not allowed to chant the vedic mantras. So ...

Yet another aspect is where I have been in arya samaj gatherings where they
"read" mantras from a book, like they would read a magazine, as though it
was prose, and sometimes using their imagination for rhythm ... this kind of
"recitation" of the mantras is worse than not doing it all.

The post from Jaldhar, and my post now, I think, will hopefully mean that we
**all** place more emphasis on the traditional methods of learning, even if
it is very little, than on the newer versions which aim to teach you more at
the cost of the quality of teaching.

bhava shankara desikame sharaNam

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