vaidya_sundaram@i2.com Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM
Thu Sep 27 01:23:05 CDT 2001

-----Original Message-----
>> Is there any relevance or benefit in observing rituals such as Shraadh,
>> performing Yagnas in this age of Kali?

The rules of performing the rite itself changes, not the fact that the
ritual has to be done. For example, in other yugas, it was OK for meat to
be consumed during the shraardhas, not so for Kali yuga; the simple reason
for this is that, in kali, man is swayed by sense and his "taste" for meat
will prompt him to lie often that it is some one's shraardham and so
consume meat. It is a different issue that most people need no excuse for
a lot of things.

>> I have heard from some followers of
>> Bhakti Yoga that the age for which these were prescribed was a
different one
>> and the only way to salvation in the Kali Yuga is Bhakti. They say that
>> there are so many things to be done if one follows the way of the Vedas

As Jaldhar said, they are mis- interpreting the dharma shashtra. It is
said that among the many smritis and dharma shashtras available, the
parAshara smriti is to be taken as ideal for Kali yuga. For other yugas,
it is different. According to a quote I have heard from this (I have never
read the paraashara smriti), the performance of bhakti like naama
sankIrtan is to be ONLY AFTER the performance of ordained rituals like
sandhya vandhanam.

Also, as an aside for those interested, the mahaa prAyaschittam for the
kali for removal of several types of sins is "anna dhAnam" - giving food
away for the needy. I am told that this is because of the fact that any
one is fit to receive anna dhAnam, whereas for other types of dhAnam the
pAtram or receiver has to be carefully chosen.

> In fact we must try and control it for it is the deeds
> of the virtuous people of the Kaliyuga which will cause the next
> satyayuga.  This cycle of yugas continues indefinitely.

 As an aside to the original topic, a related question I have is whether
the cycle of yugAs is "satya - treta - dwApara - kali - satya - treta ..."
or satya - treta - dwaapara - kali - kali - dwaapara - treta - satya ..."
- The ISKCON school as well as followers of YogAnanda Paramahamsa believe
it is the latter and not the former, where there is not a step function in
dharma but a sort of sine wave of gradual up and down. Given that time is
indeed continuous, I am personally inclined to believe the latter argument
as well.

> In fact the Vedic Shrauta yajnas are not a thing of the past.  They
> continue to this very day.  (A list member said a soma yajna took place
> earlier this year in Andhra Pradesh.)  Those who practice the Grhya
> number in the tens of thousands.  I won;t lie to you.

Just the past month, in August, I personally witnessed the performance of
nAchiketa chayanam over two days; this naachiketa  chayanam is part of a
total of 6 in its class. People who are familiar with the soorya
namaskAram (aruna prashnNam?) will notice Vedic hymns such as
naachiketamagnichinvaanah ... chaatur hOtriyamagninvaanah ... (mantra
87,88 etc) all these are performed very much to this day.

For those interested, there will be a vaajapeya yajnam in November of this
year, around 16th of Nov. It is expected to be a nine day affair with 27
hotas etc. The greatness of a vaajapeya yajnam is probably obvious to
members ...

I think it is important to understand that dharma is NOT easy. It is NOT
expected to be easy. It is meant to purify the individual. If it were so
easy to extract gold from its ore, every one would have crowns made of
gold !! - going through the rigor is a must to make it pure - so also with
dharma. In to rid oneself of all accumulated vaasanas and karmas, one must
purify oneself following the rigors of dharma.

bhava shankara desikame sharaNam

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