On this wonderful occasion of Shri Ramanavami day, I extend my warm greetings to all of you who continue to read this blog series worldwide. On this auspicious day, let us together pray to the feet of Goddess Sita Devi and Lord Rama for their abundant blessings to this world to maintain peace and happiness!
At this very important day, we are fortunate to talk about a very important aspect of the Indian Dharma, which is about the regular performance of our “Spiritual Practices”. We had started this discussion during the last episode and I had stressed upon the fact that, irrespective of whatever religion we might follow and whatever spiritual practices we are designated to perform everyday or every year, we are supposed to perform them as per the norms prescribed by our spiritual texts. But there arose a question at the end of yesterday as to why at all should we follow the spiritual practices everyday without fail? What are we going to gain out of it? We shall see the answers today!
One might conveniently pick up an argument from the Shaastras, which says that these regular spiritual practices (Nithya Karma Anushtaana) are not going to take us to the ultimate “Moksha Saamraajya” (Heaven, or Vaikunta), but only the “Bhakthi Maarga” is going to take us there. If this is the case why should at all we do our Nithya Karma Anushtaana, starting from our regular “Sandhya-Vandanam” till “Shraadha Karma” for our parents? Yes. I’m not discounting this argument and it’s perfectly correct – Bhakthi Maarga is such a highly spiritually evolved route to attain the feet of Bhagawan, however, the sins that we have accumulated over a period of numerous births would prevent us from taking the route of Bhakthi Maarga. It is to be noted importantly here that, the job of washing away our sins would not be done by Bhakthi Maarga, and this important job can be performed only by doing our Nithya Karma Anushtaana everyday. If we do our “Varnaashrama Dharma” (Regular Spiritual practices) regularly, then our sins would keep on being washed away. Only if our sins get washed away will we be able to advance ourselves into the “Bhakthi Maarga”. For instance, if there is a beautiful plant that grows on the ground, there would be numerous thorny bushes that would also grow along with this plant. These thorny bushes would absorb all the water from the soil and would prevent this plant from growing. Only if we remove all these thorny bushes from the vicinity of this plant, will the plant flower and blossom. Similarly, we too have to keep removing our sins, which are nothing but the thorny bushes and only then the flower of “Bhakthi” would be able to blossom! Just as we use a spade to remove the thorny bushes from the soil, we use the “Nithya Karma Anushtaana” as the “Spiritual Spade” to remove our sins, which are like a thorny bush. This is the primary reason as to why our forefathers and ancestors have stressed so much on performing our “Nithya Karma Anushtaana” regularly. We should make it a point that atleast for the welfare of our family and our next generation, we should perform our “Nithya Karma Anushtaana”.
Moreover, especially in the case of Brahmins, it is said that there would be no effect for any other spiritual offering that which is done without performing our regular “Sandhya-Vandanam” and it becomes invalid. Let’s keep it very simple: Performing any spiritual offering without doing the “Sandhya-Vandanam” is like adding as many zeroes before 1 (000001), and performing our other high spiritual offerings after doing the “Sandhya-Vandanam” is like adding zeroes after 1 (1,000). Which has more value? It’s for us to think and decide! 🙂
I had just mentioned that we should make it a point that atleast for the welfare of our family and our next generation, we should perform our “Nithya Karma Anushtaana”. Now there might be a question that arises here: For instance, will my mother/father attain the “Moksha Saamraajya” only if I perform the regular annual “Shraadha Karma”? Else, will they not go? The answer to this question is that, our parents are definitely not going to attain the “Moksha Saamraajya” based on what “Shraadha Karma” we do. If they’ve to depend on what we do, then probably most of our parents are not going to attain salvation at all! 🙂 If this is the case, then why should we still do the “Shraadha Karma” once a year for our parents? The simple answer is that, we should be able to attain the “Moksha Saamraajya” at the end of this birth, and atleast for this we should perform this duty to our parents. If we miss this opportunity given by Bhagawan, our sins would never get washed away and when would we be able to transcend to the “Moksha Saamraajya”? Hence, it’s not entirely for our parents that we perform the “Shraadha Karma” annually, but it’s for us to go to “Vaikunta” tomorrow! All of us should remember this important message!
Another question may arise at this stage: During our “Sandhya-Vandanam” or during our “Shraadha _ Karma” for our parents, we offer water, and other different kinds of offerings, depending on the occasion – Will this water that I’m offering, directly go and reach our forefathers and ancestors? The answer is “NO!” All what the Shaastra says is that, “If you offer the water and other offerings as part of the ritual, you have obeyed the rules and regulations of the Shaastra and thus Bhagawan is feeling happy for it”. It is thus to be noted that, only through the happiness of Bhagawan that we are entering into the “Moksha Saamraajya”. Let’s look at a simple example: We go to a bank to do a money transfer. We deposit a sum of money in the form of currency notes – Does the same currency notes reach the other person to whom we transfer money? No! However, just because we obey and follow the rules and regulations laid by the bank to transfer money, the transaction happens. Hence, we should note that it’s the “Effect” that is important here. Bhagawan says, “Shruthissrmithir mamair vaakhyaa!”, which simply means that the principles described in the Shaastras are His instructions for people in the world to follow. If we follow His instructions correctly, Bhagawan is happy. Once He is happy, automatically we would be able to attain “Vaikunta”. However, if we disobey the Shaastra, Bhagawan continues to say, “Aagnyaa chedi mama drohi!”, which means that if someone disobeys the Shaastra, he/she is an enemy to God!
Hence, the important message on this noble occasion of Shri Raama Navami is that, all of us should strive to perform our regular “Nithya Karma Anushtaana” (Spiritual Practices) without defaulting. In the next episode, we shall continue to see how King Dasharata performed the “Puthra Kaameshti Yaaga” with the help of the great Sage Rishyashringa.