Ancient wisdom for modern times
The website www.mailerindia.com provides abundant information on the Vedic way of life that ensures prosperity and good health. Read on to find out more...
MOST SEARCH engines, including Google, Altavista, Yahoo, Rediff, Netscape, Lycos, netster.com, and AOL, return the name mailerindia.com for the search string, "The best informative portal in India". This portal is a treasure trove in areas of public interest like the Hindu way of life, astrology, numerology, Vaastu Sastra, slokas, and mantras, the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Arthasastra, Manusastra, and so on.
It points out that Hinduism is more a way of life than a specific religion and describes four stages of brahmachari (student), grihastha (householder), vanaprastha (forest dweller or hermit in semi-retirement), and sanyasi (the renounced one in full retirement) adding that the dharma of each is different. These four stages may be said to represent periods of preparation, production, service, and retirement. Brahmacharya is usually between 12 and 24 years of age. The brahmachari is a celibate, disciplined, devoted to his guru, and concentrates in his studies.
Grihasta is a householder, usually between 24 and 48 years of age. After the gurukula vasa, he graduates to the mundane world, taking a wife to assist him in his dharmic duties. Marriage is not a means to satisfy carnal craving. Instead, it is a path to spiritual glory, a sine qua non for the development of lineage a necessary link between the dead past and an unborn future that must come alive to be undertaken as part of spiritual duty with devotion (shraddha) to perpetuate the family tradition.
The duties of the grihastha include the performance of Panchmahayagna (five great sacrifices) laid down in the Manu Dharma Sastra.
Deva Yagna: (Deity Worship): The daily worship and pooja to Ganapathi, the Kuladevata, and Ishtadevata, and visiting the Kuladevata temple at least once a year.
Brahma Yagna: (Seer Worship): Each day the householder expresses his debt to the ancient sages by studying, teaching, repeating, and meditating upon at least some portions of the Vedic scriptures.
Pitru Yagna: (Ancestor Worship): Respecting ancestors, one's parents, and spouse, and getting their blessings by paying obeisance. Parentless children should perform annual shraddha (thithi) and fast during new moon and the beginning of the month, offer rice balls (pindas) to crows or in a holy river.
Those who do not know the nakshatra of their parent's death should perform thithi on the new moon day of the month of Thai, which usually falls between the second week of January and the second week of February.
These constitute remembrance of ancestors back to the seventh generation.
Bhuta Yagna: Worship of living beings by scattering grains, offering food at the threshold for animals, birds, insects, and so on, and lovingly caring for plants.
Nara Yagna/Purusha Yagna/Manushya Yagna (Guest Worship): Obligation to love and honour ties of fellowship with humanity by extending hospitality to friends, relatives or even strangers, and beggars.
Marriage is an integral part of the Grihastha, for no ritual is efficacious without the presence of the wife, the Sahadharmini.
Vanaprastha is the third stage of the elder-adviser, usually falling between the ages of 48 and 72 years. A stage comes when business, family, material life, and youthful aspirations have exhausted themselves and need to be left behind. The vanaprastha retires usually from worldly attachments to lead a life of contemplation and meditation either alone or with his wife.
Sanyasa is the fourth and solitary stage of an ascetic, usually beyond 72 years of age. The word means sam yak nyasa or total detachment from worldly pleasures, with the bare necessities to subsist. This is the last "ashrama".
The portal describes the Hindu concept of karma as the action and its reaction, further expounding how God or other superior cosmic entities never punish a creature for being "bad" nor reward it for being "good".
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(To be continued)
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