Thursday, September 13, 2012


The stipulations are numerous in the dharma SAstras in respect of every aspect of human life starting from birth to death. Different Rishis have said in different time periods so many varied things based on the yuga dharma. On an analysis of all these, I have come to the conclusion that there are more points of divergence rather than convergence based on the opinions of these Rishis. Of course, on the substratum of dharma there is uniformity. But on the detailed procedures to be followed, there are so many differences. This is there not only in the Grihya SUtras but also in the Srauta SUtras which deal with performance of yajnas. There are variations based on region, philosophy, sub-sect, kula AcAra and so on.

A brAhmaNa has to perform 40 samskAras besides the daily routines of karmanushthAna from dawn to dusk. This includes 7 pAka yajna, 7 havir yajna and 7 soma yajna. There is also the panca mahA yajnas in terms of deva yajna, pitru yajna, bhUta yajna, manushya yajna and brahma yajna. One has to do 96 pitru tarpaNas in a year. In addition, the SrAddhas have to be done. All these become mind-boggling in the modern times considering the fact that there are no kings to support the veda brAhmaNas and each one has to struggle to earn and maintain his family. Thus "udara nimittam bahu kruta vesham" is the order of the day.

In the modern world, most of the productive time in one's life is spent in materialistic learning and earning. In addition, he has to do the nitya, naimittika and kAmya karmAnushthAnas and also something to take care of his own salvation in terms of understanding Atma vidyA, Bhakti marga and so on.

Even by performance of all the 21 yajnas after learning the 4 vedas and 6 VedAngas, one does not attain the abode of the Supreme. He can rejoice in Heaven for a stipulated period but he has to take birth thereafter. Here the question of approaching a particular upAsana devatA comes to the forefront. There also a lot of approaches exist.

The life of a human being is too short to handle all these properly and before he comes to some definite conclusion, he passes away abruptly due to disease or accident. The vicious circle of samsAra hounds him for ever.

Considering the problems confronted by the modern vipra, we have to devise some ways and means of helping him out within the ambit of the dharma SAstras by following the essence and spirit of the same. Over a period of time a lot of practices have undergone changes. In the modern times, what is to be done by a person, how and when is something that we have to examine seriously and cautiously.

In my humble view, something more focused on the essence rather than on the form of karmAnushthAna could be worked out within the parameters of the dharma SAstras. This is a very serious, massive and long-term exercise which cannot be done through on-line forums. We need to have the guidance and collaboration of existing authorities on dharma SAstras so that some thing more pragmatic can be worked out as an alternative to those who are not in a position to fulfil the rigors of dharma SAstras due to various factors beyond their control.

Kindly note that we are not suggesting changes to dharma SAstras per se but we are trying to guide people as to what best they can do as an alternative if they are under circumstances where it is not possible to comply strictly with the stringent provisions of dharma SAstras. This will be a great and timely effort which requires the co-operation and support of all vipras so that something tangible and meaningful can be attempted with the grace of the Supreme.