Science behind Indian Rituals

 Question – As per Hindu tradition why are widows considered inauspicious?

Gurudev – Nowhere in the Shastras it is mentioned that let me tell you. None of the Vedas Puranas they’ve all given equal rights to women. If you go to Bodh Gaya there Sita Mata did Pind Daan for Janak Rishi. Now the pandits will not let you do Pind Daan. If you are only daughter for a man and the man dies then the daughters will not be allowed to do any of the kriyas. That is not what see these many of these have come in the Middle Ages. There were also Yagnopavit in the ancient days for women also. After marriage have you seen man wear two Yagnopavitas? You know why two? One for himself one of the girl ladies also. In the ancient time that was not the thing. Parvati was described as having Yagnopavit. Sita had Yagnopavit so as original you go to original scripture we have moved away from there a lot. So there is no such thing that tilak women should not keep. When Ram returned to Ayodhya the Matas put a tilak on him. Kaushalya, Kaikai and Sumitra all three of them did aarti and put tilak on Shri Ram. At the Middle Ages you know when the invasion happened in India then a lot of changes happened because women were confined to the home they were not allowed to go to Ganga and the banks of rivers to do their Sandhya so the man said I will do your part, I’ll take your Yagnopavit also and the ladies are told no.

Significance of Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri Mantra no lady should repeat? Isn’t it? Have you heard that? I said this is nowhere it is written. Gayatri Mantra means for everybody. It’s a collective prayer. “धियो यो नः”  let our intellect be soaked immersed in Divinity, let Divinity be invoked in our intellect. This is what the mantras say. We don’t follow those things that’s why I opened it for everybody. I said everyone can do Yagnopavit, women also. Some of these Customs, rituals that people started at a later age, much later you know.

Significance of Tarpan

In Tarpan how the shraadha is made nobody understands. What do they do in shraadha? You take sesame seed and pour water taking the name of your ancestors and what do you say? Be content be content be content “तृप्यताम तृप्यताम तृप्यताम”. You may have left the body with some desires in the mind. They are like sesame seed. Just drop them. You be satisfied. When you are satisfied, your blessings will come to us and we will take care of your small desires. They are all like sesame seeds, it’s very insignificant. “तृप्यताम तृप्यताम” you take your father’s name mother’s name and “तृप्यताम तृप्यताम तृप्यताम”  three times you say. Be satisfied be content, be content so when the ancestors are content they give us blessing If you are not content you can’t give blessing to anybody. Why you come to Gurudev and swamis to take blessing? Because Gurudev doesn’t want anything because they are fully content. When you are fully content then you have ability to bless others, bring contentment to others. That is why at home whenever there is a wedding, you go to the eldest person in the house.

Question – Why did Kings build big statues and temples?

Gurudev – Only raja maharajas used to build big statues, why? When you stand in front of big statue you appear very small. So the ego, to bring the ego down build big statue then you feel you are small but all this enlightened people like rishis, munis they’ve already made small. All the 12 Jyotir Lingas are very small. Even in Shaiv Agama it is said that the statue should not be more higher than our eye level. You stand and the statue should be on your eye level. Except one or two places all the other murtis are small. You see Guruvayurappan murti is small. Only Tirupati big, that’s built by King only. Tirupati, Anant Padmanabha kshetram, Thiruvanantpuram, Srirangam and Brihadeeshwara temple one big murti. These are the four five temples where the big murtis are there. Otherwise it’s all small murti.

Why are the idols decorated? And what is the philosophy behind the murti?

See you put all the decoration there where your mind goes see if you go for window shopping right? What do you do in window shopping? Oh see jewelries and all the sarees you see it and come back home. So like that your mind is attracted to what jewelry, clothing, flowers, fragrance. So to arrest all your senses they put it all on the statue. Now when it is on the statue, you see the diamond and the emerald and all that you can’t possess them. So you have reverence for it and then what you do? You stand in front of the deity what you do? Close your eyes what does that indicate? God is inside means that one who is within you so this is an arrangement to go inward so when your all senses are arrested in one place then what you do? You close your eyes and you take the name, Mantra. So they said what is sacred, more important than murti? “ Shaligram”. Shaligram has no face. Just if there is no Shaligram then murti has no value. So in under every murti there is a yantra and Shaligram. From the murti or the figure what is important? Shaligram what is more than Shaligram is what? Mantra and mantra in the mind and this whole technique it was there to how to go inward. Now we forgot all that we got caught up in so much outside ritual, we make such whole huge noise and then we say stories which doesn’t make any sense to youngsters.

Story of Rishi Kalanemi

I tell you one small example like near Chennai if you go from Chennai to Pondicherry there is a temple on the way. The story is Vishnu Bhagwan is there and Vishnu Bhagwan there was one Rishi called Kalanemi. He had 365 daughters, large number of daughters. So his name is Kalanemi and Lord Vishnu came and he blessed him and he said I will marry all your daughters. So he married all the 365 daughters and so in this place Lord Vishnu married 365 daughters and the name of the rishi was Kalanemi. This is a symbolic deep knowledge. A rishi his name is who he is aligned to time. Kalanemi is what? one who is aligned to time and how many days are there? 365 days and 365 days of his life Lord Vishnu only occupied. Lord occupied in all the 365 days this is the secret of it. He took away all the 365 days of him. That means he lifted him beyond time this I understood but when the priest say this story people get so put off. They don’t understand why it is so? We don’t understand these things properly, the ritual.

Significance of putting crown on your head in temples

When you bow down in temple they put a crown on your head. What does it signify? When you know surrender is not when you are defeated. Usually you say oh I surrender to God means I am defeated, I am failure. Here, no. You surrender, you get a crown, you become the king when you surrender to God. You are the Lord. That means you are one with the Lord and that is the idea of these rituals but neither the person who doing the ritual understand nor the people who follow it understand and you do aarti.

Significance of Aarti

What is the significance of aarti? You say our life is like a lamp like a Jyoti let this go around you. My Lord, let my life not move away from you. Aarti means extreme pleasure. Rati means what? Pleasure. Aarti means full pleasure, full joy, full happiness and that happiness should see in the face of the people. Sometimes people are so angry, so stiff, so frowning and then I’m doing aarti. It’s the most ridiculous thing to do. Aarti means I’m extremely ecstatic. Ecstatic aarti which means full pleasure. So you do the aarti that means what? light and five or seven what is that? all my five senses or all my life let me just move around you and that is the prayer.

Significance of Tirtham

Teerth, you take teerth. Its like water is synonymous to love. There is only one word in Sanskrit “आप:” (i.e. aapah) आप: means water. आप: also means love. When we take the teerth that means I feel one with everybody that is teerth. Prasadam is “प्रसादस्तु प्रसन्नता;”. You take little prasadam and say aah I’m happy, content, no worries and there is a tradition in temple when you go to temple you should sit for a minute and then come out. You cannot go without sitting. You cannot run to the temple and come back running. Sitting means what? People used to sit and meditate. If you act as though you are sitting and you touch it and then run.(everyone giggles around)

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