|12 Chaturvarna - Chaturaashrama Dharmaas |
As Sage Maitreya desired to perform Bhagavan Vishnu’s worship in general,Maharshi Parashara confirmed that the best and easiest way do so would be to follow the Chaturvarna –Chaturaashraya Dharmas so thoughtfully designed by the Ancestral Maharshis forMaanavas all over the Bharata Varsha. As a Preamble to such worship, the Maharshi quoted Bhrigu vamshi Mahatma Auorvi to King Sagara who laid stress on fundamental principles like refrain from Para Ninda or blaming others and loose conversation against others; desire for ParaStree, Para Dhan, Para Hani, Para Himsa and so on. Then as per the categorisation of the Four Varnas viz. Brahmana- Kshtriya-Vaishya-Shudras, each human being should follow certain established principles;Brahmanas should perform Daana, Yajana to Devaas through Yagnas, Nitya Snaana-Tarpanas and Agnyadhaan and such other deeds,as also facilitate others to execute Yagnaas, teach Vedas and other Scriptures, refrain from harming others, earn livelihood as per Nyaya; maintain good relations with every one; treat a stone and other’s money as the same; and so on. Kshatriyasshould perform daanaas, Yagnaas, Adhyayana, Shastra Dharana, PrithvinRaksha, Prithvi Paalana, Dushta-Sikshana and Sishta Rakshana, practice of magnanimity and Dharma.Vaishyas are required to execute Pashu Palana or looking after cattle, trading and commerce and Krishi or farming. The deeds of Adhyanaya or reading of Scriptures, Yagna, Daana, ‘Nitya Naimishthika Karma -anushthana’or Regular Daily Deva Karyaas / deeds are also to be practised by Vaishyas. The duties of others includeNamrata and Swami Seva or service to other classes, Mantraheena Yajna, Asteya / non- stealing, gratitude, Satsanga or keeping good company, and Brahmana –Raksha; they should also receive money from other classes in lieu of services to them and worship to Devas. In addition, each and every human being should observe kindness-patience-truthfulness, cleanliness, good conversational style, friendliness, friend ship with one and all, performing good deeds without expectations, non-greediness, and of adjustment and non-complaining narure.Brahmanas can perform the duties of Kshatriyasand Vaishyas; Kshatriyas could perform the duties of Vaishyas but not in the reverse manner.
Referring to Ashrama Dharmaas, Mahatma Ourva emphasised that after ‘Upanayana’ or Eligibility to Gayatri Mantra, boys need to adhere to Brahmacharya or Celibacy in Gurukula performing Guru Seva, Vedaadhyana, Sandhyavandana to Surya / Gayatri and Agni-Upasana, Guru Saha Pravartana, Guru Susrusha and at the end offering Guru Dakshina and Guru Ghriha Nishkramana. On entering Grihastaashram after wedding, Dravyoparjana or earning money according to one’s capacity and needs migh be taken up, besides Pitrugana Pindadaanaas, Athithi (Guests) Sevas, Yagnaadi Deva Karyas, Anna Danasas, Atithi Sevas (Service to Guests), Swaadhyaaya / reciting Vedas, Putrotpatti (creation of sons),Vrata Dharana /performance of Vratas, Tirtha Yatras / visits to holy places, and so on.Grihasthas should refrain from ill-treating or talking harsh to elders, guests and well-read Brahmanas; avoid conversing with ego or bravado:
Yastu samyakkarottvevam Grihastah paramam vidham,
Sarvabandha vinirmukto lokaanaaprotyanuttamaan/
(As Grihataas perform their own duties properly, they would be eligible for achieving higher lokaas!). Thus having carried on their Grihasta duties and become grand fathers and grand mothers, persons should not hesitate to assume Vanaprastha Ashramand gradually de-link themselves with active life, eat frugally, avoid being attached to children and grand children, sleep on ground, be more and more detached, perform Deva Pujana, Agni Homa, Atithi Satkara, and Tapasya or more and more of devotionto Paramatma. The fourth Sanyasa Ashrama or Sat-Nyasa or active alignment of the Eternal Truth and the Self is called Bhikshu Ashrama in which onerelieves of oneself of Dharma-Artha-Kama principles and target on Moksha Sadhana only: he or she has to develop a mentality of fearlessness and readiness to face the inevitable end of life with a high realisation of the world being ‘Midhya’ or Falsity and the Final Goal is merger with the Supreme.
On the arrival of a human being, Muni Ourva described to King Sagara about the ‘Shodasa Samskara’ or the Sixteen Reforms of every person irrespective of the Fout Varnas.As a son is born, the primary deed is Jaata Karma besides Abhyudaya Shraaddha or for the Progress of the Child. On the tenth day of the birth of the child, the next Samskara is Naama karana. The name given to a child should have the following traits:
Naardhiheenam na chaashastam Naapashabdayutam tathaa,
Naamangalyam Jugupsyam vaa naama kuryaatsamaaksharam/
Naati hraswam naati deergham naati gurvaksharaanvitam,
Sukhocchraayah tu tannaamakuryaadtravanaaksharam/
Tatonantarasamskaara sumsruto Guruveshmani,
Yathotya vidhi- maashrityakuryaadwidhyaaparigraham/
( While giving a name to a new born, care must be taken to choose a name which should not be meaningless, unclear, bad-worded,unfavourable, inauspicious and blameworthy; it should not be too long and too short, and the name must be equally worded, and should not be difficulct to pronounce; it should sound easy and comfortable to call or write and preferrably end up with a shortened name). The next Samskara would be ‘Upanayana’ enabling Vidyadhyayana and Gurukula Vaasa; after the Gurukula Vaasa, the native should be such as to be physically and mentally fit for Wedding and Samsara.There are eight kinds of marriage viz. Braahma, Daivika, Aarsha, Praajaapatya, Aasura, Gandharva, and Raakshasa, and Paishachika. Sadachara lakshanas of a Grihasti were defined by Mahatma Ourva as gaining both Iha Loka and Paraloka. A Buddhiman needs to wake up at Brahma Muhurta, think up about Dharma-Artha-Kama-Moksha, perform the morning ablutions including Snaana, Sandhya Vandana /Gayatri –Japa, Devaa-Rishigana -Pitrugana Tarpana, Ishta Devata Puja with Pushpa-Dhupa-Naivedya, followed by Agnihotra Homa to Brahma, Prajapati, Guhya, Kaashyapa, and Anumati and so on; the remainder havya to Prithvi and Megha; Balipradana to Dikpalakas at East, South, West and North viz. to Indra, Yama, Varuna, and Chandrama; as also to Dhanvantari in Purvottara or North-East, to Vayudeva in Vayavya Kona, and so on. Further on, Anna Bali be offered to Devatas, Manushya,Pashu-Pakshi-Siddha-Sarpa- Yaksha-Daitya-Preta-Piscacha-Keeta-Patangas etc. Then Sage Ourva narrated the Bhojana Vidhana of Grihastis in great detail.
Annam balaaya mey Bhumerapaagnyanilayasyacha,
Bhavetsetatparinatam Mamaastatvayahatam sukham/
Annam Pushtikaram chaastu mamaapyavyahatam sukham/
(May this Annam or or meals taken in by me strengthen the internally-situated Tatvas of Pancha bhutas of Earth-Water-Fire-Air and Sky in me and bestow me happiness and contentment; may this Anna satisfy my Pancha-Pranas or Five-Kinds of Prana-Apana- Samaana-Udaana-Vyaanas and make me healthy, strong and fit.)
Vishnurattaa tathaivaannam parinaamaascha vai tathaa,
Satyena tenamad- bhuktam jeeryatvamannamidam tathaa/
(It is Vishnu who consumes the bhojan, it is the bhojan or the one consumed is Vishnu and Vishnu again who is satisfied with the bhojan!) After spending the time after the bhojan, the Satpurusha spends time with ‘pathana’, ‘shravana’ and ‘vishranti’ till the Sayamkaala Sandhya Vandana, Puja, Atithi Seva, Swadhyayana and so on. Mahatma Ourya prescribed a number of do’s and dont’s concerning food regulations, marital relations, significant days of festivals, ‘parva dinaas’ like Chaturdhasi, Ashtami, Amavasya, Purnima, and Surya Samkranti and so on. The Mahatma stated further:Those who perform Deva-Rishi pujas regularly, Pitru Pindodakaas unfailingly and ‘Atithi Satkaaras’ always should achieve Punyalokas.
Hitam mitam priyam kaaley vashytmaa yobhibhaashatey,
Sa yaanti lokaanaahlaada hetu bhutaan nrupaakshayaan/
(A person who could control his physical senses and converse or behave as per circumstances as a wise, less-talkative and endearing one is a source of joy; a Buddhimaan or Intellectual one, Lajjavaan or a Modest one, Kshamaasheela or who could be forgiving, a Vinaya Vidwaan or well-read should indeed deserve Urthva Lokas or higher worlds.)
Yama Gita- A Perfect Endorsement of Vishnu Bhakti