The universal appeal of the Bharatiya Vedic Religion (BVR)/Hindu Religion
The basic tenets that any religion should have for universal acceptance is given in detail.
- Each and every follower of the religion without exception should have a clear and proper understanding of the principles governing their religion.
- It should have clear instructions of a few uniform mandatory rituals for daily life.
- Each member should have clear understanding of such rituals which should be performed with involvement. These should not be reduced to a mechanical observance at the instance of a third party.
- The rules should be so clear that they do not give any room for any misinterpretation causing unhappiness to any member be it a man or a woman.
- It should not contain any provision which would prevent any of its followers from exercising their rights as regards property, education, marriage, remarriage or religious observances.
- It should not be insensitive to personal feelings and not give any scope for persecuting individuals in the name of religion.
- It should not contain any rules contrary to the natural laws of creation or the spirit of creation. All the rules found therein should be capable of being followed by one and all under any circumstances.
The universality of our Bharathiya Vedic Religion (BVR) or Hindu Religion which contains the seven basic requirements as mentioned above, also explains in detail the various mantras and its application to seek Divine assistance and guidance whenever the human efforts failed in producing the desired results in matters such as longevity, health, wealth, progeny, valour, wisdom, universal love etc.
In our life cycle, there are three distinct phases, Childhood (बाल्यं-Baalyam), Youth (यौवनं-yauvanam) and Old age (वार्धक्यं-Vaarthakyam), that happens to the Physical Body. Specific activities like Education in childhood, marriage and enjoyment of the pleasures in youth and Tapas in old age, are the three main attributes to these three stages apart from other activities. Vidyabyasam is essentially the study of Vedas and this is referred to as Brahmacharyam. This is based on Yama, Niyama etc. which entails one to acquire the qualification and requirements for the Garhapathya Life. Brahmacharya applies to both males and females. After completing the vedic learning , both should perform Vratha – samapanam, before the marriage ceremony. After marriage they should worship Agni and other Anushtanams throughout their Lifetime and after Death offer their Bodies as oblation to the same Agni, which they were worshipping throughout their life, through their off springs. This is the essential principle of our Veda Margam.
Gayathri is considered as “वेदमाता”(Veda Matha), mother of all the Vedas. Worship of Gayathri is the most essential and basic requirement in all our observances in BVR.
The japa of Gayathri mantra is an integral part of the daily practice of Hindus. (Sandhya) This shows that our sages (rishis) attached the greatest importance to it not only in the life of those Hindus who are deeply religious and are sincerely pursuing the ideal of spiritual emancipation (moksha), but also in the life of the average Hindu who was living the ordinary worldly life and in the pursuit of happiness. Many of us, especially in India, know that real happiness can be found only within oneself, gradually transcending the illusions and limitations of the lower life and raising the consciousness to higher levels. According to our rishis, the perception of the deeper truths of life and the inner significance even of the ordinary facts with which we come in contact every day, depends not upon reason or the exercise of the lower mind but upon the higher spiritual faculty which is called Buddhi. The intellect may know all the facts but unless and until it is “illuminated” by the light of buddhi it will fail to see their deeper significance. This illumination is all the more necessary when we embark on the path of saadhana i.e. spiritual practice, for self-realization. Gayatri japam imparts this spiritual illumination and that is why our sages made this an integral part of our daily religious practices. Gayathri mantra possesses both the power of mantra and the power of praarthana and thus has both the intrinsic power (mantra sakthi) through the mere utterance alone and also an instrumental power (praarthana sakthi) which is derived from the understanding of its meaning and significance. Hence the repeated and correct chanting of the mantra is believed to be of the greatest good to the individual.
Chanting of Gayathri mantra bestows good health and clarity of thought and enhances the overall quality and capability of the person who chants it. This in turn enables the person to understand the meaning and messages of all information he comes across, in its proper perspective and help in the all-round development of self and enlighten the path to attain salvation, which is the fruit of this birth.
The Gayathri mantra occurs in all the four Vedas and is referred to in superlative terms by many sages, that it is capable of unfolding our spiritual faculties in a remarkable manner when it is used properly.
For the study of Vedas, Initiation into Gayathri through Upanayanam is necessary as a first step. Both boys and girls are eligible to get initiated into Gayathri and subsequently into study of Vedas. This period of study of Vedas is referred to as “Brahmacharyam”. During this period he/she acquires knowledge about Brahmam, this cosmos, which is creation and Brahmam’s presence in its creation as “Chit Sakti”. This Brahmacharya period prepares him for the next stage in Life, i.e. Gaarhapathya.
The word ‘brahma’ derives its meaning from the root bRhmi “ब्रह्मि” The more famous term “brhatvAt bRhmaNatvAcca brahma ityucyate budhaiH (बृहत्वात् ब्रह्मणत्वात् इत्युच्यते बुधै:) neatly explains the word brahma – Meaning, “In view of its vastness of size or extent and in view of its expansiveness, it is called as brahman by the wise”. The brahmam is so called because of its inherent ability to expand. It will thus be known that brahmam is nothing but the form of supra-conscious shakti (paracit shakti) that is the cause of this creation.
Besides the above, the vedas are also collectively known as Brahma. Education during childhood, essentially study of Vedas is termed as “Brahmacharyam”. Since control of the senses is laid down as a condition for the learning of the vedas, what is popularly known as “CELIBACY” in english has now come to be termed as brahmacarya and the true import of the word “brahmacarya” and its true meaning has been completely obscured. Today people simply know brahmacarya as abstinence or celibacy, but it is more than that – it is a period during which you acquire knowledge about “Brahmam”. Saayanaachariar, in his commentary for Atharva veda mantra (117/7), says that the one who learns the Vedas in all its intensity and observes all the prescribed injunctions rigorously, he is called a Brahmachari. The knowledge about Brahmam is “Brahma Gignyaasa”
According to the Vedas, “In the beginning, BRAHMAM, the Primordial being, the poorna Aananda Swarupam, alone was there. Desiring change, Brahmam became Two, Parama Siva – Paramaa Shakthi (Kameswara – Kameswari) and then desired to multiply manifold. Prajapathees were created after intense tapas and Prajapathees by their Tapas created this world and the entire cosmos. We are just a part of this cosmos. Brahmam entered into every element of this cosmos (Tat Aunpravisya) as Chith Sakthi, for the sheer enjoyment of its own creation”.
Maharishis of yore had understood this intutively. By doing intense Tapas they were able to literally see the nature of things, their significance and completely understand the purpose of this creation. They are referred as “SEERS” Vedas and Upanishads, which emanated from the Supreme Being, were handed down to Humanity through our Seers. In creation every individual entity attains fulfilment in its own sphere of activity. For example in the case of a tree, the seed sprouts, grows into a tree, blossoms, yields flowers/fruits etc. which is the fulfilment of its creation. Likewise in the case of Man/Woman, who has been endowed with the sixth sense apart from the common attributes, he will be able to consciously realise the fulfilment of his existence and further strive to attain “Moksham”, which is a higher state than mere “Fulfilment.”
Life envisaged in the vedas, is worship at all times using everything at one’s command for the purpose. Our great sages followed this throughout their life. Such a body is enlivened not by external agencies but by invoking the divine powers inherent in one’s own self. Ishwara is to be perceived in everything that occurs in
nature and should be worshipped in such a way which do not go against the cosmic principles of creation and continuation.
Our life consists of periodical occurrences of birth and death. Between these two major events, we continue to indulge in daily activities such as regular bath, food for nourishment, sex, education, acquisition of wealth, protection of self and the nation, business, agriculture, commerce etc. There are many more activities in which we occupy ourselves using our organs and senses of perception and cognition which are controlled by the five natural elements, days, nights and seasons etc.
Between the humans and the Divine, a very fine balance exists at all levels of manifestation. Man has a well-defined role to play in this general scheme of things. Without disturbing this delicate balance or transgressing any cosmic law of creation, leading life following the dictum of the vedas in mantras, metre, etc. and at the same time, offering each and every activity of his life to the Divine is the true spirit of BVR.