Karma is doing your duties as delegated by Vedas. Life is divided into four ashrams or stages of orders:
Humans are divided into 4 Varnas according to the work done by them. Maharishi Dayanand in his book Rig Ved Adi Bhashya Bhumika (varna ashram vishya) states that:
"Yah vishesha janna chaiye ki pratham Manushya jaati sabki ek hai"
It is important to know that human caste is only one and is the same.
"Manushya jaati ke Brahmin, Kshtriya, Vaishya, Shoodra ye varna kahate hai. Vedriti se inke do bhed hai - Ek Arya aur doosra Dasyu. Arya arthat shrestha aur Dasyu arthat dushta swabhav yukta manushya ke ye do bhed jaan le"
Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shoodras are the Varna of human caste. According to Ved humans are divided into 2 groups namely Arya and Dasyu. Arya means person with noble and benevolent qualities and Dasyu means person with bad qualities.
"Inka naam varna isliye hai ki jaise jiske gun karm ho, vaisa hi usko adhikaar dena chaiye"
These are called Varnas because whatever the qualities and work of a human being is; accordingly they should be classified.
The four Varnas are as follows:
"Mukhbahurupjjanam ya jatyo loke bahih. Malechvachashcharyavachah sarve te dasyavah smritah". Manu Smriti 10/45
Whoever does not fall in the work category of the 4 varnas and renounces benevolent karmas (duties); whether their name is of cultured or any other language is called a Dasyu.
There are 16 Sacraments in human life according to Vedas. But before we explain the sacraments lets explain the scientific aspects of Agnihotra or Havan or Homa or Yajna (Adhvar). [As per Nirukta 1/8 "Adhvar eti yajnanaam. Dhvartihinsakarma tatpratishedh" The name of Yajna is Adhvar and the meaning is nonviolent work.]:
First of all we should understand that fire does not destroy the material put into it, instead as per scientific view it converts the gross object into atoms or more precisely electrons. Whatever we put into the fire in the process of Yajna is converted into the atomic particles and spreads in the atmosphere within the house. We can identify some and can not identify others. For example; if we carry a chilli in our pocket, nothing happens to anybody but if we start powdering it, almost instantly we start sneezing and if we put it in the fire everyone inside that house will be troubled. Why would they be troubled? Because it is the function of the fire to break the gross object into atomic particles and the particles instead of being limited to one place spreads in the atmosphere of the house. Similarly, the objects put into the fire during Agnihotra spreads into the home atmosphere. Also the qualities of the object increases when put into fire. Fire has the qualities of turning the object into ‘Quantitative’ and ‘Qualitative’ Particles. For example, a doctor prescribes the vapours of equilyptus oil for coughs etc. because the qualities of the oil increases when mixed with the vapours of water or when it is put into boiling water. This is used in Allopathy, Ayurvedic and Homoeopathy treatments.
Now the question arises that how does the atomic particles affect the health of a person?
The answer is simple, a person’s health depends on the purity of his/her blood and blood gets oxygen from lungs via heart. If the lungs have qualitative oxygen the blood will consume good oxygen and hence the body will be healthy. The opposite is the case when oxygen is consumed in stinking and polluted environments.
Now the question arises that with Agnihotra there is also a generation of carbon dioxide which is believed to be a harmful gas. Does that not make Agnihotra hazardous?
Not at all, as all of us are aware that carbon dioxide is necessary for the plants and to maintain the ecology. The carbon dioxide generated from Agnihotra contains particles of the Samagri (mixture of herbs and other products) used, which contains many medicinal and antibacterial herbs, which minimises the effect on humans and are very good for the plants health. Thus performing Yajna everyday rids the house of the harmful bacteria and gives fresh and healthy atmosphere.
Apart from destroying harmful bacteria and clearing the atmosphere, there is another use of Agnihotra – it solves the problem of rain. How it brings rain is very simple; water and ghee (clarified butter) both freezes with cold and melts with heat. Ghee has got a lower freezing point than water. The atomic particles of ghee from Havan when reaches certain height, freezes there and also force the vapours or moisture to cool down and rain. Westerners always say that if we could apply cold to the bottom of clouds, they will pour in the form of rain.
Now the question arises that if Agnihotra is useful as above, what purpose is there for chanting the Vedic mantras with it?
Now to understand about the chanting of the mantras, we first have to understand a bit about Orthopaedic treatment. In this treatment the ailments used are exercise and sound therapy (Ultrasonic or supersonic wave treatment). The equipment for sound therapy generates sound of different and varying frequencies and stimulates the part of the body that is sore and hence cures it. This treatment is normally applied for 5-7 minutes a day. The chanting of the Vedic mantras in a specified way generates the equivalent sound frequencies, hence benefiting the listeners.
Nitya Yajna as per Maharishi Dayanand's Sanskaar Vidhi in pdf format. (If unable to open please down free Acrobate Reader from www.adobe.com )
Before we start explaining the 16 Sanskaars or sacraments lets look at Shatpath Brahman 11/3/1 (this explains about the type of Agnihotra by means of conversation between Maharishi Yajnavalkya and King Janak):
"Vaak is agnihotra ki agnihotri Gou hai. Man bachda hai. Man aur vaak saman hote hue bhi nana hai. Isliye bachde ko aur maa ko ek hi rassi se bandhate hai. Shraddha tej ya agni hai. Satya aajya ya ghee hai". 11/3/1/1
Voice is the cow of this agnihotra. Mind is the calf (one who consumes the milk of agnihotra via voice). Mind and voice are similar yet different. That is why the calf has been tied with the cow using the same rope (this connotes that mind and voice both are required for agnihotra. Voice to sing the mantras and mind to meditate on the almighty and also on the good duties one will perform from now on. Devotion is termed as refulgence or fire in a agnihotra. Satya (absolute truth) is termed as Aajya (ahuti or oblation) or Ghee (clarified butter).
Janak Vaidehay ne Yajnavalkya se poocha - 'Hey Yajnavalkya! kya tum agnihotra ko jante ho?' 'Han samrat, janta hun.' 'Kya hai?' 'Doodh hi hai.' 11/3/1/2
King Janak asked Yajnavalkya "Hey Yajnavalkya, do you know agnihotra?".
Yajnavalkya replies "Yes O King".
King - What is it?
Yajnavalkya - It is milk.
'Yadi doodh na ho to kiski ahuti doge?' 'Chawal ya jo ki.' ' Agar chawal ya jo na hon to kiski ahuti doge?' 'Anya aushadhion ki.' 'Yadi anya aushadhi na hon to kis ki ahuti doge?' ' Jangli aushadhion ki.' 'Yadi jungle ki aushadhiyan na hon to kiski ahuti doge?' 'Vanaspati ki.' 'Yadi vanaspati na hon to kiski ahuti doge?' ' Jal ki.' 'Yadi jal na ho to kiski ahuti doge.' 11/3/1/3.
King - If milk is not available then what ahuti (oblation) will you give?
Yajnavalkya - Rice or Barley.
King - If there is no rice or barley then?
Yajnavalkya - Other Aushadhis (General or Gramya aushadhi's are the bushes & plants that have dried after their fruits have ripened).
King - If there is no Gramya aushadhi available then?
Yajnavalkya - Wild Aushadhis.
King - what if wild aushadhis are unavailable?
Yajnavalkya - Vanaspati (Plants or trees which produce fruits without flowering is called vanaspati. eg. gular or wild fig tree, peepal etc. The ones which produce fruit after flowering is called Vanaspatya).
King - In the absence of vanaspati?
Yajnavalkya - Oblation of water.
King - If water is unavailable then what oblation will you give?
Usne kaha - 'agar kuch na hoga to satya ki shraddha main.' Tab raja ne kaha - 'Yajnavalkya! tum agnihotra ko jante ho. Main tumko sau gayen deta hun.' 11/3/1/4
Yajnavalkya - if nothing is available then oblation of Satya in devotion is given.
King - Yajnavalkya! you know agnihotra. I'm donating you one hundered cows.
The above conversation between King Janak and Maharishi Yajnavalkya was given to resolve the problem of agnihotra in emergency as well as it highlights the significance of oblation in agnihotra. Agnihotra is not limited to improving the atmosphere and increasing the health benefits for human body but it also emphasise the feeling of tyaag (non-attachment) in humans thus suppressing the enemies of humanity like greed, lust, prejudice etc. As explained above, the physical properties of the materials is enhanced by Agnihotra; similarly by giving the oblation of Satya in Devotion (Shraddha actually means "Satya me aastha" or accepting the things as they really are) enhances the quality of Satya. In simple words if a person becomes a devotee of Satya i.e. he/she does not compromise with Asatya or untruth for material benefits, then only that person is on the path to true happiness. Below is the English translation of a quote by Maharishi Dayanand from Satyarth Prakash:
"A person who resolves to stick to the truth (Satya) at all costs, steadily rises in virtues. When his virtues raise his reputation and prestige, he becomes all the more a devotee of truth (Satya). This devotion to truth becomes an unerring source of power and greatness."
Below is a quote by Bhartrihari (A great Sanskrit grammarian, philosopher and poet):
"The worldly - wise may praise one or condemn, fortune may smile on him or frown on him, death may come at this very moment or after ages, but a wise man, does not swerve from the path of justice."
Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati has given the 5 tests of truth (Satya) in Satyarth Prakash Chapter 3 as per below:
1. The Veda and nature of God - All that conforms to the teachings of the Vedas, nature, attributes and characteristics of God is right, the reverse is wrong.
2. Laws of Nature - All that tallies with laws of nature is true, the reverse untrue; e.g., the statement that a child is born without the sexual union of its parents, being opposed to the laws of nature can never be true.
3. The practice and teachings of A'ptaas, -i.e., pious, truthful, unprejudiced, honest, and learned men. All that is unopposed to their practice and teachings is acceptable and the reverse is unacceptable.
4. The purity and conviction of one's own soul. - What is good for you is good for the world. What is painful to you is painful to others. This ought to be the guiding principle of one's conduct towards others.
5. Eight Type of evidence -
· Direct Cognizance (Praatyaksha) is that kind of knowledge, which is the result of direct contact of the five senses with their objects,* of the mind (faculty or organ of attention) with the senses, and of the soul with mind. NYAAYA Shaastraa 1: i, 4.
1. But this knowledge must not be that of the relation of words with the things signified, as of the word "water" with the fluid called "water", For example, you ask your servant to bring you some water. He brings water, puts it before you, and says: 'Here is water, Sir.' Now, what you and your servant see is not the word "water" but the object signified by it. So you have the direct knowledge of the object called water. But the knowledge must not be of temporary or transient character, i.e., not the product of observation under unfavourable circumstances; for example, a person saw something at night and took it for a man , but when it was daylight he found out his mistake and knew that it was not a man, but a pillar. Now, his first impression of the thing was of a temporary or transient nature, which gave place to permanent knowledge later on, when the true nature of the thing was revealed in the light.
2. It should be free from all elements of doubt, and be certain in character. For example, you see a river from a distance and say: "Is it water there or white clothes spread out to dry?" Or take another example, you see a man from a distance and say: Is it Deva Datta standing there or Yajna Datta?" Now, as long as you are in doubt and consequently not sure about a thing you observe, your knowledge cannot be called Pratyaksha (Direct Cognizance). To be that the element of doubt must be absolutely eliminated from it.
Briefly therefore, that knowledge alone is said to be Direct Cognizance, which is not the outcome of the relation of name with the object signified by it, nor gained under circumstances unfavourable for observation or experiment (Hence transient in character) nor into which any element of doubt enters.
· Anumaana - inference - Literally it means that which follows direct cognizance. Two things have been observed to exist together at some time and place, when on some other occasion, one of the woe is observed, the other, i.e., the unknown can be inferred.* For instance, you see a child and you at once infer that he must have had parents. Again, seeing the smoke issuing from behind a hill you infer the existence of fire. You infer the previous incarnation of the soul form observing unequal joy and sorrow in this world at the present moment.
Inference is of three kinds:-
1. Purvavat - is one , in which you reason from cause to effect, e.g., the inference of coming rain form the sight of clouds; or, again, you see a wedding and naturally infer see students engaged in the pursuit of knowledge and you infer that some day they will become men of learning.
2. Sheshavat - inference is one, in which you reason from effects to causes. Examples:- You see a flood in the river, and infer that it must have rained on the mountain from which the river issues. Again, you see a child and at once infer that the child must have had a father. Again, you see this world and infer the existence of the Spiritual cause - the Creator, as well as of a Material cause - the elementary matter. Or, again, take another example. When you se a man in pleasure and pain, you at once infer that he must have done a virtuous or sinful deed before, since you have noticed that the consequence of a sinful act is pain, and that of a virtuous deed, pleasure.
3. Aaamaanyatodrishata - is that kind of inference, in which there is no relation of cause and effect between the known datum and the thing to be inferred, but there is some kind of similarity between the two. For example, you know that no one can get another place without moving from the first, and hence, if you find a person at a certain place, you can easily infer that he must have come to the latter place by moving from the first.
· Upamaana - Analogy - is the knowledge of a thing from its likeness to another. The thing which is required to be known is called Saadhya, and tha which becomes the means of this knowledge from some kind of likeness between the two is called Saadhana
Examples: - a man says to his servant : "Go and fetch Vishnu Mittra." The latter answers that he does not know him, as he has never seen him before. Thereupon the master says :- You know Deva Datta, don't you?" Upon the servant's answering in the affirmative, his master continues: "Well, Vishnu Mittra is just like Deva Datta." So the servant went out to find Vishnu Mittra. As he was passing through a street, he saw a man very much like Deva Datta, and thought that, thta man must be Vishnu Mittra, and forthwith brought him to his master. Or, take another example. You want to know what a Yak is. Well, some one tells you, it is just like an ox. Next time you go to a jungle and happen to see an animal very much like an ox, you at once know that it is the Yak you asked your friend about. Now this kind of knowledge, i.e., knowledge of Vishnu Mittra from his likeness to Deva Datta and of a Yak from its likeness to an ox is calledUpamaana or knowledge by analogy. The words Vishnu Mittra and Yak are called Saadhya, whilst Deva Datta and ox are called Saadhana, in the above two instances.
· Shabda - Testimony (literally, word) - "The word of an A'pt (altruistic teacher) is called Shabda." NYAAYA Shaastra 1:,i, 7.
An A'pt is a person who is a thorough scholar, well versed in all the sciences and philosophies, physical and spiritual, is virtuous, truthful, active, free from passions and desires, imbued with love for others, and who is an altruistic teacher of humanity solely actuated with the desire of benefiting the world by his knowledge, experience and convictions. God being the truest and greatest of all A'ptas, HIs word the Veda is also included in shabda (Testimony).
· Itihaas - History - is that which tells us that such and such a person was so and so, he did such and such a thing. In other words, Itihaas is the history of a country or the biography of a person. NYAAYA Shaastra 2: 2,1.[The experience of the past recorded in history can be applied to solve many a difficult question of the day. - Tr.
· Arthaapatti - Conclusion or deduction. - It is a conclusion which naturally follows from the statement of a fact; for instance, one says to another: "Rain falls from clouds" or " and effect flows from a cause." The natural conclusion that can be drawn from the above statement is: "There can be no rain when there are no clouds," or "no effects follow when a cause does not exist."
· Sambhava - possibility. - When you hear a thing, the first thing that enters your mind is whether such and such a thing is possible. Anything that runs counter to the laws of nature is not possible, and hence it can never be true; for example, if you are told that a child was born without parents, such and such a person raised the dead to life again, or made stones float on the sea, lifted mountains, broke the moon into pieces, was God incarnate, or saw horns on the head of a man, or solemnized the marriage of a couple born of sterile mother. You could at once know that it could not have possibly happened, being opposed to the laws of Nature. That alone is possible which is in conformity with the laws of nature.
· Abhaava - Absence or Negation.- You infer the existence of a thing in some other place from its absence from the place where you were told you find it; for instance, a gentleman said to his man: "Go and bring the elephant from the elephant-house." He went there but found that the elephant was not there. He naturally conclude that he must be somewhere near about. So he went out and looked about for the elephant and found him not very far from its proper place and brought him to his master.
These eight kinds of evidence have been briefly described. Their number can be reduced to four if History be included under Testimony, and Deduction, Possibility, and Negation under Inference.*
It is only by means of these five criteria that a man can ascertain what is right or wrong and not otherwise.
Now lets name the 16 Sansakaars (sacraments) as per Vedic ideology: