Our Vedic Scriptures recommend righteous and regulated living, i.e. a balanced life with an ultimate
spiritual goal. The paths may be many, but they are considered equal. Upanishads give practical
guidelines, to be followed in daily life. Taittiriya Upanishad, in Shishya-Anushasanam, provides a few rules, containing enduring values for living a purposeful life.
Our life will be meaningful and rewarding, if we practise
the above, as our daily discipline. The above are relevant
even today, even though our life-styles have gone very
Pancha Maha Yajna propogates 'Living in Harmony'
Taittiriya Aranyaka 2.10 says,
Pancha vaa ete mahayajnaassatati
Prataayante satati santishtante
Devayajnah pitryajno bhutayajno
Manushya yajno brahmayajna iti
"These are the five great sacrifices, which are to be
performed on a daily basis and completed. They are Deva
yajna, Pitru yajna, Bhuta yajna, Manushya yajna and Brahma
Meaning of the term 'Yajna
' evolved from 'ritual sacrtifice
to any 'personal attitude and action or knowledge
' that required
devotion and dedication. 'Inner rituals
' are meant and not
the 'external rituals
'. Scriptures refer to performing one's
ordained duties in a righteous manner (dhaarmically), like a sacrifice (yajna), or a yoga, free from attachment,
without expectation of results. In a wider sense, yajna, may refer to any good act performed for general
welfare. In fact, one is expected to live the whole life as yajna, by performing acts of general welfare.
Pancha Maha Yajnas mentioned above are the minimal
practices, to guide a person in everyday life, ensuring
peace, material and spiritual prosperity. These are
acts of kindness and sympathy, teaching one to serve
others. These can improve one's interactions and
rapport with others.
refers to worship of the gods, showing
our gratitude towards God. This pertains to our daily
prayers for the welfare of all living beings. Deities
controlling the various aspects of Nature are saluted
in vedic ways. The pleased Deities, in turn, will fulfil
the desires of mankind.
is paying respects to our ancestors and
serving the parents / elders. The life of one's
forefathers can motivate one as an inspiration and he
will continue his family values. One's gratitude towards
Pitrus is shown by offering libations.
is showing our reverence to other beings
and also nature. Offer food to dogs, birds, insects etc.
This is to insist sharing of our food with others, who
are distressed. Manu Dharma Sastra propagates this
noble practice, to take care of our environment,
maintaining balance and harmony in the Universe.
is sharing our food with the guests
to our house, the poor and any fellow human being.
Service to man is service to God. The attitude of
hospitality is insisted.
Brahma (Rishi) yajna
Acquisition of knowledge
through study of scriptures and spreading them to
others are also included here. Our vedic culture is to
be thoroughly understood by us and then handed over
to the future generation. Studying scriptures daily
refreshes one's mind.
It is said that human beings commit sins
unwittingly also and to expiate such sins, the
Pancha Maha yajnas are prescribed as daily
Rituals performed with Agni and other
sacred items purify the air and environment.
Acquisition of knowledge, refinement of character,
awareness of righteousness etc are some of the
benefits of the daily disciplines prescribed by our
ancestors. Peace and happiness will spread to our
immediate neighbourhood first and then to the whole
universe, as well.
Reference : Vedanta Kesari, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai
Picture Courtesy : sanskritcultureofindia.com