Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Saturday, June 28, 2014
आजकल देश में एक नया विवाद खड़ा हो गया है। ज्योतिष व द्वारिका-शारदा पीठ के शंकराचार्य स्वामी स्वरूपानंद सरस्वती ने शिरडी के साईं बाबा को अवतार मानने से इन्कार कर दिया है।उन्होंने कहा, "साईं भक्ति अंधविश्वास के सिवाय कुछ नहीं। साईं के मंदिर बनाकर पूजा-अर्चना सनातन धर्म के विरुद्ध है। इससे हिंदू समाज के बंटने का खतरा पैदा हो गया है। साईं हिंदू-मुस्लिम एकता के प्रतीक नहीं हैं। जिन लोगों को धर्म का ठीक प्रकार से ज्ञान नहीं है, वे साईं भक्ति की बात कह रहे हैं। अपनी भौतिक आवश्यकताओं की पूर्ति के लिए कुछ लोग इस तरह के अंधविश्वास को बढ़ावा दे रहे हैं।
शंकराचार्य ने कहा कि वेद-पुराणों में कहीं भी साईं के अवतार का उल्लेख नहीं किया गया है। कुछ लोग मंदिरों व घरों में साईं की मूर्ति लगा रहे हैं, यह भगवान की आराधना नहीं है। सनातनी परंपरा में सभी देवताओं के मंत्र और यंत्र हैं।
लो साहब ! शंकराचार्य ने जैसे कोई विवाद का बंद पड़ा पिटारा ही खोल दिया है। महंतो , पंडों , तथाकथित हिन्दू धर्म के विद्वानों के दो भाग गए। कुछ साईं अर्चना के पक्ष में और बाकी विपक्ष में। टेलीविजन चैनेल को तो TRP चाहिये। बस भिड़ा दिया दोनों पक्षों को। टेलीविजन पर आने का मौका कोई छोड़ने को तैयार नहीं। हंसी आती है हिन्दू समाज के इन ठेकेदारों के इस वाद विवाद पर। भगवान को पारिभाषित करने की हौड़ है। एक ही सांस में ये ज्ञानी पुरुष वेद और पुराण को एक ही तराजू पर तौलते हैं।
सच्चाई ये है कि इंसान भगवान को खोजता है - इंसानों में , चमत्कारों में , अनहोनी में। और दूसरी सच्चाई ये है की ईश्वर इनमे से किसी में भी नहीं है। राम , कृष्ण, ईशा मसीह , पैगम्बर मुहम्मद हो या फिर साईं बाबा - ये सभी इंसान के रूप में ही परिभाषित होते हैं ; सम्भवतः विशिष्ट इंसानों के रूप में; लेकिन भगवान किसी भी तरह से नहीं सकते। इनकी मूर्तियां तो कत्तई नहीं !
चमत्कार या अनहोनी भी भगवान नहीं होते। वास्तव में चमत्कार अनहोनी कुछ होते ही नहीं ; वो घटनाएँ हैं जिन्हे अपनी अल्पज्ञता के कारन इंसान कभी समझ ही नहीं पाता। एक ऐसे व्यक्ति के लिए जो सभ्यता से दूर कहीं जंगल में पैदा हुआ हो और बड़ा हुआ हो - उसके लिए गाडी , रेल, टेलीविजन , बन्दूक सब कुछ चमत्कार है। इंसान जो कुछ समझ नहीं पाता उसे वो बातें चमत्कार या अनहोनी लगती है।
फिर भगवान है क्या ? भारत में एक सन्यासी हुआ था - स्वामी दयानंद सरस्वती। जब उसका विश्वास शिवलिंग पर स्वतंत्रता से दौड़ते , गन्दगी फैलाते चूहों को देख कर शिवलिंग के ईश्वर होने की आस्था से डोल गया , तो उसने सच्चे ईश्वर की खोज शुरू की। घर त्याग दिया। देश भर में घूमता रहा। सारे उपलब्ध ग्रन्थ पढ़ डाले। विभिन्न मतों के गुरुओं से शास्त्रार्थ किया। और अंत में अपने सारे ज्ञान का निचोड़ निकाला। और उस निचोड़ में से निकली ईश्वर की परिभाषा। और वो परिभाषा कुछ ऐसी थी -
" ईश्वर सच्चिदानंद स्वरुप , निराकार , सर्वशक्तिमान , न्यायकारी , दयालु, अजन्मा ,अनंत , निर्विकार , अनादि , अनुपम , सर्वाधार , सर्वेश्वर , सर्वव्यापक ,सर्वान्तर्यामी , अजर , अमर , अभय ,नित्य , पवित्र , और सृष्टिकर्ता है , उसी की उपासना करनी योग्य है। "
मेरी दुनिया भर के हर धर्म के पंडित , विद्वान , मौलवी , आर्च-बिशप , गुरु और धर्माचार्यों से अनुरोध है कि वो इस परिभाषा में दिए गए २० विशेषणों में से किसी भी एक को गलत सिद्ध कर दें ; या फिर कोई एक नया विशेषण जोड़ दें , जो इन बीस विशेषणों में निहित न हो। और अगर ये दोनों बातें संभव न हो तो फिर स्वामी दयानंद कृत ईश्वर की इस परिभाषा को परम सत्य मान लें। और एक बार ऐसा मान लिया तो सारे प्रश्न अपने आप हल हो जाएंगे।
इस परिभाषा की कसौटी पर तौलें हर उस व्यक्ति को जिसे वो भगवान मानने का आग्रह करते हैं - समाज के ये धर्माधिकारी। उत्तर स्वयंसिद्ध होगा !
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Gurudom (In the name of Gurus !)
As per taittiriya Upnishad, the rishi tells his disciples – “Dear children! Please follow our good deeds in your life but never follow our shortcomings. No one Is perfect; everyone has good and bad qualities. Therefore a Guru does not mean that he needs to be followed blindly. One should always trust his own intellect and should not just get indulged in blindly following all right and wrong directions of the Guru”.
In many cases, it has been seen that when a Guru dies, one of his disciple becomes Guru in his place with the same name. This is called Gurudom , which is not approved by Arya Samaj. Such systems glorify a Guru even above Ishvar.
There are Gurus who expect their disciples to drink the leftover of their drink as Prasad, the food touched by his hand or feet as Prasad- this is all rubbish, and one should be cautious of such Gurus. Guru is one who imparts knowledge and not one who gives all kind of false promises and bluff.
This is a ritual being followed by most of the hindus. This is a ritual said to be designed to offer prayers to nine planets. The concept of worshipping nine planets has been derived by misinterpreting some of ved mantras. Arya Samaj worships only Ishvar – who is the one and only God and worth worshipping !
Sati pratha had been prevalent in India. There are two types of example. One example is of Rani Padmini who along with her friends jumped into a well of fire to save themselves from the cruel Moghal emperors. This was considered as an act of bravery by those ladies as a life in the hands of Moghals would have been much more shameful and painful for them.
However Sai-pratha is another kind of cruel system in which a live widow is made to sit in a pyre of fire after the death of her husband. This is a heinous act which was practiced in hindu society. The so called religious leaders used to brainwash the poor miserable lady who had not even recovered from the grief of losing her husband by luring her to go to Heaven (Swarg) to her deceased husband by this process. A big procession used to be taken out to go along with the lady with lot of fanfare and band etc. Even against her wish and will the poor widows were pushed into the fire forcibly.
Swami Dayanand Sarswati condemned this practice openly. Arya Samaj condemns such practices as well glorification of such incidents. Fortunately Government of India has realized the atrocity against woman in the name of the practice of Sati and has banned it completely.
Ganit and Falit Jyotish (Shubh- Asubh, Rashifal, Forecast of future, Janmpatri etc.)
Jyotish is one of the six components of Vedas. Jyotish is the science of understanding the movement and attraction between different planets, stars etc. The speed of movement of earth, moon, solar and lunar eclipse , the tithis (dates) of hundreds of year before or after- all these are worked out by this science. In the modern times the calculations of rocket movement is a part of jyotish science only. This type of Jyotish is known as Ganit (Calculation based) Jyotish. Arya Samaj fully subscribes to this science of very high utility.
However there is one more kind of jyotish , called Falit Jyotish, which has become quite popular not only in India but also in many other countries. This Jyotish is a way to cheat people by encashing their weaknesses. Shubh ( auspicious), ashubh (inauspicious) – these are the words which are the base of this false belief. Remedies are sold to get good results in every field of life- of course at a price!
Aryasamaj strongly believes that every jeev is free to do his karma. He gets the Fal (rewards) as per his karma. If the Falit Jyotish is to be believed than a person is not free to do his karmas as everything will be assumed to be happening by itself at its given time. Whatever true predictions take place are just a fluke which is always possible out of the theory of probability. It is ridiculous to believe that entire mankind can be divided into 12 Rashis (Horoscopes) , and each group will have his bhagya(fate) similar. Falit Jyotish has very adverse effect on the spirit of mankind- a person who is told to get everything good and nice in his future, he will lose the initiative to do hard work for success; on the other hand if someone is told to have a bleak and blank future, he too will lose all his enthusiasm to perform. Aryasamaj does not believe in Janmpatris also because of the above beliefs.
Murti Pooja ( Idol Worship)
Ishvar does not have a shape, size or visible look hence he is formless and bodiless. Imagining him into a manmade statue is wrong. Worshipping such a clay statue does not take one anywhere. Our Soul (Aatma) is also formless and bodiless; this bodiless soul is introduced to various feelings with the help of various limbs like eyes, ears, hands, tongue etc. The feelings associated include vision, touch, smell, hearing and also the pleasure or pains resulted out of the same. To feel the bodiless Ishvar, our Soul has to feel his existence in the mind and heart without the help of our limbs.
The argument that an Idol makes one imagine Ishvar is a wrong argument. When we look at the idol of a human being, we are reminded of human only. God’s creation is visible in his creation of a small ant to a giant animal like elephant, from a grain of sand to Huge mountains, from a small leaf of a tree to giant trees, from a drop of dew to huge oceans; still by looking at all these we are not looking at Ishvar. He can be seen only where the Soul and Ishvar both are available; and that place is our own heart. We can see, feel and blessed by his presence if we sincerely try to find him in our hearts, as only our heart is a place where our soul and Ishvar both are present.
Arya Samaj opposes worshipping of Idols, but not of Idols as such. Making statues of our leaders, Gurus or forefathers is not wrong as they resemble the actual persons; but again worshipping them does not please them because the statues are lifeless material only.
Many Arya samaj followers put Photo of Swami Dayanand on the wall of their house. Sometimes a question is raised that if you don’t believe in Idol worship, why you display photo of Swami Dayanand in your houses. The reason is simple- one because the photo resembles the person who was and second it reminds us and our children of his contribution to the world. We may find the photo of Dr. Honeyman in the chamber of some homeopathic doctors as he was the father of homeopathy; that does not mean that some worship process is to be done to the photo by all homeopathic doctors.
Arya Samaj belives that Ganga is an ancient and historical river of India which originates from Himalayas, flows across the chest of India and terminates into the Ocean. However unlike the general belief Arya Samaj does not believe that a dip into the River Ganga will make one free from his sins and misery.
In Vedas, the word Ganga has been used for the veins and nerves of the body. It is implied in Vedas that proper practices of Yoga with respect to these veins and nerves will make one free from the bodily ailments hence misery. The shlokas are misinterpreted by ancient hindu pundits by making the same connected to River Ganga.
There is a huge collection of stories of miracles in all parts of the world and almost in all religions. A Miracle means happening of something which is un-happenable. And the fact is that something which is un-happenable cannot happen. What is described as Miracles are either lies or wrong perceptions or just imaginations. Hindu scriptures are contaminated by adding such absurd story of miracles. Example - the story that Ahilya was turned into a woman from a stone! Such things can never happen and hence should not be believed.
Sometimes magic tricks are dished out as miracles. Famous magicians of India have many a times challenged the miracle performing babas of the society.
Janm-Patrika ( Janm Kundli or Teepni)
Janm Patrika is nothing but a misguiding document of ones life created by pundits of believer of faulty system of Falit-Jyotish. Arya Samaj does not believe in Falit-Jyotish, as it has no roots anywhere in Vedas or our other ancient scriptures. Swami Dayanand once mentioned during his famous Poona-pravachan that there is not a single word mentioned about falit-Jyotish in the eventful epic Mahabharata.
Swami Dayanand has criticized the Janm-Patri strongly in his ultimate book of true knowledge- Satyrthprakash. In his second samullas, he has referred to a Janmpatri as a document prepared to imbibe fear and doubts about one’s own life. He has opposed of preparing such Janpatri of children, because such documents are the Documents of Doom for their future and nothing useful.
In the eleventh Samullas, Swamiji has written that the so called Jyotishis get their own sons and daughters married in accordance of their Janpatris; then why such children become untimely widow or widowers or divorcees ? Hence, he believed, that the movement of planets have no part to play in the lives’ of individuals.
Bhoot Pret (Ghosts Spirits)
Bhoot means what is past. Everyone who is dead is a bhoot. The noun Bhoot is used for all those who were present in the world some day but are no more alive today. This noun is also used for posts; as when a person retires from a post- he is addressed as Bhoot-poorva. A wrong notion has been established that Bhoot is an existing form of people after their deaths.
In society , there are different reasons for spreading such myth; some are –
· To terrorize related people for one’s own benefit
· To make series of such books and literature based on bhoot prêt for business
· To hit a man’s weakness during his bad times and to keep him misguided
· To mis-diagnose the mentally disturbed patients as the victim of some Bhoot
The rebirth of a dead person makes him a ‘Pret’. The great philosopher Vatsyayan in his book on Nyay Darshan has said that a person reborn after death is a Pret.
Arya Samaj does not subscribe to the fantasy of Bhoot and Pret. In fact we tell all parents not to put such wrong beliefs in their children’s young minds as it will make them scared and suppressed.
Shubh Ashubh (Auspicious Inauspicious)
Ishvar has created the whole Shrishti. Nothing is inauspicious (ashubh) in his creation. All 12 months, each and every day and week – everything is a part of Ishvar’s system ; therefore how can any moment be inauspicious for mankind ? This is ridiculous that man has invented his own theory of auspicious and inauspicious and confused the intelligence of mankind. To prove his absurd philosophy he took the help of unpleasant events relating them to certain type of days or times. This kind of mindless belief is prevalent in all kinds of followers; be it hindus, muslims or Christians. The interesting thing is that each group has a different set of reasons and days for calling those inauspicious or even auspicious.
Arya Samaj does not subscribe to these absurd theories. A day is good for a family because a child is born, but the same day can be bad for another where some tragic death has taken place. How can anyone call such a day as auspicious or inauspicious? A rainy day may be Shubh for a farmer, but can be devastating for a person who makes clay pots. Arya Samaj believes that every morning should be welcomed as a new day with enthusiasm without announcing that day as inauspicious. Such beliefs only give birth to disappointments and unnecessary disheartening. In the modern times of such developed stage of science, no one should remain blind with such beliefs.
The word Shraddh is a derivative of the word ‘Shraddha’. Shraddh means service of elders with respect. The word ‘Tarpan’ is a derivative of the word ‘Tripti’. Tarpan means the satisfaction of the elders from their children for their services. Offering respectful services and to satisfy the elders with such services is only possible for our living elders. We with our mortal body can serve the mortal bodies of elders during their life time.
The word ‘Pitar’ means the elders like Parents, Grand Parents , Parents in law etc. Arya Samaj believes in Panch-mahayagya – which includes Pitru-yagya, which means the respectful services to our elders.
Unfortunately the hindu society is misguided by certain section of Brahmins who introduced the practice of Shraddh and Tarpan for the deceased elders of the family. This is irrational and against all possible logical reasons. Arya Samaj rejects the Shraddh and Tarpan as practiced by hindus.
Muhurt ( Auspicious day or time)
The word Muhurt means the date or time fixed for any work or ritual or journey etc. This dates and times need to be fixed as per convenience of all concerned and not by referring to pre-decided prejudices about certain days being auspicious or inauspicious. Such practices cause unnecessary chaos in the society on certain days and times because of such days and times being labeled as auspicious.
The subject is also explained under the subject ‘Shubh-Ashubh’. Arya Samaj does not believe in the theory of Shubh or Ashubh Muhurts.
Vrata ( Upvaas or fasting)
Vrata is defined erroneously as a ‘Fast’ as a ritual on certain days. Fasting should be observed for health reasons from time to time and as per individual’s suitability and not to please Gods etc. Ishvar does not ask anyone to keep himself hungry to please him or to get any favour as a reward from him.
As per Arya Samaj , Vrata means firm commitment to oneself to achieve a target. Vrata can be for any purpose- for any objective of life related to family, business or society etc.
General belief in Hindus as well as many other religious groups is that certain geographical locations are more auspicious than other places. By visiting such places or by taking dips in certain rivers, one becomes free from his sins and earns special bonus points of Punya . This is absurd and illogical.
Arya Samaj believs that Teerth means an attempt to swim through the ocean of life by facing all pains or pleasures of life in order to reach ones ultimate target of life. Teerth is performing Yagyas; Teerth is the study of Vedas and other scriptures; Teerth is service of parents and other elders – because all these are the channels of achieving ultimate target of the life. Just by visiting certain places or temples or rivers nothing is achieved.
Swarg-Narak ( Heavens and Hells )
These are just hypothetical locations out of the world; these are nothing but imagination of certain people who taught the society a wrong lesson that people go to heaven or hell after their death.
Arya Samaj does not recognize any such hypothetical locations which are never visited or experienced by any living being on this earth. Swarg is just an adjective for a place full of happiness- which can be one’s own home. Similarly Nark is an adjective for a place full of pains and misery- which again can be one’s own home.
Surya-Grahan (Solar Eclipse) – Chandra Grahan (Lunar Eclipse)
Ishvar has designed a great system involving all planets and stars in such a way that they all keep on moving as per his design without colliding with each other. Day and Night, Sun Rise and Sun Set, Changing seasons like winter, summer, rains, spring and autumn etc. are all outcome of his design of the movement of planets and stars.
Ishvar has provided human mind the capacity to find out the details of his system to the extent his curiosity takes him. Man has knowledge of distances, speeds and positioning of various planets and stars; though very few which are close to his habitat – the earth.
Man has been able to find out the reason and truth of Surya-Grahan and Chandra-Grahan too. Any school student now knows that when the earth , sun and moon fall in one line with moon in the middle, than the Surya Grahan takes place; similarly when the earth comes in the middle of the sun and moon , than a Chandra Grahan takes place. These processes are recurring and bound to Ishvar’s design.
Surprisingly, many so called pundits created lots of mythical theories to misguide people, mainly in India. Funny stories of different planets fighting with each other or particular planets anger on an individual etc were created to frighten and cheat simpletons of the society. People were taught that to save and please Sun God and Moon God they have to perform lot of poojas and Keertans. In the guise of all these rituals a practice of collecting money started.
Arya Samaj does not approve such falsehood in the name of God. All rituals related to Surya Grahan and Chandra Grahan are meaningless and are the result of massive misguidance by certain miscreants of the society.
Unfortunately those who tried to destroy the message of Vedas by misinterpreting to hindu society did a great injustice with Somras by calling it another name of wines. The actual meaning of Som is opposite of wine. Som is provider of pleasure.
Som is the name of Ishvar, in the context that Ishvar is the creator of all and also provider of pleasure and prosperity to mankind. Moon is also called Som as the soothing cold effect of moon gives happiness. The produce obtained after hard work is also termed as Som. A scholar equipped with good education as well as high moral is also known as Som. The vegetation which gives pleasure by its juices are also called Som. In ancient times The Sages (Rishi Munis) used to drink all such juices of vegetations produced in their surroundings.
The crux of the meaning of the word is all sources which provide pleasure to mankind, be it Ishvar, scholars, Moon or vegetations. When the word Ras is added to Som, it implies the soothing effect in one’s body and mind.
Aryasmaj rejects the popular and erroneous definition of Somras as spread by unscrupulous people of our society.
The word Vastu Shastra means Science Of Architecture. As obvious this deals with the art of making houses, buildings etc. in the best possible way. In the seventh mandal of Rigveda under the sukta 54 and 55 there is mention of this science. In the ninth mandal of Atharvveda this subject is discussed in the third sukta.
In Ramayana and Mahabharta also there are great descriptions of the architectures of the ancient cities of Ayodhya and Indrprastha.
Swami Dayanand Sarswati has written about the house construction and its warming in his book Sanskarvidhi, while talking about Grahsth Aashram. He has quoted many mantras from Vedas while describing the importance of strong, airy and illuminated house.
This means that Vastu Shastra is as ancient as our Shrishti and it has not been invented recently. What is invented in recent times is the misinterpretation of the Vedic Mantras. The so called Vastu Shastris started creating fear in peoples mind using the guide lines of Vastu Shastra. Nowhere in Vedas is written that if a house does not follow certain directions related to locations of its various components some trouble will be created in business or personal life etc. These unscrupulous Vastu shastris cheat ignorant people by frightening them with ill effects of vastu in their business and life if certain changes are not implemented immediately as advised by them. Their benefit is the hefty fees that they charge from their blind believers. This is nothing but a great fraud done on society in the name of Vastu Shastra. People should not entertain such fraudulent people. In todays world where mass housing is created, it is impossible to stick to all details of Vastu Shastra, which were more apt for the independent bungalows built on large plots in ancient times.
Aryasamaj believes that Sanskrit is the oldest language of the mankind. Four Vedas – Rigveda, Yajurveda, Saamveda and Atharvveda are written in the Sanskrit language. These are the oldest scriptures of the earth. Our belief is that the content of these Vedas is the complete knowledge imparted by Ishvar at the time of creating the shrishti. There are many more scriptures which are written in Sanskrit language. Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian languages. Aryasamaj not only believes that the Sanskrit should remain an important language in India, but also works to keep it live by maintaining Gurukulas which teach this language to its students.
God has created the Shrishti , which is a continuous process; every shrishti starts , lives and gets destroyed and then restarts. The knowledge imparted by Ishvar is permanent, which is given to the living beings in the beginning of each shrishti. Shrishti gets destroyed but not the Knowledge.
Aryasamaj firmly believes that this knowledge was given to mankind by Ishvar through four Sages (Rishis) – Agni, Vayu, Aaditya and Angira in the form of four Vedas. The four Vedas are known as- Rigved, Yajurved, Saamved and Atarvaved .Vedas are supreme and absolute within itself.
Vedas cannot be proved on the basis of any other books or scriptures as nothing existed prior to Vedas. Vedas contain mantras in Sanskrit language. Vedas are creation of God, just like his other numerous creations. The living beings are born with their basic intelligence which helps them in survival. No one has to teach a man to eat, sleep, breath, cry, stand, sit or walk; but beyond his natural inheritance he needs a source of knowledge. Vedas is that original source of knowledge for entire mankind which came as reference knowledge for mankind. God has been kind not only by providing us all kinds of grains, vegetables, fruits and other worldly things but also providing his sacred knowledge in the form of Vedas.
Vedas printed on paper is a creation of man but Vedas in the form of words is the knowledge from Ishvar. Ved mantras are also called ‘Shrutis’ – which in Sanskrit means ‘hymns which are heard’. Had there been no knowledge in the beginning, men would have been living like animals- wordless and language less.
There are many scriptures which have been written on the basis of Vedas- however those scriptures are not Vedas and cannot be regarded as absolute. Many people made Translations (Bhashyas) of Vedas, but many of them are full of errors due to incompetent understanding of Sanskrit language. Some of such translations are not only absolutely wrong but also absurd in their meanings- which definitely cannot be recognized as true vedic literature. Swami Dayanand Sarswati spent his whole life in understanding Vedas and translating them with the intended and inherent meaning as well as spirit of Vedas. So strong was his belief about Vedas, that he spelled his third golden principle of Arya Samaj as this – ‘The Veda is the script of all true knowledge. It is the paramount duty of every Arya to learn and to teach the Veda (God’s knowledge), to hear it, read and recite it to others.’
It was the efforts of Swami Dayanand that he could establish that Vedas are not –
· History or Geography related to mankind
· Suggestive of any Idol Worshipping
· Suggestive of animal slaughter (Bali) in the name of rituals
· Man made books; they are God sent knowledge
Aryasmaj has designed all the Sanskars of human life – right from birth to death, based on the mantras of Vedas.
This scripture is a part of the Epic Mahabharta. The conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjun gives great insight to us even in today’s times. Many scholars have written their interpretation of Bhagvadgeeta. Basically Bhagvadgeeta is substance of Upnishadas.
Aryasamaj too values Bhagvadgeeta but to the extent it does not contradict Vedas. Any interpretation which contradicts Vedas is not acceptable to Arya Samaj. Arya Samaj in its fourth Golden principle believes – ‘We shall ever be ready to embrace truth and to forsake untruth.’
It is widely said that all 18 puranas are written by Maharshi Vyas. However it does not sound logical as Vyas was a great scholar of Vedas and other basic scriptures; hence he could not have written the puranas which are absolutely full of absurd stories, gossips and thoughts which defies all the theories of Shrishti Cycle. This seemed to be an organized move to replace the very base of hindutva- the Vedas. Not everything contained in Puranas is contradictory; hence Arya Samaj does not accept or reject Puranas in totality.
Ramayana & Mahabharta
These are historical epics of our country; unfortunately there has been huge amount of adulteration in these two very important books. However the major facts of the history is still protected in these. It has been unfortunate that there have been regular attempts to change the fact that these books were our history by describing them as Spiritual books. In the guise of spirituality Great Rama was addressed as Avtar (incarnation) of Vishnu. Similarly Yogiraj Krishna was described as another Avtar ; his relationship with Radha and Gopis was equated to relationship of Jeev(soul) and Prikriti(nature).Aryasamaj believes that these epics in their original form have been our history only and nothing else. It is our misfortune that Vedas which are not history- are tried to be treated as history and Ramayana and Mahabharata which are only history as Spiritual Sources
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Unlike most of the faiths of the world, Arya Samaj does not believe that the sins, committed by a person can be forgiven by Ishvar. Some people argue that when in the definition of Ishvar, as described in second golden principle, he is benevolent (dayalu); therefore why should he not forgive people for all their paap-karma (sins), especially when they repent and spend their time in worshipping of Ishvar.
Arya Samaj believes that though Ishvar is kind, but he is Just (nyaykari) too. To forgive someone is against the rule of Karma and its Outcome (Fal). Forgiving someone is injustice to others. Ishvar is benevolent because he gives so much to all the living beings (Jeev), not because he forgives the wrong doing. By punishing the sinner, Ishvar shows his kindness on him too, otherwise his unsettled sins will get carried forward for future punishments; as a sin (Paap) cannot be neutralized by a virtue (Punya).
When we worship and pray to Ishvar, it is not like pampering Ishvar to get some undue favours; we do all that for satisfying our own heart and mind and to thank him for whatever he has given to us.
Rama and Krishna
Arya Samaj respects Rama and Krishna as the ideal symbols of their times, but only as Great People. Arya Samaj does not subscribe to the theory of ‘Avtaarvaad’ (Incarnation of Ishvar) as per which Ishvar had taken the birth in the form of Rama and Krishna. The very definition of an Avtar defies the definition of Ishvar. Ishvar is neither born nor does he die. If someone is born and he dies too- he cannot be Ishvar. Ishvar is Omnipresent, which means present everywhere at all times; can a human body be present everywhere at all times? The entire definition of Ishvar rejects the idea of an Avtaar.
As far as the reasoning given by people about the need of an Avtaar- Arya Samaj believes that a formless Ishvar has created the shrishti (Universe) without being in a human body, who is managing the total system of universe- does he need to be born as a human to kill bad people like Raavna and Kansa. One who gives birth and death and all pleasures and pains based on their karmas could have easily destroyed these devils by his omnipotent strength. This is ridiculous to imagine that Ishvar came on the earth in the human form to kill some rascals. If this could be the fact, than Ishvar would be required to be born in different times to kill anti-human people like Idi Amin, Osama Bin Laden etc.
By calling Rama and Krishna avtaars (Incarnation of Ishvar), a great injustice has been done to the history of these great people. In the name of remembrance – the acts of Ramleela and Raasleela are not approved by Arya Samaj. This is an insulting presentation of such great people. Will anyone like to see his forefathers being enacted on a stage by some actors and dancers?
Acchoot (The Untouchables)
The Unsociability has been the worst curse introduced by certain so called religious cults in India. The Vedic system of 4 division of the society – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra was nothing but a division based on the actual work done by different people. Other than the Karmas, there was no basis to identify people by these headings. Unfortunately, our Hindu Pandits of history played up with the words and forced the division on the basis of the birth. This resuled into creation of Acchoots- the untouchables. The children born in the families of that part of the society which was doing the dirty work of the society, were cast into the definition of Shudras, which became Acchoots in many cases. The atrocities increased gradually, and such people were denied the basic rights which were available to others- like entry into their temples, not allowing them to take water from the common wells of the village. Atrocities further increased and these people were declared untouchables and not just that even unwatchable too; it was being said that their shadow falling on others will bring bad omens. They were not allowed to sit on a chair or higher level in front of so called Savarns. This was the most heinous crime of Hindu Society, which developed into a reason of self destruction also.
Many educated and judicious thinkers tried to fight against this system. Mahatma Gandhi gave a better name to these discarded members of society by naming them- Harijans, but that did not give much relief to them and it worked as only a change of label. Many others tried to banish this cruel practice, but were not successful against the so called hindu pundits who were misusing the religious scriptures to substantiate their wrong claims.
In Arya Samaj- everyone is an Arya, if he practices the principles of Arya Samaj. Arya Samaj recognizes the ancient Vedic social division system, but on the basis of their works and not on the basis of their birth. Whatever is ones work, he cannot be discredited in the society. Arya Samaj boasts of many such great scholars who came from such untouchable backgrounds and attained the levels of Great Scholars, writers and teachers in the society. Arya Samaj believes that all children are born as Shudras as they are not capable of any type of works, but they should be given equal opportunity to get education and other facilities, so that each one of them gets an opportunity to become- Brahman, Kshatriya or Vaishya. Those who could not attain the other levels automatically remain shudras. But again, that does not mean that a different attitude be adopted against them by the rest of the society.
Swami Dayanand has written in his book (in the Chapter-4 of) Satyarthprakash – “ All four Varnas should live together with mutual affection and respect, help, gentleness, sharing each other’s good and bad times, being helpful in crisis and thus contribute in the progress of nation with their capacity of health, wealth and thoughts. The shudras, though they have limitation of education, but not that of different skills should serve the society and the society in turn should pay them well for their services.”
Those who support this evil called untouchability even in todays times, often give their reason as
· Shudras food habits and life style is not clean and hygienic.
· They do dirty works of the society.
These arguments do not hold water, as the question of food habits and hygiene applies to all equally. So called upper casts’ people eat animals, drink the wine and consume other bad drugs- why should they be not considered the Shudras. The poor life style is not a cause but is an outcome of the atrocities imposed on them.
The dirty works of the society include cleaning of toilets, handling human excreta, skinning dead animals for leather etc. A person remains dirty only for the duration when he is doing the work but not always. Once he cleans himself up he becomes as good a person as anyone else. In society people when they attend nature’s call, they are equally dirty but they become clean after a good wash and rinse. Mothers while cleaning their small children, nurses while cleaning up their patients, pathologists while carrying out analysis of urine and excreta – they all become dirty for their jobs; but they become fully acceptable after their cleaning themselves after the duty.
As far as the handling of dead animals for leather is concerned, today these works are being done by huge corporate. Nobody is boycotting the factories that produce shoes by killing and skinning the animals.
Unfortunately, Government has been instrumental in keeping these divisions alive by providing reservations and other facilities on the basis of these criteria.
While the Hindu Society was against the opportunity to be given to start a new family to a widow, Arya Samaj has always been proactive in support of Widow marriages in society. Widows living alone face all kinds of difficulties in the society, from outside as well as inside of the families. They have equal rights, same as that to a man to remarry and reestablish her life with a new life partner. Swami Dayanand established that wherever a remarriage is suggested for a widower, there is no negation of the same opportunity to a widow. He was against bigamy of men and women equally. But after the death of the life partner, every man and woman has the same right to get married again, if they wish so. Initially Swamiji had suggested the provision of Niyog also but that was not accepted by the society at large.
Arya Samaj has always supported Intercast Marriage. Here are few quotes from Swami Dayanand’s immortal book Satyarth Prakash-
· The marriage should be a decision of the boy and the girl to be married. Parents , even if they have certain alliance in their mind, should leave the final decision to the satisfaction of the boy and the girl. (Quote from Samullas-4)
· Let the son or daughter remain unmarried for the whole life; but there should not be a marriage between two dissimilar people with opposite qualities, nature and actions. (Quote from Samullas-4)
· In Indian history there are so many instances of Indian Kings marrying the daughters of Emperors of other countries like Kabul, Kandhar, Iran, America and Europe etc. Queen Gandhari, Madri and Ulupi were from different countries married to Indian Kings. (Quote fromSamullas-10)
Thus the stress in a marriage should be on the mutual liking of bride and groom apart from the similarity in their nature, qualities and actions.
Arya Samaj opposes the evil of demanding dowry from girl’s parents by the boy’s parents in a wedding. Quoting from ‘Manusmriti’ – Great Scholar Manu has mentioned about eight types of marriages out of which four are termed noble and other four are termed as bad. Noble ones include – Brahm, Daiv , Aarsh and Praajapatya. The bad examples are – Aasur, Gaandhrva, Rakshash and Paishach. Manu has described the marriage based on money without considering the consent of the bride as ‘Aasur Vivah’.
The Brahm Vivah is one in which the father gives away his daughter to a qualified, healthy and good natured person selected by the girl, and along with the girl gives her cloths, ornaments etc. as per his own desire and capacity. Swami Dayanand has described the right way of a marriage in his book- Sanskarvidhi under ‘Paanigrahan-sanskar’.
The evil practice of negotiating and seeking dowry has poisoned the very sweetness of the institution of marriage. There are numerous cases of torture, humiliation and subsequent suicides in India. Arya Samaj is totally against such evil of society.
Varna-Vyavstha ( System based on Varnas)
Our sages and scriptures made an arrangement of addressing people by their works and abilities. The idea was that a society consists of four main types of social groups- The learned group who teach the society ( Brahmins), the warrior group which fights for the welfare of society (Kshatriyas) , the traders who provide the necessities of the society ( Vaishys) and the service providers of the society ( Shudras). Unfortunately a very wrong practice started in India, when this classification was imposed on people based on their birth. The work and the ability of a person has got nothing to do with his parents or the house where he is born. This wrong interpretation divided the society in a very harmful manner. This division in the society has made the country vulnerable to civil wars and atrocities. Unfortunately the rulers of Independent India exploited the divide instead of diminishing it. The deprived groups were targeted to be the vote banks by offering them special benefits and status like reservation in jobs and education, even in fighting election etc. Such discriminatory benefits did not help those groups but only highlighted their being different. Such highlights further reduced their acceptance in the society.
Arya Samaj condemns this rotten practice of division based on misinterpretation of Varn Vyavstha.
Aashram Vyavstha ( Different Segments of Life)
Vedas regulated human life by dividing its duration into four segments , which are as follows-
1. Brahmcharya Aashram: The first 25 years of human life consists of his birth, his growing up, his attaining the youth hood. Vedic belief says that this period is for building up of one’s base strong in terms of knowledge and education, physical exercise and his sanskars. In this phase of his life he has to attain knowledge from his mother till the age of 5 years, from his father till the age of 8 years and thereafter from his Gurus (Teachers). Swami Dayanand wrote that education should be mandatory in any country for the children over 5 years or 8 years by the Governments; not only this, the parents who don’t send their children for education should be penalized by Government. He also recommended separate schools for boys and girls.
Brahmcharya Aashram is a period of building up of the future life; hence it is required that the students do not get involved in sexual activities of any form. The age for marriage should be minimum 25 years for men and 18 years for women.
2. Grihasth Aashram: A marriage of a man and a woman brings them into Grihasth Aashram. Vedic belief stresses that a married man or woman should be loyal to his or her spouse. Physical Relationship outside the marriage is an act of violation of Grihasth Aashram.
Married couple should take care of their parents and other members of the family as their foremost duty. The birth of a child brings in further responsibilities on the parents; they have to provide best security, education and sanskars to their child so that he becomes a responsible citizen in his future life. The men have to earn enough money not just to feed his family or educate his child but also to perform all other responsibilities of Panch Mahayagya ( explained earlier). Grihasth Aashram is one aashram, which has to provide support and help to the rest of three Aashramas as they are not capable to generate wealth for their requirements.
3. Vaanprasth Aashram: Swami Dayanand , with reference to the scripture Manu Smriti, adviced that when a married couple become grandparent, their hair become grayish and their body becomes weaker , they should leave the house and plan to stay away in a jangal or anywhere away from family. If the wife is not willing to join in this journey, she may be allowed to stay back with the family.The main activities of Vaanprashth Aashram includes regular practice of Yoga, Pranayam and Satsang. A Vaanprasth follower can be very useful for the society at large in following ways-
· The responsibilities of managing the family and social responsibilities get automatically shifted on the shoulders of next generation. Gen-next gets an opportunity to develop and display their capabilities in such situations.
· A Vaanprasthi Couple can share the experiences of their life with the whole community and not just their own family.
· Vaanprasthis can take responsibilities in Social Charitable bodies by contributing their time.
· They can also spend time in spreading the truth and awareness against wrong beliefs of societies.
4. Sanyas Aashram: The final stage of life. Which starts from the age of 75 years, when a person becomes detached from worldly reasons of life and becomes physically quite frail, is called Sanyas Aashram. Though only Brahmins become Sanyasis but others like Kshatriyas, and Vaishys can also become Sanyasi by completely changing their life style by giving up all their activities and inclinations associated with their main line of work.
One should accept Sanyas, only when he attains absolute detachment from worldly life; in other words he should not be influenced or attracted by any kind of charm for family, wealth or even social prestige. A Sanyasi is regarded as superior to even an emperor, because he becomes a source of betterment of the whole humanity beyond all limits of his life.
Unfortunately, there are lot of unscrupulous people who dress up like Sanyasis and are involved in the activities which are absolutely against the ethics of sanyas aashram. The result is that general people have become doubtful about all Sanyasis.
Festivals are special occasions to celebrate special days, either involving historical events or beginning of new seasons. Festivals bring positive change and pleasure in otherwise routine lives of people.
Arya Samaj also believes in celebrating festivals but by remaining within its limits marked by its beliefs . The basic guidelines for celebrating festivals are –
· Ishvar is one and only one; hence there can never be another Ishvar in any other form, hence no other pooja to be carried out.
· No vulgarity or disgrace in the name of entertainment.
· No blind faith in the name of commitment.
· No undue acts in the name of special gains.
Arya Samaj publishes articles in its important journals on the methods of celebrating different festivals.
Khaan-Paan (Food Habits)
The founder of Arya Samaj Swami Dayanand had to take the fight against Pakhand ( wrong practices) head on. Another difficult fight was against the food systems of Hindus in those days, whose total religion was woven around the food rules.
During his famous Poona Speech, Swamiji once said-
“Nowadays the religion of hindus gets broken faster than the breaking of a grass blade. Hindus have become so paranoid about the religion that the religion gets broken if someone does not tie a knot in his shikha (pony tail) or if someone has worn a long gown etc. Food rules have made this paranoia more complex.”
Swamiji gave following directives about food habits and practices-
· Eatables and Non-eatables are decided by two factors – based on our principal religious scriptures and based on medical sciences like Aayurveda.
· Food acquired by violence, theft and cheating is non eatable. Food should be acquired by non violence in principal.
· Eatables are those foods which improve health, destroy diseases, enhances brain power, increases physical strength and enhances longevity of life; example- fruits, vegetables, milk, ghee, sweets etc. in proper quantity and at correct times.
· Non eatables are all those things which act against human body.
· Non consumables are those things which affect the mind adversely; example- wines, opium, bhang, ganja and other intoxicating drugs.
· Avoid eating food prepared and touched by those who eat animals and also by drunkards; as such food will be laced with remains of what they consume.
· Don’t serve your semi- eaten food to anyone; nor do join in any other persons eating his food. Do not overeat and must wash and rinse your hands as well as mouth thoroughly after eating.
· All people who follow above rules may cook for each other and eat together.
· Things like honey – though acquired from bees collections; however due to its great medicinal benefit it is termed as Eatable.
Swamiji has forbidden eating animal flesh or consuming all kinds of wines and intoxicants in his book Gokarunanidhi which principally focuses on the utility of Cows in our society. He says that all pet animals like Cows, Goats, and Buffalos have great utility for mankind as live animals; and it is crime to kill them for eating their flesh. He has also stressed that all kinds of intoxicants are responsible for destroying ones right mind and for pushing the mind into negativity.
Namste is the only method of greeting each other. The meaning of Namste is that ‘ I bow in front of you in your honour’. The word is a sign of expressing regard for each other. Though Namste is just a word, however in Sanskrit grammar it is a complete statement.
Namste has been used so many times in Holy Scriptures Vedas. In other scriptures like Upnishadas, Brahman, Ramayana and Mahabharta , Namste has been used for greeting each other. This is such a pure way of greeting that it can be said to elders, youngers or within the same age group. The response to Namste is also Namste; as the respect is always mutual. The posture while greeting with Namste is two hands folded with full palms touching each other, arms touching the heart and the head slightly bowed. This posture suggests that the greeter with complete knowledge of his mind, complete strength of his arms and complete affection of his heart is bowing in front of someone and he also responds with similar feelings.
There are many prevalent methods of greeting in India like – ‘Jai Ram ji ki’ ; ‘Jai Gopal ji ki’; ‘Jai Jinendra’ ; ‘Sat Shree Akal’ – all these greetings are connected either to some great personalities or to some religious groups. People from different religions cannot relate to such greetings and hence cannot respond properly. More over the feeling of greeting the person in front is totally absent in such greetings.
A greeting like ‘Jaihind’ is more of a nationalist call and not a greeting to someone. Such greeting cannot be addressed to someone who is not an Indian.
‘Salaam’ is an Arabic greeting and does not match with our rich culture. It does not contain the sense conveyed in Namste.
Western world greets as Good Morning, Good afternoon, Good evening and Good night etc. ; which are greetings based on different times of the day. Indians have also adopted this practice greatly. Such greetings just express a wish for a small period to be good for the person being greeted. Moreover, someone in India talking to his friend in America is at a loss whether he should greet him good morning or good evening as they are in two different time zones at the same time.
The modern ways of addressing each other with ‘ Hello’ or ‘Hi’ are just the words to attract the attention of the person addressed and does not convey any meaning or sense of greeting.
‘Pranam’ is another respectful address of greeting; but its limitation is that it can be said to the elders only, the elders need to reply to such address with some kind of blessings like – ‘Khush Raho’ (Be happy). In few states even a Pranam is responded with Pranam- which is erroneous due the very meaning of the word, which suggests that it can be addressed to the elders only.
Some people have made a variation by calling ‘Namaskar’ in place of Namste. This is grammatically wrong. While Namste fully conveys that ‘ I bow before you’ ; Namaskar means ‘the act of bowing’. The complete meaning will come only when one says- ‘Main aapko namskar karta hun’ ; the one word substitute for this long sentence is ‘Namste’.
When Swami Dayanand founded Arya Samaj, he had two major objectives in his mind. One was the propogation of Vedas and the other was Devotion to Motherland. The entire literature of Swamiji reflect both his insights.
In his great book Satyrthprakash, he has mentioned that the English rulers allow the shoes made in their country to enter their offices but not the shoes made in our country. They respect their own shoes more than the people of other countries. He further said that these Europeans, in spite of being in our country for more than 100 years are still wearing their thick woolens which they wear in their countries whereas we Indians have started copying their styles. A blind followership makes a man stupid and brainless whereas those who follow and respect their traditions and culture are wise.
Arya Samaj was the first nationalist group who emphasized on the use of indigenous cloths and things. In 1883, Arya Samaj in Lahore passed a resolution that all should start using the textile and other materials made in India only in place of the imported English goods. Indian National Congress was not even born at that time. Indian markets were flooded with imported European goods. Arya Samaj realized the need of protecting India’s cottage industry.
In his book Vyavharbhanu, there is a series of questions and answers. One of the question framed by Swamiji is – ‘ If people have lots of money- what should they do ?’ Swamiji has replied his own question as this – ‘ People who are rich and have lots of money should establish mills and factories so that people of our country may get opportunity to earn their livelihood’.
Swamiji has emphasized that everyone should love his own nation where ever has he been born. The country which provides us living, food, shelter and protection; it is our duty to work for the betterment of such motherland.
Putra aur Putri (Son and Daughter)
Swami Dayanand has used the masculine gender word Putra throughout while discussing various sanskars in his book Sanskarvidhi. It is not that Swamiji was not aware of two genders. The fact is that he has addressed sons as well as daughters by calling them Putra throughout. Wherever he had to genuinely differentiate the two he used word such as Kanya (Girl) or Stree (Woman). The newborn delivered by a mother is called ‘Putra’ irrespective of its gender. There are ved-mantras which confirm these facts.
Therefore all Sanskars are equally important and applicable to Sons and Daughters, except those where the female child is addressed as Kanya or Stree. Swamiji has been more explicit about his equal treatment for son and daughter in his book Satyarthprakash; wherein he has stressed on the need of education for sons and daughters by sending them to respective schools when they become five to eight years old. He has directed parents and Gurus to teach boys as well as girls -the Gaytri mantra with its meaning. There are ample examples wherein Swamiji has mentioned about the equality of woman with men.
Antyeshti (Last Rites)
Antyeshti is the last sanskar of a human being as suggested in the Sanskarvidhi of Swami Dayananad. After this there is no sanskar or ritual left for any human being. A dead body needs to be disposed off in all religions. Arya Samaj does so by burning the dead body on a wood pyre by offering good quantity of Ghee and Havan Samgri. The process is performed like a Yagya along with chanting of selected Ved Mantras for this sanskar.
Arya Samaj believes that every dead body of a human being should be destroyed by burning in this way because all other methods of disposal, like burial in the ground or disposal in a river, cause pollution and contamination to the environment. In the process of burning when the ghee and Samgri is burnt in good quantity , it takes care of the bad smell and also of other ill effects. Even without ghee and samgri, the better option is always burning a dead body.
The house of the deceased should be purified by performing Yagya in the house. It is right to collect the leftover bone remains from the place of burning but it is futile to travel to rivers to dispose off the same. It pollutes the rivers only.
Various post death rituals like dashgatra, vaitarni crossing and the donations involved with these to the so called religious priests are meaningless as per Arya Samaj. Arya Samaj strongly believes that once a person dies, no one on earth can reach him by doing whatsoever rituals. Even the Antyeshti, which is performed with Ved Mantras is a way of prayer to Ishvar by the people attending the Antyeshti to bless the relived soul by giving it the Moksha ; or to grant the soul next birth in better body and conditions.
The family members of the deceased should follow the good deeds of the deceased and further his good intentions and ambitions.