Wednesday July 17, 2019

How sacrificial rituals take one closer to supreme reality and consciousness

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Havan_at_Satyanand_Yoga_Rocklyn_Ashram,_Australia

By Isha Srivastva

For millenniums, the ritual of sacrifice or yajna  has been considered to be a foundational religious activity of Hinduism. For the Vedic Aryans, Yajna was the paramount activity through which the universe remained in order. These rituals were necessary to attain the ‘three worlds’- the world we live in (cosmic world), the intermediate world and heaven.

Sacrifice as Spiritual Obedience

The idea of sacrifice, is to show our allegiance to a universal power, and learning to rely on its provisions over the material comforts that we have made for ourselves. Different people part with various possessions that they would otherwise be frugal with; it can be a piece of clothing, food, a resource or sometimes, even earthly relationships. pursue the knowledge of ones true self and achieve liberation from the bondage of worldly commitments (Sansaar) and Karma.

A Leaf out of history

Community sacrifices and offerings are performed today to attain the liberation of the soul, or moksha. Keeping the multitude of Hindu Gods aside, beyond numbers and gender, a true Hindu will believe in the One reality and One consciousness of God.

Historically, Vedic sacrifice has delineated itself in the Rig Veda (the knowledge of the verses) which explains a highly structured and proper way of performing rituals. Actions accompanied by chanting, carry a cosmic power which brings balance and prosperity in the natural order of the world.

Laurie L Patton, in her book Bringing the Gods to Mind writes, “Without the sacrifice, the sun would not rise in the morning, nor would the cattle grow and multiply, nor would the crops flourish throughout the year. The possibility for long and healthy life for humans, and the worship of the fathers after death, or the ancestors, would not be present.”

Ashvamedhayajna was one such Vedic ritual for instance, prescribed in the Yajur Veda (knowledge of the ritual directions) which translates to ‘horse sacrifice’. It was regarded to be the highest form of animal sacrifice, with the horse being an ultimate symbol of martial power and one of the most important military resource.

The ritual was performed by emperors or sages who had achieved unparalleled success, to glorify the state of one-ness with Brahman. The Upanishads have likened the human senses to horses that must be controlled lest they shall become wild. Ashvamedha has also been interpreted as an offering of the seven chakras to God, and remaining in God consciousness.

Pure Bhakti

From its pious tributes and ritualistic practises to acting as a symbol of reprehensible social practise, sometimes religion gets robbed of its true identity.

Our religious books spell out that compared to the greatness derived from self knowledge and one-ness with God, the virtues earned by going on pilgrimage sites, or performing a hundred yagnas, are minuscule. Yudhishthira too, had performed Ashvamedha, but while narrating the incident to Yudhisthira’great-granadson, the sage Vaishampayana told him that he should not think too highly of sacrifice, and follow contentment, self restraint, abstain from injuring all creatures.

Rituals are imbued with values and spiritual principles, but when a person gets entangled in rituals, they run the risk of losing the value itself. Yagnas, pilgrimages and offerings hold no merit if we do not imbue our quotidian actions with divine purpose, acts of charity, kindness, and love. We cannot cleanse ourselves with Havans, we have to cleanse ourselves to what Sikhs call the Panj Vikar (Five sins); Kaam (lust), krodh (rage), lobh (greed), moh (attachment) and hankaar (ego).

Most of us have read the story of Sudama (or Kuchela) who offered nothing but rice flakes to his old friend, Lord Krishna. In return, the God showered him with riches and luxury. The story taught an important lesson; nothing greater than self sacrifice and pure Bhakti, can be offered to God.

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Time To Ditch Up Your Dresses! Get Ready For All The New Summer Stuff

Depending on your destination, you can choose a crop top with shorts, a high slit skirt with a strappy top or even a holiday stunner like long flared pants with a slogan tube top and a jacket. 

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playsuit
We would recommend a printed playsuit or jumpsuit because it brings a really fun vibe to a holiday outfit. It's comfortable but still so chic. Pixabay

Ditch the dresses and glam up for your summer vacation with a suitcase packed with something new.

Ritika Taneja, Head Category Management at ShopClues and Jankee and Stuti Desai, Founders of The Fancy Pants Store, give out fashion tips that will ensure you travel in style without carrying a dress.

crop top
You can pick one that is fit and flair for a flirty, feminine look. Pixabay

* Denim skirt: You can never go wrong with a denim skirt on a vacation. Pair this with a one-piece for that dressy look. Or, just put on a tank top and a bolero jacket if you’re heading out for a mid-day break or even dinner at a nearby eatery.

* Co-Ords: Invest in a pair of co-ords for your holiday wardrobe. You could also opt for a yellow or pastel hue to add an unexpected element to your holiday look. Co-ords are etching their way into wardrobe staples and come in lots of combinations.

Depending on your destination, you can choose a crop top with shorts, a high slit skirt with a strappy top or even a holiday stunner like long flared pants with a slogan tube top and a jacket.

shopping
Co-ords are etching their way into wardrobe staples and come in lots of combinations. Pixabay

* Playsuit: We would recommend a printed playsuit or jumpsuit because it brings a really fun vibe to a holiday outfit. It’s comfortable but still so chic. With the right accessories, it’s a look you can take from a day of sightseeing to a fancy dinner. You can pick one that is fit and flair for a flirty, feminine look. Accessorise it with a hair band and a stack of bracelets to complete your look.

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* High-waist trousers: If you’re not a beach person and prefer to just soak in the spirit of a new place making memories with great photographs, high-waist linen trousers are your best bet. Pair them with a bikini top and a silk scarf with large gold hoops and a dainty layered necklace for that perfect look. (IANS)