Why should one chant Name of benevolent deity based on the trigunas in oneself?

Contents


1. Chanting the Name given by the Guru

Refer point 3.7 and ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 4 – Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga), point – Gurumantra’.

1.1 The name given by the parents and that given by the Guru

  • A. The name given by the parents is for the physical body, that is Prakruti whereas that (The Lord’s Name) given by the Guru is in accordance with the God principle.
  • B. Impressions made on oneself make one feel that the name given by one’s parents is one’s own. Similarly one should make oneself feel that The Lord’s Name given by the Guru is one’s own, through impressions of the Name, (that is by chanting).
  • C. The Name given by the Guru indicates that one belongs to someone (the Guru principle). Forgetting the name given by one’s parents, one should feel The Lord’s Name to be one’s own.
  • D. The son carries forth the name of his parents, while a disciple carries forward the one given by his Guru. 

2. The family deity (kuladevata)

If one does not come across a real Guru then one should chant the Name of the family deity (kuladevata), that is the female family deity (kuladevi) or the male family deity (kuladev).

2.1 Origin and meaning

The word kula means the Muladhar chakra, energy or kundalini (spiritual energy). Kuladevata means the deity with the worship of which the Muladhar chakra is activated, that is spiritual progress commences. Deity (devata) refers to both the male deity (dev) or the female deity (devi).

2.2 The history

Worship of the family deity began in the post-Vedic and pre-Puranic period. The illustrious example of one who made spiritual and worldly progress through the spiritual practice of the family deity is Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

2.3 The importance

  • A. When one is suffering from a major illness, one does not take medicines according to one’s fancy. For that, one needs to consult an authority in that field, that is a physician and to take medicines according to his advice. Similarly, to recover from the great illness of being entangled in the vast ocean of worldly life, that is to make spiritual progress, one needs to practise Spirituality under the guidance of a spiritually evolved person. However, there are very few such saints in society. 97% of the so-called Gurus are fake. Hence, the query remains as to which Name one should chant. The Lord however has provided us with an excellent solution. He has given each one of us a birth in a family (kula) appropriate for one’s spiritual progress.
  • B. When one falls ill one consults one’s family physician since he knows all about one’s constitution and illnesses. Similarly, when one has to get some work done in an office rather quickly, one contacts an acquaintance working there. In the same way, out of the thirty-three crores of deities our family deity is the closest to us, the one who will respond to our call and will make us progress spiritually.
  • C. When all the principles in the universe are imbibed into the subtle body, the practice of Spirituality is said to be complete. Just as the cow is the only animal which has the ability to attract the frequencies of all the deities in the universe (that is why it is said that there are thirty-three crores of deities in the cow’s abdomen.); so also only chanting of the family deity’s Name has the potential to attract all principles in the universe and increase them all upto 30%. Contrary to this, chanting of the Names of deities like Vishnu, Shiva, Ganapati, Lakshmi, etc. increases only that particular principle in which one is deficient. This is akin to taking vitamin A, B, etc. as a supplement to reduce the deficiency of that vitamin in the body. The Name of the family deity is like a general tonic which contains all the required minerals and vitamins.
  • D. The family deity (kuladevata) being the deity of the pruthvi (absolute earth) element, one does not experience any ill effects if one begins its spiritual practice. However, one may suffer ill effects if one directly commences the spiritual practice of the tej (absolute fire) element, (for instance chanting the Gayatri mantra). This does not happen with the worship of the family deity (kuladevata).
  • E. Since the family deity is the deity associated with the pruthvi (absolute earth) element one gets the spiritual experience of fragrance, the characteristic feature of the pruthvi element, within a few months to years of its worship. This enhances one’s faith in spiritual practice rather quickly. Contrary to this if one performs spiritual practice of the tej (absolute fire) element then one gets a vision only after several years of spiritual practice. Since the intensity and duration of spiritual practice in most people is less they do not get spiritual experiences of the subtle elements fast. Hence there is a possibility of their abandoning their spiritual practice midway.
  • F.   The Guru is the mother, the Guru is the father,
           the Guru is our kuladevata.
           In the most difficult times,
           He always protects us in every way.
           The body, speech and mind, I offer at the Guru’s feet.
           Eknath surrenders to Lord Janardan and considers
           His Guru to be Lord Janardan Himself.
– Saint Eknath                                       

 

  • G. The wrath of the family deity: At times, inspite of being intelligent when a student does not study, his teacher reprimands him. Akin to this, if a person has the potential to progress spiritually and yet does not do any spiritual practice then the family deity expresses its wrath. Since the individual is unable to perceive this, the deity creates obstacles in his worldly life. Since he is unable to resolve them despite maximum efforts the individual seeks guidance from a saint who then recommends worship of the family deity. Once this worship is begun, the deity removes these obstacles and even facilitates his spiritual practice.
  • 2.4 Which Name should one chant, that of the male family deity (kuladev) or the female family deity (kuladevi)

    • A. If one has only a male family deity then His Name should be chanted whereas if one has only a female family deity then Her Name should be chanted.
    • B. If one has both a male and a female family deity, the Name of the female deity should be chanted for the following reasons.1. Children are more demanding with the mother because the mother fulfills their demands faster. The female family deity too is appeased faster than the male deity.

      2. The female family deity is more closely associated with the pruthvi (absolute earth) element than the male family deity.

      3. The Name imparted by the Paratpar Guru is 100% conducive for one’s progress whereas that of the female family deity is 30% and that of the male family deity is only 25% conducive. (Refer point 9. The matching of various Names to the frequencies of various deities and their ability to unite with The Supreme God.)

    • C. If one’s family deity is of the nature of Ganesh panchayatan (five deities in which Ganesh is the main deity) or Vishnu panchayatan, etc. then one should consider the main deity in the panchayatan, Ganesh, Vishnu, etc. to be the family deity.
    • D. If one does not know the family deity then one should try to trace it from the elders in the family, people of the same surname, distant relatives, villagers, priests, etc. If one does not get information then one should either chant the Name of one’s favourite deity or ‘Shri kuladevatayai namaha (श्री कुलदेवतायै नम: ।)’. Once this is completed one comes across someone who tells the Name of one’s family deity. For the majority mere chanting of ‘Shri kuladevatayai namaha’ proves difficult as there is no conceptualisation of the form of the deity. As against this, since one is aware of the form of one’s favourite deity chanting its Name becomes easier.
    • E. Which Name should one chant, that of the family deity of the in-laws or that of the parents?     Usually after marriage a woman’s name changes. A woman leaves everyone at her home and comes to her in-laws. In a way, it is considered to be her rebirth. Hence, after marriage a woman should chant the Name of the family deity of her in-laws. However, if a woman has been chanting a specific deity’s Name since childhood and if she is a progressed seeker then she may continue to chant the same. This also holds good if a Guru has imparted a Name to her before marriage.

    2.5 The results

    Once the chanting of the Name of the family deity is completed the Guru Himself comes into the seeker’s life and blesses him with a Gurumantra.

    3. The favourite deity (ishtadevata)

    The deity which is responsible for spiritual progress such as the family deity or the deity whose Name is given by the Guru as Gurumantra for chanting, is known as the benevolent deity (ishtadevata). Despite this being so, most consider the deity bestowing worldly benefits or the deity of one’s liking as the benevolent deity. If one does not know the Name of one’s family deity then one should chant the Name of one’s favourite deity. The reasons for liking a particular deity are as follows:

    • A. In the previous birth one’s spiritual practice of that particular deity has probably remained incomplete.
    • B. Impressions about that particular deity have been created in the mind during childhood probably by listening to stories about it, etc. Since the deity is one’s favourite its chanting or spiritual practice is carried out wholeheartedly.

    Once this chanting reaches a certain level one comes across someone who reveals the Name of one’s family deity or the Guru Himself enters the seeker’s life and bestows a Gurumantra upon him. If one has a doubt as to which Name of the favourite deity one should chant then one should choose it using the following guidelines.

    3.1 The element in the seeker and that in the alphabets of the Name

    In India we have various deities, each one with a number of Names, for instance ‘Vishnu sahasranam’ quotes a thousand Names of Lord Vishnu. According to the alphabets in it the Name is related to either of the five cosmic elements (panchamahabhutas), that is pruthvi (absolute earth), apa (absolute water), tej (absolute fire), vayu (absolute air) and akash (absolute ether). Keeping this in mind one should chant the Name with alphabets matching one’s own element. The table under point ‘3.2’ illustrates the elements in various alphabets.

    3.2 The three components (trigunas) in the seeker and the Name

    The Name of the benevolent deity (ishtadevata) which should be chanted depends upon the sattva, raja and tama components in the seeker and in the Name of the deity. The method of recognising which component – sattva, raja, or tama predominates in a seeker is given in a table in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 26 – Man’.

    The following table provides information on the elements and components present in some alphabets.

    The alphabets The element The
    component
    The effect of pronunciation
    A. Vowels Akash
    (absolute
    ether)
    Sattva The air escapes through the
    nose gently, producing a
    resonant note. Sound (nad) is
    the feature of the ether element.
    B. Consonants      
       1. Nh-yan-n-n-m Akash Sattva  
       2. Gh-jh-dh-dh-bh Vayu
    (absolute air)
    Raja When the letters are being
    pronounced the air escapes in a
    greater quantity like the blowing
    of wind (vayu)
       3. G-j-d-d-b Tej
    (absolute fire)
    Raja When the letters are being
    pronounced, more energy [rad-
    iance (tej)] is generated.
       4. Kh-ch-th-th-ph Apa
    (absolute
    water)
    Tama The pronounciation of the letters
    is like the sound of flowing
    water (apa).
       5. K-ch-t-t-p Pruthvi
    (absolute
    earth)
    Tama When pronouncing these letters
    a sound akin to that produced
    by a forceful impact on a hard
    object (pruthvi) is produced.

    3.3 Selecting the deity according to the three components (trigunas) in the seeker and the deities

    When selecting the deity, according to the three components (trigunas) the following points may be considered.

    • A. Generally, one of the components is predominant in a deity, for instance tama in Lord Shiva, sattva in Lord Vishnu, etc.
    • B. A particular component is more manifest in a particular form of a deity, for instance the tama component is more in the Name of Ganapati as Vighnahar while the sattva component is more in His Name as Vidyapati.1. The primary seeker: According to one’s temperament whether sattvik, rajasik or tamasik (predominantly sattva, raja or tama respectively) a seeker should choose the Name of a deity which matches his temperament. A seeker finds it easier to chant a Name which matches his temperament, for instance a seeker with a tamasik temperament should choose Lord Shiva, whereas one with a sattvik temperament should choose Lord Vishnu, for chanting.

      2. The progressed seeker: A seeker with a rajasik or a tamasik temperament should chant that Name of the favourite deity contrary to his constitution because the aim in the advanced stage is to destroy the respective temperament and to increase the sattvik temperament, for instance a seeker with a rajasik temperament should chant the Name of Vishnu with a sattvik temperament. A seeker with a sattvik temperament however should chant the Name of Vishnu with a sattvik temperament.

    3.4 The appropriate Name of the chosen deity

    • A. The primary seeker : When chanting the Name of one’s favourite deity (ishtadevata) out of all the Names one should select the Name matching one’s constitution. A seeker finds it easier to chant such a Name; for instance if a seeker with a tamasik temperament has Shiva as the favourite deity he should chant ‘Namaha Shivaya (नम: शिवाय ।)’ but a seeker with a rajasik temperament with Shiva as the favourite deity should chant ‘Rudraya namaha (रुद्राय नम: ।)’. Some other examples of appropriate chanting of the favourite deity are given in the following table.
      The favourite
      deity
      (ishtadevata)
      The predominant component
      in the seeker
      sattva raja tama
      1. Shiva Namaha
      Shivaya
      Rudraya
      Namaha
      Namaha
      Shivaya
      2. Vishnu Shri
      Vasudevaya
      Namaha
      Shri
      Janardanaya
      NamahaShri
      Vishnave
      Namaha
      Shri
      Vasudevaya
      Namaha
      3. Ganapati Shri
      Ganeshaya
      Namaha
      Shri
      Vakratundaya
      Namaha
      Shri
      Ganeshaya
      Namaha
      4. Devi
         (female
          deity)
      Shri
      Ambamatayai
      Namaha
      Shri
      Durgayai
      Namaha
      Shri
      Ambamatayai
      Namaha
    • B. The progressed seeker (with a spiritual level of more than 40%): A seeker with a rajasik or tamasik temperament should chant that Name of the favourite deity contrary to his constitution, for instance if Shiva happens to be his favourite deity a seeker with a tamasik temperament should chant ‘Rudraya namaha (रुद्राय नम: ।)’ whereas one with a rajasik temperament should chant ‘Namaha Shivaya (नम: शिवाय ।)’. Usually a progressed seeker does not have a tamasik (tama predominant) temperament. A seeker with a sattvik (sattva predominant) temperament however should chant the Name with a sattvik temperament only. A few more examples of Names of the favourite deity essential for chanting, in a progressed seeker are given in the following table.
      The favourite
      deity
      (ishtadevata)
      The predominant component
      in the seeker
      sattva raja tama
      1. Shiva Namaha
      Shivaya
      Namaha
      Shivaya
      Rudraya
      Namaha
      2. Vishnu Shri
      Vasudevaya
      Namaha
      Shri
      Vasudevaya
      Namaha
      Shri
      Janardanaya
      NamahaShri
      Vishnave
      Namaha
      3. Ganapati Shri
      Ganeshaya
      Namaha
      Shri
      Ganeshaya
      Namaha
      Shri
      Vakratundaya
      Namaha
      4. Devi
         (female
          deity)
      Shri
      Ambamatayai
      Namaha
      Shri
      Ambamatayai
      Namaha
      Shri
      Durgayai
      Namaha

    3.5 Gender differences in the alphabets

    • A. The alphabets with a masculine gender: Vowels have a masculine gender. When pronouncing a vowel no impact occurs within the oral cavity though it assumes various shapes and the vowel is pronounced accordingly, for instance when saying ‘a’ the mouth becomes wide open whereas when uttering ‘u’ it becomes tubular. All these vowels are termed masculine according to the science of Spirituality because they do not require the support of other alphabets. They are complete by themselves. The Absolute Being (Purush, Brahman) is complete by Himself but the Great Illusion (Prakruti, Maya) is not, as it requires the Absolute Being (Brahman) to attain Absoluteness (Purnatva).
    • B. The alphabets with a feminine gender: Consonants have a feminine gender. Consonants become complete with the help of the vowels, for instance the consonant k (क). k (क्‌) + a (अ) = k (क).According to another school of thought low notes (rhasva) of vowels are masculine while the high ones (dirgha) are feminine.

      Once the gender differences of the alphabets are understood, one can choose a japa or mantra with appropriate alphabets, for instance for chanting of the Name of the female deity to occur smoothly alphabets of the feminine gender are better suited. From the therapeutic angle, chanting a japa or a mantra with alphabets of the feminine gender is more beneficial to homosexual males.

    3.6 The pulse rate

    • A. The primary seeker: One should chant a Name which does not alter the pulse rate. When the pulse rate does not change one can conclude that, that Name matches the temperament consisting of the three components (trigunas) of the seeker.
    • B. The progressed seeker: One should chant a Name which decreases the pulse rate. A decrease in the pulse rate signifies the conversion of rajasik (raja predominant) temperament to sattvik (sattva predominant) and that of sattvik temperament to one beyond the three components (trigunatit).

    3.7 The Name of one’s favourite deity and that recommended by the Guru

    One should chant the Name imparted by the Guru for the following reasons.

    • A. One does not understand which Name is best suited for one’s own spiritual progress. Only the Guru is capable of providing this guidance.
    • B. Chanting the Name of one’s favourite deity helps only to raise one’s sattvik nature. The Gurumantra however can take one upto the unmanifest state (nirgun), that is beyond the three components (trigunatit).
    • C. The Gurumantra does not contain mere letters but has spiritual knowledge (dnyan), divine consciousness (chaitanya) and the Guru’s blessings. Hence spiritual progress is faster. This Name containing divine consciousness is called a sabija or a divine mantra. However, one has to practise Spirituality to obtain the ultimate result by chanting the sabija mantra.
    • D. Due to faith in the Guru, one chants the Gurumantra with greater faith than the mantra decided upon by oneself. Also when remembering the Guru one tends to chant the Name given by Him and thus one’s chanting increases.
    • E. When one chants the Name of one’s favourite deity atleast some amount of ego accompanies it. On the contrary, when chanting the Name recommended by the Guru there is no ego.

    4. Other deities

    4.1 Fulfillment of desires

    If one wishes to chant the Name of a deity to fulfill a specific desire, then a deity whose qualities match one’s desires should be appropriately selected, for instance if one wants wisdom or knowledge, one should chant the Name of Ganesh or Sarasvati. Details about this are given in point ‘The worldly (sakam) and non-worldly (nishkam) motives’.

    4.2 Overcoming spiritual obstacles

    The following table illustrates which deity is useful for a particular problem. If the deficiency of vital energy (pranshakti) is the cause of impairment of functioning of an organ, then the Name of the deity to be chanted, as its possible remedy is given in point ‘As a therapy’.

    The spiritual factors The spiritual
    factors due to
    destiny %
    The spiritual
    factors due to
    wilful action
    %
    The remedy
    (spiritual practice)
    1. Destiny 50 8* Worship of the female
    / male family deity
    2. Distressing energies 4 2.50  
       A. Possession 1 1 Worship of Hanuman,
    Kali, Durga, etc.**
       B. Black magic 1 0.75  
       C. Ancestors’ subtle
            bodies
            (Lingadeha)
    1 0.50 Mild problem: Worship
    of Datta, e.g. ritualistic
    worship (puja), chant-
    ing, going to the temple
    Severe problem:
    Tripindi shraddha,
    Narayan Nagbali
       D. Problems arising
            from planets
    1 0.25 Varies according to
    the planets
    3. Plesant energies 6 1.60  
       A. The family deity
            (Kuladevata)
    5 0.75 Following the family
    traditions of spiritual
    practice (kulachar)
       B. The Village deity
            (Gramadevata)
    0.10 (very rare) Traditional ritualistic
    worship of the village
    deity (Gramadevata)
       C. The deity of a
            place
            (Sthanadevata)
    0.25 0.1 Ritualistic worship
    (puja), sacrificial fire
    (hom), etc.
       D. The deity of a
            place
            (Vastudevata)
    0.65 0.75 The rituals of
    Vastushant,
    Udakshant etc.
    4. Associated with
        spiritual energy in
        the body
    1.50 0.75  
       A. Obstacles in the
            Kundalini
            chakras
    and
            channels (nadis)
    1 (very rare) Bijakshar mantras
       B. Deficiency of
            vital energy
            (pranshakti)
    0.5 0.75 Worship of Superior
    deities like Shiva,
    Vishnu, Ganapati,
    Lakshmi, Parvati, etc.
    and the company of
    saints
    5. Miscellaneous 3.50 2.15  
       A. Food, clothing
            etc.
    1 0.25 Avoidance of specific
    items of food, etc.
       B. Time 0.75   Continuing one’s
    spiritual practice
       C. Collective sins
            and merits
    0.75   Turning others towards
    spiritual practice
       D. Remaining 1 1.9 According to the cause
    Total (80 =) *** 65 15  

    * One has to undergo the result of severe sins and merits in this birth itself.

    ** Visiting a sorcerer (mantrik) or bhagat may yield quick results. But the problem can recur. As against this, if the worship of Hanuman, Kali, etc. is done, though recovery is slow, there is an increase in energy due to the spiritual practice and there is no recurrence. Should the problem be mild, one can overcome it with one’s own spiritual practice. If severe, besides visiting a sorcerer (mantrik) or bhagat one should also do one’s own spiritual practice.

    *** In the life of an average person 20% problems are due to psychological and/or physical factors, 30% due to spiritual and psychological and/or physical factors and the remaining 50% are purely due to spiritual causes. Thus with spiritual practice 80% events in life are either resolved or one acquires the strength to tolerate them, (that is destiny).

    5. Chanting the Names of various deities

    Usually chanting the Name of the family deity alone is sufficient. However, if someone happens to be suffering due to spiritual factors then as a remedy some saints advise chanting the Name of some other deity alongwith that of the family deity.

    Benefits

    • A. One does not get bored of chanting.
    • B. Various qualities of different deities get imprinted on the mind.

    Losses

    • A. Chanting Names of various deities goes against the basic doctrine of Spirituality of traversing from ‘Many to One’.
    • B. Faith in only one deity does not develop quickly.

    6. The Name of the Guru

    ‘The Name given by the Guru is more important than the Guru Himself’. This will be clear from the following.

    • A. Just as the saying ‘Rama’s Name is mightier than Rama Himself’ goes, the Name given by the Guru is more valuable since the Guru comprises of both, the manifest (sagun) and the unmanifest (nirgun) principles while the Name imparted by Him has only the unmanifest principle.
    • B. The Guru’s physical body cannot remain perpetually. Finally when the Guru renounces it, the disciples are aggrieved. Contrary to this, the Name imparted by the Guru constantly accompanies one, even from one birth to another.
    • C. Instead of the faith that the Guru will give something, one needs to develop the faith that The Lord’s Name will give everything. Having more faith in the Guru than in one’s parents, money and intellect is the first stage in spiritual practice while conviction in the Name is the last. It is only because of faith in The Lord’s Name that it is possible to progress towards the unmanifest (nirgun). One can blend with the living Guru, The Lord’s Name which is in a way formless, and the unmanifest, formless Brahman, step by step.
    • D. Faith in the manifest (sagun), duality (dvait) lies in the Guru whereas that leading to the unmanifest (nirgun), non-duality (advait) lies in The Lord’s Name. Hence, one must pay more attention to the Name given by the Guru instead of the matter spoken by Him.’ (2) The Guru’s Name has the manifest principle (saguntattva), that is energy, whereas The Lord’s Name imparted by Him (Guru) has more of the unmanifest (nirgun) principle.
    • E. The Name imparted by the Guru is itself the Guru principle (Gurutattva), that is the Guru’s energy. With that energy one can overcome obstacles and make spiritual progress. As against this, the Name of the Guru, (that is the Guru Himself) is Shiva (The Supreme Brahman). Blending with it is the target not the tool.
    • F. The Name imparted by the Guru is more important than the Guru’s Name, as it is given by the Guru Himself.
    • G. Remembering the Guru (Gurusmaran) and the Guru Himself are not distinct from each other. Remembering the Name given by the Guru is itself the manifest form of the Guru and attaining the Final Liberation (Moksha) is the Guru’s unmanifest form. Hence,     ‘He who remembers the Guru dearly is worthy of worship in all the three regions (trilokas)’.

            Only that disciple who drinks the nectar (amrut) of the manifest form becomes immortal *. – Shri Gurucharitra 3 : 260

            * Immortal means the unmanifest.

    In point D. above, the Guru’s Name refers to His manifest form. In comparison to this, The Lord’s Name imparted by the Guru is unmanifest. The Name given by the Guru as in point G is manifest in comparison with the final libration (moksha).

    7. The Names of saints

    First chant the name ‘Chile’ for two minutes and then chant the Name of any deity which one has not chanted before, for instance the male family deity (kuladev), the female family deity (kuladevi) or any other deity for two minutes. Note the experiences on both the occasions and then read further.

    At a satsang (spiritual meeting) the participants had the following experiences on chanting Chile and Haridra.

      Felt plesant Felt distressed Felt nothing Total
    1. Chile 0 11 33 44
    2. Haridra 30 1 13 44

    Chile is the name of a Maharashtrian saint who had many supernatural powers (siddhis). He renounced his body around 1980. Haridra is one of the Names of Lord Ganapati.

    This experiment shows that one should not chant the Name of saints like Swami Samarth, Saibaba, Gajanan Maharaj, etc. This will be more clear from the following points.

    • A. No saint has recommended the chanting of his own Name or that of another. For instance, Saint Tukaram Maharaj has not advised the chanting of Saint Dnyaneshvar’s Name.
    • B. Since times immemorial our history records no instance where a temple of a saint has been constructed. Only temples of deities have been erected. Nowadays however, the wrong trend of building temples of saints has set in.
    • C. Since the law of creation, sustenance and dissolution is applicable to saints as well, their energy persists only for a limited period of a few hundred years. Thereafter they are unable to respond to one’s call. As against this, the deities are eternally present from the creation of the universe till its dissolution.
    • D. Saints at the spiritual level (70%) of Energy (Shakti) are born to carry out a particular mission and to accomplish that they possess manifest energy. So if their Names are chanted then the manifest energy may cause distress to a few. Contrary to this, since a deity mostly has unmanifest energy, chanting its Name does not cause any distress. Besides a seeker does not want energy, he wants Bliss (Anand) and Serenity (Shanti).[Saints at spiritual levels of 80% and 90% can impart spiritual experiences of Bliss and Serenity respectively.]

    8. Sectarian chanting

    • A. According to the fundamental principle of Spirituality there are as many temperaments as there are people and a corresponding number of paths of Spirituality. Just as a physician does not prescribe the same medicine to all his patients, it is not appropriate for all to chant the same Name. Hence, the practice of giving the same Name to everyone as done in some sects, is unsound.
    • B. In the book, ‘Shri Brahmachaitanya Gondavlekar Maharaj Yanchi Pravachane’ chanting of Shrirama is recommended. The saints from the Varkari sect advise chanting of the mantra ‘Rama Krushna Hari (राम कृष्‍ण हरि)’. After reading the ‘Ganapati Atharvashirsha’ one feels like chanting the Name of Lord Ganesh. Thus, confusion ensues as to which Name to chant. Here, the point to be noted is that in Spirituality the implied meaning is more important than the literal one. Hence instead of taking the literal meaning as Shrirama, Rama Krushna Hari or Ganapati, one should realise that the implied meaning is, ‘The Lord’s Name’.
    • C. For a saint at a very high level to advise chanting of the same Name to everyone like Saint Gondavlekar Maharaj who preached the chanting of Shrirama, is appropriate since there is that much potential in His resolve (sankalpa). However, after the passing away of such great saints the practice of advising the same Name to everyone as the Name of that sect, is wrong.
    • D. ‘Spiritual practice in a sect amounts only to spiritual practice of the mind, and not of the embodied soul (jiva).’ – Saint

    9. The matching of various Names to the frequencies of the various bodies and their ability to unite with The Supreme God

    Each of the four bodies – the physical, subtle, causal (karan) and supracausal (mahakaran) have frequencies of their own. Chanting becomes easy when the frequencies of the Name match those of all the bodies and also equalise the frequencies of all four bodies with one another. Though the Name has the ability to unite one with The Supreme God, the intention of the one imparting it has an even greater ability to do so. Both these points will become clear from the following table.

    The Deity’s Name Matching with the
    frequencies of the
    bodies (sheaths) %
    Ability to unite
    with the Supreme
    God %
    1. One’s favourite deity 30 2
    2. The male family deity
        (Kuladev)
    60 25
    3. The female family deity
        (Kuldevi)
    70 30
    4. The name imparted by
        the Guru
    80 70
    5. The name imparted by
        the Sadguru
    90 90
    6. The name imparted by
        Supreme (Paratpar)
        Guru
    100 100

     

    At which stage does the chanting occur automatically?

    spiritual progress

    Contents


    1. Methods of chanting – According to the organ

    • A. The body: Writing down The Lord’s Name. The advantage of this is that chanting occurs through all the three media – the hands, eyes, and the mind. When the notebooks on which The Lord’s Name is written are kept in the house, it helps both to purify the house and to maintain its purity.
    • B. The speech (Vaikhari)
    • C. The mind

    2. Methods of chanting – According to the mode of speech (vani)

    2.1 Vaikhari

    Chanting done aloud, with effort

    • A. The benefits to oneself.

      1. In the primary stage chanting aloud facilitates concentration on chanting.

      2. One also derives benefits of pranayam.

    • B. The benefits to others

      1. A sattvik (sattva predominant) spiritual emotion (bhav) can be generated in the minds of those who hear the chanting.

      2. The sound waves help to make the atmosphere sattvik.

    • C. The possible distress to others: It can pose as an obstacle to others’ thinking and spiritual practice.
    • D. The limitations: Since the chanting is aloud, the mind cannot attain the thoughtless state.

    2.2 Madhyama

    The Madhyama mode refers to chanting which occurs automatically. It is so named as it is the intermediate stage between the Vaikhari and Pashyanti modes.

    2.3 Pashyanti

    Pashyanti

    Pashyanti is derived from the root word ‘pashya’ from Sanskrut which means ‘to see’. The chanting akin to that of the seers who have the knowledge of the past, present and future is called Pashyanti.

    2.4 Para

    This itself is referred to as Omkar or adibija (the primal seed). In the Para mode of speech chanting ceases as non-duality (advait) is achieved with chanting.

    2.5 Comparison of chanting in the four modes of speech

      Vaikhari Madhyama Pashyanti Para
    1. The stage of the
        seeker practising
        chanting
    Preliminary Intermediate Advanced Ultimate
    2. Chanting Chanting is done
    only in the spare
    time after doing
    all the daily
    chores
    The awareness
    that chanting is
    as important as
    all other tasks
    is present
    Doing other
    chores only if
    time permits
    after doing
    chanting
    Absent since
    the one
    chanting and
    the Name
    chanted blend
    into one.
    3. When does
        chanting occur?
    When there is
    no thought,
    action or
    speech
    Initially: when
    performing
    physical
    activities like
    bathing,
    cooking,
    walking,
    travelling in a
    bus or train, etc
    Advanced:
    When doing
    mental tasks
    like reading
    newspaper,
    watching TV
    programmes.
    Initially: when
    reading or
    doing official
    work, that is
    when doing
    important
    mental tasks.
    Advanced:
    During
    conversation.
    Once this is
    possible,
    chanting
    occurs even
    in sleep.
    Absent since
    the one
    chanting and
    the Name
    chanted blend
    into one.
    4. Efforts Tremendous
    efforts are
    necessary (one
    is unable to
    continue
    chanting without
    a tool)*
    Not required [
    chanting occurs
    automatically at
    its own pace.
    This itself is
    spontaneous
    chanting
    (ajapajapa).]
    Absent.
    Spontaneous
    chanting
    (ajapajapa)
    continues.
    (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    5. Duration for
        which it occurs
        during the day.
    Few minutes Few hours Continuous (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    6. Speech As usual As much as
    required
    Only related to
    Spirituality
        —
    7. The bodies
        concerned
    The physical
    body and the
    conscious mind
    The subtle and
    causal bodies
    The supra-
    causal body
    (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    8. The site in the
        body
    Tongue Throat Muladhar to
    Manipur
    chakra
    Navel (The
    seat of the
    embodied soul
    9. The spiritual
        level (%) at
        which chanting
        occurs
    35-50 50-70 70-99 (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    10. The actions Average There is a
    desire to do
    only good
    deeds
    Good deeds
    occur automa-
    tically. There
    is detachment
    inspite of
    living in society
    Beyond action
    (karma) and
    non-action
    (akarma)
    11. Who does the
        chanting? Who
        blends with the
        Name?
    The conscious
    mind
    [contemplation
    (manan)]
    The subconsc-
    ious mind
    [concentration
    (chintan)]
    Initially: The
    intellect
    Later: The
    embodied
    soul (jiva)
    The ego
    (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    12. Nature of the
        Name
    Word consisting
    of letters along
    with the meaning
    (manifest form
    of the word)
    Initially: Word
    devoid of
    meaning.
    Advanced:
    Sound (unma-
    nifest form of
    words) Present
    at the creation
    of the universe
    In the form of
    meaning or
    Bliss or eight
    sattvik
    emotions
    (ashtasattvik
    bhav) genera-
    ted from
    meaning. It is
    in the form of
    a wave.
    In the form of
    fundamental
    meaning, that
    is serenity
    (shanti)
    13. The super-
         conscious state
    Initially: Absent
    Advanced:
    Savitarka
    Savichar Sanand and
    Sasmit
    Nirbij
    14. In which state
        does chanting
        occur?
    Waking Waking and
    dream
    Waking,
    dream and
    deep sleep [
    this is also
    called the sup-
    erconscious
    state of the
    Name (Nam
    samadhi)]
    (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    15. The centre for
        chanting in the
        subconscious
        mind
    Absent Begins to get
    established
    Is established (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    16. The influence
        of the centre for
        chanting in
        comparison to
        other centres in
        the subconsci-
        ous mind.
        — Less More The other
    centres are
    either insigni-
    ficant or totally
    destroyed.
    17. Other impres-
        sions on the
        subconscious
        mind
    Many Less Few Very few or
    absent
    18. Other thoughts
        in the mind
        during chanting
        (the number of
        thoughts reduce
        in proportion to
        the development
        of the centre for
        chanting)
    Many Less Absent (Blending of
    the Name
    and the one
    chanting it).
    19. The
        component
    Tama Raja Sattva Beyond the
    three compon-
    ents
    (trigunatit)

    * A tool means a particualar place, time, mala, seat, bath, insense, Sadguru’s photo, chanting loudly, company of seekers, silence, good health, no problems in worldly life, etc.

    The four modes of speech and time: The Vaikhari mode of speech has the restrictions of the three dimensions of time (past, present and future). Later, this gradually reduces and recitations of the Pashyanti become unidimensional. Some evolved seekers in their usual state say that they performed the Mahagayatri purashcharan, (that is chanting 24 lakhs of the Gayatri mantra) in the morning. The listener may find this odd and label them as eccentric. The reason for this feeling, is that performing a purashcharan which normally takes 6 months at the rate of ten hours per day, in just six hours, is next to impossible. It is only natural that a seeker claiming to have performed a mahapurashcharan in 6 hours or in 6 minutes should be considered eccentric by an average person. However the very concept that these seekers could perform such a purashcharan in the Pashyanti or Para modes [there is non-duality (advait) in the Para mode of speech] is far beyond the imagination of the average individual. Of late, the concept of dimensions such as three dimensional, two dimensional, unidimensional and dimensionlessness are gradually unfolding before modern science. One routinely experiences the miracle when the mind in the three dimensional waking state enters the unidimensional dream state. For instance when one dozes even for half a minute during a spiritual discourse (kirtan) one has a reverie that one is being felicitated in a ceremony, by a crowd. These are common phenomena experienced in hardly thirty seconds. Had these events occurred in the waking state it would have taken a minimum of twelve hours or so. Such is the achievement of Pashyanti.

    The more progressed the state the less is the proportion of dimensions. The proportion of dimensions of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahadev is so infinitesimally reduced that thousands of our yugs (eras) elapse in a time which is equivalent to the blinking of Their eyelids.’(1)

    3. Methods of chanting – According to the types

    The method of
    chanting
    Verbal Upanshu Mental
    1. Pronouncing Loud enough for
    others to hear
    Uttered with slight
    movement of the
    tongue and lips so
    that one is able to
    hear it oneself
    Absent. Chanting
    occurs in the
    mind. The inner
    vision and subtle
    sense organs of
    hearing are aware
    of the words.
    2. Relation to
        external air
    Pronounciation
    is made with the
    help of external
    air
    Minimal Absent
    3. Contribution
        of the mind
    Present. There is
    a difference
    between the
    word and its
    meaning.
    The mind concen-
    trates on the deity
    of the mantra.
    There is also an
    attempt to
    understand the
    meaning.
    There is concen-
    tration on the
    meaning of the
    mantra and there
    is also a firm
    relationship bet-
    ween the word
    and the meaning.
    Later, one expe-
    riences nonduality
    4. The
        predominant
        mode of
        speech in
        operation
    Vaikhari Madhyama Pashyanti
    5. Use To the primary
    seeker*
    For rituals of
    Shanti, Pushti,
    spiritual practice
    done with expect-
    ation (Sakam) etc.
    For spiritual
    practice without
    expectation
    (nishkam)

    * This mode (vani) is also used for a majority of negative acts such as abhichar (jaran, maran, etc.)

    According to the quote, ‘उपांशु स्‍यात्‌ शतगुण: ।’ (from Manusmruti 2:86) with upanshu chanting one acquires results a hundred times more than those obtained with chanting in the verbal mode.The benefits from mental chanting are significantly more than those obtained with upanshu, as the more subtle the Name, the more is its effectiveness. The difference in the energy generated from audible chanting (Vaikhari or verbal) and that of inaudible sound will be understood from the following example. The radiance generated from chanting in the audible mode for thirty years will suffice to heat one glass of water upto its boiling point. As against this, a mere thirty seconds of inaudible chanting gives the same results.

    Reference:

    Shastra Ase Sangate. First edition, fifth reprint – October 94, Vedavani Publications, Kolhapur 416 010.
    1. Pg. 30, 31

     

    Which Name should one chant if the Guru has not imparted a Name?

    Chanting

    Contents


    Repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name

    1. Definition

    Chanting (japa) means repetition of some letter, word, mantra or sentence. Namajapa means repetition of The Lord’s Name and mantrajapa that of a mantra. The terms japa and the Name (Nama) are often used synonymously with chanting.

    2. Importance

    Continuity in spiritual practice is achieved only through chanting. The Name is both the tool and the target. The ultimate objective is to merge with the Name.

    3. How does ‘repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name’ work?

    ‘The subconscious mind carries millions of impressions, to erase even a single one of which would take a very long time. As such, a considerable period of time would be wasted in overcoming the tendencies of the subconscious mind by following restraints and regulations (yam-niyam). It is much more important to make continual efforts to blend with The Absolute Being (Purush), rather than to try and erase such impressions from the mind, which arise from Prakruti. This is precisely what can be achieved by repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name. The mind, intellect, subconscious mind (chitta), among others, are all constituents of Prakruti and these function according to their own characteristics. Instead of wasting one’s spiritual practice (sadhana) in resisting them, one would achieve one’s goal faster, if that practice is utilized to progress towards the God principle (Purushtattva) by becoming one with the Name (of God) that one repeats (chants).’ – Saint

    4. Benefits

    4.1 According to psychology

    • A. At least when chanting is going on, no new impressions about other things are created on the subconscious mind. In order to prevent the development of new subconscious impressions, repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name, is the best path to follow in the waking state.
    • B. When chanting is going on, the conscious mind does not accept impulses coming from the centres like the desire and instinct centre, like and dislike centre, temperamental characteristic centre, etc. of the subconscious mind. If this continues for quite sometime then impressions in these centres start decreasing.
    • C. The power of concentration increases.

    4.2 According to Spirituality

    • A. If the Name of a deity is repeated (chanted), it gets appeased.
    • B. If one chants some bijakshar one can acquire control over a particular element like the tej (absolute fire) element and can acquire a supernatural power accordingly.
    • C. A non-action (akarma karma): If one repeats (chants) The Lord’s Name when performing any action (karma) then that action becomes a non-action, i.e. no accumulated account (sanchit) is generated from it. Since no new accounts are created, after experiencing all that is destined, one can quickly get liberated from the cycle of births and deaths. If one considers the accumulated account of an individual to be 100 units at the time of birth, then on an average in one birth 6 units get depleted by undergoing destiny which means man should be able to attain Liberation within l6 to l7 births. But this does not happen because, whilst one is undergoing 6 units of destiny, new accounts are simultaneously being created by one’s wilful actions (kriyaman karma) and the account rises by 10 units. Hence, at the time of death the accumulated account has 104 units instead of 94. Consequently, an individual gets more and more entrapped in the cycle of births and deaths. To prevent such a thing from happening the action occurring should be a non-action (akarma karma) and this can happen only by repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name.

    5. Which Name should one repeat (chant)?

    5.1 Repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name to eliminate distress due to distressing energies

    Before commencing this spiritual practice, it is extremely essential to find out for oneself if one is afflicted by distressing energy or not and make efforts to overcome it, if present. The following explanation will illustrate its importance.

    30% of people in society and 50% of true seekers are afflicted with distressing energies. Due to distressing energies, an individual experiences physical or psychological distress and / or constantly encounters some or the other obstacle in his life. Externally, though one may attribute this distress or obstacles to physical, psychological or worldly factors yet their true cause is affliction by distressing energies. No amount of gross treatment can relieve the physical or psychological distress caused by distressing energies completely. Just as fever contracted due to malaria can be cured completely only with anti-malarial drugs, so is this. Distressing energies also cause obstacles in the spiritual practice of seekers. Consequently, seekers do not reap the expected benefit of their spiritual practice as most of it is expended in alleviating the distress caused by distressing energies. For instance, if one’s vital energy (pranshakti) has decreased due to distressing energies then most of one’s spiritual practice is spent to restore it. So also, distressing energies take the benefit of the spiritual practice of seekers thus depriving them of the expected results despite undertaking a lot of spiritual practice. This shows how necessary it is to give priority to eliminate distress due to distressing energies.

    Every deity is a specific principle. When we repeat (chant) the Name of a deity, its principle gets drawn towards us. Distressing energies too are of different types and possess their own inherent qualities. The seven commonly worshipped deities namely Ganapati, Shrikrushna, Datta, Maruti, Shrirama, Durga and Shiva have the ability to destroy almost all types of distressing energies. Depending on a seeker’s constitution, the spiritual practice in his previous birth and type of distressing energy, repetition (chanting) of one or more Names out of these seven prove to be more useful to the seeker to eliminate the distress due to distressing energy. First of all, one should know whether one is afflicted with distressing energy and if so, the Name of the deity which can eliminate it. The following experiment of repeating (chanting) the Names of the seven deities will assist in this. After performing the experiment of repeating (chanting) all the seven Names in a specific manner, one will know the Name with which one experiences some distress. One can conclude that the Name of that deity with which one experiences some distress is most useful to overcome one’s distress due to distressing energy. That Name should be repeated (chanted) for a maximum period of the day till the distress due to distressing energy is overcome completely. So also, one should use other remedies along with the repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name to overcome the distress. Refer to the holy text ‘Remedies to eliminate distressing energies’ for details on these remedies and the method of experimenting about repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name. After the distress due to distressing energies is totally overcome, one can undertake repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name as given below.

    5.2 Name of one’s favourite deity [benevolent (ishtadevata)] or that recommended by the Guru?

    The deity which is responsible for spiritual progress such as the family deity or the deity whose Name is given by the Guru as Gurumantra for chanting, is known as the benevolent deity (ishtadevata). Despite this being so, most consider the deity bestowing worldly benefits or the deity of one’s liking as the benevolent deity. One should repeat (chant) the Name imparted by the Guru instead of chanting the Name of one’s favourite deity for the following reasons.

    • A. One does not understand which Name is best suited for one’s own spiritual progress. Only the Guru is capable of providing this guidance.
    • B. Repeating (chanting) the Name of one’s favourite deity helps only to enhance one’s sattvik (sattva predominant) nature. The gurumantra however can take one upto the unmanifest state (nirgun), that is beyond the three components (trigunatit).
    • C. The gurumantra does not contain mere letters but has spiritual knowledge (dnyan), divine consciousness (chaitanya) and the Guru’s blessings as well. Hence spiritual progress is faster. This Name containing divine consciousness is called a sabija or a divya (divine) mantra. However, one has to practise Spirituality to obtain the ultimate result by chanting the sabija mantra.
    • D. Due to faith in the Guru, one repeats (chants) the gurumantra with greater faith than the mantra decided upon by oneself. Also when remembering the Guru one tends to repeat (chant) the Name given by Him and thus one’s chanting increases.
    • E. When one repeats (chants) the Name of one’s favourite deity at least some amount of ego accompanies it. On the contrary, when repeating (chanting) the Name recommended by the Guru there is no ego.

    5.3 Which Name does one repeat (chant) if the Guru has not imparted a Name?

    In this case one should repeat (chant) the Name of the family deity (kuladevata), which refers to both the male or the female family deity.

    • A. A family (kula) is made up of those people who are closely related to each other. Depending upon which family deity’s worship is conducive for his spiritual progress, an individual is born in that particular family.
    • B. Kula also means the Muladhar chakra, energy or spiritual energy system (kundalini). The kuladevata means that deity with the worship of which the dormant spiritual energy (kundalini) in the Muladhar chakra is activated, that is spiritual progress starts. If one has both a male and a female deity, then one should chant the Name of the female family deity because She is appeased faster due to Her closer link with the pruthvi (absolute earth) element than the male family deity.
    • C. If one is not aware of the Name of the family deity, then one should repeat (chant) the Name of one’s favourite deity or “Shri Kuldevtayai namaha.” Once that is completed one comes across someone who tells one who the family deity is. Once the chanting of the family deity is completed the Guru Himself comes into a seeker’s life and blesses him with a gurumantra.
    • D. Worship of the family deity began in the post-Vedic and pre-Puranic period.
    • E. When all the principles in the universe are imbibed into the subtle body, the spiritual practice is said to be complete. Just as the cow is the only animal which has the ability to attract the frequencies of all the deities in the universe (that is why it is said that there are 33 crores of deities in the cow’s abdomen), so also only repeating (chanting) of the family deity’s Name has the potential to attract all the principles in the universe and increase them all upto 30%. Contrary to this, repeating (chanting) the Names of deities like Vishnu, Shankar, Ganapati, Lakshmi, etc. increases only that particular principle in which one is deficient. This is akin to taking vitamin A, B, etc. as a supplement to reduce the deficiency of that vitamin in the body.
    • F. The Guru is the mother, the Guru is the father, the Guru is our family deity.

      When a prayer so intense is made unto the Guru,
      He always protects in every way.
      Let the body, speech and mind be offered at the Guru’s feet.
      Eknath surrenders to Lord Janardan and considers Lord Janardan as His Guru. – Saint Eknath

    • G. An example of one who made both worldly and spiritual progress by worshipping his family deity is Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Saint Tukaram Maharaj who attained liberation along with the physical body (sadeha mukti) by intensely worshipping Lord Pandurang, was the family deity of Tukaram Maharaj.

    Further details about the worship of the family deity are given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 9 – Path of Repeating (Chanting) The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’.

    5.4 Repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name essential for further spiritual progress

    A. For whom is it useful? : Importance of repetition (chanting) of the Name of the family deity is given in ‘5.3’. The point elucidates why repetition (chanting) of the Name of the family deity is essential for a seeker in the primary stage. The stage of repeating (chanting) the Name of the family deity may have been completed by those who have attained a spiritual level of at least 50% through spiritual practice. Generally, this stage can be completed in the present birth after undertaking the spiritual practice of merely repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name for some years (approximately 15 to 20 years) or if an individual is born in the same family then sometimes it may even have been completed in the previous birth. If one renders service and makes sacrifice in addition to repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name then this stage can be completed even in 5 to 6 years. For further spiritual progress, it is beneficial if seekers who have completed this stage, repeat (chant) the Name of some superior deity rather than that of the family deity. One can decide which Name of The Lord is essential for one from those of various deities by repeating (chanting) the Names of various deities according to the specific method of experimentation. Detailed information about this method of experimentation is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 6 A – Path of Repeating (Chanting) The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’. The Lord’s Name found by this method of experimentation should be considered to be the gurumantra itself. However if one begins to experience distress due to distressing energies when repeating (chanting) it then one should stop it. Then the experiment of finding The Lord’s Name to overcome distressing energies as given in point ‘5.1’ should be performed and one should repeat (chant) The Lord’s Name found through it. After the distress due to distressing energies is totally overcome, one should carry out the experiment once again and start repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name which is essential for one’s spiritual progress.

    B. What should those who have been initiated with a gurumantra do? : Those who have been initiated with a gurumantra should not decide which repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name they should undertake for further spiritual progress through the method of experimenting. Instead, they should repose faith in the Name imparted by the Guru and repeat (chant) it continuously.

    5.5 Method of repeating (chanting) the deity’s Name

    When addressing someone instead of simply using his name, one refers to him respectfully as Shri. (Mr.), Smt. (Mrs.), etc. Similarly, one should chant the Name of the family deity in a way which expresses respect for the same. Shri should prefix the Name of the family deity, the Name that follows should be in dative case (chaturthi pratyay) and should conclude with namaha. For instance if the family deity is Ganesh then ‘Shri Ganeshaya namaha’, if it is Bhavani, then ‘Shri Bhavanidevyai namaha’. Since it is difficult to pronounce ‘Shri Bhavanyai namaha’ one should use devyai.

    When the family deity is in the form of two deities (For example Laxminarayana, Ishwarlaxmi) then 50 % of the deity principle of both, the male deity and the female deity is activated. When the family deity is as mentioned above then one should chant in the following way – The deity’s name should be chanted prefixing Shri to it, followed by the dative case (chaturthi pratyay), according to the second deity and concluding with namaha. For example, if the family deity is Ishwarlaxmi, one should chant ‘Shri Ishwarlaxmideyai namaha.’ If Laxminarayana is the family deity then one should chant ‘Shri Laxminarayanaya namaha.’

    The following table shows how the dative case is to be applied. The dative case means ‘to’, i.e. ‘I pay obeisance to Lord Ganapati, to the female deity’).

      Name Form of the Name Example
    The masculine gender
    1. Ending in ‘a’ Rama Ramaya Narayanaya, Ganeshaya,
    Vyankateshaya
    2. Ending in ‘i’ Hari Haraye Marutaye (Maruti), Agnaye
    (Agni), Ravaye (Ravi)
    3. Ending in ‘u’ Vishnu Vishnave Gurave (Guru), Bhanave
    (Bhanu)
    4. Ending in ‘ru’ Pitru Pitre  
    5. Others Hanumat Hanumate  
    The feminine gender
    1. Ending in ‘a’ Durga Durgayai Umayai, Ramayai
    2. Ending in ‘i’ Parvati Parvatyai Sarasvatyai
    3. Ending in ‘u’ Dhenu Dhenvai/
    Dhenave
     
    4. Ending in ‘ru’ Matru Matre  

    A. Prefixing Shri or Om to the Name: Generally Shri or Om is prefixed to the Name. The importance of this prefix is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 10 – Path of Mantra (Mantrayoga) point – Parts of a mantra’. The comparison of Shri and Om is given in the following table.

      Shri Omkar (Om)
    1. What is it indicative of? Divine Energy
    (Shakti), beauty,
    virtues, etc.
    Nirguntattva (The
    unmanifest
    principle
    2. At what spiritual level % can a
        seeker use the prefix?
    20-60* (Note 1) 30-70
    3. Possibility of distress due to
        the energy generated by the
        pronunciation or remembrance
        of the prefix %
    0 2** (Note 2)
    4. Commonly prefixed to the
        Name of which deity
    Almost all
    deities
    Shiva*** (Note 3)

    Note 1 – Beyond a level of 60% often one concentrates on Bliss (Anand) instead of the word.

    Note 2 – For creation of the manifest (sagun, the Great Illusion) from the unmanifest (nirgun, Brahman) tremendous energy is required. Such energy is generated by the repeating (chanting) of Omkar (Om). Hence, repeating (chanting) of Omkar by one whose spiritual level is not adequate to do so can cause distress to him.

    Generally women are more likely to be affected than men. This point will be clear from the following. The frequencies generated from Om generate a lot of energy (heat) in the body. This does not affect the male reproductive organs as they lie outside the body cavity. However, in case of women this heat can affect the reproductive organs as they lie within the abdominal cavity. Thus women may experience distress. They may suffer from excessive menstrual flow, amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, infertility, etc. Hence, it is advisable for women not to prefix Omkar to the Name unless recommended by the Guru; for example they may chant namaha Shivaya instead of Om namaha Shivaya. Otherwise they should use Shri as a prefix. Women having a spiritual level of more than 50% can prefix The Lord’s Name with ‘Om’. When repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name is undertaken for a particular reason, eg. for overcoming distressing energy, it is necessary to prefix ‘Om’ to The Lord’s Name. At such times, one should not stretch the pronounciation of ‘Om’.

    Note 3 – As ‘Om’ has a lot of energy, if for a specific purpose, eg. if it is necessary to repeat (chant) the Name of some other deity for overcoming distressing energies, one should prefix it with ‘Om’, eg. ‘Om Gang Ganapataye namaha’ is repeated (chanted) instead of ‘Shri Ganapataye namaha’.

    5.6 One should not repeat (chant) the name of a saint

    One should not repeat (chant) the name of a saint for the following reasons.

    • A. No saint has recommended the chanting of His own Name or that of another. For instance, Tukaram Maharaj has not advised the chanting of Saint Dnyaneshvar’s Name.
    • B. Our history of thousands of years records no instance where a temple of a saint or a sage has been constructed. Only temples of deities have been erected. Nowadays however, a wrong trend of constructing temples of saints has set in.
    • C. Since the law of creation, sustenance and dissolution is applicable to saints as well, Their energy persists only for a limited period of a few hundred years. Thereafter They are unable to respond to one’s call. As against this, deities are eternally present from the time of creation of the universe till its dissolution.
    • D. Saints at the spiritual level (70%) of Energy (Shakti) are born to carry out a particular mission and for that They possess manifest energy. So if Their Names are chanted then the manifest energy could possibly cause distress to some. Contrary to this, since a deity mostly has unmanifest energy, chanting its Name does not cause any distress. Besides a seeker does not want energy, he wants Bliss (Anand) and Serenity (Shanti). [Saints of spiritual levels of 80% and 90% can impart spiritual experiences of Bliss and Serenity respectively.]

    6. Where should one repeat (chant) The Lord’s Name?

    Since everything is created by God Himself one can chant His Name anytime, anywhere. Chanting when carrying out day-to-day activities is a superior form of practising Spirituality in comparison to chanting done seated in one place. This is so, firstly, because with the former, spiritual practice becomes continuous. Secondly performing worldly activities along with chanting of The Lord’s Name renders them as good as not being in the Great Illusion (Maya). Thus, it helps one to remain in communion with The Lord under all circumstances. This is called sahajasthiti or sahajavastha.

    7. Repeating (chanting) the Name with faith and righteous behaviour

    The one who repeats (chants) the Name of Lord Viththal should observe restrictions. – Saint Tukaram

    Implied meaning: If the one repeating (chanting) the Name of The Lord does not observe the restrictions of righteous behaviour then the entire spiritual practice is wasted in nullifying the resulting defects. Thus no spiritual progress occurs; for instance if one abuses then 30 rosaries (malas) of chanting (japa) are wasted; if one accepts a bribe then 500 rosaries of chanting are wasted.

    8. Synchronising chanting with the breath

    One remains alive due to respiration and not due to chanting. Hence, one should synchronise chanting with the breath by concentrating on the breath.

    The benefits of chanting with the breath are as follows.

    • A. Nowadays, due to pollution of the atmosphere with raja and tama components, polluted thoughts invade the mind along with the breath and cause mental disturbance. Similarly, other undesirable thoughts also enter the mind. When chanting with concentration on the breath, the frequency of undesirable thoughts decreases.
    • B. Concentrating on the breath means capturing that moment of the present. On the contrary, entertaining any other thought means either contemplating on the past or the future. Since, it is essential for a seeker to continuously live in the present, it is necessary to concentrate on the breath.
    • C. Whilst chanting even if one gets a vision of God due to spiritual emotion (bhav), duality persists. As against this, when chanting with the breath, due to devotion in the Name one does not get a vision of the unmanifest (nirgun) God but one marches towards non-duality (advait), that is merges with the Name.

    Detailed information on how to synchronise repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name along with the breath is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 6 A – Repeating (Chanting) The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’

    Those whose repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name occurs spontaneously, need not synchronise it with the breath.

    9. Other thoughts during chanting

    Despite experiencing Bliss with the Name, why does the mind wander towards other thoughts? What should one do when one cannot concentrate on chanting? Initially, due to impressions in the subconscious mind (chitta) stray thoughts enter the mind while chanting. But with practice there is a gradual reduction in these thoughts. One should keep in mind that concentration is the target, not the tool.

    10. Methods of chanting in some religious orders

    We have already discussed that from the stage of mental worship (upasanakand) repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name is a superior form of practising Spirituality. Followers of all religious orders should chant the Names of their respective deities. That itself results in their spiritual progress. There is no need to change one’s religion. God chooses one to be born in that particular religious order which is most conducive for one’s spiritual progress. At a lower level the Name is related to the religious order. Later, all have the same religion – the Sanatan Dharma (Religion).

    Religious order Name
    1. Jain Navkar mantra (Om namo Arihantanam…)(Note 1)
    2. Sindhi Shri Jhulelalaya namaha, Shri Nanakaya namaha,
    Shri Sheravali Devyai namaha
    3. Sikh Vahe Guru, Shri Vahe Guru, Sukhmani Saheb,
    Japaji Saheb
    Note 1 Om Namo Arihantanam (ॐ नमो अरिहंताणं ।) [Obeisance to the Arihant deities – ari means the six foes of the soul and hant means the annihilators]
      Namo Siddhanam (नमो सिद्धाणं ।) [Obeisance to saints (siddhas)]
      Namo Ayariyanam (नमो आयरियाणं ।) [Obeisance to teachers. The word ayyariya is the vernacular form of the Sanskrut word acharya meaning teachers. Those who are righteous in their conduct (achar) are teachers]
      Namo Uvajzhayanam (नमो उवज्‍झायाणं ।) [Obeisance to priests. The word uvajzhayanam is the vernacular form of the Sanskrut word upadhyaya meaning priests. Priests are preceptors of higher knowledge or authors of religious holy texts.]
      Namo loe savva sahunam (नमो लोए सव्‍व साहूणं ।) [Obeisance to all ascetics]
      Eso pancha namukkaro (एसो  पंच नमुक्‍कारो ।) [Obeisance to all these five]
      Savva pavappanasano (सव्‍व पावप्‍पणासणो ।) [is the annihilator of all sins.]
      Mangalanam cha savvesim (मंगलाणं च सव्‍वेसिं ।) [Of all that is auspicious]
      Padhamam havai mangalam (पढमं हवई मंगलम्‌ ।) [this chanting is the most auspicious.]
      The Digambar Jains chant the first five lines while the Shvetambar Jains chant all the nine.

    Navakar means the nine openings in the body (navadvar). In the Ardhamagadhi language the word dvar (opening) was used synomymously with kar. This mantra means trespassing the nine doors, that is traversing the nine openings in the body. Information on these nine openings is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 35 – Pranayam’.

    11. Distress caused by repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name

    The reasons for it are given below.

    • A. Repeating (chanting) the wrong Name: If a seeker of the level of the pruthvi (absolute earth) element or apa (absolute water) element suddenly starts chanting the Name associated with the tej (absolute fire) element, (the sun) then the radiance generated through it may cause him distress
    • B. Problems caused by distressing energy: If one is affected by distressing energy like spirits, black magic (karni), etc. then initially one experiences discomfort even with appropriate chanting. However, it gradually subsides and finally stops. The cause for this initial distress is the tussle between the distressing energy troubling the individual and the pleasant energy generated by the chanting.

     

    Frequently asked questions on Shraddha

    1. I would like to know that regarding shraddha as it is only done by offering food to bramhin in temple and giving dakshina, the bramhin does a short prayer nothing is done as per the actual ritual. Then what should be done? Does the prayer reach our pitras, please clarify

    Following paragraph gives information on imporatance of praying with spiritual emotion at the time of Shraddha.

    How is the benefit of the shraddha acquired merely by praying? By praying with spiritual emotion the Pitars, inferior Deities and other Deities are appeased and attracted towards the person who prays. Together with their blessings the person also acquires the benefit of the shraddha. Invoking the Deities by raising hands and praying to the Pitars is a symbol of the devotee’s spiritual emotion (Bhav) of helplessness. There are several options available for performing Shraddha. For more information: https://ariseohindu.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/shraddha-ritual-and-chanting-of-the-name-of-lord-dattatreya/#2

    2. What is the exact significance of child death as per Sanatan dharma? What happens to soul when dies as child. Will it take same journey as “Pitrus“? or any other gati? Is the reply yes? i.e. it is the same as other ancestors?

    For children till their thread ceremony is performed, if they die before that, then their gati (further journey) depends upon thier deeds, give-and-take account etc of previous birth. Since in this birth they may not have added anything to it. Otherwise there is no other difference as compared to other pitars.

    3. Please tell the procedure to be followed when the birthday falls within a period of 1 year of demise of once parents or grand parents or other near ones (whose karmas need to be done)

    Birthday celebration not being any festival or Vrat there are no such restrictions.

    4. Is it necessary/mandatory to perform Ekadrishti Shradha every year after duly performing Gaya Shradha of my Father?

    Shraddha means faith (श्रद्घा). One has to constantly remember favours done on him by his ancestors, sages, God and society and try to repay 4 debts (debts to ancestors, society, sages and God). This has to be done through bhav (spiritual emotion). Shraddha is the means for repaying debt to deceased ancestors. If one is not able to do the ritual, at least one can stand in the water (river) and perform tarpan. Ritual is not important, but the faith and bhav is.

     

    Prayers and types of the Shraddha Ritual

    Contents


     

    1. The prayers offered during shraddha

    ‘उदीरतामवर उत्‌ परास उन्‍मध्‍यमा: पितर सोम्‍यास: ।
    असुं य ईयुरवृका ऋतज्ञा: ते नोऽवन्‍तु पितरो हवेषु ।।’
                                 – ऋग्‍वेद, मंडल १०, सूक्‍त १५, ऋचा १

    Meaning: Let the ancestors residing on Earth attain an evolved region. Let the ancestors who are in heaven, that is, at a higher plane of existence, never degrade. Let the ones who are at a medium plane of existence,  attain a higher plane. Let the ancestors who symbolise the Truth protect us.

    Also, prayer is offered to the ancestors for the continuation of the lineage, ‘O Pitru-deities, give birth to a son like Ashwini Kumar, who is beautiful, healthy and who can fulfil the wishes of Deities, ancestors and all humans.

    1.1 The prayers offered at the end of the shraddha ritual

    A. ‘गोत्रं नो वर्धताम्‌ ।’

    Meaning: Let our lineage (gotra) grow. To this the brahmins bestow blessings, ‘Let your lineage grow.”

    B. ‘वीरं मे दत्त पितर: ।’

    Meaning: O ancestors, give me a valiant son.

    Another prayer is, ‘Since the time of the origin of the Universe to date, whoever was born in the lineage of my mother and father and all the servants from these two lineages and my past births, those supported by me, those serving me, friends, disciple, pets, the plants and trees planted and cut by me, the close relatives, those who incurred favours from me and those who bestowed favours on me, get the food offered by me.

    It is evident from this prayer that the Hindu Dharma teaches us to express gratitude not only to our own but also towards our benefactors, other beings and trees and plants.

    2. Regulations associated with performing shraddha when obstacles of

    • If there is impurity due to birth or death in the family on the day of the shraddha, then after its completion consume panchgavya, change the Holy thread and do shraddha. Alternatively, perform shraddha on the first no moon day after the impurity is over.
    • After commencing the ritual of shraddha if impurity due to birth or death occurs in the family but outside the house, then do not follow the regulations of impurity till the completion of the shraddha. If it happens in the house, then stop the shraddha and only after the observance of impurity is completed, do the shraddha again.
    • If the wife of the one who performs the shraddha has menses, then Mahayala can be done any time after those five days. When the lady performing the shraddha has menses then no regulations need to be followed.
    • If the shraddha falls on Ekadashi, then the person performing the shraddha should merely smell the meal of the shraddha and offer it to a cow or one should perform Hiranya-shraddha.

      Hiranya-shraddha is a shraddha done merely by offering donation (dakshina) without offering meal.

    • During eclipse, take a bath and do shraddha even if there is impurity.

    Here two points become evident. One is that every ritual has been considered subtly from a worldly perspective in Sanatan Hindu Dharma. The second is that women can also perform shraddha.

    3. The effects of the shraddha ritual

    For the subtle body (linga deha), the interval from the time of death to the next birth is similar to that of a foetus in the womb. Due to the mantras of the shraddha, the blessings of the brahmins, the good wishes of the relatives and pinda-dan etc. the deceased ancestors acquire a protective sheath and get the momentum to progress.

    Spiritual experience – During Pitrupaksha experiencing proximity of the deceased ancestors, being protected from them by chanting the Name of Lord Dattatreya and the deceased ancestors bestowing blessings upon resolving to perform shraddha: For many years shraddha was not performed in our house. During Pitrupaksha, I would see many human figures around me. They would try to touch me; but I would chant ‘Sri Gurudev Datta’, that is, the Name of Lord Dattatreya. Hence, I was protected from them. After watching the satsang series about Pitrupaksha, I learned that during this period the deceased ancestors come close to us. After that our family decided to perform shraddha on Sarvapitri Amavasya. After the shraddha ritual the ancestors blessed everyone in the family and left. – Sadhak.

    4. Types of shraddha performed in Pitrupaksha

    4.1 Importance of Bharani shraddha

    Performing shraddha on the chaturthi or panchami on the Bharani asterism in the Pitrupaksha has a special importance. If possible doing the shraddha on the Bharani asterism in addition to the tithi of death of the person helps the subtle body of the dead to be liberated from the form of being of the dead.

    Reason underlying getting fruit equivalent to doing shraddha in Gaya by doing it on the Bharani asterism: There is a subtle cover of desire-frequencies associated with the Absolute Earth and Water Principles on the gross structure of the land of Gaya. This cover is contained in a triangular structure. Hence, performing shraddha at this place is more beneficial for the deceased ancestors’ whose inferior level desires have remained unsatisfied.

        The Bharani asterism that falls in the Pitrupaksha is also made of a triangle of three stars. The Deity of this triangle is Lord Yama. The Yama frequencies active in the Universe in higher proportion on this day are associated with desire-energy. When performing shraddha on this tithi, the desire-frequencies on Earth associated with this asterism are activated. Due to this, the place of shraddha becomes akin to that in Gaya. In the ritual of shraddha performed on the Bharani asterism, the Yama frequencies are activated in higher proportion. The deceased ancestors benefit from these frequencies.

    4.2 Importance of Avidhawa Navami

    The woman who dies before her husband is called ‘avidhawa’. Her shraddha is performed on the tithi of Navami of Pitrupaksha. So this Navami is called ‘Avidhawa Navami’.

    Method of performing the shraddha of a dead married woman on Avidhawa Navami: The shraddha of a dead married woman should be performed on the Navami of the Pitrupaksha by the son or the husband. In this shraddha married women are served a meal and ritualistically offered a coconut, sari and a blouse piece. As long as the husband is alive, both the Avidhawa Navami and yearly shraddha should be performed.

    4.3 Importance of Trayodashi and Chaturdashi of Pitrupaksha

    On the tithi of Trayodashi, a ritual of Kakabali is performed for the dead children. On the day of the Chaturdashi of Pitrupaksha, the shraddha of those who died in accidents is performed.

    4.4 Importance of Sarvapitri Amavasya

    The Amavasya that falls in the Pitrupaksha is the last tithi of Pitrupaksha. If it is not possible to perform shraddha on any day of the entire year, it is very essential that a shraddha be performed for all the dead on the tithi of Sarvapitri Amavasya. According to the Scriptures, the Amavasya of the Pitrupaksha is the most appropriate tithi for the ritual of shraddha.

    Spiritual experience – By performing shraddha on the Sarvapitri Amavasya, the financial difficulties getting solved, the debts getting repaid and the obstacles in spiritual practice (sadhana) getting solved: My father expired on 3rd December 1979. On the eleventh day after the death, I had a dream. In the dream I saw a monk, Lord Datta and Maruti in the temple of Lord Dattatreya in our village. Thereafter for about 18 years we did not perform shraddha etc. On listening to the guidance on shraddha by Spiritual Sanstha, we performed the ritual of shraddha at our house on 11th October 2007 on the day of Sarvapitri Amavasya. On the same afternoon, a monk came asking for a meal. This monk was exactly like the monk I had seen in my dream 18 years back. After performing the ritual of shraddha, our financial problems reduced. Due to this spiritual experience, I understood the importance of the ritual of shraddha and my faith in it increased. – Sadhak

    It is clear that by performing shraddha the difficulties are solved. Due to this the person also benefits in his after life. For this reason, shraddha has been recommended in the religious Scriptures. Instead of shraddha, on this day some people offer food to the poor or money to a school as per their mind. By doing this no spiritual benefit is gained.

     

    How does an embodied soul get entangled in its desires after death?

    life after death

    Contents


    1. Pitrupaksha and Mahalaya Shraddha

    From a spiritual perspective the Krushnapaksha (the dark fortnight of Bhadrapad), which is also known as Pitrupaksha (a time particularly dedicated to the performance of shraddha rituals) has special importance.

    1.1 Importance of Pitrupaksha

    It is also known as Mahalaya in the Hindu religious Scriptures. It is necessary to perform the ritual of offering water to the departed ancestors (Pitrutarpan) during the fifteen days from full moon day (Pournima) in Bhadrapad to the no moon day (Amavasya) in Bhadrapad and on the specific tithi, the shraddha of the ancestors should be performed. By doing shraddha in Pitrupaksha the ancestors are satiated for the whole year. A quote from Mahabharat elucidates the importance of performing shraddha for the departed ancestors.

    श्राद्धं कन्‍यागते भानौ यो न कुर्याद्‌ गृहाश्रमी ।
    धनं पुत्रा: कुततस्‍य पित्रुकोपाग्‍निपीडनात्‌ ।।
    यावच्‍च कन्‍यातुलयो: क्रमादास्‍ते दिवाकर: ।
    शून्‍यं प्रेतपुरं तावद्‌ यावद्‌ वृश्‍चिकदर्शनम्‌ ।। – महाभारत

    Meaning: How will a householder who does not perform shraddha while the sun is stationed in the Kanya, that is, Virgo sign and thereby invites the ire of the departed ancestors, acquire wealth, son etc.?

    Similarly, till the time the sun does not enter the Vruschik, that is, Scorpio sign from the sign of Kanya, that is, Virgo and Tula, that is, Libra, till then the Pitruloka (the subtle region where the subtle bodies of the departed ancestors go) remains vacant.

    The Pitruloka being vacant means that during this period all the departed ancestors of the lineage descend and come close to their descendents to bless them. They curse the descendants and leave if shraddha is not performed by the descendants.

    The subtle bodies of the departed ancestors arriving during the Pitrupaksha, that is, Mahalaya for the shraddha:

    • Father, paternal grandfather and paternal great-grandfather – They are known as the Pitrutraya.
    • Mother, maternal grandmother and maternal great-grandmother – They are known as the Matrutraya.
    • Sapatna Mata, that is, step mother
    • One’s mother’s father, one’s mother’s maternal grandfather and one’s mother’s maternal great grandfather – They are known as the Matamahatraya.
    • One’s mother’s mother, one’s mother’s grandmother and one’s mother’s great grandmother
    • Wife, Sons, Daughters, Paternal uncles, Maternal uncles, Brothers, Paternal aunts, Maternal aunts, Sisters, Father-in-law, Other relatives, Guru (if one has a Guru-disciple relationship), disciple (if one has a Guru-disciple relationship).

    Only the Hindu Dharma has done such profound study about the well-being and evolution of a Jiva even after death. Most of the people consider the ‘Shraddha’ to be of no use. 99 % of the people who perform shraddha do it merely as a custom. Only the shraddha done with spiritual emotion is beneficial.

    The meaning of shraddha: Whatever is done faithfully for repaying what the departed ancestors have done for us is called shraddha. Swami Vidyanand says, “Only the shraddha done with faith is called ‘Shraddha’”.

    1.2 What happens to the Jiva after his death?

    The spiritual information about the human body: From a spiritual perspective, the human body is made up of five sheaths.

    Subtle body

    • The first is Annamaya-kosha, that is, the physical body visible to us.
    • The second is Pranamaya-kosha – it has the five vital energies (Panchaprana) providing energy to the whole body.
    • The third is the Manomaya-kosha – This is the seat of emotions and desires.
    • The fourth is Vidnyanamaya-kosha – This is the seat of the intellect.
    • The fifth is Anandamaya-kosha – This is the seat of the Soul (Atma).

    The Annamaya-kosha is gross while the other sheaths are subtle. After death, a Jiva’s Annamaya-kosha and Pranamaya-kosha do not remain, but Manomaya-kosha, Vidnyanamaya-kosha and Anandamaya-kosha remain with him.

    After death

    Hence, despite the gross body being destroyed by death, a Jiva’s existence and his desires do not end. Consequently, a Jiva gets entangled in his desires and this poses a hurdle in his further progress.

    The process of an embodied soul (Jiva) getting entangled in his desires after death: After death a Jiva, that is, the subtle body constantly makes efforts for fulfilling its desires. Sometimes it enters another body forcibly. Due to desires a Jiva goes to various subtle regions (lokas) as per his actions. Despite going from one place to another, the Jiva has intense attachment to his previous place. Many a times while going from one place to another, this Jiva goes astray and keeps searching for something. The process of getting entangled in desires after death is known as hurdles in the further progress. Due to this, the responsibility of liberating the person from this process of getting entangled in desires rests with the deceased person’s family members.

    1.3 Objective of performing shraddha

    Some actions are expected to be performed by the relatives for an embodied soul (Jiva) to progress spiritually after death. These are:

    • Helping the embodied soul (Jiva) during his lifetime to not get trapped in desires.
    • Satiating the desires of the embodied soul (Jiva).
    • Awakening the Jiva to move ahead in his spiritual journey.

    By doing the various shraddhas after the death of a person mainly this is achieved. Subtle bodies of all embodied souls (Jivas) do not do spiritual practice. Hence, by performing rituals like shraddha, they need to be encouraged to go further on the basis of external energy. Three main objects of shraddha are:

    • Helping the deceased ancestors to move from Pitruloka to further subtle regions (lokas).
    • Liberating the unsatisfied subtle bodies of one’s family trapped in the lower lokas.
    • Liberating the deceased ancestors turned into ghosts due to their own evil deeds from this form.

    The sheath of desires around the subtle body of the Jiva reduces by doing shraddha. The subtle body is given momentum through the energy of mantrashakti in the shraddha rituals.

    1.4 Importance of shraddha

    • 1. Abiding by Dharma: Along with repaying the debt of Deity, Sages and society, repaying the debt of deceased ancestors is important. A shloka of Mahabharat is notable in this respect.

      पुन्‍नाम्‍नो नरकाद्यस्‍मात्‍पितरं त्रायते सतु: ।
      तस्‍मात्‍पुत्र इति प्रोक्‍त: स्‍वयमेव स्‍वयंभुवा ।। – महाभारत १.७४.३९

      Meaning: Son protects his deceased ancestors from the Hell named ‘Put’. Hence, Brahmadeva Himself has called him ‘putra‘ (son).

    • 2. Purification of lineage: If religious conducts of the family (kuladharma) are not followed, maternal or paternal defects increase. Deceased ancestors (pitar) are protectors of the lineage. If kuladharma like the rituals of shraddha is followed, purity of the lineage is certain.
    • 3. Completion of give and take account: The give and take account with a person is settled by performing his shraddha.
    • 4. Repaying debt of Deities and Sages becoming easy along with repaying the debt of ancestors: Repaying the debt of deceased ancestors is quite simple and easy through the ritual of shraddha. This is possible by the unification of Vasu, that is, desire, Rudra, that is, dissolution (laya) and Aditya, that is, action.

    Thus, it is clear that the ritual of shraddha is a necessary achar to evolve the worldly and spiritual life of a person.

    1.5 Pitrupaksha and Mahalaya shraddha and its importance

    The deceased ancestors come to reside in the house of their relatives in the Pitrupaksha. By doing shraddha once in this fortnight, the deceased ancestors are satisfied for a year.

    पुत्रानायुस्‍तथाऽऽरोग्‍यमैश्‍वर्यमतुलं तथा ।
    प्राप्‍नोति पंञ्‍चमे कृत्‍वा 
    श्राद्धं कामांचं पुष्‍कलान्‌ ।। – महर्षि जाबालि

    Meaning: Son, long life, health, unlimited prosperity and desired objects are acquired by performing shraddha in Pitrupaksha.

    The deceased ancestors grace their descendants who do shraddha. But distress those who avoid performing shraddha without due cause.

    वृश्‍चिके समनुप्राप्‍ते पितरो दैवतै: सह ।
    नि:श्‍वस्‍य प्रतिगच्‍छन्‍ति शापं दत्‍वा सुदारुणम्‌ ।। – महर्षि कार्ष्‍णाजिनि

    Meaning: If the shraddha is not performed before the sun enters the Vruschik sign, the deceased ancestors of a person puts an intense curse on him and returns back to Pitruloka.

    Nowadays, nobody performs shraddha-paksha, nor do they do spiritual practice. Due to the dissatisfaction of the deceased ancestors, the Jiva has to face many hardships.

    Distresses caused by the unsatisfied subtle bodies of deceased ancestors: Due to unsatiated deceased ancestors there is possibility of distress like not getting married, marital disharmony, not conceiving, abortion, giving birth to a mentally retarded or handicapped baby, getting nightmares, seeing snakes or deceased ancestors in dreams or while awake, having obstacles in spiritual practice. Even if one doesn’t have such distress at present, one can make efforts for future protection. Efforts can be taken to give momentum to one’s deceased ancestors.

     

    When can females perform Shraddha?

    Contents –

    1. Importance of performing Shraddha by oneself

    2. Hindu Dharma that does not give any cause for excuse for not performing shraddha due to the absence of a particular person!

    3. Performance of Shraddha by females


    1. Importance of performing Shraddha by oneself

    ‘Ideally, the host should perform the ritual of Shraddha by himself. However, since we do not know how to perform it, we get it done through the priest (Brahmin). Nowadays, it has become difficult to get priests for performing Shraddha. As a solution to this, one can procure the holy texts that describe the ritual and learn it by heart. This text is in Sanskrit. Akin to learning other languages, one should also try and learn Sanskrit, which is considered to be God’s language. Also, it is easy to learn Sanskrit.

    (Although the point mentioned above is correct, considering the complexity in pronouncing certain Sanskrit words and limitation to understand the rites mentioned in the science, it may not be possible for everyone to perform the ritual as prescribed, by themselves. In such cases one can get the ritual performed through priests and if they are not available, then the ritual can be performed with the help of knowledgeable people in society. One should remember that making the ritual of shraddha is more important – Compiler).

    2. Hindu Dharma that does not give any cause for excuse for not performing shraddha due to the absence of a particular person!

    Son (including the one whose threading ceremony has not been done), daughter, grandson, great grandson, wife, daughter’s son (if he is one of the heirs), real brother, nephew, cousin’s son, father, mother, daughter-in-law, son of elderly and younger sisters, maternal uncle, anyone in the seven generations and from the same lineage (sapinda), anyone after the seven generations and belonging to the same family domain (samanodak), disciple, priests (upadhyay), friend, son-in-law of the deceased person can perform Shraddha in that order.

    In case of a joint family, the eldest and earning male person should perform Shraddha. In case of the unit family, everyone should perform shraddha independently. (9)

    Hindu Dharma has made arrangement so that for each and every dead person the shraddha can be performed so as to give momentum to that person to progress to a higher sub-plane. Holy text Dharma Sindhu mentions that, ‘If a particular dead person does not have any relative or a close person, then it is the duty of the king to perform Shraddha for that person’.

    (In spite of numerous avenues being available, Hindus do not perform shraddha. Then, who will help such Hindus? – Compiler)

    3. Performance of Shraddha by females

    1. In point 2 it is mentioned that the daughter, wife, mother and daughter-in-law of the deceased person have the authority to perform Shraddha. In spite of this, in the current era, the priests who conduct Shraddha deny their consent for females to perform Shraddha. This could be because in the earlier days the thread ceremony was  performed for females, and in current era, this practice has been discontinued in all classes. Therefore, in accordance to that, even performing of Shraddha has been disallowed for females. In emergency conditions, however, if no one is available for performing Shraddha, then it is better for it to be performed by females instead of not performing it at all.

    2. The female performing shraddha should place a clean cotton cloth on her shoulder while performing ‘Savya-Apasavya

    Reference: Shraddha (importance and scientific explanation) – Volume 1