Friday, October 26, 2007

A true Brahmana

Dhyanapeetam has been organizing mass fire rituals called Maha Saptayaagam in various cities of South India where 1008 individuals perform the homa, fire ritual. The group energy that such rituals create is amazing and cleanses the whole space. We will dedicate a post for more on this.

During our weekly group meeting we told a new devotee, 'Swamiji is performing 1008 homas...'. His immediate reply was, 'wow! that would need so many priests...'

For a long time, people have associated rituals like homa or abhisheka with priests. It is assumed that only they can perform these rituals. The so-called non-brahmins themselves assume that they are not qualified to do any of these. And an even more interesting fact is the so-called brahmins themselves believe that these rituals have to be performed by a smaller section of brahmins, i.e. the priests of the temples.

Today, the meaning of brahmana is limited to a dhoti clad man with a small pig tail on his tonsured head and either a namam (vertical lines drawn with vermillion paste to indicate he is a worshipper of Vishnu) or vibhooti smeared forehead (indicating he is a worshipper of Shiva). The italics in the previous statement are to highlight that the fact that the brahmana has to be a male. That is the general notion today.

This has become the meaning because that is what we see. In most major temples, we see only male priests. If we want to conduct a homa or some elaborate pooja, we immediately call a priest. Yes agreed that we do not know the ritual; so we call an experienced priest. But the point is we don't even want to know what the ritual is because most of the times, we believe it is not our job.

Swami Nithyananda says, 'This is one of the biggest conspiracies by the society on humankind.' The varnashrama as defined by the actual Vedic tradition has four classes or varna - brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra. The first class - brahmana refers to the class of people who were inclined towards spiritual practices. And this had nothing to do with the person's lineage or ancestral profession.

Swami Nithyananda is bringing back the ancient true Vedic tradition. He says, 'Anyone who practices the spiritual practices is a brahmana. It does not matter what his parents are, what his grandparents are. As long as he is treading on the spiritual path to merge the aatman (individual consciousness) with brahman (the Cosmic consciousness), he is a brahmana. No questions about it.'

People irrespective of caste, religion, creed or sex are allowed and trained to perform the rituals by Swami Nithyananda. He does not care if one are male or a female. In fact, in the Dhyanapeetam ashram in India, it is females who perform the aarti (fire offering). When He initiates people as monastic disciples He does not even bother what his/her religion was, what his/her caste was, what his/her colour is.

Moreover, in places like Los Angeles ashram, He is training westerners to perform the homa themselves. He is not limiting the Vedic tradition to just to India. Vedic tradition is not related to just one religion or one particular race. It is a science, it is a life style.

The ancient science is being brought to the doorstep of every individual. He is providing various opportunities, various possibilities with just one goal: to guide as many has possible realize their true identity. If a click as happened in you, do not miss Him. You never know how many births you have to wait before you come across a living enlightened master who personally works on you.


ramya said...

I like the decorrelation between lineage and brahmanism......I am quite put off by how people of the Hebbar Iyengar community (of which I'm a part) are so proud/vain about being Hebbar Iyengars ..... superior blood .... that sort of thing ..... don't you think that the caste system in India is a notch worse than racism as seen in the west? I'm glad events like this homa are taking place ..... wow, did not realise that anyone can qualify to perform one :))
As a separate note, if you don't mind, I was just wondering why in temples like Guruvayoor, you are not allowed to wear pants/salwars etc. Do you know the reason?

Arpanananda said...

Hi Ramya

Yes, everyone is eligible to perform a homa. If yo go to, you will see pictures of Maha saptayaagam that is performed by 1008 people at several places.

Your question regarding Guruvayoor, I am not sure why one is not allowed to enter with pants/salwars etc. One thing is for sure, several rules in many major temples of India were made to suit certain class of people. They are just rules and have got nothing to do with the energy of the temple. Recently the head priest of the same temple ordered cleansing rituals of the temple because a Christian entered the temple. Many such temples, especially in South India, have a board - 'Only Hindus are allowed.' Such acts have no spiritual backing.

Sri Nithya Arpanananda