thapaparam kruthayuge threthaayaam jnaanamuchyathe
dwapare yajnamevahurdhaanameka kalau yuge
sasy manusmruthi. In kruthayuga only penayanace. In threthayugam knowledge. Dwaparayuga sacrifis. And in kaliyuga benevolence. This would have been defined for the historical and geographical reasons, taking the societal, environmental situation into account.
Bharatheeya Dharma, branchedout into Buddha, Jain, or as told in the Kural will talk about being Philanthropy.
Manushyayajna is important. The Panjamahayathna is what is prescribed.
Every morning a handful of rice (uncooked) must be seta apart for the poor. All families must do this without fail everyday. The rice thus kept must be collected from house to house, from quarter to quarter, cooked, offered to the deity of the local temple as nivedya and then distributed among the poor. With the handful of rice set apart some money also. This would be sufficient to support for the side dishes and the preparation cost. This will be a great service to the poor and to the god also. Charity like this should be to encourage people to go to temple, not to speak about devotion. Since the food is first offered as the naivedya, it would mean that the devotees will take it as prasada (radiance or happiness) which will impart the inner purity.
ANNADANAM and VIDYAADHAANAM
Annadana or the gift of food is one kind o service or paropakara. We talk of service to the poor, social service and so on. Today all this is done with much fanfare and publicity. In the past the needy were served naturally, without making any noise.
With education we purify our intelligence, with meditation we purify our mind, with sloka or poetry we purify our speech, by exerting ourselves in the service of others one must purify the physic or body.
Many slokas indicate the importance of the annadanam.
gajathuragasahasram gokulam kotidhaanam
kanakarajitha paathram medhinee saagarantham
ubhayakula visudham kotikanyaapradhaanam
nahi nahi bahudhaanam annadhaanassamaanam
says annadhaanam is greater than donating many horses, elephants, gold ornaments, vessals, land, kanyadhanam etc.
The importance of feeding a knowledgeable person indicates the importance given to education and learning and teaching.
sudrakoti sahasraanaam, ekam viprathu bhojayel
viprakoti sahasraanaam, ekam Vishnu prathishtitham
vishnu koti sahasraanaam ekaarudra prathishtitham
rudrakoti sahasraanaam ekojnaanihi bhojyathaam
meaning; donation to one Brahmin is equal that to a crore sudras – feeding one crore Brahmins is equal to constructing a Vishnu temple – making a siva temple is equal to making a crore Vishnu temple – feeding a knowledgeable person is equal to making one crore siva temple.
This inner meaning can be read in many ways, in this context it says all Brahmins are supposed be knowledgeable but not. The real knowledgeable person if not Brahmin too is seen as higher. Thus the learning and teaching is the best service to the people and to god.
The importance of vidyadaanam is given here
annadhaanam param dhaanam, vidyadhaanam athath param
annena kshanikaa thrupti yavath jeevancha vidyaya
Feeding is a good philanthropy activity. But educating is much higher. The food will get digested soon. The education will remain the whole life.
Bharatheeya Dharma talks about two activities. Ishta and Poortha. Ishta karma is the activity that one does for the self, salvation, piece, better life, prosperity, what so ever. The poortha dharma is more of a social commitment.
agnihothram thapa sathyam vedaanaam chaanupaalanam
aadithyam vaisyadhevam cha ishta ithyabhitheeyathe
Service comes under “poortha karma” and it includes digging wells and ponds, feeding the poor, building temples for the spiritual well-being, laying out gardens. Excavating wells and ponds has been mentioned first.
vaapee koopa thadakaani dhevathanayathanani cha
anna pradhanamudyannam poortha ithyabhitheeyathe
Ishta will take people to swarga and poortha can give moksha. Thus the social service is seen as higher.
ishtathelabhathe swargam poorthe mokshamavapuyeth
Moksha (Freedom or Salvation) from the cycle of birth and death is the ultimate goal of Hindu religious life. Moksha is the state of supreme bliss and there is no quest beyond it. Moksha is release from all attachments. It is a state in which the self remains ever in fully freedom and blessedness. The chief purpose of religion is to teach us how this supreme state may be attained.
Panchmahayajna include brahmayajna, devayajna, pitruyajna, manusyayajna, and bhoothayajna. Chanting of the veda constitutes brahmayajna. Sacrifices and puja are devayajna. Tharpana is pitruyajna. Feeding guests is manushyayajna. Offering bali to various creatures is bhuthayajna. The Panchamahayajna together with agnihotra and aupasana are to be performed everyday.
Four hundred yajnas or sacrifices are said to be mentioned in the Vedas.
Swargalokam - heaven is the place of world after death for the good people and naraka – hell for the bad ones. The swargaloka is not the place of gods. The gandharvas used to be some time at the swarga loka too as guests from their gandhrvaloka.
Samskaras, all forty of them, are to purify the individual.
Vivekananda said that Indians can be influenced only through spirituality.
This was understood long back by the rishis and they have built the education system associated with spirituality.
Environmental education was also not different.
.... thena thekthena bhoonjeetha ,ma vidwisha vahai..
says that let us learn together and eat together.
The first annapraasanam of the baby on the lap of the father, while feeding the first rise bit, any father will tend to pray that let my son get sufficient food. But the rig veda sloka
... dwipathe ... chathushpade...
says when all the two legged and the four legged animals have sufficient food, let my son also have. The exemplary example of living together ands the respect for the other animals in the nature.
The panjamahayajna prescribes the bhootha yajna that is for the other living being in and around. The concept of feeding ants, snakes, etc. is prevailing as the rituals even today.
The temple festival and the pooja do not start without the bali (food) given to the prani (the bhootha yajna. - the other animals around.
dasa koopam eka vaapi dasa vaapi eka nadi
dasa nadi eka vruksha dasa vruksha eka puthra
shows the respect that the trees have and the river and the well had.
The ishta karma is for the individual benefit like the pooja, bhajan etc. But the poortha karma which is from the environmental concept
vaapi koopa thadakani ...
this shows the lakes to be cleaned, the trees to be planed so that the benefit is much higher than the ishta karma.
As explained in the sloka
ishtathe labhathe swargam
The son of the river, the son of the sun, wind, vayu, etc. are the heros and they are in the path of dharma as in the Mahabharata purana. The depicted picture of the heros shows as they are the part and parcel of the environment and they stand for the dharma.
As the one opposite are not in the dharma as they are materialistic.
The concept of the mother earth and the first stepping on the mother earth with the sloka
samudra vasane devi...
shows the respect towards the mother earth. The concept that the earth is the mother itself is of high end imagination and need to be appreciated.
The pithru tharpana at the river and the prayer of praising the rivers is of the concept of ekatha the unified sharing of water among fellow being, this is a good lesson for the people who are fighting for the sharing of the water.
All the yaga / yajna is called the sacrifice, the concept is again for the environmental cleansing. The little bit of ingredients being fed to the agni, the symbolic sun, is with the chanting that
.... idam namama ...
It is to say that the item is not mine but of the sun. It ensures the faith that all that is as it is considered as mine is not mine but belongs the sun and thus to the environment.
The symbolic representation of the god and their pictureaization is to show how the family needs to live in accordance with the nature.
The river on the head of siva, or the lotus on which the brahma sits , the devi mostly on the lion, the karthikeya on the peacock, ganesa on the rat are examples of this life with the environment. The devi and the deva are called by the name of the rivers or the rivers are called by the name of the goddesses shows that they are to be respected. Same is the case with the mountains and places.
Temple had associated pooja for sarpa, cow, elephant.
The kavu, the hub of forest around the temple is the requirement of every temple that is to say that all the group of people in the village needs some place of greenery for the well being.
The people tree and the neem planted together in and around the temple gives a good de-densify oxygen and make the breath smooth and anti-bacterial. Good for the health of the living beings around.
The vasthu concept of traditional India identified the best location for the house, by watching the place of settlement of the cows in the night. This show how human was associated with the nature. The custom of first day on the house warming the entrance of the cow inside the house is a cow. This shows the respect that the human have to the animal. The tradition is still continuing. The house being decorated on festival day with leafs shows the closeness to nature.
In Andhra Pradesh one day people go to the field and stay out in the garden and cook and eat, this is still followed, shows the association with nature.
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