>Anushtaana & achaara


Sri Periyava (Pujya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati swami of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham), and before Him all the Seers have said that acharana (practice) of the precepts of the Vedas is done to purify oneself from the blemishes which he would have acquired during his previous births and in this birth, knowingly or unknowingly. And Acharya Shankara has also declared:
Vedo nityam adheeyatam; tadanuditam karma: su anushtheeyatam
Meaning: Vedas have to be learnt daily. And the practices mentioned there in, have to be observed well.
This goes to mean that acharana (which we call Achara and is therefore a daily routine) have to be carried out, by all of us, in all earnestness and in full faith.
They ( i.e., all the Seers)all give great importance to acharana, or anushthana, to be done by every one.
Now, your question is: Should acharana precede Vichara?
Vichara is examination (through contemplation and proper reasoning) the import of the Vedic dicta and the practices prescribed by them. We must take care not to give a wrong interpretation of what is meant by the precepts in the Vedic texts by our inadequate knowledge. This presupposes a well-based and deep knowledge of the Shastras, which is gained after Satsang with those who are in the know. One may have seek such a one and get his doubts cleared. Here also, our Upanishads come to our rescue. They say:
Tat vigyanartham sa Gurumeva abhigachchet, samit pani: shrotriyam, Brahmanishtham
Meaning: To know that (here ‘Tat’ means no less than the ParaBrahman and  if, in this context, we make it to mean ‘our queries’, arising out of our doubts.),’Sa’ which means, he (the seeker)has to go to a Guru( a preceptor) who is a Shrotriya (meaning: well versed in the Vedas) and more importantly, a Brahmanishtha(one who is reposed in the Brahman itself). Here the words: ‘samit pani:’ are used. These two words do not mean: (‘with the samit –the stick, seven inches long, and generally used in the homas, but) ‘samyak mishrita pani:, ‘with both hands well joined together-  i.e., both palms joined  one facing the other, denoting humility, as we do while doing pranam
Thus, we see that Vichara is to be done this way. And irrespective of whether we do Vichara or not, we have to as per the precepts of the Seers, as contained in the Smritis(Gruhya Sutras), do our daily anushtana, or acharana without fail.
In the Seeksha Valli of the Taittiriya Upanishad, we see ” If there arises a doubt in you, either in the way of performing an anushthana, or in the performance of the anushthana itself, and you don t have any one to guide you in the matter, Do as your elders have said or did.
Now it is up to you to decide whether Vichara should precede acharana or not.
Your son has asked:
Why should we do anga nyasa and kara nayasa?
This is done before starting to perform any Japa, which is recitation of a Mantra, mentally and without movement of the lips. The purpose of doing a japa (repeated recitation) is to have the effect of that mantra in us.
We recite first the name of the Rishi who found and gave it to us as a mark of gratitude to Him. While reciting His name we touch the head to realize that He resides in our head. We then touch our mouth mentioning the metre in which it is apparent to us, as given by the Rishi, thereby becoming aware that the mantra that is being recited in that metre, by us. (Here though there is no movement of the lips, while reciting, we do it because all sounds, by which, the mantra is spelt, though mentally, comes out from the mouth only.)
We then, go to touch our heart, mentioning the name of the Devata of that mantra, as we know, the Devata of the mantra resides there.
The ‘nyasas’ come next. ‘Nyasa’ means, ‘reposing in’ or ‘placing on’
We count the number of reciting, by touching the rekhas in our fingers, one after the other. While doing this we recite the portion of the mantra, as specified, and with the words, angushthabhyam nama:, tarjaneebhyam nama: ……etc. While doing this: we repose that portion of the mantra in that finger.
Similarly, there after, we touch the different parts of the body, starting from the heart, simultaneously and repose those portions of the mantra, in those parts. By this kara nyasa and anga nyasa, those parts of our body become in unison with those parts of the mantra.
Then follows the recitation of the Dhyana Shloka of the Devata, concentrating our mind on that form of the Devata.
For the Gayatri mantra, the dhyana shloka of Gayatri is recited. The dhyana shloka of the Gayatri, if you do not know, is:
Mukta vidruma hema neela dhavala chchayai: mukhai: threekshanai:
Yuktam, Indu kala nibaddha makutam, tatvartha varnatmikam                          I
Gayatreem, varada, abhaya, ankusha, kasha: shbhram kapalam gadham
Shankham, chakram atha aravinda yugalam hastai: vahanteem Bhaje                II
Meaning: I contemplate on Gayatri Mata, who has five faces, viz., of mukta(pearl), vidruma( coral), hema(gold) neela(blue) dhavala(white) colours, and with a kireetam having the crescent moon,  having three eyes, and is of letters which convey the meaning and the nature of the Paramatman.  I conceive her conceive as wearing mudras (symbolic representation of an act, by display of hand) indicative of varada (giving a boon), abhaya (protection from fear), ankusha(an implement used by the Mahouts for controlling the elephant—this signifies rendering facility to control one’s senses), kasha: (whip), shubhram kapalam (white cranium), gadha( mace)shankham(conch), chakram (the sudarshan chakra) and aravinda yugalam (two lotuses), and I worship her holding all these. To know why these mudras are worn, you will have to refer to texts, which describe in great detail, the significance of the gayatri mantra.
Dhyana (concentration of the form) of the Devata while doing Japa is considered as most important, to obtain the full benefit of the Japa.
Q 2. Why should we do arghya while standing?
I have no answer for this. I do not know.
Q 3. Why do we do pranams in different directions?
By this, we actually worship the devatas, supposed to be resident in those directions.(Indra, Agni, Yama, Nir ruti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera( Soma), and Ishana in the eight corners respectively around us. In the upward direction there are Siddhas, Vidyadharas , Gandharvas etc.and the Devatas in the six worlds above. In the downward direction, there are Nagas and the Devatas of the seven worlds below.
I have given the answers to the best of my knowledge.
 What is most important is the devotion with which we do these practices.

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.

 Every moment, thank God

This entry was posted in Anushtana and Achara, Mahaperiyavaa. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to >Anushtaana & achaara

  1. ram says:

    thnx, sannidhanam Lakshmikanth sharma program brought me here…
    & god blesss you

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