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Rituals>> worthfulness!!!

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I have read:

"Once a Sanyasi wanted to take bath in the Ganga River. He had a Kamandalam (water pot) with him. It was very old and had belonged to his Guru and hence it was his prized possession. He wanted to keep it in a safe place before he took bath. He looked around at the people on the banks of Ganga to see if anyone looked trustworthy to be entrusted with its care. The Sanyasi saw no one he could trust.

Then he had a brainwave, ‘why not bury the pot in the sand on the river bank?’ He made a small pit in the sand and buried his water pot under the sand and made a small heap to mark the location. He then went to take a dip in the Ganga.

A farmer happened to watch this man from a distance. He thought, ‘Oh! It looks like we need to make a sand heap before taking a bath in the river’ and proceeded to do just that. Another man witnessed it and saw the farmer make a sand heap before taking a bath. He too followed suit.

Soon all the people who went into the river for a bath did exactly the same thing. They made heaps of sand that now covered the entire river bank. When the Sanyasi waded ashore after his ritual bath, he was astonished to see hundreds of sand heaps all over Ganga bed! He had a problem now. Where was his pot? Which heap was his pot under? He started to search for it by breaking the heaps.

The farmer saw this and ran to the Sanyasi scolding him ‘Why are you destroying our Sivalinga? Don’t you know that you are supposed to make a Sivalinga before bathing in the holy river? And here you go about trampling and disturbing our Sivalinga! Don’t you have respect for God Siva?’

A sand heap does look like a Sivalinga. The Sanyasi said to himself, ‘oh my God! I started the ritual. It is for the sake of my water pot that I started this. Now I have to move on without my pot’.

We start many rituals in our life for some reason. Then the rituals start ruling us. Today, they may have no meaning or purpose for us nor we know the significance of them and do with an understanding and yet we are trapped in them. We sabotage our own progress.
Break your heaps and move on in bliss! "
Good write up Sri DRS

I recall another one.

There was a harvest of an unusually big Elephant yam in a village.( Chenai kizhangu).The villagers wanted to present it to the king.After placing it at his feet, they retreated with backward steps , as they should not show their backs to the king.But someone had irritation in his bottom due to the chenai. But scratching bottom before a king is unimaginable. So to get a temporary relief, he just slapped at his bottom. Seeing him , others also did same. Afterwards,it became a ritual whenever somebody presented something to the King.
Rituals ,in some form or other ,were and will always be there with all human societies. Some may be having rational base, some may not. Rituals go on changing. Just like language. Some old ones are discarded, some new ones are added. Those who say old habits and rituals and traditions are useless and meaningless, themselves fall into the same trap in some other way.

What is the meaning of shaking hands when you meet someone? Why should we salute superiors or one’s national flag in a particular way? Why should we say cheers when we drink alcohol? Why should we splash champagne for celebrating victory?

We garland statues of leaders and heroes on their birthday or death anniversaries.What does it signify? Can there be another alternative.If so why not try that? Many such thoughts can be there and questions asked....

Life will be tasteless without some form of rituals, shows, pretences. Those who do not find sense in these can ignore. But then, what they do also will become a ritual.

rituals brings peace and harmonyif this is not acheived,then such rituals have no practical relevance to life.otherwise acharyas will be out of job of preaching jobs,and will be swatting mosquitoes
ya i agree with u naga... rituals bring about the piece of mind and also we dnt take pain to be free to be vaccant (doing nthng) ,we shld keep aside smtime so that we may get some sort of motivation and also we know all rituals are done for some karma..which gives u the motivating drive to do that and also aftr dng dat well b hvng a feel of achievement and bliss..for the sake of that only rituals are performed and also daily rituals may help u keep ur mind in control and also steady.
Aiso i heard one story. Muthiah 40 years old had on ecat in his house to get rid of rat problem At his fathers ceremony day he used to put the cat under one baket so that it should go here and there during ceremony time. in the evening he will remove the basket,after ceremony is over.His son 15 years old have noticed these things.THen the next year the son continued his college studies by staying in a hostel at shennai. then he got a job and stayed at chennai itself .After 20 years Muthaih expired. his son when doing the annual ceremony of his father With great difficulty he found one cat and brought it to his house covered it into a basket. I know this is my aathu palakkam .These things should be avoided. In olden days people cannot go to distant places as we are going now. They have to go only by bullock carts to some extent.
In olden days marriage will done at the age of 8 for girls,They will run away to play with other children as tghey do not know the seriousness of marriage; so they have to sit on the lap of the father.Dharma sastras says the girl should sit down on one bag full of paddy during manlya dharanam,and not on the lap of the father; On those days facility for register marriage was not there,as is nowadays, so people are requesting their relatives and freinds to attend the function as witness for the marriage. and they have to give dhoties and sarees seer bakshanam and good meals. They have to walk 5 or 6 miles to go to their house; These paruppu thengai and seer bakshanam is helping them during their journey by walk. nalangu function is also not required now a days.

very thoughtful two posts.

if we remove all the extras and go with the ausipiciousness of the wedding ceremony, it will be very much like the arya samaj ceremony.

this is purely vedic and follows a set practice of rituals. there is a professor in toronto who conducts it, and you can time the watch from start to finish - 1 hour 22 minutes. the audience is kept rapt with his discourse, and the bride/groom perform their part per his instructions with no others (including the parents) participating.

very proper and very solemn.
There is no use in seeking a rational base for the rituals. The relevance of rituals is based on the following four points. You can also add more.

1 Rituals prescribe many do’s and don’t’s. By going through such rituals the mind is disciplined. The virtue of sraddha is inculcated. This trait is transferred to all our other works. In a previous post I have mentioned what sraddha is. It involves being conscious of the goal to be rached (sankalpam), learning the methods to reach the target (going by the advice of the experienced elders), scrupulously avoiding the forbidden things and painstakingly doing the ‘must do’s (conscious and earnest involvement). Only through performing rituals Brahmins have come to acquire an ability to score higher than others though NBs are equally intelligent.

2 Rituals drive out the monotony of life and they cause unity in the family. Everyone in the family is assigned a role in seeing through the ritual. They work together and coordinate. Moreover, rituals develop several virtues like respect to elders etc. When my son sees me doing tharpanam every month and sraddham every year to my dead parents with all sincerity, chances are that he will not think of driving me to old age home.

3 Rituals are yoga exercises of sort. For every mantra there is an action to be done by the hand. We are trained to coordinate vak and kriya. That is the elementary lesson of yoga, which literally means joining. Ultimately it leads to a stage when the mind is joined to the paramatma.

4 Last but not least, our rituals were created for the preservation of vedic mantras. In fact, the mantras used in the various rituals have no relevance to the purpose or action performed. For example, the tarpana mantra ‘madhuvata ritayate’ calls on us to enjoy the beauty of the nature. What has it got to do with my great grandfather? Nothing. So the mantra, ‘dhoorasi dhoorva’ used during the offer of incense to god is a request to destroy our enemies. It has nothing to do with the dhoopam except the first syllable. The parishechana mantra asks us to be conscious of rtam and satyam and make a judicious combination of these two in our daily affairs. It does not thank ‘our lord for giving us this day our bread’. One can go on counting such irrelevances.

Why at all did our fathers incorporate such mantras in those rituals? They wanted to preserve the Vedic mantra from disuse. Every Brahmin should be able to recite at least a small portion of the Vedas, they thought.
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Dear Goapalan sir

The same story I heard in this way: Once a master took vedha classes for his disciples. There came a cat and everyone got distracted. The attention of the students totally dropped because of the cat and hence, from the next day onwards without saying anything the guru tied the cat in a pillar. After so many days the guru died and the next guru also came there, he too continued the same. In between the cat also died. But the new guru without knowing the reason bought a cat for 1000 rupees and then tied it in the pillar and started his classes.

Rituals are essential. Only thing is we should know the values and reason why ther have been created. Without doing such things and continously doing rituals will be like this only....

First, let me say this.

As an individual, I am unable to involve myself in any rituals, mostly.

But, at the same time, rituals are necessary, because -

1. They keep a person's mind and body engaged in an activity, which is definitely
not harmful nor despicable.

2. An idle mind is a devil's workshop. Therefore, rituals prevents sins and crimes.

3. Rituals are a good pastime.

4. While performing a ritual, a team building activity is also undertaken. This
team spirit will be useful on other occasions and for other purposes too.

All this is subject to the condition, that the kartha evinces interest and shows unreserved 'shraddha' in the ritual and others around also do not utilise it as a godsend opportunity to exploit him (kartha).

Therefore, choice is left to each individual.
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