Before every auspicious work and Sadhana why do we have to propitiate the deity or take a pledge? Is this a mere tradition or is there some scientific reason behind this? This article tries to find out the reason behind these two rituals. If you have any doubts regarding any religious ritual do write in to us. Our Rishis were great scientists and no ritual ever devised by them was futile.
The ancient Vedic scriptures contain descriptions regarding not just Sadhanas and worships but regarding every aspect of life. Many of these rituals have been adopted and used by us in our lives as mere traditions without trying to know what their basis is.
We never attempted to know why we sing Aarti, why we take a pledge, what is the significance of Yagyopaveet, how planets can affect us, do deities really manifest during rituals or why the worship of deities is important.
Our ancient Rishis have provided answers to all such queries. They have explained each feature of the Sadhana world in deep, based on their own experiences and thus they have veritably elucidated why a particular ritual is important and what its actual significance is. This articles tries to find out the significance of rituals like Sankalp, Dev Aavahan and Dev Poojan.
Vrataa Niyamdharmaashcha Sarve Sankalpajaa Smritaa.
i.e. All wishes can be fulfilled by pledging. All Yagnas and worships are accomplished after taking a vow for its performance.
Feelings have a deep affect on humans. Sankalp is nothing but the expression of the feeling which the Sadhak has for the accomplishment of the Sadhana.
By making a pledge a person becomes committed towards the accomplishment of his goal. All government leaders the world over have to take a pledge in the name of God before taking charge of their offices. This is nothing but a form of Sankalp. In Indian culture taking a vow is considered to be a very serious matter. It is generally when a person finds himself in dire straits that he takes a vow. It is believed that having taken a oath when a person speaks something it is the truth. And taking an oath means becoming committed to something.
Praann Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye.
This is an often repeated verse in India and it means that one should fulfil one’s promise even at the cost of one’s life.
But today taking an oath has become a mere formality. Words like “by God”, “by father” seem to have lost their effect and significance. It one tried to go into their meaning, one would find that by God means one is pledging on behalf of God’s name that what one is saying is true.
But people use these oaths and still lie. They don’t hesitate to link the name of God with their lives.
Indian sages knew about human weakness and that is why they gave great value to oaths and prescribed taking of oaths only on special occasions.
Sankalp is done in order to make one’s determination stronger, while taking an oath suggests that there is some doubt about the person’s reliability and honesty, and by speaking out an oath he is trying to convince the other person.
Sankalp is a ritual through which a Sadhak expresses his faith and determination in performance of a Sadhana and thus becomes engaged in it with greater fervour.
The greatest significance of the ritual of Sankalp lies in its attempt to preserve the Aryan tradition. Those who follow this tradition speak out special words when they perform Sankalp before starting some task, some worship or Sadhana. In Sankalp water is taken in the right palm and the following words are spoken out –
These words signify that we meditate on the Supreme form which came into being billions of years ago. It is the speciality of the Aryan culture that a tradition started by our ancestors thousands of years ago is still alive.
In the same tradition when one takes a pledge to perform some task in the presence of a deity it is known as Sankalp. There is no one outside to whom one is making a promise, rather with the spark of divine present within as the witness, one vows to accomplish some task. There is no one who could doubt one’s sincerity. One is answerable only to the God present within.
Scientifically speaking just as our bodies are built by the food we eat, similarly according to the Vedas –
Hence with a direct contact with water from which the soul energy has originated, the Sadhak feels himself to be linked to the Supreme and then becomes prepared to engage in Sadhana with added enthusiasm and vigour.
In every Sadhana it is also a rule to do Aachman three times i.e water is taken in the right palm, a Mantra is chanted and then it is sipped. This is done three times.
This ritual is performed to be free of the three shortcomings- Kaayik (physical), Maansik (mental) and Vaachik (spiritual). The physical benefit of this exercise is that by sipping water thrice the throat is cleared and one is then able to chant the Mantra clearly.
When the Mantra is chanted lot of heat is produced in the body due to which the throat and the mouth can become dry. Aachman done three times aims at remedying this dryness.
According to the textual rules one need not drink mouthful of water in Aachman. One only needs to sip as much as is required to make the mouth and throat wet and reach the heart.
The tongue and the throat are used while chanting the Mantra. But the strength to do so comes from deep down, from the heart. Hence thrice water is sipped before starting the Sadhana.
The human body is a physical mass in the creation of which every deity has contributed its bit. It is but natural to thank the person or persons who have been instrumental in the creation of something. In the creation of the human body the nine planets of astrology have played the major role.
In the human body the soul represents sun, the mind represents the moon, the blood represents Mars, imagination is ruled by mercury, knowledge is governed by Jupiter, sexual power by Venus and happiness & sorrows by Saturn.
Thus the body exists but due to the powers of these planets. Hence whenever we engage in some Sadhana or ritual through this body and when Shodash Sanskar is performed we thank these planets and express our respect and devotion for them by chanting-
Whether others share one’s moments of joy or sorrows depends on one’s standing and position in the society. In every important function at home we invite all those who are close to us and who matter in our lives.
Among the Hindus when some religions function is to be held not just the friends and relatives, rather all planets and stars are propitiated to seek their good wishes and blessings. It is not a mere ritual of offering some water, flowers, sweets and grains to these planets, rather what is important are one’s feelings.
For us these planets, that have actually helped in the creation of the body, are more important than the physical relations. Hence we never fail to pay our respect to them.
In fact as soon as the Sadhak chants the Mantra the omnipresent Supreme Soul acts as a medium to carry the sound to the respective deity and then carry back the blessings and power of the planet to the Sadhak.
Propitiating a planet does not mean that the planet would leave its orbit and rush towards the Sadhak’s place. Planets are actually there in one’s body in subtle form.
Propitiation is done to activate the power of the respective planet that is present in one’s body so that one could benefit from it and thus make quick and permanent progress in life and in the field of Sadhanas.