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Chapter 36 - Code of Brahmin's Daily Rituals (Holy places on the Palm, Achaman, Washing of teeth and mouth, Bath(Snan), Bhasma or Vibhuti, Darbha (kind of grass), Sandhya, Recitation of Gayatri)

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There lived a pious vedic Brahmin. He did not take food at others. He would beg alms of corn and maintained on the same. His wife was discontented and hot tempered. A rich person came to ganagapur for Samaradhana (feeding Brahmins and others). But as this Brahmin did not accept food at others, his wife also was was not invited and she was discontented for not having good, delicious food and sweets.

Once a very rich person came to Ganagapur to observe Shraddha. He invited all Brahmin couples and offered good dakshina (money), clothes and rich delicious food. She told her husband about this. He said,

`If you wish you can go there, but as I do not accept food at others, I cannot come'.

The wife went to the Brahmin host and said, `My husband does not take food at others. Can I come alone to you for meals?'

The host said, `I invite Brahmin couples. So you can come with your husband.'

The Wife could not know what to do. She came to Shri Guru Narasimhasaraswati and narrated to him her grievance and said, `I like to enjoy rich, delicious food. But my husband does not take food at others and so I am also not invited by anybody. At present a rich Brahmin is inviting all the Brahmin couples and offering them good dakshina, clothes and rich delicious food. Kindly advise my husband to accept this invitation.'

Hearing this, Shri Guru smiled and asked his disciples to call her husband. When he came, Shri Guru said to the Brahmin, `your wife desires to take delicious food. You should accept invitation of the Brahmin and fulfill your wife's desire. Married women should not be displeased?

The Brahmin said, `Gurudev, I am observing vrat of not taking meals at others. But as per your adesh (order) I shall accept this invitation.'

This Brahmin couple went for meals at the rich Brahmin's who offered them good, delicious food. While dining the Brahmin wife observed that dogs and pigs are also dining with her. Being disgusted, she got up, returned home and told this to her husband. He said, `I had to break my vrat for you and accept food eaten by dogs and pigs.' Both then came to Shri Guru.

Shri Guru asked the wife, `How did you enjoy the food of the rich Brahmin host? You always blamed your husband. Now are you satisfied?'

The wife said, `Gurudev, I am a silly woman. I broke the vrat of my husband by asking him to take food at others, kindly forgive me.'

Shri Guru said to the Brahmin, `Your wife's desire of taking delicious food is fulfilled. Now she will act as per your wishes. I will tell you the rules of acting as per the order of religion. If a Brahmin is in need of a Brahmin for some religious function and for anniversary (Shraddha), you should go for meals. If you do not go, you will be committing an offense. You should take food at the Guru, disciple, maternal uncle, father-in-law, brothers and saints. If you recite Gayatri Mantra, you are not offended.'

The Brahmin then asked, 'Kindly tell me which and at whose house the food should be avoided?

Shri Gure, 'Good natured Brahmins should not dine at one who takes service from parents, who is greedy, who gives in charity displeasing his wife and children, who is proud, armed or a teacher of flute or outcast, who lives on begging, who praises himself and cajoles others, who does not observe viaishwadev. He should also not dine with a Gure who gets enrages. Who is cruel adulterous and a pretender, who forsakes his wife, a woman who lives forsaking her sons and husband, a Brahmin, who sells wine and does the profession of a blacksmith, a washerman or a gamblers, one who is a prostitute, a thief, a doorkeeper ,who teaches a shudra by taking money, who sells horses, who is Hardas (Kirtankar), one who does not bathe and does not observe Sandhya and Shraddha, who is treacherous, who despises others, one who forsakes his parents and cajoles his Gure, who kills a cow, a Brahmin or a woman, one who does not give in charity, who has no issue. Who despises one's food and praises the food of others. Food at such persons should also be avoided. If one takes food on Amavasya he loses virtue of one month. Unless one's daughter has an issue, one would not dine at her house. All these sins are wiped off if one abides by one's own religion.'

The Brahmin further asked Shri Guru, 'kindly tell me the code of daily rites of a Brahmin.'

Shri Guru-'I will tell you the code of rites of a Brahmin as narrated by Parashar to the Rishis in the Nemisharanya.

One should get up on Brahma muhurta i.e. 2 hours (5 Ghatkas) before the Sun-rise and bow to Shri Guru and god. Go to the southwest for excretion at a place away from the residence of people and the source of water. One should sit facing the south at night and facing the north in the morning and the evening. Arms, hands and legs should be washed with soft earth and water. He should take 2 'achman' (taking ten drops of water saying bow to Kesshav, bow Narayan, bow to Madhav etc.) If there is no water at hand you should touch the eyes and ears. Seven deities stay at the right ear of a Brahmin as described in the following Shloka.

(Fire, Water, Vedas, Sun, Moon and the Wind are the seven deities who always reside in the right ear of a Brahmin)

Holy places on the Palm

'Brahmatirth' is at the root of the thumb, 'Agnitirth' is one the palm, 'Pitru tdirth' is at the root of the thumb and the fore finger, 'Deotirth' is at the ends of the four fingers(except the thumb) and 'Rishitirth' is at the root of this small finger. While offering 'tarpan to forefathers, Gods and Rishi water, till etc. are to be poured though the respective tirthas.

Achaman

Saying 'Bow to Keshav, Narayan, Madhav, the little water on the Brahmatirth is to be taken in the mouth and is to be drunk. The little water is to poured in plate after saying bow to Govinda. If one is touched by a Shudra of an impure one, if one becomes wet in the rains, if one comes home from a funeral, one becomes pure by taking 2 achamans.

Washing of teeth and mouth

Teeth should not be cleaned by 'datoon'(stem of some tree) on parva , pratipada, shashti, Noumi, Dwadashi and on Saturdays, Shradda and wedding days. This does not mean that the mouth, teeth and tongue should not be cleaned at all. Only datoon should not be used on these days.

Datoon sticks should be taken of Babul, karanj, palm, aghada, audumbar and rui trees. After use the datoon should be thrown to the Southwest.

Bath(Snan)

Morning bath gives one lust, strength, life, intellect, pleasure and nutrition. A Grahastha and Vanaprastha should bathe in the morning and midday. A Yati, Tapasi on Sanyasi should bathe thrice while a Brahmachari should bathe once a day.

If these is no sufficient water and in case of difficulty any one of the following alternatives may be chosen. 'Agnisnan'-means to stand in the Sun. `Mantra snan' means to sprinkle water on body after reciting  `Apohistadi'  mantra.  `Bhasmasnan'  means  to  apply  bhasma  or  vibhuti  all  over  the  body.

`Vayusnan' means to take the dust at the feet of the cow. `Tirthsnan' means to bring the idol of vishnu in the mind. After saying `Apavitrah Pavitrova etc. if water is sprinkled on one's body, it is like a bath. A weak person should sponge his body with cloth dipped in warm water.

Healthy persons should bathe with cold water. In case of difficulty do `upsnan' i.e. (wash hands, feet and rub the body with a wet cloth). If cold water is not tolerable, hot water bath should be taken. Water itself is pure. Heated water is more pure. A Grahastha should bathe with hot water. He should take achaman in the midst of the bath. Females should not bathe over their head daily.

In the bath at home do not do `Aghamarshan' (saying of mantra wiping off the sins) and `Tarpan' (offering til to Gods, forefathers and Rishis). Do not take hot water bath on the day of birth of a son on day of Shraddha or death on Sankranti, Purnima and Amavasya. Take the darbha in hand, tie the hair on the head (shikha) with them, enchant the water of your bath with `Apohishta' etc., mantra and three Gayatris. Take cold water first and then hot water.

While taking bath in the river, face to the flow of the river and do `Aghamarshan'. In the bath at home, turn your face to the east in the morning and to the west in the evening. Bath purifies the body if taken after weeping, vomiting, sex-act and sight of bad dreams. A Grahastha should not wear wet and safron cloth. He should have a `upwastra' such as dupatta. If there is no upwastra, the credit of the bath goes to Rakshas. The Brahmins should wear white dhoti and should have a cloth, a dupatta or a shawl on the body.

Bhasma or Vibhuti

After bath one should apply Basma or Vibhuti as per Shastra rules. If it is not available 'Gopichandan' should be applied. Devotees of Vishnu have vertical lines of Bhasma (tripundra) on the forehead. For acquiring long life one should apply bhasma with the middle finger, for devotion use the tarjani i.e. the 2nd finger near the Thumb, for food use the anamika i.e. the 4th finger Bhasma should not be applied on the day of Shraddha, Thread, Wedding and other ceremonies and after funeral bath.

Darbha (kind of grass)

These are required for Brahmayadna and Tarpan, Durva, wala, darbha, kush, kunda, wheat, paddy, mola, nagarmotha, Bhadra and mustha are the ten kinds of grass which can be used as darbha. Darbha should be brought on Bhadrapad and Shravan Amavasyas and stored and used for a year.

Brahma is at the end of the darbha, Rudra is at the root and Vishnu is in the middle. Pavitraka (ring) of darbha should be kept in a finger. Sins are wiped off due to this.

While doing jap (recitation), tap (penance), homa, (sacrifice) and chanting of vedas, gold or silver rings should not be taken off, for wearing the darbha pavitraka. Ring should not be put in the tarjani by one who has father. Ring with 9 gems destroys sins. A Brahmin should have a ring with at least one gem.

Sandhya

A Brahmin should start sandhya after bath, early in the morning when the nakshatra (stat) is visible in the sky. He should offer 'Arghyas' (offering water) to the Sun at Sunrise. If the normal time for the Arghya has elapsed one more Arghya should be given.

Mandesh demons are always fighting with the Sun. To nullify the obstruction in the rising of the Sun, these Arghyas are to be given. These Arghyas strike the demons like weapons and in order to wipe off this sin, one has to move round oneself saying 'Asavaditya Brahma...'

Recitation of Gayatri

After this recollect the names of Rishis etc. and recite 'Gayatri Mantra.' For this purpose a wreath of Rudraksh, coral beads or white stone beads should be used. The wreath should not have any broken beads. One should observe 'moun' (nonspeaking) while reciting. One should recite the morning and midday sandhya after standing and the evening sandhya after sitting.

Recitation of Gayatri at home gives one credit; if done outside it gives double credit. If done on the bank of a river the credit is threefold, and if done at a cowshed or a vrindawan (Tulsi plant planted in the hallow stone or in brick construction) the credit is tenfold. The recitation at a place of Agnihotra, gives 100 fold credit; at a holy place or near a shrine of god it gives 1000 fold credit, while recitation near Vishnu gives crore fold credit and near Shiva it gives immeasurable credit.

Recitation made while sitting on a broken wood plank causes misery, and that done while sitting on grass, causes loss of good fate and glory. Recitation done while sitting on a stone causes disease; that done while sitting on bhasmasan causes cure of diseases. A blanket seat gives pleasure, a seat of the skin of a black deer gives knowledge, while that of the skin of a black deer gives knowledge, while that of the skin of a tiger gives salvation. Kushasan causes hypnotism and destroys all diseases and sins.

The appearance (Dhyana) of the Gayatri in the morning sandhya is of Kumari. Her color is red, her clothes are red. She is riding a goose. She has four hands and four heads.

The appearance of Gayatri in the midday sandhya is of a young lady. Her color is white. Her clothes are white. She is riding on ox. She has five heads.

The appearance of Gayatri in the evening sandhya is of an old lady. Her color is black. Her clothes are black. She rides Garuda. She has four heads.

Sunmukh, Samput, Vitat, Vistrat, Dwimukh, Trimukh, Chaturmukh, Panchmuykh, Shanmukh, Adhomukh, Vyapanjalik, Shakat, Y:ampash, Gnanthit, Sanmukhonmukh, Pralamba, Muohti, Matsya Kurma, Varaha, Sinhakranti, Mahakranti, Mudgar and Pallava are the 24 mudras (poses). Recitation of Gayatri with mudras is more fruitful. Gayatri has three parts (pad or charan), and they should not be recited without pause after each part.

'Man' means mind and 'Tra' means Pran (soul). Recitation of a mantra should therefore be done with the union of mind and soul.

A Brahmachari and a Grahastha should recite Gayatri Mantra 108 times daily. A Vanprastha, Yati or a Sanyasi should recite it 1000 (thousand) times. In case of difficulty one may recite it at least 10 times a daily.

Recitation in the mind is the best. Whispering in mouth is medium and loud recitation is worst. While reciting, with a wreath, do not transgress the menu or the head bead. If it is transgressed 3 pranayams should be observed. Reciting Gayatri a crore time fulfills all desires. After jap, upsthan (prayer) should be recited while standing. Bow to ten dishas (directions), Gods, Brahmin, guru, pronounce one's Gotra and birth name and end the ritual of sandhya.

The home should be swept daily land kept clean. The earthen floor should smeared with cow dung and water. Rangoli (stonepowder) designs should be drawn in the courtyard and before the shrines of worship. A Grihastha should keep a cow, a shaligram, (soft black round stone as Vishnu), Gauya and Grihyagni at home.

A Brahmin should perform Sandhya daily and should also worship gods daily. One who does not worship gods is like a beast. In the morning the worship should be done with 16 upchars and in the night, light of ghee (Arati) should be waved before the shrines. Yama punishes those who do not worship gods. The eight places or objects of worship are as follows. The Shrine of gods, the Sthandil (earthen elevated construction for fire of sacrifice), the Agni (Fire), the Sun, the water, the heart, the Brahmin and the Sadguru. The Brahmin males should worship gods with Veda mantras, while the females and Shudras should worship with Purana mantras.

Flowers brought from trees in the forest are of medium value. Those purchased are worst. The flowers grown by one self in one's housee garden are the best. Flowers eaten by worms and having holes should not be used. Shri Durga should not be offered' `durva' (a kind grass), Kevada should not be offered to Shri Shiva, Tulsi should not be offered to Shri Ganesh and flowers of Dhotra and Rui should not be offered to Shri Vishnu.

Keep the pot of water at the left hand all the articles of worship at the right hand.

16 iuchars of worship should be observed devotedly with panchamrit (mixture of milk, curds, ghee, honey and sugar). Shankh (Conch) should be kept on the left and Ghanta (bell) on the right hand. After bowing to gods, do achman and the Sankalpa (pronunciation of desire of worship mentioning the time, year, ayan, ritu, month, paksh (fortnight, dark or bright) tithi (particular day of a month), Nakshatra (star), places of various planets on the day and purpose or desire of worship. Then start ordinary bath with water, panchamrit, abhishek (pouring water) chanting Purush Sukta, Vishnu Sukta, Shri Sukta, Lakshmi Sukta, Rudra Sukta, Pavaman Sukta, etc. (as per devotion all or particular Sukta or Suktas may be selected for Abhishek.)

After Abhishek, dry the shrines with a piece of cloth and place them at their places and offer clothes, ornaments, Gandha, Halad, Kunkum, flowers or wreaths, tulsi, bel leaves saying, `give me shelter, protect me.' Withered followers taken out of the shrines should be touched, to one's head and nose and kept aside to be immersed in the river or rivulet. The bhasma scented sticks be applied to forehead and the tirth (holy water of bath of gods) should be drunk.

For purification of food and wiping off 5 great sins, one should do Vaishwadeva in the morning and in the evening before meals. Homa in the morning is a sacrifice for god. Bali is given for the ghosts, and Tarpan is the sacrifice for forefathers. At the time of dinner, one should wait for a guest. If a guest comes, give him food. If he is a yati, give him food and water also.

Before taking meals wash your feet, hands and the mouth. If an unknown person dines with you, offer him food at a distance. There should not be distinction of food for persons dining at a time. After four Chitrahutis take five Pranahutis. Observe `moun' during meals or at least up to Pranahutis. Do not leave things in plate except little for your wife. There should be no noise while taking water or liquid articles. If while dining the lamp goes off, then stop taking food till the lamp is replaced. While dining do not see and hear the words of females in monthly course, do not touch each other when dining.

If gases pass, if the food contains worms or if their is vomiting, then stop dining. If hair is found, it should be put off and the food should be sprinkled with tirth. If onion and garlic are taken one is deprived of Brahminism. `Satwic' food increases knowledge, while `Tamas' food increases ignorance.

While dining, first take liquid articles and then take others. Last `aposhan' should be half taken and half should be poured down. Wash your mouth with the forefinger. For purification of mouth and fingers, two achmans should be taken.

After dinner, take pan and hear Purana. Evening sandhya etc. And meals should be taken as in the midday. It would be better if articles prepared with milk are taken in the night.

Do the professional work during the day. 'Sour Path' should not be chanted after sunset. Before going to bed bow to the God and dedicate all the Karma (acts) of the day to him.

Going outside at the fertilization period of the wife is sinful. During this time of the first four days Parvakal, Mul, Magha and Revati stars should be avoided for sex act. There should be no sex act on the Shraddha day and during day time. If these rules are followed, even a Grihastha is a Brahmachari (i.e. follower of Veda Shashtras in sex act). One should not enjoy with an older female. There should be no feeling of despise, or grief at the time of the sex act.

The Brahmins who behaved as instructed by Shri Guru attained good 'parlok'.
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