As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 11
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The great monk Suta eloquently speaks about the Fire-Sacrifice (Agniyajna), devayajna and worship of preceptor for yajna blesses the devotees with health, wealth and ultimate liberation from the worldly bonds…for each one if lives a morally strong life, he attains the land of lord …each day has a deity that blesses…provided devotee is genuine and pure
The great monk, on the request of sages, tells in detail about the holding of fire sacrifice namely – agniyajna or yagya, devayajna – sacrifice to gods and worship of guru even while making efforts to satisfy brahmins – the learned men of the Vedas. He talks of acts of fire sacrifice with regard to celibates – students engaged in religious studies and of householders, ascetics and so on. Propitiation of gods is necessary in all kinds of yagyas – devayajna, worship of Indra and study of the Vedas (Brahmayajna).
The great lord created days in a week for the benefit of the world for he is the physician and has panacea for all ailments. Mahadeva has the first day of the week. Day for maya – illusion, day for victory over exhaustion, weariness and calamity, next day for blessing that is dedicated to Vishnu the protector of the world, and then, it is day for Brahma the creator of the three worlds, who bestows long healthy life. The next two days are for Indra and lord of Death for presiding over the virtuous and sinful acts of people – the punyas and wicked. The days give enjoyments of life and help avoid premature death whereas Sun is lord’s manifestation, and worship of Sun lavishes pleasures and joys, good health, wealth, sustenance and good food, longevity etc. One gets joy and good health and wealth in life only if he prays and worships gods, for ultimate benefactor is the great Shiva.
A devotee should worship the gods through japa of mantras, sacrifice, offering of gifts, adherence to asceticism and propitiation of deity, or through worshipping a brahmin at the altar with proper service and homage, and he will get blessing of Shiva. Proper worship of Sun frees a devotee from sins. Worship of Laksmi gives wealth and it be done on Monday. Worship of Kali on Tuesday frees a man from sickness etc. Wednesday is for the prayer before Vishnu, Thursday’s prayer grants longevity, worship on Friday confers worldly joys, Rudra’s worship on Saturday bestows good health, Suta tells sages but impresses upon the observance of all rituals etc. which one must learn from a guru or texts. Sacrifices before the gods, the deities, ceremonial ablutions and oblations, gifts, japa of mantras, propitiation of learned men – brahmins, prayers before gods on auspicious occasions give ample rewards to the devotees.
Devayajna bestows on devotees joy, happiness, pleasure and frees them from suffering of life and leads to ultimate deliverance, he emphasises. For obtaining the right, auspicious and desired rewards or fruit of prayer and worship before deities and gods, a devotee ought to take proper care of the appropriateness of time, place, guru’s counsel and then, engage in devayajna – sacrifice to gods.
Purity of house grants benefits, Suta tells. Cowshed, bank of a reservoir or pond and tulsi are good. He speaks of sacred rivers quite pertinent for prayers or worship and the seashore or the top of mountain are again favourable and confer benefits depending upon the extent, dimensions, religiousness and sanctity of prayers and worship, which the monk explicates exhaustively. Purity of mind, time and place grant full benefits if a devotee performs yajna and acts of charity properly.
Ceremonies with regard to holding of yajnas are must, and for this, a devotee ought to adhere to each ritual correctly and study the text comprehensively and if necessary seek guidance again from the preceptor, Suta advises repeatedly. Period of transit of the Sun from one Zodiac sign to another, period of tropical transit, time of lunar eclipse, favourable hour during total Solar eclipse, and to stay away from sun of cosmic form are good for health, riches and future. It saves from the spread of ailments. Ceremonial ablutions and cleansing, charitable acts, prayers and then, the alliance with the noble and virtuous souls are beneficial. Men of strict devotion, discipline, austerities, and yogis of knowledge, ascetics and men of worship are free from sins for they discard aberrant or wicked nature.
Chanting of Gayatri mantra cleanses and blesses, and gives joys of life and protects a man from downfall, and purifies a man as well, he tells. Such a devotee is entitled to perform rites of charity – punya, dana, japa, oblations and prayer etc. Hungry needs food and a devotee ought to take care and therefore, the great monk speaks about the types of yajnas – duties regarding abandonment of self-fulfillment and sacrifice for the good of ‘the self’ and the wellbeing of others. Benefits of yajnas take a devotee to the land of gods, holy lokas – and finally to the land of Shiva. A man ought to make gifts and act charitably and that makes life consequential and evocative. To work for the satisfaction of others brings blessings of the lord.
It is good to learn teaching of the Vedas from the gurus. Faith is necessary and one realises that acts are fruitful. Worship means recital of mantras, divine hymns, chanting or japa or pilgrimage to holy places and observance of rites, fast etc religiously and correctly. If a man performs all karmas, duties and obligations to man and society with dedication and purity of heart it is conducive to enjoyment in life. Acts of charity and observance of severity and austerity are essential in day-to-day activities. To offer shelter to the needy based on right choice, to perform sacred rites with devotion is also good. It delights gods and the great lord. Devotees of this nature always attain noble birth here and hereafter. Even reading and studying the text relating to devayajna makes a man righteous and blesses him with the sacred knowledge.
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