Brahmana granthas deal with ritualistic procedures of yajnas. They are also in the format of mantras. In Vedic curriculum, unless you have learned the corresponding brahmanam of your Veda shakha , then your education is not complete. That is the importance of rituals in the Vedic system.
Brahamana mantras give a lot of insight into why something is done in a ritual. Or why something is important. Even where it is not explained why something should be done, it gives clarity as to whether something should be done or should not be done.
Answering ‘why ?’ may not be possible in all the cases, because there may be a whole lot of concepts, through which only you will be able to arrive at the answer. For that, you should have a fair understanding of what the Vedic system is all about.
It is not as simple as a god sitting in heaven and overseeing everything.
Vedic system is much more comprehensive, all-inclusive. In the Vedic system, there is a place for everything.
Only slowly you can understand all these.
The brahmanam of Shukla Yajurveda is Shatapatha Brahmanam.
Shatapatha Brahmanam starts with the procedure of observing vrata for Purnamaseshti. Purnamaseshti is the shrouta yajna performed by agnihotris in connection with Purnima. If the yajna is to be performed tomorrow, then from today you have to observe vrata.
The corresponding mantra is
व्रतमुपैष्यन् । अन्तरेणाहवनीयञ्च गार्हपत्यञ्च प्राङ् तिष्ठन्नप उपस्पृशति तद्यदप उपस्पृशत्यमेध्यो वै पुरुषो यदनृतं वदति तेन पूतिरन्तरतो मेध्या वा आपो मेध्यो भूत्वा व्रतमुपायानीति पवित्रं वा आपः पवित्रपूतो व्रतमुपायानीति तस्माद्वा अप उपस्पृशति
Many interesting points are there in this.
अमेध्यो वै पुरुषः – man is normally impure.
Why impure? यदनृतं वदति - because man tells lies.
Telling lies is built into man.
Now don’t say I am always honest. I never tell lies.
That’s what you think you are doing.
Now let’s say someone says that our temples are energy centres, they are not just places of worship.
You found it very interesting.
You forward this to your contacts.
Basically, you are telling something to them. Telling something that you heard.
Now, are you sure, whether this statement is correct?
Do you understand the principles of agama or tantra to vouch that this concept is correct?
Have you gone through the principles of installation of an idol or consecration of a temple to say – yes this is all about energy.
Do you know whether the principles of installation of deity or consecration of temple involves energy theory?
No. You didn’t bother to check. You didn’t bother to verify.
You found it interesting and you just forwarded.
Now it the original statement is true, then there is no problem.
Now, if the original statement is incorrect, you have uttered a lie.
When you forwarded this message – you vouched for it. To the recipient of the message, you have lied.
Are we applying so much discretion about everything that we speak?
No, in day to day life we don’t. We take it very casually.
But, then without knowing it, you are lying a lot.
That’s why is said, lying is built into man.
We all say – Bhagawan himself has said in Geeta !
Meaning there is no doubt about its authority.
Sanjaya is telling this to Dhritarashtra – that I heard the Lord saying all this in the battlefield.
Then Vyasa says this is what Sanjaya told Dhritarashtra.
Then Vaishampayana says – this what Vyasa told.
Then Ugrashrava Sauti says, this is what Vaisampayana told to Janamejaya.
And this is coming to you in the form of a book,
So you are reading in a book which says – Ugrashrava said, this is what Vaisampayana said, who was quoting Vyasa Samhita, in which it is said that this is what Sanjaya told to Dhritarashtra and he said that this is what he overheard Krishna saying in the battlefield.
And after that we are saying with authority – this is what Bhagawan himself has said.
See how complex it is.
Are you sure you are not lying, you have never lied?
Not intentional, but are you always sure about what you are speaking.
Another perspective, when the world itself is an illusion, a delusion a big lie, can there be truth in whatever you speak.
You say that I saw him there yesterday. Are you sure ?
This is why it is said man lies a lot.
And with that impurity, he cannot observe a vrata.
So, how can he become pure ? By touching water, by drinking water.
अप उपस्पृशति – तेन पूतिरन्तरतः
Apastamba shrouta sutra says – अप आचामत्युपस्पृशति वा
Either by touching water you become pure or by doing achamana or sipping water you become pure.
If you do both, all the more better.
But why ?
मेध्या वा आपः पवित्रं वा आपः
Water is always pure. Water is never impure.
By being with water, you also become pure.
Suppose you are accompanying a noble respected person somewhere, you also get respect. Just because you are with him, you are also respected. They don’t know you, but because you are with him you are also respected.
Water is pure, so be with water, you are also pure, as long as you are with water, you are pure.
That is why during ritual, if you have to move about, you carry your jala patra with you. Your jala patra has to be always with you. Sages always carry their kamandalu with them. With water in it.
As long as you are in the company of water, you are pure.
Now, why is water pure ?
Because water is what remains after pralaya. When the illusion called the world, the untruth called the world is gone, when all the untruth is gone, water is what remains. So there is no untruth is water.
Water is always pure.
This is how Vedic concepts are built.
If you think that everything can be known through postures and hyperventilation, that may not be all that true.
Rituals are important. There is a lot you can learn from rituals. And with every single principle, you learn, you grow, you evolve.Hide Text