Ashvamedham (was Re: [Advaita-l] A lost Vedic ritual is brought alive)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at
Thu Nov 3 14:34:57 CST 2005

On 11/3/05, Raghavendra N Kalyan <kalyan7429 at> wrote:
> >Of course, this does not mean one can neglect obligatory karma and
> >claim study of them will bring the same benefit :-).
> >The general rule is that the knowledge of the deeper
> >meaning of the karma (see for example what the horse is described as
> >in the ashvamedha braahmaNa) and recitation of the mantras are
> >sufficient to get the same benefit as performing the karma. But the
> >particular rule is that it is not so for the obligatory karmas.
> Rama-ji, my question may not sound wise, but why cant one just study or meditate on the obligatory karmas and get the same benefits when one can get it in the case of rites like ashwamedha? You have stated it as a rule but is there any particular reason for that rule?

Actually, it is a good question.

Please consult the brahma suutras I referred to earlier, along with
sha.nkaras commentary. It requires careful reading. Also consult the
IshAvAsya upanishhad which states that meditation and rituals are not
to be practiced separately. I forget the exact shloka reference, but
you should be able to find it easily. Not to of course mention the
various sMR^iti texts which insist on actual performance of obligatory
duties. Again I don't remember any of these off the top of my head.

But perhaps, I should also point out that such rules may have
exceptions in ***very rare*** cases. Sri Mahasannidhanam in one of his
conversations mentions that he had a student who was very advanced and
would be in nirvikalpa samaadhi for many hours. Sometimes he would
miss the evening sandhyaavandanam and would get out of samaadhi only
very late (he was not a sannyaasii). The question was whether he would
incur sin by not doing sandhyaavandanam. Mahasannidhaanams answer was
that it was not a sin because the very aim of sandhyaavandanam, etc.,
is to attain such levels of concentration.

As a caveat I should caution once again that these are exceptional
cases. It would be best to not apply these "exceptions" to oneself. As
Swami Vivekananda very perceptively observed "99% of people who think
they are saatvic are steeped in the deepest of tamas" :-).


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