[Advaita-l] meaning for certain mantras

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 10 22:06:00 CDT 2008

--- On Fri, 10/10/08, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:

> > In my family tradition while doing doing panca-deepa
> aarti, we use the 
> > mantras "sapratha sabham me gopaya, ye cha
> sabhayam.........Aher 
> > budhniyam mantram gopaya......amrutaam
> sathaam..."  - taittiriya 
> > brahmanam
> >
> > Can some member please give the meaning of the
> aforesaid mantras? Also, 
> > whether the mantra is appropriate for panca-deepa
> aarti, as the puja 
> > vidhanam book I have (published by RK mutt) gives
> another set of 
> > mantras.
> >

There are many mantras that can be used for the aarati. (NOT "aarti", which means "problem" or "difficulty". One of the names of the Divine Mother is aarti-hare devii, meaning One who destroyes aarti or difficulties. Sadly, many girls are being named "Arti" nowadays by parents who don't know the meaning of the word.)

> Unfortunately I cannot help you with the exact verses in
> question but I 
> will say this.  If there is any conflict between the
> shishtachara of ones 
> family (verified as far as possible that it is actual
> historical practice) 
> and printed books, the former takes precedence. 

I would actually suggest that one approach a person in the tradition who has studied the dharma shaastras carefully before coming to a personal conclusion on dharmic practice. That which is practiced by most people is only "aachaara", not "shishhTaachaara" - which requires that the person practising dharma be a "shishhTa" or learned in the scriptures.

There are many areas where "aachaara" takes second precedence or is simply wrong in the eyes of a shishhTa who is knowledgeable in the shaastras.

Here are a couple of instances where "aachara" cannot be considered an accurate representation of dharma:

1) In South India and probably in other parts of India, many people have an "aupaasana" pot at home as part of "aachaara". This pot is carried over from their wedding and is stored in a distant corner of the house, where it remains completely untouched for years.

Here is the true history of the aupaasana pot:
Historically, as recently as a couple of centuries ago, after the wedding ceremony, the couple collects the fire from the ritual into a pot, and continue to keep the fire alive for the rest of their life, worshipping the agni on a regular basis. Since this fire was used for "upaasanaa" or worship, it was called the "aupaasana" pot.

Nowadays, the vast majority of people have stopped doing upaasana to agni, but many still believe that there is something sacred about keeping an empty "aupaasana" pot at home!

This is a true incident: A shishhTa who was well-read in the shaastras narrated the above true history of the aupaasana pot to an interested audience and said, "To keep an empty "aupaasana" pot at home is useless - in fact such a pot cannot be called an "aupaasana" pot at all. An aupaasana pot without agni is like offering a guest a dinner plate but not food! It is better to use the pot for some other purpose or give it away to charity!" When the scholar said this, a person in audience who was over 90 years old said that he now felt like a fool for keeping an empty aupaasana pot stashed away in the attic of his home for over half a century!

Evidently, what the shishhTas or learned scholars know and teach as dharma is quite different from what the lay person practices or believes to be dharma. The elderly gentleman who was storing an empty aupaasana pot in his home cannot and should not be called a shishhTa IMHO, although he was quite sincere in his religious practices and followed the "tradition" that he grew up in for almost a century.

2) According to dharmic practice as recently as a few centuries ago, the bride would give away her wedding saree to charity - preferably to the priest (i.e. the priest's wife) who conducts the wedding. This is not being followed nowadays for a simple reason - the modern brides want to wear their expensive wedding sarees for life! The wedding saree is kept in a safe place to be worn only on special occasions. If a knowledgeable priest even dares to suggest that the wedding saree is to be given away, he would be called greedy, and would be replaced with another more agreeable priest to conduct the wedding!

If one speaks to those who truly know dharma, one can see that there is quite a difference between what is being followed among the lay persons and what really constitutes dharma according to the shishhTas.

> Many of
> the prayoga books 
> are simply not very good and even the ones that are may
> only represent one 
> view among several.

I agree that most books published these days have many errors.

>   -- 
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>



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