Origin of Vedas, Time, Basic Duties and Pasupati Vrata

In the Final Volume of Siva Purana, entitled Vayaviya Samhita, the congregation of Sages headed by Suta Muni gave a broad description of the above Titled and related Topics as explained to Veda Vyas by Vayu Deva Himself. Even before the narration, the Holy spot of ‘Naimisaranya’ or the Nimisa Forest where the congregation was taking place was acknowledged as the most befitting venue for a specific reason. He stated that at the end of the previous ‘Dwapara Yuga’ and at the very beginning of the now on-going Kali Yuga, Lord Brahma released Manonmaya Chakra to ascertain the impact of the impending Time ahead. The Chakra (disc) would travel around and the entire area traversed by it would be submerged in ‘Maya’. Finally, wherever the Chakra would break should be considered as a safe zone covering a large segment of land of the prescribed circumference or the ‘nemi’ of that zone, fit for Yagnas which were performed for ten thousand years and Lord Brahma too carried on the creation process there itself. Such was the significance of ‘Naimisharanya’. [This forest is some 80 km away from Lucknow in Uttar Pradash and there are vestiges here till date of the past 5000 years at the crossing of the two yugas. There is a Chakra-Teertha (waterbody) which is stated to be fathomless as the British failed to disprove the mythology and tried to send down a cable of 1000 meters (3300 feet) of depth and gave up; it was in this Sarovar that thousands of Sages took their bath before performing ‘Yagnas’. There is a Vyasa Gaddi (Seat) under a Banyan Tree where Sage Vyasa executed the division of Vedas and the writing of Puranas; a huge Hanuman idol of 18 feet- believed to be self-manifested, when Hunuman rescued Rama and Lakshmana hidden by Ravana in Patala Loka up into Chakra Tirtha; and a Pandava Temple. Till date, groups of Bramhanas arrive at Naimisharanya periodically to perform Yagnas and Homas from all over India. Also there is a Siva Temple with His eyes looking east in the morning and west in the evenings. The presiding Deity Lalita Devi has a Temple around Chakra Tirtha, where thousands take bath every Full Moon Monday and pray to Her for instant fulfillment of desires.]

There are Eighteen ‘ Vidyas’ or Disciplines of Learning / Knowledge comprising Four Vedas of Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana; Six Vedangas, Meemamsa, Nyaya, Puranas, Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharva Veda and Artha Sastra. Bhagavan Siva created all the Vidyas.Brahma recited the Vedas, Scriptures, and Puranas; Vishnu preserved them all and since these are difficult to assimilate, created Veda Vyasa to pass on the Learnings to posterity in a lesser difficult manner. In fact the Essence of Vedas is conveyed in some four lakh ‘Slokas’ (Stanzas) among Eighteen Puranas.

Besides Vidyas, Bhagavan also presented the Concept of Time to the World and enabled calulations of years, ‘Ayanas’ (half years) as per the movement of Sun viz. Uttarayana of Upward movement of Sun and Dakshinayana or downward movement, months, fortnights (Sukla and Krishna Pakshas), weeks, days and nights, hours, thirty muhurthas in a day and night, thirty kalas in a muhurtha, fifteen nimeshas in a kala and so on. Also one year to Devas is three hundred and sixty years to human beings. Satya Yuga is 4000 Deva or Divine years, Threta Yuga is 3000 Deva years, DwaparaYuga is 2000 Deva Years and Kali Yuga has one thousand Deva years. Four Yugas make a Kalpa during which there are fourteen Manvantaras. One Brahma day is one kalpa; Brahma’s age is for thousand kalpas; Vishnu’s age is one hundred Brahma Years; Rudra’s age is one hundred Vishnu years; Siva’s age is one hundred Rudra years and Sada Siva’s age is infinite! It is stated that Siva starts a day by Creation and by the end of the night terminates the Universe in annihilation!

Having regard to the ‘Varanshrama’ or the Four Caste System of Brahmanas, Vysyas, Kshtriyas and Sudras, Veda Vyasa in his various Discussions with the Sages, pinpointed the Basic duties of Brahmanas even more than rituals. The basic duties include: ‘Trikala Sandhyas’ (Gayatri thrice each day), ‘Havan’ (Offerings to the Sacred Fire), worship to ‘Sivalingas’ and Charity. Also, he should observe every Being in Siva; Compassion, Virtue, Tripti (contentment), Belief in God; Ahimsa (non violence), Bhakti (Devotion), Veda Pathanam (Reading Vedas), Practice of Yoga, Teaching of Vedas and Scriptures, celibacy, penance, wearing Sacred Thread and tuft; abstinence of night meals, continuous chantings of Omkara, Gayatri and Siva Mantras and finally, Siva worship based so much with Faith rather than mere Rituals. The Siva Mantra viz. ‘Om Namah Sivaya’ should be chanted a crore times ideally through out the night or fifty lakh times or atleast ten lakh times. One tenth of the chantings of the Siva Mantra must be executed by way of ‘Havan’; one tenth of the Havan must be performed by way of ‘Tarpan’; one tenth of the Tarpan must be done by way of ‘Marjanam’ or cleansing or purifying; one tenth of Marjanam should be the number of Brahmanas to be engaged for ‘Bhojan’ or meals and ‘dakshina’or monetary offerings.

The next explanation by Veda Vyasa related to‘ Mantrik Nyas’ or Ascetic Nyas viz. Sthithi Nyas (Posture), Utpatti (origin) and Laya (synthesis). Establishing and chanting cryptic mantras (alphabets) from thumb to little finger is Stithi nyasa; the cryptic mantra from right thumb to left thumb is Utpatti Nyasa and from left thumb to right thub is Laya Nyasa. House holders should perform the Stithi Nyas, the Celebates to prefer Utpatti Nyas, and those who have relinquished the world or the Vanaprashasyas should take to the Laya Nyasa.

Pasupathi Vratha is recommended by Vayudeva to attain worldly pleasures as also‘Mukti’.The Vratha comprises of Kriya, Tapa, Dhyana, Gyana and Yoga. This is to be performed on Chaitra Pournami, but two days before it, the Devotee should seek the blessings of a Guru, wear coloured clothes, be seated on kusa grass, take a vow of with a kusa on hand to perform the entire Vratha as per prescribed, observe fast on all the three days, execute day long havans, and Dhyana and worship to Siva Linga. After observing the same procedure of the preceding two days, the devotee must on the final day of the Vrata wear deer skin, smear ash of the havans of the preceding two days, practise ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ under the directives of Guru, perform ‘Avarana Puja’, and ‘Shodasopacharas’or the sixteen kinds of services to the Siva Linga and Siva idol..This Vratha may be performed once in a life time or every year or for twelve years or even as long as one lives. Depending on the honesty and intensity of the Performer, Pasupathi Vrata is stated to bless the devotee to attain Siva Loka.

Auspicious days for performing Siva worship are the eighth or fourteenth day of each fortnight; on the Solictice day or Samkranthi when Sun is positioned north of Equator; on Solar and Lunar Eclipse days; on the days when Pushya nakshatra falls in Pushya month; or Magha nakshatra falls in Magha month; Uttaraphalguna falls on Pournami of Phaluna month; Chaitra Pournami in Chaitra month; Visakha nakshatra falling on Pournami of Visakha Month; Moola in Jyeshtha month; Uttarashadha in Ashadha month; Shravana star in Shravana Month; Uttarabhadra in Bhadra month; Pournami in Asvayuja month; Kartika Pournami during Kartika Month; and on the day when Ardra nakshatra falls in Margaseersha month.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by
V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager,
India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India
The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in