in addition to referring to our duty and activity for living, also
refer to Vedic Karma or our spiritual duties. Thus study of the
scriptures and performances of the vedic ritual are as important
as the performance of one's Dharma or duty to the community according
to one's birth and profession and stage of life.
one has to perform all their daily duties according to their Varna-Ashrama
Dharma and their education and vocational training. They need to
do the sandhya rituals and sanskaras and the yajñas to people,
animals, ancestors, celestial bodies and to God. All these have
an important effect on our family, our future births and ultimate
liberation from the Samsara or cycle of rebirth.The
daily Vedic rituals performed are called nithya karma like the sandhya
rituals, various Yajñas and Sanskaras.
of sandhya and sanskara are prayers offered to the gods through
water, fire and Sun. Contrary to popular belief, a Karma Yogi also
has duties of offering his prayers to the Divine through Nithya
Karma. He also performs his work as a service to God, as he sees
God in every one.
Sandhya are the most important
rituals that a Hindu is expected to perform in the house every day,
three times a day. These are rituals performed at dawn, noon and
at dusk to God, to the Sun and to ancestors. Yajna rituals are offered
to Vedic Gods such as Prajapathi, Indra, Varuna, Purusha, Rudra
and the Deities of the nine planets.
Vedic gods are the custodians of our social well being and only
from our sacrificial oblations in Yagnas they draw their sustenance.
The Pancha-Maha Yajnas which are important include Brahma Yajna
or sacrifices to Brahman, to Vedas and to sages, Deva Yajna to celestials,
Pitri Yajna for ancestors, Bhutha Yajna to all creatures and Manushya
Yajna to fellow men. There are fifty-two Sanskaras which are listed
as rituals performed at home, of which ten are important.
Sanskara rituals like Simanthonnayana, Namakarana, Annaprasana,
Chudakarana, Upanayana, Samvarthana and Vivaha, are for family events.
There are also funerary rituals which are performed after death
of a person and srardha ceremonies which are rituals to ancestors
performed by family members.