Chapter 3 – Verse 10 Part 1
सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः
अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक्
sahayajnah prajah srstva purovaca prajapatih
anena prasavisyadhvam esa vo stvistakamadhuk
pura – in the beginning
prajapatih – the creator
sahayajnah – along with yagna
prajah – human beings
srstva – having created
uvaca – said
anena – by this (yagna)
prasavisyadhvam – shall you multiply
esah – this
vah – for you
ista-kamadhuk – the wish fulfilling cow (kamadhenu)
astu – may (this yagna) be
In the beginning, the creator, having created human beings along with yagna, said “By this yagna you shall multiply.” May this yagna be a wish fulfilling cow for you.
Here the creator is referred as Brahma. In Vedic tradition as I mentioned before, there is no creation. Only manifestation from unmanifest which is done by Brahma. So, when the human beings were created, the relevant yagnas or rituals were also created so that it could be performed for purification of mind, and as a means for doing other karmas found in the Veda. Here Krishna says that when human begings were created, various yagnas or rituals that are performed were also identified and created to be performed. Here Yagna is referred as ista-kamadhuk as rituals are performed for a particular purpose or desire.
The topic of rituals is important and covers all phases of our life. Even before a child is born, a ritual is performed and we continue to perform rituals even after the person has passed away. These rituals are also called samskaras. The word samskara denotes a religious ceremony or act performed as an outward and inward sign of seeking grace. Panini sutra defines samskara as “samarpuyebyah karotu bhusane” meaning that which adorns one’s personality.
The word samskara means the religious purificatory rites and ceremonies for sanctifying the body, mind and intellect of an individual. The purpose of life is a gradual training in spiritual-unfoldment. All of life is a ritual and a sacrament and every phase of one’s physical evolution should be sanctified for service of the Lord. By means of the samskaras the mind is reawakened to the Ultimate Goal in life which is spiritual wisdom and Liberation from the cycle of births and deaths (samsara)
We have 13 major samskaras and are classified as pre-natal, post-natal and anthyeshti.
Beginning from the conception they are:
1. Garbhadhana— consummation
2. Pumsavana— Sanctification of the embryo
3. Simantonnayana— the parting of the hair for a successful delivery
4. Jarakarma— birth rites
5. Namadheya (nāma-karaṇa) — naming
6. Niṣkramana— first outing
7. Anna-prasana— weaning
8. Cuda karma— tonsure
9. Upanayana — initiation
10. Kesanta— first shaving
11. Samavartana — graduation (often included in the marriage sacrament)
12. Vivaha — marriage,
13. Anthyeshti— final rites.
Chapter 3 – Verse 10 Part 2
The Sanskrit word for wife is ‘patni’ and for the husband, ‘patih’. The letter ‘i’ in pati is replaced by ‘n’ and the feminine suffix ‘i’ is added to form the word patni meaning wife. The pannni sutra says that this substitution is only done when a woman is connected to a man for the purpose of doing a yagna, meaning a vedic ritual. A man marries for this reason since, without a wife, he cannot perform certain rituals prescribed in the veda.
Although the husband performs the ritual, he cannot do certain rituals without taking the wife’s permission. E.g. when we do homam, it is customary for the wife to give agni for the homa kundam by either lighting a camphor a match stick and starting the homam. The wife also stands near the husband in the initial sankalpa stage as the meaning is that both are doing this together for their own purity of mind and for the benefit of the family and others. So the marriage has a religious purpose and the very taking of taking of a woman’s hand in marriage, accepting another person is a religious one. The woman herself need not perform any Vedic rituals because she naturally receives half the results of the punya from the husband. And the results of the sins the husband may perform belong to him and does not go to the wife. Seems unfair right, but she wins hands down either way.
But she has specific duties related to preparing food, maintaining saucha i.e. cleanliness, serving of food, giving tamboolam or haldi kumkum to ladies who come for the function etc. Thus the duties are shared and they are connected in the yagna. So there is an attitude of doing karma by the husband and the wife in performing the yagna.
Our whole life is full of rituals and the life is a yagna and the person who performs this is called a vaidika i.e one who is committed to the Veda. To be a vaidika is no joke as it entails that he needs to perform the enjoined rituals. The karma that is performed is called vaidika karma.
The word Prasava here means growth (and not the other meaning!!). You begin your life with just yourself i.e. aham. When you get married, there are 2 of you because of which there can be no end of growth. Thus singular becomes dual and then when children are born, the growth continues (vamsa vriddhi). So Krishna says here ‘May you grow by doing yagna’. E.g. getting married is a yagna and all the rituals that happen after are also yagna. So the cow Kamadhenu referred here is called as Yagna as it is treated as the cow that yields anything you desire. In the olden days, rich people who do not have children would perform putra kameshti yagam which is very onerous, expensive but will definitely produce results. So we had yagnas for fulfilling each desire or meeting any specific requirement (ayushya homam, Ganapati homam, navagraha shanti homam) to name a few. These are rituals and are karmas and will produce phalam in this life but we have an attitude towards performing it.
By doing yagna, our mind is focused on the mantras, the literal meaning of what the ritual means to us. In the process it helps our antha karana shuddhi or mental purification of mind. Without this antha karana shuddhi, we are not yet prepared for gyanam and any study will not yield results.