In the previous post of the subject I placed the last Shloka from Mahabharata for your contemplation.. We ended at –
यथोक्तमग्निहोत्रं वै जुह्वते विजितेन्द्रियाः |
ये यान्त्यपुनरावृत्तिं भित्वा चादित्यमण्डलम् ||
Those who perform and enjoy Agnihotra (discipline of yajna) while keeping their senses under their control are able to destroy the cycle of birth and death piercing this visible domain and go beyond Surya Mandala.
Now let’s move further.
There is one eligibility criterion to be able to offer Aahuti (sacrifice in fire) – Having gone through Yajyopaveetam (the Sacred Thread) process. There are many names for this ‘Sacred Thread’ – Yagyopaveeta, Vratabandha, RakshaaSootra, BrahmSootra, BrahmBandhan, RakshaaBandhan, Rakshee , and Janeoo. Janeoo or Yagyopaveeta is a sacred bond. A Janeoo has got three threads and therefore it is also called TriSootra. Each of 3 threads are further made up of 3 yarns each thus it contains total of 9 yarns (threads) – representing 9 Grahas (Planets). The who wears this yagyopaveeta is the keeper of NavaGrahas. नवग्रहधारिणे यज्ञोपवीतिने विप्राय नमः |
Three threads of Janeoo / Yagyopaveeta are BhooLoka (भूलोक) / Bhuvarloka (भुवर्लोक) / SwarLoka (स्वर्लोक) and Brahmaa (ब्रह्मा) , Vishnu (विष्णु) and Rudra (रूद्र) . They are three times – Past (भूत) , Present (वर्तमान) and future (भविष्य). They are 3 purusharthas (पुरुषार्थ)– Dharm (धर्म), Arth (अर्थ) and Kama (काम). They are three vedas (त्रिवेद) – Rig (ऋग ), Yaju (यजु) and Saama (साम) and Deva (देव) , Rishi (ऋषि) and Pitras (पित्र) also Satva (सत्व) , Raja (रज) and Tama (तम). Thus this thread symbolizes Triloka (the three worlds – त्रिलोक) , TriMoorti (the three presiding deities of the world, त्रिमूर्ति), Trikaala (Three times, त्रिकाल), Trivarga (Three groups, त्रिवर्ग) , Trigana (Three representatives of specific domains, त्रिगण) and Triguna (Three properties / hues of qualities, त्रिगुण). This pious thread or yagyopaveeta (यज्ञोपवीत) is reflection of sheela (शील, benevolent inner state of being) , sadaachaara (सदाचार, right conduct) and satya (सत्य , rooted in Truth). Vedas have called it – Mekhala (Girdle, मेखला ). This Yagyopaveeta; Being embodiment of Tapa, Bala, and Medha is giver of long life. Following mantra should be seen –
- श्रद्धाया दुहिता तपसो अधिजाता |
स्वस अृषीणां भूतकृतां बभूव |
सा नो मेखले मतिमा धेहि
मेधां अथो नो धेहि तप इन्द्रियं च || अथर्व वेद 6/133/4 ||
- यां त्वा पूर्वे भूतकृतः अृषयः परिबेधिरे |
सा त्वं परिष्वजस्व मां दीर्घायुत्वाय मेखले || अथर्व वेद 6/133/5 ||
Below the origin or the word Mekhalaa has been taken up as per the Sanskrit language grammar rules (shaiv sutras)-
मख् संज्ञायां घ + लच = मखल – यज्ञमय | स्वार्थे अण = मेखल, एकारवृद्धि | + टाप् = मेखला – यज्ञ प्रवर्तक सूत्र , यज्ञमयी |
श्रद्धाया: दुहिता – means the daughter of faith, born of the womb of faith. As per shrutis and puraanas the name of this daughter is also Nishthaa (Steadfastness)
तपस: अधिजाता – born out of tapa (austerity). Out of Tapa is born driti (patience or capacity to hold). The power to hold is dhriti.
स्वस अृषीणाम् – One that is born with Rishis. It means co-born of Rishis, their sister. (स्वस् सहगतौ प्राप्तौ च + तृच् = स्वसृ + सु = स्वसा स्वसः ).
भूतकृताम् – भूतकृता + अम् | The one who created Bhutas (Tattvas) – BhootaNirmaatree. The one that gives birth to creatures and this creation (srishti).
बभूव = Has become.
मेखले सा न: मतिमा धेहि = O Mekhale! Make us Matimaan (with power of discretion). (मतिमा = मतिमान)
अथो न: मेधाम् धेहि = And give us pure intelligence .
तप: इन्द्रियम् च (धेहि) = bestow us with Tapa (Power of forbearance) and Indriya (power of organs).
Mantra’s meaning is thus – The Yajnyopaveeta or Mekhsla or Sacred thread is seat of faith, embodiment of patience, friend or co-born of wisdom and creator of this world. May this sacred thread bless the wearer of it with power of discretion, pure intelligence. May this give the wearer power to bear joys, pains and sorrows of the world and support us by giving us strength (of body and inner instruments).
Now let us move to the meaning of next mantra from Atharva Veda. We shall break this mantra in small segments to understand its meaning in completeness.
भूतकृतः = The one who creates the bhutas i.e. Brahmaa (The God of creation)
याम् त्वा पूर्वे (धृतः) = You, who were worn in the beginning of the universe
अृषयः परिबेधिरे = Rishis , who had wrapper you around their own bodies.
मेखले दीर्घायुत्वाय = O Mekhale ! For attaining a long life.
सा त्वम् माम् परि ष्वजस्व = You, please embrace me (enmesh my body) from all the sides.
The meaning of this mantra – is clear from the explanation of it’s segments above.
This sacred thread finds its place in case of infants, women and shudras in waist or neck. Knowledgeable Dwija wear it on their left shoulder and it follows the back and left-side only to hang around the right thigh. It is giver of long life. मेखलायै नमः |
The second eligibility for offering Aaahuti (sacrifice) is Vaidik. One must have studied and chanted Vedas, have explored the Self, has good conduct and is knowledgeable. One should be able to grasp the meaning of Veda Mantras and should also be able to pronounce the mantras correctly – such a person can take initiation in Yajna. This is perfectly right for without proper knowledge of Veda Mantra if Yajna is done it is a futile process. Mantras are real power of Yajna Process. The ornament of Yajna is correct mantra chanting and proper pronounciation. The power of Yajna is the knowledge of the Mantra’s meaning. Mantra, Proper chanting of Mantra and Meaning (knowledge) of Mantra – when combine together we can reap the fruits of Yajna.
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath
The Agnihotra is not a process that can be performed arbitrarily. Gurudev Shri Aatharvan ji Maharaj who attained enlightened through the agnihotra & Mantra Sadhana shows us by quoting mantras from Athrava Veda that Yajna is to be done only by a capable person who knows the mantra, its meaning and correct chant. The most important of all is the Yajnyopaveeta - Having gone through the process of sacred ceremony of it. Such a person receives fruits of Yajna!