Q.1. What is the difference between daily Upasana, Anusthan and Purascharan?
Ans. Daily worship is a part of routine day to day living. Anusthan is a worship of a higher order in which the devotee is bound by many restrictions and has to follow specified rules and regulations. Consequently, in the latter case, special benefits accrue. Purascharan, however, is a still higher specialised form of Sadhana. For Purascharan a number of specific Mantras and rituals are to be followed. Thus, only an individual with an advance of training is capable of performing a Purascharan. For a layman, therefore, Anusthans are recommended, which are easy to perform.
Q.2. What are the types of Anusthans? How much time is required for each?
Ans. There are three types of Anusthans small (Laghu) medium (madhyam) and Big (Uchch). The counts are as follows :
1) Small Anusthan: 24000 Japs to be completed in 9 days at the rate of 27 cycles of rosary per day. Time taken: on an average, 3 hours per day (with about 10 to 11 Malas per hour).
2) Medium Anusthan: 1,25000 Japs to be completed in 40 days at the rate of 33 Malas per day. Time taken: 3-4 hours per day.
3) Major Anusthan: 24,00,000 Japs to be completed in a year at the rate of 66 Malas per day. Time taken: about 6 hours per day.
Q.3. What are the pre-requisites for an Anusthan?
Ans. Cleansing of body, clothes and implements of worship; the six rituals; ‘Panchopchar’; Jap; Meditation ; ‘Suryarghdan’; (A small Kalash with water and incense are kept along with a photograph or idol of the deity.) Oblations of : water, ‘Akchat’, ‘Chandan’, ‘Flowers’ and ‘Naivedya’. ‘Avahan’ and ‘Visarjan’ at the beginning and end are associated with Gayatri Mantra; Yagya and Brahmbhoj.
Q.4. What are the basic rules of an Anusthan?
Ans. The set of rules to be followed are :-
(1) As far as practicable, regularity of time and number in the Jap should be maintained in the routine with minimum possible deviations.
(2) The five basic principles i.e. (i) fasting (ii) abstention from sex (iii) self-service (iv) sleeping on ground (v) refraining from leather-ware like shoes etc., are to be followed. (One may instead use synthetics, rubber etc.) If sleeping on ground is not safe because of dampness, insects etc., a hard wooden bed may be used. Self service is essential in making shaves, (avoid the barber) cleaning of clothes (don’t send them to the laundry) personal and for other physical requirements. In case it is inconvenient to cook one’s own food, help of a close family member- wife, mother, sister etc. may be taken. Prepared food items from market (restaurants, dhabas etc.) are strictly forbidden. Sex is taboo during an Anusthan. Not only one should avoid physical sex, stimulation of sex impulse through even casual thoughts and sight should also be checked. Ladies coming in contact should be treated as mother, sister or daughter. The same is applicable to the behaviour of women towards men.
Fasting can be done in one of the following ways: (a) Only liquid food like buttermilk, milk, fruit juice etc.(b) Subsisting on fruits and vegetables only (c) taking tasteless food items devoid of salt, sugar and spices (d) partaking only one meal a day (e) choosing only two food items during the period of Anusthan.
Q.5. Is it possible to have an Anusthan performed by someone else?
Ans. To get Jap performed by others on payment on one’s behalf amounts to purchasing labour and deriving advantage out of it. This earns no merit. There are some important tasks which require to be carried out by one’s own self. It becomes ridiculous if they are got done by others. Can a servant be appointed to study on one’s own behalf ? Can one entrust his sleep to someone else? Nobody appoints someone else to procreate children on his behalf. How can a disease be cured if a person other than the patient is paid and asked to take treatment on behalf of the patient? In the same way devotional worship of God has to be done in His proximity, attained by the devotee in person. Self-discipline , penance or endurance are required to be practised and friendship is nurtured by a person himself. Physical exercise is also done by a person himself. The same norm applies to Sadhana.
As for as practicable, one should perform his or her own Anusthan, In specific cases of contingency it can be entrusted to a qualified Brahman. The term Brahman here needs an elaboration. In ancient times individuals considered Brahmans were scholars of the science of Brahma. They possessed a high level of upright character, lived a virtuous life with minimum means of sustenance and comfort.
Now-a-days, it is difficult to find such Brahmans, who besides having been born in a Brahman family (by caste and heredity) and wearing traditional costumes of Brahmans of yore also have the credibility of Brahmanism in their character, behaviour and thoughts. It is very difficult to find a true Brahman from amongst hordes of hypocrites masquerading as Brahmans.
It is, therefore, recommended that if at all necessary, irrespective of caste and creed, Anusthan may be entrusted to such an individual of high character who has an infallible faith in God and is not desirous of any worldly gains of name, fame or material gain.
Q. 6. Does one himself benefit by doing Jap-Anusthan for others?
Ans. It is true that like helping the needy through one’s own resources, a person reaps spiritual benefits while performing Upasana-Tap for others (“Distant therapy”). The only condition is that it should be carried out to support a deserving cause. On the contrary, if divine powers are sought to further some misdeed, it becomes a sinful act. Purity of motive is, therefore, a pre-requisite for an Anusthan.
Q.7. Is acceptance of a donation or gift in cash or kind is permissible in lieu of an Anusthan done for others?
Ans. It is sanctioned to the extent of minimum amount for bare sustenance. Very little benefit accrues when an Anusthan is performed for others with an eye on deriving maximum personal benefit.
Q.8. What is the time of the day recommended for Jap during an Anusthan? Is it necessary to complete Jap at a stretch?
Ans. Mornings are best suited. Otherwise, one may complete the count in instalments at different periods of the day.
Q.9. What to do if there is some irregularity during the Anusthan?
Ans. There should not be any apprehension about incurring any divine displeasure as a consequence of an unavoidable irregularity during the Anusthan. Nevertheless, it is advisable to seek protection of a competent Guru toward off possible disturbances and to take care of advertent or inadvertent errors. This service is also provided free from Shantikunj, Hardwar, Uttar Pradesh, India. One is advised to send details of personal introduction and time proposed for the Anusthan for receiving spiritual protection and rectification of errors through the power of Guru. It will doubly ensure success of the Anusthan.
Q.10. What is the significance of Havan (Yagya) in an Anusthan?
Ans. Jap and Havan are basic ingredients of an Anusthan. After initiation (Dikcha) the worshipper (Sadhak) makes a total surrender to Gayatri and Yagya (his spiritual parents), which are inseparable. Invocation of both is done through specified procedures during the Anusthan.
Q.11. What are the number of ‘Ahutis’ prescribed for various types of Anusthans?
Ans. In ancient times, it was convenient to oblate one tenth of the total number of Japs in the Havan in an Anusthan. In the present circumstances, it is sufficient to offer one hundredth number of ‘Ahutis’. The number thus amounts to :-
(a) Small Anusthan - 240 Ahutis. (b) Medium Anusthan - 1250 Ahutis. (c) Big Anusthan - 24000 Ahutis. The number may however, be varied depending on circumstances.
Q.12. How are the number of Ahutis distributed during the Yagya (Havan) in course of Anusthans?
Ans. Havan may either be performed each day or on the last day of the Anusthan. Oblations required each day are equal to the number of ‘malas’, (cycles of rosary) whereas on the last day the number of ‘Ahutis’ should be equal to one hundredth of the total number of Japs (recitation of Mantras).
When more than one person participates in the Havan, the cumulative number (number of persons multiplied by number of Ahutis) is counted. (e.g. 100 Ahutis by 5 persons will be considered as 500 Ahutis; for 240 Ahutis 6 persons may offer together 40 ‘Ahutis’ each etc.).
Q.13. What is the ideal ‘Bramhabhoj’ after completion of the ‘Anusthan’?
Ans. In an Anusthan the last ritual is ‘Brahmbhoj’ after Poornahuti in the Havan. Traditionally it requires feeding Brahmans or young maidens. Qualified, deserving Brahmans are not easily available, these days. Alternatively, maidens (who being symbolic of mother power of God the Matri Shakti, are fed to augment faith) are offered food, but at times they are not permitted by self-respecting parents to take food in a stranger’s house. Brahmbhoj has, thus, ceased to have relevance in the contemporary society.
Under these circumstances, Brahmdan i.e. ‘Dissemination of spiritual wisdom’ (Sadgyan) can truly serve the purpose of Brahmbhoj. For each Ahuti, one is recommended to donate one paisa (one hundredth of local currency) for Brahmdan and with this amount procure literature pertaining to ‘Yug Nirman’ (resurrection of moral values in the society) and distribute it to deserving persons. In this manner, one can sow seeds of spiritual wisdom in many hearts, the fruits of which are reaped by the readers and motivators alike.
Q.14. What should one do if some unfavourable unforeseen events occur during an Anusthan?
Ans. Under such circumstances one may discontinue the Sadhana, Jap etc. for the period and resume it later from the count of disruption. However, a mental recitation, without a rosary, is permissible in all circumstances.