The Concept of Rna Classical Indian Philosophy YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Topic: Classical Indian Philosophy

Subtopic: Rna and Yajna

The Concept of Rna

  • Rna means debts, duty or obligation that we have to perform or repay.
  • They bring in social freedom for the doers.
  • The scriptures say, “Man is said to owe some debts or is said to perform some duties towards Gods, men and animals.”
  • These replaying of debts and performance of duties also helps inculcate virtues in a person.
  • Virtues such as charity and unselfishness.
  • There are five levels of Rna.
    • Man is said to owe debts to the Gods. It is mentioned in Taitariya Upanishad.
    • Man is said to owe debts to the Seers.
    • Man is said to owe debts to Manes.
    • Man is said to owe debts to other Men. It is mentioned in Sthathapratha Brahman.
    • Man is said to owe debts to lower creations, for instance, animals. It is mentioned in Sthathapratha Brahman.

Simply saying, there are five types of Rna;

  • Deva Rna: It can be repaid by performing sacrifices or yajnas to God. In other words, it belongs to both, Grihastha and Vanaprashta Ashrams.
  • Rishi Rna: Debt to Seers, it can be repaid by studying the Vedas and practicing Brahmacharya.
  • Pitr Rna: Debt to Ancestors, it can be repaid by taking care of the family and carrying on the family lineage. In other words, it belongs to Grihastha Ashrama.
  • Manushya Rna: Debt to other Men, it can be repaid by helping other men in need, for instance, by offering food, financial assistance, etc.
  • Rna towards: Debt to Animals, it can be repaid by taking care of them and feeding them food.

Top three most important in nature as per the text Manusmriti.

The Concept of Yajna

  • Four main themes in Vedic literature are;
    • Emphasis on Rna
    • Observance of Varna and Ashrams.
    • Eternity of Vedas
    • Supremacy of Priests
  • Yajna means three things;
    • Deva puja
    • Saogati karana
    • Dana
  • The Panca-Maha-Yajnas are;
    • Deva Yajna: It is associated with pleasing and worshipping Gods or divinities. This should be performed daily.
    • Brahman or Rishi Yajna: It is associated with the study of Holy Scriptures. This should be performed whenever possible.
    • Pitra Yajna: It is associated with making offerings. This should be performed daily.
    • Bhuta Yajna: It is associated with feeding all the members of the lower creation. For example, giving food cakes to animals. This should be performed daily.
    • Manushya Yajna: It is associated with providing alms and aids to fellow humans.
  • Priest is the active agent. Knows and understands the Mantras.
  • Yajmana is the passive agent. Receives the fruit of the action.
  • There are 4 different kinds of Priests;
    • Hota: Priest of Rig Veda. They welcome Gods and praise them. They contemplate on the deity of fire (speech) .
    • Udgata: Priest of Sama Veda. They chant the hymns and contemplate on breath.
    • Adhvaryu: Priest of Yajur Veda. They check the physical details of Yajna. They contemplate on the deity Sun (eye) .
    • Brahman: Priest of Atharv Veda. They act as the superintendent of the entire Yajna, they also correct mistakes. They contemplate on the deity Moon (mind) .

Questions

1. ________ is the priest of Atharva Veda

A. Brahman

B. Hota

C. Ritvik

D. Yajmana

Answer: A

Explanation: Brahman is the Priest of Atharva Veda. They act as the superintendent of the entire Yajna, they also correct mistakes. They contemplate on the deity Moon (mind) .

2. Manushya rna is associated with

A. Taking care of fellow men

B. Taking care of animals

C. Debt to Ancestors

D. Both A and B

Answer: A

Explanation: Manushya Rna means debt to other Men, it can be repaid by helping other men in need, for instance, by offering food, financial assistance, etc.

3. Man is said to owe debt to lower creations in mentioned in

A. Manusmriti

B. Sthathapratha Brahman

C. Vedas

D. Upanishads

Answer: B

Explanation: Man is said to owe debts to lower creations, for instance, animals. It is mentioned in Sthathapratha Brahman.

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