The main difference between a sanga or gathering and a ritual is the fact that rituals follow a set methodology to attain a set goal, and goes beyond a sharing of ideas or activity. Rites create a sacred space where the place becomes a catalyst to invoke personal transformations, by invoking the presence of the Lord. Furthermore a sacred ritual follows a set series of steps that distinguises it from other gathering. Usually the steps are coming down from guru to disciple with sometimes an added flavour of local traditions. Following the method of the previous sadhakas/adherants in an approved line of teaching and practice enables one to activate the energy of the Yajnapati safely.
According to the kind of sacrifice
that one is performing the shape of the sthandila (area of the vedi) may
SQUARE ALL PURPOSES.
5 - SIDED FOR CONTROLLING YAKSAS AND WANTEN WOMEN.
6 - SIDED IMMOBILIZING AN ENEMY - ISTAMBHAN.
7 - SIDED TO CREATE DELLUSION - UCHCHATAN.
8 - SIDED FOR KILLING - MARAN.
9 - SIDED CAUSING DIFFERENCES IN A PARTY - VIDWESHAN.
10 - SIDED WORSHIPPING THE FORE FATHERS.
11 - SIDED TO APPROACH BRAHMA OR THE DEVAS.
12 - SIDED TO ATTAIN THE DARSHAN OF SRI HARI.
LOTUS FOR NOURISHMENT ( CHID IN THE WOMB ETC.).
HEART TO OBTAIN A VIRGIN - MOHAN / VASHI KARAN.
TRIANGULAR TO LAY UP TREASURE AND KILLING.
SEMI CIRCLE RUINATION OF AN ENEMY - UCHCHATAN.
ROUND TO ATTAIN PEACE - SHANTI.
KARMANAS - Activities mentioned in the Vedic literatures.
1/. SHANTI - PERFORMED WITHOUT DESIRE FOR FRUITIVE GAINS.
THAT FREE ONE FROM FEAR, ILLUSION, WORLDLY TROUBLE, DISEASE.
2/. ISTAMBHAN - STOPS THE MOVEMENTS OF AN ENEMY, OR ANY OBJECTS,
3/. MOHAN - MESMERISM / HYPNOTISM, USED TO ATTRACT A WOMAN , ANIMAL,ETC.
4/. UCHCHATAN - CREATES UNCERTAINTY, DOUBT, FEAR, DELLUSION, IN A PARTY.
5/. VASHI KARAN - MANTRA USED TO CONTROL SOMEONE.
6/. AKARSHAN - MANTRAS TO ATTRACT SOMEONE LIVING AT DISTANT PLACES.
7/. JRAMBHAN - TO CHANGE SOMEONES BEHAVIOURAL PATTERNS.
8/. MARAN - TO BRING ABOUT THE DEATH OF ANOTHER.
9/. VIDWESHAN - CREATES ANGER, HATRED, FIGHTING, JEALOUSY, DISAGEEMENTS, AN
OR AGRESSION IN TWO PARTIES.
10/. PUSHTI - TO INCREASE ONES OWN, OR ANOTHERS WEALTH, NAME, FAME,
GOODWILL, SOCIAL STATUS, OR POWER, PAUSTIKA.
11/. RASAYAN -TO MAKE POTIONS, AND MEDICINES IN THE TANTRIC METHODOLOGY.
12/. KAVACHAS - THE MAKING OF MYSTIC SHEILDS AND ARMOUR. SOMETIMES MADE
OF COMBINATIONS OF METALS, SILKEN THREADS, AND OTHER ITEMS.
13/. INDERJAL- TO DEAL WITH CORRUPT PRACTICES BY WORSHIPPING LORD INDRA.
14/. PATT - YANTRAS THAT ARE WRITTEN ON CLOTH AND ARE THEN WORN AT A
PRESCRIBED TIME TO ACHEIVE A SAID PURPOSE.
15/. LAPEN - VARIOUS KINDS OF TILAKS THAT ARE WORN TO GAIN SOMETHING.
16/. ANJAN - SPECIAL CORRILIUM PLACED ON THE EYES, AFTER PURIFYING THEM.
17/. PICHCHHAK- THIS IS THE PROCESS OF EXORCISM FOR VARIOUS PURPOSES.
THIS INCLUDES DISEASES. SOME OF THE METHODS INCLUDE GIVING A PUFF,
BLOWING ON A VICTIM, SPRINKLING WATER, TO PUT ASH ON THE BODY.
18/. FIXING NAILS - TO PROTECT FROM BEING TEASED BY PREETS.
DIRECTIONS OF KUNDAS.
NORTH - GENERAL
NORTH EAST - FOR PERFECTION (SIDDHI).
EAST - FOR RESTRAINING ENEMIES.
SOUTH - PEACE.
SOUTH WEST - DESTRUCTION OF ENEMIES, AND FOR MAGIC.
WEST - REMOVAL OF OBSTACLES, AND PREVENTION OF UNTIMELY DEATH.
EAST SHANTI - NAME AND FAME.
SOUTH EAST SHANTI - PEACE AND PROSPERITY.
SOUTH MARAN - DEATH.
SOUTH WEST UCHCHATAN KARMA - CAUSING TO FIGHT.
WEST PUSHTI - WEALTH.
NORTH WEST ISTAMBAN - PARALYZING.
NORTH SHANTI - SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
NORTH EAST MOHAN - ATTRACTION.
The measurements of the kunda and other items of the sacrifice are determined by the body of the performer of the sacrifice, or the person on whose behalf a priest is performing the sacrifice (the yajamana). The following are some common measurement terms:
hasta: the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger
aratni: distance from the elbow to the tip of the little finger
pradesa: distance from the tip of the thumb to tip of the outstreched forefinger
angula: breadth of the base of the thumb
musti: size of the fist.
In more matriarchial circles it is identified that the form of the kund, vedi, or sthandila is actually like a female entity laying on her back, and she receives the offering seated in her mid region (womb) through the entrance or yoni. Thus generally there is the mark of, or symbol of yoni placed in front of the offering hotri/priest through which he (the sadhaka) approaches the the shaktiman (object of focus or worship - Vishnu) through the shakti (energy).
One should use wood from trees such as mango, banyan, vilva, sami, palasa, balkula, pippal, and champaka. One should not use wet wood, wood produced in a dirty place or wood contaminated by impure items, wood eaten by worms, wood with sour sap or with thorns. The wood should be cut to the size of the kunda and to pradesa lengths (the span of a man's tip of thumb to tip of longest finger - about eight inches).
DRAVYA and the EFFECT sought. There are numerous dravyas that are offered into the fire. Some are mentioned here, some are more symbolic than tantric and are not. For example bananas are often offered into the fire, which are said to represent sacrifice of one's self. The skin representing our skin, the inside representing us, the soul. Also as they are a valued food and usually available in quantity they also represent wealth. Red flowers such as the Hibiscus are a symbolic representation or substitute for flesh, which is never offered into the fire. Other things are mentioned below:
MILK PURITY OR A SON
LOTUS STALKS LONGEVITY
GHEE HEALTHY OFFSPRING
WHITE LOTUSES SPIRITUAL WEALTH
RED LOTUSES MATERIAL PROSPERITY
LOTUS+BILVA TWIGS KNOWLEDGE
COW DUNG INCREASE IN COWS
PUFFED RICE ALL DESIRES
LEMON FLOWERS GOLD
SESAME SEEDS PEACE AND POPULARITY
LOTUS SEEDS WEALTH
BARLEY FULFILLMENT OF SENSUAL DESIRES
Amount of dravyas:--
All fruits and flowers are offered unbroken.
Sesame seeds are offered between the two middle fingers and the thumb, mrga mudra.
Payasam, milk, curds, the measure of an oyster shell.
Cooked rice - caru, half a mouth full.
Raw grains, one handfull.
Lala and sali, the amount on the tips of fingers.
Roots and tubers, cut into thirds.
Guggulam, pieces the size of a plum.
Durva, pradesh lenghts (4 - 8 inches ), and pinjalis, two pieces bound by a third.
Source of Fire:
The fire used in the kunda may come from a brahmana's house, or may be generated by striking stones or by using the arani. The fire may be placed on a bell metal or an pure plate; small pieces of wood and camphor should be added and the fire should then be placed in the kunda.
Limbs of the Fire:
While the fire itself is said to represent Vishnu, through His priestly ambassador Agni. It is said the wood is/are the ears of the fire; the smoke is/are the nostrils; the meager flames are the eyes; the coals are His head; the full flames are His tongue. Therefore shastra highly recommends that one should make offerings to the tongue of the fire. That means one should offer oblations into a fully blazing fire.
Names of the Fire:
During the kusandika rites for different samskaras different forms of the Lord are called into the fire:
caturthi homa: sikhi
sosyanti homa: mangala
nama karana: parthiva
pausti karma; balada
anna prasana: suci
cuda karana: satya
dhrti homa: dhrti
udicya karma: vidhu
There are also sacrifies and specific fires for garbhadhana and jata karma but homa for these rites are not described in Sat Kriya Sara Dipika.
Mantras - incantations:
In vaidika ceremonies, and in daily activities of the followers of the vedas, every act is sanctified by a vedic mantra, which is found in vedic hymns or the ceremonial manuals attached to them. Some of the mantras have a direct meaning with a direct significance for the actions in the samskaras, while others are selected simply on the basis of a word in the mantra which corresponds to the object or action in question, in which case the meaning in the original oontext may be altered to fit the situation.
Families traditionally perform the samskaras and pujas according to one of the vedas: rg, yajur or sama, their Veda saka. The general procedures of the samskasras are similar but the mantras differ with whatever veda is adopted. The Sat Kriya Sara Dipika follows the mantras used in the Gobhila Grhya Sutra, which belongs to the sama veda. The adhivasa mantras belong to the yajur veda however. Genrally whatever mantras are to be used will be announced prior to their use, i.e. Purusha sukta - Krishna yajurved.
With some mantras they have been
locked - sealed by the rishi and thus need to have samput performed to
unlock them first prior to use. Once one has unlocked then it may require
further recitation of the mantra to perfect its chanting prior to use.
In the case of the wedding, the groom; in the case of other samskaras concerning the wife, the husband: and in the case of those concerning the child, the father, should perform the rites. However if he is unable to do this, he may invite a vaishnava brahmana priest or purohit (like our humble selves) to perform or guide the rites on his behalf. The father or husband is then called the yajumana (beneficiary or sponsor). In a larger or instiutional environment he may be called the pratiprathastri - or one who requires the services performed.
Kusandika and Udicya Karma:
Kusandika rites are the preparatory activities and Udicya Karma includes all of the concluding activities of the homa. As they are the same for all samskara homas (except for the name of the fire) they are writeen out once only.
Danam - the giving of sacrificial charity:
After the ceremony is finished according to Vedic ritual the brahamans must be satisfied by gifts and prasadam.
"In all the different occasions of samskaras, especially during the time of birth, marriage and death, wealth is distributed to the brahmanas because the brahmanas give the highest quality of service in regard to the prime necessity of human kind."(Srimad Bhagavatam 1:12:14.)
"According to the Vedic system, after the sacrificial ceremony the brahmanas are invited to eat the remnants of the offered food. When the brahmanas eat the food, it is to be considered directly eaten by the Supreme Lord. Thus no one can be compared to qualified brahmanas."( Srimad Bhagavatam 5:5:23.)
Thus praying we offer lamps to the Lord of all sacrifice with the following prayer.
esha dipa (lamps) om yajnesvaraya yajna sambhavaya yajna pataye govindaya namo namah samarpayami
The origins of such candle burning
are lost in the mists of antiquity. There are records of the practice in
every ancient civilisation. Before candles themselves were "invented" primitive
or aboriginal, indigenous men lit fires for protection, comfort and warmth.
Formerly flames were offered in Indian temples that were made of kusha
grass soaked in ghee (clarified butter). The controlled flame is a pleasing,
soothing sight, be it primitive man's bonfires or the small flames of a
modern gas appliance. Controlled fire strikes a deep cord within us because
the fire element itself has always symbolised warm emotional, brightness,
newness, joy. If a simple flame can wield such a potent psychological/magical
effect on us on an unconscious level, think what it could do for us when
we consciously control its effects as in these rites. Consciously controlled
it is not only soothing and inspiring, but something much greater. This
we shall presently see.
Such reverance is given to the flame in the sanskrit language of India, that the following caution is added:
dattva dipo na hartavyas tena karmavijanata
nirvapanam ca dipasya himsanam ca vigarhitam
yah kuryad dhimsanam tena karmana puspiteksanah
dipaharta bhaved andhah kano nirvana krd bhavet
"After having offered a lamp to the deity one should not take it away, should not extinguish it, nor let it die from lack of ghee. One who lets the ghee exhaust itself will be afflicted with eye disease, one who takes away a lamp will become blind and one who extinghuishes the lamp will become blind in one eye."( Visnu Dharmottara )
Such is the emphasis on its sacridity, and purificatory potency, that it not be wasted or neglected.
Such rituals even in this age
are for everyone:
From time immemorial priests, saints, occultists and soothsayers, have burnt candles and lamps to make wishes come true. Burning candles for this purpose is a cornerstone of practice in both religious establishments such as the Catholic, Greek and Russian churches, and the "dis-established" religions of witchcraft and paganism. Ironically, Roman Catholics and Pagan/Witchcraft/Tantrik religious practices in general originate from the same sources. Ironically much of what they criticise their opponent for they themselves do in similar ritualistic symbology. This, in fact, is one of the major points of criticism by opponents of both Catholicism and Witchcraft. Whilst most Roman Catholics throw their hands up in horror at even the remotest suggestion that their church is founded on "Paganism", "anti-Catholics"(i.e. Protestant extremists) can point, quite rightly, to a long list of similar belies and practices of Roman Catholicism to those of Paganism/Witchcraft. All of which is extremely odd and paradoxical indeed when one considers the Catholic Church's notorious history of the persecution and butchery of witches !
Because this outline is written
for everyone who is a Jiva soul (and that's all of us), and being sympathetic
to occult philosophies should not make the reader alienated from its instruction
and purpose. Those of traditional religious persuasion (be you Hindu, Christian
Buddhist or Moslem, etc.) are not being asked to compromise their beliefs.
Enrich their beliefs perhaps yes, but not to compromise them.
Critics of Christian churches that endorse candle burning, and the use of fire say that the pagan peoples of the ancient world also did the same thing: paganism and sorcery go hand in hand, these critics say, and are therefore "of the Devil". Anything that steps outside of these critics rigid interpretation is under "the sway of Satan". Hence the rather strange and quite widespread belief that innocuous practices such as fortune telling, reading the stars, are considered "evil". Of course, the Catholic church doesn't endorse fortune telling or astrology, but its many ritualistic practices and beliefs in a hierarchy of saints and angels, resembles closely the paganistic religious structure of the pre-Christian era.
In this day since the stamping out of the Wtchcraft act many activites that were formerly used prior to Christianity, and by many of the Christian monks and priests before they threw out the baby with the bath water in a quest to control through the church, are now coming back. I have personally seen Nuns who practice Astrology, as did Saint Augustine, and incorporate their science into their lifestyle and beliefs, making them more wholistic than ever. Alchemists too are again accepted, and many naturpaths and Reiki healers have adopted functionary healing practices from them.
Modern day Hinduism like Paganism and Witchcraft, on the other hand, are undesirably closely linked and are often one and the same thing. The deities and rituals of modern day witchcraft are very close in kind to the religious cults that preceded Christianity. Thus bringing the truth home, that Christianity is but one way, in the the many mansions of our Father's house, but one path to approach the Lord, although we all accept that, there is only one way, and one light - God. Yet depending on where He appeared and at what time and place He gave slightly different instructions for the residents thereof, knowing their psychophysio make up
The fact is that the desire to burn "candles" to fulfil wishes is a universal need that crosses all religious barriers, not counting extremist sects, of course. Candle and lamp burning is magic in its simplest form. Light a candle and make a wish and you will see for yourself.
In this web-page I trust that you will discover the private and personal joy of expressing wishes in this way. Whatever your problem or desire, or if you have no desire, you will find immediate consolation when you light a candle and offer it to the Lord.
The Modus Operandi Of Candle Burning and Lamp Offering.
Whilst candle burning exerts an undeniable psychological effect, its magical effect is often much greater. By the term "magical" we mean the occurrence of phenomena and events that have no "rational" or "logical" explanation. Candles/flames when burnt on a regular basis and with a definite objective in mind, become not only instruments of psychological and emotional comfort, but also powerful aids to near magical manifestation.
We are speaking here of magical manifestations on a practical, mundane level; not the magical phenomena of spirit appearances, etc. Rather we are referring to the solution of insoluble problems, the attainment of ambitious goals, the fulfilment of wishes - all of which is "magical" if materialisation of these things cannot be achieved in the normal course of personal endeavour and application.
To achieve such magical answers to personal wishes and problems it is necessary for one to adhere to certain essential requirements, sadhana. A haphazard programme of "burning the occasional candle" with no real objective in mind will not achieve much. Candle / lamp burning should be a serious and calculated business.
The modus operandi of successful candle burning is based on three fundamental precepts:
(i) The candle burner should know exactly and precisely what he wants to achieve in the offering.
(ii) The candle, being pure in nature, purified by mantra, and thus impressed by the devotee's desire, becomes a receptacle of the attainment of that desire.
(iii) The gradual conversion of the candle / flame into the element of fire is symbolically an alchemical transference from matter to spirit.
The sadhaka's desire, in effect, is transmitted from his or her own consciousness into or toward the Supreme consciousness (Supreme spirit, Universal consciousness, God) via the medium of the candle. Much in the same way that the mouse or keyboard on a computer allows us access to the database found on the hidden hard drive.
The mood in which it is offered, the devotion with which everything is prepared is felt and appreciated by the Supreme sentient being, and thus reciprical effects are returned. The candle, flame, lame or fire is therefore your link through ritualisitc performance (tantra) with the Universal Lord Who is the source of all knowledge, all satisfaction, happiness and all "miracles" that we seek.
We shall now proceed to see how to use this transcendentally scientific "alchemical process" to its best effect.
But first you need to contact me so that we can see what it is that you would like to do. After all we cannot begin something as powerful as this with no, or only vague directive in mind.
Your mind should also be firmly fixed on the purpose for which you want to perform sacrifice, if your mind is on something else the chances of obtaining success from your endeavours are considerably reduced. Furthermore such inattentiveness is paramount to offensiveness, and thus if one intends to perform sacrifice as it is strongly suggested we do, then we need to do it properly, with attention.
"Activity or work(s) done as a sacrifice
for Viñëu has to be performed,
otherwise work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son
of Kunté, perform your prescribed
duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain free
from bondage."(Bhagavad Gita 3:9.)
-- HARI OM
AGNI MILE PUROHITAM
YAJNASYA DEVAM RITVIJAM
HOTARAN RATNADATAMAN HARIH OM
"I invoke Agni as the domestic priest, God of sacrifice, ministrant, invoker, best bestower of all treasures." (Rk Veda invocation)
YAJUR VEDA -- HARI OM
ISE TWORJE TWA VAYA VASTAM
PAYA VASTA DEVO VAH SAVITA
PAPAYATU SRESTHATAMAYA KARMANE HARIH OM
"For food are thee, for strength thee, ye are the winds, let the God Savitar (the fire of the Sun) impel you to the most excellent offerings." (Vajasaneyi samhita opening verse)
SAMA VEDA -- HARI OM
OM AGNAI AYAHI VOI TOI AYAA
TOIAYA GRINANHO VYADATOIAYA TOIYA
NI HO HA TA SA SAI BAA HO VA HI SHI HARIH OM
"Oh Agni, come to the banquet, after being extolled, come to the gift of offerings, sit down invoker of Vishnu, take your seat on this standila hearth." (Gramageyagana 'Ganapat' 1-1-3., Rk 6-16-10.)
ARTHAVA VEDA -- HARI OM
SANNO DEVI RABHISTASYA
APO BHAVANTU PITAYE
SAYOR ABHIS SRAVANTU NAH HARIH OM
"All sacrificial performances also are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Viñëu. The Vedas enjoin: yajïo vai viñëuù. In other words, the same purpose is served whether one performs prescribed yajïas or directly serves Lord Viñëu. Kåñëa consciousness is therefore performance of yajïa as it is prescribed in this verse. The varëäçrama institution also aims at satisfying Lord Viñëu. Varëäçramäcäravatä puruñeëa paraù pumän/ viñëur ärädhyate (Viñëu Puräëa 3.8.8).
Therefore one has to work for the satisfaction of Viñëu. Any other work done in this material world will be a cause of bondage, for both good and evil work have their reactions, and any reaction binds the performer".(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhagavad Gita 3:9. purport.)
When these six suddhis (purificatory elements) are perfected, one can offer the external articles (the candles, flames, or worship into the fire, or reneder service to the icon) of worship and attain success. The worship may be divided as follows:
1. basic physical purification
of place, articles and body, before the puja proper;
2. subtle purification of these elements and spiritualization of body and mind as the first step in worship,
called purvanga karmani;
3. preliminary worship, such as guru puja, honouring our mentors;
4. worship of the murti/Lord in the mind;
5. worship using the external articles;
6. concluding activities to enforce the idea of full surrender to the Lord before us as the Deity;
7. activities of the day which are favorable for the development of devotion to the Lord, ie all types of devotional service.
Most occultists feel that the burning
of incense with candles is a must. This is based on the old belief that
the fumes of incense going up into the air act as a "message carrier of
one's petition or desire" to the gods. The aroma of incense is also a good
aid to concentration and gives an added "lift" to the vibration and tone
of the ritual. However, we do not believe that incense is indispensible
to occult work, certainly not to these kind of rituals. It is worth bearing
in mind that the smoke from incense, and especially smoke from fires/yajnas
inddors leads to inevitable rapid staining of the ceiling a point which
may deter the house-proud reader. For those who wish to try incense it
is first necessary to purchase a censer (for cholding the incense). For
the adventurous, you can make your own holder by taking a clean recepticle/bowl
and place some uncooked rice in it.
There are a wide range of incenses available, in cone and stick shape and our advice about about choice is simply to buy that which appeals to you. Most incenses are either Indian or Chinese origin. The former is usually preferable to the latter as the Chinese usually tends to be too sweet and over scented. Specially prepared incense for ritual work are available from occult supply houses. These are said to be more potent because they are made specifically with the occult/witchcraft and ritualism in mind. We think their importance is exaggerated and purchasing some can be risky because some of the occult supply houses are invariably unreliable, are here today and gone tommorrow, and slow to deliver. "Ordinary" incense itself can be purchased at almost any department store.
I would recommend the incense that is being advertised at the following link by my friend Buddhi or by another friend Giriroop'. These both stock a good quality incense and sell them for a reasonable price.
The really important thing in candle
burning/arati, and fire sacrifices is the magical act of transfering your
desire from your consciousness to the Supreme Consciousness via the offering
of the rite. The candle acts as a "medium" between your will and its fulfilemnt,
carried by the priest/sadhaka/yajuman as a connecting link between your
lesser consciousness and Greater Consciousness. That you understand this
and treat the matter sincerely and with faith is what truly counts; all
the other matters are details to help you on your way, but do not constitute
the difference between success and failure. So long as you believe that
the ritual will do the job for you, you will succeed. Having the right
coloured candles, and speaking the spells/mantras/incantations correctly,
on the correct days/during the proper muhurtha, will not work for you if
your belief and understanding is lacking.
"As for the various fruitive results, such as the attainment of rain, a son, or residing in a celestial material planet, that are offered to the followers of the karma-kanda rituals in the Vedas. These benefits are offered to attract the minds of ordinary men. When ordinary men see that these material benefits are actually attained by performing Vedic rituals, they become attracted to study the Vedas. By studying the Vedas they become able to discriminate between what is temporary and what is eternal. In this way they gradually become averse to the temporary things of this world and they come to hanker after Brahman. In this way it may be understood that all the parts of the Vedas describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Vedic rituals bring material benefits as a result only when the performer of the ritual is filled with material desire. If the performer is materially desireless, then he does not gain a material result, but rather the result he obtains is purification of the heart and the manifestation of spiritual knowledge. Therefore the meaning of the verse 'tam etam vedanuvacanena brahman vividisanti', 'brahmanas study the Veda to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead'(Brhad Aranyaka Upanishad 4:4:22.) is that in the Vedic rituals when one is required to worship a particular deva, one does so as a limb or representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus by worshipping them one is actually worshiping the Supreme Lord, the result being that one gradually becomes pure in heart and awake with spiritual knowledge."(Baladev Vidyabhushana. Govinda Bhasya commentary on Vedanta Sutra 1:4:4. Adhkarana sutra 4.)
Most people accept that it is necessary to abstain from food, especially non-vegetarian foods, and grains and/or sex before performing an occult ritual. This is generally the case in the execution of what is called "High Magic", and it is certainly recommended to maintain our focus. It is not advisable, however, to do a ritual soon after a heavy meal or immediately after sex. In fact in the scriptures there are rules/guidlines which forbid such activities, for neither the mind, nor the body will be at peace or union, being still engulfed in their prior activites, and the results thereof.
The wearing of special apparel such as robes (Dhoti, Vesthi, etc) and so on, is also not required. Some suggest that your normal clothing is perfectly in order providing it is not tight fitting. Tight garments hinder psychic flow. However, I would suggest that it is nice if you can have some special clothing that are of a light colour (invoking and symbolising purity, spirituality - such as white, yellow, lilac/light purple).
Finally, we should remind you that these rituals should not be performed for fun or amusement. It should only be performed for real needs and desires. Doing a ritual "just for kicks" or "just to see what happens" will prove totally fruitless. Those who treat these rites irreverently, or any form of spiritual or occult operation, will gain nothing at best. The subject should be approached seriously and with a real spirit of belief. Do not speak the spells/mantras like a zombie: say the words with feeling, emotion and drama. Strong emotions gives irresistible power to the ritual. Candle burning, and the performance of fire yajnas works. Try it and see.
When a person is nearing death it is recommended that the person give a gift of a decorated cow (vaitarani) to a brahmana to ensure his safe passage over the river of death. If a cow is unavailable he should give an equivalent sum of money. Gifts of iron pots, salt, land, grain, ghee and laddu are also recommended. Mahabharata recommends that Visnu Sahasra Nama be recited at this time. It is customary that the dying person should hear the names of the Lord. The legitimate claimant to the last rites may whisper the karna mantra starting with "ayusah" in his ear (a vedic mantra). Lamps may also be lit. Some people place Tulasi prasadam and caranamrta or Ganga water in the person's mouth.
When it is confirmed that the soul has passed from the body, the body may be shaved (optional), bathed and clothed in clean, preferably new cloth or silk, and placed on a mat on the floor. According to some traditions, new cloth should be obtained, washed, and while still wet placed on the body. If the deceased is an old man, he should be clothed in white; middle aged men wear red, and young men and women wear colored cloth. Widows wear white, black or blue. The face may remain uncovered at this time while family members pay their last respects. Tilak should be applied.
Then a frame made of udumbara wood, (Ficus Glomerata), a cot or carriage should be supplied to carry the body. The body should be placed upon it, with the face covered. The eyes should be closed, limbs straightened, and the big toes and thumbs should be tied together with string. The body should pass out of the house feet first.
Since cremation should not take place after dark, if the person dies during the daylight hours, preparations should be hastily made so that the burning will take place before sunset. Otherwise the body should be taken after sunrise the next day. The body should be burned before decomposition sets in.
One man sprinkling water, followed by a man with a pot of fire should lead the procession. The body should be follow next, and neither the fire nor the body should be dropped along the way. No one should walk between the fire and the body, or walk along side the body. Behind the body the family should follow, the elders first, women and children last. The bearers of the body should be bathed, shoeless and without upper cloth on their bodies. The members of the procession should also be without upper cloth, and hair should be unbound.
The place for cremation should be
a clean place, on a river bank, a mountain or a forest.
When the procession arrives at the site, they should take bath, they should bathe the body and place it upon kusa with the head facing south. Ghee should be smeared over the body, and again it should be bathed, while saying the prescribed sacred prayers of antyesti kriyah.