Meaning- At the time of re-genesis after Pralay, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh appear and decide about Shruti (Veda), Smriti (religious text) and moral conduct.Kalp is regarded as a single night of Brahma. As the night changes, similarly, Yuga also changes. Therefore, religious norms are also subject to change.
Meaning- In Satya Yuga, a human being would be defiled just by conversing with the sinner. In Treta, a mere touch of sinner was enough to defile a man. In Dwapar, eating the cereals given a sinner defiled a man. But in Kali Yuga, man is subject to sins by his deeds alone. Thus, a curse used to realize in an instant now takes a year to show its effect.
CONDUCT SUITABLE FOR A CLASS
Conduct as per the class increases in the religion for that class. A person engaged in the conducts as per his religion is never at fault. But in Kali Yuga, irreligion is more powerful than the religion. Hence it is even more necessary today than ever to abide by the path of religion.
VIPRAKARMA (Conduct of Brahmin):
SANDHYAA SNAANAM JAPO HOMO DEVTAANAAM CHA PUJANAM ||
AATHITYAM VAISHVADEVAM CHA SHATKARMAANI DINE DINE ||
Meaning- Six routine tasks like three times bath, prayer at dawn and dusk, recitation, Homa (offerings to sacred fire), worship of deity, treatment of guests and offering sacrifices for the deceased ancestors are mandatory for a Brahmin daily. Through these actions, a Brahmin gets free from the sin he commits unknowingly.
A guest arriving at the end of these daily routine tasks is a means to provide a place in heaven. Hence, such a guest deserves respect no matter whether he is a friend or a foe, a fool or a savant. A cordial welcome should also be extended to such a guest like the ones already present. Even the guest arriving after dining is over should be welcomed with honour. Such a pious conduct of a householder today ensures his right to a place in heaven. A guest should not be asked to reveal his caste and creed for it indents the religion. Smriti also tells that a guest should never be insulted nor should one let a guest go dejected because then the deceased ancestors of the host starve for fifteen years.
ALMS AND DONATIONS
Recitation of God's name and making donations and giving away alms constitute religion in Kali Yuga. Donation is the only intact support of religion today. Hence, it is the moral duty of the common householders today that they should recite God's name and make donations within their powers. Character of donation has also changed completely today. Sage Parashar says:
Meaning- In Satya Yuga, the donor used to visit the home of the beggar to make donations. In Treta, the donor called the beggar to him, In Dwapar, the donor made donations only when demanded but in Kali Yuga, donor demands service from the beggar before making donations.
But one should take care that the donation must be made for good deeds and to a deserving person only.
SUKSHETRE CHA SUPATRE CHA HYUPTAM DATTAM NA NASHYATI ||
Meaning- Sowing of seeds in a good fertile field and making donation to a deserving person never go futile.
Making donation is an easy and divine measure to ensure success of life in this world and in another. This dictate of sage Parashar is still being followed faithfully even today.
Giving Alms: Like other religious actions, there are certain evolved norms to give away alms. First of all, pour water on the palms of the ascetic and then give him alms. According to Parashar, alms given away in such way are as inexhaustible as the Mount Sumeru and the whole waters of the ocean.
If a beggar arrives when a Brahmin household is offering sacrifices for the solace of his deceased ancestors, the Brahmin must divide the cereals in two parts and should reserve one to make offerings and donate the other as alms to the beggar.
VAISHWADEVKRITAM PAAPAM SHAKTO BHIKSHURVYAPOHITUM ||
NA HI BHIKSHUKRITANDOSHAANVAISHVADEVO VYAPOHATI ||
Meaning- The sin committed unknowingly while offering sacrifices to the dead ancestors is done away with by the beggar. But, a crime committed against a beggar at such a moment is never done away with by the offering of sacrifices to the dead ancestors.
Offering Sacrifices to the dead ancestors: Offering sacrifices to the dead ancestors is one of the five great Yagyas. During this ritual, a Brahmin should make offerings to the sacred fire. Then, he should use the remaining cereals to offer to the dead ancestors and also to the animals and birds. If a Brahmin does not perform this ritual, he is bound to suffer severe torments in hell and take reincarnation as a crow.
Norms for Dining: A Brahmin should dedicate his food to God first. Then he should take it as a pious giving of God. While dining, a Brahmin should not cover his head, should not face the south and should not put his hand on the left leg. These are all deeds characteristic of demons.
CONDUCT OF KSHATRIYAS
For the people of Kshatriya caste (warrior class), sage Parashar says that they should wield the arms and preserve the subjects and punish the culprits to keep them within the religious path. Defeating the enemies and preserving the earth, which contains seven oceans and great mountains are also duties of the Kshatriya.
Meaning- One doesn't get wealth in legacy nor it is hidden in the jewels. Brave people win it with the power of their sword and enjoy it because this earth is enjoyable only by enthusiastic brave people.
Continuous vigilance is the price for complete independence. And one gets real pleasure only in independence. In Panchatantra, Vishnu Sharma writes-
UDDYAMEN HI SIDDHYANTI ||
KARYAANI NA MANORATHAIH ||
NA HI SUKTASYA SINHASYA ||
PRAVISHANTI MUKHE MRIGAH ||
Meaning- Only by making efforts, desires are fulfilled and not by thinking and thinking alone. Even, a deer doesn't enter the mouth of a sleeping lion though the lion is the king of beasts.
Preserving of his subjects is the greatest expiation for a king. A king is in fact the true servant of the people. Like the duties of a servant, duties of a king are also very difficult. Literally, being a king means being an ascetic. Country is the only friend of the king and his family as well. A king has to constitute a governing body for the preservation of his subjects. Kautilya says-
SAHAYA SAADHYAM RAAJATVAM ||
CHAKRAMEKAM NA VARTATE ||
Meaning- Governance is a combined process. It cannot run on a single wheel.
Sage Parashar dictates a king to realize a little bit of revenue from each of his subjects in order to meet the expenses of governance. Parashar also describes the glory of a warrior and an ascetic that both of them are able to benefit the country.
CONDUCT OF VAISHYA
Parashar says- LAABHKARMA TATHAA RATNAM ||
GAVAAM CHA PRATIPAALANAM ||
KRISHIKARMA CHA VAANIJYAM ||
Meaning- Economic give and take, sale and purchase of gems, rearing of cattle, agriculture and trade are the occupations of the Vaishya.
Sage Parashar regards agriculture as the prime profession of Kali Yuga. Such thinking is absent in other Smritis. Agriculture is stated to be a duty of the Brahmins also.
CONDUCT OF SHUDRAS
In the opinion of sage Parashar, the first and foremost duty of a Shudra is to serve the Brahmins. Faithful discharge of this duty guarantees success of a Shudra's life.
Meaning- Serving the Brahmins is the first duty of the Shudra. All the other actions of a Shudra other than this bear no fruit.Besides, serving the Brahmins, a Shudra may also carry out activities like selling salt and honey.
In the second chapter, Parashar Smriti describes the norms to be followed by the married people of all the four classes. Here again, agriculture has been given prominence.
Apart from the six routine tasks, a Brahmin must also supervise agricultural activities also.
SHATKARMNIRATO VIPRAHA ||
KRISHIKARMA CHA KAARYET ||
It seems that as if sage Parashar had an anticipation of the population explosion of Kali Yuga. Hence, he had put this responsibility as an extra burden on the Brahmins.
Sage Parashar states that agriculture is the excellent job for the people of all the four castes.
This chapter considers the purification of the people from the effects of birth and death occurring in the families.
Meaning- In the case of birth, Brahmin gets purified in ten days, a Kshatriya takes twelve days, a Vaishya in fifteen days and a Shudra takes one month to get purified.
Similarly, in the case of death, the same principle applies to all the four classes. Of course, in the case of death of distant relative, people may get purified in three days.
This chapter describes the expiation for the sins arising out of evil deeds. It regards suicide as an abhorrent crime. Even those who carry out the cremation of the person, who had committed suicide, have to expiate for their sin.
DUTIES OF A WOMAN
Regarding the duties of a woman, sage Parashar says that a woman, who doesn’t serve even her disabled husband faithfully, turns the family into a hell.
DARIDRAM VYAADHITAM MURKHAM ||
BHARTAARAM YAA NA MANYATE ||
SAA MRITAA JAYAATE VYAALI ||
VAIDHAVYANCHA PUNAH PUNAH ||
Meaning- A woman, who doesn’t regard her poor, diseased or ignorant husband, becomes a serpent after her death and faces widowhood again and again.
After her monthly periods, a woman must crave for intercourse only in the company of her husband.
RHITUSNAATAA TU YAA NAARI BHARTAARAM NOPASARPATI ||
SAA MRITAA NARKAM YAATI VIDHWAA CHA PUNAH PUNAH ||
Meaning- A woman, who does not dedicate herself after her periods to her husband, goes to hell after her death and faces widowhood in subsequent births.
DUTIES OF A HUSBAND
A husband, who does not accept the desire of his wife of having intercourse after her periods, commits a crime equal to killing an unborn child.Sage Parashar asserts that, killing an unborn child is more severe sin than killing a Brahmin. A sweet relation between the spouses is the key to a successful social life. Hence, they should help each other with dedication at the times of emergency. Husband should also respect his wife and behave accordingly even if she is a disabled person.
This chapter describes the sin related to biting by the animals and the ways to expiate this sin.
Meaning- If a dog bites a person during his fast, the person must observe continuous fast for three days and consume nothing except ghee and juices of the grass. When purified, he should complete his original fast. If a dog bites a woman, she may get purified instantly by sighting the moon.