Nru Yajna (नृयज्ञः)

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Nru Yajna (Samskrit: नृयज्ञः), also called as Manushya Yajna (मनुष्ययज्ञः) is one of the Panchamahayajnas (पञ्चमहायज्ञ-s | five great sacrifices) prescribed for the Grhasthashramis (गृहस्थाश्रमी-s | householders).

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

It is said that,

नृयज्ञोऽतिथिपूजनम् | nr̥yajño'tithipūjanam । (Manu. Smrt. 3.70)[1]

Meaning : The honouring of Guests is ‘offering to men’ (Nru Yajna).[2]

It refers to respectful reception of brahmanas[3] - ब्राह्म्यं हुतं द्विजाग्र्यार्चा | brāhmyaṁ hutaṁ dvijāgryārcāis |[1] Hence, it is also called Brahmya-huta. (Manu. Smrt. 3.74)

नृयज्ञकर्माणि ॥ Constituents of Nru Yajna

According to Manusmrti,

  1. Bhikshadana (भिक्षादानम् | Giving alms)
  2. Atithi satkara (अतिथिसत्कारः | Taking care of guests)

are the two most important components of Nru Yajna.

अतिथिसत्कारः ॥ Offering hospitality to guests

Amongst atithi satkara and bhikshadana, atithi satkara (अतिथिसत्कारः | taking care of guests) takes precedence. It is said,

कृत्वैतद्बलिकर्मैवं अतिथिं पूर्वं आशयेत् । भिक्षां च भिक्षवे दद्याद्विधिवद्ब्रह्मचारिणे । । ३.९४ । ।[1]

kr̥tvaitadbalikarmaivaṁ atithiṁ pūrvaṁ āśayet । bhikṣāṁ ca bhikṣave dadyādvidhivadbrahmacāriṇe । । 3.94 । ।

Meaning: After having performed the Bali offering (Bhuta Yajna), one should first honour guests and then give alms to an ascetic and a student according to the prescribed rules. (Manu. Smrt. 3.94)[3]

Manusmrti also discusses in detail about

  • Who is considered a guest ? Who is entitled to hospitality ?
  • What are the things to be offered to a guest ?
  • The Principles of hospitality, etc.

And among the offerings, it is Annadana (अन्नदानम् | offering of food to the hungry) that is held in high regard in the Indian culture. It is said that,

विद्यातपःसमृद्धेषु हुतं विप्रमुखाग्निषु । निस्तारयति दुर्गाच्च महतश्चैव किल्बिषात् । । ३.९८ । ।[1]

vidyātapaḥsamr̥ddheṣu hutaṁ vipramukhāgniṣu । nistārayati durgācca mahataścaiva kilbiṣāt । । 3.98 । ।

Meaning: An offering of food given to the fire in the form a Brahmana's mouth (vipra mukhagni), who is endowed with learning and austerities, saves one from great difficulties and papa (पापम्). (Manu. Smrt. 3.98)[3]

भिक्षादानम् ॥ Giving Alms

Manusmrti says, respecting a brahmana well versed in the vedas, one should give alms or a vessel of water as per the prescribed rule.[3]

भिक्षां अप्युदपात्रं वा सत्कृत्य विधिपूर्वकम् । वेदतत्त्वार्थविदुषे ब्राह्मणायोपपादयेत् । । ३.९६ । ।[1]

bhikṣāṁ apyudapātraṁ vā satkr̥tya vidhipūrvakam । vedatattvārthaviduṣe brāhmaṇāyopapādayet । । 3.96 । ।

भिक्षादानफलम् ॥ Fruit of giving alms

According to Manusmrti, giving alms to an ascetic or a brahmachari as mentioned above, bears the same fruit as that obtained by offering a cow as guru dakshina to a teacher.[3]

यत्पुण्यफलं आप्नोति गां दत्त्वा विधिवद्गुरोः । तत्पुण्यफलं आप्नोति भिक्षां दत्त्वा द्विजो गृही । । ३.९५ । ।[1]

yatpuṇyaphalaṁ āpnoti gāṁ dattvā vidhivadguroḥ । tatpuṇyaphalaṁ āpnoti bhikṣāṁ dattvā dvijo gr̥hī । । 3.95 । ।

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Manusmrti, Adhyaya 3
  2. Ganganath Jha (1920-39), Manusmrti (Vol.4), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Pt. Girija Prasad Dvivedi (1917), The Manusmriti, Lucknow: Naval Kishore Press.