Why This Path?
Reaching Self Realization is like, climbing mount Everest, where Karma, Dnyan, Raj, Bhakti, etc, are some of the paths one can take. Similar to climbing Mount Everest, one needs to first reach the “Base Camp” to start using these paths. Reaching Base Camp of Self-Realization, one needs to build conviction along with mental/physical strength. This is not easy.
Majority of the people in this world don’t even know what is the goal of life, and what they should do, leave out trying to reach to base camp of self realization. Under the influence of past life’s karma, they are busy in finding happiness in various material possessions and experiences. “What about them?” was the biggest question, in-front of Ved Vyasa, after he completed reclassification of Vedas. “How will I enable them to make progress on spiritual path”, he thought and came up with the idea of Puranas. The main issue with the shruti literature, which introduces these path of self-realization, is that they are very intellectual. It’s difficult for a common man to get interested in reading and understanding them. In order to help these common people, Ved Vyas created puranas which are like stories, that can easily interest reader, and while doing that, would give message enabling them to make spiritual progress.
But, Ved Vyasa found out that, just giving story like presentation is not enough, as people will read is once and forget and never some back. Then he thought of making it in such a way that people will come back to it again and again, and that way they have a higher chance of understanding spiritual message these stories are trying to convey. This is where the concept of various vratas was introduced in these Puranas. These vratas have power to give people material things they wanted along with giving spiritual message. As people are interested in material benefit, they will do this vratas again and again, and each time they will be exposed to these spiritual messages, which will slowly enable them to make progress on spiritual path.
Pouranik Path – What It Involves :
Given that, most of the people fall into the category of not knowing the goal of life, Pouranik path is the most commonly followed path in Hinduism. Unlike other paths, goal of this path is not to reach self realization, but instead, prepare follower for the journey.
Pouranic involves, one or many of below:
- Reading of Puranas, stories, strotras etc.
- Doing Vratas like Satyanarayana puja, Laxmi Vrata etc.
- Doing naam-jaap for various gods
- Fasting and Anna-Daan for various occasions
- Visiting various religious places
- plus many many things mentioned in various Puranas
Please note there are 18 Puranas, which cover stories of various gods, deities, places etc. Depending upon what a person like he/she can choose an ista devata and start doing one or more of things from the above list.
Dangers/Obstacles in This Path:
Most common danger/onstacle on this path, is getting stuck on the material benefits or with the ritual of vratas and stories. Many families build traditions around these vratas and people starts considering these traditions, as more important than vrata, story or meaning behind it iteslf. They never can get past it. There is an individual effort required to look beyond traditions, and understand real meaning of the vratas/stories and get onto making progress on the path of self realization.