A cyberspace cadet in North Carolina asks about having a priest in India perform a fire ceremony on his behalf. Gurdeva says it is important that he be there for the ceremony and that that he choose the right priest. Another question from a blind devotee in India. He says that people shun the blind because they feel it is an affliction from sins committed in a past life. Gurudeva says that this superstition should be broken down and in Sanatana Dharma we do not hurt one another and that we help everyone.
A cyberspace devotee in North Carolina asks, "What about performing yagna, a fire ceremony, in India by writing to a priest and paying him and having him perform it for you?"
To smooth out his karmas in the future, the individual himself must do a certain amount of prayaschitta or penance during the yagna and should be physically present during the ceremony.
It is the responsibility of the individual who wishes to benefit himself by the yagna, who wishes to perform a prayaschitta or penance during the yagna, to choose the priest carefully. Look into the background of the priest, how he lives his life at home, how he conducts himself, whether he is an angry person or not. Angry priests bring up the asuric forces and therefore will complicate your life in the future, not smooth it out.
There are over a thousand temples in the United States and many fine priests. No need to go elsewhere for a yagna or a puja.
A cyberspace question from India, from a blind person who writes in braille, translated by Damara Shanmuga into English. The question is - "There is much superstition about the blind in India. People think that it is an affliction due to sins in a past life and therefore shun the blind, will not help them. Do you have any wisdom, Gurudeva, on the subject?"
Blind people see a different way than through the eyes. They see through feeling. Their senses become very intense, very supremely acute and sensitive to smell, to hearing, to feeling.
Definitely, it is something from a past life, but everyone has some affliction from a past life. That is why they are born in this life. Therefore, if you shun the blind, you should shun everybody else also and be consistent.
In Sanatana Dharma, one does not hurt another physically, mentally or emotionally. One helps everyone. Where these negative superstitions came from, doesn't matter. They should be broken down, and should go away through an intelligent approach, through the basic principle of our religion - ahimsa, non-hurtfulness.