We can understand all this by piercing through the "disguise" of words. Considerations of money play a part, but not the most important one; hence a reference to wealth should be properly weighted. It is a creative act, meant for great ends; and is different from the making of a cup or the boiling of milk. It is an act with an object, and is not prohibited.
The vulgar ones cause injury, and should be properly instructed. There is harm in indulgence; and indulgence can never be advised. As a pure act of sacrifice, it is permitted even in a state of dejection.
Perpetual restraint is advised only in the case of one who has lost everything. But there is a general lack of restraint resulting from traditional usage, when a man yields to desire, and does not listen to his soul. We do not understand the nature of the soul, and behave that its highest function is like that of the mind. But the soul is different, and we can understand it in various ways; as that which causes all the faculties of man to act; we can know its existence because of memory; again it is a law that the fruit of action is meant for someone else, and that someone is the soul; it is the fourth to complete the idea of action; and it is that for whose sake there is the offering of the monthly sraddha to the deceased.
How to understand the text: Silent prayers, disinterested, because unconnected with any action and words of blessing and praise, should bring about the union of those who are engaged in sacrifice or good and intelligent deeds, for there is a separate benediction in respect of them. We see, however, that the act of union is common enough. But in the sacrificial texts and verses recited to invoke the gods, we should hesitate to come to the conclusion that this is their subject-matter, because they deal with all kinds of laws of Nature. We can, however, understand their idea by piercing through the "disguise" of words.
Reference to money: In the reference to acts of buying, we should doubt if that is the one meaning; though the union may at first result from a sum of money; and this kind of it can be seen. A pure act, however, arises from the importance of the act itself; and so where calculations of money are involved, we should doubt if the reference is to this, because it would be contrary to the teachings of the sacred books. But wealth can make a change for the worse. As has already been stated, it should be an act performed for its own sake; and so we should refrain from doubting its power, because it is so important. But money too can bring about a union, and is paid in consideration for the completion of the act. But every animal, in spite of its difference of action, acts in accordance with its nature.
A creative act: We cannot say that the making of a cup or a tortoise-shell is of the same kind as this act, for the latter is meant for higher ends; and we know this from actual results. The case with regard to boiled milk is the same as has already been stated (that is, it is not like this act).
An action with a purpose: Even if a person hesitates because there is a purpose in the act, it should still be done because of the importance of the obligation or the law. With regard to the rest (that is, where there is no hesitation), the act is commonly performed because of the result associated with it; and it is because of this that there will always be some act which will be full of purpose.
The place: The optional and obligatory union takes place in a particular part of the upper leg; and because of a charming appearance, it results in an intimate bond. In the case of the vulgar or the uninitiated, it may be in a wrong place and in answer to a natural urge; and then there is an injury, the reason for which has already been explained. In the case of the vulgar or the uninitiated, there should be proper instruction. There is always harm in indulgence; and we cannot say that indulgence can ever be advised, for advice can only be in respect of something different.
An act of sacrifice: Even in a state of dejection, the obligation to act, if it is necessary should be accepted; and it should be regarded as an intelligent act because of its connection with a sacrifice; and everything else should be left out of consideration if it conflicts with it. In such a case a pure (or consecrated) act alone is enjoined; and anything different from it should be eliminated.
The words in the text are ahavaniya and ahuti; and ahavaniya refers to one of the three sacred fires, and so signifies an intelligent act of sacrifice, performed for the sake of others. Ahuti means "offering oblation with fire to the deities"; and so means an intelligent act of sacrifice performed in the course of nature; and the deities refer to the forces of Nature.
Perpetual restraint: In case of a reference to perpetual restraint, we should doubt its advisability; but there is good reason for self-control. The reference to perpetual restraint is really in respect of one who has lost his all, wealth, virtue, or grace.
Common lack of restraint: Among a host of sacrificers or performers of good and intelligent deeds, there is but one whose actions are meant for the benefit of others; and generally speaking, there is an absence of restraint. But the principal act (even in such a case) is not prohibited; though, so far as the great function of the mind is concerned, it is like being full of desires, but without the cooperation of the soul. This happens because of teachings of traditional usage; and is seen in all who have that object in view.
The word in the text is sattra, which means "a great Soma sacrifice"; and, as Soma refers to the mind, it means a function of the mind. The Mimansa has told us that the act is closely connected with the function of the mind, which has desire for its special attribute. The word in the text is Hautra which, as has already been explained, refers to Hotr, the mind, or its attribute, desire. The word in the text is grha-pati which, as has already been explained, refers to the soul as an actor, and not a mere spectator.
The soul: We often use the term "master of the house" or the soul in a general way (without understanding its exact idea); and deny that there is anything higher than that; and associate its highest function with that of the mind; and believe that to be the highest teaching.
It is commonly believed that the highest function of the soul is to procreate. The idea of the "function of the mind" has already been explained.
Proof of the existence of the soul: But it is because of the power of the soul that all the other faculties of a man (his intellect, ahankara, mind, and the senses, called Ritvij priests) perform their functions. Those who are intelligent know the existence of the soul because of memory; and also because of the fact that there is a law that the fruit of action is meant for someone else. That is so even where there is a combined function of the mind and intellect or a good and intelligent deed; and we could deny this only if there were no one to experience the function of the mind. We get the same idea from the reference that all things should be made fourfold, as well as from the monthly sraddha in honour of the deceased.
We have already been told that k is the yajamana or the institutor of the sacrifice (or the soul) that engages the Ritvij priests (intellect, ahankara, mind and the senses) to act; and the latter act because of the power of the soul; for when the soul departs, they too cease to act.
Memory lasts even after every part of the human body has undergone a complete change. It is, therefore, regarded as an attribute of something that is permanent within us, that is, the soul. The Nyaya system regards memory as an attribute of the soul; so does the Vaiseshika, but it also links it up with the mind.
The Sankhya and other systems tell us that all action is performed for the sake of someone else; and the Sankhya makes it clear that all that Nature or Prakrti does is meant for the sake of the soul.
The word in the text is samnayya, which means "a substance mixed with clarified butter and offered as a burnt offering". We have seen that "clarified butter" refers to goodness as an attribute of the mind, while fire is symbolic of the intellect. A mixture of the two is a combination of a good and intelligent act, or a function of the mind and the intellect.
The Bhagavad Gita describes the soul as an experiencer or enjoyer of things.
We have already been told that all things are completed through four stages, and so the number four signifies completeness. Similarly, there should be four factors of action, the fourth being the soul.
The Bhagavad Gita tells us that there are three constituents of action, the actor, the action, and the instruments of action; but the actor can easily refer to any one of the great faculties of man, his intellect, ahankara, mind, and the senses (Ritvij priests), which take part in an action. But these cannot function without the presence of the soul; and so we must bring in the idea of the soul to complete the tale.
The idea of a sraddha ceremony, held in honour of the deceased, would be meaningless without a belief in the existence of the soul. We have faith that the soul lives somewhere even after death, and sraddha is offered to remember that; and so the word itself means faith.