By Swami Harshananda
Alaukika-upāya literally means ‘supernatural method or means’.
The śruti or Veda prescribe certain rituals to obtain specific objects of desire through divine grace. These alaukika-upāyas or supernatural means enable one to satisfy desires that one may not be able to fulfill through ones own efforts.
Shastra provide these alaukika-upāya as unfulfilled desires fill the heart and prevent a person from having peace of mind.
These upāya-s include the syena-yāga or means for the destruction of the enemy. But such methods require a guru to guide a person and its use is also forbidden by the śruti itself. Śruti illuminates the path to be chosen and the ones to be avoided. The choice is left to the person who is guided, hence he can choose the correct path.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore