Skip to main content

4. Life as a Yajna or Sacrifice : 2.

                                        First rice from Guruvayurappan at Guruvayur temple

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

In the middle of the fourth chapter of the Gita, certain instructions are given on the performance of different kinds of sacrifice, known as yajnas. The word 'yajna' is a very significant one throughout the Bhagavadgita, perhaps through most of the scriptures in India, indicating that the principle of life consists in sacrifice of some sort or the other. The philosophy of India may, in a way, be summed up by the word 'yajna' – sacrifice. Every moment of our life is a sacrifice that we perform in the direction of a higher fulfillment, and a sacrifice is therefore a gain and not a loss. In ordinary language we praise a person who has performed a sacrifice, thinking that sacrifice involves a sharing of one's joy with others, in a sense a sort of loss which one has voluntarily incurred for the welfare of other people. "Oh, what a sacrifice he has done," thus we ejaculate. This is our point of view – whenever we give something, we feel we lose something. Sacrifice, no doubt, means giving something, but it does not mean losing something. In giving, we do not lose. Give and it shall be given back hundredfold. It is difficult to understand the meaning of sacrifice, and a knowledge of it is absolutely necessary to understand the teachings of the Bhagavadgita. The whole of karma yoga, or any yoga for the matter of that, is centred round this principle governing all life and existence – the principle of yajna, sacrifice.

In the fourth chapter, indications are given of the possibility of performing different kinds of sacrifice. A purely philosophical and spiritual touch is given to this description of the different forms of sacrifice here, because the Bhagavadgita is pre-eminently a spiritual gospel, a gospel of all life, and thus very comprehensive in its treatment of the basic values of life. Dravyayajna, yogoyajna, tapoyajna, jnanayajna are some of the terms used in this connection. Without going into the verbal or linguistic meaning of these terms, and without confusing you too much with the academic interpretations of these enunciations of the forms of sacrifice, I can clinch the whole matter by bringing you back to the process of cosmology, evolution - a thing we can never afford to forget throughout our studies because the story of creation or the procession of the cosmological event also suggests acutely the position we occupy in this world, our status in this universe, without which we can do nothing correctly, nor can we know anything properly. Yajna – sacrifice – whatever be the form it may take, is a summoning of the higher power into one's own self, and a consequent surrender of the lower self for the higher dimension of one's own being, known as the superior Self.

Swami Krishnananda

To be continued   .....

Popular posts from this blog


3. Durga Puja or Navaratri :

1.The presiding Deity over Creation and Dissolution-6.

6. Besides the books representing Saraswathi, all instruments and implements like typewriters, printing machinery, etc., are also worshipped on the ninth day.

7. On the Vijaya Dasami day, all aspirants en masse are given initiation into various Mantras according to their tutelary Deities. Deserving aspirants are initiated into the holy order of Sannyas. Initiation in the study of the alphabets is given to young children, and to the old children also! New students commence their lessons in music, etc. During the morning Satsang the books which were worshipped on the ninth day are again worshipped and a chapter from each of the principal scriptures like the Gita, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, Ramayana, and Srimad Bhagavatam is recited.

8. On the Vijaya Dasami day, there is Kanya Puja also. Nine girls below the age of ten are worshipped as the embodiment of the Divine Mother. They are fed sumptuously and, a…

All About Bharatiya Sanatana Dharmam otherwise known as Hinduism : 2.1.1.g) -2.


The Scriptures :

1. The Srutis : g)-2

g ).The Vedangas-2.

Vyakarana is Sanskrit grammar. Panini’s books are most famous. Without knowledge of Vyakarana, you cannot understand the Vedas.

Chhandas is metre dealing with prosody.

Nirukta is philology or etymology.

Jyotisha is astronomy and astrology. It deals with the movements of the heavenly bodies, planets, etc., and their influence in human affairs.

Kalpa is the method of ritual.

The Srauta Sutras which explain the ritual of sacrifices belong to Kalpa.

The sulba Sutras, which treat of the measurements which are necessary for laying out the sacrificial areas, also belong to Kalpa.

The Grihya Sutras which concern domestic life, and the Dharma Sutras which deal with ethics, customs and laws, also belong to Kalpa.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ....

All About Bharatiya Sanatana Dharmam otherwise known as Hinduism : Ch-4.5.



5. Ethical Codes In Hinduism :

Hindu ethics is superb. Hinduism lays great emphasis on ethical discipline.

Yama (self-restraint) and Niyama (religious observances or canons) are the foundations of Yoga and Vedanta.

Undeveloped persons cannot think for themselves.

Hence rules of conduct have been laid down by great sages or seers like Manu and Sage Yajnavalkya.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita: “Let the scriptures be thy authority in determining what ought to be done or what ought not to be done.

Knowing what hath been declared by the ordinances of the scriptures, thou oughtest to work in this world” (Ch. XVI-24).

The Smritis written by Yajnavalkya, Manu and other sages distinctly prescribe the rules of conduct.

As you have not got the power nor the time to think of the moral principles and rules given in the scriptures, you can get them from the sages and saints and follow them to the very letter.

Swami Sivananda
To be continued ..