4. Life as a Yajna or Sacrifice : 3.
Guruvayur Temple Snnidhi - East : Kalyana Mandapam-s
The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :
It is also not easy to understand what this higher Self means; nor can we know what the lower self is. Though we may repeat these words again and again, and to some extent know their literal meanings, their practical suggestiveness is hard for the mind to grasp. The higher Self is not a spatially located, ascending series, but a more intensely inclusive and pervasive nature of our own self – something like the superiority of the waking consciousness over the dream consciousness. The waking mind is not kept over the dreaming mind, as one thing kept over another thing. The superiority, the transcendence of one thing over the other, or one thing being higher than the other, should not and does not suggest a spatial distance, but a logical superiority which is to be distinguished from spatial transcendence as someone sitting over another person's head. The cosmological scheme, to which we have made reference earlier, enlightens us into the fact that we as individuals or human beings are basically inseparable from the whole of creation, the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether; the five tanmatras: sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, gandha; and the whole of space-time itself. We are not outside this large complex of the expanse of the universe. Though this may be the fact, this also seems to be the conclusion that we are driven to by a study of the cosmological process.
We, in our daily life, seem to be totally ignoring this fact; and by a complete violation of this principle, asserting our individuality, seem to be totally disconnected from everything else as if we have nothing to do with anybody else. We have various types of selfishness - attachment to one's own body is the grossest form of it, and it has subtler forms of egoism, such as psychological self-assertiveness. Attachment to anything that is connected to one's self also comes under the purview and the gamut of selfishness. Anything that would not accept the basic organic relations of one's self with what is external to one's self, should be considered as a form of selfishness, whatever be the height it has reached; it may be a national egoism, or even an international one, but it is nothing short of it. One cannot easily escape this predicament because of the perception of the world by the senses. The yajnas or the sacrifices mentioned here in the Bhagavadgita in the fourth chapter are, to some extent, gradational attempts on the part of the seeker to overcome selfishness and increase their dimension of one's self by attuning one's self to the larger Self, which is nothing but the establishment of an en rapport with a wider area of our relationship than the one to which we are limited at the present moment, due to our sensory outlook. Physically, psychologically, and even intellectually, we are somehow connected to other people and even the five elements, the tanmatras, the ahamkara, the mahat and the other things we have mentioned in the Samkhya cosmological scheme. So sacrifice, yajna, should therefore mean an inward transmutation of our consciousness in its apprehension of relationship with these layers or levels of cosmological descent and ascent; and there are, perhaps, as many types of sacrifice as we would recognise layers in the cosmological scheme. If we say there are infinite series, there can be infinite types of sacrifice. It depends upon our understanding of what the universe is and how the creation process has taken place.
To be continued ...