Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 26 Aug 2005

     

YAJNA AND KARMA

[Krishnashtami Day 6] The Lord in human form receives our sacrifice and enjoys it. His enjoyment is reflected in His face and we recognize it, which gives us immense satisfaction (Bhoktaram Sarvatapasam). This possibility is absent in all the other forms of God and therefore God does not exist in the other forms but those forms can be kept as representatives or models, if you are unable to accept the human form. However, the recognition of the real human incarnation is very important since He will guide you in the correct path as your friend (Suhrudam Sarvabhutanam). If your guide is a false guide, he will harm you by misguiding (Atmaiva ripuh) you. In this verse, the Lord said that Atman should be uplifted by Atman. The second word Atman means the Lord in human form. But the first word Atman means the soul in human form. When Yoga is completed by the permanent self-attainment, the Lord in human form will Himself contact you for further guidance (Paramatma Samahitah).

One need not be discouraged by the most difficult goal of Nivritti. If you constantly try, the Lord will co-operate with you by granting you any number of human births (Abhyasena tu, Prayatnat, Abhyasayoga, Aneka janma—Gita). Only one student can get the gold medal (Kashchitmam—Gita) in the class but every student has equal opportunity and any student who tries constantly will succeed one day or other. If you leave your effort, discouraged by seeing the goal, then there is no other chance of human birth (Manushyatvam…Durlabham—Shankara).

The entire success in your spiritual effort lies only in one point that is the recognition of the human incarnation because the unimaginable Lord cannot be seen by any human being (Naaham Prakasah Sarvasya). The Parabrahman is covered by the pure awareness called as Yoga Maya or Mula Maya. It means that you should cross it by even rejecting the pure awareness to know the Lord (Parabrahman), who is beyond the pure awareness. You may neglect the human incarnation (Avajananti mam—Gita) and worship the deities present in energetic forms but the same Parabrahman present in all the deities is present in this human form also. It is only the Parabrahman who can respond to you (Mayaiva Vihitan—Gita). The Parabrahman enters, pervades and identifies with the causal body (Adhyatama), with the subtle body (Adhidaivata) and with the external gross body (Adhibhuta). Therefore the Parabrahman can easily respond to you in the human form (Aksharam Brahma—Gita).

The Lord in human form is also called as Adhiyajna, which means that He presides over the sacrifice by receiving the service in the form of sacrifice of work and the sacrifice of the fruit of work. In a Yajna, food and money as Dakshina are offered to the Sadguru who is the incarnation of Lord. The Veda says that in such a divine preacher, all the deities exist as said in the Veda (Devatah Taha Sarvah). Some people want to serve a particular deity. Serving the Sadguru becomes the service of that deity. The devotees can get boons from the Sadguru because the Parabrahman present in all the deities is also present in Sadguru. Therefore whatever the deities can grant, the same can be granted by Sadguru also. Actually it is only the Parabrahman, who can grant boons. The Lord says, “Let the devotees who are interested in getting boons serve the Sadguru in a practical way by offering work and fruit of work. Then one can expect the boon from the Parabrahman through the Sadguru. The different deities are only intermediate forms existing in the Sadguru Himself (Ishtakamadhuk)”.

This is purely business in that you offer something to God and get back something in return. The Lord encourages even this path of business ‘Vaishyamarga’ since it is better than ‘Veshyamarga’ [path of a prostitute]. In the latter path, you are aspiring for something in return practically, by offering only theoretical [imaginary, insubstantial] items like praise by words, devotion by mind and discussions about the Lord by your brain. The prostitute also expects money in return (practically) by sacrificing sweet words and sweet feelings of the mind. At least in the first path, the devotee offers something practically and also expects something practical in return as in the case of business. This business-devotion is better than the prostitute-devotion in which devotees offer prayers by words and feelings of love through mind and expect practical boons in return. But even in the business-devotion, new developments have come. People ask God to grant a boon first and only then will they do practical sacrifice. The present day devotion of almost all the devotees is according to these two ways.

Yajna is a practical sacrifice to the human incarnation or at least to His real devotees. The best way of doing Yajna is to sacrifice your work or the fruit of your work or both, without aspiring for anything in return. In fact you should feel that you are paying tax to the Lord for all the cosmic facilities that He has provided to us. The Lord says that first this divine tax must be paid to the Lord and only then can you enjoy (Yajnashishtaamruta—Gita) the facilities. He condemns the atheists who enjoy the cosmic facilities and even deny the existence of the Lord. The Lord says that such atheists are actually enjoying sin (Bhunjate tetvagham). It is very important to note that getting all the amenities for oneself and one’s family members are included under the mission of the Lord [unless one has the basic needs of oneself and one’s family, one cannot be fit to serve in the mission of God]. But there should be some limit for these basic amenities. Luxuries should not be argued to be basic needs or facilities.

Therefore you can divide the people into three categories. The first category has earned money beyond all their needs. They should sacrifice the excess wealth for the sake of the mission of the Lord. In the case of the second category of people, who do not have much excess weath, whatever they waste in the name of entertainment, can be sacrificed to the Lord. By this, they will avoid going to hell and instead will go to the divine abode of the Lord. The third category of people is those who earn and store only for their basic needs. Such people need not pay the divine tax but in their case, another point comes: Are they are capable of doing more work so that they can earn more? If they are capable but are not doing the extra work, such people are instructed by the Lord to do work to the full extent. By doing such extra work, the fruit of that work may be paid as the divine tax or may be stored for their basic needs. But under any circumstances, one should not enter into luxuries. All luxuries, if properly analysed, lead to loss of health and peace and finally lead to hell.

In this context, the word Yajna should be properly understood. The verb-form of the word has two meanings. One meaning is Yajanam, which means cooking food. The other meaning is Pujanam, which means offering the food to Sadguru. It does not mean burning ghee and food in the fire. This leads to pollution of the environment and the greenhouse effect, due to which rains stop. Such burning of food interferes with the cycle of the Lord since Yajna is actually supposed to bring down rains. The fire, in which the food and ghee should be offered [burnt], is the fire of hunger present in the stomach of the Sadguru or a real devotee. Even hungry beggars can be fed but in that case, the donation of food to them should be associated with the Jnana-Bhakti Yajna (we must preach divine knowledge and devotion to them). Mere social service without the divine mission is useless. In fact such social service will make God angry. The reason is that any human being is suffering here due to his sins. The Lord has punished him and the punishment is meant to change him and not for vengeance. Interference in the punishment disturbs the divine administration. But if you help them in the name of the Lord, and try to convert them into devotees, it will help them in their transformation, which is the actual goal of the punishment. In that case, the Lord will be pleased with you.

Yajna (sacrifice) can even bring you sin if you sacrifice to an undeserving fellow. If you sympathize with an undeserving fellow, you have to convert him into a deserving devotee before you donate to him. Therefore if the sacrifice of food and money (Dakshina) are associated with the worship of the Lord and even if some undeserving people are present, they become deserving at least during that time. This is the reason why the worship of the Lord is associated with the sacrifice of food in functions like marriages. But such worship of the Lord does not attract anyone at all since nobody understands the prayers (hymns), which are chanted there by the priest. Even the priest himself does not know the meaning. As a result, in such functions, undeserving people are fed and sin is earned. Therefore there must be a resurrection of Hinduism. The priest must learn the knowledge of the Veda and should convert the [ritual] worship into Jnana Yajna [preaching of knowledge and devotion] The Lord is very much pleased with Jnana Yajna (Jnanayajnena, priyohijnaninah). In the case of Islam and Christianity, their prayers are in their mother tongue and so this problem is not present. Simple recitation of hymns is called as Svadhyaya Yajna. The sacrifice of food items alone is called Dravya Yajna.

The Lord has told that the path of sacrifice should be secret as far as possible in the early stage (Rahasyam). As devotion develops and reaches its climax, fear is lost. When Yajna is done, it is the practical sacrifice to the Lord. Such sacrifice and the material [that is donated] become the greatest (Brahmaarpanam—Gita). In this verse, the word Brahman is used repeatedly to mean ‘the greatest’. The Lord says that one should not stick to the fruit of one’s work but should sacrifice it to the Lord and do the work of the Lord as his duty. Such a devotee alone is called a sanyasin or a yogi (Anashritah karmaphalam).

Karma

The word karma means work in general but this word karma also means the work done for the sake of selfishness and his family members. The word karma yoga means the work done for the sake of the Lord. The word Vikarma means the work done in excess [for selfish gain alone] even after achieving the wealth required for the necessities of family (Karmanohyapi…). Therefore karma means the necessary work or duty done to acquire wealth for the basic needs for your family. Vikarma means not only earning excess wealth but also wasting the wealth in luxuries. Both these types of Vikarma are sin and should be avoided. When you sacrifice the excess wealth to the Lord, you must sacrifice it with fear and shyness [not with pride] because the entire creation is the wealth of the Lord (Kasyasvit Dhanam—Veda). Even while sacrificing work to the mission of the Lord, you should know that the Lord alone supplies you the energy required to do the work. Therefore you should not feel [proud] that you have served the Lord (Naivakinchit, Ahankara Vimudhatma, Brahmanyadhaya, Navadvare).

The reason for the human being to work is Svabhava or Prakriti (Svabhavastu, Prakritimyanti). Svabhava or Prakriti means the mentalities that are concentrated in the subtle body for the past millions of births. When boons are granted, the results of good deeds to be enjoyed in future births are drawn back [preponed to the present] with reduced value and are given to you as boons. The present results of the bad deeds are postponed to the future births along with increased interest. Therefore you can never escape the result of your bad deed and the boon given to you is always the result of your own good deed (Nadatte Kasyachit). The Lord says that the sacrifice to the Lord should be done in such a way that a feeling of love is generated (Bhutabhavodbhavakarah). Love or devotion exists under ignorance and emotion. If you realize that all the wealth belongs to the Lord alone, you will feel that you have just returned the money of the Lord to Him and the Lord will also feel that His own wealth is returned to Him. Neither is there any feeling of real sacrifice in the mind of devotee nor is there a real feeling of love in the heart of the Lord. The Lord also feels the love of the devotee, if the Lord thinks that the devotee really sacrificed his hard-earned fruit. But in such love, egoism may come up, since the devotee can feel proud of his sacrifice. In order to rectify this, the devotee is enlightened with knowledge so that he should know that the entire creation is the wealth of Lord and get rid of his pride. Thus there is an alternate release and withdrawal of knowledge and ignorance so that the devotees do sacrifice with love under ignorance but without any pride owing to knowledge (Mattah Smritih—Gita).

Work or karma should never be given up (Satatam Kuru karma—Gita). Work is useful for meeting the basic needs of life and also to store some wealth for the future needs of the family. One need not feel shy up to this point and should feel happy that he has fulfilled Pravritti or justice, which is the basic part of Nivritti. [According to worldy justice you are duty-bound to take care of your own needs and those of your family. This forms the basis of service and sacrifice to God]. Once karma is fulfilled up to this point, your work should be diverted towards the Lord and such work is called as karma yoga. Either you have to sacrifice the fruit of your work or your work according to your convenience. Any one of these two or both can be called as karma yoga. Without karma yoga, mere sacrifice of words, mind and intellect is like sacrificing the freely supplied water [Giving water to someone is not a real sacrifice since water is given to you free by the municipality. Giving food to someone is a real sacrifice]. Therefore the Lord asked Arjuna to fight the war and assist Him in His mission (Mamanusmara Yuddhyacha—Gita). Arjuna got confused when Krishna was preaching sacrifice and work at the same time. Arjuna thought that sacrifice means leaving all the wealth and work and becoming inactive (Vyamishrenaiva—Gita). Krishna clarified that one only has to sacrifice the work done for the family with unlimited ambition after achieving all the required needs and facilities for the family. Once the basic needs and facilities are achieved, work for the family should be stopped and this is Samnyasa. After that one should divert all his work and its fruits towards the Lord. Therefore both work and sacrifice are to be done (Samnyasah karma yogascha—Gita). The Lord opposes stopping work and becoming inactive after earning all basic facilities for the family.

The Lord says that one should be interested in the self (Atmaratireva—Gita). Here the word self does not mean selfishness. Here the word self means the causal body, which is pure awareness, and which can be attained by self-analysis for the sake of attaining Yoga. He should not fall from the state of pure awareness and must stay there with interest in the self. After attaining Yoga subsequently he should catch the Sadguru and surrender to Him completely. In this stage, the same word ‘self’ indicates the human incarnation of the Lord. This is the stage of Nivritti where the devotee has all his interest only in the Lord. In this stage of Nivritti the devotee is not related with any other human being except the Lord. All his family bonds vanish and no family member can control him (Kaschidarthavyapashrayah—Gita). Even the laws of Dharma cannot bind such a devotee because the Lord is far greater than Dharma (Sarva Dharman—Gita). When you are serving the Lord, you must do service as a scholar without the feeling of egoism that everything belongs to Lord and that every work is done by the Lord (Saktah karmani—Gita) alone. A devotee with ignorance and love also does the same service with the feeling that he is donating his hard-earned fruit and that he is sacrificing his own energy for the Lord. Even though ignorance is present in the latter case the love in the sacrifice makes it pure as long as it does not result in egoism.