Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Origin of the concept of Yajna

There are deep holes everywhere — so dark and so dismal; down is all dark and frightful; under water we cannot see, open our eyes though we may; up is light, all light, even at night the beautiful starry hosts shedding their light. Where do they go then, those I love? Not certainly down in the dark, dark place, but up, above in the realm of Everlasting Light. That required a new symbol. Here is fire with its glowing wonderful tongues of flame — eating up a forest in a short time, cooking the food, giving warmth, and driving wild animals away — this life-giving, life-saving fire; and then the flames — they all go upwards, never downwards. Here then was another — this fire that carries them upwards to the places of light — the connecting link between us and those that have passed over to the regions of light. “Thou Ignis”, begins the oldest human record, “our messenger to the bright ones.” So they put food and drink and whatever they thought would be pleasing to these “bright ones” into the fire. This was the beginning of sacrifice. (VIII, 149- 150)

Yajna is one of the pillars of the great mansion of Cosmos. Everything in the Cosmos barring the foolish human being, goes on pouring one’s actions as oblations into the fire of cosmic Yajna. The selfishly motivated man on the other hand, transforms all his thoughts, words and actions for selfish achievement and as a result fails to receive the blessings or soma from the Cosmos. When one learns to centralise one’s life on renunciation and service, his whole life gets transformed into Yajna and he receives in abudunce the grace of the Lord Almighty.

Swami Satyamayananda, writing in the prefece to the beautiful book “Approaching Ramakrishna’ writes about Yajna in the following highly inspiring words: “The real location of this sacred fire was in the intellect of the man of knowledge. Yajna thus stepped out of the sacrificial altar and spilled into each mental, verbal, and physical Karma. Anything performed as yajna was spiritual and had the virtue of connecting a person to the entire universe; anything not done as yajna was useless. Life stood transformed.”

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