WHAT IS SACRIFICE?
sahayajnaah prajaah srishtwaa purovaacha prajaapatih
anena prasavishyadhwam esha vo'stvishtakaamadhuk // 3.10 //
The creator (Prajapati ), having in the beginning created mankind together with
Yajna, said ‘by this you multiply’; this shall be the milch cow of your desires'.
When the Universe was created by the Creator - Prajapati - he simultaneously created Yajna also, the spirit of self-dedicated activities which is seen everywhere, e.g. shining of the sun and the moon, flowing of rivers, tolerance of the Earth etc., All these activities show the spirit of sacrifice without any selfish motives. The second part of the verse means that no achievement is impossible for man if he knows how to act in the spirit of self-effacement and self-sacrifice with the required amount of non-attachment.
HOW CAN WELFARE BE ACHIEVED BY SACRIFICE?
devaan bhaavayataanena te devaa bhaavayantu vah
parasparam bhaavayantah shreyah param avaapsyatha // 3.11 //
Cherish the Devas with this and may those Devas cherish you, thus cherishing one another you shall gain the highest good.
ishtaan bhogaan hi vo devaa daasyante yajnabhaavitaah
tair dattaan apradaayaibhyo yo bhungkte stena eva sah // 3.12 //
Devas, cherished by the sacrifice, will give you the desired objects. Indeed, he who enjoys objects given by the Devas without offering in return to them is verily a thief.
By performing actions as Yajna, as dedication to the Self, recognize
and express your sense of appreciation and gratitude to all the Devas, the
presiding functionaries of natural laws such as wind, fire etc.
Whether one is grateful or not, the sun rises, the rain rains and the wind blows. But by recognizing their functions in this creation, and by expressing one's deep appreciation and gratitude to them, one recognizes the true nature of one's own function in this creation, one becomes an active participant in this creation, and one progressively identifies oneself with the creation and the creator - The Self, Brahman.
In this relative world man and Devas are interdependent. They are nourished by one another. Men offer oblations to the gods; gods in return ensure men’s welfare by sending rain and other gifts. Thus a chain of mutual obligation binds together all created beings.
THOSE WHO ACT IN A SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE ARE SUPERIOR PERSONS
yajnashishtaashinah santo muchyante sarva kilbishaih
bhunjate te twagham paapaa ye pachantyaatma kaaranaat // 3.13 //
The righteous who eat the remnants of the sacrifice are freed from all sins; but
those sinful ones who cook food only for their own sake, verily eat sin.
ACTION SETS THE WHEELS OF THE COSMOS GOING
annaad bhavanti bhootani parjanyaad anna sambhavah
yajnaad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karma samudbhavah // 3.14 //
From food all creatures are born; from rain food is produced; from sacrifice comes rain; sacrifice is born of action.
karma brahmodbhavam viddhi brahmaakshara samudbhavam
tasmaat sarvagatam brahma nityam yajne pratishthitam // 3.15 //
Know that action arises from the Vedas, and the Vedas from the Imperishable.
Therefore, the all pervading Vedas ever rest in sacrifice.
evam pravartitam chakram naanuvartayateeha yah
aghaayur indriyaaraamo mogham paartha sa jeevati // 3.16 //
He who does not follow the wheel thus set-in motion, but takes delight in the
senses, he lives in vain, O Arjuna.
In these verses (10 to 16) the Vedic conception of sacrifice as an inter-link
between God and man is set in the larger context of the interdependence of
beings in the cosmos. He who works for himself alone lives in vain.
TO BE CONTINUED......