yanti brahma sanatanam,
nā’yam loko’sty ayajnasya
kuto’nyaḥ kurusattama (4.31)
[4.31]:”O the best of Kuru, the yogi who have tasted the nectar flowing from yagya attain to the eternal supreme God, but how can the next life of men bereft of yagya be happy when even their life in this world is miserable?”
What yagya generates-what results from it, is nectar the substance of immortality. A direct experience of this is wisdom.The one who feeds on it becomes one with the eternal God.
So yagya is something which with its completion unites the worshipper with God. According to Sri Krishn, how can the next world bring happiness to men bereft of yagya when even the mortal, human birth is beyond their reach? It is their inevitable lot to be born in lower forms and nothing better than them. So the observance of yagya is a necessity.
evam bahuvidha yajna
vitatā brahmano mukhe,
karmajān viddhi tān sarvān
evam jñātvā vimokṣyase (4.32)
[4.32]:”Many such yagya are laid down by the Ved but they all germinate and grow from the ordained action, and performing their various steps you will be free from worldly bondage.”
There are several steps of yagya elaborated by the Ved-God’s own words. After realization, God assumes the body of accomplished sages. The minds of men who have become one with God are then mere instruments. It is God who speaks through them. So it is in his voice that these yagya have been enunciated.
Sri Krishn tells Arjun that he should know that all these yagya have arisen from action. This is what he has said before, too. (3. 14) He has just pointed out that all those, whose sins have been wiped out by yagya, are the real knowers of yagya. And now he tells Arjun that he will be freed from the bonds of the world if he knows that yagya arises from action. Here the Yogeshwar has clearly stated the meaning of action. That conduct is action by which yagya is accomplished.
Now, there is no harm in engaging ourselves in trade, service, and politics if in doing them we can earn divine riches, contemplate an accomplished teacher, restrain the senses, offer the oblation of outgoing breath to the incoming breath, sacrifice inhalations to exhalations, and regulate the vital winds of life. But we know that it is not so. Yagya is the only exercise that transports one to God the very moment it is complete. Do any other work you like if it takes you to God in the same way.
In brief, the world is an expanded form of the mind. So the mutable world is the object that has to be offered as a sacrifice. When the mind is perfectly controlled, there is also perfect control over the world. The outcome of yagya appears clearly when mind is fully restrained. The nectar of knowledge that is generated by yagya takes the man who has tasted it to immortal God.
This is witnessed by all sages who have realized God.It is not that worshippers of different schools perform yagya in different ways.The different forms cited in the Geeta are only the higher and lower states of the same worship.That by which this yagya begins to be done is action.There is not a single verse in the entire Geeta which defends or approves of worldly enterprise as a way to the realization of God.
Usually, for the performance of yagya people build an altar, light a fire ‘ on it and, intoning swaha, cast barley grains and oil seeds into the sacred fire. Is this, we may ask, not yagya?Sri Krishn has this to say about it in next verse.
śreyān dravyamayād yajñāj
sarvam karmā’khilam pārtha
jñāne parisamāpyate (4.33)
[4.33]”Sacrifice through wisdom is, O Parantap, in every way superior to sacrifices made with material objects, because (O Parth) all action ceases in knowledge, their culmination.”
The yagya of wisdom, made by means of austerity, continence, faith, and knowledge, which brings about a direct perception of God, is the most propitious. All actions are fully dissolved in this knowledge. Knowledge is thus the crowning point of yagya. Thenceforth there is neither any profit in the doing of action nor any loss in abstaining from it.
In the same way there are yagya that are performed with material objects, but they are insignificant in comparison with the yagya of knowledge which enables a man to have direct perception of God. Even if we sacrifice millions, build hundreds of altars for the sacred fire, contribute money to good causes, and invest money in the service of sages and saints, this yagya is much inferior to the sacrifice of knowledge.
Sri Krishn has just told us, that real yagya is restraint of the vital winds of life, subduing of the senses, and control of the mind. From where can we learn its mode?Sri Krishn’s pronouncement is that it can be had from only one source, namely, the sage who has known the reality.
tad viddhi praṇipatena
upadeksyanti te jñānam
jñāninas tattvadarśinaḥ (4.34)
[4.34]:”Obtain that knowledge (from sages) through reverence, inquiry and innocent solicitation, and the sages who are aware of reality will initiate you into it.”
So Arjun is advised to approach seers with reverence, self-surrender, and humility, to be instructed in true knowledge through devoted service and guileless curiosity. These seers will enlighten him on it.
The ability to acquire this knowledge comes only with a wholly dedicated service. They are seers who enable us to have direct perception of God. They know the mode of yagya and they will teach it to Arjun. Had the war been external, what need was there of a seer?
yaj jñātvā na punar moham
evam yāsyasi pāṇcava,
yena bhūtāny aśeṣeṇa
drakṣyasy ātmany atho mayi (4.35)
[4.35]:”Knowing which, O son of Pandu, you will never again be a prey like this to attachment, and equipped with this knowledge you will see all beings within yourself and then within me.”
After acquiring this knowledge from sages Arjun will be rid of all attachment.Possessed of this knowledge he will perceive all beings in his Self, that is, he will see the extension of the same Self everywhere, and only then can he become one with God. Thus the means of attaining to that God is the sage who has perceived reality.
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans]
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