Gayatri and Yagya / Yajna
Yajna and Gayatri
Dev Sanskriti (India’s culture and civilization), Dharma and Darshan (philosophy), Adhyatma (spirituality) and Adarsh (idealism) have been handed down to us from times immemorial . To everyone’s surprise like other religious sects this Sanatana Dharma of ours has not been founded by any person. What is the original source of this perennial flow of culture and civilization? Tradition tells us that our Dharma has its origin in the Veda means knowledge.Gayatri has been known to be the essence of Veda, therefore Gayatri is the perennial source of our knowledge spirituality philosophy, culture and civilization.
Gayatri and Yajna have a very unique position in Indian culture and civilization. Gayatri has been called the mother and Yajna as the father of our ancient civilization. Symbolically Gayatri represents the pure intellect and consciousness, while as Yajna is the symbol righteous action and noble deeds. Both of them i.e. the Gayatri and the Yajna working in co-ordination and co-operation with one-another, spread morality, purity, welfare and everything that is good and conducive to universal well being, universal welfare. This not only embraces human welfare but also the welfare of all living beings, every creature, the whole habitation and environment. Indic civilization has given an all embracing concept of good and well being. it tells us of
"Sarvetra Sukhinah Santu"
Which freely translated means: Let happiness prevail every where.
The meaning of Yajna
The Agni (scred fire in the sacrificial fire ritual) has been called Purohit, the chief priest in the very first verse of the first hymn of the Rig Veda:
"Aum Agnim-ile Purohitam Yagyasya Devam Ritvijam"
Which is freely translated as : Lets worship the Agni (scred fire) who is the Purohit (high priest)
"Purohit" is a priest or teacher; particularly a Master of the sacred path, sacred learning. Therefore the, the Agni in the sacrificial altar is treated as our teacher. He is our revered priest.
Yajna- is a Sacrificial ritual symbolizing selfless service to all. The point has also been noted by Bhagwan Krishna in the Bhagvad Geeta. Geeta tells us –
"Sahyagya praja-srishtvaa purovaach Prajapatih"
Prajapati created the subjects, people, the living beings along with Yajna (the sacrificial ritual) like twins. Further Geeta tells us that both of them were brought up and developed by mutual help and co-operation.
Yajna – The sacrificial ritual has its material advantages too, which can be easily verified by scientific experiments. The various material used in the oblations and offerings in the Yajna have some medicinal/chemical attributes. These oblations coupled with the chanting of the vedic mantras spread molecular waves in the atmosphere that lead to the purification of physical and astral environments.
The Yajna (sacrificial fire) exercises a very positive influence on the body and psyche (mind and consciousness) of persons involved and sitting around. It leads to transformation of human towards divinity. The effect of yajna is psycho-somatic. Particularly, women and embryonic life are immensely benefited by Yajna. The land where Yajna is performed receives divine and pious impressions and subtle vibrations. These impressions are long lasting and make the place pious.
Symbolism of Yajna
It is necessary at the outset to understand some symbolic meaning messages hidden behind the YagyAgni (sacred fire in the sacrificial altar). Main points are highlighted as follows:
Every oblation/offering in YagyAgni (the sacrificial altar) is not mere burning, rather it spreads in the atmosphere in molecular form. The Message is that "don’t hoard", rather go on giving and distributing everything like YagyAgni, whatever you have got, for the sake of universal wellbeing of all.
Anything that comes into the contact of fire gets changed into fire itself. Fire never rejects anything, howsoever bad it may be. Fire has a capacity to bring qualitative transformation to change everything coming in contact. That is why Agni (sacred fire) has been called "Purohit", i.e. a Master teacher who never rejects any disciple and brings a qualitative transformation in their personality
Fire always moves upwards. Likewise one must rise higher and higher in all dimensions of life and consciousness. Even if you try to press the fire down, it lifts itself upwards again and again. Likewise, We too should try to lift ourselves upwards again and again, specially when we are pressed own by adversities and adversaries.
Fire never abandon its virtues of "light" and "heat" till the end. Similarly, we should never leave our good virtues of knowledge, action, devotion, service etc. We should unceasingly and unfailingly express the "light of knowledge" and "heat of dynamic action" till the very end.
Fire is turned into the ashes at the end. All of us and everything on this earth is going to turn into ashes one day. We should always be in remembrance of this "inevitable end" try to be virtuous.
The ritual of Yajna is a symbolic rehearsal of the whole process of life. The basic principle of life is sacrifice. As we offer valuable oblations/offerings in the YagyAgni , so also we should always sacrifice our good resources and treasures for the universal wellbeing. We should use our talents, intellect, power, position, treasures and every possession for the selfless service of others. Once this directive principle of morality is accepted the path of all progress and wellbeing is automatically unlocked.
Selfless sacrifice is the path of eternal bliss, as the great Rishi Yajnavalkya has rightly said in BrihadAranyaka Upanishad:
"Oh Maitreyi ! not by treasure & riches but by sacrifice and renunciation only immortal bliss can be achieved."
A combination of Gayatri and Yajna by way of Gayatri-Yajna will certainly prove to be effective for bringing the lasting transformation in contemporary tumultuous society, that’s so urgently needed to remove the environment of despair and global conflicts. The path of righteous reason and righteous action. It is the foremost duty of every Dharmic individual to understand the philosophy of Yajna and practice the same.