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Yajña: A Path to Spiritual Purification and Growth

Jun 23rd, 2024 | 4 Min Read
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Category: Bhagavad Gita

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Language: English

The JKYog Bhagavad Gita Online class discussion covered Shlokas- 4.28, 4.31, 4.33 and 4.34.
द्रव्ययज्ञास्तपोयज्ञा योगयज्ञास्तथापरे |
स्वाध्यायज्ञानयज्ञाश्च यतय: संशितव्रता: || 28||
dravya-yajñās tapo-yajñā yoga-yajñās tathāpare
swādhyāya-jñāna-yajñāśh cha yatayaḥ sanśhita-vratāḥ
Human beings differ in their nature, motivation, activities, professions, aspirations, and sanskārs (tendencies carried forward from past lives). 

Shree Krishna teaches Arjuna about the concept of sacrifice (Yagya/ Yajña), explaining that sacrifices come in various forms and serve different purposes. However, when performed with dedication and offered to God, these sacrifices purify the mind and senses and uplift the soul.

Dravya Yagya: It involves individuals who earn wealth through their endeavours but dedicate it to divine causes as an act of devotion and service to God. It emphasises that earning money can be spiritualised when the motivation is to serve a divine purpose. This concept underscores the idea that wealth when earned and used conscientiously, can become a powerful tool for positive change and spiritual growth.

Yog Yagya: In this approach, the physical techniques of aṣhṭāṅg yog, including āsanas and prāṇāyāma, are not pursued merely for physical or mental well-being alone but are infused with spiritual intent.  By performing these practices with devotion to God, practitioners aim for holistic physical, mental, and spiritual purification. This aligns with the broader spiritual goal of aṣhṭāṅg yog, which ultimately seeks the union of the individual soul with the divine.  Thus, in systems like Jagadguru Kripalu Yog, integrating yogic practices with devotion to God exemplifies a path where the pursuit of physical techniques merges seamlessly with spiritual surrender, leading to profound inner transformation and union with the divine.

Gyan Yagya: Some persons are inclined towards the cultivation of knowledge. For such seekers, the study of scriptures and philosophical texts serves not only as a means to expand intellectual understanding but also as a path to cultivate love and devotion towards God.  When approached with the spirit of devotion and surrender, this pursuit of knowledge becomes a form of yagya.
यज्ञशिष्टामृतभुजो यान्ति ब्रह्म सनातनम् |
नायं लोकोऽस्त्ययज्ञस्य कुतोऽन्य: कुरुसत्तम || 31||
yajña-śhiṣhṭāmṛita-bhujo yānti brahma sanātanam
nāyaṁ loko ’styayajñasya kuto ’nyaḥ kuru-sattama
The concept of sacrifice in the context of devotion to God revolves around offering everything for the pleasure of the divine and then accepting the remnants as prasād, which is considered divine grace.  After cooking, the food is placed on an altar or a designated sacred place. The devotees then mentally offer the food to God, requesting Him to accept their offering.  During this offering, devotees meditate on the idea that God is actually consuming the food offered. They visualise and feel His presence as they pray for acceptance. Once the offering is complete, the food is considered sanctified by God's acceptance. The remnants left on the plate after the offering are then regarded as prasād, which is believed to carry the blessings and grace of God. Partaking of prasād is seen as spiritually beneficial.  It is believed to bring illumination, purification, and advancement on the spiritual path. Consuming prasād is considered a way to receive direct spiritual nourishment and blessings from the divine.  In the same sentiment, devotees offer clothes to God and then wear them as his prasād. When objects or activities are offered as sacrifices to God, then the remnants, or prasād, are a nectar-like blessing for the soul.  Those who do not perform sacrifice remain entangled in the fruitive reactions of work and continue to experience the torments of Maya.
श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञ: परन्तप |
सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते || 33||
śhreyān dravya-mayād yajñāj jñāna-yajñaḥ parantapa
sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate
It is good to do physical acts of devotion, but it is not good enough.  While physical acts of devotion such as rituals, fasts, chants, and pilgrimages are beneficial, they alone are not sufficient for spiritual purification and growth. When spiritual practices are performed mechanically, without understanding or sincerity, they lose effectiveness. They become mere physical activities lacking the spiritual intent and depth necessary for true purification of the mind and soul. The ultimate goal of spiritual practice is to purify the mind and transcend mundane attachments and limitations. This purification is facilitated when devotional sentiments are nourished by the cultivation of knowledge. Understanding our relationship with God is essential in spiritual practice. Recognising ourselves as His eternal servants or as parts of His divine energy helps cultivate a personal and loving connection with Him. Hence, sacrifices performed with knowledge are superior to the sacrifice of material things.
तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया |
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिन: || 34||
tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśhnena sevayā
upadekṣhyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattva-darśhinaḥ
This verse emphasises the role of a spiritual master (Guru) in guiding seekers towards understanding the Absolute Truth. The spiritual knowledge can be obtained by:
  1. Approaching a spiritual master.
  2. Enquiring from him submissively
  3. Rendering service to him.
While material knowledge is typically acquired through study and intellectual understanding, spiritual knowledge involves a more profound, transformative process facilitated by the grace and guidance of a true Guru.

Spiritual knowledge and realisation are revealed to the disciple through the grace (prasād) of the Guru. This grace is not earned or bought; it flows naturally when the disciple demonstrates sincerity, humility, and a genuine desire for spiritual growth. The Guru's grace is the catalyst for spiritual revelation. It is through the Guru's blessings, compassion, and spiritual power that the disciple's inner journey is facilitated. This grace is revealed in the heart of the disciple by the Guru's grace when the disciple develops humility and the Guru is pleased with the service attitude of the disciple. Shree Krishna mentions the need to approach a guru with reverence, enquiring about the Truth from him with humility, and pleasing him by rendering service.

Summary: JKYog India Online Class- Bhagavad Gita [English]- 22.06.2024