Bhagavadgita !

Chapter 4

Jnyana Yoga !

|| Om tat sat ||

Fourth Chapter
Jnyana yoga

About Yagnya in Jnyana yoga!

( to see Sanskrit text in Kannada click here)

In Jnyana Yoga there is one special thought elaborated by Krishna. That thought is about enhancing our understanding of Yagnya then making that Yagnya as a process available to all.

It starts with Krishna saying:

ब्रह्मार्पणम् ब्रह्महविः ब्रह्मग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् ।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ॥ 4.24 ||

स॥ (यज्ञे) अर्पणं ब्रह्म । हविः ब्रह्म । ब्रह्मग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतं ब्रह्म एव । ब्रह्म कर्म समाधिना तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्म एव ।

Meaning that
In the Sacrifice "अर्पणं ब्रह्म", All the implements used in the sacrifice are Brahma !
"हविः ब्रह्म", All the materials used in the Sacrifice too are Brahma !
"ब्रह्मग्नौ " In the fire which is Brahman
"ब्रह्मणाहुतं" The offerings by the doer who is a Brahman is also "ब्रह्म एव" Brahman only.!
"ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना" The one who is in Samadhi doing Brahma karma .
"तेन गंतव्यं" the place he goes to is also "ब्रह्म एव" Brahman only.

In a sacrifice everything is a form of Brahman. The implements used, the materials used and the offerings too. In such a sacrifice with a focussed mind if one performs Karma he also attains Brahman.

The point of saying that the implements used in sacrifice are form of Brahman, the materials used in the sacrifice are a form of Brahman is to say that everything in this world is a form of Brahman. Once we reach that stage of recognizing that everything is a form of Brahman and perform Karma without any desire then the position one attains in performing that Karma, Nishkama karma is also Brahman !

So when one performs Karma with the feeling that everything in the world is a form of Brahman , then as a stated by Krishna "इहा अभिक्रमनाशो न अस्ति " (2.40) any activity we under take has no failure. For many reading this sloka ( ब्रह्मार्पणम् ब्रह्महविः ... ) over and over again firms up their belief in everything being Brahman.

If we imbibe the spirit of the sloka and move forward with the thought of everything being Brahman , it would occur that there could be many ways of reaching Brahman.

So while elaborating on Yagnya , Krishna having first stated that if one performs Karma with focussed mind understanding that everything is a form of Brahman , the destination one reaches is Brahman, then moves on how Yogis perform sacrifice.

"दैवमेवापरे यज्ञं योगिनः पर्युपासते " (4.25)

Krishna says that some Yogis take the worship itself as a form of sacrifice . If one with a focussed mind concentrates on the worship of the God that worship itself is Yagnya. Thus Krishna says Worship itself is a Yagnya.

Some others with mind purified in the fire of Brahman realize the unity of the Jivatman and Paramatman. If one embarks on the enquiry of Self, one realizes that self is different from the body we perceive , on further enquiry realizes the universality self and universality of Brahman and then realizes the unity of Jivatman and Paramatman. Krishna says that the process of enquiry into self itself is a Yagnya.

While saying that these two are Yagnyas - Krishna has transformed the sacrifice in Vedas which is based on mantras and rituals into some thing devoid of rituals . Devoid of rituals the worship one performs with focus or heart and soul is itself a Yagnya. It means that the four priests ordained for conducting a Yagnya are no longer necessary. The worship you do or the enquiry you do on self is itself to be done as a Yagnya. Through these Yagnyas also one can be liberated or attain Moksha.

This is a matter of serious or deep significance .

The Yagnya which is virtually not possible for anybody other than kings is now possible for all with this new understanding .

If we want to know a little more about Yagnyas as in Vedas one need only look at the very first Sanskrit book , the Adi Kavya namely Ramayana . In the Balakanda of Ramayana we have one full chapter ( Sarga fourteenth) dedicated to the sacrifice conducted by Dasaratha. The sacrifice has four priests Adhvaryu, Hota, Udgata, Brahma. There are many rites to be followed by them. At one point in Balakanda Dasaratha warns :

"निहतस्य च यज्ञस्य सद्यः कर्ता विनश्यति"

That is "if there are any deficiencies in the conduct of the Yagnya" - "कर्ता विनश्यति" - the doer of the Yagnya perishes !

Hence he asks all his ministers to see that all procedures are followed scrupulously.

Similarly in the Sagara's Yagnya , as well as Ambarisha Yagnya too the same topic, following the rites scrupulously comes up . In the Ambarisha's Yagnya not knowing the whereabouts of the sacrificial animal stolen by Indra, the priests warn Ambarisha that he should either " bring back the missing sacrificial animal or in its place offer some other who can be sacrificed ! If that is not done the calamity awaits the doer "! Ambarish brings Sunassepha son of sage Ruchika which is an interesting interlude ( Sunassephopakhyaanam !) . But the point remains that the ritual is deemed to be all too important as otherwise the Devas will be upset !

Krishna attitude to Yagnya can be traced back to his childhood exploit of lifting Govardhan mountain. He lifted Govardhan to protect his village from the wrath of Indra whom he provoked by telling villagers not to do Yagnya to please Indra !! In fact he asks his elders why they are doing Yagnya to please Indra !

Those Yagnyas are always fruit oriented.

That is the focus of the Yagnyas that time

Taking that Yagnya which is ritual oriented , Krishna elaborated processes which are devoid of rituals which any body can follow.

The Yagnyas Krishna is talking about are special.
These are Yagnyas with no material fruits.
They have only "liberation" as goal.
Doing this Yagnya they are free from fear
There is no need for elaborate requirements.
The Yagnyas depend solely on the ability of the doer !
These are Yagnyas where Nishkama Karma is the process.
Krishna already stated the advantages ( 2.40 )

Krishna went farther by defining several forms of sacrifice in slokas 24 - 32. He elaborated on twelve types of Yagnyas. These are:

1 दैव यज्ञ Daiva Yagnya (4.25) ;
2 ब्रह्म यज्ञ Brahma Yagnya(4.25) ;
3 इन्द्रियसंयम यज्ञ Indriya Samyamana Yagnya(4.26) ;
4 शब्दादि विषय निरोध यज्ञ Sabdaadi Vishaya Nirodha Yagnya(4.26);
5 मनोनिग्रह यज्ञ Mano Nigraha Yagnya(4.27) ;
6 द्रव्य यज्ञ Drvya Yagnya( 4.28);
7 तपोयज्ञ Tapo Yagnya(4.28);
8 योगयज्ञ Yoga Yagnya (4.28);
9 स्वाध्याय यज्ञ Svadhya Yagnya (4.28) ;
10 ज्ञान यज्ञ Jnyana Yagnya(4.28);
11 प्राणायाम यज्ञ Pranayama Yagnya(4.29) ;
12 आहारनियम यज्ञ Ahara Niyama Yagnyas(4.30)

Krishna goes on to say there are many types of Yagnyas. Krishna says:

एवं बहुविथा यज्ञा वितता ब्रह्मणो मुखे |
कर्मजान् विद्धि तान् सर्वान् एवम् ज्ञात्वा विमोक्ष्यसे ||( 4:32)

"Thus various Sacrifices are prescribed by Vedas . Know all these to be born of action. Knowing thus you will be free"

Krishna scrupulously maintained that what he is teaching is nothing new . The Nishkama Karma was taught by him to Sun etc earlier ( Sloka 4.1) . He reinforces that again by saying that all the Yagnyas he is talking about are elaborated in Vedas. When one looks at Vedas rituals are the dominant text in the Samhita and Brahmanas the early parts of Veda. But as we move further in the Aranyakas and Upanishads this kind thinking is brought in !

When he says there are many Yagnyas while he elaborated only twelve there in lies a secret !

That is what ever you do , if you do that as "Nishkama " karma that itself is to be done as a Yagnya

That Yagnya of Nishkama karma leads to liberation!

Thus this concept of Yagnya elaborated by Krishna is a great fruit delivered to all Bhaktas through Bhagavdgita.

||om tat sat||

|| ओम् तत् सत् ||