Sunday 26 May 2024


 – P. Parameswaran JI (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume,  July 2003)

Bharatiya Samskriti is really unique. The fundamental concepts that constitute it are so original that they cannot be expressed in non-Bharatiya languages. Approximate translations can only create distorted images and can convey wrong and inaccurate understanding. Terms like Yajna, Dharma, Yoga etc. are often translated as 'sacrifice', 'righteousness', 'union' etc. But, to a stranger, these convey very little of the diverse dimensions and the profound depth these terms actually possess and which every Bharatiya instinctively imbibes. These are untranslatable terms, but without understanding their real meaning, no one can hope to understand Bharatiya Samskriti.


Yajna is a pivotal concept in the Hindu way of life. The Bhagavad Gita says everything is rooted in Yajna (Sarvam Yajne Pratishthitam). Yajna is the very basis of all creation. Vedas declare that God created the universe through the performance of Yajna.' He had to sacrifice His infinitude and confine Himself within a self-created finiteness. Without that, there would have been no creation at all. Sri Aurobindo says that all that is happening in Nature is in fact a Yajna performed by Prakriti for the realisation of Purusha.


Not only at the macrocosmic level, even at the microcosmic level, Yajna is the law of life. That is why it is considered so important in the life of every individual. Without Yajna, life becomes a degrading self-indulgence. With Yajna, life becomes a sacred celebration. According to Gita, even cooking must be done as a Yajna. If one cooks for oneself, he verily eats sin. When it is done as an act of Yajna, it liberates.


It is generally believed that the Vedas used the word Yajna merely in the sense of a material sacrifice or Karma Kanda and that later on the meaning assumed higher significance. But, seers like Sri Aurobindo are of the opinion that even in the Vedas, it is used symbolically. In fact, it is only when we understand the symbolism correctly that we gain insight into the inner meaning of the concept. Later on, the Bhagavad Gita explains this by saying that there are various forms of Yajnas, 'Bahu Vidhaa Yajnaa', thereby lifting the Karma Kanda concept to much higher levels. When the pristine purity of the Vedic concept was lost due to passage of time, Bhagavad Gita brought out the real significance so as to make it relevant to the times. The Agni, the fire of sacrifice of the Vedas got transformed into the Fire of Brahman or Brahmagni. The Gita, elaborately describe the various aspects and implications of the term 'sacrifice and thus various activities of life within the scope of Yajna. Any act performed without the feeling of I and Mine becomes a Yajna. All activities undertaken without egoism or desire for one's own enjoyment, but done as an offering to the Divine is Yajna, according to the Gita. It is in this sense that the work of the Kendra is looked upon as Yajna.


In the Gita, the Lord says that He is the enjoyer of the fruits of Yajna (Bhoktaram Yajna Tapasaa). He is the Yajna Purusha. In the case of the Kendra, the spiritually-oriented service mission, Man-making and Nation-building is the Yajna performed for the sake of Rashtra Purusha, who is the Adhidevata. The offering is made with the Mantra Rashtraya Swaha. Idam Na Mama', which means, 'all that is offered is meant for the nation and nothing is for me, my limited self'. In ordinary Yajnas, the one who is making the offering, the material offered and the act of offering are different. In the case of the Kendra, it is not so. We, the workers of the Kendra offer ourselves and our dedicated life itself as the offering.


They all merge into one. We find this idea expressed in the Gita from the level of Advaita, when it says, "Brahmarpanam, Brahmahavih, Brahmagnou, Brahmanahutam, Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam, Brahma Karma Samadhinaa".


The offering is made into the burning fire of Yajna Kunda, which is nothing but the totality of activities performed by all the workers uninterrupted over the years right from the beginning when Ma. Eknathji conceived this noble idea of Vivekananda Kendra. The fire is kept alive, never allowed to get extinguished, by the uninterrupted Aahuti of a large number of workers collectively and continuously. Unlike ordinary Yajnas, which are performed for limited purposes and with particular Devatas as the object of worship, the Yajna of Kendra work sets no time limit because the deity of Rashtra Purusha is eternal and immortal and must remain so. So, it is a continuous sacrifice, an uninterrupted Aahuti, a total self-sacrifice that the Kendra demands from its workers who have willingly opted for this great and sublime work.


After all, what is the purpose of this life? Is this short span of a few decades of ephemeral existence meant for petty self- indulgence ending with a cry of agony of frustration and non-fulfilment? Are we to end up our lives like moths flying towards the blazing fire and turn into ashes? Human life is much more noble, purposeful than generally presumed. The Divine spark within man is capable of achieving immortality by merging into the Divine by offering itself as Aahuti in this great Yajna.


This great Nation of ours has been coming down from ages only because, at every moment of history, there were men and women, who willingly came forward to offer themselves at the feet of the Motherland thereby immortalising themselves and also this nation. The history of this Nation has been the history of thousands of years of uninterrupted sacrifice of countless people inspired by the love of this country and its glorious culture. Every time, the fire of sacrifice, the Yajna Kunda, was replenished and the process still goes on. The work of the Kendra is to be perceived in this light of history. Is there a greater joy and fulfilment of life than joining the ranks of those innumerable participants in this great Yajna? No petty limited ambitions or allurements for the votaries of Swami Vivekananda and Ma. Eknathji Ranade.


Let us take up the highest there brightest torch and march forward towards the shining goal of making Bharat the Queen of adoration for the whole world.

कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

1 comment:

  1. Swadesh Chetana is what Swamiji strived for his entire life. His only mission thus was to establish a machinery of selfless workers and thinkers which'd bring forth noble ideals and principles of religion to the doors of mankind.