Yajna is that action which does not bind you, which does not limit you. It is an action that brings only good to you and others. It is not a ritual, a ceremony. Yajna is uniting, realizing your oneness with the infinity. Honoring the Divine, honoring knowledge and taking everyone along with you is yajna. Contributing whatever you can is yajna.
Three things make one enact yajna:
Deva puja – you honour the elements and the constituents of an action. That is deva puja, honouring.
Sangatikarana – taking everyone along with you.
Dana – giving, sharing, gifting. It is a yajna that purifies our life, our mind, and our actions.
Since this whole universe is a yajna, give and take happens in the whole universe. Between the elements there is give and take – it is air that helps fire to blow; and it is fire that helps water to become vapour; and it is water that helps the earth blossom. If you see these elements, there is give and take in the whole universe. We breathe in and we breathe out – this is a yajna. Lord Krishna has listed different types of yajna. Yajna is the give and take that purifies human life, human spirit. We breathe in and we breathe out. Air is called Pavan, meaning ’the purifier’. Air goes in and purifies your whole body. Fire is called Pavak, meaning ’purifier’. The very name indicates its action in Sanskrit. Fire purifies, air purifies, water purifies – so should your action. That action which has a purifying impact, like meditation, service projects – they all purify our spirit.
In India, the ancient tradition has always been – before eating, rice, or any carbohydrate add a spoon of ghee (clarified butter) on it. They called it Annashuddhi, purifying the food. This tradition exists even today. How can a spoon of ghee purify rice? That spoon of ghee makes you digest the rice, the carbohydrate slowly. It slows down the digestion so that it does not immediately get converted to sugar and affect the sugar level in your body. It aids digestion and keeps hunger pangs at bay.
Dhanashuddhi means that when you have acquired some wealth, a portion of it should be donated. If you spend everything that you earn on yourself, then such earnings are considered impure. Money becomes pure when you earn and spend a percentage of it as yajna.
In the same way, yajna is when you are sharing yourself with all the people. Even singing is yajna; meditating is yajna. Lord Krishna listed all different types of yajna. Even listening is yajna. The sounds are entering your ears, the mind is immersed in the sound and you slip into a sort of meditation – that is a yajna. Similarly, you look at the scenery and then you transcend it, that is a yajna.
In the same way, pranayama is a big yajna. Breathing in and breathing out is a yajna, because it purifies your system. Similarly, fasting is also a yajna. Some people purify themselves by fasting.
Withdrawing your mind from the senses is also another yajna. That is why, when you sit for meditation, withdraw your mind from all the senses, take it to your source, you feel fresh and beautiful from inside! You feel rejuvenated because you have withdrawn your mind. The mind which is outside all the time, goes inwards. That withdrawal of the mind from the senses purifies you, otherwise you get worn down. People get worn down because they are too outgoing. They have never consciously taken their mind within. If the mind is outward all the time, it gets tired at some point of time. Then these withdrawal symptoms set in and it is very difficult for people to come out of them.
But if you are in the habit of consciously withdrawing your mind from the senses and bringing it into its very source, that purifies the senses and strengthens them.The wise one does yajna by transcending – by taking one’s attention from all different senses and their objects onto the prana, and then even the prana gets dissolved into the Being, into the Self. Click To Tweet
People do yajnas with offerings, you offer a little bit here with your attention on the divine and with the chanting of mantras. It has an impact on the universe. This is called dravya yagya. In India you will find fire ceremonies happening. You offer different herbs, different materials into the fire; 108 different types of herbs are brought and offered and it impacts the clouds. People have done many experiments about how a yajna impacts the clouds. In the Gita, Lord Krishna said, “When you do yajna, rain comes.”
Doing pranayama together is also called yajna. All these yajnas rid the planet of impurity. When you are part of the yajna, your spirit gets uplifted and you attain the Universal Spirit.
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