Spiritual Discourses: The universe is sustained by yajna
Spirituality: The universe is sustained by yajna
By Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati*
The universe is a marvellous creation. There is a certain order and harmony about it. It reminds us of an orchestra playing a harmonious melody. This orchestra of the universe has sentient and insentient objects as performers playing their unique instruments. God is the master conductor of this orchestra directing all the performers to remain in tune and rhythm with the harmony of the universe.
Besides the elements of nature such as the sun, moon, stars, air, fire, water, earth, trees, and sentient beings such as animals, birds, insects etc., the human being is also one of the performers in the orchestra of the universe. In fact, he is one of the most blessed performers in as much as it is only he who has been endowed with the free will to play his instrument as he wishes.
Freedom can be a great blessing if employed with discretion but it can also prove to be a curse if abused. Therefore there is a need to instruct or guide the human being to remain in concord with the prevailing harmony. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Geétä that the universe is sustained by yajna. Any selfless action or action imbued with the spirit of reaching out is what is meant by the word yajna.
Lord Krishna says it is this spirit of offering or yajna which harmoniously moves the cosmic wheel. Sun offers itself to form clouds, clouds offer themselves to form rains, and rains offer themselves and grow as food. In this manner, all the members of the universe offer themselves at the altar of the macrocosm and thereby help move the cosmic wheel.
The human being is also a cog in the wheel and therefore, he is expected to do his part. He is indebted to each and every member of the universe such as elements, trees, animals, sages, parents, teachers, ancestors, scientists etc; for what he is today. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Géetä that one who enjoys the favours from the universe but does not return is a thief. By adopting a selfish and violent attitude he may profit externally but by rubbing against the order of the universe he winds up with conflicts and turmoil within.
It is therefore becoming of a human being to return the favour with a sense of gratitude.
How should he do that?
Everybody is assigned a certain role in life. May that role be performed to the best of one’s ability, not for personal gain but for the well-being of the macrocosm. All the duties and actions that one has to perform may be looked upon as an opportunity to serve the universe.
Thus, when the spirit of offering, the spirit of contributing permeates the life of the individual he has struck the fine chord of harmony playing in the universe.
The result is that he is at peace with himself. The spirit of offering, the attitude of serving or reaching out is such a catalyst that it purifies his heart of selfishness, greed, aggression, violence, usurpation and other such self-centred tendencies and makes it pure and divine. Purged of these discordant tendencies he is free from anxieties and conflicts. It is this free mind that experiences happiness. He is no more dependent on external paraphernalia to make him happy.
In a nutshell, selfishness is equal to unhappiness and selflessness and reaching out is equal to happiness and peace.
Besides gaining composure, living in harmony with the universe is being one with God for Vedas reveal that the spirit of offering itself is Lord Vishnu meaning, the immanent. Let us by offering ourselves at the service of the universe merge ourselves with God and fulfil the goal of our life.
*Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati has been teaching Vedānta Prasthānatrayī and Prakaraṇagranthas for the last 40 years in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Throughout the year, he conducts daily Vedānta discourses, accompanied by retreats, and Jñāna Yajñas on Vedānta in different cities in India and in foreign countries.