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In the Gita, Sri Krishna counsels Arjuna to do his duty and not run away from the battlefield. He gives an impressive range of arguments to convince Arjuna of the need to be resolute and fight. The Lord asks him to survey the entire creation and describes the ‘Wheel of Action’ or the ‘Wheel of Creation’
Understanding Yagna – The Spirit of Sacrifice
Sri Krishna depicts the whole creation, its laws and movement. He points out that all beings are born of food and grow by food. The growth of food is dependent on rains. Hence prosperity of all – even prosperous countries – depends on rains. Thus, beings are born from food, food grows because of rain and rain, itself, is a result of yagna.
Considering yagna as an elaborate fire ritual indicates a limited understanding of the word. It would lead one to ask the seemingly logical question. ‘So many countries do not perform yagna, but it rains there also. Does it not?’ The simple answer would be: the scriptures do not state that performance of yagna in China will deliver rains in China only. It is because of yagnas in India that it rains there also!
An in-depth examination reveals two aspects of yagna – one of worship and the other of sacrifice. Let us take the basic example of how rain is produced. Science tells us that the sun radiates heat causing the waters of the ocean to evaporate. The ocean sacrifices water in the fire of the sun; the vapours do not remain, but go up and form clouds. The clouds do not keep the water for themselves, they give it up. By following the laws of radiation, evaporation, cooling and gravitation, the rain comes down.
We find that yagna is going on continuously in and through nature – this activity of giving is going on smoothly, silently and patiently. The phenomenal forces all get their powers of creativity and activity from the Supreme. The Imperishable Brahman is the source all the phenomenal forces and laws of nature and is present everywhere. The secret is that His divinity becomes more and more manifest wherever the spirit of worship and sacrifice is present – both in individual life and in the totality.
Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda interpreted this also from the worldly stand point. We have seen that population increases in places where there is material prosperity. Ultimately, material prosperity is dependent on water – the rain. Rain is that climatic condition without which food cannot grow. Similarly, in a company, factory or workplace unless the physiological condition is conducive, the company will not flourish. Discontented workers go on strike, without thinking of the larger good. A spirit of sacrifice and dedication is imperative to create favourable conditions and positive thinking that lead to prosperity. Whenever everybody comes together, works together and puts forth their best, there is success – even in a simple game of cricket.
Wheel of Action
It is in this way that the wheel of action is set in motion. He who does not contribute to society leads a sinful life. There is the amusing but instructive anecdote about a group of families who decided to go on a picnic. Each one promised to contribute a food item. There was just one person who did not offer anything. Finally somebody asked him what he would bring. He answered, ‘I will bring my wife and children!’
The one, who indulges only for sensual pleasure lives in vain; his life is meaningless and useless because he is taking benefit from the activity of creation without giving anything in return. The entire nature works ceaselessly to make our existence possible, thus it is our duty to ‘produce more than what we consume and give more than what we take.’