[Advaita-l] Idam na mama

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 18 10:05:33 CDT 2011

> With reference to your Email on the above topic,You are talking about the 
> "Yajna"as it is understood commonly,i.e pouring oblations to the fire to get 
> something in return from the Devatas.I am talking about the 'JnanYagna"which is 
> glorified by the Bhagavan in the Bhagavadgita.In the Upanishath which belongs to 
> the uttarakanda(uttaramimamsa),only Jnanayagna is relevant.without obtaining 
> Jnana,.pouring all the wealth like tins of ghee,silk,barley,millets is a 
> collossal waste.Many could be fed with that money.

This is a peculiar mix up of economic and religious motivations, is it not? Feeding the
needy is good, but better would be to help the needy get to a point where they can
feed themselves. Money does not grow on trees; it is a product of human activity. 

And within the vast sphere of human activity, yajna has religious significance. It can
be done for selfish reasons (kAmya) or because it is ordained so (nitya-naimittika)
or it can be given up by the jnAnI.

In the same bhagavadgItA, there is a verse yAvAnartha udapAne ... which refers to 
the jnAnI. Only the one without jnAna has any motivation to pour ghee and material
goods into the sacrificial fire. It could be for kAmya reasons or it could be done in a
nishkAma fashion. What is waste for one man is food for another. For instance, if
one were to think that performing SrAddha is a waste and that one should instead
feed the poor or do something else, then that falls under the avidhi-pUrvaka action
that the bhagavAn also criticizes in the gItA. 
Please also see the ending portions of the mahAnArAyaNopanishat, where satya,
tapas, dama, Sama, dAna, dharma, agni, agnihotra, yajna and mAnasam are all 
extolled before saMnyAsa leading to brahman. When it comes to satya, tapas, dAna,
dharma, tapas, yajna etc., it is never a question of one or the other exclusively. Prior
to jnAna, one needs everything. Only the jnAnI needs nothing. You cannot say, "I
always speak the truth (satya), so I don't need tapas." or "I meticulously perform
all the yajnas, so I don't need any self-control (dama)," or "I donate generously 
(dAna), so I can neglect truth (satya) and can afford to earn through corruption
and other dishonest means." There is absolutely no point achieved in neglecting or
ridiculing one aspect and elevating another exclusively. 

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