Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 08 Feb 2005


Do you agree with scholars who say that performing Yajna is important?

It is correct that Yajna is most important and it is elaborately discussed in the first part of the Veda called Karma Kanda. But unfortuntately, the real meaning of Yajna is lost. Foolish people have misinterpreted this. The word Yajna comes from the root word ‘Yaj’ which means to worship and donate. Therefore Yajna means the process of worship with donation. There are three essential Yajnas.

  1. Havir Yajna: Any item prepared in ghee [clarified butter] should be donated as a light meal or breakfast.
  2. Soma Yajna: Offering the juice of soma, which is nothing but tea or coffee.
  3. Paka Yajna: Offering full meals.

Every Yajna must be followed by the offering of Guru Dakshina without which, the yajna becomes useless (adakshina hato yajnah). The meaning of this is that by offering food, you have donated the primary facility to satisfy the hunger. By offering Dakshina, the other facilities are also donated. Here the context is the occasion to worship the Lord through the discussion of divine knowledge and singing of devotional songs. [When the Lord in human form comes to your house, to discuss divine knowledge, you worship Him by providing food and donating money.] It starts in the morning and goes up to noon. Light food must be taken in the beginning so that one remains energetic. One should not fast completely because the body becomes weak and the mind cannot concentrate. At the same time, heavy food must not be taken in the beginning, because it will lead to inactivity and drowsiness. The Gita says that both extremities should be avoided (Natyashna tastu…). At the end of the discussions and singing, meals must be offered.

Who should be worshipped in the Yajna? God will be the first choice, who is called as Brahma. A devotee is the next choice, who is called as Brahmana meaning that he who knows the divine knowledge of Brahma. The last choice is any person who is not an atheist and who can be a representative of God. This last choice can be a person who simply recites the Vedas without knowing the meaning and who is called as a Vipra and not a Brahmana.

The human incarnation is God Himself. God pervades all over that human body. The second address of God is the heart of a devotee. Both these are direct worships. The last choice of worship is indirect worship with which also God is pleased. If the representative of the king is honoured, the king is pleased. But, the representative is neither God nor is God present in the representative. The most important point is that the formless God or inert statues cannot be worshipped in Yajna because Yajna is essentially donation of food to a living being. That is the reason why you don’t find any statue near Yajna. God in energetic body also cannot be worshipped because energetic body cannot eat the light meals, tea or coffee and the full meals. Foolish people, who only recite the Veda without understanding it, have brought God in energetic body into the Yajna. They thought that Havis means ghee itself, whereas it actually means only a food item prepared with ghee. When a doctor says “avoid oil”, does it mean avoiding direct drinking of oil? Nobody drinks oil! It means one should avoid food prepared in oil. Similarly, a human being with hunger is called as Agni or fire. The Gita calls the hunger as Vaishwanara fire. You have to offer the food to the hunger-fire. Fools who do not know the Shastras and even the Sanskrit language have misunderstood that fire means the physical fire and that ghee means ghee itself [to be burnt in the physical fire]. They started pouring ghee in the physical fire (bhowtikagni or loukikagni). Sages used to go to the place of a great sage for such worship. Singing devotional songs is the recitation of the Sama Veda. Spiritual discussions are the Upanishads, which come under Jnana Kanda of the Veda. Yajna is offering of food to devotees in such a divine seminar. This is the reason why I condemned the mere recitation of the Vedas without studying Sanskrit and the Shastras.

Of course My salutations to ancient scholars who recited the Vedas and protected the pure text without any insertions. But, those scholars also studied the meanings of the Vedas. Now the Vedas are recorded in original form and there is no fear of any pollution in the future. Therefore mere recitation of the Vedas is not necessary now.