Gita Daily Readings

9th April
Chapter Four: 25
Some yogis perform sacrifice to the gods. Others offer as sacrifice yajna (sacrifice itself) in the fire of Brahman.

Commentary

The highest wisdom is not attained overnight. Man's consciousness is shadowed by ignorance and superstition, pride and prejudice, false notions and ideologies. It is not given to all to uproot this mighty tree of ignorance with a single axe-stroke of supreme wisdom. The path of the majority lies through gradual evolution and sublimation. This sounds easy; it is not. One has to be eternally vigilant if one is not to slide back or to run round in circles. Eternal vigilance is not different from instant enlightenment!

There are some yogis who "sacrifice" to the gods. They engage themselves in ritualistic worship. When the ritual is performed with right understanding (that the whole universe is God's self-sacrifice), it transforms one's whole life into divine life. The yogi's vision expands to include in his concept of God, his parents, teachers and guests. The ritual widens into charity. The heart is gradually purified, eventually to let the light of God shine unobstructed by the distortion of the ego.

There are others who do not worship the gods, but perform religious rites, for their own sake. Though these rites promise heaven to the performer, he is encouraged to cut out this desire, in order that his action may lead him to the supreme. Hence even the oblations are followed by the formula na mama - "not mine" or "not for me." When these sacrifices purify one's heart the light of God reveals itself.

Eventually, this yogi offers sacrifice itself as an oblation into the fire of Brahman, the absolute. All activities that were superimposed on Brahman, in ignorance, are offered in the knowledge of the transcendental reality, which is the eternal witness of the dynamism of its nature.

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