Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sristi Yagyan

Recently I got an opportunity to attend a Yangna (sacrifice) of Purnahuti (terminating sacrificial ceremony) on the eve of inauguration of Lord Shiva temple near our home. The sacred fire was rising high as priests poured ghee (butter) and other sacrificial herbs into the pool of fire. The chanting of Mantras and rising of the sacred fire created a very elating feeling. The very moment I was thinking about "Yagyan" itself... and questions erupted in my mind, that "what could be the real meaning of Yagyan and why it is being performed as a sacred ritual"..etc.

Most of us know that Yagyan is the ancient ritual performed for the welfare of the mankind as a whole; the ceremony of sacrifice meant for some good result like welfare of the people, prosperity, good harvest, health, wealth and even performed now a days for victory of a cricket team in a specific match... But yet the real meaning of Yagyan that is known from its source of origin (Purusha Sukta of Rig Veda) holds quite a deep underlying meaning. The Sanskrit term Yagyan reads as (Yag + na) or self surrender, offering of everything starts from the Universal Male (the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, timeless Purusha Vishnu) only. He who sacrificed his own being the Virata Rupa (grand universal form) and allowed Bikara or transformation   for the Sristi or creation of the material manifestation of the world.

Vedas are supposed to be the ancient most scriptures of the whole humanity and the creator of vedic verses, the Rishis (Seers and sages) of Vedic age have been illuminating the spiritual facet of  human life for ages... I am a petty being to grasp the Vedas. Yet I love the Purusha Sukta and Devi Sukta of Rig Veda and its description rendered by knowledgeable persons in several sites. Although I find myself as an ignorant and paltry being like a bacteria under the roof of universe, I believe and imagine the vastness and pervasiveness soul while reading few verses of Purusha Sukta.                                                               

In Purush Sukta the term "Yagyan" has been defined through few beautiful verses in a lucid and broad way. The whole creation is a Yagyan. Creation is made from the Yagyan or sacrifices of the creator himself. The eternal Purusha or Supreme being, who is all pervasive; who is the cause of past, present and future; who is the cause of the creation itself; the one who is the cause of all causes too sustains the creation in the form of food. The food that all living beings take that transforms into life energy is nothing other than manifestation of the Supreme Godhead .... In Purusha Sukta there is mention of a mystical meditative process of self consumption of the supreme Godhead; Virata Purush Narayana for manifestation of the active universe, named as Sristi Yagyan.

Verse-6 (Purusha Suktam)

yatpurushena havishA | devA yajnam atanvata |
vasanto asyAsI-dAjyam | grIshma idhma Saraddhavi: ||

The Sristi Yagyan the sacrifice which brought forth the creation was the manifestation of the Purush or the greatest cosmic being. It is symbolically presented that as if a ritual of sacrifice is being performed in which the creative part of Purusha (Brahma) becomes the performer, in which the Purusha is havirbhokta or He who enjoys/eats the havis- offerings to the fire. His senses were the devas- the Gods, who were the ritvik-priests of this sacrifice. Nothing but himself existed to sacrifice and so he sacrificed himself (purusheNa havisha) as the offering into the cosmic fires. The cosmic fire is the heart of the Virata Purusha.... A sacrifice of his being to himself, for the creation of himself only... Spring become the ghee or clarified butter. It makes the meditative sacrificial fire rise high with all glory into the Purusha himself. Summer becomes the samidha or the sacrificial herbs and twigs which make the fire burning; the autumn make the offerings; the summer, spring and autumn being part of attribute-less Purusha.

Verse-8 (Purusha Suktam)

tam yajnam barhishi prokshan | purusham jAtam agrata: |
tena devA ayajanta | sAdhyA RshayaS ca ye || 8 ||

In this verse Purusha has been mentioned as a sacrificial beast who is bound by the Gods for sacrifice. He is to be purified with holy water while lying on a sacred bed of straw, . The word "Barhis" indicates this straw. Barhis also indicates "prakriti" or nature. In this sense, all of nature is the stage for this sacrifice, and Purusha the sacrifice to be offered. He was firstborn and foremost of creation. The word sAdhyA means the Gods those who have the potential of freedom from time, but have not yet actually achieved it. In the sense that SAdhyam indicates possibility of achievement.... All those who sacrifice the eternal truth for its manifestation in them.



Here a question may arise, is the Veda supporting animal sacrificial? My conceiving says a big no. The Veda and its verses are very much symbolic and mystical. Here everything happens in deep meditative super conscious plain. Now it's "Bikara" or "transformation" to be taken into consideration. In "Bhagavatam" dwitiya Skandha, panchama adhyaaya, on questing of his Saint-God son Narada, the creator sense of the Supreme being "Brahma" says, the Universe or creation manifested from Various bikararas (transformations) of the pure consciousness...


kAlAd guna-vyatikarah ----- parinAmah svabhAvatah
karmano janma mahatah ----- purusAdhiSthitAd abhUt

From the transformation of the Purusha, the eternal time and the whole material nature of manifestation took place. The transformation makes three modes of nature- Sristi, Sthiti and Pralay and three modes of attributes (Satwa, Raja and Tama). The vikara gives rise to dual aspects of material modes of creation; one being the positive the other negative. As long as there is the concept of day there must be the night, as the light prevails, the absence of light (darkness) also prevails. The creation always demands and tend towards a balance or equilibrium in both for its existence. The Sristi or creation for its survival would always struggle with the damaging forces (the negative consequences of Vikara) and would tend towards realisation of its universal conscious whole the Purusha. 

So the sacrificial beast (Purusha) mentioned in Purusha Sukta (verse-7) can be symbolically the violent detrimental forces (a beast may symbolise ignorance, cruelty, vice and crazy self destroying force) manifested through the sport of Purusha for the process of creation to continue as a constant swirling of attributes among souls with one another until realisation of its greater self or the undivided Purusha only. Is the ritual of animal sacrifice justifiable when we understand the muse symbolic implication of animal sacrifice in Vedic verse! In reality the Veda is all very abstract where the process of sacrifice Yagyan (Sristi Yagyan) happens at total consciousness (the purest of knowledge, the supreme being)... Thus the mention of beast sacrifice must be the process of purification of soul for greater realisation or consciousness. 

Verse 18

yagnyena yagnya-mayajanta deva: | tAni dharmANi prathamAnAsann | 
te ha nAkam mahimAna: sacante | yatra poorve sAdhyA: santi devA: || 18 ||

Meaning-

By Sacrifice did the Gods
Sacrifice to Sacrifice
By the fruits of this,
The first harvest,
Do the great ones
Ascend to where the Gods
The first ones,
Those who made straight the way 
are.

The Gods (the sense of Purusha) through this sacrifice (Purusha), sacrifice (Purusha) to the sacrifice(Purusha). The friuts of this Yagyan is the first harvest of righteousness that leads towards knowledge and pure bliss and causes souls their transformation.

In this verse, the importance of Yagyan has been beautifully mentioned... The Purusha sacrificed everything including his whole being only for a desire to transform non- being into being, unnamed into named, unknown into known. This desire alone gave rise to the sacrifice which in turn created the whole universe out of the bed of void. This is the sacrifice which is the beginning of everything and the righteousness (Dharma) associated in it the first ever Dharma "tAni dharmAni prathamAni Asan" (the dharma to love and sacrifice for a greater revelation...). Only these dharmas form the stairways of liberation of soul, the process of self realisation. 

I imagine, the sacrifice of the Supreme Purusha who is also present within me and within every morsel of the this universe.... I bow down to him and his selfless sacrifice for this creation. 

What I perceive with my little mind that the "Sristi Yagyan" tells- 
  • You are the creator, part of the Purusha. Create a burning aspiration, a desire, a passion within for self revelation.
  • You have to be ready yourself for the sacrificial ceremony within in which your whole being is to be sacrificed or to be devoted in whole.
  • The detrimental thoughts and sinful attributes would be the sacrificial beast which would be sanctified with water of conscience on the bed of your innocence.
  • Your devotion and love would be habis or sacrificial weeds
  • All your prayer, all your sacrifice would reach to the Purusha within you.
  • The fire of heart or your own wholesome eternal personality would rise high
  • The fruits of  this Yagyan would ultimately come out as the wholesome revelation of your pure personality leading you towards liberation. 

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