Gita series 39. Bhagavad Gita - Chapter III. 13 – 15:

“Those who eat the remnants of fire oblations (yajna) are freed from all sin. But the sinners who make food merely nourish their bodies consume only sin. All the living beings are born out of food that is grown out of rain. Rain decants out of yajna (the sacrificial fire, as prescribed in Vedas). The sacrificial fire arises out of karmas. Karmas arise out of Vedas. Further Vedas originated from the eternal Brahman. Consequently, the omnipresent Brahman populates in yajna.” These verses convey deeper meaning. Yajna means sacrifice and offerings. We have already dealt with five types of sacrifices, to be performed by everyman. They are Deva yajna (appeasing gods and goddesses), pitr yajna (for the souls of departed ancestors), brahma yajna (appeasing those who are well versed in Vedas), bhuta yajna (feeding animals) and atiti yajna (feeding guests and poor). The subtle meaning that is conveyed here is that one should first feed those who are needy and hungry. The remnants of yajna means, the food that is remaining after feeding them. The sacred act of feeding the needy is called yajna.

Preparation and consumption of food in a routine manner without sharing with the needy, is what Krishna says is the cause of sin. But the meaning of yajna is mostly misunderstood with performing fire rituals and associated oblations. Not everyone can perform such fire rituals, which involves a lot of money. As we have discussed earlier, such yajnas are meant for the rulers such as kings and emperors. Nowadays, such yajnas are being performed for the cause of humanity at the expense of learned and noble persons. For a common man, performing these five types of yajnas give immense mental satisfaction and resultant peace. When ones mental status is calm and peaceful, he is not prone to commit sin. On the contrary, if one makes a living merely for the purpose of eating, his mind gets afflicted with evil thoughts that get transformed into sinful actions. The concept behind the five types of feedings is that one should realize that he cannot survive all alone and he has to necessarily depend upon other beings for his survival, the principle of co-existence. For every living being, there is an inner fire in the physical body. The flame of the inner fire can be controlled by pranayama or breath control. Pranayama along with better level of consciousness cause kundalini energy to rise from the base chakra to ascend to higher chakras.

When the kundalini energy reaches the heart chakra, universal brother hood is realized and the five types of sacrifices that we have discussed above are performed without any expectation in return. This is the ideal situation, where one performs his duties, unconcerned with the consequences of his actions. If one is able to reach this stage, he is not impaired by further karmas. Meditation is a process through which the universal brother hood and principle of co-existence can be better understood and realised. Otherwise, one continues to incubate under the influence of selfishness. When selfishness prevails, there is no end to accumulation of evil karmas, resulting in continued sufferings and miseries. Krishna teaches the basics of happy and peaceful living. The interdependency in creation is now being elucidated by Krishna with examples. No organism can exist without food. Crops grow with the help of rain. But, when we eat our food, we think about food alone and not its cause, the rain. In the same way, when we perform our actions, we get associated only with our actions, and forget our Creator. Rain pours due to the auspicious effects of yajna. The ritualistic effect of yajna does a lot of good, causing positive vibrations through chanting of mantras and associated oblations. It should not be construed that the effect of fire rituals alone is capable of bringing in rain. The vibratory effect of good deeds on the cosmos is potential enough to cause rain. Therefore, yajna means not merely the rituals, but also means thoughts and actions of everyone for the prosperity of the universe as a whole.

In the words of Sir James Jeans “The universe can best pictured, though still very imperfectly and inadequately, as consisting of pure thought…” It is often said and proved that the group prayers have more healing effect than individual prayers. Krishna says that karmas arise out of Vedas. Here karmas mean actions as prescribed Vedas. A derivative of Vedas is sastras (rules for ethical living). Sastras prescribe dos and don’ts as advocated by Vedas. That is why Krishna says karmas arise out of Vedas, as any action done outside the purview of Vedas is not considered as an approved action. Such actions are considered as sin. Vedas originated from the Brahman, as Vedas are not manmade. They are considered as the precepts of the Brahman Himself and perceived by ancient sages and saints who developed immense abilities to commune with God. Such abilities were obtained by them by powerful meditations. {Scriptures like Bhagavad Gita can provide necessary thoughts and ideas to realize God, but it is only through our endeavour to practice proper meditation, their commandments can be realized. This is the reason why we are dealing simultaneously with the scriptures and the tools that are necessary for proper meditation. A lot of such articles are available under the label ‘self-realization’ in this site.} That is why Krishna said the omnipresent Brahman populates in yajna.