Gita series 38. Bhagavad Gita - Chapter III. 9-12:

“Except for the activities done for the purpose of religious rites (yajna), the temporal beings, involving in other worldly activities get bound by karmas. Arjuna! Perform well and without attachment for the sake of yajna. At the time of creation of mankind, Prajapati (Brahma) the lord of creation, created humans along with yajna and said ‘multiply by this yajna. Let this yajna give you (humanity) all material prosperity. By this yajna, appease gods and goddesses. Let these gods and goddesses make you prosper. Without self-centeredness, attain mutual prosperity. The gods and goddesses, who prosper out of your yajna, will fulfill your materialistic requirements without even asking for them. The one who enjoys such pleasures without giving these gods and goddesses their due share is a thief’.” Yajna is a vedic ritual wherein oblations are offered to appease gods and goddesses. Vedas prescribe various rituals to appease different types of gods and goddesses. These rituals are performed by Kings in those days for peace and prosperity of their kingdoms and by sages and saints for universal peace and prosperity. The important aspect of yajna is the sacrifice or renunciation. The mantras are chanted by saying that the oblation does not belong to the doer and is only for the particular god or goddess.

Lord Vishnu, whose incarnation is Krishna, is the presiding God of all yajnas. It is to be noted that Vishnu is worshipped as the God who sustains this universe. It is believed that oblations offered in the fire, where the respective god or goddesses are invoked are carried to the respective gods and goddesses through the medium of fire. Therefore, fire is said to be the carrier of appeasements to the respective gods. It is also believed that food is offered to such gods only through such yajnas. But over a period of time, the sanctity of the rituals has undergone a total makeover towards commercialization. Apart from the ritualistic aspect, the yajna requires complete identification of body and mind with the god invoked in the fire. In the absence of sanctity and perfection in today’s yajna, people are slowly but surely moving away from such rituals to concentrate more on internal yajnas called meditation, wherein no external participation is required. Thus, the external yajna is categorized under five types. They are Deva yajna (appeasing gods and goddesess), 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 contemporary thinking has surely undergone a transformation for the better, by feeding poor and needy, feeding animals, etc thereby deriving true internal happiness, a step closer to the bliss. These acts are done without expecting material comforts, without desires and attachments and without ego leading to true experience of happiness. This is what Krishna advocates here. The principle of Krishna’s teachings is that one should not identify himself with any actions that cause attachments and desires. The cause and fruits of all such actions should be surrendered unto Him. If this is not done, he is then bound by karmas leading to further births. Krishna then proceeds to explain the teachings of Brahma, lord of creation. It is interesting to note that Shiva is called as the father of the universe, Vishnu as the grandfather and Brahma as the great grandfather. Brahma created universe along with yajna. Yajna can also be interpreted as light. Brahma says that the universe was created along with light. The Bible says “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:1.3). This confirms the theory that all that exists in this universe are only reflection of His creation. This reflection is caused due to the self-illuminating light of the Brahman. This light is the cause for nourishment and multiplication. Nourishment means both external and internal. Internal nourishment is nothing but nurturing the atman within, and this process is called self-realization. External nourishment means material comforts and prosperity.

The latter part of Brahma’s statement refers to the level of consciousness. Ones consciousness can reach the higher levels only if ones thoughts and actions are not self-centered, which leads to desires and attachments. Level of consciousness is to be understood as gods and goddesses. The highest form of consciousness, which is known as the cosmic illumination is the Brahman. Lower levels of consciousness refer to the various dimensions of the Brahman, indicating the lower levels of cosmic energy. Lower level of cosmic energy is capable of pulsations and vibrations, which is realized by deriving super natural powers. One should not become delusory with these powers that ultimately prove to be annihilating. When one could take his level of consciousness to the purest form of cosmic energy, where only the pure self-illuminating light alone exists, he gets assistance from gods and goddesses from the lower planes without asking for it, as described in the Bible “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43). Multiplying means multiplication of this light into various attributes of the Brahman in the form of various gods and goddesses. To cite a few examples, god of fire, god of beauty, god of water, god of death, etc. One should realize that whatever stage that he is today is due to the act of God, which operates through His various attributes. The one, who does not take cognizance of the attributes of the Brahman, remains deluged by ego, the worst enemy in spirituality. He therefore is called as thief.