Yajna For All Humanity
For the last couple of weeks, Sai devotees have been driving themselves into a frenzy of excitement over the Ati Rudra Maha Yagna (pronounced 'yugg-yuh') that is currently taking place in Sai Baba's ashram (Aug 9 - Aug 20). Bringing up issues that I plan to discuss in a later post, I couldn't help noticing the foolishness of this proposal. According to the propaganda, this "has been performed only once before by Shiva for the Good of the World, Now it is performed by Sai Shiva."
Raising your eyebrows? Read on: "The Rudra Yajna is the Most sacred and powerful among all the Maha Yajna's ... This most powerful Yajna is done only with the Presence of a Divine Being and done in a most serene environment for meditation, spiritual study and practice. It is also done particularly for the sake of washing away ones sins and afflictions, for bringing peace, prosperity and happiness, along with family togetherness."
Pass the bucket.
But let us put all of that aside (for now) and concentrate on the concept of the yajna itself. In this connection I'd like to present an important scriptural verse:
kRte yad dhyAyato viSNuM tretAyAM yajato makhaiH |
dvApare paricaryAyAM kalau tad dhari-kIrtanAt || BhP 12.3.52
"That, which was attained during Krita through meditation on Vishnu, during Treta through the worship of sacrificial oblations and during Dvapara through temple worship, is attained during Kali through Hari-kirtana."
For those who are unfamiliar, traditional Hindu periodisation divides time into four eras (yugas), each marked by a increased decay in morality, righteousness and general standards of civilisation. According to this view, we are currently in the last and worst (Kali) age. The import of this verse shows that in the Krita-yuga (aka 'Satya-yuga') meditation on Vishnu was the recommended path to perform in order to attain God-realisation. The next Treta-yuga found itself following the principles of Vedic fire sacrifices (yajnas) to achieve the same purpose. Further decline in the Dvapara-yuga necessitated the replacement of yajna-performance with deity-worship in the temples. And now that we are in the worst age where it is extremely difficult to perform any of these processes to the fullest standards of perfection that they entail, it is recommended that the chanting of God's name is sufficient.
One should note that this verse and it's contents are a familiar concept to many practicing Hindus and is widely prevalent in many traditional philosophies and religious organisations. This verse and others of a similar nature have been oft-quoted by many spiritual teachers including Sai Baba.
One wonders, then, why does the Baba initiate the performance of these yajnas every few years or so? What possible purpose can this achieve when the current climate is unsuitable for yajna-performance? Anybody who knows anything about yajnas will be able to confirm that the activity requires an extremely high standard of concentration and exacting demand. And given that Sai Baba has quoted the above verse and similar ones frequently in his discourses, one may also wonder why he is wilfully practicing what he preaches, NOT!
How is it that no devotee objects to this? How is it that no devotee has enough critical thinking to contemplate these matters and see how Sai Baba is such an obvious clown, if not an outright hypocrite? The Baba has for years been claiming that he has advented for the purpose of restoring Vedic values and the authority of the scriptures, you'd be forgiven for thinking that he was actually engaged in these tasks! Yes, the performance of yajnas may very well be a 'Vedic' activity but of what use are they in an age where their performance is not recommended and whereby the chanting of the Holy Name is supposed to be the bestower of everything?
And as if to confirm this, I almost forgot this choice line from the Bhagavad-Gita:
yajJAnAM japa-yajJo 'smi
"Of yajna-sacrifices, I am the yajna of japa." [BG 10.25]
Well, there you have it. Japa is a by-word for the chanting of the holy name, and thus this is the only "yajna sacrifice" that is recommended for this age. If Sai Baba and/or his devotees were truly interested in the import of the scriptures that they claim to be restoring and practicing, why do they not pay attention to these very basic and simple points? Everything that they are concerned about can be solved by following the recommended practice of nama-japa (chanting the names), namasmarana (remembering the names), and so forth.
This issue is itself a pointer for people to wonder if the "Avatar" really knows what he's doing.
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