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September 24th, 2006



Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of our most beloved Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I was thinking about how to prepare ourselves for Dasara, and especially the performance of yagna. Last week we dealt with the details of what a yagna is and what it is all about. The talk is there on the website and I don't want to repeat myself again. But certain things were not dealt with already, and I would like to draw your attention to those today.

YAGNA is a combination of Ritual elements,

inner WISDOM and Devotion

With every spiritual activity, we have three aspects. First, there is the ritual aspect, karma kanda. Second is jnana, the inner significance, and the third element is the connecting link, bhakti, or devotion.

All of the materials and men involved in the performance or observance of the event is called karma kanda, which means the ritualistic aspect of the spiritual activity. In order to do karma (action) with sincerity, with steadfastness, with determination, with all its purity and with all the austerities that must go into it, the process requires bhakti (devotion). To perform any action, we need devotion. Supposing I don't have bhakti while performing yagna, it will be mechanical, useless, meaningless, and purposeless. If one has no devotion, why should they perform any yagna? Unless there is bhakti, no one would perform any yagna or yaga. Therefore, the underlying current behind this karma kanda is bhakti.

Karma is one aspect; the second is the jnana — the inner significance — which has to be realised in every spiritual activity in order to experience the blissful part of it. To illustrate: I eat, and we can call that action karma kanda. When I draw energy out of the food I eat, that energy may be called jnana kanda. Eating by itself is not enough if I don’t get energy from it; and I can't get energy without eating. Karma and jnana are equally interlinked, intertwined, interwoven, intimately associated, and interdependent.

We do karma kanda with full understanding of the inner significance (jnana kanda). Bhakti is necessary for jnana, for karma, and in order to be sincere about any ritual. Bhakti will help me to do it sincerely and to acquire jnana — wisdom in all humility, in all its reverence — because jnana requires humility, reverence, receptivity, and sensitivity. A bhakta or devotee must be very humble, prepared to acquire knowledge, and ready to receive the inner significance of every ritual.

Therefore, my friends, yagna is the combination of these three: karma (the ritual); jnana (the inner significance of every ritual); and the connecting link or underlying current for both of these — bhakti (devotion). That is the first and foremost point to which I want to draw your attention this morning.

yagna is for universal welfare, peace, and happiness

As we are going to witness a yagna quite soon, we must understand that it is an activity that represents three aspects in one: Karma, bhakti, and jnana in one — that is yagna. (These are certain things that we should know in order to appreciate the process. If we just sit watching the yagna without any awareness or any understanding of the basics, well, we will simply be spectators, like the white wall over there or like any pillar. Let us appreciate, and therefore be effective, enthusiastic, and active participants, if we know at least some fundamentals regarding these things.)

Yagna aims at universal peace and universal happiness, loka kshema. Loka (universe) kshema (welfare). Loka (universe) shanthi (peace). Yagna is for establishing peace in this world; it is a prayer for the welfare, prosperity, safety, and security of the entire humanity. If we mistakenly believe that we are doing this for our personal profit, for personal gain, or for personal favours, then we will not be performing a yagna at all. Yagna’s aims are not personal. A yagna is a collective event; it is for the establishment of universal peace. That is the second point to which I want to draw your attention.

Also, the basis for the performance of yagna is righteousness (dharma). Meaning, I cannot be unrighteous and start a yagna. An unrighteous man is not eligible to perform any yagna. So, the foundation of every yagna is dharma, or righteousness.

Yagna requires a specific procedure

There is also a definite procedure to yagna. I cannot say, “I want to do yagna this way and that way.” No. You cannot be independent. There is a way. There is a procedure. Why?

You may say, “We are in a democracy. We have free will. Why? Why act according to what you are saying? Why should I not act the way I like?”

My friends, in order to do any experiment in the laboratory, there is a procedure. Why? So that you may return safely out of the laboratory! Or else you will be finished in the lab. That is why every experiment requires a definite procedure to be followed. If you want to question — alright, you may do so at your own cost, at your own risk. Just write down on a paper beforehand, "No one is responsible for anything that may happen to me." (Laughter)

A procedure is also necessary for every karma or spiritual activity; and this procedure is laid out in our Vedas. Vedas speak of the procedure to be followed while performing yagna. A simple example: chemistry students have a qualitative analysis book. It describes how to do an experiment, such as volumetric analysis or qualitative analysis. These are all practical guides that tell you how to do an experiment. Similarly, the Vedas tell you how to perform yagna, when to start, what to do, how to do it, how long, how many items, what is to be offered; everything is clearly stated. It is something like a recipe. These Vedas give you the procedure, the way it is to be done.

The Vedas fulfil and explain the procedures of yagna

I would like to draw your attention to just some of the basic points about the Vedas, if not all. The first purpose of a Veda is yagna siddhi: to realise the purpose, or to fulfil the objectives, of every yagna. Siddhi is fulfilment. It is realisation, successful completion, or fulfilment of the objectives.

The second purpose of a Veda is yagna sthithi. Yagna sthithi, meaning the procedural aspects.

(My friends, these are all the points collected from Sai literature. Being a teacher, I was able to collect those points, put them one after one for us to easily grasp and get ourselves ready for the yagna in full spirit. When you can understand it, you can enjoy it. It is similar to the technique used by the entertainment industry, where even before the release of a film, the soundtrack is released. You will come to the movie to hear those songs. When the picture is released, you will enjoy it more because you have heard the songs before. It is the same with some ads. So, similar to something like an incentive or advertisement or a pre-released soundtrack, my introductory talk to you is a preparation for that yagna.)

We know there are four Vedas: Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Rig Veda, and Atharvana Veda. Which of the four Vedas speaks of yagna? It is Yajur Veda that speaks of yagnas. All sacred rituals have been dealt with in Yajur Veda.

I do not know how many of you know this, because I, too, came to know very late: The residence of Swami is called “Yajur Mandira”. “Yajur Mandira” is the name of His residence. The name of His residence in Kodai Kanal is “Sai Sruthi”. Sruthi means Veda. (We should have some quizzes like this! (Laughter)) Clear?

The name of the residence of Bhagavan in Brindavan is “Thrayee”. Thrayee means three. Though it is said that the number of Vedas is four, one Veda, Sama Veda, speaks of music — it is full of music! Minus that one, the actual number of Vedas is three or thrayee. So, “Thrayee” is the name of the residence of Bhagavan there in Brindavan, Bangalore.

The name of the residence here in Prashanti Nilayam is “Yajur Mandira”. Yajur Veda speaks of procedural aspects of all yagnas and yagas. This is one important thing to which I want to bring to your attention.

The first branch of Yajur Veda speaks of yagna’s timing

What is the meaning of Yajur Veda? Yaju, yaj, is the etymological, or original, word from which Yajur is derived. The original word yaj means “worship and meditation”. So, the very meaning of Yajur Veda is worship and meditation. It speaks of the fundamental aspects of spiritual life.

And then Yajur Veda speaks of, or gave birth to, three important branches of science. These three areas lay down the principles for the successful conducting of a yagna. What are those three branches? The first branch of science speaks of the time when you should start yagna; the second speaks of the place; the third of intonation.

The time, auspicious moment, and duration is what you call jyothisha. (My friends, people say ‘astrology’ is the English translation for the word jyothisha, which it is not. Jyothisha and astrology are not the same. People say, including me occasionally, that ‘righteousness’ is the translation for the word dharma, which it is not. Dharma is dharma. There is no equivalent English word. For karma, we say ‘action’ in English, which is not correct. But somehow I have to translate; so with an apology, I use these words. But because they are such words that have different meanings depending upon the context, we have to first understand the context.)

Therefore, Jyotish Sastra is the first branch of science which originated out of Yajur Veda. It relates to the time and the duration factor of every yagna.

The second branch speaks of yagna’s space

The second aspect is this: where to perform yagna. You cannot perform yagna on a railway platform, in the airport, or at a five-star hotel. (Laughter) You cannot do that! There is a place where it must be performed.

Certain things have to be built there. There is the altar, or yagna gunda, the central place. It contains the fire. This is where the sacrificial fire (agni gunda), to which all important offerings are made, or the altar (yagna vedika) is. Where is it to be constructed? What are its dimensions? What shall be its length and breadth? How many steps should there be? In which direction should it be raised? These are all very important questions.

Take, for example, a telescope, stethoscope, or microscope. There is a scope to make use of these things. (Laughter) You cannot put a stethoscope to your knees and observe your heartbeat. You cannot put a thermometer under your feet! You cannot put a microscope to your back! (Laughter) There is a way. The microscope has to be kept at a particular distance; a telescope has to be viewed in a particular direction. Similarly, there are specifications for the placement of things in yagna.

The place where the yagna vedika (the altar) should be raised, where it is to be kept, in what dimensions it should be built — that is all dealt with by the second branch of science that we call Vasthu Sastra. It is the science that speaks of dimensions, the area, and the place where this agni gunda (the sacrificial fire) is to be kept. You cannot keep it just anywhere.

For example, you have a house plan. All of our houses are built according to a plan. I don't think that you can have a room just anywhere and everywhere. There is a building plan such that breeze flows freely, and so that there is enough light. Isn't it so? Just as you have a building plan, there is a plan where the yagna is to be held, where this agni gundam needs to be kept. This is what we call Vasthu Sastra, the second branch of science.

We should be able to explain yagna

Then there is the third branch of science. (These are very necessary!)

I tell you, my friends, by reading these aspects I am learning more. If it weren’t for this lecture, I wouldn't have read about them. Many Indians, including me (or starting with me), take things for granted. We think that we know. Most unfortunately, we do not know that we do not know! (Laughter) But we think we know. That is the worst tragedy out of which nobody can help us. But there is some reason for this problem. I cannot blame everybody like this without reason.

The reason is that it is in our blood. Therefore, one feels he knows. All these things have been observed; all these things have been followed over the ages, generation after generation. He finds his father attending yagna; he sees his grandmother listening to a spiritual discourse and singing some poems from epics. “So, I know,” he says.

“Could you tell me?” you might ask.

“Meet me tomorrow.” (Laughter)

“Would you say why you do it?”

“My grandmother did it. That’s all.”

“Why do you go to the temple?”

“My father asked me to go.”

“What is the meaning of this story?”

“Not necessary. I know the story.” (Laughter)

This is how we are. But times have changed. You may get along with the temperament now, but your children will pull your collar. They will ask you “Why, why, why?” and you cannot put them to bed. (Laughter)

People, too, are distributed all over the world now; it is indeed a global village. Every house, every family has one person staying abroad.

Our children belong to the computer age. They belong to the space age, the age of science and technology. Your child asks, “Why, Daddy, why yagna?” You cannot say, “You will be blind if you ask a question like that.” He will say, “Let you be blind.” (Laughter) The boy will say it openly.

In the past, people were afraid to face their fathers. The earlier generations didn’t speak to their fathers. But in our generation, they speak freely. In the next generation, they pull their fathers’ collars, they question; they doubt also. It is science, you know. Therefore, let us be prepared. We cannot silence our children. No!

Though people may not admit it openly, this is true in every family. The neighbour knows it very well because of the daily ‘Korean war’ they hear next door every day. (Laughter) Every house seems to be a house of parliament: opposition and ruling parties! (Laughter) People question. So let us be ready to face this parliament. Children ask "Why, why?" So we should explain these things.

The third branch speaks of yagna’s intonation

The third branch of science born in this Yajur Veda relates to the manthra aspect of it. Manthra: how it has to be uttered. How it has to be spelt out. How it has to be pronounced. The pronunciation aspect of it, of manthra, that’s what you call Vyakarana Sastra. (As I find some of our friends noting down, I am reading out the spelling. “Vyakarana” is the exact intonation.)

You see, every language has its own pronunciation and accent. You cannot speak as you like. The spelling may be similar, but you must speak correctly or no one will understand you. If it is spelled b-u-t, it is “but”. If it spelled p-u-t, it is “put”. You cannot say “boot” and “puht”. (Laughter) No. But is “but” and put is “put”. That is “but”; this is “put”. That’s all.

I am Anil Kumar. You cannot say, “A-Nil Kumar”! (Laughter) The meaning is gone! In fact, I am “nil” — that is true! But you cannot openly say that in front of everybody! (Laughter) My bank account agrees to that. It tallies with your observation. (Laughter) But you cannot openly say that, you know. Similarly, every manthra has to be pronounced in a specific, definite way. Every name, every word, has got beauty in its accent and in its pronunciation. The spirit is lost when it’s mispronounced.

We in India were trained by the British, so English is spoken all over the country. But every state regionalised it. If you go to one state, they don't say “terrible”, they will say, ”terriBRL”. They don’t say “horrible”; they say, “horriBRL”! (Laughter) The tongue goes on rolling inward. Why? We have regionalised English.

In some areas, they don’t say "wa" with a “w” sound, they say "ba" with a "b" sound! “Bhy are you bandering in the beranda?” meaning, “Why are you wandering in the veranda?” (Laughter)

We have regionalised the language. And for us Andhra Telugu people, the Telugu language has got more stress in it — there are stressed words and unstressed words.

In English, stress comes on certain syllables, like in the word “ability,” the stress is on the letter B, also in nobility; and on the letter P in capacity, and responsibility. Stress is on certain letters, and not on others. (Of course, I know this is not an English class!) But in Telegu, there is more stress, so as we speak English, we stress certain syllables unnecessarily, and make you feel stressed. (Laughter) There’s stress on every word! So you have to listen to us carefully and ask us to repeat ourselves a number of times.

Therefore, every manthra has to be pronounced and uttered in a definite way. And that branch of science which relates to pronunciation is what we call Vyakarana Sastra.

To review, my friends, these are the three branches of science: 1) Jyothisha Sastra, which decides when to start yagna and how long it is to be held. 2) Vasthu Sastra, which dictates how to organise things there: where to perform yagna, how to raise the altar, and so forth. 3) Vyakarana Sastra, which describes how to make offerings, how to repeat manthras, and how to invoke God’s blessings. These are all explained by Bhagavan.



The yagnas again may be split into three categories, this time for the people who may perform them.

Not everyone can perform all yagnas. In cities like Bombay, they don't have enough places to live. Where is the place for yagna? They cannot stretch their feet! Oh, Bombay! Very small rooms, very costly, and rents are mounting. Sometimes people there have to pay advances, which could never be cleared in their lifetimes. That one city is very costly! So, what yagna you could do there? There is none. “Thank God, without yagna, I am more comfortable!” (Laughter)

It is not possible for everybody to do every kind of yagna, so there are three types of yagnas for three categories of people. (The scripture is so compassionate. That’s why it is called Veda Mata. Veda is mata, the mother — compassionate, considerate, kind, concerning, caring, and loving, with the spirit of accommodation.)

The first category of yagnas is for intellectuals and the priestly class — those who are committed to it. The rest of us have no time to commit totally like they do. We don’t belong to that priestly class. We may give priestly talks, but we cannot perform priestly acts. It will be too ghastly to live in society that way. So, the first category of yagnas is meant for the priestly class.

There are also three kinds of yagnas for the priestly class. The first is Avihavirva yagna. The second is Soma yagna. The third one is Paaka yagna. So, these three are for the priestly class, whose members can spend maximum time and have dedicated their lives to yagnas and whose job is to perform yagna. It’s not for everybody.

The second class is for rulers and kings. Those yagas we common-folk also can't do, because we need space—palaces and such, so many horses and chariots. But we don’t have space, not even car parking space! (Laughter) How about horses and elephants?

So, the second category is for kings and rulers, and for them, also, there are three yagas. One is Aswamedha yaga. The second is Raja Sooya yaga. The third is Sarvamedha yaga.

And the third category is for the rest of us, the householders—for every one of us here. For those who are middle-class, upper-class, lower-middle class, and classless!

Yagnas for householders

These are the yagnas to which I would like to draw your attention, which are observed by everyone. It is most necessary to mention: they don't cost you anything. Because people always want to know, “How much should I spend? I am ready with my checkbook.” No, not necessary. These yagnas also do not need any priest to be invited.

There are no priests available in cities like Calcutta. But in America, there are priests now! They fly to your place by helicopter. They fly, finish off the job there, and fly somewhere else. Here, no one cares about them. Watching the priestly class in America, I felt had I been born there, I would have had a better career! (Laughter) Because — I can explain — they simply chant! Of course, it’s too late to be a priest now. Too late! Better luck next time. (Laughter) An ‘intercontinental’ priest. I would’ve had a privately owned a helicopter to go place to place. Why not? These priests are in great demand. (Laughter)

But you don't need any priest for these yagnas. You don't have to spend money. You don't need any specific place, any specific thing at all. You only need your mind to do it. You need a good temperament. You need a positive attitude.

What are the yagnas to be performed by every one of us? The first one is Deva yagna, an expression of gratitude to God. Why gratitude?

We usually don't feel like expressing our gratitude, as long as we are comfortable. But if you come across a blind man, you will understand the value of your eyesight. If you come across a deaf person, you will understand the value of your hearing. When you come across a dumb person, you will understand the value of the gift of speech and communication. We don’t understand the value of the heart unless it shows fluctuations in ECG. But because we are busy, unless an ECG tells us there is a problem, we don’t understand the heart’s value.

My friends, we don't need to be millionaires or billionaires. No, no, no! With millions and billions, only a number of diseases follow.

How to calculate the value of a human body

I was just talking to my friends, the students. (Students gather round me wherever I go. I feel very happy in their company. They are quite young boys. We can tell them what to be. We can tell them what dynamism is. Above 60, there is nothing to tell a person! They don’t know what they don’t know. But, happily, being a teacher I have the opportunity of interacting with youngsters all the time.)

I told them just an hour ago, "My dear boys, if you worry too much about money, what will happen? After getting the money that you want, you cannot eat anything. Hard foods you cannot eat, because of a blood pressure problem. You cannot eat sweets because of a sugar problem. You cannot happily laugh or bitterly cry if you want to, because of hypertension. So, you must live on bread and check on your passbook (bank account) entries every morning; plus your children will be counting the days until you kick the bucket!" (Laughter) Because, being healthy, you are not prepared to give your children any money. That’s the reason why, when you ask an adult, “How is your father?” He says, “Ah . . . going.” He is not happy to say, “He is fine, sir.” He won’t say that because his father has not handed over the property yet. (Laughter)

So, my friends, he for whom money has the only value, for whom money is the only criterion to a good life — take it from me — is a very cheap fellow who doesn't enjoy anything! Not dancing or music or jokes or life; merely passbook entries and the calendar which tells him when he finishes off his life-cycle here.

Therefore, my friends, let us be grateful to God for this good body given to us: perfect eyesight, perfect hearing capacity, perfect speaking ability, perfect understanding, perfect intelligence, perfect intellect, good health. You can walk and you can work. You can talk and walk. What more you want?

Do you know the cost of my body or anybody’s body? What is the cost of your body, do you know that? We don’t know! But you know the amount in the bank account. Bank accounts you know. We know them even more these days because of credit cards and other cards like that. One time, a bank manager asked me, "Anil Kumar, do you want some credit cards or perhaps some bank cards?" I said, "I require them only if money is in my account." But for Anil Kumar, it’s nil balance, so I don’t need any card! (Laughter) Not necessary.

We know our bank balances, but we don’t know our own value. Just ask any fellow who is suffering from kidney problems and needs a kidney transplant; he will tell you. A kidney transplant is three lakhs. (One lakh is 100,000.) We have two kidneys, valued at three lakhs each = six lakhs! (Laughter) You already have six lakhs!

Heart transplant: five lakhs. We have got a good heart, so why not? Six plus five equals eleven lakhs. And then any amputation, legs or hands or something like that, each costs about 25,000 rupees. Two hands and two legs, four times twenty-five — Hari Om! One more lakh! (Laughter) If you calculate eyes and ears and every limb of your body at the open market price, share market price, or foreign exchange value, everyone is a Bill Gates! (Laughter) Why not? We are so rich, we just don't know it.

Therefore, my friends, we have to be very grateful to God for this beautiful gift of life; for this beautiful, handsome personality. Each one is handsome. No one should feel that he alone is handsome. If you think like that, it is very ugly. Everyone is handsome in one’s own way. Some people are very fine, but they don't smile, and it is so awful to look at them. So, being handsome does not mean complexion alone, no. Therefore, let’s be very happy for this most natural gift. We thank God because we have not asked for this body. You did not submit any request or tender or application. God gave you this body.

expressing our thanks to god is Deva yagna

To say thanks to Him is what we call Deva yagna. Deva yagna is an expression of thanks to God for this beautiful gift of life, body, and health.

Let me tell you this point also: Baba says that it is God who makes every limb of your body effective and functional. If God is withdrawn from my eyeballs, I cannot see, though I have eyes. When Divinity is withdrawn from my ears, I have ears, but I cannot hear. It is similar to the situation when there is a power-cut and you have a fan, but it does not rotate.

Power-cuts are daily experiences, as most of you know; and more so in the evening hours, with dancing, musical mosquitoes. (Laughter) Mosquito music, it is very famous, you know! Michael Jackson is nothing compared to mosquito music. Particularly after 7 o’clock when there is a power-cut and mosquitoes try to land on our bodies! (Laughter) The body becomes something like Chicago airport, full of mosquitoes landing on the airport of our body. Add to that the threat of chikungunya (a mosquito-borne illness)! Some of them don’t land and go. They leave behind their footprints in the form of body pains to follow. (Laughter) We don’t need any jokes! We can laugh at our own life! At our own life, we don’t need any third agency! Not necessary!

Baba says, "There is Divinity in every limb of our life.” Anga means limbs or parts of our body. Rasa means Divinity. Angi rasa means the Divinity in every part of our body is responsible for its effective functioning. So we should thank God for that.

following the teachings of our prophets is rishi yagna

The second yagna that we should all do is Rishi yagna. Rishis, or prophets, like Prophet Mohammad. Prophets gave us various holy scriptures. Prophets gave us most of our valuable doctrines. They gave us a dictate; they gave us our scriptures. We are very grateful for this heritage, the legacy, passed on to us. Without the scriptures, we would have been nowhere.

So, rishis — the sages, saints, seers, and prophets — gave us the scriptures; so we should say thanks to them. How do you thank them? Shall I take my photographs of prophets and dance around them? How do you thank a rishi, how do you thank one?

We can thank a rishi or a prophet by acting according to the scripture. A scripture is given to you by sages. Living according the scripture is an expression of thanks. How can a student thank me? Not by carrying me on his shoulders or by hugging me. A student can thank me by reading what I want him to read, and by getting the grade I want him to get: ‘O’ grade (Outstanding). That’s the way of thanking me. So, the way to thank a rishi is to act according to the scripture given to us by him. This is what we call Rishi yagna.

pleasing our parents is pitru yagna

And third, Pitru yagna, means expressing thanks to our parents. How do you thank your parents? By praising them? “Father, you are very great! Nobody on earth can beat you! Oh, Mother, you are the personification of love”? She will say, "Stop that nonsense. Stop that! What’s wrong with you? Useless fellow! Has Anil Kumar taught you this? Let me speak to him now.” (Laughter) So, my friends how do you thank your parents? So, not by flattering.

Baba said one time that two speakers preceded His talk and they both competed with each other in their praises of Him. Swami got vexed with those praises and said, "Enough, enough, bas, bas, bas!" These two fellows must have thought that He would praise them, but Baba is really unique. He got up and said, "I hate praises of this type." That was His first sentence.

Then Swami said, "You can praise a person who doesn’t belong to you. But I am your Father; I am your Mother; you and I are One." Do you go and tell your mother, “Mother, I would not have been there without you. You have been so great”? Artificial! Therefore, my friends, how do we thank our parents? By trying to please them.

Let us try to please them. Let us serve them. Let us live up to their expectations. Let us make them feel proud of us. If anyone says, “Your daughter is bad and your son is a louse,” you just watch the face of any parent and you will know how important it is to please them! (Parents always want their children to be praised by a third person. But no parent in India praises his own child to his face. I am yet to meet a person who says, "My son, you are a fantastic person; humanity has not yet seen such a good fellow." It is insanity — no father praises a son to his face. That isn’t the style here.)

So how do we express our gratitude to our parents? By living up to their expectations, by obliging them, by following their command, by serving them, by looking after them in their old age. This is what we call Pitru yagna.

serving our fellow man is manushya yagna

The fourth householder yagna is Manushya yagna. Manushya means human being. As a human being, we have to perform this yagna.

We should first be humans. But we are not humans. If you see any newspaper, some of the groups these days are named ‘Tiger Association’ or ‘Tamil Tiger Elam’. “Oh, you are tigers! You don't belong to the category of human beings?” I am afraid of my fellow humans, let alone tigers. But some people also have animal names, wild animals! Meaning, “Please keep yourself away from us, a respectable distance.” Let us be human first.

Because of this genocide, mass killings, and total selfishness, we are proving that we are not humans. Even animals feel insulted by our actions. Animals are leading better lives than human beings. Therefore, my friends, let us be human.

So, what is Manushya yagna? It implies two things: 1) Being a human by acquiring human values; and 2) Serving the fellow men. Service to man is service to God. This is Manushya yagna — service.

Consideration for other creatures is bhutha yagna

The fifth yagna is concern for other beings, like cats, dogs, squirrels, pets, birds, rabbits, ants, trees, and flowers. Just some consideration for our fellow creatures.

Today, in the name of deforestation, we are uprooting all the trees. There is no wildlife; there are no forests left anymore. What do we have today? Only tsunami, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Why? We have no respect for our fellow beings. We have no respect for our fellow creatures. Therefore, we must do Bhutha yagna, meaning being considerate to plants, animals, birds, and beasts, by feeding them, by not denying life to them. Just as I have the right to live, an animal has an equal right to live. Just as no one has any right to kill me, no one has the right to kill any bird or animal.

Therefore, my friends, we the householders are supposed to perform these yagnas: Deva yagna, thanks to God; Rishi yagna, following the prophets’ commands; Pitru yagna, gratitude to parents; Manushya yagna, service to fellow men; and Bhutha yagna, consideration to other beings.

two schools of thought in yajur veda

I should also draw to your attention that Yajur Veda has two aspects. Because this will help all of us as we participate in the yagna. That’s the reason why I am bringing all these points for your notice.

Yajur Veda has two schools of thought. One is followed in the north of India. One is followed in the south. That which is followed in the north is what called Sukla Yajur Veda. The other one, followed in the south, is Krishna Yajur Veda. Are they two parties? Are they rivals? Are they enemies to each other? No. They are complementary; they are supplementary. They are not contradictory.

Krishna Yajur Veda and Sukla Yajur Veda were created in a series of particularly funny situations. Here in India, Vedic knowledge is passed on from one generation to another. Not through media or the Internet; only through verbal communication. To begin, Veda Vyasa communicated all these Vedas to his next, immediate disciple by the name of Vysampayana. This second guru, Vysampayana, taught all this knowledge to Yagna Valkya, the third generation.

Yagna Valkya, in due course of time, full of this knowledge in his head, became a head-strong, egoistic, self-praised bragger! Then what happened? Immediately, he was humiliated and questioned. So Yagna Valkya said, "Alright, all the Vedic knowledge that I acquired, I will give back to you.” So he vomited up all that Vedic knowledge.

He could not tolerate the humiliation; he could not tolerate the insult. So, he vomited, meaning he dropped all his knowledge. And this knowledge was picked up by a particular variety of birds called thithiri birds. They could catch this knowledge because they partook from all that was sent out by Yagna Valkya’s mouth. The birds repeated it all, and it became Thithi Upanishad. The school of thought that follows Thithi Upanishad is called Brahma Samskara. Brahma Samskara is the first branch, or the first school, adopted in South India under the name Krishna Yajur Veda.

Then came next phase: The same Yagna Valkya felt highly repentant. He regretted his arrogance; he felt very sorry. So he prayed to God again. God came, and taught everything to him again. All of that knowledge falls under the second school of thought, Aditya Samskara, and is called Sukla Yajur Veda, followed in North India.

So, Krishna Yajur Veda is Brahma Samskara; Sukla Yajur Veda is Aditya Samskara, both by the same Yagna Valkya. Now you can understand its continuity. That’s what Veda is.

Baba explains the three branches of vedas in a modern way

There are three main branches, as Baba has said, of Vedas. The first branch is what you call Koudhuma branch, followed in Gujarat. The second branch is Ranayani, in Maharashtra; and the third one, Jaimini, is followed in Karnataka. (All of this is from Sai literature, my friends! These are all by Bhagavan. Long ago, forty years ago, He said this. I can even give you the date.)

Swami explained what Koudhuma means in this way: It has got both long sounds like “aaaaaaaaah” and “ooooo,” and short sounds like “ah“ and “oo”. Hrasva means short; deergha means long. These two sounds are there in Koudhuma. Whereas the second one, Ranayani, which is followed in Maharashtra, has got hrasva (“ah”), that’s all. The third one is Jaimini, from Karnataka, which is full of music, full of music!

four types of music

And this music, Baba said, is of four types. (See that? Bhagavan, the ultimate. Who will say these things other than Swami, such that the modern generation can easily follow the concepts? If you ask any Vedic scholar to explain these things, well, you will feel like ending your life! He will make it so complicated that you will decide not to go to any temple, and not to go to any priest for a hundred lives to come! (Laughter) Because they make you totally mad. But Baba explains in a modern style, because He is a modern God. He knows what modernism is. His is such a simple style.)

Music is of four types: The first music is folk dance. Folks and villagers have their own music, their own style. Since I am not a musician, I cannot give a demo. You are fortunate. (Laughter) Lucky enough! Some folk songs tell the story of epics, such as the Ramayana. Folk songs are called grameena, village folk songs.

Second, we have aaranyaka gana, Nature’s music. The fluttering of the leaves amounts to a drumbeat; the movement of the flowers adds some kind to rhythm, and the blowing of the wind is also a melody. This is a second sort of music where Nature is the orchestra.

The third one is ooha gana. Ooha means imagination. A simple example: a film heroine is crying. (Naturally she has to cry because she is paid for it. (Laughter) We also cry to pay for it! One is paid and others pay! (Laughter) Both cry for money only!) But she doesn't cry ordinarily. Because she is a heroine, she sings as she cries. It is a tragic song because of separation from the hero, or because of denial at the hands of the hero. So, she cries and sings. But she is very keen to convince us how sincerely she is crying. (One can cry, but there should be some show of sadness also.) So while crying, she makes some small noises. (Anil Kumar demonstrates. Laughter) We say, “Oh! She is crying well enough.” (Laughter) Or, when we’re in a jolly mood, we have some laughter or some smile. So, expression in support of the feeling of the music is ooha, as we see in dramas and cinemas.

The fourth one is oohya, oohya gana, meaning empathy or identification. As they watch someone else cry, some people cry more genuinely than the affected people. Yes, because they identify with them. You can see this in cinemas or in front of the TV, when some people start crying. They start identifying with the heroine; they step into her shoes and start crying.

I remember very well: Long back my grandfather used to tell me about a time when a Harischandra drama was enacted. (In Harischandra, there is a character named Visvamithra, who goes on goading a fellow named Harischandra.) Well, in that drama, when Visvamithra was goading Harischandra, a fellow from the audience got up, and shouted, “Are you mad, fellow? How long are you going to torture him?” (Laughter)

And the actor said, “It is a drama, sir. Why are you going on like this?” And he said, “Just don’t man-handle him like that.” (Laughter) He couldn’t separate reality from fiction. Some people are like that; they identify with the drama. So, oohya gana means to identify with the spirit of music.

My friends, as the time is up, I don’t want to delay any further. These are the few points to which I wanted to draw your attention, so that we can enjoy this yagna totally.


Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti


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