कर्म is inevitable.
One may have romantic ideas about reducing कर्म, because कर्म comes with baggage and one does not want baggage.
भगवान् श्री कृष्ण: explains that शरीरयात्र (श्लोक ८) is not possible without कर्म |
But कर्म can feel like a burden, with a long ever-growing to-do list of pending activities/responsibilities, and only temporary solutions. So, one may feel that one has not done enough, or that one is not enough.
Everyone experiences this burden of कर्म | The fisherwoman on the bus, who has a heavy basket of fish on her head, refuses to put it down. She keeps the heavy basket on her head thinking- it is my basket of fish, and if I do not carry it, then the train will have to carry my basket. She does not consider that the train is that which is carrying her from one point to the next.
In the same way, the train is the flowing blessings of ईश्वर | And one stands with one’s basket of कर्म, thinking – I am the one who has to do it all, I am never enough, I feel so exhausted/tired.
But, really this heavy basket of कर्म that one thinks that one cannot put down, is actually fully pervaded by भगवान् | The carried basket of कर्म, the different types of कर्म performed, the laws of कर्म are all shaped by भगवान्, and the results of कर्म is also all भगवान् |
So, if one puts the basket down, the train is not going to feel the burden.
This is the transformation from कर्म to कर्म योग | It is the surrender to भगवान्, with the understanding that one is able to do कर्म thanks to भगवान्, and that one gets पुन्य or पापा, with resultant happiness/sorrow due to भगवान् |
So, one need not feel the weight of the basket, as one has learnt to put it down by understanding that the train/ईश्वर that is carrying one, will also carry the heavy basket.
But this basket/कर्म gives one an identity/sense of significance, so one holds on to it for dear life. However, this very basket/कर्म becomes बन्धन, if कर्म is not transformed to कर्म योग |
सहयज्ञा: प्रजा: सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापति: ।
अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक् ॥ १०॥
यज्ञ in this श्लोक is another word for कर्म योग |
पुर – at the beginning,
प्रजापति: – Lord Brahma-ji, the creator i.e. the function of भगवान् involved in manifestation.
प्रजा: सृष्ट्वा – having created these different beings,
then Lord Brahma-ji also created यज्ञ, and then He said,
अनेन – by this, i.e. by this यज्ञ i.e. by worshipful/reverential कर्म / कर्म योग,
प्रसविष्यध्वम् – may you multiply.
May this यज्ञ be इष्टकामधुक् – something that you like and may this यज्ञ/कर्म योग be like a wish-fulfilling cow.
Let this Knowledge of ब्रह्मन्, fulfill all your desires.
In the वैदिक lifestyle, there are certain संस्कार-s/rites of passage/milestones which are performed for purification/seeking blessings.
So, यज्ञ refers to all these कर्म-s presented in the कर्म काण्ड portion of the वेद |
So, if one wants something, one can do regular क्रिया and get the result.
However, by doing one’s कर्म which is enjoined by the वेद, it enhances the results of कर्म that one is already getting.
Nowadays, most do secular rituals, e.g. a birthday is incomplete without a cake being cut. So just as these rituals carry meaning, so too by understanding the significance of the वैदिक ritual, it becomes meaningful. For instance, there are rituals for the act of conception, before a mother becomes pregnant, when a child’s hair is first cut, when the child’s first solid food is eaten. Also, the child’s start of the study of वेदान्त is an important milestone, and usually occurs between 8-11years and is marked by the initiation into the Gayatri Mantra.
So, different rituals/mantras to be chanted are present in the वेद, and this was revealed along with the manifestation of this creation.
The ऋषि-s did not compose the वेद; the वेद was revealed through the ऋषि-s.
So, along with this manifestation, the वेद which was unmanifest was revealed to those who were eligible i.e. the ऋषि-s. And the rituals revealed form the कर्म काण्ड portion of the वेद |
Kamadhenu was the wish-fulfilling cow of the great ऋषि Vasishta. When King Vishvamitra came to the forest with his retinue, they became tired & hungry, so unannounced they sought the hospitality of Sage Vasishta. Due to His wish-fulfilling cow, ऋषि Vasishta was able to receive the King and his entourage graciously and serve them a bountiful platter. (अतिथिदेवो भव – treat the unannounced guest as God) The King was surprised that such a lean ऋषि living in the forest could supply such a grand meal. Upon questioning, Sage Vasishta revealed that He had a cow called Kamadhenu. Obviously, King Vishvamitra wanted the cow, but Sage Vasishta explained that the cow only yielded to ऋषि-s of his calibre. So, King Vishvamitra did a lot of तपस् and became a great ऋषि; but of course, at that point He did not care for Kamadhenu.
So too, Kamadhenu is present in the वेद | So whatever कर्मफल is desired, by doing that specific कर्म enjoined by the वेद, one can have it all.
However, with the disposition of कर्म योग, whether one gets the desired result/not, one is okay with whatever is.
So, success when performing कर्म is getting items ticked off of a to-do list, whereas success in कर्म योग is being okay with whatever the result is, knowing that it is प्रासाद from भगवान् |
Therefore, यज्ञ is an important part of one’s life-
~ converting कर्म into कर्म योग, as well as
~ the कर्म mentioned in the कर्म काण्ड portion of the वेद which helps in (i) fulfilling one’s wishes, as well as (ii) one’s rites of passage.
देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु व: ।
परस्परं भावयन्त: श्रेय: परमवाप्स्यथ ॥ ११॥
भगवान् now talks of the देवता-s/presiding deities i.e. the intelligence that makes everything possible.
So, by the कर्म rituals, one is making offerings to the देवता-s.
Therefore, may one make these offerings to the देवता-s.
And, as a result of which, may those देवता-s also propitiate one.
So, the principle of reciprocity is highlighted. Reciprocity is a fundamental aspect of धर्म |
Therefore, a balance must be seen between what is given and what is received.
And so, it is not that there are inert laws of nature, rather there is an intelligent cause who is भगवान्, with different deities/heads of department responsible for different phenomena. In this way there is enforcement & application of the laws of nature.
So, may one recognize the presence of these presiding deities.
If one does not recognize these presiding deities, still water flows for one, wind blows for one etc.
But, with their recognition, one feels more connected to the entirety, and it is part of one’s sacred responsibility to acknowledge the different देवता-s for all things that one gets.
So, the श्रीमद् भगवद्-गीता which is the essence of the वेद, milked by भगवान् श्री कृष्ण:, tells us that which cannot be known by direct perception or inference.
Here, भगवान् श्री कृष्ण: tells of the presiding deities that are responsible for all various phenomena, who are to be propitiated.
And because this is a relationship of reciprocity, one will gain the greatest good by doing things for the other i.e. for the देवता-s.
The देवता-s are not demanding, but by making offerings to them, one feels connected to the total, and also gains पुन्य |
So, may one do this देव-यज्ञ |
One has the freedom to relate to any देवता, in any way that one wishes ~ as a friend, child, teacher etc.
One may have a इष्टदेवता that one prays to every day.
Then, there is a कुलदेवता, who is the deity of the family.
Also, there is a ग्रामदेवता, the deity worshipped by a community, and who blesses the community in that form.