The Purpose of Yajnas

Radha Prathi, Sep 25, 2015,

Angels and demons reside within each one of us. When we fuel the positive or negative traits in us, they transpose as our character eventually contributing to our personality.

For instance, the Hindu way of living believes that we feed strength to our Gods which happen to be the goodness in us through Yagas and Yajnas.

The Gods who have to be pleased could be either forces or nature or could be presiding over various qualities that we desire to acquire. During these times, the performer of the Yajna follows certain disciplines.

He has to be truthful, abstain from alcohol and cooked food, uphold integrity, and espouse celibacy, apart from reposing faith and belief in the action that he has proposed to perform.

In other words, the Yajaman, the performer of the Yajna cleanses himself physically, mentally and spiritually before setting out to empower the Gods or the natural elements, who actually reside within him.

Then an individual or a team of Yajniks, light a ceremonial fire in a spot which is conducive and feed it with Havis. Havis, is usually pure ghee sourced from cow’s milk cream and is poured in to feed the sacrificial fire.

This action is accompanied by appropriate acoustics by way of mantras invoking the Gods or the forces of nature in a sincere manner. When this action is performed for a couple of hours over a few days, the smoke emanating from the fire and the complementary sound bytes will have an effect on the overhanging clouds. They will get charged which will result in rains.

The periodic rains in an agricultural society will ensure bumper crops. This in turn will usher in prosperity followed by contentment, peace and harmony. Naturally the citizens of the country who live in such an atmosphere will develop a penchant for the development of self and society. Arts, science and commerce will thrive, paving the way for a better standard of living.

The logic behind Yagas and Yajnas has been lost on us for lack of comprehension. Even if people who do understand the underlying principle perform them by the book, the altered environment punctuated with pollution and deforestation seldom fetches the desired results.

However, the new age should not deter us from feeding the God within us.

Yajna can be interpreted as a metaphor. It is an exercise which can help understand that the means are as important if not more as the ends we hope to arrive at. Any project taken up with discipline, passion and perseverance is equivalent to a Yajna which is perfectly capable of delivering the results we look forward to achieve.

Top Spot For Green Spots

Radha Prathi Sep 15, 2015,

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It is a known fact that therural population across the world is on a fast track conversion mode, filling in urban spaces. It is no wonder then that we are being faced with some pertinent questions.

If every country cousin of oursseeks the pleasures of city life, then who will grow our food for us? If at all a few do decide to cater to our needs, how will they price it? When the demand becomes overwhelming, will food come under the hammer? Would it not be safe for the highest bidder to apply for special protection, lest he gets lynched for his precious possession?

These and more futuristic questions relating to the state of our health if we use food grown with the help of chemical fertilisers or food which is not grown indigenously have been foreseen by some green minds around the globe. They have realised that what has been done cannot be undone.

For instance, it would be a criminal waste of human effort and money if we raze down buildings to recreate arable lands.

We cannot ground people to their villages and farms if they have other ambitions. But then, everybody needs to eat. If we have to fulfill our needs,  we must come up with ingenious solutions to stem the issues which are weaving their way to consume us.

The people who applied their minds on the issue have understood that only growing food on the good earth cannot provide for all. With the villages emptying out day after day and land resource getting scarce in the city, they came up with a master plan. They simply decided to take the soil to the terrace and grow food there.

Once the idea slipped into place, enterprising people have started working on the idea methodically. These smart brains realised that if each person, family or community started growing their own food, then they could overcome many problems at the same time.

The process is easier said than done. In the past, India has had a few terrace gardens sporadically, mostly because of the gardener’s passion or because of its novelty. It is only in the last decade that we have taken up the business of kitchen gardens and terrace gardens seriously.

Governments, NGOs and individuals have come up with several programmes which create awareness about the trending concept. Once they find an interested group of people, they are updated on the subject. The questions of the curious are answered. Sometimes the wannabe gardeners are taken on a field trip to the terrace garden of the people who already have one in place.

Work experience
The newbies are also provided hands-on work experience by allowing them to work on a garden which is being created newly.

A kit consisting of seeds, saplings, containers, soil, garden implements, waste management material among other things are put together, making it easy for the enthusiastic taker to buy them without running around.

An experienced hand helps the novice set up his or her garden. That is not all. There are experts who guide the first time gardeners by answering their questions and offering timely tips. In other words, the people who have been there and done that are most willing to hold the hands of the debutante and guide them through the green path. Once the first crop is harvested successfully, most gardeners are hooked to it for life.

At the practical level we could have chemical free fresh produce, besides enjoying pollution free and healthier life. At another level, people will renew their interest in life when they reconnect with nature. For starters, they will find their bodies toning up because of all the physical exertion.

Gradually, people will find themselves becoming caring and observant towards their plants. Over a period of time, they will learn to appreciate the finer aspects of life like emotions, sentiments, beauty, patience and the enormity of nature’s process.

The newly learned lessons will evoke their sense of equanimity. Sharing their bumper crop or bartering them with fellow gardeners can actually improve their social relationships and boost their feel good factor.

After all, happy and contented people pave way to a harmonious society. With such sterling support from all quarters and so many fringe benefits, we really have no legitimate excuse for not experimenting with our green thumbs and contributing to our green needs!