Mahabharat Episode 56 : Yagnas – Timeless Rituals

In this Q & A from the Mahabharat program, Sadhguru explains the ancient ritual of yagna and its bearing on human wellbeing. He reveals a surprising variety of what forms yagnas could take, and what may be most suitable in today’s context.
Sadhguru Wisdom Article | Mahabharat Episode 56 : Yagnas – Timeless Rituals

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Questioner: Sadhguru, what is the significance of age-old practices like yagna [ancient form of ritual, usually involving mantras and offerings to a fire]? Are they relevant in today’s times? How does one benefit from them?

Sadhguru :A yagna means a public handling of an inner possibility. When you publicly handle an inner possibility, the profoundness and depth of the possibility will come down, but the scope of the possibility, in terms of how many people it can touch, will be enhanced. Whether to sit and meditate or do a yagna – the challenge is to strike a balance between profoundness and scope – how much of profoundness you will sacrifice for the sake of scope, and how much of scope you will restrain for the sake of profoundness.

Yagna means a disciplined action that will benefit all. If you sit here and meditate, and then you dance around so that everyone benefits from your meditation, it is a yagna. How to perform a yagna? There are many ways to do it. The things that you have normally seen are remnants of the rich culture of yagna, often preserved by people with commercial interest. When we consecrated the Adiyogi linga [at Adiyogi Alayam, Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore], we took a dangerous step. It would have been so simple and easy for me to do this in privacy, with a few people to help me. The plan was to do a part of the consecration at the shrine [a sacred space in the Isha Yoga Center] and then bring the linga to the Adiyogi Alayam and do the rest of the consecration for everyone else to see. But then life situations overtook us, and we did not do anything at the shrine. We did everything here, which could be life-threatening for the person who is performing the consecration. But there was no other way; dates were fixed; eleven thousand people were here, because they wanted to benefit from something very profound that they would never get to do in their lives by themselves.

We did something very profound with a large scope, touching many people, which could have killed me, but these eleven thousand people were so fantastic; they sat here like one person, which made it much simpler.

We did something very profound with a large scope, touching many people, which could have killed me, but these eleven thousand people were so fantastic; they sat here like one person, which made it much simpler. But still, such things will cause some damage to yourself if you do in public what should be done in close, safe atmospheres.

Yagnas are of many kinds. A yagna could be in the form of mantra, or it could be of pure energy. There are still people who are doing some powerful processes, but largely they have lost their essence and become commerce. That is why in this age we must limit the yagna. It needs to be transformed into an intellectual process.

The Isha Yoga or Inner Engineering that you go through is a kind of a yagna. It is conducted with the rigidness of a yagna. If you come to our programs, we are doing nothing short of a yagna. No fire or chanting, but we are using the sharpness of one’s mind to do the yagna.

You can do yagna with your body. You can do yagna with substances around you. You can do yagna with the five elements. You can do yagna with your mind. Or you can do yagna with your emotion. At the Linga Bhairavi, you will see a certain yagna happening that is very emotional.

You can also use your life energies to conduct yagna. You can do atma yagna. There are many ways to do the yagna. In today’s world, with the type of education people are receiving, the type of attitude they have towards themselves, the most effective yagna is of the intellect, at least to start with. If people open up, if we find they still have a heart, then we can do emotional yagna. If they are competent of using their life energies, we can do energy yagna. And maybe someday, we can teach them atma yagna.

To be continued..

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Editor's Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, February 2020. To subscribe online, click here. The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.