te deva bhavayantu vah
sreyah param avapsyatha
By this (Yajna) please the devas who will in turn please you! Thus supporting each other you will attain the highest good.
By yajna or worship and appeasement one pleases the Devas or demi- gods, who in turn please you with prosperity and abundance. Thus mutually gratifying each other both humans and the devas will be happy and attained the highest good.
Trees and plants etc. naturally bear flowers and fruits, but their growth is luxuriant if these are tended properly. Similarly, a man should perform his duty by nurturing and fostering the gods by offering worship and service to them. By doing so, he is sustained by the gods with timely rain etc. But when he does not perform his duty properly, the gods do not properly protect and so he has to face calamities, such as a deluge and drought etc. It is an accepted fact that the body, senses, mind, intellect and possessions are neither ours nor for us. If we sincerely perform our respective duties, we will add immensely, to the welfare of the world.
Generally the Devas are the presiding deities of a particular function, such as Kubera for wealth, Varuna for Waters, Vayu for air, Agni for fire, etc. We have to do Yajna to please these Gods who in turn take good care of us in all aspects. Similarly in organizations we have Heads of Departments and CEO and one must serve their departments selflessly and with devotion and you will be taken care with promotions and prosperity.
Duties and responsibilities of the Hindu life have been classified into five great Yajna or the Pancha Mahayajnas. It is imperative on the part of every householder to perform the following five sacrifices
Rishi-yajna – honouring Rishis by the study of Holy Scriptures.
Deva-yajna – worship of the celestials (devas) by pouring oblations into the sacred fire. This is done during the twilight prayers (sandhya), aupasana, and agnihotra yajna.
Pitri-yajna – offering libations to ancestors or pitrs.
Manushya-yajna – charitable offerings of food to fellow humans.
Bhuta-yajna — feeding animals, especially cows and birds.
istan bhogan hi vo deva
tair dattan apradayaibhyo
yo bhunkte stena eva sah
Fostered by the sacrifice (yajna), the gods, will bestow upon you all the requisite necessary for performing your duty. He who relishes these, without using these in the service of others, is verily a thief.
One should know, however, that all the necessities of life that the human society requires are supplied by the demigod. No one can manufacture anything. Take, for example, all the eatables of human society such as grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, sugar, etc., none of which can be manufactured by men. Then again, take for example heat, light, water, air, etc., which are also necessities of life – none of them can be manufactured by the human society. Without the Supreme Lord, there can be no profuse sunlight, moonlight, rainfall, breeze, etc., without which no one can live. Obviously, our life is dependent on supplies from the Lord. Even for our manufacturing enterprises, we require so many raw materials like metal, sulphur, mercury, manganese, and so many essentials-all of which are supplied by the Devas, with the purpose that we should make proper use of them to keep ourselves fit and healthy for the purpose of self-realization, leading to the ultimate goal of life, namely, liberation from the material struggle for existence. This aim of life is attained by performance of yajna. If we forget the purpose of human life and simply take supplies from the agents of the Lord for sense gratification and become more and more entangled in material existence, which is not the purpose of creation, certainly we become thieves, and therefore we are punished by the laws of material nature. A society of thieves can never be happy because they have no aim in life. The gross materialist thieves have no ultimate goal of life.
We owe this body to our parents, and it is they, who have fostered it. For our knowledge, we are grateful to our preceptors and sages. Thus, whatever material, strength, ability, rank, authority, wealth and property we possess, we owe it all, to others. So whatever we possess should be devoted to the service of others. The person who without repaying the rightful due of others and enjoys the objects himself, is a thief. Thus a thief is, he who performs actions with a selfish motive in order to gain honour and praise etc. Such a person can never gain purity and peace of mind. A selfish man is not liked or praised by anyone. In a family, objects get concealed from a passionate and pleasure-seeking person. On the other hand, if a person serves others with all his resources, he attains salvation and is also praised, honoured, comforted and supplied things, even though he is unwilling to receive them.
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ye pacanty atma-karanat
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.
Those who accept food after first offering it to the Supreme Lord are freed from the sins acquired from the five areas in the home causing harm to any living entity. They are: the mortar and pestle where sometimes extremely small bugs are accidentally killed, the grindstone where microscopic amoebas inside of the seeds are ground to death, the fireplace where sometimes crawling things come into when the fire is out only to be burned to death when the fire is lit, the water pot where sometimes insects fly into and drown and the broom which while sweeping dirt and dust from the house might also sweep ants and such in such a way as to cause their demise. These are the five areas of harm in the home causing accidental death to harmless creatures as confirmed in the Manu Samhita. Those sinful wretches who do not first offer what they eat to the Supreme Lord are not freed from any of these sins but they are punished for them and verily day by day they eat only sin. On account of these sins multiplying daily they have no opportunity to attain heaven.
The body, ability, rank (position), authority, knowledge and power etc., which a man possesses, have been obtained and will be lost. Therefore they are not ours and are not for us, but they are for rendering service to others. Our Indian culture is summed up in this principle. As all the organs of the body are for the welfare of the body, so all the people of the world are for the welfare of the world. A man may be of any country, guise, Varna (social order), ashram (stage of life) etc., may easily attain salvation by rendering service to others through his actions.
We get everything from nature and society and therefore we are duty bound to return part of our earnings to them. Those who do not are called thieves. Similarly one must not sell food or even put poison in food even to kill rats or other insects.
annad bhavanti bhutani
yajnad bhavati parjanyo
All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.
The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production in the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity -that is the law of nature. Yajna, specifically prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply.
karma brahmodbhavam viddhi
tasmat sarva-gatam brahma
nityam yajne pratisthitam
Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme God. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.
It should be known that actions have its origins in the Brahman meaning the Vedas. Although nature is seen as a force of action actually it is supported fully by the underlying energy of the Supreme Brahman. Actions though appearing to have a force of their own are only manifested through the instrument of matter in humans in the physical body. The Vedas as described earlier have been emanated from the imperishable Supreme Brahman, Lord Krishna. The words sarva-gatam means all-pervading or indestructible. This is indicative of the Supreme Brahman as well as the soul within every living entity. The soul is known to be indestructible and all pervading. The word ‘udbhavan’ meaning ‘originates from’ is used to illustrate that this fitness comes from the source from which one manifests from. Even nature is only able to operate from the substratum through the utilisation of sun, rain, wind, fire etc. and by no other means. Therefore the all-pervading and indestructible Atma or soul utilises a physical body which is its substratum.