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The yagña is one the fundaments of Sanātana Dharma. This blog explores the philosophical meaning of yagña, how it pervades all aspects of life, and how we may use this understanding to inform our ethical decisions.



What is Yagña?

In Yoga, yagña explains every microcosm reflects the macrocosm, which means harmony must exist within and this can nurture harmony with everything around us. A cooperative enterprise that brings things together is called yagña. Truly, with all complex systems in nature, well-being emerges from coordination - not competition - among  the constituent parts. 

A Family is a good example of yagña. The husband wants the best for his wife. The wife wants the best for her husband and together they want the best for their children. Each reaches the heights of respective success by supporting one another and being in harmony. 

Body is another example of yagña. Each component, be it an organ or faculty, serves not for its own glorification but to uplift the whole through synergy. Just as eyes guide feet and hands clear obstacles for smoother passage, so too must mind and body communicate as allies. Only through such cooperation does one thrive; alone, each risks atrophy. 

Mother Earth is also in yagña constantly. This blessed Earth nurtures all beings equally, making no distinction - for all are Her children. And in Her perfection, not a single form lacks purpose. Nothing in this universe is redundant or going to waste. From the minute fungi to the giant shark everything has its place and beauty to the universe. Mother Earth is in constant yagna and provides beauty, nourishment, oxygen, places to live, places to travel, and things to build.

Then how do we resolve discord?

Some see differences as reasons for discord, wisdom knows our shared hopes far outweigh all else. Though paths may vary, destinations need not divide if we lift each other to our highest rather than judge from below. With compassion as compass, solutions arise and problems disappear. Understanding that in uplifting 'others', we uplift ourselves to spur each to build bridges. For when each Jīvātma recognizes itself  as inextricable from the collective family of existence, self-interest gives way to shared wellbeing. In such a system, serving  others arises not from duty but joy - for their joy is our joy, their growth our growth. With compassion, communities thrive organically as extended families, where each member's brilliance nourishes all in turn. And no burden weighs heavy when borne together through understanding that in uplifting another.

When in yagña, every individual holds significance and plays a vital role. In the natural world, most beings have learned to coexist harmoniously, except for human beings. Unlike a tiger, which hunts solely for survival and sustenance, humans are unique in their tendency to harm and destroy one another for personal gain. True success cannot be measured by material wealth acquired through deceit, exploitation, or the destruction of others. If one gains riches by hoarding money obtained from others, it does not equate to success. Unfortunately, many fail to realize that these actions go against the principles of universal harmony and the interconnectedness of all beings. As human beings, it is essential for us to reflect upon our actions and strive for a harmonious existence. We must recognize the value of empathy, compassion, and cooperation in fostering a society where success is measured not by personal gain, but by the well-being and harmony of all individuals. By disregarding the concept of the yagña, or collective well-being, we ultimately bring harm upon ourselves. It is only through collective effort and a shift in mindset that we can create a future where our actions align with the principles of universal harmony or yagna and ensure the well-being of both us and the planet.

How can you start engaging in yagña today?

Help communities grow. Participate in group yoga and group meditation activities. Avoid fostering any business or commodity that supports mistrust or lies or cheating. Kīrtana is yagña and even Havan is yagña. Support your fellow beings in nurturing their yagña. Together build a collective karma towards a marvelous future one that includes your success as well as others.

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