annaadbhavanti bhootaani parjanyaadannasambhavaha |
yajnaadbhavati parjanyo yajnah karmasamudhbhavaha || 14 ||

From food are all beings created, from rain, food is created. Yajna gives birth to rain, and rain is born out of action.

annaat : from food
bhavanti : is created
bhootaani : all beings
parjanyaat : from rain
anna : food
sambhavaha : is created
yajnaad : from yajna
bhavati : is created
parjanyah : rain
yajnah : yajna
karmasamudhbhavaha : is created from action

Shri Krishna illustrates how yajna is embedded within the fabric of the entire universe. If we interpret this shloka literally, it refers to Vedic rituals that were used to invoke the rain-gods. But if we want to go deeper, we have to interpret this shloka symbolically.

We have seen that action is an integral tendency of any object in the universe. Even a tiny atom is always acting. So when any group of organisms – plants, animals, humans – collectively work for the sake of a higher ideal, that is called yajna. The output of this yajna is an environment that is charged with the potential to create almost anything. This environment is symbolically called “rain” in this shloka. Finally, this rain or productive potential creates all kinds of objects that are useful to organisms. The shloka refers to these objects as “food”.

For instance, take a largely unknown area in northern California during World War II. Many scientists, lawyers, professors, business people came to this area with a higher ideal : to further the frontier of technology. Through their collective efforts, they created an environment which became conducive to technological innovation, which we now know as silicon valley. And silicon valley, even to this day, produces cutting edge products that benefit people around the world.

There are several such examples of environments born out of yajna: India’s freedom struggle, the economic success of Singapore, the entertainment industry in Bombay and so on.

So the message here is that if people come together to work towards a higher ideal, it is a guarantee that their efforts will be successful.