brahmaarpanam brahma havirbrahmagnau bramhanaa hatam |
brahmaiva tena gantavyam brahmakarmasamaadhinaa || 24 ||
Brahman is the oblation, brahman is the offering, brahman is the fire, brahman is the one who offers. One whose actions happen while absorbed in brahman, he only attains brahman.
brahma : brahman
arpanam : oblation
havihi : offering
agnau : fire
hatam : act of offering
eva : only is
tena : that
gantavyam : attainment
karma : action
samaadhinaa : one absorbed in
Having given us a series of practical tips, Shri Krishna delivers yet another milestone shloka. If we truly perform all actions in this world with a an attitude of yajnya, not just some actions, our vision of the world changes. In this shloka, Shri Krishna uses the ritual of a yajnya to paint a picture of what this ultimate vision looks like. We begin to see brahman, the eternal essence, in everything.
Six components of a yajyna ritual are pointed out here. The act of yajnya, the offering (usually butter or milk), the ladle used to submit the offering, the sacrificial flame, the person who performs the yajnya, and the goal that the person wishes to attain. Shri Krishna says that all six components of yajyna are nothing but the eternal essence.
This example can be interpreted from several perspectives. Let’s first examine it from a purely physical perspective. The ladle is made of wood, which has come from the earth, and so has the offering. The person who performs the yajnya is created out of food, which also has come out of the earth. The flame and the act of yajnya are both manifestations of cosmic forces. Their ultimate cause can be traced back to the cosmic big bang. The goal has as a thought in the mind of the person, a mind that also has come from nature.
Now, how can we make it more concrete? Consider a computer programmer writing a software application. What should his vision become? The act of programming, the code he writes, the computer he uses to write the code, the software application that his code becomes a part of, his goal of writing good code, and the programmer himself – everything is the eternal essence. This is “brahma-drishti” or the vision of brahman that is achieved while interacting in this world.
In many Indian households, people chant this shloka prior to eating a meal as a reminder that the food, the body and the act of eating – all are nothing but brahman.