Wednesday, April 14, 2010

III: 13

Chapter 3, Verse 13

"The good eat
What the gods leave behind
After the offering
And get relief from sin.
But the ungodly,
Cooking good food
For the greed of their stomachs
Miss the mark."

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

"What is important is what we do with the energy that food gives us. As Jesus told the Pharisees, 'Not what goes into the mouth defiles a person, but what comes out of it.' Of what use is it to consume hand-cultivated, organically grown food if we act violently or use resentful language? If, instead, we use our vitality to support others, our lives will become a source of strength in a deeply troubled world."

From Kamala Subramaniam's Mahabharata:

"The king Yudhishthira performed a great Yajna [fire worship ceremony] when he ascended to the throne after the great war was over. The learned and the wise unanimously praised that Yajna as unparalleled. A mongoose, having one side of its body turned golden, entered the hall, rolled on the ground and pronounced them to be liars.

The half-golden creature then explained itself: 'A few years back, a terrible famine raged in the land, causing death to people in large numbers. A humble teacher, his wife, son and daughter-in-law lived a dutiful life in the region. In the midst of privation, the teaching went on regularly. When life began to ebb in that family, a scanty offering of flour was made by a devoted student. The wife of the teacher baked four pieces of bread with that flour, offered them to the Lord, and the family sat down to partake of the sanctified food. There was a knock at the door. The family felt itself blessed because God in the form of a guest had arrived. The four fading souls reverently parted with their little shares, intent on appeasing the hunger of the newcomer who ate all four pieces. He blessed them heartily for their hospitality and went his way. The whole family soon perished of hunger. Just then I entered the hut and rolled around on the floor. The remnants of flour came in contact with half of my body, turning it golden as you all can see. This was so because of the purity of motive and intensity of devotion in the act of serving God in the form of the guest. Since then I have been on the lookout for another Yajna of that type, which might turn the other half of my body golden. What the king has done here is no great Yajna, as it has brought no change whatsoever to my body.' "

Swami Satchidananda:

"You should have seen the look on Yudhishthira's face. He was truly crestfallen. It's not the pomp and show that counts, but the quality and depth of your heart in the worship that's important. In the Pandava's Yajna, there was undoubtedly an attitude of worship, but probably it was mingled with a little bit of pride. The poor family had nothing but humility in their offering. In this light we can observe our own actions. They might look charitable, but are they really? Do they have that touch of selflessness? If our actions are like that, we are already free. We may still be in human form walking around like everybody else, but we are God incarnate on the face of the Earth. That's the greatness of Karma Yoga."

[This is an example of how Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga fuse.]

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