The entire process of yajña, in ritualism is the totality of the ignition of the fire in which the clarified butter, and various kinds of wooden sticks are all offered along with the mantroccāra, along with the recitation of Mantras starting with saṅkalpa; this is the totality of sacrifice, ritualistically: there is a saṅkalpa, a ‘will’ to do sacrifice, then there is offering, offerings of various kinds, then there is mantroccāra, and then there is clarified butter, and then there is ignition of fire, and then many other things which are offered to the fire. This is the entire process of the ritualistic sacrifice.
The parallel in psychological terms is the following: the entire yajña begins with the saṅkalpa, kratuḥ, it is an inner saṅkalpa: “I want to offer all myself to the Divine, all my actions to the Divine”. You need not to have necessarily the havana. This yajña, internal yajña, is performed by the Yogi all the time; in every action that he does, there is this kratuḥ, the ‘will to offer’: kratu is the ‘will to act’; svadhā is the remembrance of the origin of all actions; auṣadha is various energies of your being; mantra is the secret word by which action is guided; ājya, the clarified butter, is clarified intelligence, your intellect becomes clarified. In other words, you cannot do properly your sacrifice internally unless your mind is clarified; the dull-minded cannot do properly sacrifice. It is only when your intelligence is clarified, becomes pure, then only your sacrifice becomes perfect.
So, Krishna says that actually speaking if you go behind outer ritualism and go into the psychological terms, which were originally meant in the Veda but forgotten, they all refer to ‘My presence’, the ‘Supreme’s presence’, the ‘Lord’s presence’ and ‘I am present everywhere’.
Question:That is why the clarified butter is put in the end because towards the end of the yajña the clarification of the mind takes place. Is that…?
Yes. There is a gradual process of clarification and the highest term comes at the end. The real mind becomes bright. And the Agni which is then ignited by the offering of ghee, of ghṛtam, is also very bright.
Pitāham asya jagato mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ |
vedyaṁ pavitram oṁkāra ṛk sāma Yajur eva ca ||17|| (IX)
So, while in the process of yajña, in the process of action, I am now realised as origin of all action, pitāhamasya jagato: I am the mother, I am the formulator I am the father of father, pitāmahaḥ; I am the one to be known, I am the holly, I am the oṁkāra, I am the word of illumination, I am the word of harmony, I am the word of action or will.
You go further into this knowledge and then you realise.
gatir bhartā prabhūḥ sākṣī nivāsaḥ śaraṇaṁ suhṛt |
prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṁ nidhānaṁ bījam avyayam ||18|| (IX)
This knowledge which comes to you by Karma yoga, one realises that, gatir bhartā prabhūḥ, that there is the bearer of all movement. Not only there is the movement which is action, but there is the bearer of the movement and that is prabhū, He is the Lord; He is the sākṣī, He is the witness; He is nivāsaḥ, He is the inhabitation, He is the one in whom you can take resort, śaraṇaṁ; suhṛt, He is the friend; prabhavaḥ, He is the originator; pralayaḥ, He is the dissolver; sthānaṁ, He is the stability; He is nidhānaṁ; He is the light; bījam avyayam, I am the seed which is inexhaustible.
This knowledge which comes by Karma yoga is further now expanded:
tapāmy aham ahaṁ varṣaṁ nigṛhṇāmy utsṛjāmi ca |
amṛtaṁ caiva mṛtyuś ca sad asac cāham arjuna ||19|| (IX)
Then you realise that I am the one who heats tapāmy aham; everything that is heated in the world, everything that shines and emit heat in the world is Myself; varṣaṁ ahaṁ, I am the rain, I am the absorber and I am the one releases, nigṛhṇāmy utsṛjāmi ca; amṛtaṁ caiva mṛtyuśca, I am immortality, I am the death; I am sat, I am asat, That which is Real, That which is unreal, all That I am O Arjuna.
Now, all that is the result of a real Karma yoga, but this Karma yoga can be done at a lower level. Now, that lower kind of a yajña, or Karma yoga is filled with desire. In the highest Karma yoga desire is offered away; but at a lower level Karma yoga also is done when you do an action with a great desire: you make a sacrifice, but you exchange it for the reward of your action, it is a kind of bargaining: I do this action, I sacrifice this much, O Lord you give me back so much; it is not niṣkāma Karma yoga, it is a kind of Karma yoga, karmakāṇda of a certain kind.
Question: Would it be called Karma yoga because it is not Yoga?
At least you sacrifice something.>
Comment: And still you are uniting to the Lord?
To some extend, yes. To some extend you are making a Yoga because you are trying to offer something to the Divine, although your mind is not yet purified of desire. So, it is a lower kind of Karma yoga.