“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)
पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं
यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति
तद् अहं भक्त्य्-उपहृतम्
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
All four would be ideal. That is the recommendation of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Make this existence successful. Lament not over the past. Everything has changed, regardless. That over which you are concerned today will not remain the same moving forward.
Yajna is the Sanskrit word for sacrifice, and it is synonymous with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. He is our intimate friend, since before anyone can remember. He has always been standing by, ready to guide us along the right path. A little sacrifice leads to success.
1. Our words
Spoken, written by hand, or typed – this is a way for the individual to express themselves. For some reason, others make a value judgment based on the output. For instance, a person can be very intelligent, but if they have a difficult time putting words together, someone might consider them to be unintelligent.
A person could be nervous when speaking in front of people. They may have everything correct in their head, but they are not accustomed to speaking for so long. The reverse could also be true. A person speaks very well, but when they are asked to write a book or a newspaper column, they struggle.
Sacrifice this all-important gift of nature for Shri Krishna. One of His many names is Uttamashloka. He is described by the best collection of words. Those shlokas, or verses, are above the mode of ignorance, tamo-guna.
2. Our intelligence
Here I am sitting in front of the computer. No one watching over me. I can do whatever I want. I can learn a new language. Maybe get into programming with that cutting edge technology. Become an expert on a certain period of modern history.
The acharyas advise to sacrifice intelligence for Krishna’s sake. Use the enhanced ability gifted to the human species for understanding the one who is without a beginning. Study the nature around you and view in the context of a creator and an intelligent designer.
Think of new ways to glorify Uttamashloka. Help to bring others into the light, to end their struggles that have been ongoing since before anyone can remember.
3. Our wealth
Every person has something they can give. Even a renounced ascetic like Shabari found some wild berries in the forest. These constituted her offering to Bhagavan in His avatara of Shri Rama. Tapasya, sacrifice and austerity, is enough for pleasing Rama, but any additional effort is always appreciated.
If we should come into great wealth, there are many potential directions to follow. Build a new hospital. The local area could use a school with a modern look and large fields for playing sports. Maybe invest in research for curing dreaded diseases.
Wealth can be sacrificed for the pleasure of Shri Krishna. He is not in need. He is never daridra, or poor. The goddess of fortune, Lakshmi Devi, is His wife, after all. She distributes charity. She does not need to accept anything.
4. Our life
I will have to leave this body one day. When I look back, for whom did I sacrifice? For what causes did I dedicate the vitality? Was it worth it? Could I have done more? Should I have gone in a different direction?
There is the potential for giving up one’s life in defense of their country. The warriors on the battlefield get guaranteed entry into the heavenly realm. This was one of the justifications Krishna gave to Arjuna for continuing in the fight, for not abandoning his side on the battlefield.
सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ
लभन्ते युद्धम् ईदृशम्
sukhinaḥ kṣatriyāḥ pārtha
labhante yuddham īdṛśam
“O Partha, happy are the kshatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.32)
In truth, this life is meant for sacrificing to Krishna. While we refer to it as a sacrifice, what actually occurs is a huge benefit to the individual. I may think it a chore in the beginning to chant the holy names, but this sacrifice of time is doing the most good for myself and those around me: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
As sacrifice first understood,
But actually doing most good.
Rescued by that sacred sound,
And benefitting those around.
Even words or wealth option too,
This life meant just for You.
Shri Krishna, the Supreme One,
By only whose favor done.
Categories: the four