Understanding Gita – 53

Chapter 3 – Karma Yoga

Shloka 13 -14

TEXT 13

yajña-śiṣṭāśina santo
mucyante sarva-kilbiai
bhuñjate te tv agha pāpā
ye pacanty ātma-kāraāt

SYNONYMS

yajñaśiṣṭafood taken after performance of yajña; aśinaeaters; santathe devotees; mucyanteget relief from; sarvaall kinds of; kilbiaisins; bhuñjateenjoy; tethey; tubut; aghamgrievous sins; pāpāsinners; yethose; pacantiprepare food; ātmakāraātfor sense enjoyment.

Text Source – “http://prabhupadabooks.com/bg

By eating food after offering it to God through yajna, devotees get relief from all kinds of sins. Those who prepare food for their sense enjoyment incur sins.

By offering our food to the Lord first, we are cleansing the food of all impurities, and the food remaining after(prasada) when consumed will help us advance spiritually. It will relieve us from our papa(sins). But the food prepared and consumed for our sense gratification will incur sin.

So you badly want to eat something and if you prepare it to satisfy your craving, or go to a restaurant to eat that, you are indeed incurring sin. Then what to do? Alternately, offering your food to the Lord first(mental prayer) might help. It is at least a good practice to begin with. Probably the necessary bhava(feeling) will follow. 

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TEXT 14

annād bhavanti bhūtāni
parjanyād anna-sambhava
yajñād bhavati parjanyo
yajña karma-samudbhava

SYNONYMS

annātfrom grains; bhavantigrow; bhūtānithe material bodies; parjanyātfrom rains; annafood grains; sambhavaare made possible; yajñātfrom the performance of sacrifice; bhavatibecomes possible; parjanyarains; yajñaperformance of yajña; karmaprescribed duties; samudbhavaborn of.

Text Source – “http://prabhupadabooks.com/bg

From anna(grains) come beings, grain happens from the rain. From yajna comes the rains, and yajna happens from karma.

In this verse The Lord tells the connection between performance of yajna by the beings to their welfare. From the yajnas, Devatas(Indra, Varuna) are pleased and they give us rains. From rains comes the grains. From grain we are well nourished to perform yajna again. If we just take the grain and don’t perform yajna, then we are breaking the cycle. I think that is what is happening now. Everybody wants to consume, but nobody wants to contribute.

Performing physical yajna(physical homa, havas) at this age may not be a practical solution. What to do? Just the bhavana(feeling) of offering our karma to the Lord can also be considered as Yajna. One should strive to at least do that..

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