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The Wheel of the Universe

by Swami Sivananda

This world is action-bound except in the case of action for the sake of sacrifice (Yajna). If people do actions for the sake of the Lord, then they are not bound. The Lord of creation created human beings along with sacrifices. He said: "By this shall ye propagate; be this to you the giver of desires." Just as one can get any object from Kamadhenu, the cow of Indra, so also you can get anything by performing sacrifice. By this sacrifice you nourish or propitiate the gods, such as Indra, Varuna, etc. You will have plenty of crops and food. This is mutual service of men and Devas. Eventually you will obtain Sreyas or supreme good, the attainment of knowledge of Brahman. The sacrifice will purify your heart. The Devas will confer all enjoyments, cattle, woman, children and estate when they are pleased with your sacrifices. He who enjoys what is given by the gods without returning them anything, without discharging the debt due to the gods, he who feeds his own body and organs without propitiating the gods, is a thief indeed, a robber of the property of the gods.

The righteous who eat the remnant of the sacrifice, are freed from all sins; but the unholy men who cook for their own sake, verily eat sin. The remnant of the sacrifice is Amrita or ambrosia. It is nectar. Those who eat the remnant of the sacrifice after performing them to the gods, are freed from all sins committed at the five places of slaughter of animate beings-the fire-place, the water-jar, the pestal and mortar, the grindstone, and the broom. Small creatures are unconsciously killed at these five places. That is the reason why the Pancha Maha Yajnas or the five daily sacrifices are prescribed for householders to wash off these sins.


1. Deva Yajna-offering sacrifice to the gods.
2. Brahma Yajna-Teaching and reciting the scriptures.
3. Pitru Yajna-Tarpan or offering libation of water to the manes or forefathers.
4. Manushya Yajna-feeding the poor or the hungry and the guests.
5. Bhuta Yajna-feeding birds, animals and fish.

The performance of the Bhuta Yajna aims at the development of mercy and realising the unity of life and consciousness. It helps the performer to see and feel the one Satchidananda in all, and all in the One. It brings in Advaitic realisation of oneness or unity or identity in the end. If one does this Yajna with Prem, Shraddha and Bhava, he will have the same experience which an Advaita Vedantin has through Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. Look at the beauty of the Hindu scriptures and the teachings of the Hindu Rishis and sages! They prescribe various methods for men of various calibre and capacity. Every man can have Self-realisation in his own station of life by discharging his daily duties. Even a scavenger, cobbler or washerman can attain the highest good or God-consciousness by discharging his duties in an unselfish manner.

"From food creatures become; from rain is the production of food; rain proceedeth from sacrifice. Sacrifice ariseth out of action. Know thou that from Brahma action groweth, and Brahma from the Imperishable cometh. Therefore the all-permeating, the eternal, is ever present in sacrifice." Gita-Ch. III-14, 15.

Manu says: "The offering given into the fire reaches the sun; from the sun cometh the rain; from rain cometh food; and from this food all creatures." Manu Smriti-III-76.

The Lord of this world is at the back of all activities. Without Him even an atom or leaf cannot move even a fraction of an inch. He is the true actor. The individuals are simply the media of this activity.

Apurva or Adrishta is an unseen or hidden power in action which gives fruits. It is the result of the activities. It is an unseen form which an action assumes between the time of its performance and the time when its results become manifested. It is the connecting link between the cause and effect.

If a man does not follow the wheel of the universe thus revolving, if he leads a sensual life of absolute selfishness, he is simply wasting his life. He is committing great sin indeed. The basic foundation of the world-order is mutuality and healthy co-operation. No one should disturb its equilibrium and interfere with its working. Man is not brought here to amass wealth by illegal means for himself and his children.

He should not remain an idler. He should not act selfishly. He should not refuse to work. He must perform his allotted work. This whole world is a big factory of God. The main wheel revolves. Leather belts are attached to other wheels and machines. Each small part or machine does its own allotted work. Man must do the Pancha Maha Yajnas daily. He must do Sandhya, Nitya and Naimittika Karmas. He must serve others. He is part of the cycle and must perform his assigned task like the other parts. If he fails in the discharge of his duties, and leads a sensual life, he is a mere burden on earth. It is better if such a man gives up his physical body and creates a void for the better filling of air.

A Jnani who rests in his own Svarup, who rejoices in the Self within, who is satisfied in his Self, and who is also contented in the Self, has nothing to do. He is not bound to do anything to keep up the wheel of the world. He is an Apta Kama, one in whom all desires have been gratified. He has done everything. He has obtained everything. For him there is no interest whatsoever in what is done or what is not done, nor does any object of his depend on any being.

No Pratyavaya Dosha will affect him from his inaction. He has nothing to gain by action. He has no particular object in view. He need not depend upon anybody. He is quite independent. He need not exert, because he has nothing to gain. Karma Yoga is not meant for the knower of the Self. Though he does not work or serve society physically, he does help the world mentally and spiritually. Vyavahara for the Jnani depends purely upon his Prarabdha. One may do a great deal of Vyavahara in society, another may remain quiet in a cave. The quiet Jnani is an embodiment of Vedic teachings. His very life is a living assurance for others for God-realisation. Aspirants draw inspiration from him. His powerful spiritual vibrations purify the world and elevate others. Those who are thirsty after divine knowledge are bathed by the magnetic currents of a silent Jnani. His powerful thoughts travel a long distance and penetrate into the corners of the different parts of the world. Prakriti will certainly utilise the merits and attainments of the silent Jnani. Just as the sweet fragrance of the jasmine is wafted in the air, so also the fame of the Jnani spreads far and wide, and people resort to his abode. They get instructions from him. This is more solid work. Real aspirants are benefited. Curiosity-mongers can have no access to him. They do not want these higher spiritual teachings. In fact it is this silent Jnani who does more substantial work than the platform lecturers. Psychologists and occultists can very well understand the truth of this statement. Workers in the political and social fields, whose minds are saturated with Karmic Samskaras and tendencies cannot comprehend the veracity of this statement. Sri Aurobindo, who was once a great Karma Yogin, has shut himself up in a room for the last twenty-two years. He has become now a glorious Yogi. He does help the world more now with his supra-mental vibrations and divine experiences. He trains aspirants in the Ashram. Some of the aspirants who are developed will take up his work and disseminate divine knowledge.

Constantly perform action which is duty for the sake of Isvara without attachment. You will attain Moksha through attaining Chitta Suddhi or purity of mind. Purify the inner motive which directs your activity. Remove selfishness. Then you will be able to work for the well-being of the world (Lokasangraha). The wise should set an example to the masses. They should work for the uplift of the world. Janaka and others verily aimed at Moksha by doing selfless and disinterested works. Man is a creature of imitation. He tries to follow the example of his superiors. Whatsoever a great man does, that other men also do. The standard of right and wrong he sets up by his own conduct, by that the common masses go.

Though you are a Yogi or a Jnani, do not unsettle the minds of the ignorant people who are attached to action. Do the actions diligently which the ignorant have to do and make them do those actions. Glorify action. Make all action very attractive. The wise should not disturb unknowing persons of petty understanding.

Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: "All actions are wrought by the qualities of nature only. The self, deluded by egoism, thinketh: 'I am the doer.' But he, O mighty-armed, who knoweth the essence of the divisions of the qualities and functions, holding that 'the qualities move amidst the qualities', is not attached to the functions of the qualities. The man of perfect knowledge should not unsettle the foolish whose knowledge is imperfect. Surrendering all actions to Me, with thy thoughts resting in the supreme Self, freed from hope and egoism, and of mental fever cured, engage in battle." Ch. III-27, 28, 29 and 30.

"There is nothing in the three worlds, O Partha, that should be done by Me, nor anything unattained that might be attained; yet I mingle in action. For if I mingled not ever in action, unwearied, men all around would follow My path, O son of Pritha. The world would fall into ruin if I did not perform action. I should be the author of confusion of castes, and should destroy these creatures. As the ignorant act from attachment to action, O Bharata, so should the wise act without attachment, desiring the welfare of the world. Let no wise man unsettle the minds of the ignorant attached to action; but acting in harmony with Me, let him render all action attractive." Ch. III-22 to 26.

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