Inner yajňa in TS (1.1)

The first anuvāka begins with the mantra işhe-tvā-ūrjetvā (you for impulsion and you for abounding force). It is addressed by the yajamāna to the universal prāņa energy deity, vāyu. The whole anuvāka of eight short mantrās, ŗk and yajus, is a call for assembling all the knowledge needed for the inner yajňa. pashu stands for the ray of knowledge derived from the root pash, to see.

The inner yajňa is performed by the cosmic powers or deities Indra, Agni etc. They begin with the proclamation ‘yajňasya ghoshadasi’. The Gods are prayed to take their seats on the seats fashioned by mantra, manunā kŗta [TS (1.1.2)]. It is crafted by the intrinsic law of each entity, the self-law, svadhā, ‘that which bears it.’

Recall that according to TS (1.7.4), yajňa itself is the supreme deity, Vişhņu. In the third anuvāka there is a prayer for the yajňa for the manifestation of delight, one of the chief aims for performing the yajňa. The delight coming from Soma is described as (madhumattama), supremely honeyed, spread with Truth (ŗtāvari).

The next several anuvākās deal with preparing the body, both the physical and subtle, for the performance of yajňa. Interestingly enough, simple yajňas are called as pāka yajňa in the brāhmaņa passages, i.e., yajňa which matures (pāka) the body. Our petty emotions, passions, feelings and adverse forces like kāma (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (arrogance) and mātsarya (jealousy) prepare a thick veil or covering over our inner soul and prevent its light from reaching the outer body; in ignorance the body does stupid things. This covering is like the husk of the rice grain or paddy (vr¤hi); which should be removed.

The anuvāka 4 is a prayer for the two principal cosmic powers of this yajňa, Agni and Soma. Agni is the Divine will and seer (kavi), Soma is the lord of the Divine Delight which upholds everything.

Anuvāka 5 deals with the purification of the physical body so that the cosmic powers can enter, grow in the body and manifest their powers as a child grows in the womb. The purifying agency is dhūrva which is the incense in the ritual. The prayer here “dhūrasi……” in TS (1.1.4) is recited even today in all religious festivals when the incense stick is lighted. It offers protection against the hostiles who do not like the humans to enjoy (arātiyata). It ends with a prayer to Agni to protect it. The covering has to be removed by force of will invoking Agni and the force of mind invoking Indra.

In the next step, the entire body has to be integrated and firmed up. It is viewed as a support, skambha, to the heaven [TS (1.1.6)]. By the force of inward breath (prāņa) and outward breath (apāna), the primal life-energy prāņa is made to reach all the organs of both the gross and subtle bodies in us. Note that breath or outside air is not prāņa.

Next step (anuvāka 9) is the recognition of the fire inside supported by knowledge, the inner fire-altar (vedi). It is the power of will and uses the body which has been firmed up for further work. Its first step is to mature the body for further work (anuvāka 10).

Next, the role of the Gods as world- builders is recognized (anuvāka 12). By world we mean the manifestation of powers and its activities. For example, giving is an important activity. It involves acquisition of the required felicities or resources like knowledge, love, wealth, etc. Then there is the problem of finding the appropriate person to receive the knowledge or felicities or riches. Then there is the mode of transferring of the gift, i.e., teaching, etc. All these different but related activities constitute the world of giving. Obviously it is a vast structure where it takes years, even decades, to make even small progress, let alone perfection. We feel we are praying for the benefit of all, all of whom we may not even know.

Finally there is the consciousness of some progress in our spiritual body. We feel consciously the grace from above which floods the body. We feel the aura of protection (ava) which supports us (bhŗta)For the ritualists, avabhŗta is the concluding shower of water on the yajamāna. The inner yajňa ends with the adoration of the deities with the Rig Vedic mantrās which always occur in the last anuvāka.

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