Volume 14 - Issue 12
December 2016
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Posted on: Dec 9, 2016


Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

Quizzes have been a part of Radio Sai journal's offering for over 10 years now. Initially it was Multi-faith quiz and soon we had quizzes based on Bhagawan’s discourses, and later, on His writings. In July 2016 we began this new series wherein we have quizzes on specific themes. The theme for the present one is 'SACRIFICE'.

Quiz 01 || Quiz 02 || Quiz 03|| Quiz 04 || Quiz 05 || Quiz 07


Swami says: Christ sacrificed his life for the sake of those who put their faith in him. He propagated the truth that service is God, that sacrifice is God.

Also Swami has often stressed: The Vedas declare, “Na karmana, na prajaya, dhanena tyagenaike amrutatwa manasuh (Immortality can be attained only through sacrifice and not through wealth, progeny, or action).” Be prepared to sacrifice, true yoga lies in sacrifice.

Through this quiz, let's assimilate and contemplate on Swami’s teachings regarding 'Sacrifice'. The clues to this quiz are in the form of a crossword, just to add to the fun element of the quiz. As always however, the purpose of the spiritual quiz is understanding and contemplation on the topic taken up.

Ready? Let's go…

1. Charity and Sacrifice

Swami narrates a story: Buddha used to keep with him always a rattle-drum. His disciples once asked him: "Master! Why are you always keeping this rattle-drum by your side?" Buddha replied: "I shall play on this drum the day a person who has made the greatest sacrifice approaches me." Everyone was eager to know who this person would be. Such persons are often the forgotten men of history.

Wishing to attain this distinction, a Maharaja loaded his elephants with considerable treasure and went to Buddha. He hoped to offer the treasure to Buddha and earn his praise.

On the way, an old woman greeted the Maharaja and pleaded: "I am hungry. Will you give me some food?" The Maharaja took out a pomegranate fruit from his palanquin and gave it to the old woman. The old woman came to Buddha with the fruit.

By then, the Maharaja had also come to Buddha and was eagerly waiting to see when Buddha would sound the rattle-drum. For a long time Buddha did not use it. The Maharaja stayed on.

The old woman approached Buddha staggering on her legs, and offered him the pomegranate fruit. Buddha took it immediately and sounded the little drum.

The Maharaja asked Buddha: "I offered so much wealth to you. You did not sound the drum. But you rattled it after receiving a small fruit. Is this a great sacrifice?”

What was the aspect in the charity of the old woman that Buddha loved?




2. Yajna and Sacrifice

The inner meaning of yajna is 'renunciation,' or 'sacrifice or giving up'.

Swami says:
There are two kinds of yajnas (ritual sacrifices) one relates to external observances; the other is internal. For the external yajnas you need a sacrificial site, priests, materials for making offerings and the like.

Offerings are made to the sacrificial fire to the accompaniment of Swaha (mantras). This form of yajna is an image of the internal yajna.

Describing the inner yajna Swami has picturesquely drawn a parallel to each element of the outer yajna:

Yajno vai Vishnuhu, say the Vedas. God is the yajna, for He is the goal. His grace is the reward. His creation is used to propitiate Him; the performer is He, the receiver is He. When the ego of the sacrificer does not claim a place, the yajna is rendered Divine.

Aham hi, Aham hi, Sarvayajnanam: "In all yajnas, I am the Doer, the Donor, the Consumer, the Acceptor." This is the reason the Chief Priest in a yajna such as the Vedapurusha Yajna we are inaugurating now, is named Brahma. The priest nominated as Brahma has to guide the rest of the ritualists; he must have his wife by his side, or else, his credentials are inadequate. The wife represents faith (shraddha). Without faith, praise is hollow, adoration is artificial and sacrifice is a barren exercise.

Really speaking, the heart is the ceremonial altar; the body is the fire place; the hair is the holy grass, darbha; wishes are the fuel-sticks with which the fire is fed; desire is the ghee that is poured into the fire to make it burst into flame; the fire is the thapas we accomplish. People sometimes interpret thapas as ascetic practices like standing on one leg or on the head. No! Thapas is not physical contortion. It is the complete and correct co-ordination of thought, word and deed. When this is achieved, the splendour of fire will manifest.

What do you think Swami has described as the sacrificial animal to be offered in this inner yajna?




3. To Secure Bliss through Sacrifice

In the Gita Vahini, Swami explains: The mere removal of hate from the heart will not ensure bliss. Love too should be cultivated. That is to say, uproot hate and plant love. Hill and anthill, tree and twig, mud and mountain - what do these hate? They have no dislikes. But for that reason, do we ascribe devotion to them all? We do not, for that would be absurd. The devotee must first be free from hate and full of love. Besides, the love must express itself as service to the distressed and the grieving, declared Gopala.

Arjuna was listening to all this with great attention. Then he asked, “Krishna! Are these three enough? Or are there any more to be followed and practised? Please tell me.”

Krishna replied, “The mere planting of the saplings is not enough; the field has to be watered and manured. The removal of hate and the planting of love have achieved only the first stage.”

Swami compares the watering and manuring of the saplings to the process of ridding oneself of two feelings. What are these?




4. The Five Mandatory Yajnas

Swami says: Every act of yours from sunrise to the onset of sleep is a yajna, remember! There are five yajnas prescribed as mandatory for every human being.

(1) Rishi Yajna - activities devoted to the study of scriptures.

(2) Pitru Yajna - activities devoted to the parents who conferred the body and who fostered and guided you. Acts by which you express your gratitude and affection, adoration and appreciation are really holy yajna.

(3) Deva Yajna - acts done as reverential homage to God who endowed you with mind, intelligence, memory and consciousness and who is inherent in every cell as rasa, the vital energy. (Raso Vai Sah - He is the flow of energy). He is angirasa, present in every anga or limb. So, Deva Yajna involves the right use of these instruments God has given you.

(4) Bhootha Yajna - unselfish acts done while dealing with trees, plants, animals, birds and pets like cats and dogs.”

What is the fifth yajna and to whom is it dedicated to?




5. Sacrifice (Thyaga) and Enjoyment (Bhoga)

Swami says: The Isavasyopanishad declares that whatever bhoga (pleasures) one wants to enjoy, he should do so in a spirit of renunciation. In daily life, enjoyment and renunciation do not go together. The thyagi (renunciant) is not interested in enjoyment of sensual pleasures. The bhogi (the pleasure-seeker) will not think of renunciation. In such a situation, how is it possible to combine enjoyment of pleasures with renunciation or sacrifice?

Swami then says it is possible when we remove one quality each from Enjoyment and Action to equate Thyaga (sacrifice) with Bhoga or Enjoyment. The quality to be removed from Enjoyment is Attachment or Desire.

What do you think He says is the quality to be removed from Action?



6. Need for Sacrifice of Bestial Feelings

Swami has given us a simple formula: Ego (facet of Atma) + Aakaram (form full of attributes) = Ahamkaram (Egoism)

Remove the attributes, and what remains is the purified ego which is ready to merge and lose its identity in the Atma.

He says:
The Aham or the Ego is an appearance on the Atma as the foam on the edge of the wave, which is but the ocean itself. The Atma can well be devoid of Ego, but the Ego cannot exist without the Atma as the reality underneath. However, man validates the Ego (Aham), giving it a form (akaram) full of attributes and so, it gets polluted as Egoism (Aham-karam). When the Ego is free from the status of 'ism', it is a facet or factor of the Atma. Attributes, modes, gunas, etc. drag it into the tangle of dualities and so, it gets malefic and sheds its positive, purifying role. The oblation that is done here in the sacred fire is symbolic of the evil adhering to the Ego, the animal urges that still animate it.

The 'ism' or mould in which the Ego has hardened tantalises man and blinds him to the Truth. Shankaracharya has described the harm it inflicts and prescribes the recitation of the name of God to defuse the consequence. The pure ego will then merge and lose its identity in the Atma, which has no birth and no death.

Therefore, what is the immediate purpose of the Sacrifice of the bestial qualities in us?

To …............ oneself.




7. External Yajna

Swami clarifies a few doubts on the external yajna (ceremonial offerings into the sacrificial fire):

Behind this ritual of fire, there lies a small mystery, which has to be cleared, so that you can understand how the offering, addressed to the deity which is invoked by the manthra uttered while placing it in the fire, can reach that very deity. Well, the Yajur Veda describes the flames of the sacred fire as the Tongues of God.

When the offering is dropped into Fire, in the name of the God, the proper name and address have to be uttered at the same time. It is like the post box. When a letter is properly addressed and dropped into the box at Prasanthi Nilayam, it will reach any place, even as far as Japan or Russia. If the address indicates Prasanthi Nilayam, it will be delivered to the person at Prasanthi Nilayam. The address has to be full and correct, that is all. And, the stamp has to be of the correct value.

There are people who observe only the outer acts of the yajna and blame Brahmins for 'wastefully pouring ghee into the fire, while men are underfed and starving,' and accuse that 'they are foolishly spending money over profitless pursuits.' Even educated persons join in this ignorant condemnation.

Swami answers this accusation by stating: Whatever is dedicated and offered to God can never be _____





8. Practising Renunciation

Explaining the Isavasya Upanishad, Swami says: Renunciation that involves the destruction of the three urges for a mate, for progeny, and for wealth is very difficult to attain without purity of the mind (chittha).

In this Upanishad, the means for obtaining this renunciation is declared in the second mantra: “Carry out the daily offering of milk to the god of fire, etc. prescribed in the scriptures, believe that for liberation one has to be actively engaged in such work, and become convinced that no sin can cling as long as one is so engaged.

He then reveals: Work without desire for its _________ slowly cleanses impurities.

What do you think is the desire relating to work that has to be eliminated?




9. The Profitable Exchange

We can sometimes wonder if it is right to offer bad qualities to Swami. When we offer bad qualities to God what do you think Swami says we will get from Him?




10. Self-Sacrifice, Self-Confidence, Self-Satisfaction and Self-Realization

Swami says: One can attain divinity only when one has steady faith. First of all, one should have faith in one’s own self. Develop self-confidence, which will lead to self-satisfaction. When you have self-satisfaction, you will be prepared for self-sacrifice. Only through self-sacrifice, can one attain self-realisation. Self-realisation means to realise that you are everything.

He then draws a parallel to building a house by comparing each to parts of a house and living in it.

If the foundation of the house is self-confidence, the walls are self-satisfaction, and life in the house is self-realisation, what do you think Swami compares self-sacrifice to?



“People talk of the sacrifice of Christ as evidence by His crucifixion. But, He was surrounded and bound, and crowned by the crowd who captured Him with a crown of thorns, and later, nailed to the cross by His captors. A person bound and beaten by the police cannot say that he has sacrificed anything, for he is not a free man. Let us pay attention to the sacrifice that Jesus made while free, out of His own volition. He sacrificed His happiness, prosperity, comfort, safety and position; He braved the enmity of the powerful. He refused to yield or compromise. He renounced the 'ego', which is the toughest thing to get rid of. Honour Him for these. He willingly sacrificed the desires with which the body torments man; this is sacrifice greater than the sacrifice of the body under duress. The celebration of His birthday has to be marked by your sacrificing at least a desire or two, and conquering at least the more disastrous urges of the ego.”

- Divine Discourse on 24 Dec 1972



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- Radio Sai Team

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