July Sessions of Vedic Threads: Pañca mahā yajña; 5 Major Sacrifices with Vijayalakshmi Vijayakumar

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July Sessions of Vedic Threads: Pañca mahā yajña; 5 Major Sacrifices with Vijayalakshmi Vijayakumar

July 7, 2023 - July 20, 2023

Schedule and registration for these two 1.5 hour Live Online Sessions 19 & 20  (07 & 20 July, 2023) here: Vedic Threads: An Online Membership Course with Drs. Ramkumar & Claudia

The wise say that dharma is whatever is based on love for all beings. This is the characteristic mark that distinguishes dharma from adharma. Mahābhārata 12.251.24, trans. Nicholas Sutton, 2019

Life should be chiefly service. Without that ideal, the intelligence that God has given you is not reaching out toward its goal. When in service you forget the little self, you will feel the big Self of Spirit. Paramahamsa Yogananda (1893-1952)

Now, what people normally call a sacrifice (yajña) is, in reality, the life of a brahmacaryā, for it is by the life of a brahmacaryā that one finds him who (yaḥ) is the knower (jñātā). Chāndogya Upaniṣad VIII:5.1 

In the modern day, we can feel isolated, even as the population of the globe is far greater than ever in recorded history. How can we rekindle a feeling of connection and how can that heal humans and the planet? Indian scriptures suggest householders—or perhaps all people—engage in five major daily yajñas (sacrifices; worship) that gradually and increasingly connect us to and nourish an interconnected whole. These five sacrifices are:

  1. BrahmayajñaVedayajña or ṛṣiyajña Worship of and contemplation on the true self or Supreme Reality through disciplined contemplation and study of scriptures (like the Vedas).
  2. Pitṛyajña Respectful remembrance and conscious care of past and living ancestors, with a view to be fully and completely in the present; attending to our role as ancestors of children by taking conscious care of them.
  3. Devayajña Ritual worship of the divinity within through fire ceremonies, prayer, meditation; remembering, etc. The Upaniṣads suggest this can also take the form of inner sacrifice, where we offer our petty selves and scattered attention into the fires of sādhana and tapas—spiritual practices.
  4. Bhūtayajña Worship of nature and all non-human beings, including preserving and nurturing diverse plant, animal and mineral life and facilitating their right to exist. We can do this through care and preservation of animals, plants, wilderness, etc.
  5. Manuṣyayajña or Nṛyajña Worship of and care for fellow human beings. We can do this through feeding family, friends, guests and anyone who is hungry.

Vijayalakshmi Vijayakumar has taken pañca mahā yajña to practical and great lengths and is scheduled to join Drs. Ramkumar and Claudia in the July 07 session of Vedic Threads to discuss this ancient practice that we can apply in modern times and ways. Drs. Ramkumar & Welch and Vedic Threads members take July 20 to reflect on and integrate previous sessions.

We welcome you to join us in heartfelt conversation on these themes, in our twice-monthly Vedic Threads membership-based course.


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