Yagñá: The Central Religious Act


From the Hindu Yagñá to the Hebrew Altar, Sacrifice is the central religious act.

The English word ‘God’, the scholars say, derives from the German Gott, from the Proto-Indo-European Gutom, itself sourced in the Sanskrit Huta; ‘to pour’ [as in libation to the fire-altar] and its related word Hotr [the reciter of the ritual-invocation].

Both words derive from Hu: ‘Of the Sacrifice’ [from sacer; ‘to make sacred’] as used in the verses of the Rig Veda.

It’s not a good idea to be a goat on the Islamic Eid. Nor a buffalo at a Bengali Durga Pūjā. Nor a turkey at American Thanksgiving.

But you cannot sacrifice by proxy. That is cheating. You have to make your own. And what is the sacrifice?

Self-Denial is the first order of Moral Code. All Virtue aligns with it. All Vanity scoffs at it. All religions offer their denouement at the limit of self-denial, in the perfection of self-mortification. They vary only in the details.

All the pilgrim’s roads lead to ‘True Nothing’. But Shūnyam brings with it an explicit map, a long-list of false premature stops, warnings on the most slippery sections of the trek, and so on. And the terminus is unambiguously confirmable by the arrived trekker.

All other Paths, both Mystic and Orthodox, are inherently conflicted as the literature will readily show. And the terminus, mostly short-stops as a result of not having an explicitly detailed map, vary, range all over the place.

Here is my old Post on this universal ‘Mystic’s Rule’ of ‘Dying to Myself’.

This ‘Dying To Myself’ is extremely tricky business except in the most disciplined and matured hands.

A fatal loop must trip up the pilgrim who seriously wants to end it all.Drawing by E.W. Kemble from: 'The Tar-Baby', by Joel Chandler Harris, 1904

Trying to negate myself is like taking on Uncle Remus’ ‘Tar-Baby’. The harder I try to negate myself the firmer I reinforce myself as Me.

Any attempt to nullify the ‘I’ using the ‘I’, befuddles, stupefies and ultimately immobilizes the ‘I’. [A state taken by the devout as further confirmation of divine oversight.]

A displayed humility is greater hubris.

I am happy to die as long as I can be alive to watch myself doing it.

You don’t have to ‘Die to Yourself’. There simply is no ‘Independent and Separated ‘Self” there to die to.

And by the time you see that, you would have died to yourself many times over. Much more than any routine ‘Dying to Yourself’. Not to worry.

[‘Civilization is self-restraint’ declared Rajagopalachari, once a distant neighbor, a man of scholarship and of God [a prolific translator of Sanskrit epics that crowded my boyhood bookshelf]. It was a favored maxim of Sigmund Freud, an acute observer of the Human Condition; and an Atheist.]

You might not know that the English word ‘Virtue’ and ‘Virile’ actually have a common root [Latin: Virtut, Virilis; tell that to your Padre and watch him go pale] and in turn link to the Sanskrit Vir.

Virtue is related to Masculinity to ‘Manliness’ [before the Feminists got hold of the word]. And where you see a deficit of Manliness you invariably see a surplus of Cunning. Give me a manly culture any-day.


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