Sacrifice Or Tyaga

Sacrifice is an important aspect of the concept of life and living according to the Vedas. It is however not the sacrifice as is understood today.

Sacrifice or yajnA or tyAga

Sacrifice today is primarily related to “sacrifice for a cause” or “sacrifice for somebody else” or “sacrificing happiness”. It indicates that we are reluctantly (or not reluctantly) giving up our material comforts or happiness for the sake of others. Thus the word sacrifice is loosely used wherein many mothers talk about “sacrificing for their children” or many spouses talk about “sacrificing for their family” and so on.

In the context of our scriptures, sacrifice can be the English translation of two Sanskrit words – tyAga and yajnA. While much can be found written about these two words, we need to understand them simply as “sacrificing one’s ego” or “sacrificing attachment to the senses” or “giving up the sense of I, Me, Mine, Myself” – all in the pursuit of my own mokSa or liberation.

A yajnA is the methodology to achieve this detachment from the ego and become one with the universe. A yajnA literally means “to give” and consequently “to unite” – to attain the realization of being a strand in the web of life which is a continuing flow of consciousness.

tyAga means relinquishment of the fruits of action. It means dropping the anxiety for the acquisition and enjoyment of the fruits of action even while doing the action. It is desire that prompts everyone to action. We are not asked to give up the fruits of action because asking us to give up that will be going against the law of karma, according to which, each action will bear out its own reward or punishment, without asking for it. So all we are asked to give up is just the anxiety for the fruits of action, even while doing the action, because this robs away the joy from the action while it is being done, instead keeps the

mind focused in the future results. So the mind remains stressed and agitated. Dropping the anxiety keeps the mind calm and compose