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I would like to explore devas a little further before we go on to the next set of shlokas. We live our lives as if nothing else exists or whatever exists centers around me. I am the center and what I see is what I get. Krishna is putting a big question mark. In my view life is a gift. Let us examine it a little further. I was born in January 19xx. Did I decide that I wanted to take that birth? Did I have a say? Most likely I did not have a say, at least to my conscious mind. Some will say that I had a say in respect to what karma I did in my past life and label it my sanskara. My sanskaras affected my birth. This may be true, but it is also true that my birth was not in my control.

 

We do not have a say or knowledge of our birth and we certainly do not have a say in when or how we die. And we do not know what happens to us when we die. We know that our physical body dies but we do not really know what happens after that. Science is trying to understand this phenomenon from many angles. There are many articles on out of body experiences (OBE) and also stories about near death experiences (NDE). Then there are several instances of spirit photography as well. Spirit photography got its start 1861 Boston-based photographer William H. Mumler took a picture of himself and "discovered" a ghost had appeared in the photo with him. Mumler began charging his customers for a séance/photography session and was making quite a bit of money in doing so. He was later exposed in the courts in 1872 as being a fake. However, there have been numerous other reports, which claim to have captured the spirits on the format of photography and the subject continues to attract more and more attention. There are volumes of information on these matters, but it certainly is not the highway of the news. I went to http://www.google.com and searched for ghosts and spirit. I got 1,140,000 and 14,000,000 sites returned. There are several fascinating web sites out there.

This does not prove that there is more to the world of life than what we can see, but it does start the thoughts, “What you see is not all what you get.” Krishna here is saying that Arjuna was not alone then and we are not alone now. A good man has a company and so does a bad man. Devas help the good kind. When you take up a project for the larger interest of humanity, devas are there to help you. Devas are mentioned in our scriptures as if they coexisted with all of us human beings. There is activity at the level of devas as well. When Buddha died he said that he would come back as Maitrya. That has not happened so far. There was an experiment to bring him in the body of J. Krishnamurthy. That failed because JK refused to leave his body; he decided to teach himself and so he did. Maitryeya also came in the body of Osho for a few days. But, who are we to believe or not believe all this. We call all this as esoteric. As a scientist, I will say that more research is needed to find the truth out.

Krishna is not only saying that devas exist, but he is also telling Arjuna that there is interation between devas and us. Yagya is one technology. And I like this methodology so much. The main reason I like this method of yagya is because it reduces my baggage. Let me explain it again. I am born as an infant. Many people around me are happy. Devas may be happy too. I am helpless. I grow with the help of others. I go to school and then to the college. I come out and start to work. While all this is happening, I am interacting with others.

My potential as an infant of ‘what I could become’ was huge. Slowly and slowly it is all narrowing down. As I grow old, I am done with all the potentials and possibilities. I am left with, “I could have done this or I could have done that.” I end up as an old grumpy man. Why is an old man called grumpy? It is easy to find out. They have so much baggage of ‘what they could have done differently’ to carry.

This is not possible if I live my life with the yagya methodology. I end up burning all the garbage of unnecessary memories. I do not have anything to carry over. Life could not have been any different. I am okay with my marriage, I am okay with the fight I had with my classmate when I was in college, and so on. No, that does not mean passivity or laziness. I am planning to buy an oceanfront land. I am planning to attend my Association meeting for tomorrow. I am also planning to do my surgeries well this morning. Nothing is changing. Yet, if I do not end up with an oceanfront property before I die, I am not going to carry that as a baggage to my next life. Why talk about the next life, I will not carry it even for a day. Again that does not mean me forgetting my appointment with the real estate broker. It is therefore so important to understand this yagya methodology well. You and me still work at our best levels; I choose not to carry a baggage of ‘oops and what ifs.’ When I follow the yagya methodology. ‘Oops and what ifs’ are not only history, their traces are all gone and evaporated.

Yagya needs to be applied to our daily life. It has to do with how we deal with events that happen every day. Yagya does not only mean throwing havan samagri in the fire. That has its own significance. But, first we need people like you and me to live our life without carry over of every day events. Once the quality of a person or the whole society changes, the throwing of havan samagri in fire will make more sense. It is like giving an English novel to a person who does not know how to read English. First he has to learn to read English alphabets and then the novel would make sense to him. The quality of people in Arjuna’s days was different. Krishna did not have to explain the existence of devas. Arjuna knew about them. He had interacted with them in his own life. He can understand Krishna much better than we can today because we have lost the basic link. Krishna in the next few shlokas explains how we are all interdependent and what role yagya plays in that. We shall explore this in our next column.

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