From sacrifice to salvation
Sacrifice is in the very order of nature. if the seed didn’t sacrifice itself, it wouldn’t become a seedling. the bud dies so that the flower can bloom, and the flower dies to yield fruit. human
society too progresses only to the extent it is willing to sacrifice
“I understand what is sacrifice and all that – but why should I sacrifice?” asks a friend of mine cheekily, “I have no grandiose agendas of getting enlightened and all that.” Fair enough, one can live an ‘unenlightened’ life, but can one live without peace? Acquiring more and more worldly possessions leads to stress and insecurity while Tyaga shantirantaram – peace, eternal and ecstatic, follows sacrifice.
Alexander the Great, after vanquishing all the mighty kings of India, had a taste of this when he met a yogi sleeping peacefully under a tree. “I have never seen such peace in anyone before,” said the Emperor, “I have conquered the entire world, yet cannot enjoy a good night’s sleep. You, in your loin cloth, appear supremely peaceful. Please come with me to Greece. I will give whatever you wish – wealth, land and a palace to live.” The yogi laughed. “O Emperor,”he said, “I am able to sleep in peace precisely because I neither own nor covet any of the material possessions.” Alexander flew into a rage, “Do you know who you are talking to? I shall cut you
into pieces if you do not obey me!” The yogi told the Emperor gently, “You can only cut my body, but I am not the body. I am that which dwells within the body. You call yourself a mighty
conqueror? You are a slave of my slave!” “How is that?” asked the miffed warrior. “I have conquered anger, but you appear to have not. Anger is my slave, and you are a slave of my
slave,” said the yogi. One cannot become happy without sacrifice, one cannot become fearless without sacrifice, and one cannot attain God without sacrifice, says the Mahabharat. The Yogi in the above anecdote was peaceful, happy, fearless, and one with God, only because he had renounced both the tangible and the intangible both externally and internally. Adi Shankara’s Bhaja Govindam is a step-bystep manual on how sacrifice can lead to salvation. Says the great seer, Satsangatve nissangatvam – through good and noble associations, sacrifice the lower associations and move towards being alone; nissangatve nirmohatvam – abiding in yourself,
sacrifice desire and attachment; nirmohatve nischalatatvam – devoid of desire, sacrifice the
wavering mind and become steady; nischalatatve jeevanmuktihi – with this unwavering mind, you are now liberated from the vagaries of this life and also the cycle of births and deaths.
Be a living sacrifice, said Jesus to Peter. If we, humanity, would resolve do so by dying to our
former, limited selves and identifying ourselves with the whole of God’s creation, we would also
bloom like the flower and flow like the river as nature intended – utterly beautiful, unselfish,
unattached, carefree and in bliss!
Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You