Why should I practice sacrifice?
Be prepared for any kind of sacrifice. Without the spirit of sacrifice life has no meaning. For the sake of helping others or for promoting the welfare of the society, you must be ready even to give up your lives.
Divine Discourse 14 Jan 1997
What is true sacrifice?
The great Mahabharatha war came to a close on the seventeenth day with the fall of Karna. The Pandavas were celebrating their great victory over Karna. The Kauravas felt utterly hopeless as Karna was their greatest warrior. The Pandavas rejoiced in the fall of their most powerful opponent. But, Krishna was sitting apart and appeared to be immersed in sadness. Arjuna went to him and asked why he was feeling sad on a day when they should be rejoicing over their victory Krishna told him that Bharath had lost its most heroic warrior that day. The hero who had brought glory and good name to Bharath had fallen. “I feel immensely sad because the country is losing such a great hero.”
On hearing these words, Arjuna looked at Krishna with a feeling of amused surprise. He said: “Krishna! To ensure the victory of the Pandavas you chose the role of charioteer. Because of that, Pandavas won their victory. Instead of rejoicing over this victory, why are you feeling sad over the fall of our enemy?”
Krishna replied: “Karna is the very embodiment of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a synonym for Karna. In the entire world you can not find one other man equal in the spirit of sacrifice to Karna. In weal or woe, triumph or defeat he could not forget the quality of sacrifice. Have you got that spirit of sacrifice? No.” Krishna then asked Arjuna to follow Him.
Darkness had enveloped the battlefield. Krishna was proceeding with Arjuna. In his sweet voice, Krishna was exclaiming: “Karna! Karna!” Karna was gasping for breath in his last moments. He cried: “Who is calling me? I am here.” Following the direction from which the words came, Krishna went near Karna.
Before approaching Karna, Krishna assumed the form of an indigent Brahmin. Karna asked him “Who are you, Sir?” Karna was nearing his last breath. Even at that moment, without any hesitation or faltering in his voice, He put that question to the stranger Krishna, as the Brahmin replied: “For a long time I have been hearing about your reputation as a charitable person. You have acquired fame as Dhaana. Karna (Karna the great giver). Today, not knowing about your plight, I came to ask you for a gift. You must give me a donation.” “Certainly, I shall give you whatever you want,” replied Karna. “I have to perform the marriage of my son. I want a small quantity of gold,” said Krishna. “Oh what a pity! Please go to my wife, she will give you as much gold as you need,” said Karna.
The “Brahmin” broke into laughter He said: “For the sake of a little gold have I to go all the way to Hastinapura? If you say, you are not in a position to give me what I ask I shall leave you.” Karna opened his mouth, showed the gold fillings in his teeth and said: “I shall give this to you. You can take them.” Assuming a tone of revulsion, Krishna said: “What is it you suggest? Do you expect me to break your teeth and rake the gold from them? How can I do such a wicked deed? I am a Brahmin.”
Immediately, Karna picked up a stone nearly, knocked out his teeth and offered them to the “Brahmin”. Krishna in his guise as “Brahmin” wanted to test Karna further: “What? Are you giving me as gift teeth dripping with blood? I cannot accept this. I am leaving,” He said. Karna pleaded: “Swami, please wait for a moment.” Even while He was unable to move, Karna took out his arrow and aimed it at the sky. Immediately rain dropped from the clouds. Cleaning the teeth with the rain water, Karna offered the teeth with both his hands. Krishna then revealed his original form. Karna asked: “Who are you, Sir?” Krishna said: “I am Krishna. I admire your spirit of sacrifice. In any circumstance you have never given up your spirit of sacrifice. Ask me what you want.” Beholding Krishna’s beauteous form, Karna said with folded hands- “Krishna! Aapadh-bandhava (reliever of troubles)! Lokarakshaka (protector of the world)! Oh Lord, who holds the universe in yore palm, what can I seek from you? At riffs moment of my passing, I am fortunate to close my eyes gazing at your Divine form. This is my greatest blessing. This is boon enough for me. To have the vision of the Lord before one’s passing is the goal of human existence. You came to me and blessed me with your form. This is enough for me. I offer my salutations to you,”
Arjuna was observing the whole scene. Krishna turned to him and said: “Are you prepared for this kind of sacrifice?” Arjuna bowed his head in silence. The Lord praised the greatness of the quality of sacrifice in man. Of all kinds of sacrifice, the greatest is the sacrifice made for God.
“Oh Lord! That heart which you gave unto me, I am offering to you. What else can I bring to offer at your lotus feet? I prostrate before you. Please accept my offering.” This was the prayer addressed by Karna to Krishna.
Divine Discourse 19 Jan 1997
What is the mentality of the youth today?
In ancient times, the sages and saints sacrificed everything for the sake of the welfare of humanity. Even the youth of those times followed suit. They are remembered even today because of their spirit of selfless sacrifice. On the contrary, the youth of today are becoming exceedingly greedy and totally selfish and harbouring feelings of hatred and jealousy, while those in the ancient times were leading a life of Thyaga and Yoga (sacrifice and sense control). The present day youth want to lead a life of Bhoga (enjoying worldly and carnal pleasures) which results in roga (disease).
Divine Discourse 17 July 1997