विधिहीनमसृष्टान्नं मन्त्रहीनमदक्षिणम् |
श्रद्धाविरहितं यज्ञं तामसं परिचक्षते || 13||
vidhi-hīnam asṛiṣhṭānnaṁ mantra-hīnam adakṣhiṇam
śhraddhā-virahitaṁ yajñaṁ tāmasaṁ parichakṣhate
vidhi-hīnam—without scriptural direction; asṛiṣhṭa-annam—without distribution of prasad; mantra-hīnam—with no chanting of the Vedic hymns; adakṣhiṇam—with no remunerations to the priests; śhraddhā—faith; virahitam—without; yajñam—sacrifice; tāmasam—in the mode of ignorance; parichakṣhate—is to be considered
And that sacrifice which is not performed according to the scriptural rules, and in which no food is distributed, no hymns are chanted, and no fees paid, and which is devoid of faith, is said to be of the nature of tamas.
Asrishtannam: Distribution of food to the hungry and the needy is an important aspect of practical Vedanta. In this is implied the grand truth of the Lord’s presence in all beings. It is Vedanta brought down to the plane of practical work in the world. That is why the elders have prescribed distribution of food as an important item on all auspicious and holy occasions. Poor-feeding, respectful offering of food to deserving people, is an aspect of spiritual Sadhana, if its spirit is properly understood and kept in mind. So a sacrifice where there is no offering of food is only the lowest Tamasic yajna.
Adakshinam: Offering of money and gifts to the Ritviks and poor people is another feature of a well-performed yajna. The sacrificer ought to give away a part of his wealth to the needy. It is Tyaga implied in Yajna. That which is done without the real spirit of sacrifice is indeed Tamasic Yajna.
Sraddhavirahitam: Any work yields the best reward only when it is done with faith, devotion and complete self-surrender to God. In the twenty-eighth verse of this Discourse, the Lord declares that any act of merit done without faith is as good as not having been done at all. Faith is the vital element in all good works. Yajna performed without faith is Tamasic. It is as good as a dead thing because it is devoid of the life-force of faith.
Question: What is the nature of Tamasic Yajna?
Answer: It is not sanctioned by the Sastras. There is no distribution of food. Gifts are not offered. There are no Mantras. There is no faith. Such is Tamasic Yajna.