त्रैविद्या मां सोमपा: पूतपापा
यज्ञैरिष्ट्वा स्वर्गतिं प्रार्थयन्ते |
ते पुण्यमासाद्य सुरेन्द्रलोक
मश्नन्ति दिव्यान्दिवि देवभोगान् || 20||
trai-vidyā māṁ soma-pāḥ pūta-pāpā
yajñair iṣhṭvā svar-gatiṁ prārthayante
te puṇyam āsādya surendra-lokam
aśhnanti divyān divi deva-bhogān
trai-vidyāḥ—the science of karm kāṇḍ (Vedic rituals); mām—Me; soma-pāḥ—drinkers of the Soma juice; pūta—purified; pāpāḥ—sins; yajñaiḥ—through sacrifices; iṣhṭvā—worship; svaḥ-gatim—way to the abode of the king of heaven; prārthayante—seek; te—they; puṇyam—pious; āsādya—attain; sura-indra—of Indra; lokam—abode; aśhnanti—enjoy; divyān—celestial; divi—in heaven; deva-bhogān—the pleasures of the celestial gods
The knowers of the Vedas, the drinkers of Soma, purified of sins, worshipping Me by sacrifices, pray for the way to Heaven. They having attained the world of Indra, enjoy the heavenly pleasures of the Devas.
The Lord here describes the attitude of some aspirants who seek the pleasures of Heaven by performing sacrifices. They are learned men who have studied the Vedas; they are purified by sacrifices; but they are attached to sense-pleasures, and so they desire for the finer and subtler enjoyments of the Gods. Their prayer is for heavenly joys. And they get them by the merit of their Yajnas. They are evolved beings no doubt, but they are imperfect because they have not realised the Brahmananda arising from Self-realisation. Whatever world it is, however rich and exhilarating the pleasures of the Gods may be, they are subject to death and birth. They have to return.
What if the shackles are made of gold? They are still bonds which limit the immeasurable joy of self-realisation. That cannot be the goal. The cycle of birth and death should be stopped by knowing the truth, which al alone brings freedom to man. To be a slave here or in Heaven cannot satisfy the true aspirant. He should aim at the highest, the Atmic state, attaining which he is forever in bliss and blessedness.
Therefore the wise man should strive for the Eternal state of Brahman, and not the transitory enjoyments of Heaven or any other world. The Vedas deal with sacrifices and other forms of worship which lead to enjoyment, but that is not the end of the Vedas. The end is Brahma jnana, and all people should have to come up to this goal. Sacrifices purify the mind, if they are performed without any desire for the fruit thereof. But if man performs these things with attachment he cannot derive the necessary purity to remain steadfast in the contemplation of the Self.
The deluded soul thirsting for enjoyment prays to the Lord for Heavenly joys through the performance of sacrifices. How unwise it would be to stand before the Supreme Lord and pray for such meager pleasures of Heaven? Is not the Lord, the very source of all bliss and blessedness? Why not pray for union with Him? Why not pray for the bliss of liberation?
If liberation is the goal of mankind, the question may arise why the Vedas have so elaborately described the Yajnas yielding various worldly and other-worldly benefits? What is its purpose? The answer is that man has to be weaned away from lower sinful pleasures by presenting before him the purer and more lasting joys of Heaven. The Vedas have done this. Man is partially rescued from the clutches of earthly things and sinful activities. Then after many many births, the same man would find out for himself that he has no rest wherever he might go, and that he has to fall back to the earth again and again. When he realises the uselessness of these enjoyments, then he would naturally seek for a joy that would not come to an end, and that joy cannot be had anywhere else except in the Self Atma.
Question: What is the reward of performing sacrifices?
Answer: Enjoyment of Heaven.