By Purnima Yogi April 2010 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 for the larger good Have you heard the story of Punyakoti, the noble cow who kept her tryst with a tiger because she had given her word to the beast? Punyakoti, once waylaid by the hungry tiger in the forest, is almost devoured by the latter but she implores the tiger to give her time off to go feed her calves who are waiting for her at home. She promises to come back to the forest and offer herself as food to the tiger once she has done her duty by them. Intrigued by this unusual promise and impressed with Punyakoti’s sincerity, the tiger lets her go, more or less reconciling to finding another prey for the day. However, to his amazement, Punyakoti comes back after making suitable arrangements for her calves to be taken care of after her death. “Why did you come back?” asks the nonplussed tiger, “only to be killed and eaten up by me, when you could have easily escaped?” “I am your food for the day,” says she, “how can I deny you your right? It is your dharma to kill and eat, and my dharma to uphold dharma – irrespective of whether it is yours or mine. I had given you my word, hadn’t I? Now please feast on me as much as you wish.” The tiger, shaken to the core by Punyakoti’s sincerity and implicit adherence to ‘dharma’, is instantly transformed. He jumps off a high cliff and kills himself rather than continue leading a life of killing.I remember there wasn’t a single dry eye in the 7th Standard class when this Kannada poem was recited and explained dramatically by our teacher. Back then, Punyakoti moved innocent 12-year-olds to tears year after year. We sobbed at the vision of her helpless calves imploring her to stay back, cursed the tiger for choosing her as his food, and sobbed again as the tiger jumped off the cliff unable to bear so much goodness. Now, the larger and nobler aspects of Punyakoti’s story appeal to me – her selflessness, sincerity and commitment to ‘truth’ that could melt the heart of a beast. She had no agenda for her own survival; being the tiger’s food for the day came as naturally to her as caring for her calves. Punyakoti, for me, is the epitome of sacrifice.And so are Mother Teresa, Bhagat Singh, and my housekeeper’s son who walks to school so that he may save the bus fare to buy a candy for his younger sister.What is it about sacrifice, large or small or insignificant, that tugs at our hearts and leaves the sacrificer ennobled in our eyes? Why is ‘sacrifice’ highly rated as a virtue, worthy of being developed and emulated? How can an entire religion be sustained by the figure of Christ nailed to a cross? Surely a matter worth exploration.What is sacrifice?The Sanskrit word for sacrifice is ‘tyaga’ – which means ‘to give up’ and ‘to detach’, ‘to cast aside’, ‘to get rid of’, ‘to discard’ or ‘to leave’. ‘Renunciation’, ‘abandonment’, ‘relinquishment’, ‘forgoing’ and ‘forswearing’ are other terms that can be used alternatively for ‘sacrifice’, but none come close to capturing its essence. ‘Sacrifice’ means ‘to make something sacred’. Sacrifice, when it entails giving up something dear and precious for the sake of a higher good, is indeed a sacred act. Whether it is Christ who gave up his own life to save humanity, or the stranger on the bus who gives up his own seat for an elder, these are acts of sacrifice. Each gave up something of value to him, like Christ’s life or the seat on the bus, to something, which held more value – like love for humanity or wanting the elder to be comfortable. Mother Teresa: Always giving Humanity thus survives and sustains on sacrifice at all levels and degrees, even in this dog-eat-dog present times. Looking around, we find that 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. The sun is constantly burning itself out to sustain life on earth. Only when the sugar cane allows itself to be squeezed between the jaws of a juicer does sweetness overflow from it. And imagine if the earth stopped rotating even for a few seconds to take a breather! It seems the entire eco system and cosmos is being maintained by various agents that play out their parts to perfection without expectation. “What we humans refer to as virtues is common place in the universe,” says Sudheindra Shidleepur, an engineer whose hobby is to study nature to gain spiritual insights. “Universal Order is only virtue and nothing but virtue and is the most natural order of Mother Creation. Vices are man-made and are a mental construct generated by an inadequate understanding of reality. Absolute reality cannot, of course, be put in a mental framework, and has to be felt deeply within from the likes of examples as given above.”Sacrifice in nature maintains and sustains, and it is utterly natural. Among humans, sacrifice not just maintains and sustains society, but is also an exalted tool of evolution of the human consciousness. For householders, sacrifice implies charity; for austere spiritual seekers, sacrifice attains more and more connotations, ultimately leading to renunciation and salvation. For both, only that which is given away wholeheartedly without expectation of a reward in return, is sacrifice.All religions advocate charity (daana) as the right form of conduct. Riches win glory by renouncing them. Indeed, it is well said that a generous mind never enjoys its possessions so much as when others are made partakers of them. Jainism prescribes four types of charity, chaturvidha daana, for a householder, ahaara daana (feeding the hungry), abhaya daana(sheltering one whose life is in danger), aushadha daana (distributing medicines) and gynana daana (spreading knowledge).Renunciation is the religion of the soul. Buddha and Mahaveera attained salvation by renouncing their kingdoms. Rama renounced Ayodhya to uphold the dictat of his father. Bharata sacrificed the throne too, to revere his elder brother. The mother in the legendary Hindi movie, Mother India sacrificed her wayward son for the welfare of society. The youth in the movie, Rang de Basanti sacrificed themselves to make a point. Innumerable are such examples that glorify the act of sacrifice, signifying that it emerges from a higher, nobler calling.Tangible and intangibleMoney and material are tangible things which most of us part with willingly to help out others, while time, energy, talent, skill and effort are the intangibles. The former is often classified as charity, but there can be an enormous difference in the philanthropic acts of a Bill Gates and of someone who parts with money and material even though he himself is in crying need of it.Padma Bhushan awardee, Dr DV Gundappa, was a towering personality in the field of Kannada literature. This well-loved and respected philosopher of the mid-20th century could have led a lavish life due to the benevolence of the state and his wealthy and powerful admirers, but he and his family lived within their means, in utter poverty. DVG, as he was and is fondly known, never accepted anything other than what he earned as a self-employed journalist. He lived by the principle of aparigraha or non-avariciousness and astheya or not coveting that which belonged to others – two of the eight principles of ashtanga (eight-limbed) yoga. His wife often never ventured out of the house as she had only one patched-up saree to wear. Even when the state government awarded him a prize of Rs. 1 lakh (a princely sum in 1975) for his contribution to Kannada literature, DVG donated it all to establish an institute dedicated to spiritual pursuit. Such was his adherence to dharma and passion for the propagation of spirituality.Holy Mother Sri Sharada Devi, wife and spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was subjected to heart-wrenchingly adverse circumstances after her husband’s demise. She and the young disciples often went for days without food. Once, unable to bear hunger, Sharada Devi foraged for food in the nearby paddy fields, separated the rice grains from husk, cooked and fed the hungry disciples. Finally, when she was about to put a morsel into her mouth, she was visited by another hungry soul. Without a second’s hesitation, the Holy Mother offered it all to him and went hungry herself.These are examples where the act of sacrificing the tangible is elevated to an exalted status. Lives of great personalities are thus selfhelp workbooks on the art of life, love, duty and sacrifice.In the great Indian joint family system, sacri- fice was a way of life not long ago, a basic requirement for survival. A ’70s Hindi film, Piya ka Ghar starring Jaya Bhaduri, captured to perfection the dilemma of an Indian daughter-in-law; she is expected to blend in like furniture in the new household and subjugate her every little personal need, hope and aspiration as the needs of the extended family always came first. “And we invariably did,” recalls 72-yearold Lalitha Ramaswamy. Like thousands of other daughters-in-law back then, Lalitha nurtured her numerous sisters- and-brothers-in-law, helped them find jobs, build their own houses and got them married and settled.Lalitha sacrificed the intangible – her youth, energy, space, comfort plus the tang
Life Positive follows a stringent review publishing mechanism. Every review received undergoes -
Only after we're satisfied about the authenticity of a review is it allowed to go live on our website
All our healers and therapists undergo training and/or certification from authorized bodies before becoming professionals. They have a minimum professional experience of one year
All our healers and therapists are genuinely passionate about doing service. They do their very best to help seekers (patients) live better lives.
All payments made to our healers are secure up to the point wherein if any session is paid for, it will be honoured dutifully and delivered promptly
Every seekers (patients) details will always remain 100% confidential and will never be disclosed