What is a Chinmaya Jnana Yajna?
In a traditional Vedic yajna, the ritual calls for the invocation of Fire and other deities in a sacrificial trough. As devotees single-pointedly and devotedly offer oblations into the trough, they simultaneously chant Sanskrit mantras for blessings and protection, and hymns of praise. It is from this picture of a ritual that Swami Chinmayananda coined the term, “jnana yajna.”
Scriptural study and regular contemplation on the deeper import of the teachings heard, kindles the fire of knowledge in an intelligent spiritual seeker, who thereafter offers his false values and negative tendencies as his oblations into this fire. Jnana yajna is also a term used by Lord Krishna in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, where he uses it to refer to the student who, through scriptural studies, performs the ritual of worship (yajna) at the altar of wisdom (jnana).
To invigorate and inspire the masses for Vedantic scriptural studies and consequent contemplation on them, trained teachers (initiated acharyas), and Chinmaya Mission’s monastic order of swamis/swaminis and brahmacharis/brahmacharinis, conduct periodic jnana yajnas (series of talks) on various spiritual texts and subjects.
For the organizing hosts, jnana yajnas are cooperative endeavors that unite like-minded people who together organize a field for their own character development and spiritual growth. For the attending community members, the event has manifold benefits on their personal, familial, and societal levels.
Swami Chinmayananda spearheaded this method in 1951, and now, virtually every Chinmaya centre owes its inception to such jnana yajnas. This lecture series typically lasts 5-7 days, consisting of 60 or 90 minute evening and/or early morning talks daily. Jnana yajnas are free of charge and open to the public. Guru dakshina is a voluntary offering devotees make to the acharya on the yajna’s concluding day.
Chinmaya Mission’s acharyas are regularly invited throughout the year, by Mission and non-Mission devotees, to conduct lecture series, satsangs, seminars, workshops and other special events.
Past Jnana Yagnas in London
- Freedom through Relationships
Chinmaya Mission London presented the first ever Jnana Yagna (Knowledge Series) in London, ON. This event was held on the 5th May 2013, Sunday through 7th May 2013, Tuesday from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at Downtown Yoga Centre, 236 Dundas Street.
The event was attended by approximately 90 people over the three evenings.
The greatest source of joy in our lives is people. The greatest source of sorrow in our lives is people. Acharya Vivek Gupta shared 20 virtues, from chapter 13 of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, which if practised can help us seek freedom through our relationships.
Over the three sessions, he introduced the attendees to each of the 20 virtues/antidotes/resolutions, followed by explanation of each one of them at the spiritual level, at the relationship level and finally on how to practise each of these virtues, so that we can live it and incorporate these virtues into our lives. Click here to watch a short video of this yagna.
- Hanuman ji
Jnana Yagna (Knowledge Series – April 29th (Wed) to May 2nd (Sat).
Over 4 days, every evening for 2 hours, Acharya Vivek explained the Hanuman Chalisa in detail, the message and significance of the Hanuman Chalisa. He explained how we could inculcate the message and the qualities of Hanuman ji into our daily lives to be happy, better human beings, successful everyday and giving our life a purpose. Each day the session was attended by at least 50 people, for 5 days.