Sacrifice is the act of giving up, destroying or surrendering something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else. And if it is something offered in worship or devotion, a holy gift offered usually at an altar it becomes an oblation. This has been part and parcel of our lives across all religions, from the first man who was created by the FORCE. Somehow this has been quite unanimous!
The rite of sacrifice constitutes six different elements: the sacrificer, the material of the offering, the time and place of the rite, the method of sacrificing, the recipient of the sacrifice, and the motive or intention of the rite, although these categories are not of equal importance and often overlap.
Rig Veda, whose origins dates back to 6000 BC (there are some debates on the timelines, but I have kept to Bal Gangadhar Tilak's timeline for a particular reason) has based itself with Sacrifice as the bedrock for all its hymns and interpretations of the universe and beyond.
While sacrifice in the material world is what we normally understand, it is important and interesting to note that Vedas interprets as the heaven sacrificing itself to bequeath mankind; probably the first sacrifice mankind can understand! In Chandogya Upanishad there is a particular section where how our body is linked to our soul is explained in a set of sacrifices across 5 stages.
"Heaven is the Sacrifice. The Sun its Fuel, The Rays its Smoke, The Day its Flame, The Moon its Embers, The Stars its Sparks – Into this Fire the Gods offer the Oblation of Faith. Out of this, the divine King Soma, the full moon, arises"
To understand this, I thought, it is best that the definition of the various elements of the sacrifice are explained well as below:
FUEL: Any material that can be made to react with other substances so that it releases chemical or nuclear energy as heat or a source of power.
SMOKE: Airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases emitted when a material undergoes combustion or pyrolysis, together with the quantity of air that is entrained.
FLAME: Visible, gaseous part of a fire; caused by a highly exothermic reaction taking place in a thin zone; has ionized gaseous components of sufficient density to be considered plasma.
EMBER: Glowing hot coal that remain after, or sometimes precede, a fire; glowS very hot, sometimes as hot as the fire which created them.
SPARK: a small fiery particle thrown off from a fire, alight in ashes, or produced by striking together two hard surfaces such as stone or metal.
The real Self or real 'I' is, contrary to perceptible experience, not an experience of individuality but a non-personal, all-inclusive awareness. It is not to be confused with the individual self which (Ramana) said was essentially non-existent, being a fabrication of the mind, which obscures the true experience of the real Self. He maintained that the real Self is always present and always experienced but he emphasized that one is only consciously aware of it as it really is when the self-limiting tendencies of the mind have ceased. Permanent and continuous Self-awareness is known as Self-realization.
Ramana considered the Self to be permanent and enduring, surviving physical death.
"The sleep, dream and waking states are mere phenomena appearing on the Self",as is the "I"-thought. Our "true nature" is "simple Being, free from thoughts".
Ramana would field many questions about "jnanis" (liberated beings) from devotees, but even the terms "jnani" and "ajnani" (non-liberated being) are incorrect, since it leads one to the idea of there being a knower and a known, a subject and an object. The truth of it according to Ramana Maharshi is that there are neither "jnanis" nor "ajnanis", there is simply "jnana", which is Self.
The jnani sees no one as an ajnani. All are only jnanis in his sight. In the ignorant state one superimposes one's ignorance on a jnani and mistakes him for a doer. In the state of jnana, the jnani sees nothing separate from the Self. The Self is all shining and only pure jnana.
A question was put across to a wise man as to “What is Meditation?” and “How to Meditate?”. This wise man is a very learned person, some people call him Bhagawan, some call him Jagadguru, some even call him a messiah. Actually it does not matter and the that wise man answered this question is very interesting.
It was a very large hall with lots of visitors there. Many people were talking to each other and in the crowd there was also a 10 year old boy who kept on nagging his mother for a chocolate and was making a big scene out of it, there.
That wise man told the person who asked the question on meditation to bring that boy and the mother to him. This event caught everybody’s attention; everybody became silent and the entire attention shifted towards what the wise man is going to do now with the boy.
The wise man calls the young boy to come and sit next to him. He also tells the mother to get a big bar of chocolate and keeps it with him. He then gives the chocolate to the boy and tells him that the boy can have the chocolate the moment the clock strikes 5 and there was only 10 seconds left.
The boys attention shifted from everything else and he started focussing on the clock ticking and was keenly watching the needle move for 10 seconds. All the visitors too were so curious to know how will be boy react when the clock strikes 5 and there was pin-drop silence in the hall for those 10 seconds.
The clock stuck 5. The young boy got the chocolate. All the visitors were very happy to see the boy happy and the person who asked the question got the answer.
Then the wise man said. As long there is a mind, it always meditates. It is just that it meditates on different topics so rapidly that it just does not carry any effect. The moment we are able to streamline the rapidity and gives it some focus and attention, our mind becomes stable and we start meditating.