Sacrifice comes from the Latin sacra and facere, meaning "to perform sacred rites". Sacrifice means a sacred Act. It  is giving up something important  especially for the sake of someone or something else. Sacrifice in other words   is to  kill an animal(s) in a ritualised slaughter  and offer it to a God or Goddess, in order to  fulfill the desires of some people.

Parents sacrifice time and sleep to take care of their children mostly regarding their health. They always try to provide   best education to their children even  by going beyond their financial status i.e.,  borrowing money or by selling properties. Some poor parents have to even give up a one time  meal to feed their kids. They sacrifice their today's pleasures so that their children can have  better  opportunities tomorrow. The sacrifices they make for their children are innumerable.

Children should be grateful for everything their parents  have done for them  and never abandon them at their old age and always help them and make them happy. It is their responsibility to sacrifice  some time even though they lead a busy life to look after and spend with them every day.   
It is common phenomenon  in India that many  girls sacrifice their dreams  and wishes and accept  the  decision of their parents to marry a  person chosen by them, even though unwillingly for so many reasons and one of it may be not to push  their parents and other co-siblings  in hard financial problems, or to respect  the honour of their clan in the society,  if  their marriages  are performed according to their wishes. There is no yardstick to measure the sacrifice of a girl. The moment she gets married, she loses her own home,  parents,  friends and even her family name. She also loses her freedom and is bossed around by men.

The following is the story, wherein a son at his marriageable age, made a greatest  sacrifice of pledging to be a bachelor through out his life for the sake of his father's pleasure.  

In the Indian epic Mahabharath, Bhishma was well known for his pledge of Celibacy.  His original name was Devavratha and he was the eighth son of the KURU  king  Shantanu and the river Goddess Ganga.  Ganga left Santhanu, as he broke the promise made by him at the time of their marriage.  Once Santhanu travelled in the boat operated by Satyavathi, a fisher woman  in the river Yamuna and attracted by her beauty he fell in love with her.  He expressed his desire to marry her.  Dasaraju, the father of Satyavathi,  refused to give his daughter's hand in marriage  to Shantanu unless Shantanu would proclaim the children born  to her as his heirs for the throne.  Santanu sorrowfully rejected the offer of Dasaraj, because he had already decided and promised to make Devavratha as his successor for the throne.    This made Shantanu  to fell in  deep sadness for days together. 

Then Devavratha  upon discovering the reason for his father's grief,  met  Dasaraj the father of Satyavathi and promised to relinquish his right to the throne. . Even not satisfied for this, Satyavati's father  cleverly expressed his doubt  that even if Devavratha gave up his claim to the throne, Devavrata's children would still claim the throne.  Devavrata then took the vow of lifelong celibacy, thus sacrificing his 'crown prince' title and marriage in his life. 
As the Vow made by Devavratha was so terrible and unparallel, since then he was called  as Bhishma. 

Lord Srikrishna in Bhagavath Githa Chapter 18 verses 5 and 6 taught us  as to what is Real  Sacrifice. 

Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up but should be performed. Indeed sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the  great souls. All these activities should be performed without any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty.  

Lord Srikrishna's conclusion is that sacrificing the result of all  our actions performed  in our life is the only best way to  achieve the effect of Karma Yoga. 

Sri  Ramachandraji,founder of Sahaj Marg says that:
"Service and Sacrifice are the two main instruments with which we build the temple of spirituality, love ofcourse being the fundamental basis. 
To put up with the taunts and rebukes of the family, relatives friends, and society, is the greatest form of penance and Sacrifice".

In this materialistic world we cannot achieve anything in life without sacrificing something. We must value the people who sacrifice something for us, because that something may be  their everything. Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.  Our life itself  is a Sacrifice or Sacred Yagna  when our  activities in life are  coupled with compassion towards others and also other living beings.


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