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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra


Updated: Feb 5

By B.E.Sampath Kumar, Sri Ramachandrji Seva Trust, Kadapa.

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 ritualized 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 the 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 some time with them every day.

It is a 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. One of it may be not to push their parents and other co-siblings into hard financial problems, or to respect the honor 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 the greatest sacrifice of pledging to be a bachelor throughout 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 traveled in the boat operated by Satyavathi, a fisherwoman 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 his successor for the throne. This made Shantanu fell into 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, of course, 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 in their life. 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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