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Element 3: Fire

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Element 3:  Fire

 

 

The first word in the Veda is Agni, fire. Fire's nature is to purify. It is used in yagnas where sacred mantras are chanted to propitiate the gods and goddesses. Man performs different yagnas, for different purposes. For example Putrakameshti yagna is performed for begetting children. Dhanvantri yagna is for removing diseases and Ayush homa for long life. Fire carries the prayers and acts as a messenger between man and God in these yagnas.

Fire burns all to ashes. It is the witness for all rituals and ceremonies. The marriage ceremony is performed with the sacrificial fire as witness. Vedic mantras are chanted, the bride and the groom walk around the sacrificial fire. However, the same marriages are broken in the court by making the couple stand in the witness box with the lawyers as the witness. This act pollutes the fire.

Fire is Truth. Fire bears witness to all who swear allegiance. A medical student gets a degree swearing to serve humanity. Contrary to this, he sells his medical knowledge, using his education to make money. In India, some students give laks of rupees to gain admission into medical college; later on he reclaims his money, by breaking his oath. Thus, fire is defiled.

Lawyers also make an oath. Judges and lawyers, who should be on the side of truth, do not act in accordance with justice. When justice and honesty are corrupted, fire becomes furious. It shows its anger. The judiciary system, which should act like fire, burning falsehood, seems to support injustice. The symbol for justice is the scales. Has the balance needle been discarded, broken off and thrown away?!

Acts of unrighteousness make fire impure.

The teaching profession is sacred. Teachers have a great responsibility as students are entrusted to them. The future of a country is in the hands of teachers. They shape the character of its citizens. Children spend most of their time at school under the supervision of teachers. Only if teachers are virtuous, can they impart good qualities to the students, otherwise only their bad qualities will come to children. Education without discipline is useless. When teachers stray from morality, fire loses its purity.

Politicians are elected as the people's representatives; after elections, they swear to uphold the laws of the land. Instead of serving their country, they serve their family and relatives. Due their selfishness, people follow the wrong path. Politicians should be the upholders of dharma, but they abuse their position and power. These acts of unrighteousness make fire impure.

Incorrect vision defiles fire. The eyes see what they should not. One should use ones vision for seeing good. The eyes fail to see honesty, justice and purity. Instead of seeing God, they see money, position, power and status. Fire stands for chastity. Men and women should not fall from chastity. When they stray from the path, the flame of chastity burns them. People of chastity have the power to burn those who want to touch them. Chastity is observing discipline through the five senses. People who live like this are verily fire. Nothing can touch them.

Man's actions are based on the way he looks at things. How he looks at his wife is different from how he looks at his mother. He sees his children differently from his friends. Sight differs according to the relationship, thus giving rise to different feelings. These feelings then function as thoughts.

Fire stands for chastity. Men and women should not fall from chastity. When they stray from the path, the flame of chastity burns them. People of chastity have the power to burn those who want to touch them. Chastity is observing discipline through the five senses. People who live like this are verily fire. Nothing can touch them.

Sight then is the main cause for all. When sight is pure, fire is purified. If we make God our only relative, then sight will be pure. Then we will see only Him in all our relations. Swami is my only relative. Sight strengthens relationships. When a man sees a girl, attraction arises, he starts liking her. Without sight, her form cannot attract him; the form is connected to sight. A girl sees a beautiful sari and she wishes to buy it. A child sees a doll and wants it. When the eye sees the form, desire ensues. If there are no eyes, then the form will not be seen and desire does not arise. The mind follows where the eyes go, giving rise to desire; desire pollutes fire.

Some examples?

While walking on the streets of Mithila, Rama sees Sita; Sita also sees Rama. Though they immediately know that they are meant for each other. Both wonder, "Is it wrong to feel like this when we don't know anything about each other?" This confusion is soon removed by their belief that their sight will not stray from dharma. This purity of sight purifies fire.
After rescuing Sita from Lanka, Rama asked Sita to prove her purity by entering the fire; He did this for the sake of the world. Sita's flame of chastity burnt the fire. Thus fire proved the purity of her sight and that she did not see anybody other than Rama. Ravana's eyes fell on Sita. The evil in his vision polluted fire. This is why the fire became angry and burned Lanka.

We have seen how fire has been polluted because vision is impaired. Fire will only be purified when our sight is fixed on righteousness, like Rama and Sita.

It is God's rule everywhere
His grace in all
His glory, the waterfalls
The dawn, His compassion

You the sky's blue, Kanna!
Your form divine in hail and storm
Your form divine in oceans and mountains
Our bond continues through all creation.

I wrote this song in my youth. This is how I saw the world. God's rule is everywhere. His grace is in everything. His glory is seen in the waterfalls. His compassion is seen in the dawn. If we stop breathing during sleep, we will die, but it does not happen. We should understand that it is due to God's compassion that we witness the daybreak. I see God in all His creation. This is the Truth.

Everywhere I saw Krishna. I saw His form in all the things. The form, which these eyes saw became mine. As I saw Kanna in all the forms, His divine form became my own, my only relation. This shows the connection between fire, eyes, and relationships;

if this wisdom spreads to all in the world, then the element of fire will be purified.

 

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