Jnana Yajna 36

Year & Dates:

January 11, 1958 to February 01, 1958

Yajna Topic:

Atma Bodha


Kolkata, India.

When we welcome a new year, we usher in the resolve for higher aspirations. With that enthusiastic spirit, opening 1958 with a Jnana Yajna by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda was Kolkata’s great fortune. It was the third Yajna in the city; Pujya Gurudev had taught the poetic, profound Atma Bodha in the early morning classes in many places including Kolkata, but this was the first Yajna where Atma Bodha was going to be elaborated during the two-hour evening primetime. 

Pujya Gurudev was received ceremonially at 6:30 pm on January 11, 1958. After the Om flag was unfurled and hoisted, He was escorted with exuberant chanting of the Mahamantra in a graceful procession onto an aesthetically decorated stage. The beginning was spectacular, and the next twelve days of discourses were spell-binding with the rich similes of Atma Bodha.

Master of Circumstances

The 36th Jnana Yajna at Kolkata had also the twist of the unexpected. On the calm evening of December 23rd, just the day before the planned Havana, the devoted Akhanda Kirtan of “Hare Rama” was interrupted by the cries of “Fire, Fire!” In a matter of just five minutes, the huge tent with all the expensive idols and equipment was reduced to ashes by a raging inferno. Hearing about that fearsome blaze, Pujya Gurudev remarked with His characteristic composure: “Agni Bhagavan decided not to wait for the Havana tomorrow to visit us. Do you not discern His Protecting Hand in the fire breaking out at 5:30 pm. and not at 6:30 pm.?” Indeed, if the fire had broken out just an hour later during the discourse, it would have ended in a tragic disaster. It was a sheer miracle that no life was lost.

Personifying equipoise, Pujya Gurudev reassured the shaken people and continued His Jnana Yajna at the Gujarati Bala Mandir for the next few days. Guided by His unshakable strength, the Kolkata Yajna Committee re-erected a new, bigger tent on the very same fire-ravaged land. The Yajna was a roaring success as the program was improvised. Instead of a scheduled trip to the Triveni Sangam, a steamer trip to the Ganga Sagar Island was scenic and memorable; the small snags dissolved in the sheer bliss of Pujya Gurudev’s Presence. From February 3, 1958, the Havana inside that new pandal and Akhanda Kirtan commenced with fervor and faith. When the final 68th verse was explained on February 5th and the Ganga waters were sprinkled by Pujya Gurudev on the blessed audience of Kolkata, the spiritual fulfillment felt was beyond words. 

The unforgettable Jnana Yajna ended when the Om flag was unfurled. It had been flying high, untouched by the hungry flames, symbolizing the unscathed Atma that Pujya Gurudev extolled.

Photo Gallery

“Think,” Says Pujya Gurudev 

In cooking food, items such as vegetables, rice, spices, etc., are “contributory” causes; but by themselves they can never constitute food. Fire alone can accomplish the cooking; fire is the direct cause. Similarly, the performance of rituals, the offering of gifts, the practice of austerities, control of the mind, the study of the scriptures, the use of the discriminative intellect are all, no doubt, helpful factors which aid one’s spiritual growth, but they do not by themselves directly lead one to liberation. Liberation is possible only when the true Knowledge of our own existence is realized, or the glory of our Self rediscovered.

From Atma Bodha Book

Without this, Success is Far!

What is the role of tapas in channeling mental energy towards creative pursuits and achieving goals? Can it help preserve my mental vitality? And is success possible without this mental vitality in any field? Listen to the video to know more.