Jayary 358

Sacrifice is a generative concept, just like the concept law.

There are laws everywhere: we have laws that govern human affairs, we have the concept of divine law and we have the laws of nature. These laws vary in their ferocity, from the absolute commandments that God gave to Moses (or the axioms of set theory for that matter) to the humanly interpretable laws that govern the complaints that fill our courts. We consider a body of work to be a science to the extent that its findings are captured by laws.

Sacrifice is similar. While its origins might lie in specific rituals, there's a clear sense that the sacrifice transcends any specific domain. When interiorized, it becomes yoga. When exteriorized, it becomes the wheel of the dharma. If karma is universal, so is sacrifice, for it's in sacrifice that karma is created, maintained and destroyed.

Having grasped the concept of the law, we are obsessed with ensuring that it delivers on its original promise: a complete, consistent and certain system for grasping the world. Now we know that isn't possible. The law breaks down when you take it to its limits.

What is the corresponding promise for sacrifice? I don't know, but it can't be certainty. Unlike the law, sacrifice isn't infallible. Having eliminated Jarasandha and conducted the rajasuya, Yudhisthira should have remained a chakravartin for ever. Instead, he's in a forest wearing bark.

Rajesh Kasturirangan

Rajesh Kasturirangan

I think. I write. I meditate. I agitate.