The word Yajna is used many times in Prasthana Traya, the three authoritative primary sources namely Upanishads, Brahmasutras and Bhagavad Gita. Yajna in simple word is Sacrifice; it is misunderstood to be a ritual where offerings are made to Devas through Agni, the Fire God. Though it is one of the aspects of Yajna, it is not the one and only. The basic idea of Yajna according to the Vedic thought is for the human to be happy and have a prosperous life living in harmony with Prakriti (Material Nature) and the Purusha (Spiritual Nature). Hence just a selfless performance of our prescribed duty for the welfare of all beings will account as Yajna.
There are different kinds of Yajnas to be done of which the Dravya Yajna and Jnana Yajna seem to be important. Whatever action we undertake to transform Matter into Food it becomes Dravya Yajna which is also termed as Karma Yajna. In the daily work we perform we fulfil our basic necessity called “Annam” (Food) and help others to garner the same for themselves and their family this is Dravya Yajna. The quest to analyse and acquire knowledge from various scriptures or to achieve it by experience is called as Jnana Yajna.
In Dravya Yajna, I am a part of the Brahmanda (Macrocosm) in working for the well being of all my co-existing entities. Collective Consciousness is at work here. It is important for every being to be a part of anything and everything that is happening which is ensuring the harmony and wellness of the society. My factory is the Yajna Kunda (Offering Place). The raw material at my factory is made into finished product by adding some value to it. In this process there is acquiring of wealth by righteous means for my living and giving an opportunity for others to be a part of it and aid them to make their living as well, this is taking part in Dravya Yajna.
While a part of our scriptures gives importance to Dravya Yajna there is another part which encourages us to go for Jnana Yajna. Jnana Yagna implies to gaining knowledge by enlightening ourselves to know what is not known about our own Self. In Jnana Yagna, I am a part of the Pindananda (Microcosm) working for the betterment of my existence and be aware of it. There is my Consciousness from within at work here. My five Jnanendriyas namely Shotra (Sense of Hearing), Tvak (Sense of Touch), Chakshu (Sense of Sight), Jivha (Sense of Taste) and Gahana (Sense of Smell) become the Yajna Kunda (Offering Place) where those which I listen, feel, see, eat and sniff become the Ahuti (offerings). Buddhi (Intellect) is the Ghee which is the supporter of combustion to know Self. The question “Who I am?” is the Fire. In this process there is acquiring knowledge of Self and to be Self-aware by becoming one with it.
Both the Dravya Yajna as well as Jnana Yajna is required just as how both Hardware and Software are required to run a programme in our computer.