Chakra Discussions

Comments On Varnasrama And Sankirtana Yajna

by Dayananda dasa

Posted March 25, 2006

atah pumbhir dvija-srestha varnasrama-vibhagasah svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam (S.B. 1.2.13) The varnasrama-vibhagasah—divisions of varnasrama—are meant to organize society so that each person’s responsibilities (dharma or sva-dharma) are directed toward the glorification or satisfaction of Lord Hari. (My translation and commentary rolled into one.)

tasmad ekena manasa bhagavan satvatam patih srotavyah kirtitavyas ca dhyeyah püjyas ca nityada (S.B. 1.2.14) Therefore, with the mind focused on the Supreme Bhagavan Sri Krsna, the Lord of the devotees, always perform the sankirtana of the Lord and worship Him. (Again my translation)

nayam loko 'sty ayajnasya kuto 'nyah kuru-sattama (BG 4.31) For those who perform no yajna [sankirtana sacrifice] what do they have here or in the next life?

4.33 Purport “Sacrifices sometimes take different forms according to the particular faith of the performer. When one's faith reaches the stage of transcendental knowledge, the performer of sacrifices should be considered more advanced than those who simply sacrifice material possessions without such knowledge, for without attainment of knowledge, sacrifices remain on the material platform and bestow no spiritual benefit.”

tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah (BG 4.34) To learn about the proper sacrifice [sankirtana yajna], one must fall at the feet of a guru, become initiated, render service, and inquire how to become engaged in the [sankirtana] yajna. (My translation and comments in one)

Purport BG 3.9 “Yajna means Lord Visnu, or sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances also are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Visnu. The Vedas enjoin: yajno vai visnuh. In other words, the same purpose is served whether one performs prescribed yajnas or directly serves Lord Visnu. Krsna consciousness is therefore performance of yajna as it is prescribed in this verse. The varnasrama institution also aims at satisfying Lord Visnu. Varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman/ visnur aradhyate”

Purport 3.10 “By performance of yajna, the conditioned souls gradually become Krsna conscious and become godly in all respects. In the Age of Kali, the sankirtana-yajna (the chanting of the names of God) is recommended by the Vedic scriptures, and this transcendental system was introduced by Lord Caitanya for the deliverance of all men in this age.”


At the heart of varnasrama is yajna or sankirtana yajna. This yajna provides sustained prosperity to human society. The sankirtana-yajna is also the dharma and sva-dharma for the age of Kali.

The three basic strategies of modern sankirtana introduced by the two Prabhupadas (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Bhaktivedanta) are the establishment of sankirtana (Radha-Krsna) temples around the world, the demonstrations of nama-sankirtana on public streets (nagar-sankirtana) and in large public festivals, and the distribution of literature of Krsna-upadesa authored by Prabhupada: Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta, and Nectar of Devotion.

Other functions of Vaisnava society, like self-sustained Vedic villages, art, drama, scientific endeavors, education, etc. should be somehow connected with and focused on the sankirtana-yajna as established and demonstrated by the two Prabhupadas.

This short description is that of the sankirtana movement, the revolutionary movement of Mahaprabhu, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada. Thus, one of the essential revolutionary aspects is also placing yajna at the center of modern society.