Hindu Of Universe

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Hinduism is a religion that gives much importance to rituals, ceremonies, and pujas.

Devotees take part in pujas and yajnas to receive blessings from the Gods and Goddesses.

Yajmaan is a person who acts as the patron of a puja or a yajna.

A priest conducts a puja on behalf of a Yajmaan.

The word, Yajmaan, comes from the Sanskrit word “Yaj” which refers to worship.

So, etymologically, Yajmaan is the head of a family or a tribe who performs sacrifices.

He looks after all its expenses as well.

There are references to the term in some of the Puranas as well as Itihasas.

As per the Hindu belief system, a Yajmaan is a Grihastha or a householder, and he would be a married person.

Yajamaan’s wife also has a significant role to play during a Yagna or a puja.

He is the master of Yagna or a Vedic sacrifice.

The priest is someone who assists the Yajmaana during the prayers.

After the completion of the puja or yajna, the Yajmaan provides the priest with Dakshina.

Yajmaan gives it for the labor the priest has done.

It is only through the provision of Dakshina Yajmaan can achieve the fruits of the sacrifice.

As per Puranas and Itihasa, Yajmaan is a person who becomes part of the deity.

In Dharmashastra, Yajmaan refers to the mantras recited by a holy person or the sacrificer, as mentioned in the Apastamba-Yajna-Paribhasa-Sutras.

Along with the Yajmaan mantras, there are Hotras recited by the Hotr priests.

The hymns of the Yajmaan mantra accompany a sacrifice.

But, they do not join any sacrificial act.

As per the Sanskrit word Yajmaan, it has different meanings.

It refers to a person who is the head of a family or a tribe.

He can be a person who conducts sacrifices and pays the expenses for it.

He can also be a person who worships the deities.

Yajmaan in a puja or yajna:

We often translate yajna as a sacrifice and puranic puja as a way of worshipping the divine entities.

However, through these two processes, we are invoking the blessings of the Gods and Goddesses.

 It is a way that helps us to improve spiritually, religiously, emotionally, and psychologically.

When we participate in a Yajna or a puja, it assists us in moving forward in the realm of spirituality.

Yajna is a significant ritual of a society.

It begins with the setting up of the fire altar by pouring ghee with the accompaniment of mantras.

Yajmaan is the leader or patron of the Yagna.

He initiates it and provides financial assistance for the process.

He gives the wood, offerings for the flames, and also the dakshina (fees) for the priests.

After each offering, he would say, “Svaha” which means “So I give.”

As per the belief, if a Yagna is successful, the deity or Bhagwan appears and would provide the blessings. The Yajmaan would convey his wishes, and the Bhagwan would say, “Tatasthu.”

The prime benefactor of a yajna is the Yajmaan.

But he offers or shares his blessings with the community who are attending the ritual.

Upon completion of the yajna, the priest would receive his dakshina before he leaves.

Yajna, thus, is a metaphor for the process of sowing and reaping.

Here, it begins with Svaha or the giving.

It ends with Tathastu or the receiving of the blessings from the Lord.

There are other sacrifices as well, which include the provision of food for the people in the temple.

Here, the priest acts as the benefactor or the patron.

Akin to a yajna, a Yajmaan is a worshipper or the provider in a puja.

Responsibilities of a Yajmaan:

Yajmaan is someone who conducts or hosts a puja or a yajna.

He is usually a married person and plays a significant role in the puja or yajna along with the priests.

In a puja, the Hotr priest is the person who chants mantras from the Rig Veda.

Adhvaryu is the Brahmin who looks after the ways of conducting the yajna or puja.

He performs it based on the procedures given in the Yajur Veda.

Udgata is someone who chants the mantras from the Sama Vedha.

The Brahmachari is the representation of Brahma.

The Hotr, the Udgata, the Brahma, and the Advaryu together stand for the four Vedas.

Apart from the priest, the Yajmaan plays a vital role in the process of a puja or a yajna.

Some of his responsibilities include:

  1. Yajmaan organizes the yajna or puja for his benefit.

He shares the blessings to the people who witnessed the puja or yajna.

2. Yajmaan looks after the financial aspects of the ritual. He pays for the entire process and also offers Dakshina to the priest for his labor.

3. During the puja or yajna, he has the responsibility to repeat “Svaha” after the priest makes each of the offerings.

4. After the completion of the puja, he receives blessings from the divine entity, which he shares with the people.

These are some of the responsibilities of a Yajmaan in puja or a yajna.

Conducting pujas and yajnas can have several benefits.

 It is a way of embracing the divinity within us.

It is also a way of connecting with the Gods and Goddesses.

We can imbibe positive energy while participating in a Yajna or puja.

Yajmaan, the person who conducts a yajna, also receives positive vitalities from the puja or yajna.

It helps in attaining wisdom, prosperity, and happiness.

Yajamana In Hindu Rituals

Yajamana is an important term widely used in the Hindu Rituals especially in Vedas. Yajamana in simple terms is the person who employs priests and pays to conduct the Yagna.

Being derived from the root yaj (“to worship”, “to consecrate”) with sacrifice, denoting a continuous power of sacrificing or worshipping, it means one who pays the cost of a yagna, institutor or a yagna for performing the same and who employs a priest or priests as hereditary functionaries in a family.  

In Hindu scriptures, various synonyms of the term ‘yajamana’ are used to denote the performer of a yagna – vrati, yasta, yajva, dikshita, ijayasila, yajajuka, etc.

The term is mentioned several times in Vedic literature, especially Taittiriya Samhita, Maitrayani Samhita, Taittiriya Brahmana, Aitareya Brahmana, Satapatha Brahmana, Jaiminiya Brahmana and Tandya Brahmana.

The relation between yagna and yajamana is so intimate that one is counter-self of the other in the form of action.

Bother are inseparably united or sometimes both are praised as yagno vai yajamanah.

Satapatha Brahmana (III.2.1.17) states that – yad yajate tad yajamanah.

A Yajamana is the being of Yagna (Kapisthalam Katha Samhita 41.7) and priests are parts of the same.

He is owner of the yagna as per Satapatha Brahmana (I.1.2.12).

He is praised with other ritual parts and implements in the Brahmanas.

He is fire, protector of cloud, animal or victim, sacrificial post, a sacrificial seat or stone, year of cycle, sacrificial ladle, and conveyer of oblation.

Yagna is the shelter of the yajamana and the sacrificial altar is the abode of yajamana. With his good works, the yajamana is symbolically placed in heaven, provided with soma drink.

A yajamana is compared with Indra Satapatha Brahmana (VIII.5.3.8) and Prajapati Satapatha Brahmana (I.6.1.20).

According to Satapatha Brahmana, a yajamana gives himself up to gods on entering a fast.

By a yagna he becomes an oblation to the gods by which he redeems himself.

The same text also states that by wrong sacrificial procedures, a yajamana becomes ousted from his realm.

A yajamana should not expose the lower part of the sacrificial post, as it shortens his lifespan.

He enjoys the result of the yagna and Goddess Earth brings excellent treasures for the yajamana.

If two yajamanas perform the same yagna at a time, the earlier wins more. (Rig Veda V.77.2)

Prajapati is the first yajamana, as he sacrificed himself, desiring offspring that is germ of creation. Building of fire altar assimilates yajamana to archetypal yajamana as an eternal worker.

A Yajamana requires assistance of priests for which he pays fees to them.

Thus a yajamana plays a significant role in ancient Hindu sacrificial traditions working as a mediator; he tries to link both worlds through imperishable and ultimate spiritual power.


Yajamana literally means one who is performing the Yajna or Vedic sacrifice.

Yajamana is the chief person in the Vedic ritual known as Yajna.

He is the key person who organizes the ceremony, meets all its expenses and is eligible for the fruits of the sacrifice.

The job of the Ritvik or priest is to assist the Yajamana and in return he will receive compensation known as dakshina.

Not all persons could do a yajna. Only a married person, a family man or grihashta, belonging to Brahmin, Khshatroya or Vaishya community were eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices.

The wife of the Yajamana had significant role to play in the Vedic ritual.

Once a Vedic Yajna fire was lit, the fire had to be maintained for ones entire life. If for some reason the fire got extinguished, the Yajamana had to ceremonially rekindle the same.

On death his body had to be rekindled with these fires.

Who Is A Yajamana?

(“sacrifice’s patron”). The yajamana was the person who commissioned the sacrifice and paid for its fulfillment, and therefore stood to profit from its expected benefits, according to the Vedas, the earliest Hindu religious literature.

This word distinguishes the connection between the priest and the patron: the former were erudite men and ritual technologists who understood how to execute elaborate sacrificial rituals, but they were reliant on the patronage of their sponsors for their subsistence.

The Vedic Yagna, Yajna or Yagam

Yajna or Yagna (also called yaga or yagam) is a Vedic sacrifice or an outer form of ritual worship, in which offerings are made to different deities in a prescribed and systematic manner by worshippers to nourish them and thereby supplicate them, so that they would assist the worshippers in achieving their goals and desires in life.

It is usually done with the help of qualified priests.

Yagam leads to Yogam, the auspicious state of harmony and unity with gods and happiness here and hereafter.

Yajna is the means by which human beings can ensure their Wellbeing upon earth and a safe journey to the heaven after death. Indeed, in the Vedic world Yajna was the panacea to all human problems from martial discord to snakebites.

The word Yajna is derived from “yaj,” meaning divine worship.

The objects of that worship are usually devas (gods).

However, Yajnas are used worship divinities as well as to help and serve others or to commemorate important events and occasions. Hence, they are performed to honor kings, teachers, elders, sacred places, ancestors, venerable people or to celebrate occasions like the birth of a child, marriage, house-warming, etc.

Yajnas have an ethical basis too.

They provide the human beings with an opportunity to transcend their selfishness and help others.

The Vedas suggest that life itself should be led as a sacrifice in which every action should be an offering. Brahman himself is the ultimate sacrificer and he shows the way to engage in an eternal sacrifice.

Thus, service to gods and others as an obligation to God in the upholding of Dharma is the central feature of Vedic Yajnas.

They truly help humans lead a divine centered life, or what we today know as the Hindu way of life.

Yajnas are usually fire sacrifices and involves the use of ritual or sacrificial fire. However, in some rituals the use of fire may be symbolic. In Soma Sacrifices, the Soma Juice rather than fire was the main offering.

Fire sacrifices were common in the ancient world. However, Vedic people perfected the art and science of Vedic sacrifices to the highest extent and built a whole culture and belief system around them.

They made fire sacrifices obligatory to humans by suggesting that gods depended upon them for nourishment.

At the zenith of the Vedic civilization, the ancient Zoroastrians also practiced fire sacrifices, which were known as Yasna.

Each Yajna is performed by the host of the sacrifice (Yajamana), his family, one or more attending priests, in the presence of friends, well-wishers and other guests. According to the tradition the remains of the sacrificial food from the yajna is shared by the participants. The Brahmanas receive fees and gifts.

The knowledge of the Yajnas is contained in the Shrauta Shastras and Grihya Sutras.

The Atharvaveda, in which the Vedic sacrificial rituals reach their highest culmination, extols Yajna as a deity in itself.

A notable feature of the Yajnas is that they are traditionally performed by men only. In Agnichayana or Agnistoma sacrifices, women have no role other than as participants, cooks or cohosts.

A wife’s duty is to serve the host of the sacrifice and his family to perform his sacrificial duties and help him in fulfilling his obligation to the beneficiaries of the sacrifice.

However, in certain types of Yajnas, especially those which were performed on the occasion of marriage or for progeny, consummation of marriage, conception, pregnancy or sexual gratification, the participation of women was mandatory.

Women also played an important role in Rajasuya and Asvamedha sacrifices and in full moon and half moon sacrifices.

Although the Yajamana, the host of the sacrifice, was supposed to be the key figure (swamin) in the sacrifices, in course of time he was reduced to a mere donor or supporter of the sacrifice.

His main duties were limited to fulfilling his obligation to follow the instructions of the head priest, pay the fees to the participating priests, bear the costs of the sacrifice and ensure fair distribution of food to the guests.

In almost all important Yajnas, priests play a predominantly important role. Their participation and involvement is mandatory for most sacrifices. The Brahmanas are the gods of the mortal world.

Hence, they are most qualified to communicate with the gods of heaven.

Besides, the Yajnas provide an opportunity to people to make gifts to Brahmanas and thereby accumulate great merit

In the Vedic period the Kshatriyas had an upper hand in certain Yajnas such as Rajasuya and Asvamedha.

However, with the decline of the Kshatriya power in the post Vedic period, their influence waned.

The kings who established kingdoms in the North and the South after them were mostly from lower castes or foreigners.

They had no knowledge of the Vedas and had to depend entirely upon the priestly class to perform the sacrifices.

Further, the codification of caste based laws by Manu and others and restrictions upon the teaching of the Vedas helped the traditional Brahmana families monopolize the knowledge of the sacrifices and keep it out of the reach of common people.

Due to such factors, Yajnas became the mainstay of Brahmana caste and remained the main source of their livelihood for centuries.

The Purpose of Yajna

The primary purpose of yajnas is to nourish devas.

The word deva originally meant gods or light beings.

However in due course it was used to denote, senses, organs in the body, breathe, speech, the mind, king, a Brahmana, a venerable being or a demi-god.

Yajnas may be performed to worship any of them.

Their primary purpose is to invoke the gods and nourish them.

Their secondary purpose is to harness divine power to fulfill desires, overcome difficulties or achieve the four main goals namely Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Yajnas may also be performed to discharge karmic debt or uphold Dharma as an obligatory duty.

The mantras and hymns which are sung during the sacrifices are meant to appease the gods and help the worshippers to fulfill their desires and seek divine protection.

Yajnas bring gods and humans together to achieve their common goals and participate in God’s eternal duties as active participants in the sacrifice of creation.

The source of Yajna is God himself.

He created the worlds and beings out of a primal sacrifice, which serves as the model for the Yajnas humans perform upon earth.

According to Sayana, Vishnu is the lord of the sacrifice.

In other words, Yajnas play an important role in the preservation of the worlds and beings.

Yajnas are used for material and spiritual purposes as well as for constructive and destructive purposes.

Their essential purpose is the preservation of the worlds. Some yajnas are performed to create, some to preserve and protect and some to destroy and remove obstacles and threats.

In the Vedas we find that they are meant to secure progeny, a place in heaven, conjugal bliss, prevent or cure sickness and diseases, ward off death, ensure health and vitality, achieve name, fame and prosperity, cleanse sinful karma, repair relationships, help the ancestors, mark important occasions in the life of an individual such as birth, initiation, marriage, etc., and so on.

They are also performed for good rains, fertility, better harvest, protection from calamities, evil spells, natural disasters and the inherited sin of the ancestors.

The Vedas recognize the Yajna as a potent weapon to destroy one’s enemies and rivals in love and marriage. In the Yajurveda and Atharvaveda, several Yajnas are suggested to cast spells and delude people.

Any Yajna is incomplete unless it reaches the heaven and fulfills its purpose.

In that effort, speech, space, the sacred words of the Vedas, the chanting of the mantras, the devotion and sincerity of the worshippers, the purity of the priests, the sanctity of the ritual place and the perfection shown in its performance play an important role.

Attitude and preparation play an important role in the efficacy of the Yajnas. When yajnas are not performed according to prescribed procedure or when they are performed without reverence or respect, they may either fail to produce the intended results or produce unintended consequences.

When Yajnas are performed under the influence of triple gunas, they may produce different results.

Hence, the involvement of officiating priests is an important component of major yajnas.

Types of Yajnas

Vedic sacrifices proliferated during the heydays of Vedic civilization and during its expansion into different parts of the Indian subcontinent, which is evident from the innumerable sacrifices which were practiced in ancient times by people of all backgrounds.

They performed sacrifices to mark every occasion and resolve every problem. In the absence of viable alternatives, the Yajnas offered hope and salvation to people who were in distress or who sought divine intervention to protect themselves from the vagaries of life.

Their importance did not diminish with the decline of the Vedic religion because they were assimilated into various other traditions, which subsequently became part of Hinduism.

Depending upon the frequency at which they are performed, Yajna may be classified as periodical sacrifices, occasional sacrifices and situational sacrifices.

Periodical sacrifices may be further classified as daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, seasonal or annual.

The daily sacrifices, also known as Paka Yajnas, involve offering of cooked food (paka) to five different kinds of beings.

Hence, they were also known as five great sacrifices pancha yajnas.

The Sankhayana Sutra divides the Paka Yajnas into four kinds, Huta, Ahuta, Prahuta, And Prâsita. In addition to them, devout Brahmanas has the obligation to perform oblations to the Sun in the morning, afternoon and evening. In the Vedic times, they also made daily offerings of Soma Juice to divinities such as Indra, Soma, Varuna, etc.

The fortnightly sacrifices are the full moon day and half-moon day sacrifices.

The right time to perform them are mid-day or when “the sun shines on the top of the trees.” Some Yajnas are seasonal and performed to mark the onset of a specific season such as spring, summer or the fruit bearing season. Some Yajnas have to be performed once in several years.

Occasional sacrifices are those which are performed to mark specific occasions such as festivals, auspicious occasions and important events in the life of an individual.

Some of them involve elaborate rituals and prior preparation.

Situational sacrifices are performed to address specific problems such as to remove impurities (doshas), misfortune or some calamity.

Some Yajnas are considered original or natural (Prakrit), and others their derivatives (vikrit).

Only the Prakrit Yajnas are mentioned in detail in the Grihya Sutras.

They serve as models for the latter.

For example, the Agnistoma sacrifice serves as the model for several Soma sacrifices.

The Darsapurnamasa sacrifice is the basis for several sacrifices which are known as Isti.

The animals sacrifices, which are associated with the Soma sacrifices serve as the model for all the animal sacrifices.

Depending upon their importance, Yajnas are also classified as main (pradhana) and ancillary (anga). The latter are derived from the former.

The ancillary rites may be associated with one or more main sacrifices.

Yajnas may also be classified according to the type of offerings.

Yajnas where food is the main offering are known as Paka Yajnas. Some Yajnas where oblations are poured are known as Homas.

The Yajnas primarily comply with the Vedic methods of worship and value system.

However, some are performed according to Tantric beliefs.

Yajnas are also named according to the materials which are used in the sacrifice.

For example, the Yajna where knowledge is transmitted is known as Jnana Yajna.

The sacrifice of gifts is known as Dana Yajna.

The sacrifice which is performed to propitiate the earth before cultivating the land is known as Bhu-Yajna.

The Vedas contain references to many Yajnas where animals are sacrificed as offerings.

The offerings are mainly cooked food, food grains, fruit, seeds, butter, ghee, oil, water, milk, curd, honey, wood of different kinds, perfumes or scented materials, incense, leaves, kusa grass, grass leaves, prayers, chants, etc.

The simplest form of yajna is the domestic ritual performed by the householder who would offer simple oblation into the sacred fire lit in his house.

A more complicated version involves setting up of three to five fires and pouring of offerings into them such as food grains, ghee or butter, and other vegetable substances by chosen and qualified priests, chanting mantras simultaneously, invoking various gods especially Agni, Indra, Varuna etc.

Householders also Some yajnas are performed on large scale for the general welfare of the entire community, to increase fertility of soil, to invite rains, to welcome peace and wealth etc. Depending upon the degree of complexity, these yajnas may last from a few hours to several days.

The number of priests participating and conducting the ceremony would depend upon the nature and objective for which it is performed.

Yajnas may be performed ritually with material offerings or spiritually with mental offerings. The latter are known as Antar Yajnas.

They are essentially meditative practices or approaches to internal worship or mental worship.

You may consider them as the basis for the development of classical Yoga.

In them, the model of the Yajna is internalized, whereby the body becomes the sacrificial altar, the mind becomes the priest and the deity Yajna, the senses, breath, organs of actions and speech represent the divinities, thoughts and prayers become offerings, while the Self acts as the recipient of the offering.

Parts of Yajna

Yajnas are performed in different ways according to the need, the occasion, the preferences and desires of the worshippers.

A typical yajna is performed after choosing a clean place, which shall be free from impurities and evil influences, and after ascertaining an auspicious time as determined by a priest who is well-versed in the subtle nuances of Hindu calendar. A typical Yajna is an elaborate mechanism with many moving parts like the parts in a wheel. It may have all or some of the following parts or components (yajna-anga).

  1. Yajnastala or Yajnabhumi: The sacrificial place
  2. Yajnavatika or Yajnashala: Sacrificial hall, shed or enclosure
  3. Yajnakundam: The sacrificial pit
  4. Yajnavedi: The sacrificial altar which is usually made of bricks according to specifications
  5. Yajnadiksha: Formal declaration to perform the yajna
  6. Yagagni: The consecrated sacrificial fire, which is either specially prepared or taken from domestic fires
  7. Yajnadravyam: Sacrificial materials or offerings
  8. Yajnapasu: The sacrificial animal
  9. Yajnakila: The sacrificial post to which the animal is tied
  10. Yajamana: The host of the sacrifice.
  11. Purohita: The chief priest.
  12. Brahman: The supervising priest
  13. Devas: The gods for whom sacrifice is performed
  14. Yajna-amsam: The share which is due to each god in a sacrifice
  15. Yajnasesha: The remains of the sacrifice
  16. Yajnasadas: The assembly of men who attend the sacrifice
  17. Yajnasiddhi or Yajnaphalam: The outcome or the fruit of a sacrifice
  18. Bhokta: The enjoyer of the sacrifice.
  19. Bhakta: The offering
  20. Agnihotri: The Brahmana who keeps sacrificial fire.

The Vedic Yajnas have to be performed strictly according to procedure. Procedural purity is important to ensure that the Yajna produces the intended results.

The purity of the participants, chants and the materials used in the sacrifice is also equally important. Some Yajnas may last for a few hours or for days and months and require special preparation. Some are performed in private and some in public.

They are also performed individually or collectively according to the need.

A typical yajna has a preparatory part, an introductory part, a middle part and a concluding part. In each stage, the same priests may perform various duties and chant different mantras, or it may be done by different classes of priests who have specialized in them.

They do so to propitiate the gods, prepare the sacrificial place, ward off evil powers, invite the gods to the ritual place or convey the desires, intent and purpose of the sacrifice.

At the end of the ceremony, priests perform expiatory rituals to safeguard the purity and sanctity of the rituals. Some Yajnas may require the performance of related Yajnas either immediately or after a gap for their successful completion

Aspects of Yajna

To the Vedic priests, yajna was the means to invoke gods and seek their blessings and favors.

They performed them for various purposes and at various times during the year, at the time of sowing, at the time of harvest, at the time of initiating some important social event or before going to wars.

One very popular yajna of those days was the Asvamedha Yajna, or the Horse Sacrifice which used to be performed by powerful kings to mark their victory and suzerainty. Outwardly, the horse symbolizes the divine power of the king and inwardly it symbolizes Brahman himself.

Just as Brahman endlessly expands in all directions, the power of the king is expected to grow in the same manner with the sacrifice.

Thus, each Yajna has an outer aspect and an inner aspect.

The outer aspect of yajna consists of all that one can see. It includes the preparation, the participants, the altar, the kindling of consecrated fire, the wood used to keep the fire going, the flames, and the sacrificial material used as offerings and oblations, the prayers and chants, the remains of the offerings, the gifts and so on.

All this is the material aspect of the Yajna.

The inner or hidden aspect of Yajna is known to those who are familiar with the Vedic rituals.

The yajna is the means of worshipping the highest God or ones own inner self.

It symbolizes creation itself and every aspect in it, in which there is an exchange or transference of Nature’s materiality and its numerous manifestations.

The sacrifice involves the act of giving and taking, and thereby symbolizes the transformative aspect of Nature and the interdependence of worlds and beings.

It points to the need to live in harmony with the rest of creation and the importance of transcending selfishness and self-interest.

Even when you strive to achieve your personal goals, you should not ignore your obligatory duties and your commitment to the order and regularity of the world.

The Vedas clearly identify human selfishness as a major disrupting factor in the orderly progression of life.

If people live for themselves and ignore their collective responsibilities towards each other, gods and other living beings, the world will be in chaos. Hence, they equate selfishness with evil itself.

We learn the same from modern science also, which affirms that you cannot solely live by yourself.

It is common sense wisdom that if you want to live in peace, you must live responsibly and ensure the preservation of life around you, just as you cannot pollute the waters of a pond from where you draw your drinking water.

Thus, sacrifices are meant to help you outgrow your selfishness and participate in sacrificial duties to ensure the continuation of the worlds and discharge your obligation to God who is the upholder of all.

In the Bhagavad-Gita Lord Krishna explains that every aspect of a ritual of sacrifice, represents Brahman namely the act of offering, the oblation, the sacrificer himself and the sacrificial fire as well  (4.23).

In the subsequent verses he lists various types of sacrifices which people perform for various reasons and aims (4.25-4.30) and concludes that the sacrifice in the form of knowledge is superior to the sacrifice which is done with material things.

In the ninth chapter he declares, “

I am kratu (Vedic ritual),

I am yajna (sacrifice),

svadha (offering),

ausadham (medicine),

mantra (chant),

ajyam (ghee),

agni (fire),

and hutam (burnt offering).

In Chandogya Upanishad,

the yajna is compared variously to the world (section 4),

the rain god (section 5),

the earth (section 6),

man (section 7)

and woman (section 8).

The comparison can be summarized in the table as shown below.

Parts of Yajna          World as Yajna        Rain as Yajna          Earth as Yajna          Man as Yajna            Woman as Yajna

Fire     world  rain     earth   man    woman

Fuel    sun     air        year    speech           sex organ

Smoke            rays     cloud  space breath desire

Flame the day           lightening      night   tongue           vulva

Coals  the moon       thunder          quarters         eyes    friction

Sparks            stars    thundering    intermediate quarters          ears    pleasure

Oblation         faith    soma  rain     food    semen

The result      soma  rain     food    semen            fetus

The physical or the outer aspect of the Vedic rituals has always been viewed with suspicion by the followers of renunciant paths and seekers of knowledge and truth. Several Upanishads declare the knowledge of the sacrificial rituals as ignorance or lower knowledge, which leads to rebirth and continuation of mortal existence.

In Satapatha Brahmana we are told that gods and demons tried to perform a sacrifice. Demons, who think that the body is the soul, tried to perform it externally, while gods kindled fire within themselves and thereby became immortal.

The Mandukya Upanishad is very clear in its opinion about the Vedic sacrifices.

It declares, “Unsteady are the boats of 18 forms of sacrifice, which are part of inferior karma.

The deluded, who take delight in them thinking that they would lead them to good, will fall again into old age and death.”

It reaffirms the same opinion in the following words,” These deluded men who regard sacrifices and works of merit as most important do not know any other good.

Having enjoyed in the high place of heaven, which is won by good deeds, they enter again this world or still the lower ones.”

Thus, sacrifices have the same consequences as desire-ridden actions because although they are called sacrifices for namesake, they are performed out of desires only.

The same Upanishad also declares the knowledge of the Vedas and rituals, grammar, etc.,

to be the lower (apara) knowledge, while the higher (para) knowledge is that one by which the Imperishable Brahman is realized.

Almost a similar view is echoed in the Bhagavad-Gita by Lord Krishna who cautions us against empty ritualism (11.48).

The knowers of Vedas who worship God through sacrifices would ascend to heaven and return from there.

(9.20&21), but they would not attain liberation.

Yajnas in contemporary world

Sacrificial rituals (karma kanda) dominated the early Vedic religion. However, with the internalization of Vedic rituals and emergence of the Upanishadic philosophy, the importance of rituals diminished.

As stated before, the seers of the Upanishads regarded them as lower knowledge or even ignorance (avidya) and encouraged people to pursue the path of liberation to avoid rebirth and continuation of bondage to the cycle of births and deaths.

Many Upanishads discourage people from indulging in superficial sacrificial rituals and instead encourage them to contemplate upon the Self or Brahman. However, some suggest a middle path and the need to maintain balance. The Bhagavadgita suggests that sacrifices should be performed as an obligatory duty, as an offering to God, without desire for their fruit.

In todays’ world, sacrificial rituals have lost much of their significance, partly because the they are performed in Sanskrit, which many Hindus do not know and thereby fail to understand their significance.

Secondly, many people have little or no faith in them. From a modern perspective, the rituals also appear to them as primitive and rather superstitious. Thirdly, the rituals demand purity, sincerity, austerity and prior preparation, which many people find difficult to practice.

They also cost money, time and active participation. Some Yajnas cost a fortune to perform and beyond the capacity of ordinary people. Lastly, secular education and western influence greatly diminished the importance of Yajnas in the minds of many educated people.

Therefore, today many educated Hindus are not seriously committed to performing the yajnas.

They may occasionally perform them or participate in them due to family or social pressures on occasions like marriage, the conception of a child, etc., but with certain reservations and indifference.

For most of people, the yajnas are a part of an ancient tradition, which they do not understand and which they do not recognize as relevant or important in the present-day world.

However, many educated people rightly recognize the importance of the Upanishadic knowledge and the need to pursue self-knowledge.

Vedic rituals generated controversy even in ancient India, resulting in the rise of many independent schools of thought around sixth century B.C. Foremost among were Charvakas, Lokayatas and other materialists and agnostics, who doubted the sanctity of the Vedas or the role of God in creation.

Rival traditions such as Jainism and Buddhism also questioned the efficacy of Vedic rituals and sacrificial ceremonies in resolving human suffering and the role of Brahman.

The Buddha acknowledged the existence of the Vedic pantheon, but questioned the value of sacrifices and ritual worship and advised his followers to strive for liberation rather than seeking material rewards through superficial rituals.

It is true that the importance of the Yajnas and their value have greatly diminished in today’s world due to various reasons such as the influence of modern, secular education, the complexity involved in performing them and the decline in the number of priests who can perform the various yajnas strictly according to the established procedure.

However, we should not lose heart.

Although the importance of Yajnas has greatly diminished in the modern world, they still constitute an important part of Hinduism and cannot be ignored.

The primary purpose of Yajnas is nourishment of Vedic gods, which is an obligatory duty for the followers of Sanatana Dharma.

The gods depend upon us for nourishment.

If we do not nourish them through sacrifices, they will grow weaker while evil will grow stronger, which in turn will effect the world itself.

HHence, at least some yajnas still need to be performed physically or mentally to keep the gods nourished and the world safe.

Even the simple act of offering the food to gods before you eat will make a world of difference to gods and to you.

The puja ceremony which we practice at homes and in temples is also a form of sacrifice only, and a modern substitute for Yajnas. Surely, the food which we offer to gods during the ceremony goes to them.

Whether your sacrificial actions are part of a yajna or not, they do cleanse your mind and body and protect you from harm and evil.

Therefore, even if you do not perform the physical Yajnas, you should bring the spirit of the Yajnas into your daily life through internal Yajnas and use that approach to improve your life and destiny.

Yagya – Powerhouse of Knowledge and Science

What does Yagya mean?

Yajna, yagna, or Yagya (Sanksrit: यज्ञ, “worship, prayer; offering, oblation; fire ceremony”) comes from the root ‘yaj’– “to worship”.

It is a Hindu Vedic ritual that has been performed since ancient times in which Agni Deva, the fire god, acts as a medium between celestial(gods) and human consciousness.

The first word in the Rig Veda is “Agni,” the cosmic fire of the universe.  

  •    Yajna unites oneself with infinity.
  •    It is performed in front of a fire along with chanting of Vedic mantras.
  •    Agni is the protector of humanity.
  •    This pure fire shields us from all evils.
  •   The fire makes Yagna a pious ritual.
  •   The yajna is the means of worshiping the Brahman or one’s Inner self’.

Based on the Vedas, there are over 1000 types of Yagnas that all serve different purposes.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna mentioned different types of yajna in the 4th chapter:

  1. Dravya yajna
  2. Yoga-yajna
  3. Tapo-yajna
  4. Jnana-yajna

The sages have called Yagna the basis of the creation of this world by saying

“Ayam Yajno Vishwasya Bhuvanasya Nabhi:” (Atharva: 9. 15 14).

“अयं यज्ञो विश्वस्य भुवनस्य नाभि: ” (अथर्व:९.१५.१४ )) Yagna has three characteristics

A yagna is also known and called a Homa or Havana(हवन).

The importance of Havana is stated in approximately 114 Mantras in the Sama Veda.

According to Yajurveda, Havana is the most effective, appropriate, and beneficial deed.

In Hinduism, any big Puja is incomplete without Havan.

A Havan can achieve a level of sacredness and purity that no other ritual can.

According to the Vedas, the only ways to achieve Moksha (salvation) or Self-realization are by Yajna or Yagna and the Gayatri Mantra.

There are several mantras linked to Yajna in each of the four Vedas.

According to the Yajur Veda mantra –

“Yajudevapujasangatikaranadaaneyshu,” the word “Yaj” / Yagna has three aspects

  1. Deva Puja : worshiping and honoring the Divine in all forms.
  2. Sangatikarana : which means unity, taking everyone along with. 
  3. Daan ‘charity’ : giving, sharing, gifting what one has been blessed with. It is a yajna that purifies our life, our mind, and our actions.

The purpose of a Yagna ritual has been to bring ancient yogis into direct contact with the source of the universe by connecting them with the elements – the underlying forces of its creation.

ऋग्वेद, यजुर्वेद, सामवेद और अथर्ववेद: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda (Set of 4 Vedas)

Who Performs Yagna

Yagna is performed to invoke the gods for their blessings and favors. They are performed by four (4) types of Vedic priests namely:

I. Adhvaryu – According to Rig Veda, the Adhvaryu is delegated with the task to make sure that all the physical needs of Yagna are met, such as building the altar;

II. Hotra – hotra recites invocations;

III. Udgatra – udgatra chants the yagna verses or mantras while focusing on the vital breath and

IV. Brahman – Brahman, who is considered the chief priest, overlooks the entire process and takes a lead on the ritual, ponders upon the moon god.

In a Yagna, the holy fire or Agni burns bright in an Agni Kund. 

It has been believed for centuries that the prayers and offerings made in a Yagna, reach God directly and become a medium of attaining eternal blessings.

The mouth of fire is the mouth of God. Whatever is fed in it, is a Brahmbhoja in the true sense. 

Where is a yagna staged?

  • Yagnas are performed at a yagyasala. The setup of the Yagnashala itself is highly advanced technology.
  • The four entrances of a yagasala represent the four Vedas.
  • The “holy fire”(pavitra Agni), is created in the Havan Kund / vedi.
  • The Havan Kund works on a simple scientific principle that geometry (shape, direction, size, location) influences the flow of energy.
  • The most fascinating aspect of Havan Kunds is their different properties in diverse contexts. According to the Scriptures, It serves as a source of vital and extremely strong energy fields, which are ultimately dispersed across the ecosystem.
  • This is the same principle on which Vaastu Shastra is based. So the shape of the Yagna Vedi varies with the type of energy to be invoked. For instance
  • Yoni kund for childbirth
  • Triangular (Trikon) Kund for victory over enemies
  • Octagon (eight-angled) Kund for health
  • Circular (Vrut) Kund for public welfare
  • Rectangular or Square (Chaturastra) for obtaining Siddhis
  • Lotus (Padma) Kund- for wealth
  • Hexagonal (six-angled) kund- for bestowing blessings for long life, etc.

How Is A Yagna Performed – Invoking The Deities (Devatas Or Devis)?

“यज्ञोअयं सर्वकामधुक” “Yagnoayam Sarvakamdhuk”- Yagya is the best scientific method of living life.

A Yagna is comprised of two parts – i) A Sacrifice or an Offering and ii) an Expectancy in return.

According to the Yajurveda, a special mixture of four types of items commonly used to prepare offerings for a Havan are:

  • Sweets such as honey, jaggery, and raw sugar
    • Antibiotics, medicinal herbs such as gyol, and others
    • Nutrients such as milk-ghee( clarified butter), dried fruits, and
    • Fragrance such as cardamom, dried petals, and herbs, to name a few.
  • After appeasing all the concerned Gods with prayers and flowers, a fire is lit in a Havan pot/Kund. 
  • The Priest then offers an oblation, “Ahuti” into the Kund fire reciting the Vedic verses or mantras. 
  • Yajna consists of building an altar and kindling fire using ‘samidhas’ woods of trees of special qualities. 
  • pouring into it oblations such as Goghrit (clarified butter), cereals, barley, sesame seeds, sugar, camphor, guggul, cedar, sandal, coconut, jaggery, etc. There is a science to all this.

   o Q: If there is no ‘milk-ghee’, then what to do?

   o A: Do it with paddy or barley/ other herbal medicines/ janglee (bushy) cereals/ flora (vegetational) / water.

  • The Sanskrit mantras create sound vibrations when chanted, and are believed to possess special energy that penetrates on a cosmic level.
  • A survey suggested that mantras recited during Yagnas can produce up to 11,000 sound waves per second. 
  • Special homas (Havanas) is performed on days of Ekadashi, Purnima, or important occasions such as one’s birthday, anniversary, etc. 
  • One can also perform homas for the fulfillment of an important task or ‘Sankalpa’( resolution).
  • The scholars and sages-scientists of ancient days advanced the Yagyas. By offering the right substances in the fire with the resolutions, they started getting the desired results.

There are many examples of manifesting the gods, demons, etc. beings, chariots, aircraft, many types of medicines, and desired things, which are described in the Puranas and Shastras.

The author of the Yagna is called a Yajamana.

He initiated a Yagna, wishing for – a cultured son to continue his lineage, or wealth for his treasury, or rains for his nation, or victory in a war, and so forth.

To accomplish his desire, he has been willing to make an offering (donations of cows, wealth, grains, etc.),

represented by ‘Svaha’ – This of me, I offer to you.

The implementer of his desires has been a ‘Devata’ or a Deity – an Energy Form.

The Devata then furnished the desire saying ‘Tathastu’ – So be it!

  • This process of invoking the Devata has been highly technical and required an expert who knew its technology.

Ancient Indian Rishis, the experts, were great scientists too, who knew the technique behind invoking different energy bodies (Devatas) representing different material desires.

  • A question arises here: did Devatas ever exist? Are these so-called energy forms, or just illusions of mythology? •

Let us understand this concerning an eminent scientist, Albert Einstein’s theory: E = mc². Einstein states that: o Energy

  • A question arises here: did Devatas ever exist? Are these so-called energy forms, or just illusions of mythology?
  • Let us understand this concerning an eminent scientist, Albert Einstein’s theory: E = mc². Einstein states that:
    • Energy and mass (matter) are interchangeable; 
    • They are different forms of the same thing. 
    • The matter is nothing but energy.
    • Different types of matter vibrate with different energy levels.
  • Now, judge this with what the Sankhya Yoga under Gita says:
    • Consciousness (Purusha or Shiva) manifests as Energy (Prakriti or Shakti).
    • Energy manifests as various forms of matter – from the very subtle (Shoonya) to the subtle (Sukshma), to the gross forms of matter (Sthula).
    • Through a set of processes, it is possible to change matter into energy, or energy into matter, tap into higher or lower energy levels and change the forms of matter.
  • So, it is possible to invoke an energy form that will bring
    • Rain to land on tapping particular frequencies.
    • a male child in a barren womb at those particular frequencies. This Yagna has been known as ‘Putra-kameshthi Yagna’.
    • wealth at a different frequency. This Yagna has been known as ‘The Kubera Yagna’.
  • In essence, all our gods –Varuna, Agni, Vayu, or a vanaspati god, or Lord Ganesha or Maa Lakshmi, or Devi Saraswati, or any of the 33 million gods and goddesses in the Hindu Dharma, may just have been various energy forms corresponding to various frequencies on the material physical aspect.

The second aspect of invoking the Devata is the use of Mantras.

A Mantra when uttered aloud, repeatedly, creates a particular energy field.

The most powerful Mantra in the universe is– OM, also pronounced as AUM.

There are Mantras for various material and spiritual aspirations – for health, wealth, relations, mental peace, spiritual growth, and so forth.

Om- The Symbol of God (Om Japa is the Means to God Realisation)

Principle Of Yagna-Give and Receive :

Yajna is when you are sharing yourself with all the people. Even singing, listening, and dancing in the group, are yajnas.

  • The sounds are entering your ears, the mind is immersed in the sound and you slip into a sort of meditation – that is a yajna.
  • Pranayam – breathe in and breathe out is yajna. Air goes in and purifies the whole body.
  • Fire, air, and water- all purify – so should our actions. The actions like meditation, and service projects – all purify our spirit. 
  • Similarly, Some people purify themselves by fasting- fasting is also a yajna.
  • Remaining in Silence (maun vrat) is a Yajna.

Science of giving- giving everything that may help others and make this society, country, and even the planet a better place.

  • An individual’s life starting from his birth to death- we will find a trend of giving and taking.
  • It is the duty of every householder who is blessed with material wealth and is capable of looking after society, thinking beyond his family members, and working for society.
  • The child who has been looked after by parents and taught by society in childhood is supposed to return the favor by helping people and contributing to society in his full capacity.
  • This is the beauty of Yagna where your actions should be initiated without any attachment toward selfish motives.

 The more you contribute, the greater the harmony and the more efficient the cosmic system.

Another aspect of the science of Yagna is the use of Fire – Agni.

Fire is one of the five primitive elements – Prithvi (Earth), Apah (Water), Agni (Fire), Vayu (Air), and Akash (Space).

fire burns away 

impurities and leaves a pure residue.

Since this whole universe is a yajna, give and take happens in the whole universe.

we as individuals or human beings are inseparable from the whole of creation

Between the elements, there is give and take –it is the air that helps the fire to blow, and it is the fire that helps water to become vapor, and it is water that helps the earth blossom.

  • The fire was the first element that humans discovered.
  • The other elements (earth, wind, and water) were already there in plain sight.
  • The finding of fire gave power to humans to protect themselves, cook their food, and cleanse their environment.

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भव: |

यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञ: कर्मसमुद्भव: ||Gita 3. 14||

Here, Lord Krishna reveals the wheels of Yagna (the cycle of nature).

  • Rain begets grains.
  • Grains are eaten and transformed into blood.
  • From blood, semen is created.
  • Semen is the seed from which the human body is created.
  • Human beings perform yajñas, and these pacify the celestial gods, who then cause rains, and so the cycle continues.

The word ‘yajna’ is very significant throughout the Bhagavad-gita.

Sacrifice, no doubt, means giving something, but it does not mean losing something.

  • In giving, we do not lose. 
  • Give and it shall be given back a hundred-fold.
  • It should be realized that whatever money, material, labor, and time is invested in a Yagya, it never goes in vain.
  • In a way, it gets deposited in the bank of the deities and gets back with adequate interest at an appropriate time.

It is difficult to understand the meaning of sacrifice, at the same time the knowledge of it is necessary to understand the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita centered around the principle of yajna, sacrifice. 

  • Thus, a Yagna has been a mechanism of a “give and receive” device, a practical process, as against the misinterpreted noble concept of a ‘sacrifice’`.
  • Just as the gods reside in man, animals also reside in him. 
  • Selfishness, Cravings, Anger, greed, hatred, etc.- all these are wild animals.
  • These expressions have been prescribed to symbolize each animal. e.g; a hawk of pride, a vulture of greed, a dog of sycophancy, an owl of ignorance, etc. 
  • By sacrificing these animals (bhavas) in the Yagya, a man becomes a pure human being.

 This is the secret of animal sacrifice in the Yagya.

An ignorant -asura, who sacrifices animals in the yajna,(which is not a yajna), is in fact, a staunch opponent of fire and yajna.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Types of Yajna

A. Everyday yajnas

Anna-sudhhi – purifying the food. In India, the ancient tradition has always been – before eating rice or any carbohydrate, add a spoonful of ghee (clarified butter) on it. This tradition exists even today.

That spoonful of ghee makes you digest the food slowly.

Thus, it does not immediately get converted to sugar and affects the sugar level in your body.

It aids digestion.

Dhana-shuddhi – when you have earned some wealth, a portion of it should be donated.

 If you spend everything that you earn on yourself, these earnings are considered impure and a sin.

Money becomes pure only when you spend a percentage of it as yajna. 

Meditation : when you sit for meditation and withdraw the mind from all the senses, you feel fresh and peaceful from inside! You feel rejuvenated, and purified—this is Yajna. 

Agnihotra : Below are the steps to perform our mini-ritual of Havan(Yagna) at home:

  • Set the intention
  • Identify those thoughts and beliefs that have been troubling most and need to let go of- “sacrificial offering”,
  • Chose a declaration or mantra to be recited linked to the intention,
  • Re-affirm the intention
  • On a quiet morning time, light the flame over an earthen pot- re-affirm and repeat the intention 11 times,
  • For each repeat your chant, add camphor to the flame, offering away thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back and
  • Finally, before getting up from the Yagna, re-affirm the intention and purpose.

Staring into a fire or a flame can be captivating, almost feeling of a meditative state.

Use the power of fire to drive your inner fire toward its purpose.

You can perform this Yagna( Havana) known as ‘ agnihotra’ as an everyday ritual, or when you’re about to begin a new venture, or whenever you wish so.

B. Mythological(Ancient) Yagnas

The manner of the gathering of thoughtful people, exchanging of ideas, and solving problems have been named as- Yagya. Some prominent and great yagyas are described as follows:

The Rajasuya – Just like Yudhishthira did.

This yagya used to take 33 months and had been performed for all-around political victory.

All the best people gathered and all kinds of problems – political, social, cultural, economic, protective, etc. – were discussed and the decisions taken were universal.

The system of governance is called Rajsuya. Now–a-days, the Indian Parliament is the only Rajsuya.

Ashwamedha Yagya – Only the Chakravarti( king of kings) king had the right to perform this yagya.

As has been done by Raja Ramchandra.

It used to be completed in two years.

Leaving the horse of Ashwamedha free, he had sent an invitation to the thoughtful and asked them to gather at one place.

To organize the nation and its powers well is the Aswamedha Yagya.

Vajpeya Yagya : Under it, events were organized to solve moral, spiritual, personal and social, and religious problems.

This yagya is said to be completed in forty days.

Like Kumbh Mela – which are being held from time to time.

Benefits of Yagnas (Yagam) – Tamil

Yajna & Environment – Effects and Benefits

Yagna purifies the doer, the receiver, and the environment.

The benefits of yagna are not restricted to the time of activity or to the people who participate in it but extend much beyond.

  • A yagna and its ash purify the air, water, soil, and agriculture as found in scientific research.
  • Reduces the harmful bacteria in the atmosphere significantly and boosta immunity.
  • After the yagna, the environment is charged with Prana and positive energy which nourishes all beings by cleansing and healing the atmosphere.  
  • Yagna also reduces air pollution by dropping the concentration of particulate matter in the air and the harmful gases like NO2, CO, and air pollutants like SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter) and RSPM (Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter).  
  • The distance did not affect the influence that the yajnas had on the environment. The yajnas’ positive effects were observed in places more than 6500 km away immediately after the yajnas.
  • It balances the environment, protecting against negative energies. 
  •  By studying the auras of various samples before and after the yajnas, it has been observed that the positive vibes or auras became significantly more positive by 300 %.

To study the subtle effect of the yajna on the environment, a research team used an aura and energy scanner known as the Universal Aura Scanner( UAS) along with its sixth sense.

This UAS has been invented by Dr. Mannem Murthy (a former nuclear scientist from India).

This instrument can ably detect negativity and/or positivity in any object’s aura along with the length (or extent) of the aura.

  • ‘Electromagnetic radiation’ impacts the environment, and dangerously ‘pollutes’ the mental and physical well-being of human beings, especially since the Corona -19 upsurge.

Research has shown that electromagnetic radiation from devices is greatly reduced in the yagna environment.

  • It is truly been said, “Heal the atmosphere and the atmosphere will heal you.”

Experiments on Havana were conducted by a French scientist called Trelle.

He discovered that when mango wood is used in yagna, a gas called “formic aldehyde” is released.

It harmful bacteria and purifies the air.

The scientists then created “formalin” from “formic aldehyde” gas.

He also researched jaggery (Gur) and discovered that when the jaggery is burned, it produces “formic aldehyde” gas. Another scientist, Tautilk, discovered that if we remain in a ‘Havan and its smoke’ for half an hour, the typhoid germs are killed.

अथर्ववेदमेधाजनन, संगठन और विजय: Atharvaveda, Mantras on Developing Buddhi, Community Building and Victory

Miscellaneous Effects

  • The mind calms down and a sense of serenity dawns. The aroma of the yagna fumes is also quite refreshing and sometimes acts as a natural perfume.
  • It is interesting to know that an average adult eats *2 kg of food per day, drinks *3-4 litres of water, and breathes *11,000 litres of air in a day! Thus the quality of air can have a significant impact on our health.
  • They are influential tools that generate enormous positive spiritual energy, which ultimately increases well-being in society, bringing harmony and good health.
  • The ‘haven- ash’ can be used to purify water in water bodies and make it fit for drinking by increasing the dissolved oxygen content, regulating the pH, and removing the harmful bacteria in it. 
  • ‘havan- ash’ is also being used to cultivate organic food having higher yield and nutritional value.
  • One can explore homa farming or kitchen gardens through ‘Agnihotra havan’ at home as well.
  • Yagna is beneficial in resolving a variety of financial, health, marital/family, and career/job-related issues.
  • In the Atharva Veda, various types of yagnas are given for curing diseases. Modern research has shown yagnas to help reduce anxiety, addictions, stress, and other lifestyle-related diseases.

Their therapeutic use is a topic of research.

By having rich and nutritious foods devoid of any chemical pesticides or fertilizers cultivated using homa farming, having pure and balanced water and breathing in pure air charged with Prana, living in a charged atmosphere, and balancing our emotions and thoughts through Yagna, one can truly live a sustainable, healthy and holistic life that nourishes the environment and us. 

Yajna – Total control of own-self

Apart from community, Yagna is also an activity of the soul, for a person who gains the fruits of his karmas (actions) through his or her sacrifices.

So, one kind of yajna or sacrifice would imply self-control, restraining the movement of all the senses, the mind, and the intellect.

Each soul has an inner fire, which is a reflection of cosmic fire. Tending to our inner fire requires consciousness, concentration, perseverance, and a sense of purpose.

When we neglect our inner fire, our passions and purpose go unruly. But when tended carefully, fire provides a focus for our purpose, destroys our inner impurities, and increases our intelligence.

In general, a Havan is conducted to achieve both spiritual and material success.

Jnana (Gyan) yagna

As per Gita, the term “Jnana Yajna” implies that the intelligent seeker offers, as his oblation (ahuti), his false identification, negative tendencies & ignorance into”Fire-of-Knowledge”.

This is the significance of Jnana Yajna.

In Gita, lord Krishna concludes that sacrifice in the form of knowledge is superior to sacrifice done with material things.

ज्ञानयज्ञ का महत्तव और योजनाएँ– Significance and Schemes of Gyan Yagya

Panch Maha-Yagnas

To make it more systematic, Hindu Scriptures have defined Panch Mahayagnas (5 great sacrifices), which are mandatory for everybody to perform.

Briefly, these are- Dev Yagna, Pitra Yagna, Bhuta Yagna, Atithidev Yagna & Brahma Yagna.

  1. Deva Yagna (vaishvdev ) is related to offerings to God
  2. Pitra Yagna is related to forefathers (tarpan)
  3. Bhuta Yagna is for Animal and Plant Kingdom
  4. Brahma Yagna pertains to vedic living (daily study of the Vedas)
  5. Atithidev Yagna is related to the offerings made to Guests (Hospitality)

These Mahayagyas are of great importance.

The householder should perform the rituals of these five mahayagyas daily with devotion and reverence along with Sandhya Vandana, chanting of Gayatri Mantra, and Dev Puja.

Yagna is God

  • In the Bhāgavatam (11.19.39), Shree Krishna declares to Uddhav
    • yajño ’haṁ bhagavattamaḥ “I, the Son of Vasudev, am Yajña.” 
  • The Vedas state:
    • yajño vai viṣhṇuḥ “Yajña is indeed Lord Vishnu himself.”
  • Reiterating this principle, Shree Krishna says in this verse that God is eternally present in the act of sacrifice.

कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम् |

  •  तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम् ||Gita-3. 15||

Lord gives conclusive advice that, ‘anyone who does not follow the wheels of yagna, which has been set in motion since the beginning of creation, who acts selfishly, leads a life of greed and only delights in senses, without caring about other beings’ welfare, breaks the wheel of yagna (the cosmic cycle), is an evil doer and hopeless.

  • In the ninth chapter of the Gita he declares,“ Iam Kratu (vedic ritual), I am Yajna (sacrifice), svadha (offerings), ausadham (medicine), mantra (chant), ajyam (ghee), agni (fire), and hutam (burnt offering).

Rules To Be Followed In a Yagya

  • The host and the Brahman should start living in celibacy (brahmcharya) a week before.
  • On the days of Yagna, keep fasting with fruits, milk, or yagya-related food grains.
  • One should sit calmly wearing washed clothes and a new yajnopaveet (janeu, sacred thread).
  • Anything of leather and any intoxicant should not be kept.
  • Women should wear Indian dress, and keep their heads covered.
  • Everyone should chant the mantra together, at one pace.
  • At the end of the Mantra, only at the time of reciting the ‘SWAHA’ words, one should leave the offering, not before or after.
  • The Ahuti should not be thrown into the fire kund nor should it be spilled outside it.
  • The offering should always be made by joining the middle finger and the Kanishaka finger and slowly dropping it in the fire with the help of the thumb.
  • After offering Ghee, a drop of Ghee should be dropped in Pranitha Patra and simultaneously chanting ‘Idam Gayatre Idam Na Mamah’ (‘इदम गायत्रे इदं न ममः)’

Form And Spirit Of Vedic Ritual Worship- Procedure of Yagya


The world’s greatest threat today is the toxic climate.

It is endangering not just the human race but all living things.

Since the early Vedic Era, our Rishis and Maharishis have advised us on the purification process involved in a Havan.

A Yajna is described as a father and Gayatri as a mother.

Gayatri Yagyas generate that power that can clean the environment.

In chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan Shree Krishna explains the philosophy and different kinds of yagnas.

  1. He says that the universe is maintained through yagna and by individuals performing their swadharma.
  2. He further states that it is through yagna that nature is purified & nourished, the divine forces are also pleased and nourished and they in turn nourish us and fulfill our desires.
  3. The Vedas too, describe various kinds of yagnas as a means to fulfill one’s desires and attain happiness through health, wealth, peace, strength, fame, and protection from natural calamities, diseases, and all unforeseen events. 
  4. As the fire engulfs all the offerings, it is essential that we too burn all that holds us back from living a life of dedication with utmost zest. Only then, we can make the most of the Yagna in its truest sense.
  5. Yagya is a type of tax. Just as the state administration punishes the non-taxpayers, similarly the terrors come in different forms and create their wrath on the earth when we don’t reimburse yagnas to Nature deity. The scientific base for avoiding the wrath of natural calamities is- Yagya. 
  6. We will have to perform yagyas in our villages, in our cities, and our localities also. If more people practice Havan, it is sure that the environment will be purified more effectively. Unfortunately, we have been ignoring it. If we start following the laws of Sanatana Dharma sincerely, the world will be a much better place to live.
  7. Yagya God has said – “O yajman, you bring ghee with a spoon full only, bring with a handful of material only. It is my assurance, you will never remain empty-handed. Your lives would be filled with thousands of valuable things”.
  8. When God flourishes all of us, we also have a duty not to be miserly or mean in adoring our patrons.

Man’s life is a yagya.

The first 24 years of his age – is the pratahakalin yajna (प्रातःकालीन यज्ञ); The next 44 years of youth are madhyandin Yajya (माध्यन्दिन यज्ञ ) and the rest of his life for the next 48 years is the sanyakalin Yagya (सांयकालीन यज्ञ).

Key Takeaways

Yagya is a traditional Vedic practice that has been used for thousands of years in India, and is still performed today for a variety of purposes, including spiritual purification, healing, and the fulfillment of material desires.

Yagya involves the offering of various substances into a sacred fire, including ghee, herbs, and other symbolic items, which are believed to create a powerful spiritual energy that can help to transform the environment and the consciousness of those participating in the ceremony.

Yagya is based on the principles of Vedic science, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things and the importance of maintaining a harmonious balance between the different elements of nature.

Yagya is also believed to have practical benefits, such as improving air and water quality, and has been used in modern times for environmental remediation and other purposes.

Yagya is a powerful tool for spiritual growth and transformation, and is an important part of the Vedic tradition of India.


One who performs a yajna or sacrifice spending on the material and dakshina is called a “yajamana”. “Yaj” (as we seen already) means to worship.

The root meaning of “yajamana” is one who performs a sacrifice.

In Tamil Nadu nowadays we refer to a “mudalali” as yajaman.

It is the mudalali who pays the wages.

So it is that we have given him the same place as the yajamana who pays dakshina in sacrifices.

That even common folks refer to the mudalali as yajaman shows how deep-rooted the Vedic culture is in the Tamilland.

There is another word which also testifies to the fact that Tamil Nadu is steeped in the Vedic tradition.

A place where people are fed free is called a “cattiram” by Tamils.

In the North the corresponding word for the sameis “dharamsala“(dharmasala).

How would you explain the use of the word cattiram in the South?

 It is derived from “sattram” which is the name of a type of Vedic sacrifice.

In other sacrifices there is only one yajamana who spends on the material and the dakshina.

The priests recieve the dakshina from him and conduct the sacrifice on his behalf.

In a sattra all are yajamanas. As we have mentioned earlier any sacrifice brings benefits to all mankind and also serves to cleanse the mind of all those who participate in it – even those who witness the rites are benefitted.

But the merit accrues chiefly to the yajamana.

The speciality of a sattra is that all the priests conducting it are yajamanas.

It is a kind of socialist yajna in which the merit is equally shared.

From this type of sacrifice has originated the term signifying a place or establishment where anyone can come and eat as a matter of right.

In a cattiram the one who feeds does not consider himself superior to the one who eats.

There is reason to believe that satras had a special place in the tradition of Tamil Nadu.

Among the rtvik Brahmins there are three classes.

The “hota”(hotr) chants the rks, the hymns from the Rgveda in praise of the deity, invoking the devata to accept the oblation.

Because of the high place accorded to him in a sacrifice we hear even today the remark made with reference to anyone occupying a high position, ” hota“.

The Rgveda is replete with hymns to various deities.

The Yajurveda contains mostly the methods and directions for the conduct of sacrifices.

The Brahmin who looks after the conduct of the sacrifice is the “adhvaryu“.

The “udgata”(udgatr) intones the mantras of the Samaveda to please the deities.

There is a Brahmin supervising the sacrifice and he is called the brahma.

The Vedas themselves are called “Brahma“.

That is why one who learns them (the student) is called a “brahmacharin”.

The supervisor of the sacrifice, brahma, performs his function in accordance with the Atharvaveda.

Thus the hota, the adhvaryu, the udgata and the brahma represent the four Vedas in a sacrifice.

In later times, however, the opinion emerged that the brahma is not connected with the Atharvaveda to the same extent as the hota, adhvaryu and udgata are connected respectively with the Rg, Yajur and Sama Vedas.

In actual practice also we see that those taking part in sacrifices are conversant with the first three Vedas only and not with the Atharvaveda.

For this reason the view is put forward that all sacrifices, from the somayaga to the asvamedha, are to be performed only on the basis of the Rg, Yajur and Sama Vedas.

There are sacrifices which come independently under the Atharvaveda.

Acording to Valmiki’s Ramayana, Indrajit performed the Nikhumbhila sacrifice mentioned in this Veda.

The other three Vedas have a far wider following.

Though we customarily speak of the four Vedas (Caturveda), the Rg, Yajur and Saman are bracketed together and specialy spoken of as “Trayi“.

(There are three types of sacrifices mentioned in the Atharvaveda: “santikam” for peace; “paustikam” for strength; and ” abhicharikam” to bring injury to enemies).