Yajna

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Yajna
Gana Homa or Ganapati Yajna is done to please Lord Ganapati. Suresh Chandra:...There are two kinds of Yajnas. One done for the good of the householders. Public Yajnas used to be sponsored by kings, but now they are performed by several Hindu temple managements and socio-religious organizations. One of the most popular domestic Yajnas is Ganapati Homam.
The "Gayatri mantra" has been personified into a goddess -Pandit Sriram Sharma Acharya:Gayatri and Yajna are described as the pillars of Indian philosophy and culture. The external source of universal knowledge, comprised in the Gayatri mantra is deciphered and the cosmic energy of sound contained in Mantra is activated and expanded with the help of Yajna.
In physical terms, Yagna is a process aimed at refinement of the subtle energy existing in matter with the help of thermal energyof the Mantras. The knowledge of philosophy and science of Yagna as essential for understanding and experimenting the science of spirituality as the knowledge of elementary physics is for material based sciences. The experiments of Yagna, when performed at a small scale in a day to day life are called – Havan or Agnihotra.
Pandit Sriram Sharma Acharya:Specific types of Kundas are recommended for different kinds of Yagnas....A pit for sacrificial fire or a pot (altar) or small reservoir/clay-structure (made up on the ground in which the Yagna fire is lit.

Yajna, also spelled Yagna (Sanskrit: यज्ञ; IAST: yajña, also transliterated yagya or yadnya) or yagam (Tamil: யாகம்), in Hinduism, is a ritual of offerings accompanied by chanting of Vedic mantras (also "worship, prayer, praise, offering and oblation, sacrifice" according to Monier-Williams) derived from the practice in Vedic times. Yajna is an ancient ritual of offering and sublimating the havana sámagri (herbal preparations) in the fire. The sublime meaning of the word yajna is derived from the Sanskrit verb yaj, which has a three-fold meaning of worship of deities (devapujana), unity (saògatikaraña) and charity (dána). An essential element is the ritual fire – the divine Agni – into which oblations are poured, as everything that is offered into the fire is believed to reach God. Rituals associated with temple worship in Hinduism are called agamic, while those involving communication with divinity through Agni are considered to be Vedic. Temple rites in modern-day Hinduism are a combination of both Vedic and agamic rituals. The ritualistic portion of the Hindu scriptures is called Karma-Kanda. Parts of Vedas which describe or discuss Yajnas fall into this portion.

Sources[edit]

  • Yajnas are performed at temporary altars constructed as per Tantric Laws. These altars are made exclusively for Yajnas and as soon as Yajna is over, the altar is destroyed. Yajna invokes no image or idol of God. Most Yajna rituals involves simultaneous chanting by many Brahmin priests. There are two kinds of Yajnas. One done for the good of the householders. Public Yajnas used to be sponsored by kings, but now they are performed by several Hindu temple managements and socio-religious organizations. One of the most popular domestic Yajnas is Ganapati Homam.
  • In the scriptures, [[[Metaphysical]]ly], there is a description of five types of debts that each individual should strive to repay: Deva runa – debt to God, Rishi runa – debt to the masters, Pitru runa – debt to the parents, Nru runa – debt to humanity, and Bhuta runa – debt to creation as a whole. Five offerings or activities help to redeem such debt: Deva yajna - offering oblations to God, Brahma yagna – Imparting spiritual knowledge to worthy seekers, Pitru yagna - rendering tribute to departed family members, Nru yagna athithi seva - Serving the needs of our fellow human beings, Bhuta yajna – preserving ecological balance by protecting animals and the environment.

The Integrated Science of Yagna[edit]

Pandit Sriram Sharma Acharya.. The Integrated Science of Yagna.

Recitation of Gayatri Mantra (19 seconds)

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  • Yagna – means selfless sacrifice for notable purposes. Sacrificing of the ego, selfishsness and material attachments and adopting rational thinking, humane compassion and dedicated creativity for the welfare of all – is indeed the best yagna which should be performed by all human beings.
    • In p.4
  • The philosophy of Yagna teaches a way of living in the society in harmony, a living style to promote and protect higher human values in the society – which is indeed the basis of human culture.
    • In p.4
  • The Seva Yagna altruist service of the society is one example of Yagna. The Gnana Yagna, similarly implies the service of people by enlightening their lives in the glow of knowledge and education. The Prana Yagna – implies the service of saving people from suffering and agonies and inspiring liveliness and respect for life in them. Varieties of such yagnas are described in the Shastras.
    • in p, 4
  • In physical terms, Yagna is a process aimed at refinement of the subtle energy existing in matter with the help of thermal energyof the Mantras. The knowledge of philosophy and science of Yagna as essential for understanding and experimenting the science of spirituality as the knowledge of elementary physics is for material based sciences. The experiments of Yagna, when performed at a small scale in a day to day life are called – Havan or Agnihotra.
    • In p.5
  • There are two basic energy systems in the physical world: Heat and Sound. In performing Yagna, these two energies, namely the heat from the Yagna's fire and the sound of the Gayatri and other Mantras, are combined to achieve the desired physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.
    • In P.6
  • The fumigation of specific substances in the yagna – fire is a scientific method subtulisation of matter into energy and expanding in potential and positive effects in the surrounding atmosphere.
    • In p6
  • For a daily Agnihotra (Balivaishva) a small copper pot is used. The inverted pyramid shaped Agnihotra pot receives, generates, and decentralizes electrosphere....Apart from the pyramid shape, some other special symmetric geometrical designs are also used according to the kind of energy fields and the cosmic currents required to be generated by the Yagna.
    • In P.9
  • Specific types of Kundas are recommended for different kinds of Yagnas....A pit for sacrificial fire or a pot (altar) or small reservoir/clay-structure (made up on the ground in which the Yagna fire is lit.
    • In p.9

Glimpses of Indian Culture[edit]

Hindu wedding by Agni Homa. Dinkar Joshi:Kalpa Sutra has three divisions. Sharaut Sutra explains the procedure of performing a yagna. Guhya Sutra details rituals like upanayana {thread ceremony) and vivaha (marriage). It also contain rituals concerning yagna meant for food, five daily rituals, seasons and shraddha ceremony, etc.

Dinkar Joshi. Glimpses of Indian Culture.

  • The lofty ideals of Yagna preach performance of action without desire.
    • In P.6
  • Yaj means to perform Yagna. Yajurveda contains the method and meaning behind a yagna. It contains the mantra and sutra to be recited while performing the yagna. These mantras are in prose and verse form. They are arranged sequentially according to the Yagna.
    • In p.17
  • Yagna Bhavana (Desire to perform Yagna) – The Vedics had loftier ideals behind performing of yagna. They were performed to acquire wealth, progeny, health and glory. Apart from these, yagnas were also performed for social causes like social health, harvesting of bumper crop, optimum rainfall, progress, social wealth, well managed and strong government as well as for world peace.
    • In P.8
  • In very part of the world some type of ritual like yagna was performed and are being performed even today.
    • In p.9
  • Sama Veda is recited while performing a yagna.
    • In p.17

Gandhi's Ascetic Activism: Renunciation and Social Action[edit]

Mahatma Gandhi:Yajna is not only a purifying but also a potent force for achieving spiritual and material goals. Traditionally yajna signifies communal ritualistic participation for a higher good. It represents a prototype of sacrificing for the sake of acquiring greater personal and shared benefits in the community. The Vedic sacrificial ritual is always performed for the Sacrificer’s benefit both here and hereafter.
Mahatma Gandhi:... the yajna of the swaraj movement requires the services of virtuous, fearless, simple, brave honest, and resolute men and women.

Veena R. Howard. Gandhi's Ascetic Activism: Renunciation and Social Action.

  • Yajna is not only a purifying but also a potent force for achieving spiritual and material goals. Traditionally yajna signifies communal ritualistic participation for a higher good. It represents a prototype of sacrificing for the sake of acquiring greater personal and shared benefits in the community. The Vedic sacrificial ritual is always performed for the Sacrificer’s benefit both here and hereafter.
  • ...work done in the spirit of yajna, done without egotism for our higher good and for the service of others.
  • It is duty of men to perform the sacrifice and thus give the gods something they want, enjoy, and profit from. In return it is the duty of the gods to respond to the sacrificers prayers for favors by granting those favors, which most often are for victory over enemies, wealth and numerous offspring.
  • The term yajna can be interpreted in a number of ways but there is only one meaning acceptable to men of all faiths, and that is, to be ready to even lay down one’s life for true welfare.
  • ... the yajna of the swaraj movement requires the services of virtuous, fearless, simple, brave honest, and resolute men and women.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, in order to propagate his ideal of svaraj, he used the analogous symbol of yajna (sacrifice) and tapas (austerity) and propgated it as a political action. Quoted in p.69
  • We accept a broad definition of yajna. Yajna means any activity for the good of others...The word yajna comes from the root yaj, which means ‘to worship’, and we please God by worshipping Him through physical labour...there is no harm in enlarging the meaning of the word yajna, even if the new meaning we attach to the term was never in Veda Vyasa’s mind.
    • Mahatma Gandhi’s commentary on Gita, in justifying his notion of yajna, and his application of the term to various socio political activities, in p.69
  • The man who does not do yajna can win nothing in this world.
    • Mahatma Gandhi pursed his theory of yajna as svaraj as “swarajyanga” to spiritualize his world goal for political independence and oriented all his actions towards this goal, in p.70

Other forms of Yajna[edit]

Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya:...the Bajpeya yajna for increasing the good tendencies in the society; Rajsuya yajna for establishing the political order; Ashvamedha yajna for making the entire nation united, powerful and progressive; etc. Ashvamedha [horse sacrifice] has been called best among these yajnas- the king of yajnas.
In the later vedic age, the King performed the rites of Rajasuya Yajna with a desire to obtain divine power, Ashwamedha Yajna to expand the empire and the Vajpeya Yajna for chariot racing with friends and relatives of his gotra.
  • Ashvamedha yajna literally means “horse sacrifice”. This special ritual was performed to establish the supremacy of a powerful ruler over other kings. Such yajna involved years of arduous and elaborate ritualistic performance. But on spiritual and metaphysical level ashva refers to ‘the senses’ and medha ‘to slay’ or ‘to offer.’ Ashamedha means to control the senses, offering each one to God and behold God through it.
    • Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, in "Jnana Sankalini Tantra", p.196
  • Vajpeya yajna literally means ‘to drink water’ – vajam is ‘water’; peya is ‘to drink’. Metaphorically, Vajapeya yajna signifies to bring inner purity and love into everyday life. The goal of such practices is to acquire knowledge of Brahman.
    • Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, in "Jnana Sankalini Tantra", p.196
  • Vajpeya is annapeya, the yajna where cereals are distributed to deserving people. Some herb, cereals, and divines are also meant by Vajpeya.
  • If we give away all our things in the Vajpeya yagna (sacrifice), we will become Indra (king of Gods). The underlying meaning of this sutra is that if we sacrifice the idea of craving, of having ‘more and more’, we will in a different space. We will have the sensitivity to live and enjoy what we have.

External links[edit]

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