The following post by Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath ji captures the exact understanding as given by VedaGuru Shri Atharvan ji. On one hand SadhGurudev Shri ‘Atharavan’ elaborates on the principles of yajna on the other he simplifies it for the ordinary man. Gurudev Shri says “Just as rivers flow towards and merge in the ocean, just as every drop from cloud falls on earth, in the same way only due to grace of Lord almighty the rays of deep secrets of Rishis shine in my heart and I humbly imbibe that knowledge in my personal life and disseminate for all.”
Describing the simplest process of a powerful yajna he goes on to say “Nurturing a lamp’s flame – keeping it uninterrupted, continuously is an eternal yajna. Wherever it happens that place becomes the abode of divine energies (shakti-peetha). In my place we have two flames that are uninterrupted from last 17 years and the impact of this continuous yajna is magical. For an ordinary materialistic man the flame is embodiment of divinity just as sun. In the places such as temples house a flame – these are abode of divinity. A temple that has no jyoti or flame is like cremation ground.”
I am sure Acharya ji’s efforts to place the rare knowledge of Sadhguru Shri Atharvan ji for the benefit of public at large would bring in light, penance and spirit of renunciation in each one of you.
-Ma Shakti Devpriya
Yajna has one generic meaning – giving or offering something with respect and it has specific meaning – offering aahutis in fire while pronouncing ‘swaahaa’. What is aahuti, whatever agni can burn to ashes such as havya, havan samagri, samidhaa, fuel and food. Human life is a yajna in process. Giving while receiving and receiving while giving is unavoidable. The world moves through this exchange, giving and receiving. When this giving and receiving is impregnated with reverence, faith, devotion and sense of responsibility (kartavya) it is called Yajna. Through such a process an individual discovers oneself. Self-illumination’s another name is yajna. Lighting up a flame is yajna. Fire expressing itself in flames is yajna. Whatever we have, offering that to deity (divine) without considering that as our own, is yajna. Idam na mama (इदं न मम ) – is the principle of yajna. Idam tubhyama tasmai vaa ( इदं तुभ्यम् तस्मै वा ) – ‘this is for you or for him’ – is the complementary principle of yajna. From being focused or attached on ‘things’ (वस्तुनिष्ठ) to being focused or centred in ‘self’ (आत्मनिष्ठ) is the goal of yajna. वस्तुनिष्ठ – means being attached to things & sense enjoyments, considering them as your own. आत्मनिष्ठता – is to be free from such attachment and delusion.
Yajna is considered to be the head of dharma, it is the very life force (prana) of Rishi culture; it is the organ of action – the hand of aaryan (respectable) civilization and conduct of noble life. Yajna is practice of ‘kriya yoga’ , beginning of charity and picture of renunciation.
Sun if performing yajna continuously giving heat & light and eradicating darkness and cold. Vayu is performing yajna – giving motion and absolving inertia. Aapas (water) is performing yajna – supplying moistness and destroying dryness. Bhumi (land) is performing yajna – giving us annam (food) while digesting the dirt and filth. When for the benefit of this world this yajna of prakriti (nature) goes on why should we not perform yajna in the service of world? We must offer the devas (deities) and other creatures what they need. Some force has ‘given’ us it all, therefore it is essential (unavoidable thing) that we ‘give’ to someone or the other. This compulsion karma (action) is dharma (essential nature). This is called yajna.
In day to day we use a word ‘धूमधाम’ (dhooma-dhaama) in Hindi generally for expressing ‘celebratory mood’. It is said that noble deeds, prescribed rituals, dhaarmic events etc. must be done in a celebratory mood (धूमधाम से ). The real meaning of this word is – Dhaama (abode) of Dhooma (smoke) = Yajna-sthal (the place where yajna is performed). In this physical yajna the smoke goes up disappearing in the sky and there is light around the homakunda (pitfire). Thus the real meaning of yajna is – Expulsion of smoke (negativity, ignorance) and production of light. The one who is free of ignorance, negativity & sin and full of knowledge, unperplexed & unwavering, is true yajnik ( person who performs the yajna ). The abode (body) of such a man is dhooma-dhaama.
Wherever there is yajna there is fire. Worship of fire is another name of yajna. In physical sense – After making a fire by burning wood and offering therein ghee (clarified butter), tila (sesame seeds), yava (barley), fragrant spices and herbs, charu (other agreeable items) with recitation of ‘swaahaa’ is the process of yajna. Gaining happiness and joy by offering food and gifts at the end of a yajna marks its completion. Yajna is counted in both nitya (prescribed to be done daily) and naimittika (prescribed to be done on specific occasions or for specific purposes) karmaas (actions). In view of vedic science performing daily yajna is dharma (duty).
[ Guruji says that he performs the yajna on daily basis and therefore is rightfully speaking on this subject without a speck of doubt or confusion ]
Divya (divine) agni (fire) is up there in the sky situated at the core of the Sun. The same fire when descends on earth (is transmuted and stored in objects) in materials like wood etc. it is called paarthiva (terrestrial or earthly). Further the same fire working in the digestive systems of creatures is known as jathara (जठर ). Since there are three types of fires there are three types of yajnas.
- Offering jala (water) in the divya (divine) fire – known as tarpana (तर्पण) and arghya known as saurayajna (सौरयज्ञ)
- Offering havya (हव्य – articles agreeable to be used in yajna) in fire prepared by consuming woods is called paarthivayajna (पार्थिवयज्ञ)
- Offering morsels of food in the mouth is known as praaniyajna (प्राणियज्ञ)
Praaniyajna is performed by offering (feeding) food to aitithi (guest) or brahmin. In this yajna the havya comprises of – milk, curd, ghee, ksheera, delicacies, sweets etc. Even when you eat (feed your own body) you are performing a yajna and one should chant these three mantras remembering some great rishi or your guru while accepting first three morsels. The mantras are –
अग्नये कव्यवाहनाय स्वाहा (agnaye kavyavaahanaaya swaahaa)
सोमाय पितृमते स्वाहा ( somaaya pitrimate swaahaa)
प्रजापतये विश्वकर्मणे स्वाहा (prajaapataye vishwakarmane swaahaa)
Remembering twelve forms of Sun, early in the morning or any other time when you put water drops in your mouth you perform saurayajna by offering arghya* or tarpan.
The mantras for twelve forms are as following –
Udyate Namah, Udaayate Namah, Suraaje Namah, Viraaje Namah, Samraaje Namah, Astanyate Namah, Astameshyate Namah, Astamitaaya Namah, Swaraaje Namah, Vyaraaje Namah and Samaraaje Namah
उद्यते नमः , उदायते नमः , सुराजे नमः , विराजे नमः , सम्राजे नमः , अस्तंयते नमः , अस्तमेष्यते नमः , अस्तमिताय नमः , स्वराजे नमः , व्यराजे नमः , समराजे नमः
Material (physical) yajna is to be done in early morning. For a dwija, the person who wears sacred thread ( yajyopaveeta ) cow ghee (clarified butter) is most suitable havya. In case there is no availability of cow ghee any suitable havya (item that can burn completely in fire) is alright. The dwija is ordained to do this yajna using Vedic Hymns but adwija (one who does not legitimately wear sacred thread) should do yajna only using Ishta Names. The mantras that use names (ishtanaama) only can be used by all. Vedamantras are only for the one’s who have gone through re-birthing process and wear sacred thread. One should do yajna as per one’s sect, branch and noble discretion and culture.
For those who are not able to (due to non-availability of Vedee or firepit for yajna ) do full fledged yajna using various materials (havya) they should also complete the daily yajna by considering the deepaka (lamp with wick) as Vedee. After lighting up the flame of lamp you should pour the ghee drop by drop offering aahuti (havya) to 33 Devas (deities – belonging to shakti varga) and 3 Mahadevas (deities belonging to Shaiva Varga). The mantras to be used are as below –
kaaya swaahaa, khaaya swaahaa, gaaya swaahaa, ghyaaya swaahaa, ngaaya swaahaa, chaaya swaahaa, chhaaya swaahaa, jaaya swaahaa, jhaaya swaahaa, (g)nyaaya swaaha, taaya swaahaa, thaaya swaahaa, daaya swaahaa, dhaaya swaahaa, naaya swaahaa, taaya swaahaa, thaaya swaahaa, daaya swaahaa, dhaaya swaahaa, naayaa swaahaa, paaya swaahaa, phaaya swaaha, baaya swaaha, bhaaya swaahaa, maaya swaahaa, yaaya swaahaa, raaya swaahaa, laaya swaahaa, vaaya swaahaa, shaaya swaahaa, sHaaya swaahaa, saaya swaahaa, haaya swaahaa, aaya swaahaa, iye swaahaa, uve swaahaa.
काय स्वाहा | खाय स्वाहा | गाय स्वाहा | घाय स्वाहा | ङाय स्वाहा | चाय स्वाहा | छाय स्वाहा | जाय स्वाहा | झाय स्वाहा | ञाय स्वाहा | टाय स्वाहा | ठाय स्वाहा | डाय स्वाहा | ढाय स्वाहा | णाय स्वाहा | ताय स्वाहा | थाय स्वाहा | दाय स्वाहा | धाय स्वाहा | नाय स्वाहा | पाय स्वाहा | फाय स्वाहा | बाय स्वाहा | भाय स्वाहा | माय स्वाहा | याय स्वाहा | राय स्वाहा | लाय स्वाहा | वाय स्वाहा | शाय स्वाहा | षाय स्वाहा | साय स्वाहा | हाय स्वाहा | आय स्वाहा | इये स्वाहा | उवे स्वाहा |
There originate, in these 33 devas and 3 mahadevas (33 consonants and 3 vowels) innumerable (infinite) words (steps) therefore in these the whole creation is contained. Tattva Shakti Vigyaan practitioners can clearly see the hidden meaning behind these mantras.
Fire is indestructible divine light. To gain splendor and light in persona and being one should perform yajna (Worship of Fire/ Contemplation on Sun). Yajna (sacrifice/giving) is the duty (dharma) of a householder. Accumulation of wealth (limited) is also duty of a householder. Yajna’s benefits are indestructible and never go in vain. The one who performs yajna becomes eligible for artha (money). By performing yajna one gets money, power, teja (brilliance of being), children and health effortlessly. There are various forms of yajna. As many people are there that many kinds of yajnas are there. Yajna is done to become a devata (divine being). The worshipper of fire (pure, above the ordinary) is fire himself. All other devatas (deities) are dependant on fire therefore worshiping fire is superior. Agni (fire) is braahman (ब्राह्मण), it is mouth of devas – mean to say, Fire is the superior most. The one who does not perform yajna (worship of fire) is unlucky. Once your spirit (prescience) becomes pure, once you rise above selfishness every action of yours becomes yajna. Once you start living a yaajnik (charity/service and dutiful) life, your conduct becomes pure, your sins are destroyed, your teja shines forth, ojas improves, you become source of positivity, fearlessness rises and you do not remain an individual but become divine. To become deva is the fructification of yaajnik life.
In all auspicious works jyoti (fire) finds first place. This creation is interplay of fire & soma (अग्नीषोमीय ) therefore we establish a kalasha-brahma (a metallic or earthen pot filled with water) representing this interplay. Kalasha contains amrita (water) and above it is a deepa flame (fire). This is representation of poorna-brahm (पूर्णब्रह्म) as described in scriptures.
Yajna is our ancient most dharma (duty). Rishi Vishwaamitra protected this dharma through Shri Rama. The one who performs yajna must be protected and saved therefore Bhaagawaan Rama is nurturer of yajna. Those who want to destroy people or the rituals of yajna are raakshasas (devils). The foundation of paarthiva yajna is Go (gau – cow). The cow (ox/bull) helps in agriculture to make havya (annam – material that can be sacrificed in fire-pit or fire of stomach) available. Cow gives us milk, ghee. Annam and ghrita (clarified butter) are used in fire sacrifices. In offering aahutis (havya) Vedamantras are used. The one who performs this sacrifice (Hotaa) is dwija. If you remember our scriptures say that Vishnu awataras (incarnations) happen only to protect Go (cow), dwija (performers of yajna), Vedas, and Yajna (dharma).
Performing yajna is actually equivalent to protecting yajna. This creates the element of Rama (protector of nature) in us. The form of Yajna keeps changing due to situations and the times (Ages) but yajna never becomes extinct. It never dies. Maintaining a dhooni (a pit of fire where fire never dies) is yajna. The household ritual of Agiyaara (offering havya/ghee on burning coal) is yajna.
Praanaayaama is yajna. In this the praana in apaana and apaana in praana is offered with the chanting of omkaara (ॐ ). Praana – Inhale, Apaana – exhale. Offering apaana in Praana is Antarkumbhaka. Offering praana in apaana is – Baahyakumbhaka. Omkaara mantra is a-kaara brahm. With inspiration and expiration recitation of mantras like Raam (राम ) or Hamsa (हंस ) is japa Yajna. The gentle manifestation of Sun (surya) is Raama (रम्यते अनेन) and strong one is Hamsa (हन्ति अंधकार सनोति प्रकाशम्). Contemplation on self (swaadhyaaya) is yajna of intellect(buddhi-mahad).
In fact Yajna is violent in nature. It is something in which the impure, inauspicious is killed, in this ignorance and darkness is destroyed. For the larger benefit of mankind even war is yajna. Herein to eradicate the vibrations of devilish nature the blood and flesh of terrorists and destroyers of peace and harmony are offered to this earth as aahuti. In the times of avataras unfailingly there have been violence based yajna for the larger good of humanity. The blood of the inhuman, unjust and cruel people becomes aajya (molten clarified butter – Ghee) in this yajna. Without an iota of doubt or confusion you must know that violence is also dharma (duty) but the non-violence (ahimsaa) is parama-dharma (ultimate / higher / superior duty) in which the negativity and cruelty filled hearts are changed without killing those people with weapons but through deep love (prema).
In yajna there is dominance and importance of karma (action). When your actions like sleeping-waking, getting up-walking, speaking, thinking are done with the noble intention of larger good these become yajna. The divine intentions behind actions (karma) makes them yajna. Karma Yogi (the one who is engaged in actions of larger good without any selfish motives) is mahaatmaa (great soul). The son of karma is praarabdha (actions stored only to fructify at later times). The father of praarabdha (Fate) is the karma. Sanskaarita (perfected, well articulated and selfless) karma (action) is Yajna.
The yajna is the conduit of life. Performing benevolent actions for the upliftment of self and world is yajna. यज्ञधर्माय नमः !
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath
*arghya means – something that deserves respectful reception