Significance of Agni Devata
It is a common norm that in the presence of Agni, (that is when the flame is shining bright), food-articles are rendered at his service. This is a gesture that satisfies the deity and benedicts one with the desired results. This process is called Homam.
Homam is initiated during auspicious occasions. It is a direct means to attract grace of celestial Gods, Devatas, Gandharvas, and higher Gods.
The Veda says: “Without fire being ignited on auspicious occasions, none of the rituals are brought to completion.“
Agni Devata is the most important Devata for people on the material planet. It is said that He is the fuel of family life and hence it is most essential to follow Saptapadi, during the marriage process.
For rituals exclusively dedicated to a specific deity or a Devata (like Mitra or Varuna, Hanumanji, Dhanvantari or any other form of God) it is only through the medium of the homam kunda that the Yajna is brought to fruition.
Ahooti (articles) offered in the fire reaches the Devata for whom the Homam is being conducted. Through homam, both the deity of worship and Agni Devata are pleased.
4 Things to Keep in Mind during the Yajna
Note: Homa, Homam and Yajna are synonymously used
1) It is said that while performing homam, one must exclusively attend to Agni Bhagawan and not leave the ritual unfinished.
The host performing the yajna must be present in all phases to render services to the revered Fire God. Once the sacred Agni (fire) calms and turns off, the host is allowed to carry on his other chores.
2) If the flame is burning low it means that the deity hasn’t been installed yet. Therefore, when the flame of the Homa-Kunda is burning low, one mustn’t offer anything.
We must keep in mind that Agni Bhagawan is a deity and not mere flames as what our senses perceive. He is a Devata who comes to bless the host with the desired results.
Just like we do not attend to our petty chores after inviting an important guest (like our boss for dinner), we must attend to Agni Bhagawan by offering gifts, mantras and ghee as instructed by our priest, during the Homa process.
Most important of all
3) Keeping the flame ignited throughout the auspicious ritual, without allowing it to turn off.
Till the time fire burns in the Homa Kunda, the deity, Agni Devata resides. He is a representative of all the devatas. Satisfying Agni should be the prime goals of all Yajnas. Without fire burning, it is impossible to carry out any Yajna.
So, it is important that the entire ritual is completed under the presence of Fire god, in the Homa Kunda. This determines the success of the Yajna. If fire turns off in the middle, an error has been committed. Hence, the priest must take the required steps to avoid this possibility.
4) Do not disrespect the Fireplace under any circumstances.
Nobody commits this error consciously. However, this is the most common mistake people make during a Yajna. Placing slippers near the homam-kunda, offering unsanctified (half eaten, tasted, stale) articles in the sacred fire, offerings made by unclean hands, etc directly translates as an insult to the fire God.
Not following this rule shall yield contradictory results.
Default Rules that apply for any Yajna
- Chant the proper Mantra, with the proper pronunciation and tone.
- Select the Right Muhurta to commence the Yajna
- Consult a qualified Pandit or Brahmin priest to bring the Yajna to action.
- Take a note of the Surroundings, whether they are suitable or not. Ensure there is no slaughter house or impurity in the place where Yajna is suggested.
- Ensure you have all the articles as prescribed by the Pandit. If at all some article is unavailable, try to find the possible substitutes, in Vedic terms.
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