Homams are powerful ancient fire rituals that have been performed in India by the Vedic sages for over 5000 years. Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita quotes, “This creation is a Yagna”. Yagna also means sacrifice and by this, he meant that creation is an eternal flow of birth and death. It is a sacrifice where one’s death gives a way for the birth of another, continuously and something gets sacrificed for something to arise. This is how the Vedas, interpret the creation and in the purview of the Vedas, the Homam is a miniature model of this Universal Sacrifice. Homas is derived from Veda’s contains the highest form of knowledge. The singular goal of Veda is to guide man through the correct path, and Homas form the essence of all the Karmas prescribed in the Vedas. Tirth Kshetra Purohit has been providing the Pandit services since many years and we provide various homam pooja services and the best homam pandits in varanasi, along with all the services like holy rituals at Varanasi, rituals at Gaya, etc. that are sure to help you perform your religious activities smoothly.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO LEARN THE STEPS INVOLVED IN A FIRE RITUAL
Homam is a Sanskrit word, which refers to any kind of “ritual in offerings” that is made into a consecrated fireplace. It can also be referred to as Homam/ havan. Homas are an important religious practice in Hinduism, where they are a part of most of the ceremonies, in all creeds and castes. During a Homam, various rituals are performed successively in order to trigger various positive energies and also to develop the right sensation during the Homam. Some of these rituals are common and must be practiced before any fire ritual. After these rituals are executed, the main Homam would instigate; wherein the rituals differ depending on which deity you want to invoke. The common rituals for all Homas are described below. We at Tirth Kshetra Purohits believe in delivering the best Pandit for Homam in Varanasi and pandits for puja as well.
Why Fire Rituals?
Homam is an ancient form of sacrament, stemming from the “Vedic Science”. A Homam can help you get well, have good relationships, find a partner, have children and it may even remove bad karma or negative aspects in a horoscope or with Vastu… An essential part of the fire ritual is the spiritual connection of the devotee crafts with the divine. Most often that contact is made possible through an external object: a facet of nature, a figurine, a vessel, a painting of God and so on. The Almighty is then invited to the vortex by chanting mantras. There are a lot of standard procedures in a fire ritual and they are designed to invoke the devotional aspect of the devotee – of worship and devoutness. It is essential that one spotlessly cleans all the Puja items: the lamps, the idol, the fruits offered as Prasad, and make the necessary arrangements.
Steps to Perform a Homam:
- Pavitra Dharanam: –
At the start of the Homam, the performer as well as the other people who are participating in the Homam, pray for the cleansing of their heart and soul and seek divine blessings of their ancestors and other divine beings. Having prayed thus, they wear a ring made of Darbha grass, on the ring finger of their right hand, which is known to repel negative energies.
- Achamanam: –
Specially made vessels called Panchapatras are set aside filled with water. (Note: during a Homam, iron or steel vessels are not to be used because of their low spiritual energies. Silver, copper, or a mixture of 5 metals is best preferred.) Water is taken with the left hand with a special copper spoon called “Udraneeya” on to the cavity of the right palm and sipped three times chanting the names of Lord Vishnu. This practice is to purify one’s body and mind and is then followed by “siromarjanam” wherein the performers of the ritual take water in the Udraneeya and sprinkle water on their own heads with their right thumb. The mantra chanted here means, “Whatever be the state of my body; sacred or unsacred, by the very chanting of the divine names, I sanctify this body of mine in order to obtain auspicious energies.” One must make sure the Achamanam must be performed facing the east or the north and never facing the west or the south. The following twelve names of the Lord should be uttered, touching each limb of the body with a particular finger (the priests will specify upon the finger to be used). This signifies that all the senses are dedicated to the service of God. When the senses are made introspective instead of going outwards to the external objects, the natural bliss of the soul will be manifested. The names to be chanted are:
Kesava/ Narayana/ Madhava/ Govinda/ Vishnu/ Madhusoodhana/ Trivikrama / Vamana / Sridhara / Hrishikesa Padmanabha/ Damodara
- Kalasha (Sacred Pot) Pooja: –
This is a very important step towards the Homam, for it is here that we invoke the main deity of the Homam. If it is a Subramanya Homam, Lord Muruga is invoked; and in a Kala Bhairava Homam, Lord Kalabhairava is invoked. The deity is invoked, energized and adored in the Mangal Kalash, which is a sacred copper pot filled with water. A coconut is placed over the Kalasha surrounded by 5 or 7 mango leaves. This Kalasha is further decorated with flowers and a cloth is swathed over it. It is then placed facing the North- Eastern corner of the Homam or the sacrificial pit. The significance of Kalasha is that it absorbs all the positive energies generated during the Homam. The divine water (with immense healing powers) in the Kalasha is then sprinkled upon and distributed to the participants at the conclusion of the Homam.
- Sankalpa, declaration of intent: –
The Sankalpa is the most important part in a Homam. The entire ritual is carried along with the strong will and wish of the participants. Each Homam is performed for a definite purpose, and it is this purpose that the performer and participants clearly hold within their minds as they take Sankalpa. It is at this time that the participants of the sacred Fire Ritual get to pray for their wishes like “God, grant me with power, knowledge, and richness”, “Let the Almighty bless me with a good married life and a well matching spouse”, and so on…
- Avahanam/ welcoming the Deity: –
Avahanam is that stage of the Homam; wherein the Lord is formally and ritualistically invited to the premises of the Homam. Mantras are chanted to invite that particular Deity with immense dedication and godliness.
- Agni Pratishtapanam and Dhyanam: –
Here, the sacrificial pit is sanctified by chanting mantras, even before the Fire God Agni is invoked. Sticks from the selected trees are only used for Homas. Mostly, the sticks (Samidh) of the Pipal tree are used.
- Namaskaram/ obeisance: –
The denial of one’s ego and surrender is part of the ritual as the devotee does a full Namaskaram (prostrating in front of the Homam pit).
- Naivedyam/ Offering Food: –
At the end of the Homam, Naivedyam is offered to the Lord. Usually, it includes a Payasam (Kheer), cooked rice, and other savories prepared for the holy function. This is symbolically offered to the Lord first and only after this part of the ceremony, people do consume the food.
- Aarthi, Offering of Lights: –
The Aarthi is the final part of a Pooja wherein a camphor is lit and waved to the idol of the deity to the accompaniment of the brass bell. After it waved in the direction of the idols, all the members of the family take turns to almost touch the flame with deep reverence.
- Purnahuti/ Conclusion: –
The Homam is concluded with a Purnahuti, Aarthi and offering the Thamboolam to Lord Agni. While the priests continue with the last of the mantras, the fire in the pit calms down and turns into a gentle flame.
- Visarjana, dismissal-farewell: –
Just as we so ritualistically and formally invited the God to the premises; we thank him for blessing us and also bid him on his farewell back to his abodes. Thereby, we conclude to say that a Homam is an act of complete surrender and reverence to the Lord in which people may opt to pray for their welfare or for the world’s as well. Below mentioned are the extra steps which might/ might not be performed in a Homam. One must also note that the steps in a Homam can vary depending upon the purpose or the deity invoked.