The fire sacrifice is the most prevalent and important ritual performed in Indian tradition and culture since time immemorial. The specific name given to the fire sacrifice is YAGYA (= to offer and combine) whereas it is also known as HAVAN. In its physical form, an elaborate fire altar is constructed also known as KUND (= deep chamber) where the kindle sticks generally of mango twigs are selected and arranged so that the sacrificial fire can be lit. Once the altar and sticks have been arranged surrounding all four sides of the altar priests, prime officiator (YAJMAAN) and worshippers gather and kindling a flame and then starting the fire with consistent offerings of clarified butter (GHEE) and a special mixture of medicinal herbs called "SAMAGRI" is offered in the fire. In this manner with each offering of clarified butter and SAMAGRI Vedic hymns are chanted as the offerings keep the sacrificial fire of HAVAN kindled. This is in general what fire sacrifice is when we speak about it practically
The fire sacrifice has both material and spiritual significance. The elaborate fire sacrifice is done regularly on festive seasons and on auspicious occasions which coincide with a full moon, no moon and seasons. The practice of kindling the fire and offering of clarified butter and SAMAGRI releases beneficial effluents that counter the pollution in the environment and also the seasonal infections and pests. This material significance as a whole keeps the environment and accumulation of pollutants at bay. At the spiritual level fire or AGNI burns and transforms the various auspicious offerings and spreads it out evenly throughout. In a manner with faithful offerings and Vedic chants worshippers tend to thank and offer material food matter, herbs and other such articles to the unseen and seen presiding deities of nature. The fire sacrifice has great symbolism since on the altar of fire a being readily submits while chanting the divine Vedic hymns and hence sacrifices and devotes what he/she has both physically and materially to the fire of the altar. In the scriptures, the physical practice of HAVAN has been symbolized as follows
“A faithful and devoted being kindles the fire of his faith in which he offers his wilful deeds of selflessness such that it reaches the almighty deity who would finally liberate the being from the cycle of life and death.”
At our Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh India, we organize Vedic Havan and Mantra Chanting session every morning. The Havan session is free for all. Every morning after Traditional Hatha Yoga Session, from 09:00 A.M we have fire pooja / Havan session. Join us for Vedic Havan every morning at Sanskar Yogashala - Traditional Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh India.