mostly known as Havan is the central concept of Srauta the tradition
that follows from the Sruti (Ved).
are many concepts that are based on and evolved from the concept of
Yagna. The word Yagna comes from the root-"yaj" which means
to worship. The word Yagna means sacrifice. There are multiple synonyms
of the word Yagna that convey different aspects of this broad concept.
For instance it is also called “karma”, meaning action or
the act of sacrifice / offering / worshiping. In the general sense it
can be understood as any action done with the sense of sacrifice, like
praying, remembering, meditating. In the specific sense it is the act
of offering oblations to propitiate a Devata.
can be classified in different ways. One of them is periodicity. Apart
from the Panca Maha Yagnas, Aupasana and Agnihotra are performed every
day. Any other Yagna is occasional – performed fortnightly, monthly,
yearly or even once in a life time. Agnihotra is the homa done thrice
a day. Darsa and Puranmas are done on new moon and full moon days. Parvani
sraddha is done once a month. Most of the other Yagnas can be done once
a year or even in a lifetime.
Another classification is the scale of the rite. The ones like Agnihotra
are done in the house while the sacrifices like soma yaga or vajapeya
need to be undertaken at a much bigger scale involving priests. The
rites undertaken at a household level are called grah rites. The ones
performed at a collective level are called srauta rites.
let me make it clear there in Yagna there is no animal sacrifice. Yagnas
mostly involve symbolic sacrifice and never involve a literal sacrifice.
The mantras in the Yagna are taken from Veds and Veds itself is a wide
subject having many meaning of just one word hence, many people misunderstood
the Veds and started the "Bali" system.
samhita portion of the Ved contains the mantras used for Yagna. The
Brahmana portion of the Ved deals with Karma kanda. Specifically, out
of the four Veds, YajurVed is the primary Ved concerned with Yagna.
It is called YajurVed because it is composed of Yajus or the mantras
used for Yagna.
Hindu tradition has the Pancha MahaYagnas (Five Great Yagnas) namely
of offering ahutis to devas.
of offering libations to ancestors or pitrus.
of offering bali or foodstuffs to all creatures.
of feeding guests.
of chanting Veds, namely Rig Ved, Yajur Ved, Sam Ved and Atharv
the most central Hindu concepts is sacrifice and surrender through acts
of worship, inner and outer.
acts of worship or sacrifice. Life itself is a jivaYagna.
The Upanishads suggest that one can make "inner Yagnas" by
offering up bits of the little self into the fires of sadhana and tapas
until the greater Self shines forth.
The five daily Yagnas, pancha mahaYagna, of the householder (outlined
in the Dharma Shastras) ensure offerings to rishis, ancestors, Gods,
creatures and men.
of Inner Yagna :