Yagyas – General Information

What is a Yagya? Where is its origin? How do they influence us? How do Yagyas work? These are some very common questions that arise in our minds. Here are few simple answers to these questions along with some additional information in this subject.

What is Yagya?

“A Yagya is a Vedic process (Prescribed by the Sacred Vedic Texts) for the benefit of the Human race by bringing them into harmony with the all the forces of nature by engaging their lives to an advancement of life by using the Cosmic Power of the Five Natural elements, Nature’s support that is also entwined with the Divine intervention and blessing.”

Where is its origin?

Yagyas have originated and evolved from Vedas. The Vedas (Sanskrit वेद véda, "knowledge") are a large body of sacred texts originated in ancient India. Composed in Vydic Sanskrit World’s most ancient language), these texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism forming the culture's very soul and essence. Vedas are the living and never ending proof of the Sanathana Dharma.
Vedas are known in Sanskrit as 'Apoorusheyyam' - means that which were not written or composed by any 'Purusha' (means any Man or mankind). It is of Divine Origin, Eternal Truth and hence their origin is impossible to trace as they existed even before the origin of the creation. Vedas have been directly revealed by God Himself to the mankind and thus are called śruti ("what is heard") and were heard by the Rishis when they were on their deep Yoga / Tapas or Samadhi in a specific 'Swaram' or certain special Tone (Sound with specific defined wave length and in a certain rhythmic way).
These were then passed on by these Rishis to their Disciples in the same exact way as they heard. The Most Sacred Vedas have been thus passed on traditionally for innumerable generations from the time unknown.

How do Yagyas influence us?

Yes, Yagyas can and will have an influence on one and all. It is a specific Vedic Science where Vedic Technology is applied to attain certain specific results using the support of nature and using the Vedic Knowledge and through the means of different branches of Vedic texts such as Vedas, Astrology, Mantras, etc.

Different Vedic Processes: There are many forms of Vedic processes like Pooja, Homa, Japa, Tarpana, Chayana & Yagya and more that are less known to general public. Commonly the people in west know all these different processes by the name of ‘Yagya’ only. But there is difference between them all.

Pooja – This is a much simpler form used for daily practice for all. In this form of ceremonial worship – Lord is worshipped by 16 forms of 'Upacharas' to the Deities. This could range from a simple and short daily rites in common households to an elaborate one such as in an established Temples.
Homa - Homa (also known as Homam or Havan) is a ritual in which offerings are made into a consecrated fire. This is a Fire Ceremony done on a smaller scale.
Japa - Is a Vedic process involving the meditative repetition of a mantra or the name of God for a certain number of times as a regular practice. Time period for doing a Japa could vary from a short brief one to very long time. This will enhance the spiritual strength of the doer.
Tarpanam - Is the recitation of the related mantra done to the relevant Deity and leaving some rice grains with some sacred water in front of the picture or statue form of the related Deity in a plate. This water is left in a river or near any plant or tree. This will then merge in to the environment and blends with the level of consciousness thus gains the support of the nature for the Sankalpa and helps in achieving the desired target.
Chayana – This is another form of Yagya done by 32 Vedic Pundits. Sacrificing an animal is one of the processes involved in this. But this is not Tantric but its pure Vedic process.
Yagya – This is a Vedic ritual of fire being done from Vedic times. This is a very powerful one and has many different forms of offerings that are made to the Sacred fire accompanied with many sacred chanting simultaneously. There are many kinds of Yagyas. This can be done only with the help of or through a Vedic Pundit’s help, one who has been specifically trained for performing these Yagyas.

How do Yagyas work?

Yagya is a process that involves the application of specific prescribed Vedic sounds from Vedic texts that are recited by specially trained Vedic experts for achieving a specific desirable effect. Those desirable effects could be to gain Longitivity, for promoting health, to the success of an organization or establishment, to impend or for averting any foreseen dangers, accidents, to neutralizing negative energy for financial gains, for material or spiritual growth for moving up to greater planes in and after life. And Yagyas can be even used to spread peace and harmony globally.

These Yagyas can be therefore called as a Spiritual instrument that has been in practice since time immemorial through Vedic Technology that has been used for resolving issues faced by the people. Depending on the various kinds of needs, Pundit C S Samavedula & VYC (Vedic Yagya Center) has categorized these Yagyas and they were given different names for the convenience & easy understating for the public so that they can attain their definite target through these Yagyas easily without any confusion or doubt.

Significance of Yagyas

1. What is a Yagya? What does the word Yagya mean?

Answer: “Yajathi ithi Yagyaha” is the dhatu (Base for formation of the word) for the term Yagya. “Yagyo vai vishnuhu” – Yagya itself is Lord Vishnu, who is the holistic form of the energy. The Yagya is a sacred Fire ceremony process which includes Vedic chanting which is called as ‘Karma’. The process of performing Yagya is called ‘kriya’ (Deed). The dhuma (Smoke) generated from Yagya forms cloud and will lead to rainfall. The agriculture is/was based on the rain fall will be a holy food for all the living beings. Here the Yagya can be understood as karma involving ‘bhoota daya’ (Compassion towards all the living beings). This will develop a spiritual inter link with the nature. This is not only useful for an individual but society that he/she are living in as well as for the whole world.

The deeds that we do, facilitate one’s future like, food, house, and vehicles etc., are useful to lead materialistic life, which are limited to materialistic life and livelihood. All these deeds represents the selfish nature of human being but the energy a human emits for a good cause (A good cause should be as defined in Vedas and Shastras but not defined by and an individual) into the universe itself will turn into a blessing. This is the basic principle to understand the universal energy which we can be identified in Mother Nature (sharing without expectation).

A need is not our desire. A deed with desire will lead to destruction. Yagyas should be performed without desire. Then only the Yagya retains its sacredness & sanctity. “Agni mukhaavyai devaah” – Agni Deva (The Fire god) is the face for Deities. They receive the “havirbhaga” (The energy emitted during the process of performing a Yagya). By chanting various Mantras, the materials we use for Agni will be purified and Agni will further purify this with its energy. That is why Yagyas are sacred.

2. Where do Yagyas originate from & how did Yagyas first come to be?

Answer: Vedas are not manuscripts (Not written by man) which are called “apaurusheyas” “Vedaahi Yagyardham api pravruttaah”...Vedas are meant for Yagyas. Vedas are chanted by Lord chaturmukha Brahma. Vedas dictate human to perform Yagyas. By performing Yagyas, we please the Deities and by which they will be happy and fulfill our needs. This is also quoted in the Sacred Text – Srimad Bhagavad Geetha. When we perform Yagyas the carbon dioxide is inhaled by trees which are considered to be life supporting element for trees. In turn trees are saving the life on earth in various ways by generating food, giving shelter, good air (oxygen) to breathe and so on. In Rigveda (First one among the 4 Vedas), the story of ‘vritrasura’ gives a hint to understand the origin and age of Vedas and in turn Yagyas too. Vritrasura was killed by King of Gods, Indra and by which he attracted the ‘dosha’ (curse) called “Brahma hatya pathaka”. He travelled north towards Himalayas to escape from this evil force. He crossed Himalayas and ocean and reached Mansasa Sarovar.
Three sides of the present India is surrounded by oceans and on the fourth side is occupied by Himalayas but not ocean. In the story, Indra has crossed the Himalayas and ocean and then taken shelter in the Manasa Sarovar. So the ocean is missing now. The crust of the earth is composed of bedrock segments called plates. The theory of plate tectonics holds that these plates move over time. When plates move they interact with neighboring plates, so the edges of the colliding plates get heated, metamorphosed and rumpled up as mountains form under compression. Himalayan Mountains result from India colliding with Asia. By this we can calculate the age and time of evolution of Vedas and Yagyas which are part of it. We do not have any picto-graphical evidence for it but the scientists found the confirmed by their research that, there used to be an ocean between Himalayas and Manasa Sarovar base.

3. How has the knowledge of Yagyas been passed down and how has it evolved since they were first practiced?

Answer: The Yagyas are meant for distribution of “havis” for the Deities. Just like as we have different departments and functions in cooperates and government the Deities are given various responsibilities. These Deities are pleased when they are fed with this havis from Yagyas. The energy generated from the chanting of Veda Mantras during performance of Yagyas gives sanctity to the items used in Yagya process. In the ancient times Yagyas were perform in certain forests, where the saints or the Maharshis used to live. The stage of living in forests is called as ‘vanaprastha’. The items required for the Yagyas are gathered from the nature. The fire logs (herbs) used for the Yagya (called as ‘samidha’) are collected in the forest area. These herbs are collected from fallen branches & twigs but not cut or forced broken from the trees. The herbs which are fallen on the ground connected with the mud and soaked in natural rain water have sun dried and have a nature of developing mushrooms. Some kinds of mushrooms are poisonous and may release poisonous gasses which are harmful for the nature. In order to avoid these herbs need to be removed. As they are part of Deities (trees) and Agni (Fire) is instrument which carries this energy back to the nature during the Yagyas process.

Performing Yagyas is the right process to carry energy & transfer it in a different form back to the Nature. Identifying and collecting these herbs requires careful observation and deep knowledge which used to be taught to the students of the Gurukul (or Gurukulam). The cow ghee is made by processing organic cow milk. The Prasad which we use in ‘Poornahuthi’ called sweet rice which is combination of rice, milk and jaggery and other items. All the collected items are available from the nature itself. As trees are replica of Deities, the smoke produced from the Yagya contains the properties of natural resources which are useful for the development of nature. As well as humans such as rain falls are useful for agriculture. The Ash produced through Yagyas will be useful for fertilizing the land. It was proven in green revolution theory. The carbon dioxide in the smoke gives life to the trees. Rest of the smoke will form as clouds. When we observe molecular structure in the clouds form by the smoke generated from Yagya have a different formula which gives useful and healthy rainfall. The smoke generated by vehicles and factories has different molecular structure and causing acid rains and hail stone rains. We can understand the difference between modern scientific inventions and the processes given in Vedas. An individual who is performing these Yagyas with the help of Vedic Pundits gets benefited as per their desire for which the Yagya is performed as he/she is satisfying the nature the Deities by performing Yagya as prescribed in the Vedas.

4. Is there a scientific explanation behind Yagyas, if so what is it?

Answer: Modern science has proved that the rainfalls occurring due to Yagyas are more useful & beneficial for harvesting and increase the fertility of the farming lands more than the regular rainfalls and which are also proven to be healthy. At the same time the instruments used to identify the effects of these Yagyas are not capable enough to identify the impact of Yagyas. Because the impact on the mental status of an individual can be studied by a psychiatrist but, one cannot identify how the change has occurred due to performance of Yagya. Scientific Research has proven that verbal communication will have impact on individual’s mental status due to which verbal assaulting has become crime. The Mantras chanted during performance of Yagya also will impact human mental status. Since the energy released during process of chanting and energy absorbed by the items used for Yagya and sanctity developed in the items used for it cannot be measured by scientific instruments. But the molecular level change has been observed through telescopes in the water by a Japanese scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto found that there is impact of sound vibrations on molecular structures of water. We all know that 60% of our body is filled with liquids. The water energized by Mantras during Sacred Abhisheka will carry the same energy to the person into his body. There is no much structural difference between water and liquids in our body. This can be considered as best scientific example to demonstrate the impact of Mantras described in Vedas.

The Bhopal disaster, also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident in India, considered the world's worst industrial disaster. It occurred on the night of December 2nd & 3rd 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl iso cyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals. The official immediate death toll was 2,259. The government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries. Others estimates 8,000 died within two weeks and another 8,000 or more have since died from gas-related diseases.
During the disaster a priest family was survived. They were performing Yagya at that point of time. The priest used to perform Yagya 3 times a day (called as ‘Nityagni hotri’) which was found to be miracle in the study. A new paper published on April 7th 1985.

5. What is the spiritual explanation for why and how Yagyas are performed?

Answer: Dr. Masaru Emoto’s book “Message From water” explains how vibrations various sounds have impact on water molecules. Various tones in the voice will have impacts other person’s reactions. Here the tone has impact on the human. This is possible irrespective of language what he is using. Music therapy also proves the same. Similarly we have to understand that the tone (swara) of Mantra, the meaning and the intensions will show impact on the molecular structures of all living beings and non living things too.

“A doctor has tested and confirmed that he was able to find pulse in the idol of Lord Ganapathi after the ‘prana pratishtha’ (A ritual performed to energize the idol during its installation in temples) done by a great saint called Mouna Swamy who is founder of Sri Siddheswari Peetham or Mouna Swamy Mutt in Tamil nadu.

The spiritual approach in performing these Mantras is by developing and practicing a thought process by surrendering own self to the God and praying for the universe but not for wellbeing of own self (being selfish). Practicing this thought process transfers the ‘punya bala’ (The Universal energy or sacred energy of the universe) into one’s soul of this life. The concept of spirituality has only one purpose of cleansing the ‘papa’ (sin or unsacred energy).

6. What is the significance of chanting different mantras? Why do you chant?

Answer: “Manthram Aksharam Naasthi” – Mantra is not just a combination of letters put together. Each and every sound can be a Mantra, to be meditated upon. But for that, one needs to understand the acoustics of the mouth, vibrations of sounds, meaning of the letters of the language. Especially in Sanskrit same letter with different sounds has different meaning. For example, when a child calls its mother in happiness or when hungry or when in anger or when in pain - the rhythm & tone vary so much. Child could just be calling only word ‘mom or mommy’, but depending on the tone, sound or rhythm mom immediately understands the need of her child. Similarly a Mantra is not just a few syllables put together, but is a sound encapsulated with certain energy that can produce a certain desired effect when chanted for a certain number of times while associated with certain specific ‘Karma or Kriya’.

Different mantras are used for different purpose. Just like we different diets are prescribed for different purposes. Full meal, Tiffin and medicines each category is advised at different timings contexts and are prescribed based on our body conditions. Similarly chanting the mantra with wrong tone may give adverse effect. The purpose makes the difference.

Repeated chanting of a Mantra energizes the Mantra and the chanter. Unless a person believes the Mantra will not be chanting the Mantra certain number of times. Once after chanting the Mantra for n number of times the energy will be absorbed by the body. Further chanting of

Mantra will have the source of the existing energy and will have more power. This results in effectiveness of the outcome.

7. Why do you offer the items you offer to a Yagya?

Answer: The items sourced from cow are considered to be holy or sacred and thus the ghee made of cow is considered as nectar as it has such nature of curing various diseases which includes cancer. Survival of a priest’s family from Bhopal disaster is one of the best examples to explain the effect of cow ghee. There is a quote in Telugu which says that “cow milk is more healthy than mother milk” is because the hormones which will be developed in the throat of the cow has the energy to dilute and destroy the harmful (Poisonous) nature in the food that it takes.
A research took place which has proven that the cancer cell have been destroyed in the rats which are fed with food items made of Cow ghee. “Ghrutam amrutam” “aayurvai ghrutam” are the stanzas from Ayurveda which reveals the same. In the process of performing Yagya we are trying to spread the smoke of Yagya in to the nature which will be a savior and works as an antidote for most of the poisonous gases in air.
The herbs that we are using in the Homa are also having special medicinal nature. The herbs usually used are from the trees such as Ficus and Teak. The medicinal baths prescribed in the Ayurveda also contains such herbs.

8. Why does every offering to a Yagya start with ‘OM’ and end in ‘Swaha’?

Answer: OM kara is primodial sound and is called as the head of all the Mantras which has stored the energy of 3 Vedas in it. It dilutes the desires in humans. Chanting OM kara is useful to destroy the selfishness if the materialistic desires which lead to self destruction creates obstacles for attaining the oneness with the Supreme Power, the Lord. OM kara orients an individual by allowing him/her to develop an attitude to serve the universe.
‘Swaahaa’ is the energy that has strength to transfer energy generated from the Yagya after purifying this energy of the items used in the Yagya. This is even followed in Mayan system with a different sound “huwa” while performing the Yagya as defined in their culture. It can be understood that it is the Vedic culture with a different face observing their process of performing Yagya and the purpose.
The sound “sssss…” generated while chanting the “swahaaa…” represents the formation of clouds from air and “haaa” represents a complete rain fall. The whole process of Yagya will be energized with “OM” and “swaahaa”.

9. What are Brahmin pundits and why do only they perform yagyas?

Answer: Cooking the food with firewood (olden style of cooking), setting the fire on the bhogi festival (the night before Pongal or Sankranti – a south Indian Harvest festival), cow keepers set up fire in the cow yard, all these are considered to be various patterns of performing Yagya in different ways for many different reasons. Setting up fire in afore said contexts will have its own uniqueness. Each individual performs Yagya as per their caste or religious guidelines or the professions. A lady cleaning the grinding stone is equal to performing the Rudrabhishekam to a Shiva ling. “Sandhya vandan” performed by a set of people with Mantras is equal to a cow keeper cleansing himself with water in a pond at the time of sunset and giving salutations to sun. In Indian culture a women who unable to see the sunset (Moon raise) used to give up eating for the night. This was advised by Shastra to men. Though it was advised to men, mostly women used to follow this very strictly.
It is the ‘swadharma’ (means something like self discipline) of Brahmin Pundits to perform these Yagyas in a particular process as the Brahmins are born with the ‘amsha’ (like a part or portion of) of Lord Brahma. They are meant for performing such rituals without any desire or being selfish.