Yajna: Ancient Purification Practice

Published On: Sivanaspirit

Yajna (यज्ञ) is one of the oldest rituals practiced in Hinduism for thousands of years. There is no major ceremony in Hinduism that is completed without inviting the Agni or God of Fire for the offering. Yajna is described more than “1184″ times in Vedas and “580” times in Rigveda alone. They are also prevalent in current-day Buddhism and Jainism. Yajna is a medium to establish an appendage with your inner self, soul, and peace of mind. It is believed that any offering done with gratitude and belief is reached to God through the fire, during Yajna. There are different terms used for Yajna like Hawan, Hotrah, Yajnah, Meghah, Agnihotra, etc.

The process of Yagna is also considered the most important Karma in the karmakand of the Vēdas. It is mentioned in Shatpath Brahman that:

यज्ञो वै श्रेष्ठतमं कर्म (यज्ञ सबसे श्रेष्ठ कर्म है।)
“Yagyo Vai Shreshtam Karmah”
“Which means the Yajna is the best Karma”

As it is said, “Heal the atmosphere and the healed atmosphere will heal you” After the Yajna is fulfilled, there is a complete purification of the environment, Yajna is the ancient science of healing. Yajna brings all types of rewards including material, environmental, psychological, and spiritual. Yajna purifies the surrounding in many ways.

When a Yajna is performed it removes the foul odors from the environment. Soon after the Yajna, a smoky aroma can be experienced. As the substances used in aahuti(sacrifice) during Yajna like Ghee(Cow clarified butter), Sandalwood, clove, camphor, etc.. It creates a natural, organic pleasing fragrance.

Yajana

Yajna removes plenty of bacteria, viruses, insects from the atmosphere. The smoke also disinfects indoor air. The antiseptic and antibiotic effects of the yajna are like the ancient disinfectants of the atmosphere. One can feel the disinfectant is sprayed all around. After yajna is performed it also restricts the growth or spread of pathogenic bacteria from the environment. Many scientific experiments were conducted in the past to check the impact of yajna on mother nature like seed germination, growth of plants, and water purification. The results were truly amazing which showed the reduction of contaminating microorganisms in the environment. Although smoke has a bad impact on your health and that is why yajna is suggested to be performed in the open space and direct smoke should be always avoided. After the Yajna is performed it reduces the noxious level of the surrounding air due to the combustion of substance used in Yajna. Evidence suggested that Yagya reduces air pollution generated Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and other secondary Air Quality levels along with biological air pollutants such as microorganisms from the environment up to substantial level. Yajna also reduces the negativity from the mind, body, and the surrounding. Yajna reduces stress and over addiction.

Embrace the Power of Yajna

There are almost more than 400 types of Yajnas mentioned in Vedas. Before performing any Yajna the one needs to understand the purpose of performing the Yajna. There can be hundreds of reasons for Yajnas: like to worship the Devas/Deities. Yajna is also performed to achieve divine calmness, satisfaction, ensure health, cleanse sinful karma, improve relationships. Sometimes Yajnas are also performed for overcoming obstacles and difficulties in life. Yajnas are also performed to achieve goals like Dharma, Artha, Moksha. Yajna is also performed on specific occasions like birthday, house warming, anniversaries, etc. In some parts of India, Yajnas are also performed for good rains, better crop harvesting, evil spirits, natural disasters, the sin of the ancestors, and many such reasons.

Yajna can be classified in multiple ways. Some Yajnas are performed every day, some are performed weekly, monthly, yearly. Some are performed on specific situation, occasions. And some yajna is performed once in a lifetime. There are almost more than 400 types of Yajnas mentioned in Vedas. Yajna which is performed at the home, office, or in the family is generally called Havan. Yajnas are mostly performed in the morning or during daylight and in open space. There are different types of mantras to chant while performing Yajna. Without chanting Mantras it will not be possible to get benefits that are expected from Yajna.

Anyone can perform a Yagna. To start with one can always perform his small ritual of Yajna at home or when you’re about to begin a new venture or to give a more emphatic direction in your current journey. There are unlimited benefits of Yajna which can not be explained in full length. Altogether from Yajna one can use the power of fire to drive into our inner consciousness and self-delight.

Published Date : 19 May 2020   

What does the Vedas teach us, in this Pandemic

Published On: Opindia 

Our newly emerged worst enemy from China has brought the whole world to its knees. More than 2.5 million people have been infected worldwide, in this pandemic so far. Almost one-third of the human population is living under lockdown currently. A new type of psychosomatic experimentation is being conducted on humankind in this pandemic. No one knows the aftermath of this pandemic and when it is going to end. But one question is arising certainly,

Where is God in this Pandemic?

In some religions, they are saying, the coronavirus itself is an act of God, some are saying it is a deed of human punishment. Honestly, we do not know, but undoubtedly many customs followed in Hinduism, is beneficial to fight with this novel Coronavirus and the western world is supporting it wholeheartedly. The practices which were mentioned in the oldest scriptures of Hinduism in Vedas are scientifically proven in reducing the spreading of the deadly virus. The whole world is following Hinduism practices more than ever before this pandemic.

One such precaution to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 is ‘Namaste’ (Namaskaram), and it is becoming a global salutation trend now. More and more people, especially global leaders are doing namaste rather than a handshake, kissing, or bowing. Recently some of the top world leaders like Prince Charles, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron, and others were spotted doing namaste. Namaste is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word ‘namas’ and ‘te’ which means “I bow to the divine in you”. Namaskritya and other such related terms appeared in Rigveda especially in ‘Vivaha Sukta’. It is a traditional way of greeting in India for thousands of years. Recently U.S. President Donald Trump said ‘India ahead of the curve’, after greeting Irish PM with namaste..

Hygiene and quarantine were always important in Hinduism for health, mental, and social reasons. Even during the Vedic age, many of the hygiene practices were followed and are mentioned in Vedas. These hygiene practices are part of Hinduism and followed from many centuries in India. These practices are very much required in the present day during this Pandemic. Some of these practices are like washing hands with antiseptics/germicides after urination or defecation. Though these antiseptics were made from turmeric, neem, and replaced now by sanitizers, handwash in the present day. Washing our hands before and after having food. Putting down sleepers outsides of house and many more such small traditions where followed. Similarly, if someone dies, the entire family is like quarantine for the rest of the village was another way hygiene which is followed. Also during the menstruation cycle, women were something like social distancing. similarly in many such scenarios families or person was in quarantine or at least social distancing was followed. These practices were followed to keep our self-safe and hygienic. Albeit our enemies slightly change, but still in the world of technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT we are following similar practices which were laid down thousands of years earlier.

Well, we all are trying their best to stay calm and relax, but still, stress levels are reaching an all-time high in lockdown. Even now, we have a long way to go. The whole world is worried, how this all will impact our lives, business, jobs, health, and finances. People are trying more and more ways to place stress under control. One of the easiest and effective ways that the world is doing –Meditation. Harvard Medical School recently published that the easiest way to reduce stress, anxiety is meditation. More and more apps, smartwatches are offering modern technology these days that can guide you to meditate, reduce stress and stay focused. New Articles, blogs are published and shared every day on Mediation and yoga all across the Internet. The word meditation itself means dhyanam, which factors self-learning, conciliation with self. The word dhyanam has appeared many times in Vedas starting Rigveda like appearance is in Verse 10.11.1 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka. Similarly appeared in Kauhitaki Upanishads 3.2 where it talks about mind and meditation in prayer.

Corona virus Is also changing the rituals followed after the demise. The majority of governments are choosing cremation over burial, irrespective of their religion. Sri Lanka, Philippines, and other countries or states have made cremations compulsory in coronavirus deaths. Even western countries like in the USA, cremations have surpassed burials as the most popular end of life option. WHO says to conduct a safe and dignified burial of a patient who has died from a suspected virus like ebola. Cremation is a major practice that is followed in Hinduism from the early period. And a standard practice in cremation is that dead bodies are not ethical to touch. People need to take a bath after coming from cremations. Antyeṣṭi or Antima Sanskara is a Sanskrit word for cremations in Hinduism. Word antya and iṣṭi respectively mean “last” and “sacrifice”. And “Antima Sanskara” means “last sacred ceremony”. In Hinduism, it is considered that the human body and the whole universe consists of five elements – air, water, fire, earth, and space. The last rite of ritual is to return the body to its five elements of the origin. The roots of these beliefs are very old and can be found in the Vedas, in the hymns of Rigveda section 10.16.

Now more and more health organizations are warning about the health-related risks associated with eating meat after these pandemics. Raising animals for food was always a breeding ground for diseases that can be easily transmitted to humans. Health experts believe COVID-19 originated at a “wet market” in China, where shops sell both live and dead animals for human consumption. It is still not proved that the meat industry is entirely responsible for the corona virus, but yes corona virus and similarly many other Pandemics in the past have always been linked with animals. It is found that 6 out of 10 most Infectious diseases come from Animals like H1N1 swine flu, H5N1 bird flu, Ebola, SARS, and many more.

The WHO says 70% of global disease-causing pathogens discovered in the past 50 years came from animals. More and more news is emerging these days from all parts of the world after this deadly virus is to stop eating meat and to go vegan strictly which is a known practice in Hinduism from centuries. As we all know that prevention is always better than cure. Although there are no vaccines for this pandemic until now, the best step is to take measures to elevate the immunity, so there will be fewer chances of getting infected by this disease. Despite there is no such unique food, fruits, or medicine that can be a guarantee to boost the immune system and protect us against coronavirus immediately.

Still, vegetables and fruits are the best examples of immune-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some of the key nutrients that are important in immunity are mentioned in Ayurveda. Some examples of such immunity-boosting herbs are turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garlic which are commonly used in an Indian family.

Published Date: 23 April 2020